Here is the second instalment of this two-part article. We continue to look at how to enjoy the start of a new relationship while keeping a healthy perspective. This will help us to make sure it doesn’t become toxic, and  that we build the strong foundations needed to make it last. 

Part one of this post looked at Joel’s story, who ignored all of his wider friendships and interests and church activities when he started a new relationship.

Relationships that revolve around this intensity of contact end up losing out.

New relationships are meant to be enjoyed, but we cannot be fooled into thinking romance is all we need, or that by obsessing over the relationship, it will just last forever. When people obsess over each other and forget about wider friendships, activities and interests, they cause themselves problems.

(The following extract is taken from page 141-143 of The Dating Dilemma book, read the introduction for free here)


Relationships that revolve around this intensity of contact end up losing out.

Spending too much time alone together creates the perfect breeding ground for insecurities to surface. We all feel a bit anxious in new relationships, because we don’t want to mess things up. But rather than helping us deal properly with these feelings, an intense relationship that doesn’t involve the input of friends becomes inward-looking.

Toxic Relationships

Taken to extremes, people in such relationships can mask their fears of losing the other person by becoming controlling and possessive. And possessive relationships are unhealthy.

If you find yourself in a relationship where you are constantly fighting, or finding ways to make each other jealous, you need to seriously consider whether this is a relationship you should be in.

If you are in a relationship where someone is using their words, fists or emotions to control you, or to stop you leaving them, seek out a good friend you can trust to help you find the courage to end the relationship.

We’re not fixers. Only God can truly heal people’s deep pain and hurt

‘Hurt people hurt people,’ says Rick Warren. Even if our partner is acting possessively because they’ve been hurt in a previous relationship, we need to remember that we’re not fixers. Only God can truly heal people’s deep pain and hurt.

A girl/ boyfriend who won’t get help to change their behaviour will never change just because we stay with them.

I’m Fine Though, Right? 

You may read this and think, ‘Hang on a minute! I spend a lot of time with my girl/boyfriend and we don’t act like this! I would never hit them or make them jealous.’ Good! But the problem is that it’s still too easy to put them in the place that’s intended for God.

By only spending time with each other, we are still creating an atmosphere where our confidence, meaning and purpose come from the person we date, instead of from God. It’s an atmosphere that can drain our time, energy and resources, leaving us nothing for anyone else.

The sad reality for many Christian relationships we come across is that they become so narrow that couples lose sight of who they are and cease to live out the mission to which God has called them.

If you’ve waited a long time for a relationship, then it’s understandable that you will want to dedicate every waking moment to this new person. But it isn’t healthy and it won’t fully satisfy. (Read Real Stories From People Who ‘Fell Off Pedestals’.)

Top Tip

There’s a profound fulfilment to be found in sustained intimacy with someone. Nothing builds our confidence like knowing that there is someone who always has your back. But making one person the source of all your fulfilment and security is very bad news.

Just because we are in an exclusive relationship doesn’t mean that the rest of our lives are closed to us

‘Dating stronger’ [means] we need a full life, with friends, hobbies, and interests, because no single relationship can fulfil us. We can easily forget this when we fall head over heels for someone. Keeping your other friendships and interests alive will enrich the intimacy you are building with your boy/ girlfriend.

Just because we are in an exclusive relationship doesn’t mean that the rest of our lives are closed to us. Remaining open to God and others is the best way to keep a relationship grounded, godly and growing. Whether or not we ever get married, God asks us to stay connected to the wider world, even when we fall in love.

(Read the introduction of The Dating Dilemma book for free now, or buy the book here.)

Imagine If…

Imagine if when we started a new relationship, or as we work out how we navigate our new relationship, we remembered that romance is fun, enjoyable, amazing, but not enough on its own.

Good healthy relationships realise that wider interests, a focus on God, maintaining friendships, will make their romantic relationship even stronger. (Read Are You Making The Relationship Mistake That Causes Less Happiness?)

What advice would you give a new couple? Comments welcomed below