The Ex List

3:11 PM Edit This 10 Comments »

I’ll admit, I never saw it, but there was a show on TV that ran in 2008 called “The Ex List.” It’s about a woman who discovers that she has already met, dated, and broken up with the man she was meant to be with. Trouble is, she has met, dated, and broken up with a lot of men, and she has no idea which one was The One. So she has to go through her “ex list” and re-date all of her old boyfriends to find the gem she passed over the first time.

It makes me think about what I’d want my ex list to look like someday. How many names would I want written on that page? Maybe I could rack up social points by going through a few dozen boyfriends. Maybe I could practice for marriage by getting into a serious relationship long before I plan to actually commit. That’s certainly how some people think. Not me, though, and I hope you agree. I’d want as short of a list as possible. Is ten a good number? How about five? Maybe I’ll do really well and only break up two or three times before I make a lifelong commitment.

Maybe my husband will only be the second or third man I give my whole heart to. I’m sure he’ll appreciate that.

But then I have to ask myself: What’s the ideal? If I could write the perfect love story, what would it look like?

If I want to keep the ex list as short as possible, then the ideal would be to keep it at zero. No breakups whatsoever. I’d spend years waiting for my prince to come, and then when I finally met him, I’d let him win my love slowly. Then at long last, I’d marry him and stay married forever. He’d be my First and Only One.

Seriously, how romantic is that? Can you imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship without the clutter of past boyfriends? To be able to give your whole heart away, without any pieces broken off?

Hopefully you’re already committed to the idea of saving your virginity for your wedding day. That’s amazing, I commend you highly. But how often do we think that way about our emotional purity? Do we guard our hearts the same way we guard our bodies?

When I get married, I want to be able to give my husband everything: all of my body and all of my heart. I don’t want him to be the second or third or fifth or fifteenth man I say “I love you” to. I don’t want to give my heart away until I know he’s the one to keep it forever.

This is why I’m not dating. Not because I’m afraid I may “go too far,” and not because it doesn’t sound fun, but because I want to keep every last corner of my heart for the man I will marry.

Don’t you think he deserves that? Don’t you think you deserve that?

For the record, a number of my dear friends whom I deeply respect have gone through breakups before. That’s ok. Sometimes the guy you thought was right turns out to be not so perfect after all. But I know they would agree with me that breakups are not part of the ideal picture. And it is possible to achieve that zero-count ex list. I have some other dear friends who have done it, and I am in awe of their love story.

As Amy March said in Little Women, "You don't need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he's the right one."

Ok, so I know you all have strong reactions to what I've just said. Please comment and be heard! I don't want to be the only one talking here. Let's figure this thing out together! :)

COMING UP: What if we took this idea to the next level? Part 2 coming Wednesday, December 2!


Theresa said...

I love all your posts, Caitlyn, and I certainly agree with you one who knows the heartache and mess created by giving your heart away to a man who is not the one you will marry. You're exactly right here, and the only way to truly save your heart for that one man is to allow God to guard it for you. I always had the best of intentions of saving my heart for that one and I had thought and hoped he was the one...I never ever wanted to have any exes...but I gave my heart away too soon...because I followed my heart instead of really truly allowing God to guard it for me. And now I'm clinging to that our God can bring beauty from ashes and restore the years the locust has eaten...

Karis said...

I agree with with Theresa. LOVE this post! As well as all the previous ones... :) It's so so true that purity is also about emotions, and I'm so glad you wrote this, it was such a good reminder. I'm not dating, always wear my "True Love Waits" ring, and will tell anyone that I'm proud to have never had a boyfriend, but at the same time I know I've let my emotions run away with me and have given pieces of my heart away without ever having been in a relationship. I'm thankful to have realized it before getting hurt, but at the same time I wish I had guarded my heart more carefully. Thank you so much for the reminder and for writing this blog. <3 I will be anxiously awaiting Part 2. :)

@Theresa *hug* I know God has big plans for you, sis, and I cannot wait to see who He brings into your life. <3

Anonymous said...

Caitlyn, Thank God for like minded families. We pray that one day our sons and daughters will find the One and Only in God's timing. Thanks for a lovely post.

Leanna said...

I think you know that I'm with you on this. ;)

Rebekah said...

Totally awesome Caitlyn! I love it. It helps to sorta know that I am not the only one who thinks this way. Somewhat of a relief. lol =)

Someone who was poking at Mystery Google said...

Don't worry about it. Love does as it will, and the only thing that should matter for the history of a perfect love life is ending up somewhere you're happy.

Whether you go through twenty guys or only one.

lucilledezmit said...

I love this post, and I'll definitely be reading more of your blog... I actually got your search on mystery google, which lead me here!
I wish that everyone had this idealisitic view of marraige that you do. From the age of about 13, girls I know started to lose their hearts and virginity to boys who were never worth it and who they obviously weren't going to marry. And I know most of them regret their past relationships, but if you bring up this idea of waiting around for your perfect man, they'll all come back with a reply along the lines of 'how will you know he's the one for you if you've never been in a relationship with anyone else?'.

I love this.
(From your fellow mystery googler ;))

Caitlyn said...

Theresa, Karis, Leanna, Anonymous, Rebekah-- thanks for your thoughts. It's encouraging me to know that there's so much support out there. I seriously thought I was going to post this and get hammered. I love you guys.

Hey Mystery Googler--I would disagree with you, but I guess I already explained why and you're not going to be back here so I won't bother getting into it. :P

Lucille--Thanks for dropping by and actually taking the time to read and respond! Thanks for the encouragement. You're right, so many girls waste themselves and bring so much brokenness into their lives. And what breaks my heart is that they don't see any way out. Let's you and me do our best to set a better example! :)

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't agree with this post. I think you are doing a great thing trying to encourage young girls into healthy relationships and helping us realize that we are the bride of Christ. I am in a wonderful relationship with Jesus, and I am glad to see that someone your age recognizes just how important it is.
What I don't agree with though is the ex-list. I have had three boyfriends in my 32 years of life and have gone on numerous dates with others. I am now in my second year of marriage with my husband, who is just amazing. The only thing I ever did with my previous boyfriends was kiss, and even then I made sure it didn't get to passionate. Even now that I am with the man I adore, I wouldn't have changed dating any of the previous guys.

Through dating the first two guys I found out things about myself that I probably never would have discovered. I learned how relationships work and how I act when I am in a relationship. I learned things about guys that I never would have known otherwise and what I want in a guy. I had a list of things that I wanted my future husband to have when I started dating, but over the course of having relationships you realize which things aren't as important as you thought and which ones are more important.
My first boyfriend actually changed my life forever and helped me strengthen my relationship with Christ. Ha sorry for the massive essay, but I guess all I'm trying to say is don't close your mind and heart off to dating. Keep thinking and praying about it. Maybe God wants you to just wait, but maybe there are some important experiences you need to go through before you find the one. God Bless You!

Caitlyn said...

A question inspired by our anonymous Mystery Googler: "Love does as it will..." Is love something that just happens, or is it a choice?

Anonymous, thank you so much for your wise comments and your openness with sharing your story. Your "massive essay" is very much appreciated. You are an excellent example of why my ideas are not necessarily universal! I think you're absolutely right that God may have lessons to teach you through your experiences. I'm very happy things turned out so well for you.

One of my best and dearest friends recently broke up with her second boyfriend, and I know of very few people who listen to God as sensitively as she does. I know that these experiences have grown her as a person I am so thankful that God has used both of these wonderful men to impact her life. I do not look down on them or her at all.

However, that still feels to me like a less than perfect picture. I am a total idealist and romantic, and from where I stand now, I'm still dreaming of the first and only one. :) I don't particularly want to be stretched and grown and have my heart broken at the same time. If it happens that way, so be it, I guess God knew better than me, but I still feel like I'm called to pursue the highest standard.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences with us. God bless you and your hubby!