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Wanting To Come Out As An Atheist Officially


viridia
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Hi everyone,

 

I guess I'm just posting to express how tired I am of maintaining a fake Christian appearance to my extended family, who I am very close to. All of my immediate family knows that I'm an atheist, and while four out of five of them are okay with it, I know coming out to my other family members could be much more of a problem. I've been an atheist for over a year and a half now, which isn't long at all compared to a lot of you on these forums, but my family is just so religious. The most religious of them all is my mother's sister's family, whose oldest daughter is a year older than me (17 and 18 currently) and one of my closest friends. We tell each other everything but I have not told her about my deconversion...we used to have very in-depth discussions about god and Jesus and the like and we always agreed but now when she mentions those things I just say "Yeah. Mhm. Yeah...I know" or if we're in person (on the rare occasion; they live pretty far away) I'll just nod my head and smile or something, try to change the subject. If she gets back on it then I force myself to say all this bullshit that I used to sincerely believe, but it pains me to try to give her advice about something I just don't think is true anymore. I want to be myself but I feel that's impossible to do without damaging some really good relationships :/

 

Another factor is my boyfriend. He is a smart kid, he always thinks things through, and he rarely acts out of pure emotion. Yeah we started dating in tenth grade, only been dating for a little over two years, but I really do love the guy. I don't believe in "the one" or anything but we do make a good match. That being said, he has no idea I'm an atheist. I told him when I first started deconverting a year and a half ago that I was unsure of my faith in Christianity and that I was becoming a deist. He was infuriated and deeply hurt by this, and after maybe a week straight of staying up til 6am because of deep talks, texts, and face-to-face conversations, he accepted that I was not a Christian and we decided to never speak of it again. It's much better now, as in he criticizes religion just as much as I do but we never really go beyond that. As far as he knows, I'm still a deist. He once said that he would rather be stuck in a room with a child molester than an atheist, and that just makes me very sad and scared. I would hate for our good relationship to be completely ruined because I lack belief in god. I know that might be an indicator that if he can't accept all of me, then I shouldn't be with him--but is there really a person who will accept /all/ of you no matter what?

 

Thanks for reading, and any responses would be greatly appreciated. You guys here are like my home away from home.

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Hi, Viridia. When it comes to your extended family, I think you should do whatever is most comfortable for you. If opening up with them seems best, then fine, do it. If you think it may be best to keep certain things to yourself, then do that.

 

But your boyfriend is a whole different matter. My advice is not to even think about having a permanent relationship with him, like marriage, for example, until he knows without any doubt that you are an atheist. For him to believe that a pedophile is superior to an atheist should tell you something very important. The one thing that Christians do have right is the concept of not being unequally yoked when it comes to marriage or other long term romantic relationships. Make sure he knows your beliefs (or lack thereof) and that he fully accepts them, not as some inferior position, but as one worthy of respect.

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Hi everyone,

 

I guess I'm just posting to express how tired I am of maintaining a fake Christian appearance to my extended family, who I am very close to. All of my immediate family knows that I'm an atheist, and while four out of five of them are okay with it, I know coming out to my other family members could be much more of a problem. I've been an atheist for over a year and a half now, which isn't long at all compared to a lot of you on these forums, but my family is just so religious. The most religious of them all is my mother's sister's family, whose oldest daughter is a year older than me (17 and 18 currently) and one of my closest friends. We tell each other everything but I have not told her about my deconversion...we used to have very in-depth discussions about god and Jesus and the like and we always agreed but now when she mentions those things I just say "Yeah. Mhm. Yeah...I know" or if we're in person (on the rare occasion; they live pretty far away) I'll just nod my head and smile or something, try to change the subject. If she gets back on it then I force myself to say all this bullshit that I used to sincerely believe, but it pains me to try to give her advice about something I just don't think is true anymore. I want to be myself but I feel that's impossible to do without damaging some really good relationships :/

 

Another factor is my boyfriend. He is a smart kid, he always thinks things through, and he rarely acts out of pure emotion. Yeah we started dating in tenth grade, only been dating for a little over two years, but I really do love the guy. I don't believe in "the one" or anything but we do make a good match. That being said, he has no idea I'm an atheist. I told him when I first started deconverting a year and a half ago that I was unsure of my faith in Christianity and that I was becoming a deist. He was infuriated and deeply hurt by this, and after maybe a week straight of staying up til 6am because of deep talks, texts, and face-to-face conversations, he accepted that I was not a Christian and we decided to never speak of it again. It's much better now, as in he criticizes religion just as much as I do but we never really go beyond that. As far as he knows, I'm still a deist. He once said that he would rather be stuck in a room with a child molester than an atheist, and that just makes me very sad and scared. I would hate for our good relationship to be completely ruined because I lack belief in god. I know that might be an indicator that if he can't accept all of me, then I shouldn't be with him--but is there really a person who will accept /all/ of you no matter what?

 

Thanks for reading, and any responses would be greatly appreciated. You guys here are like my home away from home.

 

Hi viridia! Wecome to EX-c. I can sympathize so much with your post. It is so heart wrenching what religion does to people. I fully agree with Overcame Faith, when he gave you the very sensible advice to 'come out' to your boyfriend and make very sure that this relationship will be able to withstand these two different opinions that you and your boyfriend have........that's a pretty powerful statement your boyfriend made. Let's hope with all our hearts, that he didn't mean that. Keep posting my friend - we are here for you! :grin:

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I'm glad you posted here.

My last romantic relationship lasted 3 years and I was with a Christian guy. I loved him and I told myself the whole time that we could be happy together. The issue of our incompatible faith didn't come up much because I always knew he was disappointed by my atheism. We had some good times, but we were mostly deceiving ourselves.

 

In the end, love wasn't enough to keep us together. That was a hard, hard lesson for me to learn: that love by itself isn't enough. I broke up with him 5 months ago and I'm now in a great relationship with a guy who shares my skepticism and accepts everything about me. We can talk about absolutely everything, and that's something I never had when I was tip toeing around my ex trying not to offend him with my atheism.

 

You don't have to take my advice, but here it is: Write this relationship off as a learning experience and look for someone who is crazy about you and the way you think.

 

About your family, I have no advice because I haven't told my extended family either.

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I know that might be an indicator that if he can't accept all of me, then I shouldn't be with him--but is there really a person who will accept /all/ of you no matter what?

 

Yes there is. Don't settle for anything else.

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Thanks everyone--especially decafaholic. That really struck me and I'm definitely going to be thinking about how to go about it with my boyfriend >.<

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Hi Viridia, I echo what decafholic said. I love my husband and we have a good marriage otherwise, but it is very frustrating to have such huge philosophical differences. For us, it limits most conversations to trivial topics because religion infects many important issues ... science, politics, lifestyle, and so on. He knows I am an atheist, but holds out hope that I'm an agnostic or just going through a phase (for five years!). Unfortunately, I think it has made his faith stronger. He used to never go to church, but now goes 2-3 times per month.

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I know that might be an indicator that if he can't accept all of me, then I shouldn't be with him--but is there really a person who will accept /all/ of you no matter what?

 

Yes there is. Don't settle for anything else.

 

What Dave said.

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I can't imagine spending my life trying to pretend I'm someone I'm not. Don't do it. Be you, and you'll find the ones who love you just as you really are.

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