9 Relationship Rationalizations that Keep you Stuck

The most well-known love junkie in the Bible is the woman who met Jesus at the well. I wish I knew her name, but the book of John only refers to her as the “woman at the well.” I always thought it’d be easier to give her a name instead of a label, so I call her Wella.

Wella lived over two-thousand years ago, but the relationship longings and feelings she felt were no different than the emotions women deal with today. But she lived in a very different culture—a society that condemned and refused to forgive the destitute, the desperate, the desolate.

She must’ve felt that in order to survive, she needed to rationalize. Maybe she believed lies like,

I need a man.

I can’t make it without one.

How will I provide for myself?

Who will take care of me when I’m old?

Her culture scorned her. Her character cursed her. A decent man would despise her reputation, so she convinced herself that any man would do. 

We don’t know anything about her background or her age, but once she recognized Jesus and comprehended how much he loved her, she ditched the shame, the guilt, the desperation and need for approval that held her in bondage to unhealthy relationships. When Jesus opened her eyes to freedom, he transformed her from despised to disciple and Wella became the first female evangelist.

Before her conversion, Wella could just as easily have been one of the following girls. Before she recognized Jesus, fear convinced her to rationalize.

If fear has cornered you, I have good news.

Fear is a liar.

Wella left her water jar at the well. She left behind the one thing that she relied on and traded it for the living water Christ offered.

Likewise, in order to embrace your future, you have to renounce your past.

As you read the profiles below of women who have fallen for the 9 unhealthy rationalizations, take note of the lies you need to renounce. Identifying these false beliefs is the first step to eliminating them. You can’t find a remedy for something that you don’t know is fractured. But shine it to the Light and darkness has to flee!

And don’t miss the details of Wednesday’s FREE webinar, Foolproof Ways to Tell if He’s Right for You. All the scoop is at the bottom of this post.

9 Unhealthy Rationalizations (aka…Lifestyles of the Broken Hearted)

The Compromiser

The rationalization—I must settle. What I really want doesn’t exist.

♥  Jennifer wants a strong Christian leader for a husband but lacks the resolve to wait. She settles for much less in relationships, convinced that what she desires is too hard to find.

♥  After her thirty-year marriage to James ended, Denise’s self-worth plummeted. When she met Mark, she felt energized by his constant flattery and attention. A few months into the relationship she discovered several things he lied about. Despite being furious, she decided that being in a relationship with a man who was untrustworthy was better than being alone.

The Fantasizer

The rationalization—A relationship will make me happy.

♥  Diane is single, but Dennis, a successful married man at the office, is all she thinks about. She often writes flirtatious messages on his Facebook wall and even bought him a gift card from a local restaurant for his office birthday party, suggesting that they “do lunch.” Before Dennis, there was a string of other unavailable men with whom she was obsessed.

♥  Amanda has had relationship issues ever since her fixation with romance began in college. Filled with unrealistic expectations, she imagined that falling in love would happen instantly and passionately, like it did in The Titanic.

♥  Courtney met Dillon online two months ago. They immediately started messaging several times a day. The conversations grew passionate and a few weeks into their relationship Dillon asked her to send nude photos to him. Although they’ve never met in person, Courtney is convinced that Dillon is in love with her.

The Fixer

The rationalization—He needs me. I can fix him.

♥  Jasmine fell in love with Cory’s potential. She knew he was a little rough around the edges, but she felt sorry for him. His mother died when he was ten. She told herself that’s why he had anger issues. Cory wasn’t her first project. Like a lost puppy who needs a home, Jasmine tends to pick up stray boys she feels sorry for. She’s not oblivious to their issues, but she needs a project to feel complete.

♥  Camille met Dustin when he got out of rehab. He stayed sober for a few months, but then began drinking again and was on the verge of losing his job. Camille made excuses for him to his employer and lent him money to pay his rent. Even though Dustin was belligerent when he was drinking, she convinced herself that he would change if she just tried a little harder to help. She told her family, “He’s a good person, but he just needs someone to believe in him.”

♥  The first time Alan shoved her, Carri told herself, it will get better after we get married. As a nurse, a twinge of false compassion convinced her that he just needed a little TLC.

The Frequent Flyer

The rationalization—Any relationship is better than none at all.

♥  Michelle got sucked into addictive relationships in junior high. In order to fit in with the popular crowd, she had to have a boyfriend. Later in life, having a relationship became as essential as a drivers license; it was merely the vehicle that took her places.

♥  Amy is addicted to the rush of romance. She gets easily bored after the chemistry in a relationship fades. In the past five years, she’s been engaged three times and has been in over twelve serious relationships.

♥  Samantha made a negative vow after seeing her parents break up that she would never give her heart to a man. Instead she hops from relationship to relationship.

The Minimizer

The rationalization—He’s not really that bad.

♥  Ashley insists David is in love with her, even though he calls her names and frequently flirts with other women in her presence. She’s convinced herself that his behavior isn’t his fault since he grew up with an alcoholic father. She ignores his behavior in order to console herself and minimize his rejection and abusive behavior.

♥  Cynthia’s husband has been distant and rude, frequently canceling dinner plans. Lately he has scheduled business out of town on weekends. She discovered that he purchased two airline tickets to Cozumel. Instead of confronting him, she excuses his behavior as stress.

The Replacer

The rationalization—I can’t do without a relationship. I have to have a backup plan.

♥  Suzanne was devastated after her fiancé, Chad, broke off their engagement. Two weeks later, she moved in with Matthew, a guy she met at Starbucks. She and Chad are still hooking up. Matthew doesn’t know.

♥  Dominique started having an affair after her husband refused to work on their relationship. When she ran into an old boyfriend and found out he was divorced, they caught up over dinner.. Soon she found herself caught up in adultery. She wants to stop but doesn’t know how.

The Re-router

The rationalization—If I stay busy I won’t feel the pain. I won’t notice the pain if my calendar is full.

♥  Carol has been unhappy in her marriage for years but afraid that a divorce will bankrupt her lifestyle. Driven by a lack of attention, she keeps her Day-Timer filled with appointments—personal trainers, tennis lessons and massages…all handsome young men.

♥  For years, Paula ignored the discontentment in her marriage by pouring herself into her children’s activities, her career, Bible studies, volunteering and community pursuits. She didn’t realize how much her identity was tied to being married until after her husband filed for divorce. Now she has to face the truth: instead of being Mrs., she’s Miss-erable.

 The Tolerator

The rationalization—I’m not worthy. This is the best I can do.

♥  Emily rushes into relationships. She frequently settles for less than what she wants. She’d rather be unsettled in a relationship than be alone.

♥  Linda tolerates unacceptable behavior in relationships. Her low self-esteem keeps her trapped in a relationship with a man who cheats on her because she doesn’t think she deserves any better.

♥  After Sandra’s marriage of twenty-nine years ended in divorce, set met Frank playing Bingo. Frank isn’t her type but they spend almost every day together. Sandra’s settled for a casual companion instead of a significant other.

The Truster

The rationalization—It’s not my place to judge.

♥  Debbie’s is fascinated with online dating sites. Even though Jim was never available on the weekends for dates, she assumed he was safe because he said he was a Christian and attended church. They went out several times before she found out he was married.

♥  Tiffany’s father left when she was two. After that her mother exposed her to several live-in relationships so Tiffany has never seen a healthy relationship modeled. Her upbringing and life experiences have branded her vulnerable. She already has three children with three different fathers. Now she’s pregnant again with the child of another man.

♥  Heather is a bad judge of character. When she and Dan first started dating, Heather believed everything Dan told her about his financial success. When she discovered that he owed $60,000 in credit card debt, she was furious and broke up with him. When he accused her of being selfish and materialistic, she felt guilty about breaking it off and went back to him. In the two years that they have been dating, Dan has been fired from three jobs and is now unemployed. Heather sees no future with Dan but feels compelled by her commitment and Dan’s manipulative accusations to stay in the relationship.

We can’t heal what we continue to ignore.

Did you recognize yourself in any of the women above? Did you see any of your tendencies in their actions? Maybe one of these women pegs you perfectly or maybe you’re a combination of two or more. Take note of those with whom you are most like. Identification of your weaknesses is the first step to bringing change. Correction and change is always proceeded by clarity and understanding.

None of these women or their relationship issues are beyond hope. Maybe you’ve done things the same way all your life, but until now, you’ve never realized that some of your romantic responses are responsible for your relationship issues. It’s a good thing when you can see where you’ve veered off course because recognition of your issues is the first step to correcting them. Only after you notice your unhealthy responses can you replace them with effective solutions.

Need more insight and discernment in dating relationships? I’m passionate about helping you date heart smart.
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19 Responses to 9 Relationship Rationalizations that Keep you Stuck

  1. Kay October 12, 2018 at 4:20 am #

    Hello i think I’m the fixer!! I’ve fallen in love with another man that needs fixing… I’m not sure but i feel maybe he is trying really hard to change and he’s already done a lot of changing! But he’s still not stable enough.. i don’t want to be a fixer but i love him and he loves me , we fill like god brought us together for a reason!
    Help!! Idk what to do!!

    • Christy Johnson October 15, 2018 at 2:31 pm #

      I have to answer your question with a couple of questions. Nobody is perfect and we have areas of growth, but if your motive for falling in love with potential is to change the other person, what happens when they fall short of your expectations or fail to change in the area you want to fix? Will your disappointment create bitterness that will be the downfall of your relationship?

      • TLC October 23, 2018 at 4:48 pm #

        Yup!!! That’s my answer to your question. I’ve seen myself in a few of the stories above but I feel so stuck. I want to leave one day and then the next I don’t. I feel like it’s taking a toll on the both of us and it’s really draining me being so emotional unstable.

        • Christy Johnson October 23, 2018 at 6:58 pm #

          It sounds like you need some accountability. We all have blind spots when it comes to relationships, but wisdom can protect us and help us stick to healthy decisions.

  2. Heidi Lobel December 9, 2018 at 6:18 am #

    Hi Christy,

    I see myself in a few of these. I’m currently in an on again, off again relationship. I definitely look at the “potential” in this man, despite the fact that he’s lied, and been deceitful very early on. I have my own issues and feel guilty about those as well. I started off wanting a healthy relationship with this man but as things began to surface from him I started to reconnect with x’s etc. and not always being truthful. My boyfriend has so many issues that he brought with him into our relationship, I don’t know where to start. 3 kids with 3 different women, 2 divorces, is currently going through a divorce with a woman who has charged him with sexual assault, so a pending criminal trial coming up. He’s in touch with another “x” that he says he needs her help in his trial. He makes decent money, but when we met he eluded to being financially stable if not, well off. He later explained he filed for bankruptcy a few years ago and doesn’t seem to have a responsibly financial track record. I’m sort of venting everything here because I feel so guilty about a lot of things with him but also huge resentment. He loves his kids but I’m also jealous of the time his daughter takes from him because our time is very limited due to his situation but it didn’t start out that way. He seems to hold one of his x’s on a pedestal and she is almost like a “mom” to him. She helps with the daughter that is from another relationship, hosts Christmas parties etc. for all the kids. I feel like I have either no place here, or on the flip side that my only role is a romantic one, not a partner/team, or family. In my heart I know this relationship is a mess and has been from the beginning. I resent him because I felt used in the beginning, he was trying to move his stuff into my place, explaining that he was sleeping on a mattress sharing an apartment with some people. He continually made me feel guilty about not wanting to move in together, saying I wasn’t committed, and didn’t know “love” and wasn’t capable etc. It really hurt. Further I opened my home to him for the most part and he later accused me in an argument of him putting all the effort into the relationship. I’m very sad, if he goes, I put a lot of emotion into this relationship, but I just can’t take anymore.

    • Christy Johnson December 10, 2018 at 5:03 pm #

      No one makes us feel guilty. We get to choose. But when manipulators lay it on thick, it makes it hard for those of us who are vulnerable to walk away. Deceitfulness, however, should be a deal breaker for any relationship. Trust is destroyed and intimacy is not possible. It sounds like you’ve put up with far too many unacceptable behaviors. Do you have strong women in your life that you are accountable to? A counselor? You say you know this relationship is a mess in your heart and that you are resentful. The best thing you can do is to pray and ask God how you can draw your strength, confidence and hope from Him. He will never lie to you or try to make you feel guilty.

  3. Heidi Lobel December 9, 2018 at 6:24 am #

    I have to add the positives, and explain why I’ve been hanging on. He is VERY loving and affectionate. I know he loves me very much and he’s doing everything he can to keep us together. This is where I feel guilty because he says love is love, that you don’t love somebody or fall out of love with somebody for the reasons I mentioned earlier. He says his financial security shouldn’t be relevant. His love is almost smothering to be honest. I had to ask him for some space many, many times. At the same time as I mentioned, my life has been far from perfect and I question myself, my own feelings. Am I incapable of loving someone? Am I selfish? Am I narcissistic? I work on myself daily, I pray, talk to God and have done intensive work to heal my past, but I keep coming back to the same problems in relationships. 🙁

  4. Stuart Churchill December 10, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

    Hi christy
    Eventhough im a man i can relate ti many of the comments and stories posted here. I was a police officer and met my ex through my job she was subjected to domestic violence and i handled her case and we started a relationship. Over the course of 2 years we were on again and off again with so many issues including her alcohol abuse and lies about it. We broke up several times and now the situation is i moved to another state medically retired from the police to start a new life with her

    After a holiday on a cruise which was wonderful for us both things started to unravel her childten for some time had nothing to do with her because of her drinking and lying about it . She was living at her mothers fir a period before we got back together abd her children found alcohol hidden in her bedroom. She contacted me one night and we met back up and rekindled the relationship to the point where we moved in together . We were mostly happy she always said that she didnt care that he kids wanted nithing to do with her because she was happy with us and we planned our wedding for next year. When we moved in together she wanted her dog to come and live with us and my dog i agreed but wanted to get dog trainers in to help because both of our dogs would have attacked each other. Tammy was not working and i was paying all of the bills and and supporting us so i was embarrassed to say to her i couldnt afford to get the trainers in. Ine night she lost her temper and atracked me and my dog and threatened to kill him. I left the home and she moved out back to her mothers after that we saw eachother once for a day and she told me that she loved me and wanted to make it work but since then its basically been nothing from her other than me being ignored by her even after i sent her roses saying i loved her and missed her. I have nit heard from her in a couple of months now. I did speak to her eldest daughtet about her behaviour in which she told me to rid her of my life as she has always been like this and i would be better off. A few weeks ago i did hear from Tammy via a text saying that sge was fine and that sge was not back on drugs or the alcohol as i had annoyed her daughter with the texts and phine call with. Since then i have geard that she gas reconciled her relationship with herkids which is beautiful. I still love Tammy and want us i am the only man she has been with that has never subjected her to abuse or even yelled at her. I know God loves me and cares for me and her and im trying to let go and move on but i love this woman and eventhough ive tried to move on and just be friends with someone else i cant even think of being with them becuase im still in love with her. Help me i have prayed and prayed abiut this and need help please gelp me.
    Stuart from Australia

    • Christy Johnson December 10, 2018 at 4:54 pm #

      I’m so sorry for what both of you have been through Heidi and Stuart. But if you go back to a relationship when nothing has changed you’ll be going back to the same mess. Believing what people say over what their actions show is a set up for disappointment. There are wounds inside each of us that only Christ can heal. Before they are healed, our brokenness makes us vulnerable and draws us to unhealthy relationships. We’ve got to pray and ask God to show us the root of our pain. Only He can heal it completely.

  5. Stuart Churchill December 10, 2018 at 5:50 pm #

    Hi christy
    Thank you i do love jesus and i believe he is healing me. Could you also pray for healing over Tammy. She has been through so much abuse even at the hands of her father when we were together and i was still in the police force. I wanted to deal with him but she begged me not to as she knew what would hapoen to him through the courts. Bur now he has been charged becuase he indecently assaulted one of her daughters. I do love Tammy but i know i can no longer be the fixer or the tolerator i am a child of God’s and in him i have redemtion and vourage and strength. I was a Christian cop for many years anf did what i could to glorify him but i did fail at times like we all do. I guess im feeling like a failure now as i feel i failed Tammy

    • Christy Johnson December 10, 2018 at 9:57 pm #

      First off, you are NOT a failure. We can only help those who want or are ready for our help. Besides that, failure is an event, but it does NOT define who you are or who Tammy is. Have you heard of the book/study Be Transformed? It is a great place to start the healing journey.

  6. Mandi February 14, 2019 at 6:30 am #

    Hello,
    I need help I’m recently divorced well it’s been over a year since the separation I feel in love with his best friend my kids tell me to be happy my dad says no way it started wrong I value all these peoples opinions and I don’t want to hurt anybody anymore I have gone between these two men for over a year my ex is controlling and still gets to me causing me to break it off with the man I’m in live with everyone around me keeps saying it will never work. Tommy the guy I feel in love with is a God fearing man wants to goto church with me has asked me to start praying with him at night before we hang up on the phone . Marty my ex keeps telling me I’m not acting very Christ like and he wants me back but he will never forgive me I’m stuck in a triangle. Any advice?

    • Christy Johnson February 19, 2019 at 9:50 am #

      When did you fall in love with your husband’s best friend? Were you still married? Even if your divorce was final, beginning a new relationship while you’re still healing from a broken marriage hinders your own healing. It sounds like you have some recovery to go through before any relationship will be stable.
      As a side note, if loyalty is an important character quality to you, how loyal is a man who takes his best friend’s wife?

  7. Angie February 15, 2019 at 9:24 pm #

    Hello Christy and all above, I want to thank each of you for sharing your truths, there all so eye opening with I’ve been through. I am currently engaged we’ve been together 7 years engaged for 2, He’s so kind and loving towards me and our children. However there a things I no longer want to put up with, they aren’t big issues but I find myself not even wanting to kiss him most of the time. I’ve always been the leader of our family and as I say ” I’m over it” I just don’t want to be with him, I feel like I can’t leave because I’ve never been on my own and he’s the household provider. I don’t even have a car!! How would I make it, what would I do are the questions I ask my self everyday only to wake up tomorrow feeling the same but to afraid to step away.

    • Christy Johnson February 18, 2019 at 1:01 pm #

      You don’t say what the issues are. He’s kind and loving but you don’t want to kiss him. Sometimes when we focus on the little things that bother us, they are magnified and we can no longer see the good. Does he know you feel this way? It’s not a good way to start to a marriage. On the other hand, when we establish a household together outside of marriage, we miss out on the blessings of a covenant. If you’re staying just because he’s the provider, that’s not fair to him or you. If you decide to leave, you’ll have to prepare so that you leave well so you’ll be able to take care of you and your children.

  8. Vivian February 16, 2019 at 11:01 pm #

    My husband passed 4 yrs ago and I been dating a man of God for 2 years . Recently I found a message and picture of a women on his phone . I confronting him without any dispute , he admitted , and ask for forgiveness . He was so embarrassed that he deceived me .He stopped his position at his church until he feels clean with God . He called the other women and ask her to cut off all communication . The other women was a friend who was helping him during his divorce so now the women is also in a middle of Some difficulties now on her marriage . By contacting my boyfriend , they saw each other behind my back and this is how he cheated . Now he is begging for a second chance . We are a very good pair , my girls accepted him, but I do not want to start all over with someone else . Because we have a lot in common. He is trying his best to rebuilt his trust but it’s very hard . He gave me acccess to his password and Also his phone . Do you feel I should give the relationship a second chance. We pray together and we decided Togo to see aChristian counselor for advise . What do you think I should do ?

    • Christy Johnson February 18, 2019 at 12:20 pm #

      First let me say that I’m sorry for you loss. I can’t imagine losing a husband. This is a difficult situation. It sounds like he is genuine in his repentance. Giving you his password and especially stepping down from leadership. Not all cases of infidelity are reasons to split. And I certainly can’t tell you what to do. The most important thing is that you don’t make an emotional decision, but rather hear what the Lord is saying to you personally. His wisdom in supreme. A couple of other things you might want to consider. Was he embarrassed that he got caught or that he caused others pain? Also, if you are physically intimate with him, I’d encourage you to stop as that will hinder your discernment and ability to hear God’s truth.

  9. Jemimah February 18, 2019 at 12:30 am #

    Somehow I feel like I have traces of three “the frequent flyer”, “the replacer “, and “the fantasizer”.
    I feel I can’t trust anymore soon tend to have someone else whom i also got easily convinced loves me and when issues arise in my relationship, I start talking to him. So I end up having this string of relationships that I’ve lost count of. I hate it.

    • Christy Johnson February 18, 2019 at 12:11 pm #

      There are men who are trustworthy, but it takes time to tell. That’s why it’s so important to be cautious in new relationships. Once we get emotionally involved, our discernment goes out the window. Take it slow. Time will tell if his character is legit or counterfeit.

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