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Struggling with who I Am

My family are very religious. I always have been too. But since i left home a year ago I have experienced a whole new world of beliefs, ideas, ways of living, "Gods", religions, cultures. Its been so interesting and also confronting, having had suych a sheltered upbringing in just one, very strong, faith family. I am also in a serious relationship with a man of a different faith. We've known eachother for nearly 3 years, been together on and off for 2, but for the most part, been a really strong, beautiful relationship. but 6 months ago broke up (mutally , but still horribly heartbreaking) due to our different faiths, and me feeling like I dont know who I am and I felt like i still need to do so much more with my life before I can marry and settle down with someone. After 2 of the  most miserable, lonely, painful months of my life and his too, we finally reconnected and came back together. It was never official, we just started talking again and the seeing eachother again and here we are 4 months from that point going strong. But neither of us have retold our families that we're back together. Its weird. I dont like thinking about it too much because it leaves me clueless, helpless and hopeless. Anyway. I havent been going to church for a couple of months, part of that was due to Corona virus closing down worship gatherings for the last 2 months, but since the restrictions have lifted weve been able to have small worship gatherings. I have felt anxious about going back to church because Im sure I have been sinful with my boyfriend and i feel ashamed of what they will all think of me and how I have beahved, especially after putting myself through hell to give him up and then to just return to him. I feel weak and pathetic and unworthy. I feel like Ive let down my faith, family, church, God, my soul, my upbringing, everything I was raised to be and think and believe. I feel wretched and totally, utterly lost and incapable it seems of even considering the future because it terrifies me. What do i do? How do i talk about this? WHO do i talk to about this? I only hear from my church and my family to find out when I will be coming to church again. I see the concern in their eyes when I supply a feeble excuse for not being there. I am getting so anxious about the pressure to go to church and to please everyoine and my family . And also the very real guilt of feeling I am displeasing God. I feel I have turned my back on Him. I know not evryone believes in God. But I think everyone can relate to the loyalty you feel to stick with your childhood roots of belief. Or that inability to shake the beliefs you were instilled with as a child. When those beliefs are combined with a real, genuine faith and belief in what I believe, its a powerful force on my existence. I feel my core beliefs and upbringing are being shaken and rattled and upturned somehow. I dont know how to stop this anxiety burning away in my stomach. I feel so miserable a lot of the time. But i love my boyfriend so dearly. Somehow i feel like I cant have both. I cant seem to have the comfort of my beloved spouse AND the comfort of my church and family supporting me. I feel like I take this all so seriously, maybe too seriously. Honestly, lately I just want to runaway. Escape to a new country or place, maybe even not tell my boyfriend or family. Just go and get out of here and figure out all this shit that im dealing with without having to explain to anybody. But I know thats weak too, running away, avoiding. Is it ok to be weak sometimes... I always have been so strong..I dont know how to hold up any more..Or is all this the result of feeling like Im turning my Back on God.. 

Please, if you can give me some empathetic advice or counselling, I so need to hear it. Any reassurance or advice would be so nice. Thankyou if you have read this far. Thankyou.

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Re: Struggling with who I Am

Hi @_daisy , 

 

It sounds like this is incredibly challenging for you, and it sounds like the two of you have been through a lot over the last few years. I can hear how conflicted you're feeling between your love for this man, and your faith and guilt about what this would mean for you and your church community. It must feel like you're been torn in two, and I'm so sorry that you're going through this. 

 

I am wondering if your family and church community might be more accepting than you may think about an interfaith relationship, what do you think? I was doing some reading around this and came across this lovely article, with people sharing their stories of love across religious divides.  I think that sometimes, our families can surprise us- I'm not especially religious, but I know that there have been times in my life that I've made choices that I've been really scared I would be judged for by my family, and they were often a lot more accepting than I expected. 

 

I'm also wondering if you might find it helpful to chat to a counsellor about what you're going through - sometimes it can help a lot to talk through things with someone objective - have you ever chatted to a counsellor before? Thinking of you, it sounds like a really tough load to be carrying. You're not alone, and there are also always people here who are happy to listen and talk

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