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Give up or fight on?

(44 Posts)
Notapassingphase Mon 22-Jun-15 07:21:07

I've been with DP for 15 happy years. Solid relationship, 3 DC. We were both atheists when we got together and until recently, but I've recently started thinking that maybe I believe in God. For DP this is a complete game changer. Everything that I thought was solid about our relationship seems to be, for her, dependent on my remaining an atheist. I'm not, and never will be, and kind of fundamentalist anything and my politics, my feminism, my lesbianism, my moral values are all the same as they have ever been (and match hers). But she is seriously talking about moving out in 6 months if I haven't given up this nonsense. So, should I (a) make myself stop believing - I was an atheist before so if I try hard enough/ read the God Dulusion (again) etc it might be possible? (b) pretend to do (a) but just secretly believe, and conceal my faith, (c) accept that I can't make her stay, and that we have grown apart, and put my energy into ensuring the DC are put first in the eventual separation, or (d) not let her make this the be all and end all and fight for my marriage tooth and nail?

I've been working at (d) but it getting harder each day. Wwyd?

FolkGirl Mon 22-Jun-15 07:25:52

I have no idea! It seems strange that she would make such a big deal out of this.

How are things otherwise? I know you say it's been 15 happy years, but then surely she wouldn't want to throw away 15 happy years either.

You say you wouldn't become some kind of 'fundamentalist'. Maybe you wouldn't, but maybe she already is.

I would say don't pretend to be someone you're not, though x

tribpot Mon 22-Jun-15 07:31:15

I'm an atheist and this would in no way be a game changer for me. Don't your children deserve to see that tolerance is one of our key values? Tolerance and respect of different opinions and beliefs? What if one of them wants to become a Christian - or Muslim, Hindu or whatever? Is your DP going to cast them out as well?

I don't see how you 'fight' for your marriage in these circumstances. What are you going to do, beg her to accept you for who you are? That's pretty much the cornerstone of a happy relationship in any case.

Janette123 Mon 22-Jun-15 07:34:04

I can see why your DP is getting worried.

Are you aware of the Christian Church's teaching that gay relationships are a sin in most denominations?
Most say that actually being gay isn't a sin, but acting on it is. So if you are gay and celibrate then that isn't a problem.

I would suggest you do some more research on this and then consider your position.


Joysmum Mon 22-Jun-15 08:01:34


There are many factions of the Christian faith so not all think the same way.

Likewise there's a world of difference between having a faith and being part of an organised religion with all its human flaws!

Lastly there are many gods and religions and the OP hasn't mentioned Christianity.

Personally I'm a humanist and I find your partners radical vows on religion and posibly faith too very disturbing.

You ask whether you should fight on, this isn't your fight its hers. sad

Notapassingphase Mon 22-Jun-15 08:21:06

Yes, she is a fundamentalist atheist; believes religion is the fount of all evil and utterly irrational. She is far from tolerant about it. She is ex-RC so there is some baggage associated with her childhood which at least partially explains her extreme response.

janette I know all that but my church is inclusive and accepting

Vivacia Mon 22-Jun-15 08:31:33

I don't think you should try to change your deepest beliefs for someone else.

Saying that I can see why this would be a deal-breaker for her. Christians follow the teachings of the bible and the bible teaches that homosexuality is an abomination. It makes no mention of paedophilia and rape is condoned. I can see why she'd be fucked off.

Notapassingphase Mon 22-Jun-15 09:24:26

She's not fucked off vivacia she's devastated. And it's not because I might become a bible literalist (most Christians aren't as I'm sure you know). She knows that.

Notapassingphase Mon 22-Jun-15 09:26:14

tribpot yes my thoughts exactly, but I still don't know what to do!

Vivacia Mon 22-Jun-15 09:52:22

She's not to know that you're going to pick and choose which bits of christianity to believe! Talk to her, find out her concerns, but don't blame her if she finds the whole thing deeply unsettling and offensive.

Isetan Mon 22-Jun-15 10:13:56

She's entitled to not agree with you and she's entitled for this to be a deal breaker for her but she's not entitled to dictate your beliefs. I think she's using her fundamentalist beliefs to try and control you and that's just not on.

Fifteen years is a long time but personally, this level of intolerance would be a deal breaker for me. Pretending to be someone you're not, to someone you love, will change you and your relationship and not for the better.

MiniTheMinx Mon 22-Jun-15 10:43:58

You are both absolutely bats! God cannot be proven to exist, and therefore cannot be proven to not exist. The only logical and rational position is agnostic. Science cannot prove anything in this regard. One cannot observe a god, one cannot claim that he doesn't exist simply because he hasn't been observed. The world was once flat, it was inconceivable that it could be any other way. The god question is unfalsifiable.

It really should be a non issue. Plus if she is reading Dawkin, she needs to put it down and develop a more critical mind.

tribpot Mon 22-Jun-15 10:56:02

I'm not sure that helps, Mini. The question is not whether God exists or not, but whether it's reasonable for one party (who believes God does not) to end a relationship with the other because she does.

Notapassingphase, I don't think you do anything. This is her decision, as Isetan says. I think I would advise her that you don't currently intend to return to atheism and request that she respects your belief and models the kind of tolerant behaviour in front of your kids that you would want them to display. She needs to make her own choice about whether this is a dealbreaker but you aren't prepared to stay in a relationship where you're effectively 'on probation' for six months.

Vivacia Mon 22-Jun-15 11:02:03

Where do you stand on unicorn belief mini?

I think you're both at an impasse OP, neither of you has done anything wrong or malicious. I think you need to consider how best to separate or try relationship counselling to find a middle ground.

MiniTheMinx Mon 22-Jun-15 11:07:46

Agnostic grin

Why not helpful, I have just suggested the middle ground.

Notapassingphase Mon 22-Jun-15 13:16:50

tribpot yes, but I really want to stay in this relationship. I love her. I love our life together. I want her to stay, even if I'm on probation forever. I just want her somehow to be able to tolerate / ignore my faith, and not to leave me!

tribpot Mon 22-Jun-15 15:35:11

Not your choice, though, is it, Notapassingphase? And not healthy to hand all the power in a relationship over to one person.

All you can do is make clear what your position is. And ask her to do the same.

Notapassingphase Mon 22-Jun-15 19:48:09

No I suppose it's not my choice. I guess I'm just looking for advice on how to make that the most likely outcome. I think it's daft to give up everything we have together over this one thing, and I'm trying to work out how not to let that happen.

Spikesbiggestfan Mon 22-Jun-15 20:00:13

I'm afraid I agree with your partner on this one, it would be a deal-breaker for me if my husband 'found religion '. I consider myself a tolerant humanist, but couldn't respect him anymore, perhaps this is how she feels? Apologies I know this is probably not what you want to hear sad

PoppyField Mon 22-Jun-15 20:08:36

I would find it very strange if my partner suddenly changed from atheist to believer and it would seriously shake the foundations of my faith in them.

It is important to me that the person I share my life with, shares my values. And I really think that would make me feel that our values were now not aligned. So to me, it is not about whether she agrees or disagrees with your religious faith, it is that you have moved the goalposts, whether you wanted to or not. That is how I would see it.

I always told my XH that if he started voting Tory I could stomach it, but if he 'got god', then I'd be out. It sounded like a joke, but I think I meant it. As it was he avoided that problem by turning into an abusive shit, so I divorced him anyway.

What she believed to be true about you - is now not true, so it is a big deal. And it's not something you can turn off or on. It's not something you can only do for a few hours a week, like golf. And it is not something you can half-do - you can't 'half-believe' in a god, so maybe to her, to her, it is a seismic shift and a deal-breaker. I can sympathise. You may think it is extreme, but if I had a partner who 'found god', it would be as if they seriously started believing there were fairies at the bottom of the garden - and knowing that would change everything about what I thought of them. Yikes.

Can I ask what caused your conversion?

Notapassingphase Mon 22-Jun-15 20:17:27

poppy yes you and spike have hit the nail on the head; that is exactly how she feels - she can't respect me anymore and she does equate belief in God within fairies or celestial teapots or whatever. As for what caused my conversion, I don't know. There is no explanation that doesn't sound terribly lame. No guilt, no trauma. I just started thinking more and more that this life, this world, doesn't seem like it would arise by some physical/chemical/biological accident; that there must be more to it than that. I'm definitely not yet sure exactly what I believe, and am simultaneously full of faith and doubt. I know it's illogical, there's no need to point that out!

Vivacia Mon 22-Jun-15 20:41:00

doesn't seem like it would arise by some physical/chemical/biological accident; that there must be more to it than that.

Doesn't a series of unlikely events seem more likely though, even from the perspective of the consciousness arising from repeated coincidences? If not though, why did you choose the christian god out of all the available gods and goddesses?

Notapassingphase Mon 22-Jun-15 21:11:00

No vivacia that's exactly the point. The series of coincidences that neatly lead to human consciousness (and all the other amazing things) is even more far-fetched to me now, than the existence of God. I haven't really got much further than that in all truth though Christianity is my cultural religion so I'm starting there.

Vivacia Mon 22-Jun-15 21:20:05

Then you are very lucky to be born at just the right time and place to be brought up within the culture of a real god.

Seriously though, are you in any further along with what to do with your relationship? Have you spoken about it this evening?

Notapassingphase Mon 22-Jun-15 21:33:18

No the eldest DC is still up. And tbh I'd really welcome a night off the endless conversation. It's been 6 weeks going round and round in circles so I doubt we'll get to the endgame tonight.

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