Dating is complicated, even for people who were secular their whole lives. Finding the right person can be challenging, and it may take a couple of relationships before you find someone who you feel that you can spend the rest of your life with. Do not be afraid to end a relationship if you feel that it isn’t right. You do not owe anyone anything, and you deserve happiness. Remember, you didn’t leave the religious box to insert yourself in another type of confinement.
Abuse: It may be hard to recognize abuse in your own relationship, and this is an issue for everyone regardless of background. However, being that you were raised in a very sheltered place, you may not know what is considered normal and what is not. Do not be afraid to reach out for help and ask a professional about your relationship. Keep in mind that friends can sometimes do more harm than good, as they may not understand the circumstances or be able to guide you safely.
Abuse can be physical, verbal or emotional. The important thing to remember is that you deserve happiness and freedom in every single aspect of your life, especially from the one person who is supposed to make you happy.
Here are some examples of what is considered abuse in a relationship (taken from loveisrespect.org):
- Scratching, punching, biting, strangling or kicking.
- Throwing something at you such as a phone, book, shoe or plate.
- Pulling your hair.
- Pushing or pulling you.
- Grabbing your clothing.
- Using a gun, knife, box cutter, bat, mace or other weapon.
- Smacking your bottom.
- Forcing you to have sex or perform a sexual act.
- Grabbing your face to make you look at them.
- Grabbing you to prevent you from leaving or to force you to go somewhere.
- Emotional Abuse:
- Calling you names and putting you down.
- Yelling and screaming at you.
- Intentionally embarrassing you in public.
- Preventing you from seeing or talking with friends and family.
- Telling you what to do and wear.
- Using online communities or cell phones to control, intimidate or humiliate you.
- Blaming your actions for their abusive or unhealthy behavior.
- Stalking you.
- Threatening to commit suicide to keep you from breaking up with them.
- Threatening to harm you, your pet or people you care about.
- Making you feel guilty or immature when you don’t consent to sexual activity.
- Threatening to expose your secrets such as your sexual orientation or immigration status.
- Starting rumors about you.
- Threatening to have your children taken away.
- Unwanted kissing or touching.
- Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity.
- Rape or attempted rape.
- Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control.
- Keeping someone from protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Sexual contact with someone who is very drunk, drugged, unconscious or otherwise unable to give a clear and informed “yes” or “no.”
- Threatening someone into unwanted sexual activity.
- Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex or perform sexual acts.
- Repeatedly using sexual insults toward someone.
There are many more examples, and ways to get help at http://www.loveisrespect.org.