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 firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.