To not tell my family I'm cohabitating

(103 Posts)
aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 21:26:13

I'm 41 and never married. Six months ago I met a fabulous man and have just shacked up with him. I live abroad from my very conservative religious family, and I don't want to tell them that I'm 'living in sin', seeing as they don't actually need to know.
However, I hate lying and would rather live honestly. He problem is that my parents and most of my siblings will heartily disapprove, and there will be grave disappointment and even tears as they believe this decision is a sign that I've rejected God and will therefore go to hell. I have a strong aversion to my family's strict religion because of the mental and moral control they had over me all my childhood (and clearly still do).

I love this guy, but am torn up in guilt. Am I being unreasonable?

LoSiento Sun 02-Jun-13 21:27:52

Well they lied to you when they told you God was real. So this would make it even.

DontmindifIdo Sun 02-Jun-13 21:31:05

Just remember that their opinion doesn't matter anymore, you are 41, you don't live in teh same country, you don't see them regularly, so why does it matter? Just drop it in an e-mail like you are dealing with normal people, something along the lines of "just to let you know, my address has changed to XXXXXX, I've moved in with my partner [DP's name]. Really like the new place. In other news.... "

grin at LoSiento.

OP, YANBU.

At all.

Snowyelephantshavewrinkles Sun 02-Jun-13 21:32:26

I think you do need to tell them. I know that in all reality they could end up not talking to you but I think it will be better for you in long run.

FourEyesGood Sun 02-Jun-13 21:32:43

LoSiento grin

OP: Congratulations on your fabulous relationship. Enjoy living in sin - it's a lot more fun than being married with children!

Stop looking for approval from anyone other than yourself. Especially your family. You're 41, you can do whatever the hell you like. It's great that you have met someone, enjoy it!

quoteunquote Sun 02-Jun-13 21:32:58

what LoSiento said.

pinkballetflats Sun 02-Jun-13 21:33:05

I think their use of their religion as a means of control over their own flesh and blood absolves you of any loyalty to them. Tell them, don't tell them - you're happy. That's all that matters.

MortifiedAdams Sun 02-Jun-13 21:33:37

What LoSiento said.

Tell them you live together then act shocked when they assume this means having sex, and tell them to clean out their filthy minds? wink

Sorry, honestly, I've no idea but I think at some point you will have to face it. At six months in - well, it's not ideal, but you could keep in vague if you're not sure it will last.

TheFutureMrsB Sun 02-Jun-13 21:33:59

yanbu

LoSiento Sun 02-Jun-13 21:36:51

Agree with the comment about not looking for approval. Especially conservative religious types - they tend to be totally unreasonable and have screwy value systems due to whatever outdated code of values they believe a God wants them to follow. You can't expect to treat them as normal rational humans, because they aren't, and their treatment of you will not be that of normal rational humans either. Omitting certain things in order to have any sort of relationship (if you want one) is often not just reasonable, but necessary.

DontmindifIdo Sun 02-Jun-13 21:37:27

BTW - keeping it a secret maintains the view that you are doing something wrong so it has to be hidden. You aren't doing something wrong.

LoSiento Sun 02-Jun-13 21:38:47

2nd sentence should say "Especially from conservative religious types..."

cantdoalgebra Sun 02-Jun-13 21:40:25

Do you want to get married? Or do you think the relationship will be shortlived? Or are you actually against marriage - if you are you will have to tell your relations sometime and they will have to accept it, you are an adult after all.

WafflyVersatile Sun 02-Jun-13 21:40:53

Tell them you have moved in with your lesbian girlfriend and her husband and started a strap-on marketing business and there will be pics of you smiling and wearing one on billboards all over your home town.

They'll be relieved to know the truth.

If they've not died of an aneurysm.

aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 21:41:40

LoSiento you write as though you know my family. They have incredibly outdated views as well as being religiously conservative so it's not a great combination tbh. I guess I just wish they would be happy for me but I know that they'll be gutted. And that really pisses me off.

LynetteScavo Sun 02-Jun-13 21:41:46

Well, if you want to keep your family happy you will just have to marry him immediately.

BananasInBikinis Sun 02-Jun-13 21:42:03

I can totally understand your predicament. My mother is extremely religious and believes sex before marriage and living together is a sin. When my brother told her that he and his gf (now wife) were moving in together my father (who is less extreme) told me she cried herself to sleep.

I think my brother did the braver thing by telling her. I don't think I would have had the guts. As it turns out, I married a man who also came from a religious family so we didn't officially live together before we married (had separate flats but usually stayed over at each other's). I always felt guilty that my brother was almost considered the black sheep for being honest about his living arrangements, whereas I retained my halo because my mother assumed I saved myself for my wedding night.

Tricky one, and can totally identify with this " ^I have a strong aversion to my family's strict religion because of the mental and moral control they had over me all my childhood (and clearly still do).^"

TinBox Sun 02-Jun-13 21:42:35

They may be disappointed and cry. Boo hoo hoo for them.

You shouldn't have to acquiesce to or accomodate their outdated beliefs. IMO keeping your relationship and living arrangements secret would be accommodating them - and all to your discomfort.

Just do what suits you best, whenever it suits you best - and don't waste any time feeling guilty about it either way.

aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 21:42:47

Waffily - that is genius!! grin

changeling1234 Sun 02-Jun-13 21:46:03

If they prefer their religion to your happiness then what sort of people are they? I've had these issues with DH's mother and can't believe people reject their children (we were living in sin) because of their belief in fairies/gods/whatever.

Tell them and let them get over it. It's your life and you only get one chance at it.

aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 21:46:07

I suspect he is going to be in my life for a long time - and maybe eventually marry. So I'm not against it. But he's not a believer so even a wedding wouldn't fix it - my dad has already said he couldn't attend my cousin's wedding as they had already lived together and so there was nothing to celebrate. Caught either way really, unless I marry a believer, which would be hypocritical of them to marry me!

julieann42 Sun 02-Jun-13 21:52:31

My mum too didn't believ in people,living together before marriage...I did move in with my partner before we got married...I didn't like telling her but I did..and she was upset but she did get over it and didn't let it affect our relationship..it's always easy to say but be true to yourself...it's your life your living .no one else's

TinBox Sun 02-Jun-13 21:54:03

He wouldn't got to a family wedding because 'there was nothing to celebrate'!

I can hardly anyone being so pious and joyless about a family wedding.

You are never going to please these people - who seem determined to be critical and bitter - so you might as well do exactly whatever you like.

Coffeeformeplease Sun 02-Jun-13 21:55:31

aroom, sounds like whatever you do you won't get their approval. Stop looking for it. They will never be happy for you. Don't waste your energy. Us it for your sinful relationship grin
Honestly, I would tell them because you feel bad about pretending to be living alone. Their reaction is predictable.

WafflyVersatile Sun 02-Jun-13 21:56:38

to be fair, they don't sound like they'd be much fun at a wedding anyway.

Coffeeformeplease Sun 02-Jun-13 21:56:48

use

rabbitlady Sun 02-Jun-13 21:57:47

could they find out accidentally? would a neighbour dob you in? better to hear it from you.
but if you are pretty sure you can carry it off, i'd keep it quiet.

TotallyBursar Sun 02-Jun-13 22:00:50

I lived in sin for aaaaages.
Deliberately.
I told them we were not getting married, were blissfully happy and we're planning numerous bastard children.
They were welcome to come & join the fun but I was completely uninterested in hearing any of their views so they could come & keep schtum or not come.
I also pointed out that they were hideously hypocritical what with all the divorcing & complete lack of adherence to the bible which they believe was the literal word of God. So who's in bigger trouble really?
I'm more than happy to look out for my own lack of soul thanks.
They all caved & we get on as well as we ever will.
But they collectively ruined my childhood so they can fuck right off if I sacrifice my adulthood.

Living for other people will be a constant disappointment. Also accepting they will never be what you want (so you accept their faults as you ask them to accept their perceived faults of yours) is very freeing eventually.
It's hard and horrible to admit to yourself that you are not loved enough to be accepted for who you are. Once you realise that it is actually not your problem you get to live with self determination.
It's better.
The memories of my happiness will comfort me far more in my old age than knowing I had lived acceptably to family that only cared that I followed their rules, & then they die & I have to live a lifetime in 20years? That really would be cold comfort.

aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 22:03:15

Waffly they aren't that much fun at weddings - surprising, no?

So then, tell them or not? I did tell my sister who I think was secretly disappointed, but did her best to be supportive. She warned me about the reaction of the rest of the family but she hasn't told them and I don't think she will.

aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 22:06:21

but they collectively ruined my childhood so they can fuck right off if I sacrifice my adult life

yy to this. Sorry you've had a similar childhood

EllaFitzgerald Sun 02-Jun-13 22:06:56

Tell them. At worst, you will fall out with them.

At best, you won't have to worry about whether your sister will change her mind and tell them and your DP won't be made to feel like you're ashamed of your relationship

WafflyVersatile Sun 02-Jun-13 22:07:04

It's up to you.

I (speaking as the one who doesn't need to do it!) would go with telling them, in a few months. I'd hate to have to tell them I've been dumped straight afterwards! Let them have their hissy fit. Be very clear that you are an adult and make your own decisions now. You do not share their religion or values but you respect theirs and would appreciate them respecting yours. Tell them that twatting on about it every time you see or speak to them is not acceptable either. Set your boundaries, girl!

Msgilbertblythe Sun 02-Jun-13 22:07:17

Why do people automatically think it's fine to slag off religious people just because they don't believe in it?! I'm not religious but my mother is and I respect her views, plus she's still a good decent person. When I moved in with my boyfriend at the age of 30(!) I thought it was much kinder not to tell her. I live in a different country to her so it was easier (until she came to visit one time, that was a little trickier, but we got away with it). Do what you want, it's your life, but why rock the boat by telling her?

WafflyVersatile Sun 02-Jun-13 22:10:22

telling your religious parents the truth about your relationship is not slagging them off. In this instance they want so much undeserved respect but won't give it themselves. Fuck 'em and their religion.

trackies Sun 02-Jun-13 22:12:23

i have alot of friends who have family like this, and i myself come from a background that is quite strict, although by the time i moved in with DP i was 30 something and my Mum had given up on her no living together until you are married thing, as she was just glad i'd found someone. My advice is tell them. You know that they are likely to have a big problem yes. And can totally see why that would p*ss you off. But if you dont tell them, you're not giving them a chance at all to ever come round to it. More importantly, it'll be better for your relationship. It sounds like you've found a good DP, so live with him and be proud of it. You have done nothing wrong so don't hide it. I had a relationship for years and my DP hid it from his parents cos they were so strict. His siblings did the same. The secrets niggled away at each relationship, destroying some of those relationships. Good luck.

Msgilbertblythe Sun 02-Jun-13 22:13:01

I wasn't referring to the OP, I was referring to what a lot of the other posters said about religious people. Generalising.

^^ because its all just fairy stories hmm

We live once. For hopefully around 80 years odd.

Bloody enjoy it while you are here.

Why the arseing fuck would you compromise your happiness for a 'belief' that is hilariously flawed anyway?

Live long, live happy.

get me, all hippyish

aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 22:14:52

Waffly spot on - they do tell me about how I'm going to hell whenever info back to visit (although its genuinely out of concern), despite saying that I didn't want to discuss religion with them. And they do demand respect from me but feel no obligation to reciprocate - in fact, their opinions are 'supported by God' so they are automatically right.

hurricanewyn Sun 02-Jun-13 22:15:47

On a purely practical note, you should tell them in case anything awful happens - your next of kin needs to make medical decisions etc in a situation where you're not capable to, it'd be very difficult to sort all that out in the midst of a crisis, so please consider this.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Sun 02-Jun-13 22:16:07

If you dont want to keep a relationship going with them don't tell them.
But be honest if you do.

I had a similar issue of similar magnitude and didn't tell my parents for years. It did a lot of harm to the relationship because - although this is easy at first - what people don't tell you is the sheer tedium of lying explictly or implicitly every time you speak to them. Checking every reference you make. Eventually I told them because I couldn't cope with that anymore. If you don't care about your relationship with them, its easier to keep the lie going because it costs you less energy. But if you do - believe me on this - it becomes more ddifficult to tell them and more tedious to lie.

NonnoMum Sun 02-Jun-13 22:16:17

Just out of interest OP - are they Middle America or Irish? (just wondering...!)

WafflyVersatile Sun 02-Jun-13 22:17:09

Personally I think religion is, on balance, a bad thing. And it utterly baffles me that people still believe.

I try* not to slag off religious people just for believing though, unless they are being arseholes about their beliefs.

*I fail sometimes.

aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 22:18:48

He is just fabulous.

trackies you make a good point about giving them the chance to deal with it, and I am conscious that the secrets will slowly eat away at the relationships within my family.

crumblepie Sun 02-Jun-13 22:20:06

its your life , you are 41 , you have been brain washed long enough , live for now , how does anyone know there is a hell , if there is the people there will be a lot more entertaining than the boring bible bashers in so called heaven smile .

aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 22:22:05

Nonno nope - Calvinist. Although there is a large Calvinist contingent in the States as well (my family don't live in the US)

CSIJanner Sun 02-Jun-13 22:30:12

I just love how deeply religious people presume they have a direct line to God. Just tell them as YANBU - if they have a problem, its theirs. You love this guy & see a future with him - that's all that matters.

Flosshilde Sun 02-Jun-13 22:32:56

I know exactly what you mean about demanding respect but not reciprocating. MIL was appalling to me when I said I was a feminist, saying it was irrelevant, went out of fashion in the 70s, basically belittling me. If I ever dared to slightly, and politely question her Catholicism (went out of fashion at the Reformation wink ) I am patronised half to death and told I couldn't possibly understand with the clear implication that I am lesser for not sharing the faith.

DH hid the fact we lived together before marriage from his family. We officially had seperate flats but never spent a night apart. Cooked all our meals together, etc. MIL famously told him not to 'fall at the last hurdle' a couple of nights before our wedding. We'd been shagging for 6 years. grin

I wish, in hindsight, I'd made him tell them as I was sick of the pretence and he was a grown man of 35. It made me feel like his family came before my feelings. MN has made me much ballsier in that respect. Please make sure your DP is happy with whatever you decide.

fflonkl Sun 02-Jun-13 22:40:15

I was in a similar position, with conservative & religious parents - did not tell my parents about DP (now DH) for years and had to continually censor myself when talking to them. They live in a different country so it was easier to do that and not rock the boat.

But when we decided to live together I decided to come clean as I was getting tired of lying. My parents were all for organising a wedding as soon as possible so had to tell them quite firmly that we would decide our wedding date ourselves!

My parents never stopped asking me when were we planning to get married but to their credit they treated me normally and made DP welcome whenever we came to visit.

OP your parents may or may not have the same reaction, but fwiw I think you will feel better telling them as otherwise you will be hiding a big part of your life from them.

If they can't accept the way you live your life then so be it!

HerrenaHarridan Sun 02-Jun-13 22:51:08

Losiento! A bit harsh eh?

Guilt, Catholicism?

Try and let it go. Your parents don't need to know. If you need them to know, tell them and let them be upset.

I'm sorry I can't be much more helpful because for all it wasn't well put personally I feel that pp is right.
They filled your head with nonsense as a child and you will always pay the price. Such a shame.

Enjoy your new bf though wink

TinBox Sun 02-Jun-13 23:11:45

Why are people so keen to flag up Catholicism whenever someone mentions families with devout beliefs and rigid sexual morality? There are lots of strict, illiberal religions out there.

Flosshilde, I find you comment that Catholicism "went out of fashion at the reformation" quite offensive.

I am not religious, by the way.

frogspoon Sun 02-Jun-13 23:18:59

You should tell them.

Yes they will be very upset, and probably angry with you. But currently you are living a lie, and when they eventually find out this will upset them even more.

You are an adult and old enough to make your own decisions about how you live your life. Either they accept it, or they are not worth being part of your life.

WafflyVersatile Sun 02-Jun-13 23:21:13

Tinbox, because this is the UK and many many catholics have spoken of their experience of devout beliefs, rigid sexual morality and lingering feelings of guilt long after eschewing catholicism.

Flosshilde Sun 02-Jun-13 23:34:02

Tinbox - I flagged up Catholicism as it was my own personal experience. My issue is with MIL's attitude, not the religion itself. My DH is Catholic and my DCs are / will be baptised.

My comment on the Reformation was tongue in cheek, and referred back to me being told feminism went out of fashion in the 70s. Neither are perfect but both are still relevant today. I'm sorry if you found it offensive.

TinBox Sun 02-Jun-13 23:48:21

Flosshilde - in the context of your whole post that comment makes more sense. I should have read it more carefully - sorry.

Waffly, there are many religions practised in the UK, including many denominations of Christianity. Other Christian faiths and communities can be just as 'strict' Catholicism, and though "many many" Catholics or former Catholics have 'spoken of' their experiences, I don't feel this justifies people assuming that Catholicism is always the religion in question when people talk about guilt or sexual morality. The fact that it is a minority religion but is so often singled out in this way is slightly worrying.

ImperialBlether Sun 02-Jun-13 23:57:49

I would tell them that you've had a vision from God. Don't say any more at first, just say it was overwhelming and you just can't talk about it. Then, gradually, tell them about the man that God told you to live with.

I sympathise, OP - I lived with my (now ex) husband before we married and I didn't have the nerve to tell my parents. Twas a long time ago now. My mum told my sister "I know what IB is up to but at least she's discreet." There was one awful moment when she asked where he lived and we both pointed in different directions. grin

If I were your age (I wish) I would tell them and give them something to chew on.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 00:16:43

It's not at all worrying.

It's the one most people are most familiar with after anglicanism or whatever the english church is called. Anglicans probably know more about catholicism than anglicanism. It's not the tiniest bit worrying or surprising that the religion which comes to mind to most british people when there is talk of guilt is catholicism.

How many people know anything at all about the wee free church for example?

If that is 'worrying' it's for the catholic church to worry about it, not me.

Maybe you're upset that Islam is not getting enough flack? Diddums.

TinBox Mon 03-Jun-13 00:25:47

I'm not worried about other religions not getting "enough flack". I just think it's possible that it could be indicative of diffuse anti-Catholicism.

TinBox Mon 03-Jun-13 00:26:41

Sorry, OP - didn't mean to derail your thread.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 00:29:30

I think it's indicative of familiarity with catholicism and the guilt and sexual morality fostered by it.

TinBox Mon 03-Jun-13 00:37:52

But why do so many people profess familiarity with Catholic 'guilt' and 'sexual morality' given that it is a minority religion in the UK? I'm guessing that many people don't actually know much about Catholicism as a whole at all, but have very firm ideas about the idea that it fosters 'guilt' and certain sexual ethics. Other Christian denominations aren't exactly Christianity-lite. It strikes me as ignorant to single out Catholicism in this way.

Again, sorry OP - I won't post on this again.

ImperialBlether Mon 03-Jun-13 00:40:53

Speaking only for myself, I have a deep knowledge of Catholicism and suffered greatly as a result of my family's beliefs.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 00:45:07

Because they are catholics. Because they know catholics. Because they have read books, watched tv, read the newspapers.

If the catholic church wants people to stop relating it to guilt and certain sexual ethics (lol) then they should stop fostering a culture of guilt and stop trying to control people's sex lives.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 00:46:25

And because on every thread like this there are several posters like ImperialBlether.

I guess that might give people a negative impression of catholicism.

aroomofherown Mon 03-Jun-13 10:51:13

Well in any case the Catholics really don't have the monopoly on guilt. Thanks for the responses - I think I should tell them, but I'll do it on my terms and when I'm ready. Mostly my head plays the 'you're going to hell' narrative so it is great to hear some more balanced perspectives.

NonnoMum Tue 04-Jun-13 20:35:50

aroom thank you for sharing. You won't win a logical argument with them, because, as they say, God is on their side.
However, it is wonderful you have found a loving and loyal man to live with.
You may just have to tell them that you have chosen to live in this world and will deal with a loving God at the Pearly Gates... You may lose your parents but tell them the joy and happiness you are experiencing is worth the risk...
Good luck. You aren't the first person whose parents disapprove of their choices and you won't be the last.

Ilovemyself Tue 04-Jun-13 20:42:21

Monkeyfacegrace. How do you know we don't come back again?

SirBoobAlot Tue 04-Jun-13 20:42:58

Honestly, it sounds like he might be a marvelous excuse to get away from their bollocks.

Tell them you're living together, and tell them that you're happy. If they start being at all negative, just end the conversation.

Ilovemyself.

Well...urmm...we may well do.

Sure as shit wont make me change my behaviour now though, just on the off chance grin

debbietheduck Tue 04-Jun-13 21:51:33

I've been in exactly the same situation and I do feel for you. I still think it's better to be honest, it is horrible to have secrets. You are grown up and have to make your own decisions, and ultimately they should accept that. My parents didn't like it, but they got used to it.

It didn't stop us getting married - in church - we just lived together first. What of it?

hotair Tue 04-Jun-13 22:18:08

I personally lived with a guy in another country for 2 years and didn't tell my family because my mum was hysterical about how unsuitable he was (--annoyingly she was totally right--). It was fine and enabled me to have the relationship with my family I wanted while living the life I wanted! But I did have to keep it quite clear in my head what I was telling them, so I didn't let it slip!
I also have a friend who has been with her partner for 9 years now, and for about 6 of them they have been living together.
Her family (conservative and living in another country, with a religious aspect, where marrying outside of your culture and/or living with someone is not ok) STILL don't know.
They are planning to get married and have children in the next 3-5 years, but are putting it off because she doesn't want to get married without them knowing and no longer knows how to admit that its been going on for this long as it would at the very least come out at the wedding, even though now they are just so desperate for her to get married that they would no longer care about her partners background!

So long as you don't let it go on for years and years or you are able to compartmentalise your life quite well I think it's a really sensible idea! Your life is only their business as much as you want it to be.

foreverondiet Tue 04-Jun-13 22:25:35

Well at 41 and abroad it really isn't their business.

Whether you should tell them - depends what you think their reaction will be and whether you want an easy life or not.

On balance probably best to say - but if you think it will cause too much grieve them maybe better to keep quiet!

ZZZenagain Tue 04-Jun-13 22:34:32

if they cut you off, will you be ok with that or would it make you sad? If things went wrong for you overseas, would you want to have your family to fall back on?

What's the big rush to tell them? You've only known this man for 6 months which is not very long at all. I think I would probably wait another 6 months before saying anything and see how the relationship develops unless they are likely to want to come and visit you sometime soon.Let'S say you tell them now and there is a huge family blow-up over this and then you two break up. It could happen.

You can tell them in a month's time, in 6 months' time, a year from now. I actually don't think that at 41 you actually have to tell anyone anything.

aroomofherown Wed 05-Jun-13 14:50:36

It's starting to get in the way of our relationship now - my fear of my sister's disapproval (she's befriended him on FB and I know she will go through every detail of his profile) is making me grumpy with him. I've decided that I'm going to go ahead with the relationship, without guilt, and if/when they find out then if they choose to cut me off/judge me/not accept my right to my own decisions, then that's too bad. I'm going to be liberated and its about bloody time! I'm tired of living with guilt and obligation and lies. I know I will never be able to please my father, and my brothers aren't too far off in terms if their conservative disapproval, so I'm not going to keep trying.

He may or may not be the love of my life, but I need to go through this break from the guilt and control of my family. I am starting to see that I've been brainwashed and manipulated and patronised all my life (being he youngest means I've always had to submit to the older, wiser ones of course) and I've had enough!!

He is absolutely lovely; not perfect, but lovely enough to make me want to pursue it.

NonnoMum Thu 06-Jun-13 11:41:27

Best of luck! Enjoy your life.
I'm sure you are a lovely, liberated good person no matter what your family may say. Just remember that.

Oh - and if they want to go all Biblical on you, do the women in your family always cover their hair? (just an example of how God's rules and regulations as laid down in the the Bible have been reinterpreted and adapt with life as we continue to go forward as a society...) And you are going forward by making your own decisions about your adult relationship...

aroomofherown Sat 08-Jun-13 19:08:09

NonnoMum thank you.

I love that example you gave of interpreting Scripture to suit you. Especially as they are fundamentalists and wouldn't think for a minute that that's what they are doing - but you are right, that's exactly what they are doing.

I'm having a lot of fun since I have accepted this might mean estrangement (at least temporarily) from my family wink

NonnoMum Sat 08-Jun-13 19:15:49

smile

all the best...

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 08-Jun-13 19:22:47

Hello OP
Do let us know if you'd like us to move this thread out of AIBU into relationships or indeed philosophy/religion
Best of luck with it all
Thanks
MNHQ

CookieB Sat 08-Jun-13 19:32:17

You are 41. Enjoy your life however you see fit! I am 29 and had to remind my dm of this fact considering Im a mum of two now.

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 08-Jun-13 19:36:10

We've moved this for you OP

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 08-Jun-13 19:48:14

OP, I'm afraid that you can't make your family happy. All you can do is be true to yourself. Tell them, it may be uncomfortable for a while. They might cut you off.sad

Either way, you will be freer than you are now to enjoy your relationship and your life.

aroomofherown Sat 08-Jun-13 19:53:30

Thank you Olivia

The thread has landed!

It sounds like you are in a really difficult place. The culture clash between your family abroad and the culture here is a tricky one to navigate and religion is part of that, but probably not all. I hope some of the lovely posters in this part of mumsnet can offer you their wisdom.

Branleuse Sun 09-Jun-13 07:51:19

its none of their business.
they dont need to know, and you arent hurting anyone. x

specialsubject Sun 09-Jun-13 11:49:20

their religion only makes them unhappy. No reason it should make you unhappy too.

tell them if you want, but if there's no need, don't bother.

aroomofherown Sun 09-Jun-13 20:52:03

So now my aunty is trying to get hold of me and I'm avoiding her calls. She is very religious and believes his told her not to marry a non Christian or she would never have a relationship with God. I really love her but she preaches at me every time she talks to me and although she doesn't know about my relationship, I feel it is going to become awkward.

Would appreciate any advice from Christians, or people married to a Christian.

aroomofherown Sun 09-Jun-13 20:52:22

God, not his

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 09-Jun-13 21:35:12

OP, what are you avoiding by not talking to your aunt? Are you avoiding talking about religion or your partner?

aroomofherown Sun 09-Jun-13 21:48:22

That's a good question. I think I'm avoiding hearing the religious stuff because it makes me feel incredibly guilty for having my relationship. I wouldn't have the guts to tell her about my relationship - at this stage at least.

The religious stuff is complicated but the bit about Christians marrying non Chrisitans comes down to a verse in the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians 'Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers' (chapter 6 v 14 King James Version) but, if Paul meant for Christians not to marry Christians, he was blunt enough to say this. The unequally yoked is more nuanced and is aimed at the culture of the times. This doesn't stop people taking the verse to mean what they want it to mean.

Today in the UK you find Christians living with their partners before they get married and you find lots of marriages/partnerships where one partner is Christian and other is not. It is not the same culture as the one where your family lives which is as you say more conservative.

In the past it was marriage or ruin as women could not work and thus needed a husband to provide for her. Anyone who did not marry and shacked up with a man was either fast or putting herself in a great deal of danger as she had no security when she became pregnant or found herself seen as tainted goods having lost her virginity and no 'decent' man would marry her. These attitudes are a long time in dying out and it may be that this is what is at the heart of your aunt's concern or it could be that she is taking a literal view of the passage from 2 Corinthains. Or a mixture of the two. So I suspect that the religious and the socially conservative views are getting muddled up which doesn't really help I'm afraid. It sounds like they care but whether they can hear 'I'm in a relationship with a nice man, be happy for me' is something only you can judge and realistically it might take a bit of time.

aroomofherown Mon 10-Jun-13 10:53:06

Thanks for your response. It definitely is due to the verse from Paul about being unequally yoked. But in the end it is largely about my family being culturally conservative as well as religiously and they hide behind the religious to support their own natural conservatism.

I think they are acting out of concern and care, but actually it comes across as controlling and dictatorial. My father has said things in the past like he would disown me if I ever played keyboard in a band (rock and roll music is of the devil), I can't study history or psychology as I'd be too influenced by liberal leftist academics and psych messes with your thinking and therefore is a risk to my faith etc - I can see how all of this is plain personal conservatism and not Chrisitianity but I know he'll cry when (if) he discovers that I'm in this relationship, because he's "worried about my salvation". Happiness comes second to God.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 10-Jun-13 11:01:45

What do you believe wrt your relationship and your salvation?

Wow that it is conservative. There might be a couple of Brethren groups in this country that are that conservative but it really is an exception here so I can see how big a culture clash you have going on.

The light in the fog is that he does care which is a foundation to build on. Prayers anyway [']

HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 10-Jun-13 11:30:58

I think I'm avoiding hearing the religious stuff because it makes me feel incredibly guilty for having my relationship.

Then you are avoiding it for a good reason. Trust your instincts.

I know he'll cry when (if) he discovers that I'm in this relationship, because he's "worried about my salvation

Then let him cry. You can't control other people's responses to your decisions, and you are not responsible for them.

aroomofherown Mon 10-Jun-13 12:12:28

Wrt my salvation and this relationship I sometimes believe that this relationship means that I'll be turned from God forever, and sometimes I think it is just a good thing, and we will muddle our way to (or not) God together.

But frankly it would be hypocritical for a Christian to have a relationship with me as I am not a practising Christian anyway! But committing to a relationship seems to make my rebellion more 'set in stone', or confirmed, as though I'm closing that door forever.

Everything is so black and white according to my family.

aroomofherown Mon 10-Jun-13 12:14:15

Heads down that's what I'm trying to reconcile. I've always felt emotionally responsible for my dad in particular so this feels like a mean thing to do. But I know I can never please him, because he is fundamentally unpleasantly in terms of morals.

aroomofherown Mon 10-Jun-13 12:18:49

Gah, unpleasable, not unpleasantly

Surely the concept of partnership is older than the concept of christianity? How did people 'formalise' their relationships before the church got involved?
In your opinion, would the relationship be any different if you had made vows in a public place/before witnesses? You'd still be living together....

HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 10-Jun-13 12:27:17

I know. I can understand that it will feel like a mean thing to do. But you know that you're not doing anything deliberately to hurt him. If he will experience real difficulty in coming to terms with your choices there is very little you can do about that, except feel a bit sorry for him (you are allowed to feel sorry for him).

If you know that he is fundamentally unpleasable then you also know that there is little point in trying to please him.

aroomofherown Mon 10-Jun-13 17:09:20

MrsC to be honest, I've never felt like I've had permission to have a relationship of any sort, unless it was to perhaps a minister or someone equally religious. I can't imagine getting to the place where we could make vows in front of my family, so not sure if that would make a difference or not. I hope one day I can.

I think its just as much about religion as not ever feeling like it was ok to enjoy my life (ie don't go to the beach on a Sunday, you might enjoy it too much and want to skip church in the evening). And if I look back and think about the 'don't wear short skirts, you don't understand how hard it is for men to behave', 'even your mind is fallen, you can't trust your own rational decisions', the minister shouting at his own daughter from the pulpit because she was whispering through the sermon - then I have to admit that there is much about their morality and teachings that I can't trust. Particularly as both my parents and grandparents 'did the deed' before they were married (they admitted this) so I suspect its more about personal hangups than wanting the best for me.

I've spent so much time thinking about what I believe about this today, and largely due to prompts from this thread I've realised that I fully believe that my family interpret Scripture how they want. I remember asking about why it is shameful for women to have their head uncovered, and being told that it was a cultural thing and so didn't apply...but then that doesn't apply to other things. It's really hypocritical and sometimes used to justify their personal preferences. The other thing I believe is that 'those without sin should throw the first stone' - I don't believe that Jesus wants us to judge each other like this. This gives me some strength towards being able to enjoy my relationship. Very grateful for the support I've had here.

However, you should see the state of my nails! sad

I think you've hit on a good point above aroom - many people interpret Scripture how they want, and, unfortunately, this can be in order to repress people.

I was brought up C of E although I don't follow that faith now. However, I do believe that as long as what people are doing is within the law, then they should not feel guilty about it. I was reared in an environment that said that same-sex relationships were taboo, that 'living in sin' was taboo, that mixed-race relationships were wrong, and that women should be subservient, and that every day should be lived in fear of God striking me down.

Over the years, I have come to see that much of these teachings have nothing to do with the bible, but from people's fears. If I am really logical and rational, I can see it was riddled with hypocrisy. One of my teachers was a lesbian (closet), and one of the church elders was having an affair.

Personally I have mixed feelings about whether there was a Jesus or not, but if there was, considering the people that he mixed with, and what he reputedly preached, then I think many people are following the wrong guidance. He said that we should treat people as we expect to be treated, to not judge, and not to throw accusations about. He hung out with those shunned by society. So it stands to reason that he'd have no issue with anything that I was told was 'wrong'.

I don't buy the line that women should dress modestly because men can't control themselves. I don't have a problem with women WANTING to cover up, and I'm not a fan of those who wear a belt as a skirt/top, but what a woman wears has no reflection on whether a man can 'control himself'. That's rubbish. It undermines the previous argument that women should be subservient to men.

I don't think that Sunday should be any more special than any other day. Every day should afford some time to reflect on the gifts we have in life.

It sounds as though you've thought through your position carefully. After years of being told what to do/say/think, you're making choices that suit you. Enjoy those freedoms. smile

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