I'm looking for some outside perspectives.

I suppose I'll just dive right in on this... I was introduced to an amazing girl through a mutual friend, surprisingly we actually connected right away. Similar interests, tastes in music, movies, books, etc. I could actually talk to this beautiful girl and enjoy myself, and on top of that she was attracted to me. After a few weeks of texting and talking I asked her if we could be more than friends. She said she wasn't sure and needed to think about it, which I was completely fine with. The next time she came over I pushed the conversation a bit and found out the root of her issue. She was Christian and I'm a Buddhist. I have no problem with this at all, peoples faiths and beliefs are important and I would never try to sway someone away from them, (I made that mistake in my past and am loathe to repeat what I consider one of my greatest mistakes). In the end we came to the conclusion that we couldn't be together. She felt she was leading me on because she could never marry, and therefore by extension date a non-Christian and I felt that by continuing to seek this relationship I was causing her undue misery by causing a tear between her faith and her attraction to me. I came to the conclusion that even if she had decided to date me I would have been too guilty about causing that tear to be the boyfriend she deserved and that the relationship had an inherent fatalism to it because of that. Even so, now I'm left in a state of melancholy about the entire event. My friends tell me the usual, "There are other girls.", "You'll meet the right one.", "Don't give up."... they're good people, but these bits of advice aren't helping me.

I was an asshole who found a path in life that allowed me to become a better person, and now that I am a "Nice Guy" who found a nice girl I'm left with nothing. I'm seriously considering removing myself from the dating equation completely. If any of you have humored me enough to read to this point, I'm merely asking for your two cents worth. Am I looking at the situation incorrectly? Is there some part of it I'm overlooking? Any and all opinions I feel would be valuable to my consideration of past and future events.

This girl isn't the be-all and end-all of your being. If anything, you should be looking at this experience as proof that you're a good guy with good intentions - plus, you have your head screwed on. I know of at least a handful of people who, if they were put in the same situation you were just in, would've pushed the girl to try and ignore her beliefs and date them anyway. That is completely the wrong thing to do.

I wouldn't advise you to stop dating altogether, just.. maybe try not to focus on it for a bit? You're much more likely to find someone you're compatible with (and who you can start to build a long-term relationship with) when you're content in who you are and where your life is heading. You need to feel complete on your own before you can think about adding anyone else into the equation (otherwise you end up putting too much pressure on the other person, and you also open yourself up to an extra, unnecessary dose of agony if you split up).

One thing I would say is that you should never feel bad for being a "Good Guy". You should be proud of yourself. It's not easy to be the good guy.

Why should religion tear people's relationships apart in this day and age, it's just sad.
Blaming yourself just isn't wise though. It was her own inhibitions that ruined a possibly wonderful relationship.

That's an interesting situation. I commend you on being respectful of other people's faiths. I think you did the right thing. Your friends are correct, even though it sounds cliche. There are other women out there. Ahri said it best. Just enjoy life and your own company for now. Other than that, I got nothing. I wonder if Lilani will comment. She's Christian (I think) and in my opinion would be a great person to hear from on a subject such as this.

This will seem off topic, but bear with me. I've been in a 7-year long relationship that died after 5 and crashed and burned 2 years after. There was a lot of animosity between the two of us. Now, two years later, we're good. We can meet up, we can go have a few drinks, watch a movie, even get hammered together. "Not dating" someone does not mean you have to shut them out of your lives. Never burn your bridges - this girl and you, you two may not make a good couple. But that doesn't mean that it's the end of it all. I'm not going to say "oh, just be friends" because honestly, that would just sound wrong.

What I'm saying is, that you seem like a nice guy - and I mean as in actually nice, not one of those passive-aggressive Nice Guys™ - you've been respectful and you didn't force yourself on her. I don't see a reason you two couldn't stay in touch.

Yes, you are looking at the situation incorrectly, though. Interpersonal relationships...they're not about "winning" or "losing". You've been "left with" no less than you had to begin with. The melancholy will pass once the initial emotions wash over. In the end, you don't "have" to be out there, chasing girls, or being with one, or whatnot. Sure, you might want a companion, but "just anyone" simply won't do for that kind of a relationship.

So don't think having a partner (or a particular partner) makes or breaks your life, it doesn't. A lot of stuff out there. A lot of people too, and you're bound to cross paths with some. Don't go out of your way to avoid them.

To the specific problem with this girl: It doesn't have to be the religous differences at all, people like to "backwards rationalise", often subconsciously. She still came over after you made clear you want to be more than friends, thats usually a good sign. Trying to talk something like that out on a rationale level is usually a bad idea since this is a emotional issue.

About you considering removing yourself from the dating equation completely: That wouldn't solve anything would it? My advice about dating and avoiding such a bleak outlook, bear with me here it might sound stupid: Date lots of girls, throw yourself at any girl that spikes your interest even the slightest. That way any particular encounter going sideways isn't such a big deal, that might go against this "meeting someone special"-philosophy many might have but see it this way, the odds of meeting someone special increase with every girl you meet.

Thank you all. Sometimes just having some random opinions can help get a handle on the situation. Hearing a lot of the things my friends are telling me and a few opinions neither they or I had considered is exactly what I was looking for. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do in the long term, but I am feeling quite a bit less toxic.

AezrielNex:
I was an asshole who found a path in life that allowed me to become a better person, and now that I am a "Nice Guy" who found a nice girl I'm left with nothing. I'm seriously considering removing myself from the dating equation completely. If any of you have humored me enough to read to this point, I'm merely asking for your two cents worth. Am I looking at the situation incorrectly? Is there some part of it I'm overlooking? Any and all opinions I feel would be valuable to my consideration of past and future events.

I broke up with a boyfriend over similar circumstances. He was my first boyfriend, and it was tough because he was also very nice, but in the end we both agreed that the lives we wanted to live weren't compatible that way. And yes, it does seem like the end of the world, and it is completely reasonable to be asking yourself if that was a good enough reason to break up with them. And yes, it is possible she felt so close to what you wanted that you've convinced yourself there will never be another one that can even come as close.

But now I'm on my second boyfriend, and I think I might be more head over heels than I was even before. It may seem redundant and cliche and really unhelpful at this point, but you really have no idea how many people there are in the world. That may not be the information you're looking for, but I think it's the information you need. You fell so hard for her that you've convinced yourself the world is much smaller than it actually is. At some point you're going to have to put this all back into perspective and bring your worldview back to reality. And more likely than not that'll just happen on its own as you go on with your daily activities.

AWAR:
Why should religion tear people's relationships apart in this day and age, it's just sad.
Blaming yourself just isn't wise though. It was her own inhibitions that ruined a possibly wonderful relationship.

It's less about religion and more about lifestyle choice, really. I broke up with my boyfriend because I wanted someone who would go to church with me and not be extremely uncomfortable there. It's something I want to share with someone. A huge part of a relationship is the shape of the lifestyles involved. Two people may be very compatible, but if one wants to travel and never settle down and the other wants a permanent home, or if one wants kids and the other doesn't, then those can be major points of contention.

Lilani:

It's less about religion and more about lifestyle choice, really. I broke up with my boyfriend because I wanted someone who would go to church with me and not be extremely uncomfortable there. It's something I want to share with someone. A huge part of a relationship is the shape of the lifestyles involved. Two people may be very compatible, but if one wants to travel and never settle down and the other wants a permanent home, or if one wants kids and the other doesn't, then those can be major points of contention.

Yes but going to church and actually enjoying is more about religion than lifestyle, since it's exclusively religious belief that shapes that particular lifestyle choice.

AWAR:
Yes but going to church and actually enjoying is more about religion than lifestyle, since it's exclusively religious belief that shapes that particular lifestyle choice.

People's lifestyle choices are formed by all sorts of things. Past experiences, their own personality, their goals, and of course their values. I don't see why religion is somehow an unworthy reason to pursue a certain lifestyle. At least, any more objectively unworthy than not wanting to be with a meat-eater because you saw Bambi, or wanting to have six kids and live on a farm because that's how you grew up and you want to pass that along. I grew up with religion, and now that's a part of my value system.

Lilani:
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I'm sorry but I don't understand how it's less about religion than lifestyle since, in my mind, enjoying church attendance doesn't really constitute a strictly practical lifestyle conflict but actually entrails a belief system which your ex obviously didn't share.

Correct me here if I'm wrong, but I believe that the misunderstanding you're having is this:

Lilani, you broke up with your ex not because of religious differences or an incompatibility dictated by whatever religious creed you follow, but because the actual activities of practicing your faith may have made him uncomfortable or he may have not wanted to share those parts of your life with you at all. Since it is obviously something you find to be core in your life it wouldn't have allowed as deep of a relationship as you would have liked.

AWAR,you might be looking at it a little to specifically than she intended, but you aren't incorrect in what you are saying. The lifestyle choices she's referring too are (to my knowledge) exclusively practiced by people with a religious background and therefore would never be practiced by a non religious person. Kind of a granular breakdown where some religious people share her lifestyle, some don't, but no non-religious people do at all.

I took what Lilani said as meaning that she didn't break it off due to the actual religion so much as the lack of commonality from sharing the practice of it. I believe AWAR wasn't saying that religious practices are not a lifestyle choice in and of themselves, just that they have a built in exclusivity that would require religion to practice or at least enjoy.

Again feel free to correct me. I'm just trying too understand you points.
Also forgive me if my quotes and spoilers are a bit clunky. I haven't been on a forum in a long, long time...

Well I'm taking a wild guess here that your an American, and I must say that I never really understood this particular part of American culture. Why must the ultimate goal of dating be marriage? I really think it's absurd that there ought to be a chance of marriage. And why can't people of different faiths not marry in the US, is that a law thing or something?
Why can't dating be two people who are just in a relation sharing experiences, helping each other to be better persons and eventually say goodby when it's time to go seperate ways?
Look I believe that attempting to convert someone is fundamentally wrong, for that requires you to assume that you're absolutly right, and the other is absolutly wrong. But if your supprised or bewildered by the choices a person makes based on their believes, then there is nothing wrong to ask said person to explain themselves. You get the opportunity to learn and give the opportunity for the other to reflect upon their believes. So it's a win win.
So basically if you don't mind dating her because she's a Christian and not being able to marry. Then there's nothing wrong with you asking her why you can't date regardless. Yeah you not being able to marry means that eventually you'll have to break up. So why does that need to be a problem?

Lilani:

AWAR:
Yes but going to church and actually enjoying is more about religion than lifestyle, since it's exclusively religious belief that shapes that particular lifestyle choice.

People's lifestyle choices are formed by all sorts of things. Past experiences, their own personality, their goals, and of course their values. I don't see why religion is somehow an unworthy reason to pursue a certain lifestyle. At least, any more objectively unworthy than not wanting to be with a meat-eater because you saw Bambi, or wanting to have six kids and live on a farm because that's how you grew up and you want to pass that along. I grew up with religion, and now that's a part of my value system.

Allow me to give my two cents here, and I'd love to get your oppinion in return. Religion while not an unworthy reason to pursue, is in fact an extremly tricky one. For Religion is more often then not, not open for change or discussion.
Past expereinces is an ever growing concept and you can change your perspective of them.
Personality can evolve by reflecting upon yourself.
And your values can be evolve by discussion and reflecting.
But religion seems static and unpersonal. It was written centuries ago, and the scriptures will always remain the same. And generally they're explained to you by a single man / woman who prepared the sermon a head of time. So there's hardly any chance of significant discussion and exchange of ideas.

I'm sorry if this sounds agressive. But I've had these thoughts for a while now, and I'd just love to get the opinion of a religous person about them.

 

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