I split up with my boyfriend of three and a half years at the end of January. I was already emotionally and physically distant (we’d been long-distance for a while due to school).
I used online sites to meet people in my new city, and started seeing an interesting, attractive guy who finds me attractive, too.
However, I am happily agnostic and potentially atheist, whereas he’s a converted Muslim. When we occasionally discuss religion, it's clear we’re not on the same page, though I ask questions and understand his thoughts on life and spiritualism.
We’ve not labeled the relationship as anything, but talk almost daily and see each other (sex included).
I’m not necessarily looking for a committed relationship, but I’d like to eventually find someone in the future with whom I can build a meaningful relationship.
He was previously married to a woman of the same faith, but said it ended badly; she was only interested in going out and drinking/smoking, etc.
I’m not like that, we have very similar interests and lifestyles, but religion is the elephant in the room.
He’s also stated reservations about seeing a woman who’s recently broken up with her significant other (he and his ex-wife got together soon after she separated from her first husband).
He says, "It takes five months after the relationship for most emotional ties to be broken." This is ridiculous as individuals handle situations of the heart differently.
Is it possible for people from two varying spiritual/religious backgrounds to foster a relationship, or am I wasting my time by thinking this could potentially lead somewhere?
More Than Curious
It’s usually very hard for a strongly religious person to accept and respect the views of an agnostic or atheist. Having converted, he’s put a lot of thought and faith into specific religious doctrine.
Since this man’s troubles with his ex-wife were over her smoking and drinking, against Muslim tradition, surely differences over the existence/power of a supreme being, plus rules of religious observance, would also be contentious.
He also holds very definite opinions. Your responding that you find his thinking “ridiculous” is not a healthy basis for debate.
Your relationship has the earmark of “friends-with-benefits,” nothing more.
I’m 38, and my wife left me suddenly for another man; there were no warning signs. The wife in a couple we were close to started checking in with me because I was so depressed. We all work in the same company, and she and I ended up having an affair. I feel guilty about it, but we’re in love.
She says she loves me but is unsure if it’s real or just an escape from our other lives – hers with its routines and me with my depression.
Going public will cause a rift among people we know socially and at work. Do we have a chance at being a happy couple long-term?
Yes, if you can both adapt; otherwise, No. You each claim to love the other, but have other feelings that differ – guilt vs. escapism. Both those drives will get tested if you go public, especially when her husband starts badmouthing you two and the gossip gets heavy.
Also, you’re behaving as co-dependents now (she’s soothing your depression, you’re resolving her boredom). But that pattern won’t necessarily work, once you become an open, everyday couple.
When the whole pattern of being together changes, you’ll both have to be flexible enough to change with it. Only time will tell whether you two can emerge well suited, and happy.
Several years ago, my then-teenage daughter and I were locked in a battle of wills. We’re both stubborn, and butted heads regularly. We went to several different female counsellors.
I got a referral from a counselor acquaintance. We later went to another counselling service. None of these were very helpful. My daughter and I resolved things slowly over time, and now get along fairly well.
Recently, for workplace issues, I met a counsellor who was helpful, had a good approach, and worked well with us. Some of my colleagues have started seeing him for marriage counselling.
I regret now that I was sexist and rejected the idea of my daughter and me seeing a male counsellor. Please let your readers know not to be so narrow-minded when seeking help. It’s the person and approach that matter, not the sex of that person.
Agreed. And, male or female, the counselor needs an open-minded client to succeed.
Tip of the day:
Widely differing religious views usually create distance and discord.