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Reconnecting With My Father And My Inability To Do So...


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3 Months after moving in with my boyfriend, and 6 months after becoming an atheist, I have been unable to reconnect with my father. It really is quite sad; in my efforts to extend an olive branch to him and try to mend our relationship, he admitted to me that our relationship will never be the same: I am a homosexual and an Atheist, he is a Fundmentalist Christian; I am a Liberal and a Secular Progressive, dad is a Conservative who believes Homosexuals are damned to hell.

 

We have grown apart, worlds apart in fact; he cannot go 5 minutes without mentioning God, and it seems like every conversation with one another leads to us arguing/discussing some aspect of religion, further separating us from one another....

 

Should I bother trying to reconnect with my father? Or should I just admit that we will never have anything in common ever again?

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Different personalities will handle this type of situation differently. For me personally, I would continue to at least make an effort. It is still very early into your decoversion, and your dad may need more time to come around. 

 

I feel like we humans, especially family, should be able to love each other and get along regardless of religious/political beliefs. I grew up in a fundamental household and I have an aunt (my mother's sister)..that I've always been very close to...she's gay and very liberal politically. While the differences in religion/politics were there, my family has never let it come in the way of our relationship with her. Personally, I chose to just not discuss the issues ever. Now that I'm an adult and my views have changed, I'm free to discuss issues more openly with her and her partner. It is a two way street though, if your dad continues to show no interest in your relationship, that would make it very hard....and easy to give up on him. 

 

I would start by seeking to spend time with him doing something you both enjoy where there is little opportunity to discuss the issues. Do you have any interests or hobbies in common? Catching a game of your favorite sports team...snowmobiling or skiing...anything like that which is purely father/son fun time. You could always try having a heart to heart and just tell him straight out that you still want a relationship with him, but that religion/politics are off the table for discussion. If he rejects you, well then he's made it easy for you to back away. I think with relationships, if you are the bigger person and really make an effort, if it doesn't work out in the end...well at least you'll have no regrets. Good luck!

 

Suz

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Three months and six months?  This is still brand new for both of you.

 

Don't give up yet.  Give it time.  Lots of time.  And space.  Time and space to let all those changes digest for both of you.

 

I agree with Suz above -- if it's at all possible to connect in ways you used to, then take baby steps to reconnecting that way (sending him an article you'd both find interesting, spending an hour doing something you both like, etc).  Let him know that you are still you, the son he knew for all those years.

 

It's ok to eventually give up, or to keep a distant but respectful relationship going, but give it lots more time first.

 

And of course your father was right -- your relationship will never be the same -- but that's part of being human and changing for both of you.  It's ok to change the relationship as you (and he) grow and change.  All relationships grow and change over time.

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You never know. He may choose to remain a jerk about this, but he also may change. Would contacting an organization like pflag (http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2) be of any help?

 

Parents are only human. We love our children and only want the best for them (of course there are exceptions, some people are ... unwell) and he thinks his belief system is the best one, it applies to you and guarantees the best for you. His fundie belief system is also notoriously rigid. 

 

When I moved in with my boyfriend as a young person my Catholic mother was horrible. Wouldn't you know it wasn't too long before she and her boyfriend were living together. 

 

All the best to you!

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3 Months after moving in with my boyfriend, and 6 months after becoming an atheist, I have been unable to reconnect with my father. It really is quite sad; in my efforts to extend an olive branch to him and try to mend our relationship, he admitted to me that our relationship will never be the same: I am a homosexual and an Atheist, he is a Fundmentalist Christian; I am a Liberal and a Secular Progressive, dad is a Conservative who believes Homosexuals are damned to hell.

 

We have grown apart, worlds apart in fact; he cannot go 5 minutes without mentioning God, and it seems like every conversation with one another leads to us arguing/discussing some aspect of religion, further separating us from one another....

 

Should I bother trying to reconnect with my father? Or should I just admit that we will never have anything in common ever again?

 

This is going to sound very un-PC and will certainly received derision from folks on this website.  And, no, I'm not going to give you some Bible-ly advice. You have to realize that you coming out was like  a death to him.   You have ensured that he will never have grandchildren from you.   People pass over this like it's nothing, but it is. 

 

I have a gay brother.  My mom is a full-blown fundamentalist.  However, he and she (miraculously) have a decent relationship.  She's not pro-gay (Yes, this comment invites more derision from the masses), but she is pro him.  He realizes that my fundy-mom could never handle him bringing his boyfriend around, so he doesn't.   Essentially, they have compromised on the issue. You can insist upon only your way, and you won't have a relationship.  Similarly, your dad can insist upon his way, and you, likewise, will not have a relationship.  As you know, fundamentalists live in a lot of fear and uncertainty.  Kind of like a child who is afraid of the world.  You have to work to calm his fears. 

 

You and your dad surely love each other.  You also know how enslaved fundamentalists can be (I'm a former fundy.  Not anymore.  Thank God).  Try to find some common ground.  Don't just blow him off because he seems offended.  Although you don't agree with your dad, he is truly in a state of mourning.  Whether it's right or wrong, he truly hurts.  And,yes, this is extremely difficult for you, as well.  However, it appears that you can see both sides of the situation better, so I think you should take steps to mend the rift.

 

Your dad may never fully accept your boyfriend.  And you could justifiable tell people for the rest of your life that your dad was unreasonable.  But, what good is being right if you have no relationship?   Why not just tell your dad, "Dad, I love you.  I realize this shit scares the stuffing out of you.  I get it.  However, it's who I am.  I still love you no matter how we feel.  How about we agree to love each other and keep my personal choices off to the side?"

 

If you can gain some mutual understanding, over time, your father will come to understand you more.  Give him time.  He's your dad.  Yes, all parents can be jerks at time, but they really do love us. 

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He's your dad, so you have a lot more in common or not common than just religion.  Hopefully someday he'll get used to the idea and you can have a relationship again.   Learn to set boundaries on conversation topics, but don't stop talking to him about father/son stuff, life, etc... he still loves you and wants to know what is going on in your life.  Just don't tell him the details of your love or spiritual (lack of) life.  :)

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3 Months after moving in with my boyfriend, and 6 months after becoming an atheist, I have been unable to reconnect with my father. It really is quite sad; in my efforts to extend an olive branch to him and try to mend our relationship, he admitted to me that our relationship will never be the same: I am a homosexual and an Atheist, he is a Fundmentalist Christian; I am a Liberal and a Secular Progressive, dad is a Conservative who believes Homosexuals are damned to hell.

 

We have grown apart, worlds apart in fact; he cannot go 5 minutes without mentioning God, and it seems like every conversation with one another leads to us arguing/discussing some aspect of religion, further separating us from one another....

 

Should I bother trying to reconnect with my father? Or should I just admit that we will never have anything in common ever again?

Sounds like right now is a bad time to fix relationship with Dad. Maybe after a while he will mellow out.

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