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Struggling with finding happiness in another.

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I haven't posted here in a REALLY long time. I don't even go by 'Sir Will' on anything else anymore if I can help it. I was still struggling to find myself a partner when I was younger, but at that point I didn't really need someone in order to feel happy, I just wanted someone that was fun and I could really connect with, I suppose. 

From 2017 to 2019, I was in the first real relationship I've ever had. I put a lot of effort into it. I spent time with her, I took her places, I bought food she liked, we had dinners and lunches, saw movies, stayed home and played video games, and generally my life was really really nice. I felt complete, satisfied, doubtless, and happy. So much so, I felt myself having more time and closeness with my faith, since I saw the fruits of my labour. As I understand it, God wants men to experience good healthy stable relationships with women, and I felt proud that I had that, and I would do anything to do it. I kept making efforts to grow the relationship, whilst not being too clingy or forcing too much closeness. I always made her opinion important, and we made great efforts to communicate our problems. We had met online after she was running from an abusive sexual partner who was warping her idea about love and sex. She was religious at first also, like myself.

As time went on, eventually I caught her cheating on me. It was something minor I think, like a flirt over the internet. I thought it made sense to give her another chance, it was Christian to forgive her and it was being a good man to let go of my pain for her sake. I felt honourable giving her another chance, especially since flirting is very basic cheating. Then, later on, she confessed to kissing someone and there was more flirting. It wasn't necessarily the same person, and this greatly upset me since I had made a great effort to explain the problems with cheating to her early on. At this stage, I went out of my way to help her, such as trying to cut down on people in her life that could be bad influences, and trying to promote for her to make a good friend group of nice men and women who weren't going to influence her to cheat. That plan failed, evidently.

More and more, she continued to cheat, and she always tended to confess to it. I can't know if she cheated more outside of it, but her breaking down into tears or acting standoffish after cheating was a good sign that she had really done it. If she was simply uninterested in me, she had the full freedom to leave me, but I reckon it wasn't that simple. I kept forgiving her, and working with her to solve the solution, despite the pain and disconnect I felt from being cheated on so many times. I do not like being cheated on, and imagining my dream partner with someone else goes against what I believe and what makes me feel happy, secure, and satisfied. It also genuinely hurts, obviously. 

Eventually, I thought we had fixed it, since she had a really long running streak of not cheating, something like half a year. Unfortunately, there was a small distance between us for a short time as we struggled with things, and she confessed to cheating again. Not only that, but she had confessed to cheating during that streak of faithfulness. I really broke down, since all of my rebuilt faith and hope really tore apart at the end when I felt it was all for not. I told her that things had to change or I might have to leave her for my own sake. At the end of the day, I couldn't bring myself to leave her, and she elected to leave me on her own. From here, I began to doubt the validity of our relationship at all. Did she ever really love me? Was our communication *real*? Did we ever REALLY connect, or was she just using me? I felt used, betrayed, and broken. I'm not one to consider suicide, for a variety of reasons, but this would be one of the times in my life where I nearly did consider it for real. My faith in God was wavering too, as I felt that even though I acted through faith and love and forgiveness, it never paid off in the end, it never had any progress, and it blew up in my face. I know trials and tribulations are apart of every Christian's life, but God is supposed to give us a way out when times are tough, he's supposed to be the golden gate at the end. The land of the valley of death isn't supposed to end with tears and crying because you couldn't see God at the end.

I'm still a Christian, I still have great reason for my faith, and I am making good efforts to repair my life. Though, my self-esteem, confidence with women, personal state, and my hope and inspiration for the future are all in tatters. I can't help but feel that having a partner to really connect with helps bring out the best in me, and I love to help bring out the best in them. Sharing life is something I really enjoy, and my hobbies tend to be maximised by having a partner. With Covid-19 and my somewhat anti-social personality with strangers, I can't help but consider it impossible to find someone faithful who's also a Christian at my age, who will appreciate me for my looks, my qualities, my interests, and my values.

I've cut all communication off with my ex, since it is really draining to even begin to talk to her again. I feel bad because I want to be there to help her and support her still, even though she's not 'mine' and I'm not 'hers' anymore.


Where do I go from here? Do I just trek it on my own and spend my youth alone? I want to spend the prime of my youth with a like-minded partner, not alone meandering around. I don't want to get child-giving age and not having established any of my dreams. Is there some online services I'm missing for Christians roughly my age? (19, give or take a few years). Even if I had those services, I like to play video games, and write, and spend time online. Am I really going to find a religious girl who likes those things in this day and age? Is it not worth it? I'm really struggling to know where to go or what to do, and I feel like I'm wasting time and spinning my wheels. If it helps, I'm in college right now, trying to figure out where I'm going with it.

Thank you for any reply.

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Used to be called Boogles. I recall seeing Sir. Will around. Sorry to hear you're struggling.

For what it's worth, you did nothing wrong here, save for maybe giving her too many chances. But love makes you do that. It can blind you to  flaws, or more forgiving and flexible than someone should be. 

Cutting her off was good. She was a toxic human. Boundaries are important.  I hope you can recognize that things went askew because of HER poor choices. She also had a sexually abusive partner, which can really mess with someone's head. If she wasn't seeking counsel for her experiences with her abuser, she has some trauma junk to work through. 

Who are you talking to that is telling you that God is some magical, golden escape? They are lying to you, friend.
 God's "ways out" of trials and tribulations aren't rainbows and sandy beaches and instant resolution, but gently calling his broken child back into the protection of his arms for rest, to grow from a challenge and to depend on the Lord for comfort even more than before. I cannot think of any trial I've endured that ended in some kind of glorious epiphany and happy movie music.  It's always been heartbreaking, healing, restoration and growth. 

As for pursuing a relationship again, is it worth it? I say yes. But please, continually seek the Lord as you grown and heal. Do not worry about the timing, your age, etc.   Work on that degree. Work on meeting more people, be it through Zoom or discord serves. There's one called Geeks under Grace and they do game nights. 

I entered into my first romantic relationship last year. And my dude, I am 29. A full decade older than you. The Lord's ways and timing are not our own. 

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I'd like to mention that I've seen her cry over her guilt of these actions, and these actions are not all-in or dedicated. She's hadn't entered into sexual activity, she hadn't seen other people often, and the only way I know about her cheating is through her own personal confessions. She was raised by good Christian parents, and she has had a really hard time with a lot of things going on. It seems a little harsh to just say that she's toxic or that she's bad and move on because God would want me to. I've heard several people say that 'cheaters never change' and 'you should forget about her' but it's not as if she hasn't been trying to change. She's spent a lot of her own money to see me, she's actively made sacrifices for me, and she displays herself as a caring and affection human being, and her actions show that. I wouldn't say she's desperate for me or attention generally, because she's the one who broke up with me in the first place to 'avoid causing more harm.' To add to that note, she pointed out to me that she doesn't want to find anyone else, she just wants to fix herself.

I've seen her flaws from the beginning, and very early on she confessed to having cheated once or twice before, and she knows the damage she can cause to others. She makes constant efforts to change, and connects with counsellors and family and good friends. That being said, it appears to me that I'm still stuck in a fork in the road. Is it really truly right to simply abandon her, when she has few friends, few family, and almost no options? Is it truly right to abandon her because she's continuously done me harm? We sin every day, but God always makes efforts to forgive us when we truly repent. So then, how can I ask God to forgive my sins if I cannot give everything I have to the person who has hurt me? Alternatively, if God wants me to find another way, how do I find it, and when and where would that right time be? That's effectively unknowable, obviously, but it doesn't make this situation of mine any less tedious or emotionally constrictive.

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I think people CAN change but most often don't. I was raised by an emotionally manipulative person and cutting him out of my life has been healing for me. My advice came from my own experience. I'm certainly in the "why deal with painful people when  you can forgive, and move on?" camp.

Especially when they've made multiple attempts and just can't seem to get past whatever it is.  Or when their continued bad choices wreak havoc on you emotionally and mentally.  Her continuing to cheat IS toxic behavior.  She's being/been toxic towards you, draining you with her behavior. 
You don't just accidentally flirt with someone. Accidentally kiss someone.  Accidentally flirt with someone else.I have no knowledge of her heart, but her actions are very loud. If she keeps cheating has she ACTUALLY repented?  Is the counsel she getting legit? What heart issue is there that keeps making this girl stumble?

Seeing more of your experience, would it be fruitful to agree to cut ties for a time to focus on healing? 3 months, 6 months, a year?  and then regroup and see how you've both grown?    Should you choose to keep her in your life, I think now would be a time to instate boundaries. Maybe get another friend involved in this? An accountability partner? a mentor? Perhaps a married couple who dealt with cheating and how they figured things out?
Keeping someone who's caused you this much pain this close to you is like stabbing a pencil into a skinned knee. nothing is going to heal properly. 

Her lack of friends is an unfortunate, but not your responsibility. you first post mentioned something about leading her to quality people and it didn't work.  you tried.  Some of this falls on her too. She is just as capable of reaching out and building community as anyone else. 

Forgiving her is noble, wanting to love her that way is upright but I don't recall anything biblical about letting someone take advantage of you until you are so dead in side and hurting so much you want to end your life. The verse says "turn the other cheek" not "stab the other lung".

Even Jesus had boundaries. When people were messing around in the temple, Jesus took a whip and brought the beat-down on these guys and flipped tables. He demanded respect, even though he loved those people. 

Your own health is important too.  You can't keep loving and caring when your own love spring is dried up. You need to take care of yourself so you can effectively take care of others in your life-- this chick included, should she get herself figured out. 

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