Coping with Unreturned Attraction

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Coping with unreturned attraction as a Christian
Coping with unreturned attraction as a Christian

As spiritual people, we’re told to love each other. John 13:34 tells us specifically to love one another, while Ephesians 4:2 reminds us to be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Religions, belief systems… from Christian to Jew, Buddhist to Sikh… love is always at the forefront of each basic tennent.

But what happens if someone asks us out on a date, and we want to say, “no thanks”? How do we respond to someone who desires a romantic relationship when we don’t return those feelings? What about when it is the other way around?

Redefining love in the “me too” era

No matter your gender, recognizing that we have the right to say, “No,” whether it’s someone who is a friend, a complete stranger, someone in power at work or an acquaintance at church is very important. Recognizing, also, that someone has the right to say “No” to you is also paramount.

What’s love got to do with it?

Many women were raised to believe that being gentle and agreeable were the keys to a spiritual life. You may have learned to fear angering others or upsetting them by saying “no” to an invitation, even if you do not reciprocate the feelings.

Men, you were raised, in many cases, to continue pursuit. Yet, respect for “No,” is far more Godly and spiritual. It isn’t about giving up on a chance of love. It is about self-respect, and also respect for the free choices of other people.

Be clear.

It can be too easy to try to soften the “No,” so not to hurt feelings or anger. You’re nice, You’re spiritual. You don’t want to be unkind. But being too wishy-washy can end up sending mixed signals when you’re just not feeling it.

Look at it this way, by saying “no thank you” clearly to a date or to a potential romantic relationship when you do not feel the same way as the other person is healthy and spiritual. You are using our self-control, honoring the other person by not leading them on, and leaving yourself open for the right relationship.

And ultimately, it is in a loving spirit that we can decline an offer. The other person? They can then be free to find the right match rather than spend time pursuing a one-sided relationship with you.

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