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psychlady, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 6893
Experience:  I have over 16 years experience in treating adults presenting with a variety of relationship issues
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My boyfriend is an atheist and I am a Christian which has caused

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My boyfriend is an atheist and I am a Christian which has caused alot of problems in our relationship. He is very vocal about his atheism and his constant disparaging comments about my faith and research into all the negatives of religion really hurt me. I know he is hurt too that by default as a Christian, I belief he 'deserves' to go to hell. Lately our differences seem magnified, we disagree about everything and I find alot of what he says really offensive and just get quiet. He gets really upset when I shut down like this but I can't seem to just talk openly about how I feel at these times. To make matters worse, my religious family are very against this kind of relationship and I have now resorted to lying to them as they were making my life hell for even spending time with him before we began dating. He made a huge effort when we first began dating to meet them and bought them Christmas gifts which they refused to open. They wouldn't even be civil to him when he came to meet them. My parents are never going to accept my relationship and would rather make me miserable that let me make my own decisions. The pressure they would put on me if I was honest with them would probably make me have a breakdown. I felt I wanted to harm myself when they knew and were constantly having a go at me and pressuring me. I don't want to hurt my parents and fear being a bad daughter/letting them down/hurting them, I know they want the best for me, but I'm 32, and understand why my boyfriend would not be happy with having to spend our relationship hiding and being secretive, criticised by my family. He feels am ashamed of him. I feel like I am living a double life. I do love him and want to make things work - despite our differences and the constant drama with my family and how it affects me. Is it possible to make this relationship/ my life work and how? Thank you so much :)
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  psychlady replied 6 years ago.

It sounds like you are stuck between two opposing forces. You have to let him know that your faith is important to you and he can't have expectations that you will abandon that. He has to meet you in the middle. You won't abandon your faith as he won't abandon his beliefs. If he doesn't respect that then he doesn't respect you. As far as your parents, ask them to take a baby step in the direction of compromise. They don't have to respect his beliefs as much as respect the relationship. If both take a baby step forward then there will at least be some progress. If you are arguing with him then there are some problems there too. You have to have enough skills together to discuss issues and compromise. I can see how he thinks you are ashamed. It isn't intentional. You have different belief system, so you compensate for that by avoiding. This comes with having less in common. You have to decide if being in this relationship is worth being in this relationship as does some other problems. Decide how bad you want a relationship with someone who causes this conflict. How bad do you want this relationship - bad enough to have these problems with your family


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