Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Non-Believer” Responds (Again)

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Non-Believer,” an atheist woman who had just become exclusive with a practicing Christian who had expressed his desire that his future family — wife, included — attend church with him regularly. She was unsure whether she should continue dating him if their different values would ultimately be a deal-breaker. She updated once before, saying she was still going to wait and see. Now she has one final update:

Contrary to most people’s advice, I stayed in a relationship with Calvin until just yesterday, nearly ten months to the day since we started dating and five months since our mini-breakup when I first wrote in. Things were fantastic all the time, except when religion was brought up and it created some awkwardness, though I did agree to go to church with him (we only went twice). Especially recently, I often had this unsettling feeling about not knowing where we stood, which was really tough and sort of anxiety-producing given how fabulous every other aspect of the relationship felt.

When my lease ran out last month, we had talked and agreed that I would stay with him for a month before I had to move to a new city for a one-year fellowship position. We thought we both owed ourselves the month to see what living together would be like.

As it turns out, everything was great. However, last night we got into “the talk” after I said I wanted to figure this out. He said it all comes down to the fact that he believes it would be too confusing for our future kids if we have different religious views. He said he would feel alone knowing I didn’t stand behind him in his religion, though I had said raising kids in his religion was okay with me.

Ultimately, I’m angry at him for not pointing out this deal-breaker on, like, date 1-5, and for myself for not admitting to myself earlier that this was a lost cause. I know breaking up is the right thing to do, but it sucks (as does the fact that I’m still living here for another week with no where else to stay). I know the huge silver lining is that I can now try to pursue a future relationship with someone who has less rigid religious and political views (and hopefully not have to compromise on my future kids’ religion) but if anyone has general advice on how to get through this pain of grieving, I’d love to hear. Thanks, Wendy, and everyone for all of your input along the way!

 
Thank you for the update, and sorry the outcome wasn’t what you hoped for. Here are some tips for dealing with a broken heart, and here’s some inspiration for lessons you may learn from your current heartache. Good luck!

***************

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

140 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:03 pm

    I’m sorry, LW. Break ups sucks monkey balls. And know what else does too? Religion when it messes up a good thing. I am currently watching a good friend (who’s Catholic) and her soulmate (who’s Muslim) *not* just get it on already becaue each is determined to marry within her/his own faith. And that’s fine, whatever. But we’re not getting any younger, and they adore each other, and can’t find anyone else who remotely compares! I want to scream: OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YOU’RE BOTH GREAT PEOPLE, YOU’RE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER, YOU LOVE AND RESPECT EACH OTHER, CAN’T YOU JUST AGREE TO RAISE YOUR CHILDREN TO BE GOOD, LOVING, RESPECTFUL PEOPLE JUST LIKE YOURSELVES AND CALL IT A DAY!? It’s killing me. (It always seem so damn easy from a non-believer’s point of view, doesn’t it?)

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  • katie

    katie August 6, 2013, 2:05 pm

    im sorry, LW. its shitty, no matter how you look at it.

    it really does go to show that modern religion just tears apart. its a yard stick to judge with. it isnt anything positive anymore, its very sad.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary August 6, 2013, 2:13 pm

      I think your statement is a little broad and sweeping about modern religion. A lot of people practice it and/or accept their spouses religion without issues, it just depends on the people and their individual beliefs. Also, a lot of christian denominations (along with other non judeo-christan religions) have been MORE accepting in modern times, not the opposite. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Christianity being important to Calvin, just as there’s nothing wrong with the LW wanting a partner who accepts her cultural/religious background.

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      • avatar

        bethany August 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

        Yes, I totally agree with that. People make choices about what qualities they want in a partner. If one of those qualities is a shared belief and faith in God, then that’s what it is. It’s not like the church is forbidding him from being with her. He is choosing not to be with a person because she doesn’t possess a quality that is important to him. I’m pretty sure we all think that way when evaluating a potential partner.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:22 pm

        i get what you mean by that’s what it is but it’s frustrating when that’s not what i want it to be, if that makes sense! like, in this case, i *really* want LW and her BF to just agree to disagree already. but clearly religion is not one of my dealbreakers.

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      • avatar

        bethany August 6, 2013, 2:27 pm

        Think of it like this- I’m in love with my cat. Loving animals is a huge part of who I am, and I never would have considered seriously dating someone who didn’t like them, or didn’t think they were important. I didn’t want someone who tolerated animals. I wanted someone who loved them, and could have a relationship with them. The fact that my husband not only had a cat, but loved him was one of the things that made me love him.
        It’s similar to God– The Lw’s x didn’t want someone who just tolerated God/his religion, he wanted someone who believed it and valued it. These 2 never stood a chance, in my opinion.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:30 pm

        stop with all the logic already!

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary August 6, 2013, 2:43 pm

        Bethany wins the smartest kid in the class award today 🙂 Yes I agree they never stood a chance (I’m sorry LW).

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:45 pm

        i dunno, i still think it’s dumb to love a cat. (i know, cats are great, bla bla blah)

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      • theattack

        theattack August 6, 2013, 3:06 pm

        Whatever, you loved the pics of my kittens.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 3:20 pm

        shhh, stop ruining my image!

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      • avatar

        bethany August 6, 2013, 2:49 pm

        Kerry wins as my favorite person ever today 🙂

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:52 pm

        you two need to get a room already.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled August 6, 2013, 3:20 pm

        Wow Spot On! Love it! To be honest I’m really tired of trying to let people know that “no not all Christians/religions are horrible, homophobic, racist, break people apart”. I mean it shouldn’t bother me, people are entitled to believe whatever they want about me and the things I value, but I don’t know, I feel like I would be doing a disservice to others like me if I didn’t say “hey that’s pretty offensive and not all “fill-in-the-blank” are like that.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 3:24 pm

        I’ll ditto that. It always surprises me here especially, where everyone is so careful not to offend, but seem quick to offend anything religion-related.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 4:33 pm

        i’ll admit, people bash christianity a lot. i for one “bash” all religions equally! and by “bash” i don’t mean i have any actual bashing to do; i just don’t know enough about them to actually bash them. i just don’t get them, and i don’t like it when i see religions used for evil, but i certainly don’t believe all religious people use their religion for evil. i just generally don’t get it the big deal. but that’s ok, just like religious folks don’t get non-believers. but i couldn’t care less if others people in a higher being or not. it’s also so personal and no one can know for sure so it kind of seems like a waste of time to even debate it. you believe what you believe end of story! i dunno, i hope i haven’t offended you with your religion, ever. feel free to call me out on it. YES, CALL OUT AP. i double dog dare you. you nutso catholic. (kidding; i’m catholic, culturally speaking, so i can say dumb things!)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 4:39 pm

        See, that’s not bashing though. Its just discussion about it, and that I like and can appreciate.

        p.s. you don’t really think I have the ball to call out The Addie Pray on here, do you?

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 6, 2013, 2:29 pm

        haha I don’t think religion is one of those “agree to disagree” things, though. Maybe only if both people are equally ambivalent? (Like my boyfriend & I, who each grew up in protestant churches & see the value of ritual, community ties, etc., but don’t believe in the actual religion-ness of it?)

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      • Portia

        Portia August 6, 2013, 6:14 pm

        I think it can totally be agree to disagree, but perhaps like you said it’s ambivalence. Me and the boyfriend of many years come from different religions (Catholic and Jewish) and although we occasionally do religious things, we’re generally not that religious of people and we’re totally fine with the other being of another religion. And neither of us is interested in converting or asking the other to convert. We’ve gone to the other’s religious services on occasion too (Christmas mass, Passover seder). Not sure what a wedding would be like, though…

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster August 7, 2013, 12:41 pm

        Jewish-Catholic combo weddings are pretty cool. You get both a priest and a rabbi, and the chuppah, and the breaking of the glass, and the pick-you-up-on-the-chair thing (which I want! But I’m (culturally) Catholic, and my boyfriend is Hindu, so I think if we ever got married there would be enough combo-ritual going on already without me stealing from another faith for funsies)

        I was just in a Catholic-Jewish wedding actually. On the big day my best friend and I, also a bridesmaid in the wedding, were walking by the beach early in the morning with our coffees. The groom and his groomsmen were setting up this big pretty arch with white fabric and seashells and flowers and I said, “Wow! It looks like a chuppah!”
        My best friend turned to me, “It is a chuppah…”
        “But why do Laura and Yuriy have a chuppah?”
        “Seriously? Yuriy is half Jewish.”

        I’ve known Yuriy for YEARS. I fail for not knowing! But Laura never brought it up in the wedding planning talk, so it must’ve been smooth planning there? (side note- I was seriously jealous about the chuppah)

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      • Lyra

        Lyra August 6, 2013, 2:29 pm

        I definitely agree with this.

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      • katie

        katie August 6, 2013, 3:26 pm

        im just going off my own experiences. ive never had, or heard of, positive things coming out of religion. it does make me sad, with what religion claims to be, but people are shitty and screw everything up, so, there you go.

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      • avatar

        HmC August 6, 2013, 3:59 pm

        Your comments about religion always make me sad. I have no doubt that you have experienced what you say you have experienced. But I find it so interesting that we grew up in the same country yet have such starkly different perceptions of religious people around us. It really seems like you’ve been exposed to some negative people on the fringe that would be negative and judgmental whether they were Christian, Buddhist, or atheist.

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      • avatar

        MissDre August 6, 2013, 5:38 pm

        I understand where Katie is coming from, because unfortunately I’ve experienced some awful things in the name of religion. Like my aunts shunning my mother because she chose to get a divorce, and telling her that my brother and I should have been given up for adoption rather than live in a house of sin. Or my friend not being allowed to come play at my house because my mother is divorced (ie: a sinner). Or being sent to bible camp by my grandparents and being told that gay people are going to tell, and that my own life is meaningless because I’m not a Christian. Or my ex-boyfriend telling me that my own beliefs are “ridiculous” and forbidding me from discussing them in his presence.

        I mention these things not to bash religion, because I understand that mean people are just mean people no matter what they identify as. But when you’ve had experiences like these, it’s sometimes hard not to make blanket statements.

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      • avatar

        MissDre August 6, 2013, 5:39 pm

        *going to hell (not tell lol)

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      • avatar

        HmC August 6, 2013, 5:52 pm

        Oh I think religion can bring out the bad in people when it is used to judge others. And fearful, blind faith I think can be negative also. But an ironically fundamental aspect of many MANY religions is to hate the sin, not the sinner. It’s sad that people claiming to be religious behave in ways that are opposite of what the religions themselves are trying to teach.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph August 7, 2013, 9:44 am

        I think its not logical to blame religion for bringing out the bad in people. I think there’s just bad in some people. If it weren’t religion, it would be something else that the few bad apples were using to spoil the bunch.
        Look at communism, where you replace faith in and fear of God with faith in/fear of The State. Plenty of terrible things still occurred. Not because communism is bad, but because some people are bad and they will always be looking for a way to affect others with their badness.

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      • Cassie

        CassieB August 7, 2013, 2:08 pm

        I agree with HmC… there’s all sorts of people that make up every religious group. It makes me sad to know that there are plenty of people who do terrible things in the name of religion, especially when those religions are actually against that sort of thing. I’m a Christian and I see people in church who fall on all sides of these issues, from some going every week to volunteer organizing food banks for underprivileged families and helping with refugee resettlement to others who judge and gossip. However, I know that people who make up religions are just imperfect people such as myself. And for myself, I just try to follow God, grow to be more like Christ, and to read and follow what the Bible teaches– to love others, be kind, don’t judge, help those less fortunate than myself, be thankful for what I have, etc. I may not always live up to it 100%, but life is a journey in which I strive to grow more and honor God more in these ways.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra August 6, 2013, 7:19 pm

        I agree with you, HmC. I’m not saying religion is perfect because it CERTAINLY isn’t, but one can’t make assumptions about all religions and all religious people based on one bad experience.

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      • avatar

        Temperance August 6, 2013, 7:33 pm

        I’m an ex-evangelical, and my opinions align pretty strongly with Katie’s on this. I don’t think that the people I know in the faith are “fringe”, but I also hold the opinion that calling them “fringe” is dismissing their huge power on politics and society.

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      • avatar

        HmC August 6, 2013, 5:42 pm

        “ive never had, or heard of, positive things coming out of religion.”

        I just caught this, and I seriously cannot stand it when people say this. So everything bad that was done in the name of religion is the fault of religion itself (not the crazy people themselves, oh no) yet everything good that religion does for the world and brings to people’s lives does not exist in your world? This is offensive simply to my logical reasoning skills. So higher education, literacy, spiritual fulfillment, happiness and generosity… those never happened for anyone ever.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay August 6, 2013, 5:49 pm

        I don’t think religion is the problem here. It’s the fact that this dude couldn’t face his dealbreakers and the LW was in denial. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a partner who shares certain beliefs or values. This could have really been anything…

        I think if this guy met/or meets someone who shares his faith and they raise a happy family in their faith, and they get good things out of that, then it’s great.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:13 pm

      I know! This may be overly simplistic but in my Catholic friend v. her Muslim soulmate situation, she wants to have her childrend baptized. So have it, you know? But nooooo, the Muslim soulmate is against splashing some water on the baby and saying a prayer. If you don’t believe in that, then why would you care if someoen does that? And on the flip side, he wants to take his children to a Mosque and ____ Anyhoo, it seems those rituals only matter ot people who believe in them. So to my future religious lover: take our child into the building with two wooden sticks crossing each other, that’s fine, then let’s get brunch. Righ? I don’t know why it has to be so complicated. So long as the kid is raised to respect people and be a good kid, right? It’s like people go out of their way to complicate life. When it’s complicated already, what with all the TV channels we have. Just as one example.

      I can’t focus today.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:15 pm

        That’s weird I had more written in brackets that got removed. … Do brackets remove text? Anyway, I was saying, I don’t know anything about what actual religions do so I can’t even guess what she would want to do v. what he would want to do religion-wise. Can’t we just all be friends already?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 2:17 pm

        It sounds simple when you say what you’ve said, but if your religion is really important to you, its not that simple. You want someone who will actively participate and believe in what you believe, not someone who is just accepting of the fact you believe different things.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:19 pm

        sigh. i get it. i guess. BUT NOT WHEN TRUE LOVE IS ON THE LINE! egad. but i hear what you’re saying. it’s just, it’s just, it’s just not fair.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 2:21 pm

        It sucks, for sure. But picture yourself being willing to date a wonderful, charming, handsome young man…who is anti-abortion. (or whatever big belief you hold that he wouldn’t agree with)

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:31 pm

        or who drank white wine!

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      • avatar

        Morgan August 6, 2013, 3:11 pm

        My white wine drinking bf is getting to me. I now enjoy albarinos and Sauvignon blanc. I am becoming all that I hate. Also Riesling.

        Chardonnay is still a no go.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 3:19 pm

        it’s like i don’t even know who you are anymore!

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      • avatar

        Morgan August 6, 2013, 3:27 pm

        I’m having a serious identity crisis.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ August 6, 2013, 3:20 pm

        Dry Reisling or … not dry? I usually hate Reisling (more of a Sauv blanc drinker) because it’s too sweet for me, but someone made me try a dry one and – YUMMY!

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      • avatar

        Morgan August 6, 2013, 3:26 pm

        Dry, definitely.

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      • avatar

        Jessibel5 August 6, 2013, 4:13 pm

        Reisling’s the only white I can stand, and only from this one winery in Maryland.

        This is why BEER.

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      • avatar

        Morgan August 6, 2013, 4:31 pm

        Wait, which winery?!

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        Jessibel5 August 6, 2013, 4:56 pm

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        bethany August 7, 2013, 1:38 pm

        I love Boordy! If you have a chance, go visit the vineyard. It’s spectacular.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay August 6, 2013, 5:52 pm

        Yeah, I imagine that it’s pretty hard if you believe the enormity that is God, Jesus and the tenets of Christianity to be with someone who doesn’t. I’m not a Christian, but if I were, I’d def prefer to be with another Christian. Like how I want to be with someone who isn’t religious. It would be weird to me to be with someone who has totally different beliefs as me as to how humans ended up on this planet and where we’re going when we die and whether prayer works.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 6, 2013, 4:22 pm

        Brunch is the best part of the church-going experience.

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      • avatar

        Temperance August 7, 2013, 1:07 pm

        I think I got hosed, lol. Evangelicals don’t believe in doing anything on Sunday except “resting” (which isn’t like, watch TV and play games, but read the bible and be bored all day, basically). Brunch wouldn’t be okay because we’d be encouraging the brunch people to work on God’s day.

        Cry.

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      • avatar

        Temperance August 6, 2013, 7:37 pm

        So I’m an atheist, and my husband is as well (this was VERY important to me!). My family is evangelical, and his is Catholic. The families would want any child baptized, and I won’t allow it. I don’t believe it has any power, but at the same time, me giving in would just reinforce to them that I will always back down when Jesus is on the table.

        My mom asked my sister if she could take my niece to evangelical church, and my sister lost it, even though my niece was like, 5 months old at the time.

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    • Lyra

      Lyra August 6, 2013, 2:39 pm

      It is unfair to say that modern religion tears people apart. The way I see it, it can tear couples apart if they don’t see religion the same way (say, an atheist and a Christian). For me, I couldn’t date someone who was an atheist because I am rather religious and I recognize that it is an important of who I am. I imagine it’s the same for someone who is an atheist who wouldn’t date a Christian.

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    • avatar

      vizslalvr August 6, 2013, 5:11 pm

      I agree with you, katie. And I have already seen all the “it’s pretty offensive to generalize like that” comments, and I agree that it’s offensive. But it’s only offensive because it’s true. What should really offend people of faith is who want to prove they are a force of good in the world is intolerant religious zealots of faith who try to impose their beliefs on women and their bodies both through proselytizing and the American legislature. You should be offended by the people of faith who are bigoted against the LGBT community. You should be offended that religion causes bloodshed across the world on a daily basis.

      Because being offended by the indisputable fact that religion can be and often is poisonous …? Well, that’s just asinine.

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      • avatar

        HmC August 6, 2013, 5:58 pm

        I don’t think any sane person would deny that some horrible things have happened in the name of religion. Is that the fault of religion itself though? Can religion be blamed, as if it is this separate thing from human nature itself? Horrible things happen every day all the time and we always seem to find some excuse. In countries that are religiously homogenous, they fight over land or economics. And speaking of economics, want to talk about how many atrocities have been committed in the name of country/politics, or capitalism? Scapegoating religion, blaming it as some individual entity for the sins of humanity, and denying it’s value is offensive, and it’s not because “it’s true”. It’s because it isn’t rational.

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        vizslalvr August 6, 2013, 6:12 pm

        No doubt nationalism and capitalism are also cause a great deal of evil in this world. But I disagree that it is irrational to claim that religion itself causes problems simply because other factors also cause problems. There are plenty of much more intelligent people than I who have rationally made the argument. If you haven’t, read “God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens. Watch some of his debates on the topic on youtube. Or perhaps read “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris. You may disagree with them, but I can’t get behind the argument that their arguments are not logical.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but your argument seems to be that people are bad and do bad things, and so you can’t blame their evils on religion. Well, I disagree with that.

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        HmC August 6, 2013, 6:24 pm

        I’ve read God is Not Great and I’ve heard interviews with Christopher Hitchens, and I respect his viewpoint and I wouldn’t say he is irrational. I think it’s an over simplification to say that my entire argument rests on the fact that people are bad and do bad things, but that is part of it. My main issue with the whole “religion is bad” thing is that I don’t see religion as some separate entity that exists outside of human nature itself. I think you have to be a bad person to do bad things in the name of religion and I believe you would have done bad things regardless, and found a justification. Are there some anomalies where otherwise wonderful people succumb to brainwashing? Yes, definitely. But that’s not really religion in my opinion, it’s brainwashing and a cult mentality that can easily exist outside of structured religion. And it’s often exacerbated by poverty and subversive influences that are actually more political than anything.

        Also, I have a big problem from a rational standpoint with people choosing not to acknowledge how many good things have been done in the name of religion. Bad things have been done in the name of religion, so have a heck of a lot of good things. It’s sad and ironic that some people have personal experiences that make them so hateful of religion and disdainful of religious people- ironic because in my personal experience religion is about tolerance and love and acceptance, and I have not been exposed to many intolerant religious people. I can’t deny people their own personal experiences. But I think it’s sad that something that enhances so many lives also causes so many others to feel persecuted and judged.

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        vizslalvr August 6, 2013, 6:46 pm

        I personally am not hateful of religion. I simply think it’s only realistic to acknowledge it causes a lot of strife in the world, and I believe that it is a by-product of religion and faith itself that causes that strife, for a whole host of reasons that I don’t think it’s worth debating on here.

        I guess the last thing I would say because I’m on my way out the door for the evening is that while I agree good has been also done in the name of religion, by your logic that also should have very little if anything to do with religion itself. It’s just that religion was the vehicle for those particular good people to do their particular acts of good.

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        HmC August 6, 2013, 6:56 pm

        I agree with your last sentence. Whether you see it as a vehicle or a separate thing in and of itself, I more have a problem with the inconsistency of blaming religion for bad and not acknowledging the good. If it gets credit for the bad it ought to get credit for the good as well, or neither one.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra August 6, 2013, 7:57 pm

        I’m right there with you HmC and I agree.

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      • avatar

        HmC August 6, 2013, 10:56 pm

        🙂

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary August 6, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I’m sorry you broke up and that you are feeling crappy! I would also look at the forums for inspiration in the break up threads. I think there are a lot of encouraging words there. I know after a break up it can feel like you “wasted time” on someone, but one day you will be able to appreciate the good times you had with Calvin. And now you know for the future that you can’t date someone who is a devout christian. Live and learn.

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  • Copa

    Copa August 6, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I keep trying to type out a response that doesn’t make it sound like I’m bashing religion, but I can’t. So I’ll just say that break-ups suck and I’m sorry you’re hurting.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:51 pm

      but bashing religions is one of my favorite pasttimes! and making fun of people’s relationships. and while i’m charting closed-minded and superficiality territory, i’ll add that i also really enjoy making fun of men in pastel-colored shorts.

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 2:54 pm

        I disagree with all of this, especially the shorts. Peter draws his line at pastel shorts and boat shoes. This makes me sad.

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        bethany August 6, 2013, 2:56 pm

        I saw a grown man wearing a pastel seersucker suit to work the other day. I mocked him in my mind.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ August 6, 2013, 3:03 pm

        I see that a lot where I live, and every time I mock them in my mind, too. Grown men dressed like Easter eggs!

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        Jessibel5 August 6, 2013, 4:17 pm

        Dude, Congress actually has a “Seersucker Thursday” in June, where everyone wears Seersucker suits. Hilariously it’s a “Southern Tradition” to bring “charm” to the Capitol.

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        MMcG August 6, 2013, 4:57 pm

        To be fair it was also a way to bring some lighter weight fabrics into the heat of a DC summer before AC was invented;)

        Random OT… DC has some interesting dress up events for sure. Dandies and Quantrelles alone has a seersucker social and the tweed bike ride.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 6, 2013, 3:06 pm

        Oh, my!

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 3:07 pm

        Stop! Stop it all of you! I love dressing him, and he would look more bangable in watermelon colored shorts and cute little Sperry’s.

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        Morgan August 6, 2013, 3:16 pm

        I support this whole heartedly. Fortunately my man is half southern gentleman and half preppy new englander. He came already dressed in pastels and sperry’s. So that was nice.

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 3:20 pm

        See, Morgan is the only fashionable man-lover on here!
        I’m trying with all my energy to make him a preppy new englander. We’re getting there. Its hard for him to dress how he wants when I hide the clothes he likes. What? I would never do that!

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        Morgan August 6, 2013, 3:30 pm

        Keep on fighting the good fight.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 6, 2013, 3:39 pm

        I’m the only one who can be fashionable in my relationships 😉 I think plaid button-downs & jeans are good “dressy casual” clothes for men. Anything beyond that is… too much, haha

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        MMcG August 6, 2013, 4:59 pm

        Rock the red… but they are really pinkish… pants with a tucked in polo 😉

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 5:08 pm

        I do prefer the redder ones, but I feel like I can’t back down now. Slim fit all the way though.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 6, 2013, 2:57 pm

        You know what’s an awkward relationship phase? When your boyfriend starts asking you what he’s allowed to wear on dates and to outings with your friends. And by awkward I obviously mean awesome. I never even thought to get him to wear pastel shorts – not now it’s happening. Baby blue preferably.

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 3:09 pm

        Is that a phase? Because I’m pretty sure I’m still in it.
        GET HIM SPERRYS WHILE YOU STILL HAVE HIM BY THE BALLS.

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 3:11 pm

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 6, 2013, 3:14 pm

        hahaha omg, I would die if I saw my boyfriend wearing those. (& by “die” , I mean “of laughter” because those are ridiiiiculous)

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 3:21 pm

        You are mean Fab.

        Only a Real Man would wear pink shorts. You’re just jealous you don’t have a Real Man.

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        Christy August 6, 2013, 3:25 pm

        Holy shit I’m so glad my gf is more butch than that. And it’s not like she’s butch.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 3:29 pm

        You’re all a bunch of pastelists. I’m outta here!

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        MMcG August 6, 2013, 5:02 pm

        Its like these folks have never been south of the mason dixon line in summer ffs. expand your mind!!

        But dont get me started on the good ol boy overgrown bangs haircut. Why do they do that too themselves?

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2013, 5:17 pm

        oh, that i don’t like either! summers in maine did me in. i have a whole different wardrobe for there, haha. stripes! lots of stripes.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow August 6, 2013, 4:28 pm

        Or an icecream truck driver with a very mean employer.

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        painted_lady August 6, 2013, 6:45 pm

        Rainbow, I’ve missed you.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 6, 2013, 3:21 pm

        The men in the area I live in would be all over those club shorts.

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        bethany August 6, 2013, 3:22 pm

        dear god. If my husband came home dressed like that, I might throw up.

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        painted_lady August 6, 2013, 6:40 pm

        LBH, no, just…….no. Sperrys are silly-looking and I can’t even talk *myself* into wearing pink shorts, not even to derby practice where everyone looks like they just left a day at clown college to head to the strip club to dance.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 2:59 pm

        ok, ok, can we at least agree on this: it’s fun to make fun of people with dolphin tattoos. only because they pretend it means something, but really all it means is they went to mexcio at age 17 with friends and got drunk at Senior Frogs

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      • Copa

        Copa August 6, 2013, 3:15 pm

        Apparently Esteban had to go out and buy new shoes before our first date because he didn’t have anything in between dress shoes and super casual shoes. I guess he asked a female friend of his, and she told him to buy boat shoes. He didn’t buy boat shoes, and I probably would’ve laughed at him a little bit if he’d shown up in boat shoes (on a surprisingly-temperate-for-this-region January day) because he is very much NOT a boat shoes kinda guy. I think boat shoes are fine on the right kind of guy, but for whatever reason, I’d be surprised if I ever truly hit it off (romantically) with a guy who is drawn to boat shoes.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 6, 2013, 3:22 pm

        But what if his boat shoes came with a boat?

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana August 6, 2013, 4:12 pm

        I grew up around boats and that was what boat shoes were made for my mom had some beat up old sperrys, my grandpa wore them. Then all of a sudden they became this huge fashion statement and I remember being so confused. Now boatshoes where I live are synonymous with not really grown up ex frat boys and is sort of a huge dealbreaker for me, although I acknowledge this isn’t always the case and I am sure there are many nice guys who rock them too.

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        painted_lady August 6, 2013, 6:44 pm

        Yeah. Sperrys are so frat-douchey. The only guy I know who owns any is my friend’s husband, and we made fun of him so hard when they started dating.

        Give me a man with a pair of Chucks in a fun color. Like green. Or yellow.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 6, 2013, 4:18 pm

        The men in my area who come with boats are very arrogant. (This is to distinguish between them and the men in my area who do not come with boats, who are just arrogant. Haha.) So I’d pass on the boat. 🙂

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      • avatar

        Morgan August 6, 2013, 3:14 pm

        I was with you up until pastel shorts. I’m a prep at heart. Bring on the pastels.

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  • avatar

    bethany August 6, 2013, 2:14 pm

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with a break up, but this all could have been avoided if you’d just listened in the beginning.

    You say you wish he told you it was a deal breaker sooner, but really he did, you just wouldn’t accept it. In your first letter you said “The main issue is that Calvin has made it clear that it is important for his future family (wife included) to go to church, have discussions about religion, and follow such values. I realize this seems early in a relationship to discuss this, but, hey, for a girl approaching 30, it feels reasonable. At first he made it sound like it is a deal-breaker for his significant other to not ascribe to his views, but then, after some awkward/sad silence and tears, he said maybe we should revisit the conversation later.”

    He was up front with you about what he wanted out of a partner. Maybe he should have been a bit more forward, and not backed down when you cried, but really, it’s fairly obvious that he wasn’t ever going to get serious with someone who didn’t share his beliefs.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle August 6, 2013, 2:21 pm

      Yeah, & this. I couldn’t figure out how to say this without literally being like “we told you so!” but you did a good job!

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    • Miss MJ

      Miss MJ August 6, 2013, 2:24 pm

      I agree. I hate that you’re hurting LW, and it the entire situation sucks, but Calvin did make it clear that your religious differences was a deal breaker for him, if not an immediate one. You just didn’t want to hear it. Good luck to you in the future. I hope you find someone who is a fit for you as you are, not as who he wishes you would be.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle August 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

    I’m sorry you’re going through a breakup (while still living there, eesh) I second kerrycontrary on going through the forums for breakup advice. It does suck that neither of you quite realized this was a ~dealbreaker~ , not just a little workable issue, but the good news is that it was only 10 months out of your life (I actually had the idea you’d been together much longer) You’ll pull through 😀

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  • Lyra

    Lyra August 6, 2013, 2:25 pm

    This sucks, LW, but I really do think it’s for the best. This issue would have never gone away. You may have swept it under the rug but unfortunately it would never disappear completely. Good luck as you process things.

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  • avatar

    oldie August 6, 2013, 2:38 pm

    The process of grieving over the breakup of a relationship is what it is, there is no way to speed it up or make it anything but unpleasant. The key is to keep busy, try to stay positive, do things you normally enjoy, even if they seem a little empty at present, spend time with your old friends. Find a friend whom you can stay with for the week. Staying with the bf you just broke up with is the absolute worst thing you can do. There must be someplace else you can sleep. If not, be there just to sleep and be apart as much as you possibly can. Seeing him is just a reminder of your pain.

    Foremost, as you move forward in your new city, take some time for self-exploration. You really dragged this no-chance relationship out a very long time and convinced yourself that Calvin was telling you something very different than he was actually saying. Learn that you cannot fundamentally change other people. Learn what about yourself caused you to cling to this hopeless relationship. Foremost, when somebody whom you are considering being in a relationship with you tells you ‘this is who I am’, believe them. Don’t assume you can cause them to change or to compromise their basic beliefs. You compromised quite a lot, Calvin did not. He played the string her along and I’m so wonderful that eventually she’ll change rather than lose me game.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl August 6, 2013, 2:43 pm

    LW – this line is from your first letter: “The main issue is that Calvin has made it clear that it is important for his future family (wife included) to go to church, have discussions about religion, and follow such values.”

    He told you exactly what he expected and you didn’t listen. I’m sorry it worked out this way and that you find someone who is more in line with your own values. Having dated a born again christian (I don’t believe in any faith or in god) I can say it’s easier to be with someone who believes what you believe.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary August 6, 2013, 2:46 pm

      “I can say it’s easier to be with someone who believes what you believe.” THIS. I don’t think that matching religious beliefs/morals are always a requirement, but it sure as heck does make things easier.

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  • avatar

    Sophronisba August 6, 2013, 3:08 pm

    Sorry, LW! It was wrong for him to let this slide so long, since the dealbreaker was on his side. It doesn’t sound like he was willing to compromise in any way, although you tried to..
    In the meantime, can you ask him to go stay somewhere else for the next few days or leave for your new location early? No good can come from wallowing in this emotional and physical space any longer… It’s onward and upward!

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck August 6, 2013, 3:56 pm

      1) He told her, up front, that this would be a dealbreaker. It’s on both of them for letting it slide, not just him. The delabreaker was on her “side” just as much as his.
      2) This is not a situation that allows for compromise. He wants a wife who shares his faith, not one that merely tolerates it. What kind of compromise do you think could possibly satisfy both of them here?
      3) She’s staying in HIS apartment, and you want her to ask him to leave?

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      • avatar

        Temperance August 6, 2013, 7:40 pm

        My husband used to work with a guy whose wife is a Jewish atheist but agreed to go to church with her husband because he was Christian and it was important to him. He understood that she wasn’t going to convert, and he was fine with it. While I can’t imagine it working for a lot of people, they’re both happy because they get to be together AND get what they want.

        So it’s possible, although he can’t force her into believing, you know?

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay August 6, 2013, 3:11 pm

    I’m sorry. This sucks. But you’ve got to hammer out the details of big dealbreakers early on, and if someone won’t talk about them, that’s a bad sign.

    Anyway, good luck finding someone who shares your values!

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  • avatar

    cdobbs August 6, 2013, 4:18 pm

    eek….i remember i was dating a guy back in University and the topic of baptism came up (he is catholic and i don’t belong to any organized religion) and he was saying how we would have our kids baptized….i was like woah, my kids are not getting baptized…..and they are not joining a church….once they are old enough to decide if they would like to go to church then they can make that decision for themselves….needless to say we did not see eye to eye on the issue…..i mean we broke up so it doesn’t matter, but that is my opinion on the matter

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    • avatar

      Jessibel5 August 6, 2013, 4:54 pm

      When we were first dating, my husband and I had a similar conversation. He doesn’t go to church now, but we had a conversation where he was very adamant that he would be taking his kids to church EVERY SUNDAY! Even when he was allowed to make the decision himself and wasn’t baptized into his church until he chose that at 13. When I asked him “why” he couldn’t really come up with a good reason. It was a “because that’s just what I should do” kind of thing. His mom is VERY active in the church and I get the feeling she is somewhat ashamed that I’m not a regular churchgoer and wasn’t baptized myself.

      Now that we’re married, we’ve come to a compromise that he can take our kids to church every other Sunday, but he’d be doing it by himself. I’m actually very curious about what the over/under is on how long he lasts taking a screaming infant/squirmy toddler to church, or how long that’s going to last during football season…

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 6, 2013, 5:43 pm

    Yay! Religion is such a wonderful thing that truly only brings so much joy and happiness to the whole wide world. Always such a thrill to witness the power of its great unerring love in action… Jesus loves me yes I know! For my delusions tell me so!

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 6:02 pm

      Too little, too late. It would have been fun to watch you rile everyone up earlier – but at 5:43 pm ET? People are at happy hour already, BGM! Geez. Note: I’m not at HH so comment away; except on religion I tend to see your point.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 6, 2013, 6:15 pm

        The price I pay walking fucking psychotic dogs all day… Ugh. 90 percent of the dogs in LA should be put down, I swear. They. Are. Insane…

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        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 6:36 pm

        I want a dog so bad. First, I love them. Second, I need someone to take care of so I feel important. Third, a friend is dating a nice man she met at a dog park. I want to meet a nice man at a dog park too.

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        MissDre August 6, 2013, 6:41 pm

        @Addie I got my first puppy ever in December and holy crap, I did not know how crazy dogs are. The first few months it was like having a new born baby. Now that she’s 10 months old, she’s ridiculously hyper (SOOOOO HYPER) and she eats anything and everything including garbage, roadkill and her own poop. Oh she’s also destroyed 3 pairs of shoes and somehow always managed to steal my underwear out of the laundry basket and eat the crotch out of them. I’m trying so hard to keep things out of her reach but she manages to destroy something in the house at least weekly. I’m told by other dog owners she’ll outgrow this by age 2, but damn 2 years is a long time!

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 6, 2013, 6:52 pm

        The psychopaths I walk are all over FIVE. One is freaking 11…

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        MissDre August 6, 2013, 7:02 pm

        Yeah… this is why I’m a cat lady all the way. My cats just chill out in the window sills all day. They don’t destroy anything or make a mess or beg for attention. They just come for cuddles at night time and then make themselves comfortable at the end of the bed. I even ordered self-cleaning litter box, so I never have to change the litter again!!

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        Jessibel August 6, 2013, 7:34 pm

        My dog is 11 and just grunted at me for a good 5 minutes because I stopped paying attention to him. He’s also WAY hyperactive still, always underfoot, and NEEDS to be everywhere his dad is, even if it means knocking me over. However, sometimes when he farts, he turns around and snarls at his own ass. Canine ownership is magical!

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        rachel August 6, 2013, 9:45 pm

        Haha, sometimes Toby surprises himself with his farts. Gotta love dogs.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 6, 2013, 6:47 pm

        Sampson is a total chick and dick magnet. Colin isn’t allowed to take him on walks unsupervised anymore because ERMYGOD the ladies love him. The guys love him. He’s just so freaking lovable. So now you know the secret to life. Get drunk at the pool with your dog. You will immediately become inseminated with the nearest penis.

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        Addie Pray August 6, 2013, 6:52 pm

        god that’s my dream!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 6, 2013, 7:06 pm

        Remember that awesome unemployed summer we spent hanging out at the pool… on the phone? Le sigh. Life was so much more fun (and drunk).

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 7, 2013, 12:16 am

        yes! i would wake up, go do corepower, then bikram, then lay out at the pool, talk to you on the phone, maybe spew something wise on DW, more likely spew something nonsensical and off-topic (SLASH, SENSICAL AND ON TOPIC) and call it a day! Le sigh, my friend, le sigh.

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  • avatar

    Leigh August 6, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Don’t put too much stock in what people say along the “I told you so” lines! Yes, he did make it clear in the beginning, but people change over time. Sometimes they grow together and things that were once deal breakers aren’t, and sometimes things that seemed fine do become deal breakers. You can’t let it drag on forever, but people do compromise. In my marriage, I’m the Calvin and my husband is an atheist. I thought it was a gigantic problem for 2 years, but after a lot of debate we both found that we could respect the others’ beliefs enough to raise our future family together because we value creating independent, free-thinking human beings. It sucks that this was a firm deal breaker for him, but I think you were true to your heart by giving it more time.
    I would encourage you to remember that moving to a new city is always a great time for meeting new, much more interesting guys when you feel ready. And before you feel ready, you can totally run around in sweats and have a few blah days because you don’t know anybody! This move will make all the difference. And when you talk through dealbreakers with future husband types, always consider if you two value the same underlying qualities/characteristics in people. It helps so much to look at things in those terms, because so many deal breakers are predicated on certain outcomes, and very few things are certain in life! Feel better!

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  • avatar

    j2 August 6, 2013, 6:57 pm

    I feel bad for you, but at least you can tell yourself that you gave it every chance to succeed.

    Heather and Skyblossom said the kids angle would be trouble. I agreed saying, “Kids are the ignored elephants in this room of a relationship.”

    For all your pain now, it would have been far worse later when kids really were involved. Think of it. He gets alternate weekends and uses the time to indoctrinate them into his religion. They ask you why you don’t go to church, especially HIS church. This might be a worthwhile discussion with pre-teens or older, but you would be getting it dumped on you at age four.

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  • avatar

    Temperance August 6, 2013, 7:45 pm

    LW, I know how much this hurts. My last boyfriend, before Mr. Temperance, was a devout Catholic. I am an atheist and even before I identified as such, never actually believed in God, but went through the motions, assuming everyone else did the same. Mr. Ex and I broke up because I told him I would convert if he wanted, but I didn’t like the Catholic church and didn’t believe in all the rituals, especially communion. He apparently did actually believe, and this is when I learned that people actually do have faith. lol. He’s now married to a woman who is very, very religious and conservative (she’s a member of Concerned Women for America … yeah). I’m married to a dude who is liberal and an atheist, and who finds it hilarious that I was 20 before I realized that people actually did believe in God. Oops.

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  • avatar

    NJT August 7, 2013, 8:31 am

    You are making this much harder than it has to be. If everything else is wonderful, and your Atheism the only road bump, then find God.

    Faith is a choice, choose to believe.

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      lets_be_honest August 7, 2013, 11:03 am

      Oh boy.

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      SpaceySteph August 7, 2013, 11:00 am

      Really you would recommend her changing a fundamental part of who she is for a guy? That’s ridiculous.
      One cannot just “find God,” and I’m not even sure I believe that faith is a choice. She offered what I think is the most she can- to allow him to choose the religion of the children and aid in their upbringing. That wasn’t enough for him, and that’s ok, but it doesn’t mean they belong together.
      I fight this battle often on behalf of my husband (who has a different religion that I do) when people say I should convince him to convert. I always say that his relationship with God is his- I wouldn’t want him to convert because I wanted him to, only if he wants to. I’d rather him stay a different religion forever than fake mine to make me happy.

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      Temperance August 7, 2013, 1:06 pm

      Uh, no it isn’t. That sort of thought it was kept me going to church for so long. Faith is something you have, or you don’t.

      Not to mention how fucking rude it is to tell an atheist to just start being a Christian. You wouldn’t advise her boyfriend to give up on the whole Jesus thing for her, would you? Methinks not.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray August 7, 2013, 1:22 pm

      I’m not sure you can choose what you believe. You either believe in a higher being or you don’t, right? It’s like if I told you to just choose to believe there is a unicorn sitting in my office. Could you?

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        SpaceySteph August 9, 2013, 11:01 am

        Actually, I totally choose to believe that there is a unicorn sitting in your office. It has a pink sparkly mane and tail.
        It makes my day.

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      bethany August 7, 2013, 1:36 pm

      You can’t choose to believe in something. Either you do or you don’t. I want to believe in unicorns, but I can’t.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 7, 2013, 2:44 pm

        The unicorn in my office is wearing a cone-shaped bra and singing Vogue. It’s so distracting.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ August 7, 2013, 2:46 pm

        I really want to believe in this unicorn!

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        Addie Pray August 7, 2013, 3:33 pm

        Gasp, it took off the bra and is flinging its unicorn boobs all over the place. And now its dry-humping a two-headed turtle that just sauntered in. It’s like zoo porn in here. Really, just choose to believe it.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ August 7, 2013, 3:56 pm

        Totally clapping my hands right now.

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      • cmary

        cmary August 7, 2013, 4:30 pm

        Unicorn boobs = My new favorite phrase. I feel like it has so many possibilities. Like an alternative to swearing: “Oh, unicorn boobs! I burned my damn toast.”
        Or to express delight: “This cake is no joke better than unicorn boobs.”

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 7, 2013, 5:37 pm

        ah unicorn boobs for the win, I love it!

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