The Dot, Dot, Dot is Dumb, Dumb, Dumb

Black couple upset scaledFor the last month, Ashley Hebert, ABC’s current Bachelorette, has coined a term to which women nationwide have related…the “dot…dot…dot.” It’s the phrase infamous naughty boy, Bentley Williams, used in breaking her heart, “Even if I’m not coming back, he said. “I still want to keep the dot, dot, dot there,” But he said only moments before confessing to the camera that he wasn’t “feeling it for Ashely, at all!” And it was that dot, dot, dot that her mind has constantly drawn back to as she’s relived their “breakup” conversation in front of the dating show’s viewers. Bentley Williams played the ambiguous card Bad Boys before him have used when they’re done using a girl, but want to keep her in their pocket as an option for potential hookups in the future. Dot. Dot. Dot.

Last week, Emily Maynard used the same line in an interview with Chris Harrison. When asked where her relationship stood with previous Bachelor, Brad Womack, Maynard’s reply was tearful and clearly emotionally invested, “For so long, we left the dot, dot, dot, and I feel bad that it’s taken us this long, but I am finally ready to say it. Not a day goes by when I don’t regret how things have turned out.” The problem with the dot… is that it’s never ending, but never being. Never concluding, and yet never growing. This is a classic ploy by playboys. And thanks to Ashley Hebert…it finally has a name, “The Dot, Dot, Dot.”

Why do women fall for this? We’re not stupid. We see through other guys when they’re doing this to our friends. But when it comes to us and our dot, dot, dot, how can we see past the dots and through to the truth?

Dot #1: The Desire For it to Work Overshadows the Actual Reality of the Relationship.

This is a phrase Emily Maynard said when describing the demise of her relationship on national television. When we want a relationship to work out so badly that we’ll do anything to make it happen, we are preparing ourselves to buy into the dot, dot, dot line. We are holding out on what could be and ignoring what is. It doesn’t matter if your friends don’t like him, your parents don’t approve, or that he strings you along bringing you down emotionally, socially, and spiritually. He’s got potential! But potential is tricky because really potential is everything you’re not currently. So a guy can have all the potential in the world, but if he’s not currently reaching aspects of that potential, it really means nothing.

Instead of falling for this dot, dot, dot, and focusing on what you wish the relationship looked like, or how you wish it hadn’t ended and might still come back around, focus on the reality of the situation, focus on truth. Paul says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Don’t daydream about what could be; fix your mind on what is.

Dot #2: As Long as We Love Each Other, It Will Work. And If It’s Not Working, We’ll Try Harder.

Apart from a marriage relationship, this is horrible advice. If you’re in a destructive relationship where you have to work tooth and nail just to make it semi-resemble a working one, quit. Quit now! Marriage relationships are hard enough when they are founded on wonderful, communicative, loving, caring, Christ-centered dating relationships. Add a faulty relationship to the starting point and you might as well just get a divorce lawyer on speed dial. Just because two people “love” each other, doesn’t mean they’re supposed to be together. It could be that they have confused infatuation with love and based their entire relationship off of it. Because if they actually did love each other, it could work. If the man was sacrificially loving the woman the way he should, if the woman was deferring to that leadership and lovingly helping that man, then it would be real love, because it would be based on Christ’s love (Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 13). Because as Diane has previously reminded us, love does good.

Dot #3: Dot, Dot, Dot is Better Than Just a Period.

Bentley sealed his fate when he retorted, “The dot, dot, dot is better than just a period.” “NO!!!!!!” I shouted through the TV at Ashley. “It’s not better. Go with the period. Demand the period!” She didn’t hear me. Instead all of America heard her whine about that dot, dot, dot for the next three weeks, until…she finally got the closure she had been needing. Ashley is not too different from many of us that have experienced the ever-recurring dot, dot, dot at the end of a relationship. We want there to be a second chapter to the love saga, so we hold off really ending it with someone just in case. When in reality, we are living in the past and not focusing on the present.

So, What Do You Do If You’re Living Life in the Dot, Dot, Dot?

Break it off….again.

But really break it off this time. Not half way, not with a kiss goodbye for old time’s sake…End it. Put the period at the end of the sentence, close the chapter on that saga, walk away, and be done with it. Real, true closure is the only way you’re going to be able to move on past the dot, dot, dot.

Trust in the sovereignty of God.

Cliche, I know, but such an important step in dealing with the dot, dot, dot. Whenever you experience a break up, there are moments of doubt that creep into your mind and heart. Should we really break up? Is this the best thing? What will I do with him? Will I ever find The One? All of these questions and doubts center around your ability to trust that God’s got this. He’s handling your life, and He knows what the next step is. Psalm 139 says that He has scheduled our days before a single one of them came into existence. God cares for you, loves you, and wants the best for you. And whether that be another man later on in your life or no man at all, all of it rests in His very capable hands. After all, if you know Him as I do, He’s already given you the greatest thing you’ll ever need…salvation. Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” He’s got this, and He’s got you!

Move on with life.

Jackie Kendall, in her book Lady in Waiting, reminds her readers, “If Jesus wants you married, He will orchestrate the encounter. You have nothing to fear except getting in His way and trying to ‘write the script’ rather than following His.” You do this by taking one day at time, doing what you know the Lord has placed in front of you to do, and going forward with life with the dot, dot, dot in your rear-view.

The dot, dot, dot is dumb, dumb, dumb. Your Savior has greater plans for your life, don’t settle for a measly dot, dot, dot…

4 thoughts on “The Dot, Dot, Dot is Dumb, Dumb, Dumb

  1. So explain how to handle this situation when you are married? Is restoration posssible, workable? What if your husband keeps engaging in a love affair of four years, says he wants you but returns to the other woman occasionally? Do I say “enough” or wait for restoration?

  2. So explain how to handle this situation when you are married? Is restoration possible, workable? What if your husband keeps engaging in a love affair of four years, says he wants you but returns to the other woman occasionally? Do I say “enough” or wait for restoration?

    • Shawn,

      Thank you for taking time to read our website. My heart goes out to the woman caught in the situation you are describing, and I am convinced there are more than a handful of women that relate to it. In difficult circumstances such as these, there are unfortunately no “easy answers.” There are no cut and dry step 1, 2, or 3?s. It’s often long, arduous, and confusing. I believe, however, Scripture does hold principles that tell us how to biblically handle ourselves in these scenarios, and in this we can find our hope.

      The first thing you must decide is how you view the marriage relationship. Is it merely a contractual relationship between two people, or is it a covenant between two people and God? As I read the story you described, my mind immediately went to Hosea, a prophet called by God to marry a woman who would habitually betray him. I also thought of some close friends/relatives of mine who are in similar circumstances. All of these people viewed marriage as a covenant, a life-long, for-better/for-worse, promise made before God, and all of them have struggled in their marriage relationships. And even when it’s been ridiculously difficult, they have sought to live out their half of the covenant in a biblical manner and have been richly blessed by it. Granted that blessing may only be seen in a deepening of their love and dependence upon God, but what a blessing it’s been to see them love God more, and have a visual example of how God loves me when I turn on Him.

      There are a couple of books that I HIGHLY recommend this woman buy: This Momentary Marriage by John Piper and When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey, also you can read some of previously posted articles on Unlocking Femininity: I’ve Married a Christian Jerk, Now What? and Why Marriage Matters.

      Practically, this is what I would suggest doing:
      1. Have this woman decide what her Biblical standpoint on marriage is (Reading those books above will help in guiding her through that process).
      2. Church Discipline – IF her husband is a born-again believer, and a member of a local church, I would suggest getting church leadership involved in counseling and in church discipline should the sin not desist.
      3. Radical restoration often involves radical amputation. Now, I’m not suggesting body parts get cut off here, but a move in location might be in order, or a change in jobs? Basically, you do what you need to do to remove sin from your life. And when that sin is in the form of a extra-marital relationship, amputation is often the only way this is possible.

      I hope this helps give some guidance on how to handle a very difficult situation.

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