I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
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06-09-2016, 02:39 PM
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
I can relate! I deconverted and finally got up the nerve to tell my husband. It didn't go over so well, and like your wife, I think it pushed him deeper into his faith.
I CAN tell u that it gets easier. In the beginning we had some very heated arguments that usually ended up in tears. Then we dropped it altogether for awhile, and now we are just starting to talk about it again. I hope that with calm and rational discussions, I can one day get him to see things the way I do, but that cannot be my focus or my goal - otherwise I would go insane.
As for our kids, I refuse to stay silent. I too, felt bad that I was going back on my word to raise them in the christian faith, however I changed. And I don't apologize for that. People change, that is life. I don't want them completely indoctrinated. And even if they want to believe and be christians, that is okay, I just need them to know that not believing is an option - and that they need to think for themselves and make up their own mind. They know that I don't believe. And I will be the one to educate them on evolution and science and all that. I do however, out of respect for my husband usually talk to my kids about these things when he is not around. I'm not hiding it from him, I just don't want to argue about it when I am trying to show them my side of things. They are 8 and 10, so who knows......they could go either way.
I wish it were different. I wish he would deconvert too. I read the book, In Faith and In Doubt - it was very good. Very helpful. All the best to u.....u are not alone!!
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06-09-2016, 02:49 PM
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
(06-09-2016 12:31 PM)The Dark One Wrote:  I feel for you, brother. There is no easy path ahead of you- successful, perhaps, but not easy.

Your wife, as you well know, uses religion for exactly what we created it for- comfort and support, particularly when confronted by the unknown. (Mostly death, these days) I imagine she also uses it to make friends and find a husband, etc, due to having a shared experience that is so, to them, profound.

So you leaving that comfort system is HUGE. It's something she can't even process- she may think she does, but I guarantee her christian radio programs and extra praying and rosary rattling (sorry) are all attempts to lead you back into the fold, by example or osmosis or whatever works...which means she does NOT understand or accept your new position. She looks at it like a case of the flu...with proper care you will get over it.

I'm afraid that if she ever DOES accept it, really accept that you are gone from the church, that your marriage will be in severe jeopardy. Denial is sort of working in your favor at the moment. You have a very difficult road ahead, if she is as dedicated to the church as you believe her to be- and as it sounds like she is by your description.

My wife is an atheist too, but when we married she was agnostic, and I think if she had married a religious man, she might have tipped in that direction. She was rather precariously balanced, in my opinion.

When we began raising our kids, we talked to them about God, pros and cons, we talked to them about the different belief systems out there, we read with them about various religions. As they got older they would ask about specific religions or belief systems they heard about, and we would research them together.

We made it fun, not like a life and death discussion of the End Times. The kids looked forward to it- as did we. My wife slowly converted to pure atheism as we read the histories of religion as well as learned about the size and nature of the universe, but we worked hard to give each side equal time. The kids (3, 2 girls and 1 boy) knew I was an atheist, and that Mom was an agnostic. She spoke to them about her feelings and thoughts as she converted or slid into atheism. (it's not really a conversion)

The kids all tried church, various religions, with their friends. We fully supported that. I thought for awhile my oldest was going to convert to Judaism, but it turns out there was a boy...Cool I was almost disappointed...Judaism makes more sense to me than most other religions (not the hard core orthodox stuff ) and I thought it would be interesting.

Our marriage got even healthier as we studied and discussed religion as a family, and now- my kids are all grown, my youngest in her 2nd year of college- we are all atheist except my oldest, who decided she needed more information so settled into a comfy agnosticism.

You could certainly try something similar, but I'm afraid your wife, from your description, would not participate. Not in a healthy and useful way, at any rate.
You are yanking on her security blanket, not only for herself but for you and the kids and relatives and friends, and life everlasting at the right hand of GOD...!

I don't envy you your journey, my friend. I wish you luck and offer my friendship and whatever assistance I might provide, but it's really in your hands.

It sounds like you already know everything I would suggest, you are obviously an intelligent and caring person. But I'm certainly here if you need me!

Thanks for your support. I was a bit taken aback when she decided to double down on her faith, and I think your explanation for this makes a lot of sense.

I have all the respect in the world for her, and I feel like she respects me and my beliefs too, or at least understands that my beliefs are sincerely held. We have a very strong marriage and I'm fairly optimistic for the future, but no one can predict the future. Hopefully things don't take a turn for the worse.
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06-09-2016, 02:55 PM
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
I think this "doubling down" is a knee jerk reaction. I hope it will settle down.
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06-09-2016, 03:37 PM
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
(06-09-2016 11:38 AM)GEAUX Wrote:  I'm not sure where to start, but I guess I'll give some background. I was a fairly hardcore Catholic when I was younger. I was actually an employed Youth Minister at one point. My wife and I met during this phase and got married as Catholics. We have two young kids who attend Catholic schools and have been brought up to believe in God.

About 7-8 years ago I started to have doubts. My conversion was a long process (which seems normal,) but I have been a full-blown atheist for about 4 years now. I never told my wife anything. For many of those years I told myself that I’d just fake it. But as time went on, my enthusiasm for faking it kinda fell away.

About 2 years ago we (mostly her) had been dealing with a bad situation at the local church. 99% of the people I know who are involved with the Church are genuinely good and decent people, but a new priest came in who was definitely part of that 1%. We literally caught him stealing money from the poor box (among other things,) and our attempts to hold him accountable through the church hierarchy were disappointing to say the least.

The reason why I mention this is because my wife probably assumed that this incident is why I had become much less enthusiastic about my faith. I know this incident really hurt her faith in the church as well. But a few weeks ago she straight up asked me if I still believed in God. She wasn’t expecting the answer I gave her.

Needless to say it absolutely crushed her. The only time I’ve seen her sob more was when a close family member died. And who could blame her? If the roles were reversed I would have felt the same way. She married me believing that I was and always would be a Catholic. I vowed to her that I would raise our kids in the Catholic Faith. She also loves me a great deal, and the though that I might not be with her in heaven is crushing.

So far things have gone about as good as could be expected, but that’s not to say things are great. Thankfully, when I straight up asked her if she wanted to divorce me, she took offense to that. She is committed to me and I am committed to her, and we are both committed to staying together for our kids. Divorce was by far my biggest fear in coming out to her. She obviously still loves me and cares for me. I don’t think this is going to seriously harm our relationship. We have a very strong relationship.

Since I’ve come out to her she seems to have doubled down on Jesus. She wakes up every day and prays a rosary. And for the first time in her life she is starting to listen to Christian Radio all the time, which honestly annoys the crap out of me, lol. It really bums me out that she has gone this way, because the farther she goes, the harder this is going to be for the both of us.

I don’t exactly know how to proceed from here. She is upset with me that I kept all this hidden from her for so long. She is probably right to be. But at the same time it is pretty clear that she doesn’t want me to go into detail about what I’ve learned either. There is so many things I want to share with her now, but I can tell she isn’t interested in looking at God objectively. I feel like if I’m honest with her it is only going to push us apart. I also understand that if she ever does “convert,” it will also be a process of many years. And it will have to be a process she initiates on her own. So why bother trying to win her over?

I also don’t know how to deal with the kids. Neither does she. When I got married I vowed to my wife that I’d raise them in the Catholic Church. She decided to marry me and start a family with me based on that understanding. I feel morally obligated to stay true to my word. At the same time I feel morally obligated to not teach my kids something I don’t believe in. And if I do, how will they react? How will they react in their Catholic school? How could that not cause a huge rift in my wife and I’s relationship?

My wife is the only person who knows at this point, and at the moment I don’t feel compelled to tell anyone else. I don’t think it would end well with some family and friends. And I'm just not ready to deal with that.

So I don’t know if I have any specific questions. But any advice would really be appreciated. More than anything I just needed to vent. I suppose I should feel fortunate that my marriage isn't falling apart. But I still feel concerned about the future and a bit unsure about how to proceed. And I'm honestly really sad that this makes my wife so sad. She is a fantastic person and the last thing I want is for her to suffer.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this rambling nonsense. :-)

I'm going threw a simaler journey with my wife. The only difference is she found out before we got married.

Thankfully it's rare occasion that the subject comes up. I've taken a much more calmer approach to the subject. Trying to explain things the best I can to her.

I've tried to explain to her the position on how I lack a belief not outright refuse. I've told her with reasonable evidence I would have no choice but to accept god. But to this day I have found none. I've recently have presented a challenge to her. That if she could find evidence that would prove her god I would convert. All she has is a story she heard from her grandfather when he had open heart surgery.

I explained to her that is a fine story but I didn't have that experience. And how would I know he wasn't highly medicated.

As for the kids don't restrict them from going to church it will only create confrontation and confusion. If any thing bring the to more church. Various ones. Not just Catholic. broaden their horizons. Take then to a Buddist Temple, a Jewsih Synagogue, a Mormon church a Wiccan Ceremony etc. Let them see the different world religions that are out there. Maybe even a humanist rally. Ask them questions and let their minds try to process. They will become more well rounded adults if you do.

When I was a Catholic I didn't know anything about the other religions. I just assumed all of them believed the same god. I also thought that Catholicism was the one true religion. And I didn't even have an idea what Atheism was. I've only called myself a Atheist for around 6 years. It's easier to say now then in the begging.

My wife said as a young child her mother would take her to different churches as well (now they where different churches but still in the christian faith. Baptist, Pentecostal, etc) I'm using that learning experience for her to my advantage say i wish to do the same with our children.

https://www.amazon.com/Raising-Freethink...0814410960

You don't need to be in your face about any of the things that you've discovered. I've been trying the long road with my wife. We're starting to watch more skeptic shows. Ones that try to explain how people con or trick people. I need to teach her to be a skeptic before I can teach her to question her religion.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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06-09-2016, 03:43 PM
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
It might just be that there needs to be some time before this subject settles down in your world.

You say your wife has suddenly turned up the religious stuff. The pendulum has swung way out to one side and it's bound to come back to center.

Just take a breath. Don't make it an issue. Show her that you are the same man you were before she knew of your lack of belief.

I think the more you push the issue the harder she may push back.

Hope things improve soon.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

We're all mad here. The Cheshire Cat
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06-09-2016, 03:45 PM
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
(06-09-2016 11:38 AM)GEAUX Wrote:  She also loves me a great deal, and the though that I might not be with her in heaven is crushing.

Does she believe in Eternal Paradise? Can she imagine such a thing without you? Knowing where you have gone? If that doesn't sound like heaven perhaps it's a hint that The AllMighty is a little wiser about running the hereafter than people who steal from the poor-box.

I view it as a condemnation of our species in general and religion in particular that hell is described in such lurid detail while heaven is glossed over in generalities.

Quote:Thankfully, when I straight up asked her if she wanted to divorce me, she took offense to that. She is committed to me and I am committed to her, and we are both committed to staying together for our kids. Divorce was by far my biggest fear in coming out to her. She obviously still loves me and cares for me. I don’t think this is going to seriously harm our relationship. We have a very strong relationship.

Sounds like you got yourself a good one. Thumbsup

Quote:But at the same time it is pretty clear that she doesn’t want me to go into detail about what I’ve learned either. There is so many things I want to share with her now, but I can tell she isn’t interested in looking at God objectively. I feel like if I’m honest with her it is only going to push us apart. I also understand that if she ever does “convert,” it will also be a process of many years. And it will have to be a process she initiates on her own. So why bother trying to win her over?

Trust that instinct. She'll ask when she's ready to know. Pushing it at her before then will be worse than Christian Radio is for you.

Quote:I also don’t know how to deal with the kids. Neither does she. When I got married I vowed to my wife that I’d raise them in the Catholic Church.

Raise them Catholic. Raise them as skeptics and dreamers as well and let them make up their own minds. Most of the members on this forum were raised in some form of religion or other. At worst you'll end up with kids who are Catholics and scientists. I've worked with a few and they were good people.

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06-09-2016, 05:54 PM
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
Quote:Since I’ve come out to her she seems to have doubled down on Jesus.


She prefers fantasy to reality. This is her problem, not yours. She probably thinks by praying to her imaginary god that you'll see the light.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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06-09-2016, 07:32 PM
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
I would stop, take a deep breath and - wait.

Let your wife see that you are still the old loveable fellow she married. Don't interfere with her religious fervor - I see it as a sign that she has doubts herself and needs to work through that. It takes time, it involves questioning the foundation she built her life on.

I went to catholic school myself and quit believing when I was 10. Kids are smarter than you think - just make sure they learn to think critically - from you. Not necessarily about religion - if they know how to be rational, that will come by itself. or you can help it along a lot later.

I wouldn't be surprised if your wife came to you with more questions later. Until that happens - just love her.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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06-09-2016, 08:11 PM
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
Soooooo for some what not to do advice: I probably wouldn't compare religion to child abuse in an argument...not that I did that or anything...Unsure Facepalm

My divorce was finalized three weeks ago. Drinking Beverage

"If there's a single thing that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so." - Lev Grossman
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06-09-2016, 09:01 PM (This post was last modified: 06-09-2016 09:11 PM by Fireball.)
RE: I recently told my wife I’m an Atheist. I need to vent.
(06-09-2016 08:11 PM)Nurse Wrote:  Soooooo for some what not to do advice: I probably wouldn't compare religion to child abuse in an argument...not that I did that or anything...Unsure Facepalm

My divorce was finalized three weeks ago. Drinking Beverage

Clap Clap Yay!

Back on Topic- you may have a tough row to hoe, making sure that your children are raised rationally. One thing you can do is to introduce age-appropriate logic and learning games to them. Critical thinking is something I always stressed with my sons, when they were growing up. I didn't get much of that at home as a kid, but I had a friend whose dad was always challenging us to think, when we said something stupid (not in a disparaging way- he just asked us why we thought that). I got a lot of headaches in the beginning. Those kind of headaches are the ones that cause "lack of logic" to leave your brain. As much as you can, participate in your children's upbringing. Read to them at night (NOT the bible). This will help them see you as a resource for stories. That will extend into other areas, because kids are pretty damned smart.
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