Cohabitation.
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12-02-2013, 04:15 PM
Cohabitation.
Hi all,

I'm new here- I posted an introduction in a different thread, but this post is why I'm here. I'm looking for support and advice, maybe from others who've been there.

Background: until about a year and a half ago, I was a practicing Catholic. Doubting, but going through the motions out of habit and hope that just maybe, I was wrong. Mass every Sunday and Holy Day, no meat on Fridays- the whole nine yards. Why has it taken me so long to accept the truth? Because my family has made it clear to me that they'd rather see one of their kids DEAD than ex-Catholic. As far as they know, I'm still the good, practicing Catholic I've always been.

Incidentally, I met my lover right around the time I decided to give up on the church. He's an open atheistic agnostic. We've been together for a blissful year and a half, except for the fact that my parents are likely praying for his demise at this very second. My extendeded family has sabotaged several good relationships because of the religion of the partner- most recently, my cousin was engaged to a Baptist and ended up calling the wedding and the relationship off due to family pressure. Their reaction to a godless heathen has been even less positive, if that's possible.

The question: How do I tell my parents that lover and I are moving in together? I'm from a small town and though I no longer live in that small town, word gets around quickly, even from 300 miles away. Not only is living in sin going to cause an uproar with my parents, they're not savvy enough to keep it to themselves. The entire town will know in short order and I know I'll be shunned, especially by folks who thought I was some saint.

We haven't made concrete marriage plans, but are talking engagement within the year. Second, how do I tell my parents that, not only am I marrying a heathen, I'm planning on a secular wedding? Since I won't be welcome home (and wouldn't dream of being married by a priest who told me, upon finding out about my boyfriend's religion (thanks mom!) that I should either convert him or "cut him loose") I will be planning a wedding centered in my new home, with my close friends from college and graduate school. Not only are mom/dad/grandpa going to shit a brick at my not getting married in the church that everyone else got married at, they'll refuse to recognize my marriage if it isn't Catholic.

Third: that's when they'll find out I'm an atheist. I'm legitimately afraid that those three revelations in quick succession will kill my mother. I could continue living a lie, but my integrity matters to me.

Any similar stories? I'm worried. But the lease is a done deal. We're thrilled. We've been living together unofficially for the last year- there's no sense in his continuing to pay for an apartment that has essentially become an expensive storage unit. Additionally, we know it's the right decision for us. We're ready. We want to be together. We want to start our lives together. We're not sliding into cohabitation, we're making the decision. We're making the decision on engagement, and we'll make the decision on marriage. I just wish I didn't have so many other opinions to consider.
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12-02-2013, 04:39 PM
RE: Cohabitation.
Welcome to the TTA Forum. I deduce from your bio that you're a BBT fan. Mine is Serine. (I would have expected Ornithine from a "bird brain").

Really, I don't know how much advise I can give. Everyone is so different; what works for me may not work for you. But I get it that integrity matters to you so I would start there. Family is important, no doubt, but who you are and who you choose to make a part of your life is even more important. Your lover is going to be there every day, for the rest of your life if all goes well. You'll spend every day together. Can you say the same for your family right now? Which of those, lover or family, will have the biggest influence on your daily life going forward? That's where your strongest loyalty lies

Remember, you chose him, but you didn't choose your family. He chose you, but your family didn't choose you.

Your family might accept who you are now, or might not, that's up to them. But hiding who you are, to the detriment of your relationship, would only make you and him miserable. I suggest making the choice that brings the most happiness to your daily life, even if that brings unhappiness to your occasional interactions with family.

As you've discovered, you've only got this one life so make it a good one for you.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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13-02-2013, 12:38 AM
Cohabitation.
Hahaha- yes, but ornithine isn't one of "cardinal" amino acids, though it's only a methylene short of my second favorite amino acid, lysine.

I know we chose each other. I know he's my "everyday" forever, and I know he has far more to do with my happiness than my family.

In a weird way, I feel like I owe my family something. I feel like I need to pay them back somehow for the time and resources they wasted on a daughter who ended up being radically "wrong" in their eyes. They did everything right to raise a good, Catholic girl. They sent me to private schools. They paid for private college. They encouraged me to pursue science. They supported me through a lot of tough things. They even moved me to grad school and furnished my apartment, even though they completely disagreed with my choice of career. (How can I be a good stay-at-home mom and wife with a PhD? Why pursue a degree I don't need? Academics are all liberal heathen nuts, and scientists are kooks with book-smarts but no worldly knowledge...)

And now I sit, opposite of everything they ever dreamed I would be. And opposite in a terrifying, unthinkable way. Their virginal, conservative, sweet, god-fearing daughter went away to the city and turned into a feminist, godless liberal slut who sleeps with her atheist boyfriend and doesn't even have the decency to keep it to herself (the atheism OR the sex).

Worst, they're going to blame my lover. They don't know how much of this started long before he came on the scene- some of it with those good, Catholic boys they so wished I'd have ended up with. All they know is that I "behaved" myself until Mr. B. came along. I can attest to the fact that it isn't just coincidence. Their unwillingness to accept anything about him drove me to search for answers to questions I'd always had but never bothered researching. Research I did. Turns out the Church sucks.

I'm just scared to hurt them. And I know it'll hurt them, because they won't understand. I wish I'd have been more willing to question sooner. I feel like its too late for me to re-train them to accept any version of "me" that isn't the one they're used to.
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13-02-2013, 01:35 AM
RE: Cohabitation.
Don't be scared to hurt them. I went through a similar problem with my wife's parents. They are fundie baptist, she was "baptist" (read atheist), and I was violently opposed to getting married in a church. her parents and I fought, alot, about how our wedding was going to be. I forced my wife to stay out of it, stated "I want them to hate ME, not their daughter". When they saw I was serious about our wedding plans (beachfront gazeebo with a friend presiding, friend happened to be a baptist pastor, but that was okay cuz he was our friend) they threatened to cut off payment for my wife's tuition, room and board, and groceries.

Needless to say, she was heartbroken, I was pissed, and we cut all ties to show that we really meant what we said. 2 weeks later we got the call asking to compromise. Being military, my mother in law asked if I would compromise to the On base chapel with our friend presiding, with the reception at the beach. We agreed and everything went fine (until i forced him to skip over saying "god" for our vows, but thats another story). Occasionally, we still get in fights over religion (son was born and they said my son HAD to go to church on sundays) but for the most part we get along.

We accomplished this by being up front, honest, and set in our decisions. Once you make up your mind, do NOT falter, if you give an inch they will take a mile. If you love him then that is all that should matter to them. If they don't accept that, then that is their decision.

Do not blame yourself for their intolerance.

Shock And Awe Tactics-- The "application of massive or overwhelming force" to "disarm, incapacitate, or render the enemy impotent with as few casualties to ourselves and to noncombatants as possible"
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13-02-2013, 02:54 AM
RE: Cohabitation.
Perhaps you could explain to them that you will be having a 'traditional' marriage.

A pre-12th-century traditional marriage.

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/201...iage-myth/

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