When a friend converts!


So I'm used to giving advice and not asking for it … lol. But every time I go into SideTaker, it says I haven't asked any questions yet, and since I'm upset tonight, I may as well give it a whirl.

This ain't a big issue, but may provide some comic relief from the more serious questions people ask on here. My larger problems I'll keep to myself as they tend to sound soap operatic :)

But anyway, I have this friend who's been a Christian, but rather a lapsed one. I have been a Christian too, but also a rather lapsed one. A little while ago, he decided to reconvert and that this meant no sex before marriage, etc. (despite a lifetime of it), and then he tried to get me to see this point of view too. (We weren't having sex with each other. This is just in general.) It made it awkward if I tried to discuss relationship problems; it felt like his only answer was, “Don't have sex before you're married.” The Christian part of me understands that premise, but the other part of me didn't feel that was actually addressing all of what I was saying.

He was interested in me, but I wasn't in him, as I was getting over a relationship with someone else. So in the meantime, he got involved with someone, which is fair enough, and guess what? Went back to having pre-marital sex.

Then I was at a stage where I did get interested in him, but he's now trying to get over this in-between relationship (they broke up), so his turn to be not interested. Fair enough. So I've been there as a friend, and was listening to all his problems, and we got to talking about perhaps starting something, as there was a definite spark. He was on the way to my place (we hadn't done anything yet, not even kissed), when he got nervous and said it wouldn't be right by God and he wasn't ready for anything, and went home. I did say that coming to see me didn't HAVE to mean sex, but he was afraid it would lead to that. I was disappointed, but respectful that this was his decision. So we lapsed back into friendship, but now he is even saying that I can't stay over – even on the couch! – if I visit, as the neighbours might think he was (shock horror) having sex with me. (And no, we're not teenagers, though writing that I FEEL like one.) Okay, I tried to be understanding and respectful that that is his decision, too.

I've been his shoulder to cry on a lot lately; he says I'm the only one he can talk to about certain things like depression, I'm the only woman to make him laugh this much, etc. When he has rung in distress and not knowing what else to do, I'll stay on the phone for ages, listening and giving advice, trying to get him to see he IS a good person; recently I persuaded him to go on antidepressants (which I'm on myself, as otherwise I wouldn't be cheerful sparky Sundial ;)). He has gone on them and now seems a world better.

Okay. So antideps have helped me a lot too, but I still manage to understand that other people have problems and need to be dealt with sensitively, and even those on medication can still have bad days and still suffer. One of the worst things you can do to someone who is depressed is to treat them as if they are kids who need to get over a sulk. He, however, has suddenly gone all peppy, and it's like he doesn't even remember what it's like for someone who's depressed; his recent self-questioning before medication, when he was at the end of his rope, made me start to question myself and what sort of person I am. But now when I need help, I get uncharacteristically dismissive comments from him like “Turn that frown upside down”, which when said to an adult who is close to or in tears, is guaranteed a punch in the face (unfortunately, he said it via phone).

I do understand that if he is recovering from depression, I shouldn't be dragging him down with my problems. But now, when I have a problem I just want to talk about (and I'm not all problems – our conversations are normally filled with laughter), I get these dismissively peppy comments, plus now told that it's all about what God thinks of me. I have a belief in God, but this is ending up not about how he and I relate to each other, but ALL just about how God views me. I try to say I'm asking for his view, not God's; I need a human perspective, not just God's all the time, as we don't really know how God views us individually anyway. I feel like if I really need to be told how God views me and not a friend, I would go to a confessional. Once the God part is out of the way, he just goes silent and has nothing else to say, even if I'm close to tears over a problem; and then says this is the difference between us, that he is seeing things from God's view. It sort-of feels like he is implying that he's above me now. And only a few months ago, he said there were so many similarities between us that it “blew him away”.

So how do you deal with a friend who has reformed and suddenly decided that their own beliefs are higher than anyone else's? Why is it that when they lapse (i.e. his sexual relationship with another woman), what you do is okay then, but when they decide to reform again, they expect you to reform with them? When their zeal for whatever their new passion is (in this case, religion, but it could be anything) makes them forget who they were, and who normal people are with normal desires and feelings?

(Please don't make this a debate about religion … I respect anyone's religious beliefs, or non-beliefs. These issues could just as easily relate to someone who knows a reformed smoker, or someone who's converted to vegetarianism – not casting aspersions on vegetarians cause I was one once! – or any other thing where they converted and suddenly, what they do is much more important than what you do.)

(It's also not a debate about pre-marital sex.)

(I also know there are two sides to every story and he probably has his, and that GB will probably write from his view ;) lol jks GB!)
By Sundial 14 years ago :: Friends
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