Given a category $C$ and a commutative ring $R$, denote by $RC$ the $R$-linearization: this is the category enriched over $R$-modules which has the same objects as $C$, but the morphism module between two objects $x$ and $y$ is the free $R$-module on $Hom_C(x,y)$. Thus in $RC$ we allow arbitrary $R$-linear combinations of morphisms from the original category $C$.

Question: if two objects in $x$, $y \in C$ are isomorphic in $RC$, are they already isomorphic in $C$?

I do not know the answer to this question for *any* nontrivial ring $R$, but I'm particularly interested in $R=\mathbb{Z}$ and $R=\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}$.

What's obviously not true is that every isomorphism in $RC$ comes from an isomorphism in $C$ (take $-id_x$). (Thus the word "isomorphism" in the title refers to a relation on objects rather than to a property of morphisms.)

Of course, it is enough to consider categories $C$ with two objects $x$, $y$, but we cannot assume that $C$ is finite.

It's fairly elementary to see that if $x$ and $y$ are isomorphic in $RC$ then in $C$, $x$ is a retract of $y$ and vice versa, but the latter does in general not imply that $x \cong y$.

A more catchy way of phrasing this problem is: can we always classify objects in a category up to isomorphism by means of functors taking values in $R$-linear categories? (The inclusion $C \to RC$ is the universal such functor.)

*Edit*: A lot of people have posted an "answer" that wasn't, and deleted it, so here's something that will not work, to save others going down the same road. I said that we cannot assume that the category is finite; in fact, it must be infinite. Here is an elementary argument:

Since $x$ and $y$ are mutual retracts, there are maps $f,\;f'\colon x \to y$ and $g,\;g'\colon y \to x$ with $fg=id$ and $g'f'=id$. Consider the powers of $fg' \in End(y)$. If $End(y)$ is finite then $(fg')^n = (fg')^m$ for some $m \neq n$; since $fg'$ has a right inverse (viz, $f'g$), we must have that $(fg')^n=id$ for some $n>0$. So we see that $g'$ has not only a right inverse ($f'$) but also a left inverse: $(fg')^{n-1}f$. So they are the same and $g'$ is already an isomorphism.