Wanting to Be with Him, Doesn’t Mean You Should


I was recently talking with a good friend.  She had broken up with her boyfriend—well, actually, to be precise, he had broken up with her. Suddenly and in a way that hurt her feelings quite a bit. A month later she was back with him. So obviously, I wanted to know what made her go back.

What she told me was something like this: “Well, I thought about it and I realized that I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a long time. It’s the first time that somebody dumped me like that and I still wanted to be with him after that. Normally if somebody did that I’d just walk away and say ‘forget it.’ But in this case I didn’t want to walk away, so I figured things are different this time.”

Do you hear what I heard in that? Lots of “I” statements. “I felt” this way. “I still wanted to be with him.” Every reason she had for going back to him had something to do with her, and how she felt.

I didn’t hear her say anything about him, and whether or not he was worthy of another chance. So I asked her. Will he do this to you again? What does this say about him, what kind of guy he is, how he reacts under pressure? She didn’t really answer. Her feelings were clearly doing most of the thinking.

I don’t think she’s unusual in this. I think we all do this. I think we’re conditioned to do it, from the time we’re young. Relationships are about feelings. We’re supposed to follow our feelings. If your feelings are “true,” then the relationship is good.

I know I did this when I was younger. I remember being in a typing class, and suddenly “realizing” that I “loved” someone who wasn’t particularly good for me. But I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask the next logical question: “Is this a person worthy of my love?” No, I just leapt ahead to “I have feelings of love him, therefore I need to be with him.”

In my youthful inexperience, I had no idea what “love” really was. Real “in love,” I’ve always said, is when the heart and the head agree. The heart is excited about the person, but the brain also knows that the person is worthy of that love—reliable, faithful, wants what is bests for me, etc.

These are the questions we need to be asking ourselves when we’re looking at the possibility of a romantic relationship with somebody. Sure our feelings play a role. But only in the negative—if I don’t want to be with somebody I should probably listen to that. But the mere fact that I do want to be with him, doesn’t mean I should.

So stop endlessly exploring your feelings. Spend a little less time looking inward, and a lot more time looking outward, at the flesh-and-blood reality of this other person. Does he or she really care about me? Is he or she even capable of caring about someone in the way a husband and a wife should? Is this person emotionally healthy? Is this person trustworthy enough not to hurt me? Would this person make a good parent?

If the answer to any of those is “no,” then your feelings are irrelevant. You’re not moving forward, and they may not like it. But they’re going to have to follow along.

They have no choice in the matter.


Do you have a question for Mary Beth Bonacci? Send it to askmarybeth@catholicmatch.com.



  1. Marianne-1390852 December 14, 2016 Reply

    I kind of see it like this.
    People do most things when they are ready to.
    Most people make active decisions about how they live their lives. Even not doing anything is a decision, right ?
    So if the person I love is not ready, or not willing, or just wont really commit to love in a relationship the way I am willing to, I just need to respect that.
    Truth is, the type of love I am looking for is a decision and not just a feeling, and its not an easy road.
    I ask myself, just because I have strong feelings for this person, does it mean I have the right to force him to love and commit his life the way I want to live mine?
    Or should I force myself to live and love the way he wants to ?
    Shouldn’t we respect each other more than that ?

  2. Laurelie-898130 March 17, 2015 Reply

    Yes well the way I see this is she is just not willing to get the hint…too bad because forcing yourself onto someone is not a good plan…you will end up hurting yourself as well as him.

  3. Terri-1150256 March 14, 2015 Reply

    I think Esther said it best.. “If two people are meant to be together , then please God, help them be together. If not, then help them see the light.”

    Great Article & Great Advice!

  4. Eunice-1130193 November 16, 2014 Reply

    Awesome article! THANK YOU! THOUGHTFUL! Well said! With due respect, It’s painful, it hurts deeply, but, we have to put our heads above our hearts and move on.

  5. Becky-857695 June 24, 2014 Reply

    great article!

  6. Mel-607502 February 22, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for sharing Mary Beth!! Sometimes we just follow our feelings and ignore all the red flags that point out at us so clearly. We women get tangled in with our emotions and prudence. But still we decided to get back thinking, ” what if he could be the one?”. I believe now that it takes 2 honest souls who truly love each other to make a marriage happen, if honestly deep down our hearts we know that ” He is not the one” Lets just trust that Godly voice within our souls and ask God to give us the strength and grace to let go and move on, wishing well for the one we loved.

  7. Vanessa-503762 December 30, 2013 Reply

    Very well said. I’ve been with this situation before and took me a while to overcome it. Glad I did.. or else I might still be single to this very day, haha. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  8. Laura-979049 December 19, 2013 Reply

    Excellent article, Mary Beth!

  9. Chrissy B. December 11, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for this post Mary Beth So many women need to hear this truth. We often only ‘listen’ to our feelings instead of looking realistically at the other person and judging their overall character. Lord, help us to see love differently in our dating/courtship relationships. May our relationships help us to know our worth and beauty as women and always see ourselves the way you do. Help us not to settle for any man who isn’t worthy of our heart and teach us to guard our hearts.

  10. Karen-467420 December 9, 2013 Reply

    There are many times I have seen this happen. My friends have done it and so have I.
    Second guessing our gut decision and ignoring our true feelings will happen to the best of us. Over the years I have learned to be true to myself! but it is not always easy.

  11. Esther-532964 December 9, 2013 Reply

    Great article! Thank you! You help open my eyes. Women need to be reminded of every thing you wrote in your article. It can work for men too. They some times have their eyes closed. Let’s pray for every one to open their eyes, and pray for the one to come into their life. “If two people are meant to be together , then please God, help them be together. If not, then help them see the light.”

  12. Julien-650427 December 9, 2013 Reply

    I wish I read this 2 years ago…before I thought I met this amazing man. Turns out not so amazing…just feeling foolish I trusted & believed his words oh & very confusing actions. Now trying to open my heart again NOT easy to trust. I am trying, back on this site & now after reading this… I am approaching things differently. Thank you

  13. CatalinaMercedes-708660 December 9, 2013 Reply

    Very helpful, I read it today and it cleared up my mind and heart. Thanks!

  14. Linda-504414 December 8, 2013 Reply

    Amen! Who wants to get tangled in a wheel like that!

  15. Flo F. December 8, 2013 Reply

    Thank you so much Mary Beth for this post. It is definitely helpful…

  16. Lynea-297530 December 7, 2013 Reply

    Some go back because they think they can help the person, save him from himself. Maybe something happened to them and she feels he was scandalized, and wants to help make up for it. But God doesn’t tempt anyone beyond their ability through grace to sustain grace — people themselves choose to be in situations where they are tempted beyond their ability. Yes, marriage is facing the cross together, but it’s not a marriage as a Sacrament if only one person is committed to the Cross.

  17. Olivia-111035 December 7, 2013 Reply

    Two words: SPOT ON! 🙂

  18. Michael-410923 December 7, 2013 Reply


  19. Charm-1024482 December 7, 2013 Reply

    I had a different situation. He got all the yes to these questions, but still… Well things happen sometimes.

  20. Alma-953915 December 6, 2013 Reply

    Thank you so much for this post, Mary Beth. It is difficult to go through life, feeling lonely, and wanting that companionship so bad to the point that we ignore the red flags in a relationship. I’ve certainly been guilty of wanting what isn’t best for me. Keep these posts up, because they are helping! I definitely needed to read this message that you brought forth in the article. God bless you!

  21. Bryan M. December 6, 2013 Reply

    Well said. Good article.

  22. MaryBeth-902916 December 6, 2013 Reply

    WOW!! How did you know I needed to read this TODAY!! The same thing happened to me all except the going back part. I did ask him the hard questions and he was not ready to commit and we broke up. Thank you for the reinforcement that relationships are more than feelings and both parties need to want to do the hard work of marriage! Mary Beth you made my day!!–ps great name too!!

    • Tom-995241 October 14, 2014 Reply

      The fact that you didn’t go back is not really the same thing in my opinion.

Post a comment