How do I move forward from a breakup?


Good evening,

I’m relatively new to this website, but I have found it particularly helpful for hearing Q&A’s specifically related to Christian life.

I’m a freshman college student who dated a girl for around 4-5 months when college started. It has been almost three months since she broke up. I’ve been slowly getting better, but the pain is still there. We virtually have every social circle together, including church, dorms, and classes. While I should have been more careful of the social realm of things, I have accepted that this is the drawback of being too invested in my worldly desires. And yes, we are probably too young to date.

The breakup comes down to three things: unequally yoked, pride, and lust. These are all on my end. We are both Christian, but I will admit I was not demonstrating godly character. The breakup was a mess; we talked a few times since the breakup, the last one being last night. We both acknowledged that for us to even consider getting back together, we need to first let it go since only then will God allow us to grow first.

With the other two reasons in mind, lust was a huge breaking point in the relationship. We did so many sexually immoral things (that wasn't sex itself), and every time I think of it, I blame myself because, despite it being consensual, I initiated it and bent her boundaries. I hurt her so much, and every time I think back at what we did, I get sad, not because I can't experience it anymore, but because it happened in the first place. I am aware that God has already forgiven me for my sins (and she did as well), but I can't help but feel this burden of guilt in my heart. In other words, I haven't forgiven myself.

I told her last night that we can't be together right now because there's a bigger issue of lust in my heart right now that needs to be cleaned before jumping back into any relationship. Despite believing she is a good potential wife years into the future, I know those feelings cannot be reciprocated right now. I'm currently cutting off porn and pray that God gives me the strength to cut it off forever. However, I conflict with my heart because even though I know I should be fixing my lust and pride for myself, I can't help but think that by fixing it, her feelings for me will change down the road. I open my Bible daily and read about God's love, but I can't help but think of her when I do it. My regret is the motivation for repentance.

As much as I want her back without any sin in a relationship, I know it is not up to me. I know I need to let go. How do I do this and be content with God's planning? And how do I allow her to trust me again if God allows the doors to be reopened?


Many people understand that fornication is a sin, but they become so focused on the issue that they excuse the sins that lead up to fornication.

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5).

God wants people to be set apart as something special and dedicated to God. When people are involved in fornication, they are no longer sanctified. They now are just like the rest of the world, given over to sin. They are not special; they are common. However, to stay out of fornication, they have to practice self-control. They cannot let their physical desires control their decisions. If fornication is wrong, then the things that lead to a loss of self-control and fornication are just as wrong. Thus, passionate things that arouse the desire for sex outside of marriage are also wrong. This would include pornography, but it would also include couples sending naked pictures of themselves or sending sexual messages. They may argue that there is no harm because they are not in the same place, but it still raises the desire for fornication and can lead to a loss of self-control.

From what I gather, you have been involved in pornography, which led to a loss of self-control. You kept pushing for physical actions to fulfill what you had been dwelling upon in your mind. She would give in, but you would not find it satisfying, so that you would push things further. What you got involved in was sensuality or lewdness. "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality" (Galatians 5:19).

  • Immorality is another way to translate "fornication" -- having sex when you are not married.
  • Impurity or uncleanness refers to having a dirty mind (an unclean soul).
  • Sensuality refers to a person who shamelessly pursues sensual pleasures, acting like an animal.

While you had not progressed to the first, you were definitely committing the other two sins.

I mention all of this because to move forward, you have to know where you were. The sins you committed were against God, as all sins are. You encouraged another into sins as well. You've approached the Lord for forgiveness, and it sounds like your girlfriend also forgave you. I know it is popular to talk about forgiving yourself, but the idea is mistaken. Forgiveness is releasing someone from a debt owed to you. Your sins did not create a debt to yourself. It wounded your pride because you thought too highly of yourself. It embarrasses you to think that your body can control you so thoroughly. You feel guilt for being involved in sin and leading someone else into sin. These things are true and are the proper consequences of knowing you sinned.

"I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter" (II Corinthians 7:9-11).

The grief you are experiencing is a good motivator to change your mind and behavior. The fact that you have additional motivations is not a bad thing. However, fixing your life does not guarantee that she will return to you. Each person makes up his or her own mind. Regardless of her possible future choice, you must firmly make your own choices.

Rather than worrying about what might or might not happen in the future, focus on improving your present self. When the time comes to decide whether to date again, you can make your decision at that time.

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