I'm an atheist. I feel lonely.

I have a girlfriend of just over a year, who I thought was also of my views. But she was not who I thought she was. She is a Jehovah's Witness and she hid that from me for a year. I tried proselytizing her but she just refuses everything I tell her. I feel betrayed.

I feel life is meaningless now. She is honestly the only thing that motivates me in school and in my work.

She loves me for what I am, but I still feel betrayed. I thought I had an ally with me, but she's just another gullible person. I love her too much to leave her, and I want to proselytize her. I can't stand the fact that my love is being brainwashed and deluded - it's hurting me too much, and I want to help her.

Please help me, I'm feeling so helpless.

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How old are you? You sound like a teen. 

Don't blame her for being human. She didn't betray you. She's human and she made a miscalculation, which, if she's a teen as well, is part of growing up. She is who she is and you are who you are. Young people often feel that their current relationship must be "the one" for their life.

As time goes by, you'll realize that you'll have several and perhaps many relationships that don't work out. That's the way it is. That's life. 

Move on.

She does not need your help unless she's asking for it. It's not your job to convert potential mates to atheism. In fact, that is far more likely to entrench her in her JWism rather than convert her to atheism. 

The need to "fix" people rather than honor their dignity and individuality is called "codependency." It's a trap that gets you unmeshed in battle of wills. It's addicting. Codependents are addicts without drugs.

I'll tell you flat out that while it may be painful at first, you'll be far better off breaking it off and waiting as long as it takes to find someone truly compatible.

Yes, I am a teen. An introvert teen. I am 17-years-old.

This is my first relationship.. and due to my introvertism, I don't think anybody else wants me. She is an introvert as well - she loves me even if I'm an atheist. It's probably just me being codependent, as you said.

I hate seeing people being brainwashed and deluded, and it hurts me even more to see her being a victim.

Stop thinking of her as a victim. It won't help. When she, on her own, feels like a victim, she will act, although it might result in her becoming a Lutheran or Baptist, not an atheist. Her beliefs are up to her.

First relationships are always particularly tough, though the sting never really goes out of a parting or of the realization that you and someone you love are too far apart to coexist.

As for brainwashing, did you ever consider that some atheists (not many, I assume) might have been brainwashed into their atheism?

This will sound harsh...but introversion or shyness or social anxiety or being an outcast is not a reason to create a romantic relationship. Sounds like she was lying by omission and you are with her by default. Not good. How can you trust her? Why is she comfortable hiding such a huge part of her life from her boyfriend? Is she healthy? What do you both get from each other and what do you both need? Aren't you the victim of her deception? You can't save people who don't want to be saved. At 17, put your energy into something that won't leave you bitter and burnt out. Look for people who share your interests and values--people who you don't want to change. You can do better than her. The world opens up after high school.

As I see it Kairan - call it co-dependency if you like - at this moment in time, they seem to serve each other's needs, and considering the kinds of insecurities and anxieties that go with being teenagers, pumped full of hormones, I don't see that as a bad thing. Should they drift apart naturally, later, after they've each gained some degree of confidence, they'll be able to handle it better than they can at the moment, and they can use their memories to help build new relationships.

I hope you're right because this could go several different directions.

I just mentally envision a kid in the middle of a lake, clinging to a life preserver, with somebody ashore yelling, "Lose the preserver - think of it as an opportunity to learn how to swim!" SHOULD they be so co-dependent? Of course not, but how they got to where they are has a lot to do with what kind of encouragement they received growing up, at home, and I just don't see their insecurities as being their fault. If they make each other feel good, and build each other's confidence in themselves, I see nothing wrong with it. As I said, later, when each is stronger, they may well drift apart, but they'll (hopefully) be more capable of coping with it. On the other hand (and I certainly don't recommend this for everyone), my mom was 17 when she married my dad, and I sent them roses on their 50th wedding anniversary.

I don't know that I'm right, but I do think they deserve to come to any realizations naturally, over time, and on their own - it's how we grow.

She is a Jehovah's Witness and she hid that from me for a year. I tried proselytizing her but she just refuses everything I tell her. I feel betrayed.

Wow, this sounds like we are in Bizzaro World... Usually it's the theist that is proselytizing and feeling betrayed.

I feel life is meaningless now.

Why would life be meaningless because ONE person doesn't share your views? I am married to a believer and would I like it if she was atheist? Sure! Does it ruin my life that she is not? Not by a long shot.

If your girlfriend isn't proselytizing and pestering you about your atheism, and is willing to be your friend and put religion out of your relationship, what's the big deal?

She is honestly the only thing that motivates me in school and in my work.

Try being motivated about educating yourself and achieving great things in life through your education and work. That is often a good motivator.

I can't stand the fact that my love is being brainwashed and deluded - it's hurting me too much, and I want to help her.

You know how you can help her? By not pushing the discussion. Let it come naturally, and on its own. If she wants to know, she will come to you and ask. If you push and become aggressive and start proselytizing every chance you get, you will only push her deeper into her religion, or worse.

Just let it go. She loves you for what you are, do the same for her, but don't shy away from discussion either. If she brings it up, defend your rationality, question her beliefs, but don't push it.

Try being motivated about educating yourself and achieving great things in life through your education and work. That is often a good motivator.

I agree with this. He needs to let his life revolve around HIM. A life that seems to have meaning only in reference to someone else isn't a life worth living. I think one reason he might be well-served to break it off is to learn to be good company for himself.

I used to enjoy the company of myself.. in fact, I used to be very lonely. When I met her I was suddenly very happy, and that gave me a lot of motivation.

The thing is.. that I didn't use to see myself being with somebody. I always thought I'd be lonely. I felt like my work wouldn't be appreciated by anyone close to me. My parents aren't even interested in my works (I'm a music composer). She, however, was so interested in my works. She was glad for anything I would do. That made me do things for her. Hadn't it been for her, I would've not produced any songs for at least 8 months or more.

Oh.. I'm carried away. Sorry. The underlying idea is that she appreciates my work when nobody else does. And that motivates me highly.

RE: "The underlying idea is that she appreciates my work when nobody else does. And that motivates me highly." - and you're willing to risk losing all that over a difference in belief systems?

No, not anymore. I will change my personality to better suit her into my life.

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