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Is there any people of faith that can give me an insight into why my new boyfriend is with holding info about me to his religious parents??

(7 Posts)
WineAndSunMakesMeHappy Sun 26-May-13 22:53:28

I have been in a relationship with a new man for three months, however we have only been "open" about it for a week or so, due to me having a child, both in previous long term relationships etc.

He has had to fly home as matter of urgency as a relative is very sick.

Home is Ireland, he is Catholic, and attends mass when at home and on special occasions. And sometimes just because he feels like going (I'm just trying to give an idea of how "religious" he is).

I am an atheist. We have discussed this, we are both fine and happy about excepting each others beliefs, but he has acknowledged that some older relatives of his would not be happy with him being in a relationship with an atheist. Although, he is happy for them to think as they please and that it doesn't bother him.

However, he told me today, that whilst catching up with his mother he told her about me. Somehow, it got round to the conversation that he hadn't told her that I have a daughter. When I queried it, he joked that he didn't want to give her a heart attack??

Now, I'm aware it's a new relationship, he hasn't seen his family for months, and that it is a stressfull time for his family.

But a small part of me is troubled, and feels he may be ashamed of the fact I have a daughter and that I was never married to her father.

Am I reading too much into this do you think? Would any of you done the same thing, or do I have a reason to think this may be a problem?

PiratePanda Sun 26-May-13 22:59:22

If they're very strict Catholics they may expect him to save himself until narriage, and marry a Catholic virgin? (A close friend's evangelical Protestant parents felt exactly this way 'about her choice of partner.) Just a thought...

WineAndSunMakesMeHappy Sun 26-May-13 23:02:54

I think they are fairly strict. Although they have met previous girlfriends and he was engaged.

He is confident in his faith, but equally is fairly liberal in his views re homosexuality, abortion, etc etc.

I have asked him how he feels about me having a child and I was assured there was no problem, otherwise I would never have got into the relationship........

chipmonkey Mon 27-May-13 00:59:58

I am Irish and was raised Catholic but my family were not what we call "Holy Joes". We went to Mass but I think my Dad was actually agnostic in his thinking!
To be honest, your' bf's mother sounds a bit like my MIL. Once when ds2 was talking to my Mum he mentioned Nana, and then was quick to say "Oh, not you, Nana, I mean the holy Nana" grin She would have freaked out if any of her children had a baby before marriage although both her dd's were actually pregnant walking up the aisle, would have totally freaked if any of her children were gay and would not have approved of her sons marrying a girl who already had a child.

When I was younger I was atheist/agnostic and in fact so was dh but he and his siblings would never have dared to tell MIL they didn't go to Mass. On Sunday, they used to dress up in their nice clothes, tell their Mum they were going to Mass but actually go to Abrakebabra which other Irish people will know as a fast food joint!

Now, I could be being unfair to your possible future MIL but it worries me slightly that your bf seems to be afraid enough of her to not tell her about you. Most Irish Mammies are reasonably tolerant and even my very religious aunt has been accepting of her atheist son-in-law and her other son being married to a former single mother.

My MIL is anything but tolerant and when BIL was going out with an older separated mother she marched out to the hall one day when BIL was talking on the phone to the woman, grabbed the phone off him and screeched down the line "Leave my son alone!" BIL was 25. He has maintained the relationship with this woman for 20 years but still lives at home and doesn't tell MIL that he is still with this woman.

I have since become a bit more spiritual, it just kind of evolved for me that way but I haven't and won't rejoin the Catholic church. MIL has a problem with this and also has a problem with the fact that I won't take dh's surname. But..... dh stands up for me. BIL never stood up for his gf.

I am fairly certain that if any of her sons had married a girl who already had a child that'
1/ MIL would not regard that child as a grandchild
2/ If her son and the girl had a child together subsequently, MIL would treat the bio grandchild better than the step-grandchild and would make this really obvious. She actually ranks the grandchildren who share PIL's surname higher than the grandchildren who don't. This has been very hurtful to SIL.

In your shoes, I would have a serious talk with your bf. No woman on earth deserves to be a dirty secret and no child deserves to be regarded as second-class. If he is too afraid of his mother to tell her about you and subsequently too afraid to stand up for you and your child, then I would run for the hills.

There are a number of things going on here and faith is only a part of it.

1. Your Bf's relationship with his mother which chipmunk has pointed out
2. Irish culture which can be quite traditional
3. Your Bf's mother's personality - it may be that any woman will not be good enough for her baby - see point 1 above
4. Roman Catholicism which does set a high standard on sex before marriage, contraception, divorce etc which may be ignored in practice (I'm not a RC so I can't comment on to what extent this happens) but there is a gold standard which any doting mum may wish for her son - see point 1
5. Differing faith perspectives.

This is a new relationship. If it becomes long term then all of the above are going to be part of it. People do have good relationships that have different faith perspectives. It takes work and commitment and listening and all the things that are obvious until you hit unspoken assumptions which means more work and commitment and listening. His mother has been his mother for a very long time. You cannot compete and shouldn't but it is tough in the early period. I've been married for over 20 years and I'm still not convinced my MiL has forgiven me for stealing her baby....

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 27-May-13 12:52:06

You say that you and your boyfriend have only been open about your r'ship for about a week. You also say that at this time your BF's family are grieving. Are you sure that this is a religious issue for him and them?

My boyfriend did not tell his parents that I had a DC, when he told them he was seeing me. I also didn't tell my folks everything about BF straight away. The first time I mentioned him was just to say that I was now seeing someone.

dawning Tue 28-May-13 11:45:30

Agree that this is not necessarily a religious thing –
my sister had a child before marrying into an irish Catholic family where many members of the family were very religious, including priests. They were all very welcoming of my sister and her child.

But there are conservative people who are Catholics, just as there are conservative people who are not Catholics, and it sounds like the older generations of his family are quite socially conservative. If everyone is stressed and worried about a very sick family member, it may be that he feels it is more sensitive to wait a while before gently introducing your daughter.

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