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Relationships After Leaving Christianity


hudsonrw
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Hello everyone,

 

I'm Rob from Cincinnati. I'm fairly new here. I've been reading for a couple weeks but just recently joined in with conversation. I have recently left Christianity as a Southern Baptist. I'm now a proud Humanist. My main concern is that most of my friends and family are still Christian. I have found that I'm pretty isolated in my thought. I really need to meet people who are free thinkers. Does anyone have any advice how I can meet new people with similar thought and reason? After leaving Christianity I've just felt a lose in relationships, especially in the dating and friendship department. I really hate feeling like I'm alone. All advice would be appreciated!

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Hey, Rob!

 

I'm originally from Cincy. Many people don't know the Bible Belt extends that far north, but Cincinnati is a pretty goddam religious and ultra conservative town for sure. (Q: How many Cincinnatians does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: One, and please don't say "screw.")

 

Unfortunately, your old Christian "friends" were simply interested in the faith you shared. When somebody leaves the same unfounded beliefs they hold, it scares them a little because they could be next. You will begin to make friends with regular people in time. It's very likely there are Humanist, atheist and ex-Christian groups in a city that size. Check the meet-up groups online, and try the phonebook for local chapters of secular groups that may be to your liking.

 

I don't know your age but maybe the Mt. Adams scene or UC hangouts might interest you. Good places to meet like minded people of both sexes are bookstores, museums and cultural events. Don't try to limit yourself to Humanists - you would probably get along with anyone who didn't think they had all the answers and tried to force their beliefs on you. I enjoy the company of Pagans, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists and Unitarians. The Jews and even a couple of Muslims I know are much better company than the Christians I used to hang with. Once you get away from the Christians (particularly Baptist types) everybody is just plain people.

 

Good luck, don't rush it, and enjoy your new life of rationality!

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It's important not to be too disappointed when you aren't able to fill your life with new close friends immediately.

 

You've had your old friends and your family with you for years; you have many shared memories. With some of your friends, you probably had a similar upbringing. When you meet new people, you have no shared memories. Having some common interests doesn't necessarily connect you emotionally. You can see the same people at a common interest meeting for months, but still not feel that you're developing more than a once a week friendship. How do you bring them from the acquaintance level to the friend level?

 

I've found that the best way is to find something to do with other people that's concrete, goal oriented, and possibly physical. Training to run a local road race, putting on an play with the community theater, joining a hiking group, working on a charitable project, etc. It's alright to be able to remember a group meeting with like-minded individuals, but it's great and bonding to remember the time you all went on that hike, and you saw the bear, and Bob fell down the hill... You don't just know stories ABOUT each other, you've made new stories WITH each other.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This thread isn't quite new anymore but I just found it. Clara, I like your advice about not expecting to be in a hurry to find new close friendships. I've been in transition between communities for quite some time. It's a very complicated story and the people who are getting to know me these days barely know where I've come from. They definitely do not know the harrowing details of the beginning more than ten years ago.

 

Over the course of time I learned to settle down and be happy not to have so much social life. And that is what worries the new people.

 

It's general folk knowledge that getting out is mentally healthy. I was raised to think that way. People are constantly telling me that.

 

QUESTION: If it's so healthy and good for me, why does it give me migraines? If socials are so rejuvenating, why do I need several days to recuperate afterwards?

 

My landlady is one of the people who is most sure that I absolutely need to get out more for the sake of mental health. (I've told her that my health is not her business. We'll see how long she remembers.)

 

Every time I go anywhere, I have to walk a ways either to the bus stop where I interact with people or to a store. When I compare that with her walk from her front door to her car and from her parked car to the grocery store, I'm beginning to realize that I probably interact face to face with a lot more people than she would if she never went anywhere except the places I do. (She goes to church every Sunday morning and has a very active social life on top of that.) I've learned to know people and people have learned to know me. If I were looking for a partner I would have found one already. (I'm not kidding; I was so sure no one was interested that I ignored all the signs until he was practically in my face. He was very respectful and everything went off well but the possibility definitely exists. We met at humanist events. The others I mentioned here are just people in the community who happen to live and travel the same bus route and do shopping in the same places I do.)

 

Thus, I am part of the community, but definitely not in the same way my landlady is. I don't go to church and I don't go to parties or concerts and I never have friends over. And I like it this way.

 

Oh, and I fantasize on an almost daily basis about my landlady's predicament when and if I do find another place to live.

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QUESTION: If it's so healthy and good for me, why does it give me migraines? If socials are so rejuvenating, why do I need several days to recuperate afterwards?

 

I am somewhat similar in that I draw my energy from being alone. I can spend days alone and be perfectly happy. Eventually I like to be around those I love and then go back into my cave. That is just my personality. Our relatives and their kids, who are very outgoing and energetic, came to stay for a month last year. I was going nuts in short order because I no longer had a cave to retreat to. I nearly checked into a motel on several occasions just to get my sense of calm back. Some people draw their energy from being around others and being sociable or involved in sports and such. I don't, and never have. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I'm an INFP, so I do best when social gatherings are sporadic. I get along fine at work dealing with customers and such, and have come out of my shell considerably over the decades. But I still relish my time alone. Nothing else satisfies me as deeply. I can think and write and imagine and just be.

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Hi Rob! I am in western pa, a few hours out from Cinci (I go there a few times a year, though) and we in the "rust belt" of America have a lot of ultra conservative friends and neighbors. Where i am is primarily presby and catholic. i was of the reformed presby variety of chirstian. I am only recently out, and most of my friends and family don't know. I have kept a low profile. And, like you, I am somewhat lonely. I have called this breaking away from "fellowship addiction" where your whole life is full of church activities. I have pulled back from my old social circles and haven't been to church regularly for months. To fill the gap, I have started working more hours at my part time job, I spend a fair amount of time on here just talking to people, and hearing their stories. My next move is to get a museum pass and spend time at cultural events in Pittsburgh. Also, I have learned how to be ok with NOT being so busy. Making my own fun, going to the bookstore and just hanging out. Also, I have started taking time to enjoy things I was afraid to enjoy before, since they weren't spiritual. Life has become more colorful, and deep, even though I don't always have someplace to go, or a big group to identify with anymore. One more thing I'd like to do is more community volunteering, i.e. serving at a soup kitchen, etc.

Welcome to the forums! Hang in there!

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LUV that article, Amethyst! :lmao: I may copy it and hand it out to everyone I know - a little bit of proselytizing re: introversion.

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Thanks for your replies. Nice to meet everyone! I am an introvert and that makes things even harder when trying to meet new people. I have a degree in psychology though and try my best to counteract my natural urge to lock myself up with a book. Trying to get out more is a step I need to embrace. I am making that step right now to be honest. I'll keep everyone updated because if there is hope for me, there is hope for everyone! lol Glad to be here.

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