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I remember the few weeks after my senior prom when I was getting ready for the summer and college. I had been dating a girl for a few months and had gone to the prom with her. We had a great time together, but in my heart of hearts I knew the relationship was not meant to go further. I had to “break up” with her.
    This experience taught me an important lesson about dating. As one Catholic speaker, Mary Beth Bonacci, put its, “Dating is for dumping!” We date to mate. And by mating, I mean marriage! We have to choose our future spouse very carefully because God teaches us that marriage is so holy that it requires a lifelong commitment. Since it is such a big decision, we need to learn to enter relationships with respect and care, knowing that respect and care can often mean breaking up with someone.

4 Things that make breaking up much more difficult: 

1 Sex: Having sex before marriage makes breaking up very painful! God designed sexual relations to join husband and wife who have made a lifelong commitment to each other through the sacrament of marriage. Only in the context of marriage can sexual relations say what God designed it to say – that husband and wife are one flesh, one body. Sex places a major obstacle in the way of looking at the real issues involved in a dating relationship. It is also a sin and destroys our relationship with the Lord Jesus. 

2 Selfishness: We know when we should end a relationship, but because we get something out of it, we keep it going until we find something or someone else to fulfill that need. In the meantime, the one we are dating is being used. This is selfish on our part and can deeply hurt another person.  

3 Insecurity: Sometimes we feel insecure and so we have a boyfriend or girlfriend to make us feel secure, or loved, but that is not being honest with that person. Just like the above, it is selfish and we are doing no more than using another person.

4 “I don’t want to hurt their feelings”: Rejection is painful at first, but if it is done with respect and care, the wound will heal quickly and both you and your former girlfriend or boyfriend can get on with your lives. Respect protects a person’s dignity. If we avoid hurting their feelings by keeping the relationship going, it will only cause more pain and hurt down the road.     
    So if you are in a dating relationship beware of the above for your own good and the good of the one you are dating. If you know you need to break up, pray for guidance and entrust your girlfriend or boyfriend to God. Then communicate honestly with her or him. It won’t be as hard as you think.

by Fr. Bill Ashbaugh

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