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Help! I need some serious advice and I want opinions!

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Relationship advice I'm not really sure where to begin and I apologize for the length of this, but I need to tell the whole story and there's a lot of background to my problem. I hope someone will read it through even though it's long. I've got a major problem. I'm 20 years old and my world was turned upside-down last November when I lost my best friend and soulmate. I'm not over it and I can't get over it (for reasons I will explain) and each day is becoming more difficult. I need to make some decisions in my life and although I have a choice, I feel I have no choice. I am scared, lonely, frustrated, beat down, and I feel like I am slowly being driven insane. I need some unbiased advice on what to do about my position.

I was raised in a conservative home (which I love very much), attended a small private school, and began attending a very conservative church (which I also love very much) when I was twelve. My dad never came to church with us and
was never really involved in my life. After my first year at this church I became good friends with a girl and we would hang out together after the services. One Sunday afternoon she invited me to tag along with her family, to which I readily agreed. They were going over to another man's house (who also went to the church:) I'm going to call this man "Dave" for privacy reasons. At the time Dave was in his thirties, divorced, and had a son a little younger than myself. He'd been divorced some years earlier and had remained unmarried due to the belief that it is wrong for a person to remarry unless the spouse dies. To remarry after divorce is considered adultury and is not permitted in the church. I believed this, as did Dave and everyone in (and associated with) my church. 

My first impression of him was an intimidating, crazy, burly, no-nonsense, redneck. He was very courteous and kind to me and made me feel at home. After my first initial visit to Dave's house, going over with my friend became a once-month-thing. At first I was fairly laid back around him, but after a while, I jumped on the teasing band wagon with my friend and it became an all out fun fest. Two years later (15 years old) visits to Dave's house with my friend had turned into twice a month. That year I also bought my first phone. It wasn't long before Dave had my number and I considered him a friend. I often referred to him as "my second dad" because he was my go to for advice, told me what kind of girl I should be, and was always there for me and looking out for me. He was also aware that my dad wasn't very involved in my life. One afternoon he told me that "someday, he'd adopt me." He'd text me once or twice a week, just to "check up on me" and whenever I was with him, we had a blast. Two years later (17 years old) Dave was texting me at least three times a week, I went over his house more than my other friend did, (but always with another friend) and he clearly favored me and cared a lot about me. I was his "brat," and we teased each other about anything and everything. I told him a lot of things I wouldn't tell other people, vented to him about my life, laughed with him, etc. He'd vent to me about his business or his (very hated) ex wife, or just about life. I would bake him things upon request, etc. Later that year, my friend and her family left the church and I began taking my little sister or other friends with me. I'd always brought another girl along (which I mentioned before) because I thought it was more appropriate. Although I had believed that Dave was a God fearing man who would never dream of doing anything to me, there was a slight fear in the very back of my mind that if he snapped, he could overpower me in a second. 

When I turned 18 my entire life began to change. My family left the private school that I had attended all of my life and I was homeschooled for my senior year. This was a difficult transition and I was insanely lonely. I literally had two friends during this time: Dave and my best girl friend since 5th grade. As a result of homeschooling, my phone was with me all the time and Dave and I began texting every day. We kept each other company. This gradually went from a few hours a day to all day, every day 24/7, and this was when Dave and I became best friends. Even with an age gap of 25 years we thought the same way, understood each other completely, and were like "peas and carrots" (as one friend of Dave's put it.) We learned things about each other that we'd never known; I knew his weaknesses and  strengths and he knew mine. It's hard to summarize a relationship like this because I don't think words can describe it. Just an example: I used to be overweight, lost it all, and became a serious health fanatic. One day I was complaining that I thought I'd gained a pound or two and he said to me, "Little princess, it wouldn't matter if you gained five hundred pounds. I love the beautiful girl inside and I am so blessed to know her and to have her in my life." I began going over his house every week. I adored Dave and he adored me, and I knew that. He referred to himself as my "captain of the guard." Besides texting, he'd begun calling me twice a week along with emailing me. We'd talk for a half hour to an hour on the phone and still manage to have stuff to text about till eleven at night. And then there was a slight change: One night after church I was sitting on some steps, talking to a friend. He sauntered over to me, whistled and asked, "Who's that strange girl?" because I'd dyed my hair. He leaned over me on the banister that I was leaning against and started talking to me. Instinctively I moved back because he was a little too close and it made me uncomfortable. I dismissed this, but later that evening, while we were talking again, I noticed that the look in his eyes was different. He was gazing very softly at my eyes and it scared me. That night in the car, the fear that a forty year old man was falling in love with me first struck. The thought made me sick to my stomach. I rationalized it out in my head and decided that I had a sick mind and that the fear originated as a result of watching a stupid Dateline episode on a similar situation. Nothing was different. It was all in my head. Besides, Dave would never dream of it. He was divorced and knew he couldn't remarry. And besides, I was too young. So with that, I did everything I could to push it out of my mind.

During that last year, Dave had always sent me wake up texts that usually read, "Wake up sleepy head!", "Rise and shine girlie girl!"  or, "Get up Brat." However, the tone began to change and I began receiving ones that read, "Good Morning Sunshine!", "Wake up Princess", and "Good morning my queen." Most contained Roses (my favorite) and flower emojis. Every Saturday was "Princess Day" and he "pampered and spoiled" me with complements and flattery while treating me like I was royalty all day long. He told me that if I didn't come over every week he'd think something was wrong because I was his best friend. He began dressing up for me, (he hated dress shirts and ties) and on one occasion told a friend of ours, "Boy, I forgot what it was like to be married." When he told me he'd said that, fear came back and began knawing at my conscience. This was the beginning of three long months of wrestling with my mind. He'd become feircely protective of me and at one point, made me take down a picture on social media...even though HE requested pictures all the time and responded with remarks like, "I need an ice pack." He was becoming increasingly lonely and talked more and more about how he wanted to remarry. He wanted me to move, (he doesn't live close to where I live) and come work for him (do his business paperwork) because, "I was the only person he trusted to do his personal paperwork." I was already writing some of his business letters. He and I had the same longings and fears: Both of us longed to love and be loved and were afraid that we would be alone forever. In the seven years that I knew him, we never fought about anything and I believe this was due to a great care and respect on both sides. He claimed he "wished he'd met someone like me 20 years ago", that he "wished he'd been like he was with me with his ex wife", that he "had never been this close with a girl before", that I was "the best friend he'd ever had", and "it scared him how similarly we'd thought.."etc. He'd always hated grammar and spelling but for some strange reason he suddenly wanted me to "teach him to spell, as long as nobody knew" (I think that was a plot to get me alone with him at his house and to make some kind of move.) He began turning younger guys away from me apart from my knowledge (I found this out later) and then he would tell me to "be patient and when someone knew me and understood me like he did, then we'd talk business." Physical contact came into play when he began trying to mess up my hair, started pillow fights with me, tucked me in with a blanket on the couch....Sometimes he'd throw it over my head and trap me under it. He tried to bait me to touch him with, "I'm ticklish you know." He asked my sister if I was ticklish and when she said I was, he said, "I'll use that knowledge in the near future." He began buying me things, even if I said I didn't want them and if I protested. His son was jealous of the attention I got from him and the men who worked for him were giving him weird looks. According to one of them "he talked about me all the time, constantly" and told some people that I was "perfect." He began talking to me about all the different women who wanted him and how desirable he was (to make me jealous) and even tried to make me jealous one day by ignoring me and talking to my sister. He chuckled and said to her, "your sister's jealous." In the same breath he would tell me that he could not remarry. Soon after, he asked me if I'd been flirting with him during the pillow fights he started. I was angry, scared and disgusted so I called him and reemed him out. I told him there was no way, (even though looking back at it, I was flirting) that he started it, and that he was old, gross and anything other than a friendship was weird and inappropriate. He was miffed at me, but played it cool and got over it.  Soon after, he took me and my sister up to his mom's farm and asked me to go on a fourwheeler ride with him. I didn't want to have to physically hold onto him so I put my sister in between us. I believe he saw through that, so he suggested that one day we take two four wheelers and he and I could go on "the one that would climb a tree," while my sister and his son took the other one. I remember as we were riding this thought came to my mind: "It's like he's a young man again living his life over with the girl he always wanted, but never had." 

Two days later on a cold and clear November morning, everything changed. The day before, Dave had been upset with me for stopping him from starting a pillow fight. After he'd accused me of flirting with him, naturally I was pissed so when he tried to hit me, I glared at him and told him to put down the pillow. At the time he played it off like it didn't bother him, but the next day he was grouchy, standoffish, and miserable. When I asked him what was wrong he refused to tell me (he told me later on) and when I pried he got even angrier. We stopped talking at around 8 o clock that night and I went to sleep very troubled and heavy hearted. The next morning I woke up with a headache and sick to my stomach. As I laid there in the bed, I heard my phone buzz. It was a message from Dave that read, "Good morning sunshine :)" Relief flooded my heart for a short time, but after talking for a little while I realized that he was still upset. I went upstairs and asked my mom to rub my neck to get rid of my headache. As I lay there I said to her, "Mom, I'm troubled." She asked me what about and I said, "Dave..." Without my saying any more she cut me off and said, "I am too and so is Pastor. I wasn't sure when to tell you, but he mentioned it to me the other day and it was why I was so grumpy last night. Sarah, I think Dave's in love with you." I started crying and I tried to explain things away like I had for three months, but I knew that I needed answers and that something needed to be done. (Some background here: Neither Dave or myself are "saved" members of the church. Both of us are admittedly lost and I knew that if Dave fell in love with me, he could not get saved because he was committing adultery in his heart with me and would hold onto me forever....and then our relationship could not go on.) That afternoon I called my pastor on the phone and he confirmed all of my worst thoughts and fears. "Sarah," he said, "Dave has an agenda...he's hoping for a young bride." He told me that I would have to end the relationship; either slowly or all at once, but somehow it had to end. My pastor also asked me not to involve him in it or tell Dave that he knew. I knew that if I ended it slowly Dave would know something was wrong, but I tried anyway. He knew that very night. I got a text at around six o clock that read, "is her sick???" I asked why he asked, and his response was; "you didn't check on me all day...I felt like an orphan." I told him that we needed to talk and that I'd call him and I went out to the car. He answered cheerfully and asked me if something was wrong. I broke down in tears and explained what was going on and that he and I could no longer be associated with each other. He said I was "just throwing our friendship put the window" and denied how he felt. When I cornered him with his own words, he came clean and admitted it. He claimed I was "everything he'd ever wanted in a woman and I'd become his best friend, but we couldn't be married because he was divorced." I cried and told him I was sorry, that he meant the world to me, that I wished it didn't have to be this way, and that I loved him. I could tell he was hurt. The last thing he told me was that "it would all be ok, and would all work." When I hung up I called my pastor and told him I'd ended things, hung up, and finally let the phone fall to the floor. The cry that came out of me was like a wail/scream of anguish and I sat there in the dark crying for two hours. I wanted to call Dave back and beg him not to leave me alone regardless of what I'd asked; I didn't want to live without him. It felt like my best friend had died, and in some ways he did. I cried myself to sleep that night and for the next week, I cried off and on no matter what I was doing.

For two days after I ended things, I wrestled with myself. I got to thinking about the times I'd said goodnight to him and had thought about saying, "Night Harvey, (Harvey was my nickname for him) I love you." I thought about the times he'd been lonely and how in those moments I wished I could have wrapped my arms around him and whispered "I'm here." When he was sad, I was sad. I thought about the times I'd thought about moving and working for him and not only working for him, but taking care of him. I remembered how I'd begun hoping he'd notice different outfits and how I loved his complements. I remembered how worried I would become if I didn't hear from him, and how I loved talking to him all the time. I recalled how irritated I'd been at one woman who was interested in him and how I was afraid that if he ever did remarry, I'd loose my place. I never really considered myself an option because of the age gap, but if I was his best friend why couldn't I be more? I thought about how in those last months I'd anticipated seeing him and being with him, and how I couldn't wait to tell him about this or that. I thought about how he treated me and how I'd relished in it. I loved the rose texts he would send me in the mornings and how just a word from him could bring a smile to my face. There was no question in my mind that he loved me. He'd always talked about women in a derogatory sense ever since I'd met him, but he praised me. I was his princess. I thought about how I loved everything about him and how I understood him and he understood me, and then my mom asked me this question: "If it had been twenty years ago and you'd have met him and things had been like this; wouldn't you have been the happiest woman in the world?" I didn't answer aloud, but in my heart a faint whisper echoed, "yes..." Tears welled up in my eyes and when I got home, I went into the bathroom, leaned on the counter, and buried my face into a pile of towels. When I looked up into the mirror, I admitted it...I was every bit in love with him as he was with me. I realized that he was everything I'd wanted and needed in a man...and I NEEDED him. He was my strength, my comfort, he was the love I craved, he brought happiness to my life and a friendship and bond I shared with no one else.. I never had to pretend with him. He had become my world without even knowing it and I'd lived to make him happy. He was home. I loved him.

A week later I had a complete and total mental break down in the car with my mom. I was in hysterics and I let loose and admitted that I loved Dave and that I wanted him. I told her that I would to marry him someday if something happened to his ex wife. She got worried (that I would kill myself because I was so upset) and called my pastor who called me later and asked if I was alright. She'd told him everything and he told me that he'd never dealt with a situation like this before. He said that if Dave's wife ever did die and we wanted to marry, we could (but I should find something more ideal) but he could not preform the ceremony because of how a situation like that would look on the church. And he definitely couldn't marry us now because it would be wrong.

For three weeks not a word was said between Dave and I, but whenever I saw him he would give me the most sad, broken-hearted looks I'd ever seen. It tore my heart out and every time, I wanted to run into his arms, collapse, cry, and tell him I'd stay with him. He'd stopped shaving (already had a beard, but he kept it trim) and was letting his hair grow out. Finally, one night I stopped over with my mom at his house. She was buying something from him and I told her I'd wanted to talk to him alone so after she looked at the item, she went to her car and made a phone call. I followed him to his truck and said "can I talk to you?" He fiddled around for something and I asked him if, "he understood why I did what I did?" He turned around trembling with tears in his eyes. He cried and told me that those had been the worst three weeks of his life, and that I'd given him the worst cold shoulder he'd ever gotten. Again he asked me if I would talk to him, even just a little bit, but I told him I couldn't. Then he begged me to at least say hi to him in passing and I said that I would....even though I knew it would keep things alive. As we were walking into his house I said to him, "I'm not blaming you for this. It's not just your fault. It was more than a friendship...on my part too." He stopped and looked at me and said, "well you didn't tell me that on the phone." I told him that, "I didn't realize it, it was an after-thing. When it felt like someone died, that's when I realized it." He sighed and said, "Tell me about it..." When we were inside I got to thinking and I realized that I told him I loved him twice on the phone that night. I motioned for him to come into the kitchen and I said to him, "I did tell you how I felt...twice." He looked at my eyes sadly and knowingly for a moment and then said, "you don't have to say anymore. Someone will hear." Little did I know that I'd just inadvertently set a hook in his jaw. Rather than moving on, the idea that I loved him had given him a burst of new life. That night before I left the church, I looked for him and met his gaze from across the room. He nodded in acknowledgement and looked at me for a while until I looked away. The next day my pastor called my mom and told her he'd seen that exchange. She told him what had transpired the night before and he told her that I didn't need to listen to Dave and that It didn't matter what he wanted or thought. He and I didn't need to acknowledge each other. So after this I went back to completely ignoring him. I know it broke him, and it broke me in the process.

For two months after this he gave me sad and hurt looks, longing looks, angry looks, let doors slam in my face, came up behind me and asked sadistically how I was. He always watched me, no matter where I was in the building. Whether I was here or there he was always nearby, facing me, and glancing very covertly at me, and if not glancing, watching with peripheral vision. Sometimes he'd follow me out to the parking lot. Yes, I wanted him too and missed him terribly, but there was nothing I could do. If I decided to talk to him again I would have been disobeying my pastor and sending both of us to hell because we'd wind up leaving the church for each other. I started getting emails from him with weight loss links (my hobby horse) and when I confronted him, he claimed they were "spam." I reiterated that he needed to leave me alone and he told me I was being rude. Then one day on Facebook I saw his name pop up in my suggested friends list. I felt he'd created the account to watch me so I decided it was high time I make a phone call. My point in calling was to beg him to stop and to beg him to leave me alone because it was tearing me apart.

That Monday night at around five thirty I called him. At first things were tense and he tried to convince me that he'd never loved me and that it was "all in my head" and if he'd have been hitting on me, "he'd have snatched me up and kissed me." I knew he was hoping that the idea that he didn't love me would make me talk to him again. I told him I'd never believe him and that if I was going to be honest with him at all he was going to have to be 100% honest with me. After going in circles for an hour he had to go because he had company coming over. I asked him if we could finish the conversation later that night and he agreed. He called me back at around nine. The second conversation I had with him was the most bitter-sweet conversation I'd ever had. We both broke down and told each other that we loved each other. There were tears and laughs and ridiculous admissions. I told him that although I loved him, I needed him to leave me alone and I had no choice but to leave him alone. He fully understood why but he was reluctant and claimed he'd "try to leave me alone." I asked him not to try, but to do it because the pressure was so bad I was thinking of running, changing my name, and leaving everything. When I told him, he started crying and said he "thought his heart just broke again." He made me promise him that I wouldn't leave and said again that he'd try to stop. In the same breath he would cry and ask me how in the world he was supposed to forget me. At the end of the conversation we talked for a while like the best friends we had been. He asked me if I felt better and I said I did. I asked him the same thing and he said, "Just talking to you makes me feel better." That night when we said goodnight, there was a sorrowful and peaceful sweetness to it. I was relieved, and yet I was sorry. I was sorry that I couldn't be with him, and his admission of love for me floored me...but I knew that some how I had to move on. The next night I received a text from him with a devotional that was supposed to encourage me, but hearing from him didn't do that. I needed to forget him. The next night he did the same thing and then on Friday morning he asked me if we could talk again that night. He said he was worried about some things that I said, so I agreed and awaited his call. At around nine P.M. he called. First he asked me how my day had been, and I said it was alright but he knew other wise. I asked him what he was worried about and he beat around the bush (because he wasn't truly worried.) It turned out that the whole reason he called was to ask me "to consider talking to him again, even if only once a week." I told him I would consider it and that I couldn't promise anything and that he was placing the weight of the world on my shoulders. I told him that I would give him an answer in a week. That night we talked about everything and anything like the friends we'd been until one o'clock in the morning when we finally said goodnight. That night I broke down and cried on my face on the floor. I decided that I would talk to him even if it was a secret. I needed him. Little did I know that the next day, Dave would try to go around me and ask Pastor for his permission to talk to me. Dave had no idea that our Pastor had known the entire time and was the one who had told me to stop talking to him.

Sunday was much different than I expected it to be. I'd expected Dave to be a little more cheerful, and I was planning on actually saying hello to him in passing...I was in for a surprise. He looked sicker than I'd ever seen him, and when he looked at me I could see pain seeping out of him. During the preaching, pastor said some things that I had said on the phone to Dave, and then after the service Dave asked my mom if he could talk to her outside. I started to panic and when my mom came back in she told me that Dave had talked to Pastor. To my dismay she actually told Dave flat out that I would have married him (that was the one thing I didn't say.) He told her that I would have made a wonderful wife. I started crying and asked Pastor if I could come early that afternoon and talk to him...In his office I told him all that had transpired and why I called Dave. He told me he knew I'd tried to end it a few times, but that Dave had made it sound like I called him to keep things going. I told Pastor about the things Dave had been doing before I decided to call him and he said he knew Dave was lying about me to save his own neck; if there was any man he wouldn't believe about a thing like this...it was Dave. He told me that Dave "was not catch," and that "there were a lot of other women he was involved with." All my life Dave told me that his ex wife was a witch, but Pastor told me that yes, she was bad to him but he was bad to her. He told me that Dave worked his workers like slaves and that's how he was as a husband. He told me that if I was a suicidal person I would probably kill myself after living with him for a few years because he was never satisfied with anything. I was also told that he was verbally and emotionally abusive. After talking with my pastor I felt freed and liberated. I was furious with Dave for lying about me, being a womanizer, being a pervert, and I felt that he wouldn't bother me anymore. He told me Dave had been thinking this way about me from the time I was fifteen (I didn't look 15 at 15) and that he played me like a fiddle. He also told me that I never needed to have contact with Dave about anything again, and he'd told Dave the same thing. I could finally breath again.

The next day I got a text from Dave and he said he wanted to talk. I didn't answer him and told my Pastor. Pastor said he'd check into it and then told me it was okay because Dave wanted to close this thing out. Dave called me crying and told me he was sorry he'd hurt me, but that I NEEDED TO LEAVE HIM ALONE AND NOT CONTACT HIM ANYMORE...and that HE hadn't realized how I felt about him.....This was after I'd been asking him the same thing for months, not spoken to him for months, and after everything that was admitted. I flipped out on him and called his bluff; I told him I knew he was a liar and that I knew he'd lied about me and that he was lying now. He kept crying and said "he didn't want me to be mad at him and never talk to him again."....this was after Pastor told him he never needed to have contact with me about anything again. I reminded him of that and then I flat out said, "I'll never talk to you again! Ever! And as far as I'm concerned this is over, and I'm over it!" He kept talking and I was silent. I kept saying, "anything else?" Right as he was about to hang up he said, "talk to you later." I said "no, no you won't." He said, "you know what I mean" and then we hung up.

For a little while after this I was a furious and my resolve to forget him was firm. But I do have a weakness: I'm not good at staying angry and I forgive very easily. Dave was still watching me at the church and doing his thing but I was ignoring it. Two days after the whole ordeal went down, a guy ("James") from the church who was about my age began contacting me everyday. I'd never liked him and had never been interested in him, but at the time I really wanted a friend. After three weeks James made his intentions of wanting a relationship known. I said I was up for it but in my heart something felt horribly wrong...I knew what it was but I was trying to bury it. When I talked James something felt hollow, and something was missing. There was no depth to us or to him...and ultimately I felt a growing hole of sorrow in my heart. The more I talked to him, the more I disliked him. I had to come to grips with another admission: I wasn't over Dave and the more I talked to James, the more I missed Dave and it made me realize what I'd had with him. It was like jumping in a mud puddle compared to swimming in an ocean. After this admission I decided to try to forget Dave and to keep talking to James and see where it went. James could tell that I was very nervous at the church, but he didn't know why. He thought it was because of him, but it was really because I knew Dave was always watching us. My mom said that she saw Dave standing against the back wall and glaring at James as he was talking to me. Then one night, James abruptly hugged me and left. I turned around and accidentally locked eyes with Dave. He just looked at me and stared. I knew what he was thinking, "yeah right, you loved me. You'd have married me right? And now you're just over it and gone with the wind?" I tried to escape his gaze by walking in another direction but he literally followed me with his eyes until I left the room. After this I broke it off with James. I couldn't stand him and I loved Dave. I eventually got re-involved with James a few months later after he asked for a second chance...it was going okay, but James was working for Dave. Dave told him he wasn't allowed to text me at work and Dave actually went to pastor and complained (so I found out.) Again, I would up breaking it off with James.

So...for the last five months, Dave has continued to do his thing. There's a lot more that he's done that I'm not writing down, but he's done all this many times: He's watched me, followed me, sent me emails, said hi to me in passing and is always giving me sad or angry looks. He's followed me outside here and there and in recent days he's created fake accounts on Facebook as a taunt and has sent me requests (there's more to this but I'm not going to take more time to explain it.) The other day he invited my best friend and her family (who I'm always with) out to eat and has been hanging around them more because that's where I usually am. When he invited them to eat, he did it when I was right there and suggested they go to my favorite restaurant that he always took me to. My friend told me that he was on his phone and when my name came up in conversation his head snapped and got a really sad look on his face. The other night he made a really bold move right behind my mom's back. We'd had a church fellowship that day and he'd been looking at me a lot. That night I got the cooler out of the kitchen for my mom and she was going through it by the doors. Dave came walking by as I had set the cooler down, and he looked at me and held my gaze. Frustrated, I finally got up the nerve to do something and I mouthed, "what do you want?!?!" He stopped and looked at me and asked, "Do you need help?" I shook my head, and my mom who was bent over, going through a cooler, with her back turned to him said "yes." A slight smirk played on his lips and again he looked straight at my eyes and asked, "do you need help???" I said, "No." Our eyes stayed locked and I watched him start laughing quietly. I could tell he was seriously trying not to laugh and it made me start smirking. I decided walking out of the room would be my best option. My siblings said that when I stormed out he had to bury his mouth in his arm to keep from laughing. This is the kind of thing I've been putting up with and that has continued for months, and he and I are just as in love as we were in November. Because this kind of thing I've been unable to get passed it. I'm going to be perfectly honest: I miss him, long for him, and the stuff he does feeds the fire. In my head, I know he needs to stop, but sometimes, I don't want him to stop. I love it that he loves me and I don't know what I would do if he didn't. I've been so conflicted with this war between my head and heart that whenever I'm at the church I get a massive headache due to stress (high blood pressure.) I'm 120 lbs, eat extremely healthily (vegetables, fruit, trail mix, chicken, and fish.) and exercise regularly. There is no reason I should have high bp except for extreme stress. I've had a few panic attacks and there's been nights where I've cried so hard and long that my eyes have swollen, I wound up with a headache, and in order to fall asleep I had to put a cool, wet, rag over my face. I've considered suicide, but I don't actually want to die...just get away from all this and figure out my life. So here is my predicament: (and it is a three way predicament because I have three options but none are actual options, (you'll see why.) And this is what I want opinions on. What do I do now? Which option can and should I take? And are there any other opinions or options?

Option 1: Marry Him. Whether Dave and I stop talking or not, we're still communicating. I mean, this is someone who has been a major part of my life for seven years and I'm just supposed forget he exists and I'm not supposed to speak to him ever again? And that's supposed to be easy? I love him (maybe I shouldn't) and I would love nothing more than to be married to him and to spend the rest of my life with him. I'm afraid that I'll never find a love like this again, and even if he was involved with other women, I know that he did love me and care about me. But my problem is that #1.) I don't want to go to hell, #2.) I don't want to send him to hell (even though holding onto each other like this is sending us there anyway and being apart is a hell on earth, and #3.) Is his character as bad as I've been told? Will I wind up killing myself if I married him? I'd like opinions on his character. Did he play me and just want me for sex? And #4.) if I were to contact him now and tell him what I want, I risk ruining my reputation and hearing "no" from him.

Option 2: I really feel like my life is passing me by, but I don't know how to change that. In order to go to college, become successful, and live my dreams, I would have to up everything, change my name, and leave. I can't stay here, and move on. I want a productive life, but I feel I have no way to do that, and here's why. #1.) My family believes that the highest calling of a woman is marriage and being a wife and mother. I would like that, but I don't see it happening soon. #2.) I never learned how to drive because I never needed it. I was allowed to but I never wanted to. #3.) My family won't support my going to college. #4.) I don't have a job and will probably get backlash for getting one. #5.) I don't want to make the church look bad in the eyes of my friends or dad. #6.) I can't leave and tell anyone where I'm going because I WILL BE HARASSED. I want to start over. Fresh. No ties. #6.) I don't think I can handle backlash I will get from a lot of people and I also promised Dave I wouldn't leave.

Option 3.) Stick it out like I've been doing and pray something changes.

So....that's my problem. There are so many things I don't understand right now. All my life I've tried to stay out of trouble, but I fear it's found me. Any thoughts? What in the world am I to do?

Help! I need some serious advice and I want opinions!

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Sweetheart, i read every word you wrote. You mentioning religion is likely why nobody replied, and the fact it was almost a book kept the others away.
I grew up in a very religious upbringing, and although some of your ideals are a bit more strict than where i came from, i can relate more than anybody here. I know about the divorce taboo, saw it first hand.

I cant tell you how to feel about Dave, even a sheltered girl like yourself is guilty of the same things as worldly girls, actually worse, because your head is screwed on much tighter on your shoulders than other girls. Dont help matters i know, but its true.

Id like to give you my opinions on the matter, but you may not like to hear what i have to say.
Very unlike the Truth, im holding my tongue till i get permission from you to speak freely.
Mostly because my tongue might bring your church and religion into, even though thats not my intentions. Tricky part of the truth, sometimes it brings about hard questions we have to answer, regardless your beliefs.

Im sorry you feel your in such a corner, and you dont have to be there alone. I KNOW i can help, if you have an open mind, and are willing to address questions i might ask.

The Truth

Help! I need some serious advice and I want opinions!

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I find it unusual that the ADULTS in your life - your mother and your pastor - have been more worried about Dave's marriage/divorce status and his impending trip to Hell, than they have been concerned about YOUR welfare all this time!!

A sheltered pre-teen girl was allowed to spend a lot of time with a much older man - and no one objected or spoke up? Even with his alleged "past" that this pastor knew about all this time? And where was your mother during these past years? Shame on them, I say.

Some might think this man has "groomed" you from the beginning. Others might think that he has now fallen in love with the 20 year old "woman" you are now. (The age difference is also of question, but Celine Dion had a successful marriage, so it's possible. It worked for her and her husband.)

So . . . now here you are at age 20. Both of you are ADULTS and seem to be in love with each other. So what is holding you back?

Religious doctrine?

What if you got in the car and drove to a far away place? Do you think you would be happy with this much older, father figure man?

This thread has expired - why not start your own?

B-6