The only major differences that we seem to have that are problematic are differences in values. Primarily, these are political and religious; Calvin is very conservative and I’m definitely much more liberal. Politically, I can understand and respect his views and, while I don’t necessarily support all that he supports, I am mostly okay with it. When it comes to religion, however, we definitely have different views. He is Christian and attends church regularly. I am not and do not go to formal services. I am 100% okay with him ascribing to his beliefs and actively attending religious services and so forth, but I am not likely to change my views nor go to church.
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.
I’m not sure if there’s any chance of compromise on either side. He’s expressed how much he cares about me and is falling in love with me, but I don’t know if that’s enough. I hate to ask him to give up on his specific dreams for the future, but we work so well in so many other facets that I’m really torn. I don’t want to table the issue to just have it become a deal-breaker in several months — what’s the point? — but I guess I’m hoping maybe he will be less rigid in his view of what he wants me to be religiously. Any advice on what to do or how to approach this? Do you think these differences are so big that a relationship might not work in the long-run anyway? — Non-Believer
Yes, sadly, I do think a fundamental difference in values and the way two people practice those values are detrimental to the long-term success of a relationship, especially when at least one person in the relationship has already communicated that it would be a deal-breaker if the other person doesn’t share and practice his beliefs. It would be one thing if Calvin were open to marrying someone of a different faith — or no faith at all — and if you were open to raising your children in church and perhaps even accompanying him to services. But you’ve both made it clear that that isn’t the case.
He wants a wife who shares his religious beliefs and practices. You aren’t going to be that person. One of you will forever resent the other for not being who and what you really want. Staying together to see if you develop enough love to weather the storm of your differences is just begging for heartache. It’s like adopting a child you know you can’t keep. Why let yourself fall in love when you already know your heart will be broken? For the experience? You’re looking for more than just an experience. You want a forever. This isn’t the guy who’s going to give that to you. At least, not without some pretty serious sacrifices on one or both of your parts — sacrifices it doesn’t sound like either of you is interested in making.
As sad and hard as it will be, you need to MOA before you’re even more emotionally invested. If what you’re looking for is a life partner, you need to keep yourself available to the person who can be that for you and it doesn’t sound like this is it, sorry.
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@example.com.