Newly Divorced Atheist...
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24-09-2015, 09:51 AM
Newly Divorced Atheist...
Hi all! Long time lurker here at TTA, but first time poster. I recently ended a 21 year marriage and am now starting to date again. When we first got married, I was a staunch believer and prayed often but about 10 years into it, I decided to cast off everything everyone told me about religion and to independently verify things for myself. As you can guess, there wasn't much independent verification out there. I went through the loss of my religion pretty much the way people mourn a loved one. There were distinct periods of denial, depression, bargaining, anger and finally acceptance. I honestly know that my lack of belief makes me a better person and I like who I am now.

During our marriage, we didn't attend church ever. Our kids don't go to church at all, but every now and then, my wife would feel the need to pray. As we got older, these praying sessions grew more frequent and long story short, because I couldn't participate with her, we are no longer together. I am little sad about it, but I'm sure it's for the best.

The reason I started this thread is because I've met someone who I enjoy spending time with a great deal. She seems to enjoy me too. She has a naturally skeptical mind and I find it stimulating when we discuss a topic most people accept as true and she almost instantly questions assumptions as if she's testing to see if I have reasoning based on evidence... but every time we sit down to enjoy a meal together, she reaches for my hands bows her head and says a little prayer... and I find myself saying "Amen" in response. I feel terrible about this. I feel like a thief stealing her idea of who she wants me to be.

I flat out asked this new lady about her beliefs and it's obvious she doesn't feel comfortable discussing it with me at this time. She says she belongs to a church but hasn't been there in a very long time and has no plans to go back anytime soon. I was hoping that she would ask me about my ideas, but she did not. She directly avoided it and changed the topic, which was a bit of a relief but also delays the truth coming out.

Im hoping that my new friend will end up in the "spiritual but not religious" spectrum of beliefs because I can make a case for that for myself. My concern is that's how my ex wife started out and we eventually grew in opposite directions.

How would you all handle a situation like this? Thanks in advance!

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24-09-2015, 10:05 AM
RE: Newly Divorced Atheist...
I wouldn't pray with her, and if she asks why, explain my lack of belief clearly. How she chooses to respond to that would factor into any further decisions on how to handle the relationship.
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24-09-2015, 10:41 AM
RE: Newly Divorced Atheist...
I would find a time when you are both just relaxing and calm and bring up the topic. Tell her you have been thinking it over and had some questions about it.

I would avoid the you are wrong/ I am right and just try to learn more about her position and she yours. More of a getting to know you session rather than a debate session.



as for your divorce, you are not alone here. I think there are quite a few members that have had the same thing happen - change from theist to atheist- and their marriages werent able to withstand the changes. There are a few members that their marriage is in that state of flux now and not sure where their relationships will be in the next year or so. and there are even a few married to believers and figured out how to make things work for them.

welcome to TTA, glad you decided to come out of lurkdom. Smile


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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24-09-2015, 11:16 AM
RE: Newly Divorced Atheist...
Run. Find someone who shares core values with you. Oh and welcome.
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24-09-2015, 11:49 AM (This post was last modified: 24-09-2015 11:52 AM by jennybee.)
RE: Newly Divorced Atheist...
Hi and welcome. Smile In my current rship, I was a devout Christian and he was agnostic. Now, in the same rship, I'm an atheist and he's spiritual and believes in God. It was a real bizarre shift to experience, let me tell ya Wink

When I was a Christian and he was agnostic, we had our share of problems having to do with my religion/his lack of religion. Now that things have flipped, we have some of he same problems that stem from one believing/one not believing. If my current rship doesn't work out, I personally, could only see myself with another atheist.

But, that said, you have to do what's right for you. I like the suggestions of talking to her about it when she asks you to pray.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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24-09-2015, 11:56 AM
RE: Newly Divorced Atheist...
If she's not interested in church, it probably is more of a spiritual thing. Maybe you talk it out and explain why you don't believe in anything and show her that a god isn't necessary. It's impossible to predict if she'll turn out like your previous wife, unfortunately. Personally, I'm in Jenny's boat, I wouldn't mess with anyone who needs religion/spirituality to feel good.

A man should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. -Ferris Bueller

That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs but what a ship is... what the Black Pearl really is... is freedom. -Jack Sparrow
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24-09-2015, 12:01 PM
RE: Newly Divorced Atheist...
I can understand two people who have been in a relationship a long time and views change working through it.

But why start a relationship with someone who you know it's going to be an issue with? I'll never understand.
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24-09-2015, 12:06 PM
RE: Newly Divorced Atheist...
Hug

Hello! Big Grin
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24-09-2015, 12:38 PM
RE: Newly Divorced Atheist...
It's best to set boundaries early. I've done lots of research on this.

Sample size = 1.

It's just a "I need to tell you that I don't feel comfortable doing that prayer thing that you do. I like you (a lot) so I'll do it ... it's just that I think it's only right that you know that it's meaningless to me" typa conversation.

Optional extra: "Is it OK if I express by gratitude to the food growers etc. instead?"

What's the worse that can happen?

She sees you as principled and open and honest; you get into a chat about what (each of) you believe; she storms off muttering stuff about Satan?

Consider

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24-09-2015, 12:41 PM
RE: Newly Divorced Atheist...
I think it is mandatory that you say up front, THIS is how I think, and THIS is my worldview, it is unlikely to change and if that works for you, great!

People get in trouble in relationships when they sugar coat shit up front that down the road may become a problem. be clear, be respectful, be honest. Best of luck.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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