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Goodbye Jesus

Having Trouble Trusting My Relationship Choices


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Hi, I haven't been in this forum for quite a long time, but still recognize some of you. I used to be a fairly active poster, but in recent years, I have become more of a post-C than an ex-C, and I needed to take a break because being in a place where Christianity was often discussed was hindering my recovery at that stage. I hope I am still welcome to share.



I have been rebuilding my life free of religion with good success, but the part of my life where I still have poor experience is in romantic relationships.


Some background: I grew up Fundigelical, and dated a few nice enough Christian guys in high school under careful parental control. When I got to college, I had zero experience with a "normal" dating environment, was horribly awkward and backward, and got into a clingy relationship with a Christian who was extremely immature and possessive, but fortunately got out of it. When I finally started dating a genuinely nice atheist, my parents put so much pressure and guilt on me that I broke up with him. I was isolated, under a lot of stress, and taking medicine for depression when I decided to marry a Christian. We hadn't dated before getting engaged and I lost my virginity to him. It's a long story, but basically I was in the "I can make this Christianity thing work out if I try hard enough and do all the right things" stage of being "in the closet". Two years later, we divorced and I publically deconverted. So by my mid-20s, I'd had unhappy sex with only one person and never had a boyfriend separate from Christian obligation or Christian guilt. I got into a longterm relationship almost immediately after that with another ex-C. We were together several years before things fell apart. We hadn't gotten married, but had gotten our financials entangled. That was a mistake and I ended the relationship poorly.


At this time, I've been in a relationship for 9 months with an atheist, non-ex-C. I feel like I'm looking for red flags or some sign that things might be about to fall apart. And I realize that if I keep doing that, I'll never have a good relationship because I'll sabatoge any relationship I'm in first. I feel like I have to justify to myself and others that I've finally picked the person I can succeed with. Before this relationship, I vented to my mother that I felt like my relationships were all failures, and she said that it was because I don't have god in my life. I almost threw up, then I almost hung up, and now I am very careful what I tell her, but I feel like if this relationship doens't work for whatever reason, even if we were to totally amicably decide to go our separate ways, I'll be the family poster child for how atheist relationships are destined to failure. I try not to let that put pressure on me, but it's hidden stress. I'm happy when I'm not thinking about this stuff, but when it pops into my mind, I'm afraid I'll ruin things somehow.


What triggered this to the point that I wanted to post was that I found something I'd written for ex-C counseling, which happened after I'd been with my ex-bf for about a year. At that point, I thought we'd always be together, although I had already avoided to committing to marriage. I had said that I had been looking for signs that the relationship was going to become boring or restless and that hadn't happened. But three years later, the relationship had completely stagnated, both doing activities together and sexually, and I believe that I did my part to keep things active but I started being the only one doing things. So if a year wasn't enough time to see what would happen, I don't know how I'd know. I am not willing to be in an ambiguous relationship for years and years without any further commitment, especially if it's not because that's what I eventually want but because I'm constantly waiting to see if the other shoe will drop. I want to move forward with being happy with someone I love, but I feel like if I love someone there must be something critically wrong with them.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

Of course you still have a place here, you always will! Welcome back! Hope you stay this time.


I'm having trouble developing romantic relationships as well. For the same reasons. Fundamentalist religion does do that to you. Time will help, and talking to Ex-Cs.


I've been dealing more with my fundamentalist family. Its rough, but sometimes not being around the fundies isn't an option. You just gotta make sure you talk to us and others outside the fold, because they're just going to drive you nuts.

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I may get some counseling, but I can't afford it right now.


Actually, I have not been in Christian culture for >5 years though. I just don't have much dating experience.

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I want to move forward with being happy with someone I love, but I feel like if I love someone there must be something critically wrong with them.

Hi ClaraOlive!


I'm sorry to hear things are rough in the relationship department. I have gone through some rough relational times in the past as well (including some unhealthy, lengthy, and enmeshed/intense relationships), and I finally gave up on (romantic) relationships altogether....which was one of the best things I ever did. This left me open to (1) get to know me, who I am and how to stand on my own (I had also sworn off marriage), and (2) experiment with friendships and just get to know people of all types. I traveled alone, had a decent social life, was involved in lots of activities, and spent glorious time alone. I think the best thing I did was just be content with being me. I think this helped me to have the great marriage (yes, I finally capitulated....long story) I have now.


Counseling has already been mentioned above, but you know what is just as good sometimes? Hanging out and talking with a couple of trusted gal pals! beer.gif


Keep us posted. smile.png

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Guest wester

My fundy family relationships were fraught with abuse, emotional manipulation and pathological control issues.

I never realized it. It all just seemed so normal to me.

Big surprise that all my outside relationships followed the same patterns and ultimately self-destructed.


Until I could learn what other people went through and see several "normal" examples of human relations, there was no way for me not to have disastrous interpersonal experiences.


Try to develop solid non-romantic relationships with people who can give you advice and a different perspective. Develop more emotional control, objectivity and self-awareness.


Good Luck.

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