Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
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31-10-2015, 10:18 AM (This post was last modified: 31-10-2015 10:24 AM by Hafnof.)
Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
I was reading through jason_delisle's coming to terms with what life can be life as an atheist sometimes as he visited a Christian forum and considered why an atheist may respond negatively to pervasive religiosity without that atheist being a bad person. That thread is moving too quickly for me to keep up with, but it triggered me to update the forum with a discussion I had with my wife this week about evangelical atheism.

Some might remember my wife as the person who on learning of my deconversion sent my sister a message saying she wished I told her I was gay.

Well time has passed. Years in fact. Things are going OK between us. She hasn't followed me on my journey exactly but the difference of opinion between us on most religious issues is actually fairly small now. So I feel like we have passed through those early days where religion's ugly hooks threatened to split our family apart. But we've never reflected on those days together until recently.

She mentioned something about me no longer seeming like an evangelical atheist. It was the first time I had been offended by something she had said for a long time. I might have used the word "bigoted" to describe her statement. She clarified that at one point once only I had "asked her pointed questions about her faith" and "provided links to resources". This was enough for her to decide I was an evangelical atheist, or to use Jason's term "Flamboyant atheist". She was also worried that I was watching a lot of YouTube dealing with religious and atheistic subjects, which feed directly into her negative view of me and my behaviour.

So we had a long chat and I told her for the first time what was going on in that period. That I never bring up the subject unless she asked. That I kept it secret from literally everyone else in my life. That for about two years there I thought it was about 50/50 whether she would leave me over it.

I think it was Jen Peeples who said religion pretends to be very family focused, family oriented, pro family, a basis for family, a basis for relationship... when it's really the other way around. Religion uses family relationships as a weapon to control behaviour. It's so hard to come out when you know your mother will pray every night and cry about your damned soul destined for the pit of hell. It's so hard to come out to a wife who you think will leave you, and who in fact has been trained by the church to block anything to have to say from her mind and simply label your attempts to be the slightest bit understood as " evangelical atheism".

Evangelical is the very opposite of what I was at that time. I held my tongue at every turn. I came here to vent. I went to YouTube to hear new arguments and to figure out how to think about moral issues without the cloud of dogma over my head.

We probably see someone in this forum pop up once a month or so looking for support over their spouse threatening to leave them over their deconversion. Well I'm not looking for support here exactly. I'm more just documenting a point in time past that stage that maybe can come if your relationship holds together through the rockiest stages. As such if you have a story of getting through that stage and your perspective having made it through. I'd welcome those stories being posted here in this thread.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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31-10-2015, 10:39 AM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
Excellent, well thought out post. It describes an equally well thought out process for coming out to your family. You walked a very careful path in your process. Everyone's situation is different, but yours is an example of how to avoid a train wreck.
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31-10-2015, 12:31 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
I'm so glad to hear that your differences didn't split you up. I don't have a personal story to contribute, since I was lucky enough to have married a fellow atheist, but way to go for both of you!

It's telling that even the mildest attempt to show where you're coming from as an atheist can be interpreted as evangelical.
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31-10-2015, 02:02 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
Glad to hear things are going well. I suppose anytime 2 partners don't share the same views any attempt to discuss differences can be viewed as an attack. My wife doesn't stay up on current events so when I see something interesting I'll share it with her and we might have a nice discussion about it and she's appreciative that I brought it up.
Religious issues are a different animal and she shuts down if I talk too much. Funny how that works.
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31-10-2015, 02:12 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
This is actually a really good resource for this section. Big Grin

I think I'm going to stick it so people can read it, and maybe add to it with their own similar experience. if nothing else it can serve as hope that some couples can survive and learn to coexist.

Coming out to a religious spouse is often a minefield of emotion with lots of fear attached.

ThumbsupBowing


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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03-12-2015, 05:32 AM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
An interesting video on "coming out"




Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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08-06-2016, 02:38 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
Its only been 1 year since I came out to my husband that I am an atheist. The first few months were really rough (big arguments about who was right), and lately we have just been avoiding the topic altogether. I think that my husband realized that he was pushing me away, and he really wants our marriage to work. I feel as though I have tried hard to see his side of things on many issues, but he hasn't done the same for me. I feel like he just shuts my arguments down so quick.
I want to make our relationship work, but the more I read, the less tolerant I am becoming of religious views. When we 'debate' I feel as though I might as well be banging my head on a brick wall. It is so frustrating! How can he seriously believe in Noah's ark for example.......or the garden of eden?? He doesn't even know half of the horrors in the old testament. I don't know how to get past MY feelings of utter frustration and disappointment that I am not able to get him to see things the way I see. I think I need to work on my own tolerance, but its REALLY hard.
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08-06-2016, 03:27 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
Its only been 1 year since I came out to my husband that I am an atheist. The first few months were really rough (big arguments about who was right), and lately we have just been avoiding the topic altogether. I think that my husband realized that he was pushing me away, and he really wants our marriage to work. I feel as though I have tried hard to see his side of things on many issues, but he hasn't done the same for me. I feel like he just shuts my arguments down so quick.
I want to make our relationship work, but the more I read, the less tolerant I am becoming of religious views. When we 'debate' I feel as though I might as well be banging my head on a brick wall. It is so frustrating! How can he seriously believe in Noah's ark for example.......or the garden of eden?? He doesn't even know half of the horrors in the old testament. I don't know how to get past MY feelings of utter frustration and disappointment that I am not able to get him to see things the way I see. I think I need to work on my own tolerance, but its REALLY hard.
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11-12-2016, 03:27 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
(03-12-2015 05:32 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  An interesting video on "coming out"

{video}

Great video, thanks for posting that. I'm in a spot where I have not come out to my husband or kids that I've become an atheist (after formerly being very active in our church and related activities, as a church musician, and homeschooling our kids... (even took them to a Ken Ham/young-earth creationist "class" in our area when our kids were younger.... blech!!). Of course they all know that I don't go to church anymore, but that's about the extent of what they know. My husband is a wonderful, loving man in most every way, but I have no idea how he will react if I "come out"... Sadcryface

I make comments on things now and then, pointing out historical or scientific info that contradicts that fundamentalist christian worldview (which is where he is at), so he knows I have some disagreements, and he tends to want to avoid conflict, so he rarely argues... I never know if that means he actually *knows* that some things don't agree with his biblical worldview, or if he is just thinking "I will be praying for you, you're so lost..." (more likely the 2nd)

It really is helpful to be able to read posts from people who have been through this, and come out with their relationships intact, so thanks for sharing your experience.

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11-12-2016, 04:43 PM
RE: Reflections on coming out to spouse now that we're past that period
(11-12-2016 03:27 PM)Closet-Heathen Wrote:  It really is helpful to be able to read posts from people who have been through this, and come out with their relationships intact, so thanks for sharing your experience.

Rhis is a good section for that.

And welcome to the forum.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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