I wish you had shared the “tragic event”. That would help me better understand your mother’s concerns. Regardless — I am concerned that this relationship is so secretive and you seem so dependent on this guy. Healthy relationships aren’t kept secret. Healthy relationships aren’t primarily based in neediness. In a healthy relationship you wouldn’t see him as the “only” one who understands you or who can help you.
Like your mother, I see some enormous red flags. N’s behavior has much in common with online predators. Your mom is trying to protect you as best she can.
Adult sexual predators do hang out in online gaming. It’s fertile territory to find teens who are insecure and who have trouble making in person friends at school or in their home community. They are particularly likely to hang out in games where team members have to develop rapport and trust in each other to work together towards goals. It’s not a big leap for a predator to move to personal messages with a needy teen and to start encouraging that person to trust him with personal issues that have nothing to do with mastering the game.
It’s possible that N is what he says he is. It’s also possible that he is an adult male who is grooming you. “Grooming” is when an adult gradually makes his way into a young person’s life and trust by listening willingly to all their problems and being exceptionally supportive, regardless of what the teen says. Slowly, steadily, a predator pulls the teen in by making the teen feel special, beautiful, and understood. Such predators are often extraordinarily patient. They can spend weeks or months on the project. Usually, they are luring more than one teen at a time.
If N is truly a teen in love with you, he would be talking directly to your mother in video calls to show her he is who he says he is. He would provide her with proof of some kind that he is in fact a teen without being defensive about it. He would be introducing you both to his family and to some of his friends. He would encourage a conversation between his parents and yours. If he immediately shuts down or distances once your mother contacts him or you ask to know his family and friends, it’s a signal that he isn’t being honest with you.
Even if N is a teen “in love”, that love may not meet either of your expectations if you meet in person. Sometimes online or on the phone conversations can be the start of something wonderful. That’s why online matching services are sometimes successful. But often enough, people are disappointed once they meet. The person they thought they knew turns out to be nice enough but not someone who makes their heart sing.
Regardless of how you feel about N, you deserve to be having fun doing things with kids your age. Even people who are in relationships still go out with friends, play in sports, are active in a club or two, and have other kids to hang out with between periods or at lunch in school. Join something at school or in your town where other kids hang out. Get out of your house and away from the computer enough to meet and spend time with other people — up close and personal. As long as you are so “romantically” involved with N that you spend so much free time online with him, you can’t meet people who will go out and have fun with you and who will love you for who you are, not just how you present yourself in writing or in game.
And, by all mean, be honest with your mom. Not telling her what you think and feel or, worse, sneaking, will only make things worse. Instead, share this letter with her and see if the two of you can make a plan for how to help her get to know N so she can see for herself who he is.
Meanwhile, the religion question is another issue entirely. It’s not at all unusual for teens to start to question the religion they were raised in. It’s an important part of growing up to examine your family’s values and beliefs. Most kids do return to their family’s beliefs but, having thoughtfully questioned them and come to their own conclusions, those beliefs are stronger than ever. The key here is thoughtful exploration, not rebellion. If your mother knew you were engaged in careful, thoughtful examination of what you believe, she might be willing to have some important conversations with you about it.
I wish you well.