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Relationships With Non-Christians


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Hi,

 

Still relatively new to the board. I have been struggling with intimate relationships in my life for as long as I can remember. I have bipolar 1 disorder and codependency issues. Recently, a friend of mine and I started a relationship. I am what most in the Christian realm would call "born again", but I ALSO consider myself a progressive. Right now I go to an evangelical church.

 

So, anyways, back to the friend. He doesn't believe Jesus is God; I do. He knew from the beginning that I have bipolar. I warned him that I also have codependency issues. I am in counseling, 12 step meetings, and a support group for my bipolar. After a huge confrontation Friday night, he and I decided to take a two week break. People at my church have heard from me that it is sexual and have told me I am fornicating and that God doesn't want me to be with an "unbeliever". I spent most of today's service crying and came home to write a letter to him. Called him, read it to him over the phone to break it off and then we got to talking about how maybe we could make things work if we stuck with the two week break.

 

I am confused. Don't know if my desire to possibly reconcile is God or codependency. And I don't want to feel guilty over religious differences. Any advice would be most helpful.

 

Carrie

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Carrie,

 

Welcome to the forum. I am sorry to hear about your situation and hope that you are able to work it out. Giving specific advice is far beyond my capabilities.

 

However, I would add one observation. The nature of your relationship with this fellow is no one else's business. And, IMO, if those in your church wish to judge you on that basis, their friendship is shallow and superficial and not worth spending time worrying about.

 

George

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Hello Carrie,

 

Welcome and thanks for sharing with us. Like George I can't venture to address the psychological issues you mention as such. But it sounds to me also that, whatever tensions you are experiencing in your relationship, judgmental and unhelpful input from others is only going to serve to amplify them. Even if they mean well -- like Job's friends. If your relationship is meaningful and responsible, then I can see no harm being done. It is better to focus on actual problems that might exist -- like your bi-polar -- than to have added layers of complications added by well-meaning but unhelpful friends.

 

Peace,

Mike

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Hi Carrie,

 

First of all, thanks for sharing, and I hope the best for you.

 

Secondly, and maybe more importantly, I would suggest you talk to your counselor about your relationship. He or she should be able to help you determine if it is, in fact, a healthy relationship.

 

Thirdly, here's something to think about. Some organizations, especially church organizations, can be very co-dependent, encouraging co-dependent behavior.. It is important for you, I suspect, to be in healthy relationships, whether they be romantic or religious. Just something for you to consider.

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I spent most of today's service crying and came home to write a letter to him. Called him, read it to him over the phone to break it off and then we got to talking about how maybe we could make things work if we stuck with the two week break.

Carrie

Hi, Carrie,

 

I hope that we can provide the space for you to talk about this. As Yvonne suggested a counselor is the best place to work some of this out. Sometimes between sessions I would have an upset that I felt clear about and rushed to take action - when I could have waited or made a phone call - and the outcome wasn't as positive as I thought it would be - OR I had apologized for something I should not have apologized for. I do not know if this fits you and your situation but I do recognize the cycle you describe here - LOTS of emotion and action - then having self doubts about the action.

 

I would not rush to reconcile. God doesn't want you to make things better in a relationship at the sacrifice of your self.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

I'm bipolar II

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You are in counseling, and in a support group. I'd say that is where you need to seek both advice and support, where you personal issues are understood, and also where you can relate these things to someone impartial to your situation. By that, I mean, not motivated or influenced by their own expectations out of you, for themselves. Clearly the people in that church are more interested in their own motivations and comfort zones than what you might be dealing with personally in either you psychological issues or your personal relationship. The man, no matter how good he is, is still also motivated by his own interests in what he expects from you and the relationship.

If you are yourself concerned about your co-dependency and bi-polar issues being involved here, you are probably right. That you are making an issue of the differences in you and his religious perspectives then accept they ARE problems for you. Being on a rollor coaster of break-up make-up break-up I'm not sure what to do kind of thing isn't good for either person in a relationship, you are him. And such incidents as you descrbbie, breaking up with him over what others have said, isn't fair to him at all.

Sounds to me like you need to get others with their own interests out of the picture, the church people, and boyfriend, and find your stable ground for yourself before being ready to handle pressures of relationships like these. When we are messed up ourselves, we are not going to be stable in relationships.

I, no one, can tell you what to do in matters of your religious conflicts. I can tell you this, people in a church like that are never going to be happy with or approve what you do, so trying to please them is a losing effort. And, why does pleasing them matter anyway? What do they really contribute to your real life? You real needs in life? You probably don't even really know any of them well, they don't really know you, and are focused on their own lives and don't really care. They are merely casual aquainatance of casual circumstance...you simply are attending the same church right now. Move, change churches, they nor you have really lost anything. Its never a good idea to give such casual aquaintances that kind of power over you, let what they say and think about you matter in how you make life choices.

 

I hope the best for you.

 

Jenell

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I'm not one to tell you what to do with your relationship, that really is your business and your business alone. I would recommend speaking to a professional counsellor though, as Yvonne suggests. I would expect them to be unbiased and to throw a more reasoned and comprehensive light on the situation. As for your Church friends, I'm no expert on the bible but I don't recall Jesus saying a single thing about marrying an unbeliever. Paul probably has a lot to say, but that's another matter IMHO. Seems to me that the Jesus tradition demonstrates Jesus spending his time with everyone BUT other believers (meaning God-fearing Jews at that time). Whatever way you go, I hope it makes you happy.

 

Cheers

Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Carrie. I'm sorry about what happened and I pray that you'll surpass this trial in your life with God's amazing guidance.

 

About the relationship with a non-believer, I would have to say that I for one don't discriminate people who do not share the same faith that I have. God works in wonders and He's the only one who knows why you met that special person in your life. I suggest to continue going to your counseling so that they may help you overcome your personal issues. At that same time, continue praying for wisdom that you may make the right decision in life. God loves you. :)

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