Dear Renita,

My boyfriend and I broke up about one week ago. He is the love my life. We have been together for almost four years. He says he is confused and he doesn't know what he wants. I thought everything was fine until he dropped this bomb on me. I have tried and tried to let him go, but I can't.  We have two kids together, and I believe we could be a family again if we just fight for our love. What should I do?



Dear Heartbroken,

Let me put this to you bluntly: He may be the love of your life, but it's pretty clear that you are not the love of his life. Face it: you don't have a choice in whether to let your boyfriend go. He has decided to leave the relationship, and you can't make him stay.


Permit me a moment to use your letter to reflect upon how much the world has changed.  A few decades ago, a woman with children by a man she never married would probably not seek out a minister on a faith-based website to ask how she might persuade him not abandon her and her children. Condemnation from minister and readers alike would have been about all she could have expected.


But I won't condemn you by heaping scriptures upon your head about sin and fornication. If your heart is broken, as you say, then you're probably already asking yourself what you could or should have done differently.


With that said, though, if you've followed this column, you've discovered, that marriage doesn't protect you against heartbreak and abandonment.  But I remain convinced that marriage is sacred and that the vow we make when we marry is special.  Even though vows get broken, there's something to be said about making a vow to another person.  Your vows state your commitments, your hopes, and your vision for your future. It's your best self making itself known in the company of witnesses: "God being my helper, I pledge to love this woman [man] and to partner with her [him] through life's ups and downs." You made babies together and moved into a house together, but you never made any real commitment to the relationship. 


The mystery of marriage is that even though the heart can stray a thousand times, sometimes, just sometimes, the vows you have made keep you married until your heart returns to its senses--for the 1001st time.




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