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So, I've been romantically involved with an INFJ for 7ish weeks now. We used to just be friends/co-workers but I developed a crush on her a long time ago and have been harboring feelings for her for quite some time. She had just exited her last relationship about 6 weeks prior to the point where we started seeing each other, so of course not wanting to rush into a rebound situation, she wants to "take it slow"... yeah, well that hasn't happened exactly how I imagined "taking it slow" is supposed to look like. We have been spending ALL of our time together, no joke, a lot of the time up to 72 hours straight without a break from one another and we haven't been a part for more than enough time for her to go home, let her family know she's still alive, and grab a change of clothes (we even work full time together up until about 2 weeks ago when our boss changed my schedule :dry:)

Here's the problem... I'm already past the point where I'm "wondering if she's a good enough mate for me" I've known her for quite some time before we started dating so I already knew she was frigging amazing. She's got me under her spell, I am completely HOOKED... So get this... last week she decides is a good time to tell me that she will only enter a serious relationship with ANOTHER CRISTIAN (yeah that's right, I'm not one)

So my first reaction was "oh shit, I have to end this now, I'm pretty sure I'm already falling in love with her" I immediately went into self preservation mode, so I told her that I already have my own beliefs and my faith in those beliefs is 100% I can't just CHANGE what I believe in to be with her.

Talking after that didn't go so well. I told her that we can't see each other romantically anymore and that I needed some time away from her if we were to ever have a chance of going back to just friends. Well, she was devastated... we both were. I though I would just sulk in my apartment for a few weeks and we would be over it, then we could go back to the way things were before we began dating. Boy was I ever wrong. I lasted two whole days before I came crawling back to her and we immediately picked up where we left off.

Now I'm looking over at her sleeping, wondering what is going to happen. I can't stay away from her, it's way too painful, but I am terrified of what could happen in the future. She keeps saying that she doesn't know what to do, or if there even is a "right thing to do". I told her that since I've always been proud of having an open mind that I would try the Cristian thing, I would give it an attempt. I just can't see myself honestly changing what I believe in, and I would feel horrible if I lied and told her that I have.

Am I over thinking this? Should I just trust in life and love?

When I'm alone and contemplating this I try to listen to my emotions and I feel torn between a great sense of love and belonging, and a great sense of fear and doubt.

I suppose for now I'll just crawl into bed beside her and go to sleep....
 

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It's very difficult to be in a relationship with someone of a different faith position than yours. I always said I never would but married my husband, who is basically an agnostic by default(he just doesn't think about existential questions at all). It can only work if you completely respect her faith position and show her that, and if you guys can be on the same page about some seriously hot-button issues, like taking the kids to church.

I personally really wish my son and I could sit in the pew with my husband beside us and share that experience as a family; it makes me sad sometimes not to share that huge part of my life with my spouse. So it is undoubtedly easier to date people of the same faith. Then again, I've also dated a lot of Christians who were less morally upright and respectful to me than my husband. Ultimately, it comes down to the values you live with and not necessarily the motivations behind them.

But you should not lie to her, I agree. But keep an open mind about "the Christian thing" or going to church, if she wants it. You don't have to pretend anything and you can always find something to get out of it, like the music or even the secular aspects of th sermon (who can't get behind messages bout being nice to people?). Also see if she might be willing to go to a church where you feel comfortable too, if you're willing to go with her. You won't be on the spot but you can show her you support and value the beliefs she holds, even if you don't share them.
 

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As a newer Christian, and an ENFP, who is divorced and sloooooooooowly entering the dating scene, I think may know where she is coming from.

She may be using the term 'Christian' to model a shared value system and set of goals. Is she talking to you about Jesus and quoting Scripture? Is she wanting you to go to church with her? If not, then she may just be looking for confirmation that you won't hurt her by having a different set of morals.

I don't know your relationship to Christianity, but if she is serious about wanting a Christian mate, you may want to go and read the Bible without the lens of a particular denominational dogma. (I suggest The Message version, as seeing some of the more quoted verses in a more modern language can blow away any preconcieved notions.) I became a Christian at 37, and while there is quite a lot I do not like about the dogma, the metaphorical and spiritual truths I have found have healed a lot of deep emotional wounds.

I hope that the two of you have a wonderful life together!
 

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How cute. You really like this girl. I might even say you're in love with her, though my definition of love probably differs from your own. Either way, you're definitely infatuated with this woman and desperately want things to work out between you two. That's why I'm going to give you two answers. Listen to the first now and then listen to the second in a few months.

1) You really like this girl. You know she's awesome, so why not go with the flow and see how things turn out? Now is the time to soak it up, enjoy the relationship for what it is, and (make) love (to) each other...NOT worry about religious differences. Enjoy the present and don't worry about the future. All you need to know is RIGHT NOW, you're willing to work out the differences and see what happens. Enjoy these feelings you have for this girl...that's what life and love is all about!

2) DO NOT READ THIS UNTIL A FEW MONTHS HAVE PASSED.
 
Okay, so now you've been dating this girl for a while now. You're probably still into her but now you have your emotions in check. Seriously, you were a mess before. You were so confused, even though it was clear to you that the relationship was a bad idea. But that's okay, that's normal. In fact these kind of things add tension to the relationship and make it all the more sweeter..it also confuses you, in a good kind of way. Hopefully by now, after trying to figure things out, you know if religion is still an issue. If you are now a man of god and accept jesus christ as your savior and believe he died on the cross for you, to save you from your sins, then good job! Problem solved! Not only have you found yourself a worthwhile chick, but now you're guaranteed an eternal life in heaven and DONT have to burn in hell for all of eternity! Whew! NICE!! You killed two birds with one stone there :happy:
Hehe, but let's be serious, we both know that her christian beliefs still don't vibe with you, and furthermore, projecting into the future, we both know you can't see yourself with this woman. Religion is a big deal and unless you're okay with living a lie and feeding these lies to your children, it's time to end things while you're not in too deep. Good luck! I'm sure it's been fun, but play time is over! It's time to return to reality, my friend!
 

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I feel like the odd one saying this one but... end it. The sooner the better.

I'm a bit bothered whenever someone says that they're not willing to get into a relationship with someone due to different beliefs. Not that it's wrong in particular to have that mindset, but honestly there's no way I want someone shoving their beliefs down my throat. And that's exactly what's going to happen with a girl like this.

Can you live with the fact that her beliefs are more important than what you have together? How she was willing to end it all because of them?

And, really, things are going waaay too fast. 7 weeks only? Slow the hell down and take the time to think things through. You're not doing yourselves any favors by rushing into some deep, romantic relationship. It'll burn you in the end.

But back to the whole belief thing. If she's like this, how will her family be if they find out you differ in believes? And the true test would be shown right there (if you choose to stay). Will she lie and say that you share beliefs? Or will she, without a doubt, stand up for you if you are true to yourself? Personally, I wouldn't even bother to have gone farther at this point. But if you did, theoretically, the latter is preferable as it shows she truly cares for you above anything else. And that she actually has a backbone to things like this.

Don't kid yourself into thinking that she's the only girl who you'll be able to fall in love with. You may pass up the chance at meeting an amazing girl who won't care about your beliefs and wouldn't dream of ever letting you go despite of them. Remember, this girl right now was willing to.
 

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No... She just expressed doubts about involving herself with someone who didn't share her faith. She clearly IS willing to give it a go or she wouldn't have agreed to a second shot. I think that alone tells you she is willing to at least explore the possibility.
 
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More often than not though I see people who are in denial about a person's way of thinking and assume that after time being spent with them that the other will 'change their mind'. Whether it be religion, believing in marriage, possibility of children, etc.
That is an excellent point, but in a relationship everyone is in denial about SOMETHING regarding the other person at the beginning (lol, i have this friend who's been dating a guy for almost a year and refuses to use the bathroom at his house or if he's at her house--like she's afraid he'll love her less after finding out she has normal bodily functions.) You have to give people some benefit of the doubt or no relationship will work.
 

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It might not have been romantic as such, but one of the most intimate relationships I have had with another person was ruined by religion. She was a Jehovah's Witness and I of course am an agnostic atheist (though am still interested in exploring human spirituality). We spoke about many things, about life, love, people, the little things, it was truly wonderful. On the subject of faith, I was always interested to hear her experiences but said it would be disingenuous of me to lead her to think I would be able to give of myself to believe in a deity on faith alone.

This originally did not seem to be an issue but eventually things came to a head. She decided to stop speaking to me because she thought the only reason I would not give religion a chance was because of skewed perception (ie fundamentalists) and when she realised this was not the case then she couldn't continue. She said that because her beliefs were so fundamental to her that by not giving her beliefs a chance I was denying her as a person, and that she wasn't comfortable speaking so candidly with someone under those circumstances. Our parting was amicable, but left me feeling hollow, empty. Because to me the reason we went our separate ways was not valid. I don't give a crap about others' beliefs as long as they are not deluding themselves. Religious people are often receptive to the spiritual experience in a way that more strictly logical atheists are not. However, if religion was so central to another's way of life I don't think I could get on board with that in the long term.

This is why I always advocate caution when dealing with religious people. Because belief is so personal in nature you never know what you are going to get. Whatever it is you choose to do, please, be very careful, and very honest. I wouldn't want to see you get hurt.
 

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That is an excellent point, but in a relationship everyone is in denial about SOMETHING regarding the other person at the beginning (lol, i have this friend who's been dating a guy for almost a year and refuses to use the bathroom at his house or if he's at her house--like she's afraid he'll love her less after finding out she has normal bodily functions.) You have to give people some benefit of the doubt or no relationship will work.
While 7 weeks is pretty early there is definitely some time to see what certain ideals and beliefs are in someone. Trust me I'm the one currently whose head over heels on a guy I've only had 3 dates with. I would more than love to fall into my daydreams and believe that we click on every little thing. But experience has taught me otherwise.

It would, for a lack of better words, traumatize a romantic relationship for me if a guy told me that he doesn't think he could be with me for being atheist. I could only imagine the complications that would follow if I tried to be open and continue the relationship.

I use to believe in saying, "I wish there was someone who would accept me for me." And that's true at least for the start. But it started sounding more and more like settling over time and now when I get into a serious relationship it's, "I wish there was someone who would appreciate me for me."

Sorry for making the examples about myself. Best I can come up with right now. :frustrating:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
re

Alright, great feedback. I'm really glad some Christians replied to this post. I'll give a brief summary of what I believe and what I don't like about organized religion/Christianity. Then maybe you can clarify some things that I don't understand about it.

I do believe in God, I even believe in Jesus to some extent. Do I believe that Jesus is the the son of God? well yes, I believe that we all are, but the direct "Avatar" of God, defiantly not. I believe that if he did exist, he was probably a spiritual leader trying to spread a message of equality among everyone, in a time when people were taught that their emperor WAS God and they were his property.

I don't believe in the stories of Jesus using magic powers, I know that if he did exist he was just a man. I do however believe in the teachings of Jesus. Whether they are teachings of a single man, or if they are the culmination of wisdom that has been gathering over many years by many people, it doesn't matter to me. Specifically his message of love and having faith in God, which is just another way of telling people to have faith in themselves.

I really love the question "what would Jesus do" I believe that "behaving like Jesus" (you know what I mean) is actually the right path for humans to take and that it is the most direct and "right" path on our course of evolution as individuals and as a species.

When it comes down to it, I don't care if Jesus was really around or not. I only care about the message of Jesus.

From what I know about Christianity so far, if you don't believe that Jesus IS God and that he was nailed to the cross for our sins (I honestly have to Idea what that even means, I believe that if he was crucified then it was because the romans just wanted to shut him up) then you are not a Christian.

I also don't understand why it seems that religion is always trying to make people feel guilty for being human. I will never feel guilty for anything I have done, unless I have wronged someone. Specifically in this case, the problem is SEX. She tells me that Christians aren't supposed to have sex unless they are married, and that when we do have sex she later feels a great deal of guilt. That REALLY bothers me, because I LOVE sex. I will never feel bad for having sex with someone I care about, whether we are married or not. This being an INFP forum, it should be obvious to everyone what sex means to me, and how important a part of my life it is, I think you can all relate.

I know I'm not in love with her yet, but I know I will be if things continue. INFJs have a special place in my heart, there's something about them that makes me feel very safe, secure, and at home. My last relationship was with an INFJ, so I am aware how things can quickly snowball to the point of no return.

Before we started dating I had already borrowed a bible from her just out of my own curiosity. I have also agreed to go to church with her. I have gone to church in the past and I did enjoy myself, like someone previously said, it's not so bad listening to someone talk about how great it is to be nice to people.

But am I correct in assuming that my beliefs are still too different to ever be considered "Christian"?
 

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@EyeEnEffPee you need to talk to her about what your beliefs are. There are many different types of Christians; some are easy going, open-minded and flexible, others are fundamentalists, and I'm talking world-was-made-6000-years-ago-birth-control-is-evil-everyone-but-me-is-going-to-hell fundies. I have no idea where your girlfriend falls into this spectrum, but if sex makes her feel guilty and she thinks your religion not meshing with hers is a deal breaker, there's a good chance that she's more on the conservative side. You need to have an open discussion with her about your differences in beliefs and ask her frankly if that's something that she will be able to adapt to. It's much better to find this out less than two months into a relationship rather than get a divorce over it or whatever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@EyeEnEffPee you need to talk to her about what your beliefs are. There are many different types of Christians; some are easy going, open-minded and flexible, others are fundamentalists, and I'm talking world-was-made-6000-years-ago-birth-control-is-evil-everyone-but-me-is-going-to-hell fundies. I have no idea where your girlfriend falls into this spectrum, but if sex makes her feel guilty and she thinks your religion not meshing with hers is a deal breaker, there's a good chance that she's more on the conservative side. You need to have an open discussion with her about your differences in beliefs and ask her frankly if that's something that she will be able to adapt to. It's much better to find this out less than two months into a relationship rather than get a divorce over it or whatever.
yeah you are right, and we have had the discussion about my beliefs a few times. Unfortunately I became somewhat defensive because she is rather "fundie" even though we have sex (not sure how to interpret that). I keep shaking my fist at Dann and his damn clothespin smile, because my gut tells me that his post not only hit the bullseye, but it split the arrow... damn you Dann, damn you!.... *sigh*
 

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I've had a few friends like this. Where they believe in the teaching and such, but aren't too closely attached to things like no sex before marriage and such.

The problem with dating someone who is really religious is the way they think things should work and this seems to be the problem on both ends. I'm not asking if you want to deal with things. It's more of a question of can you? And can you do it all the while having a healthy mind?

Dare I ask what is she doing to sacrifice on her end of things? Is it all about how since you're 'less' of a believer that you are the one who needs to work on improving things? How accepting is she of you really? What is she doing to compromise with you on things?

More so than anything I think that the bottom line in a good relationship is that you can love and appreciate each other for who you guys really are. Does this part that you don't share with her overshadow every wonderful quality that you may have? If so can you honestly say you'd be okay with that?
 

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@EyeEnEffPee

I agree with @bromide--no matter what the difference is, and when it comes to religion (because people tend to use it as a basis for structuring their entire lives and value systems) in particular, open communication about these issues is absolutely crucial. I adore sex and when I was younger I struggled a lot with it for much the same reason as your SO. But the message of Jesus in Christian terms isn't just the be nice thing, and it's not JUST salvation, it's that Jesus freed us from slavery to the law for the law's SAKE. The big problem with the Pharisees was that they followed the law because the law said; the law had ceased to become a symbol for God's bigger design for our happiness and become an object of literal worship, if worship is obsessive focus around which your life is centered. Every time they asked Jesus a question about the law, instead of just answering the question, Jesus redefined the CONTEXT in which the question itself was shown to be misguided.

Lest anyone immediately jump on me to say that I'm using this to justify doing whatever I want with impunity, I will point out that this, too, would still be slavery to the law. We need to know what it MEANS to hurt someone by stealing from them, or cheating on them. We need to know what it MEANS to take a day out and remember God and all the stuff he's done for us (or in secular terms, just a day to rest and contemplate ANYTHING quietly). These "prescriptions" are about the things that will ultimately make us happy in the long term, as God would want for his children. Yes, I can have sex with anyone I want and enjoy it right now. I may even enjoy it later on. But it's not the same as the kind of sex you have with someone you've dedicated the rest of your life to, body, mind and soul, and who has done the same for you. And if that sex is the only sex you ever have, who could complain about that? But even in marriage, sex isn't used the way it should be sometimes.

The ultimate truths of Jesus' message ARE universal and are bigger than the FACTS of his life, which people debate. Whether he performed miracles or not doesn't really change the fact that he taught us to LIVE our lives with humility, respect and compassion, HUMANELY, and not as robots threatened by the angry fist of God just waiting to pound us for busting a commandment.

In short, I wouldn't consider your beliefs "Christian" in the sense that you don't believe in salvation by grace through Jesus Christ. That doesn't mean you are excluded from the family of God. If Jesus were here, I'm betting he'd sit by you at dinner instead of the "world-was-made-6000-years-ago-birth-control-is-evil-everyone-but-me-is-going-to-hell fundies" (thanks, i loved that). And you need to be honest with her that you are not a Christian. If she feels guilty about sex, maybe back off the sex for a while and let her figure out whether she really wants it or not--and whether you can handle that or not. It's not an easy situation to date someone in that situation. Honestly, the others may be right and it may not work out.

But it worked out for me. My agnostic husband was patient, respectful, open-minded, and I ultimately decided that marrying him didn't hurt my faith at all, and he was the right one for me. So it's not impossible. Just be honest with her, and with yourself.

(sorry for the theological blah, sometimes i get excited :)
 

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Dare I ask what is she doing to sacrifice on her end of things? Is it all about how since you're 'less' of a believer that you are the one who needs to work on improving things? How accepting is she of you really? What is she doing to compromise with you on things?

More so than anything I think that the bottom line in a good relationship is that you can love and appreciate each other for who you guys really are. Does this part that you don't share with her overshadow every wonderful quality that you may have? If so can you honestly say you'd be okay with that?
One of the issues with dating a devoutly religious person is that there can't necessarily be any compromises. Molly Crockett, a neuroscientist, did a study that found that people tend to view their moral beliefs with the same level of certainty as fact. That means that if part of this woman's morality system is that her mate must accept Jesus as their lord and savior or they're hellbound or whatnot, it means that she really truly believes it. Think about your particular moral beliefs, be they open-mindedness or the idea that all humans have dignity or whatever. Now imagine that someone you cared about suggested that those moral beliefs should be bendable, open to compromise. You wouldn't go for it, right? Even if you did, you would still feel wrong about it. Likewise as she is conservative Christian working on her own values system, there's a chance that her morality would not be satisfied unless EyeEnEffPee has true beliefs that are in acceptable parameters. So basically in choosing to be with someone who believes the way that she does, you have to accept that the relationship is always going to be a threesome, you, your partner and their god of choice.
 

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That means that if part of this woman's morality system is that her mate must accept Jesus as their lord and savior or they're hellbound or whatnot, it means that she really truly believes it. Think about your particular moral beliefs, be they open-mindedness or the idea that all humans have dignity or whatever. Now imagine that someone you cared about suggested that those moral beliefs should be bendable, open to compromise. You wouldn't go for it, right? Even if you did, you would still feel wrong about it. Likewise as she is conservative Christian working on her own values system, there's a chance that her morality would not be satisfied unless EyeEnEffPee has true beliefs that are in acceptable parameters. So basically in choosing to be with someone who believes the way that she does, you have to accept that the relationship is always going to be a threesome, you, your partner and their god of choice.

@ bromide: Thank you for pointing out that respecting someone's belief is a two-way street. If you demand that I respect your belief system whether I like it or not, then dammit, respect mine whether you like it or not. </rant> Also, any relationship is polyamorous - you and your beloved plus two belief systems, two value structures, two families of origin, two sets of expectations about life, the universe and everything, et cetera. So you'll be lucky if it is only a threesome. ; )
 

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@ Marimeli - What a beautiful summation! As I tell my non-Christian friends, there's the Truth, and there's religion, and it's your job as a believer to dig your way through to find out what is from God and what is from someone holding onto power.

I agree that it would be best to cool it on the sex until she can determine whether she is sharing or betraying herself. (Do not fool yourself: if she is acting against her values and beliefs, her regret will boomerang eventually.)
 

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Also, any relationship is polyamorous - you and your beloved plus two belief systems, two value structures, two families of origin, two sets of expectations about life, the universe and everything, et cetera. So you'll be lucky if it is only a threesome. ; )
To be honest, I don't see those things as similar. My mother is an extremely religious person and with her, everything is filtered through her religiosity. When I won a scholarship to stay in Japan, she didn't compliment me for my hard work, she praised god for his greatness. I have hundreds of examples of that nature, when good things happen, it's god's will, when bad things happen, it's god's will and/or punishment. For her god isn't just an idea, it's like an actual person who lives with her, affecting all of her decisions. It's not remotely the same as from coming from a different background than your partner and having different perceptions about how to save for retirement or who to vote for and whatnot. For someone who is very religious, not just happens to identify with a religion because they were raised that way and attend church on major holidays, god is literally a third party in the equation. We secular people don't really have an equivalent to that.
 
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