This is a question I have been asking myself obsessively ever since I realized that the super cute/cool guy I’m crushing on has very different religious beliefs than me. Granted we have only been on two pseudo-dates, so this is hardly a serious relationship. BUT I can see myself genuinely liking this guy and I don’t want to even go there if it’s hopeless. No need to invest a bunch of time and emotion if I already know there is no long-term potential…
But the truth is, even thought I am genuinely concerned about my lack of future with this guy, this situation is much bigger than that for me. For the first time I have had to ask myself all sorts of questions: How is it that I have gone through so many years of dating and have never had religion come up as an issue? Exactly how strong are my convictions? What matters to me today, and what will matter to me when I am older and want kids? And most importantly, are my religious beliefs a deal breaker for someone who is uber-religious?
To get an answer to my questions I did what any good blogger would do — I turned to Twitter. When I posed the question I never expected the incredible volume of responses or the great insights I received. It seems quite a few people have opinions on whether different religious beliefs are a deal breaker in dating. I found that the answers were pretty evenly split between no, depends, and yes, and that people offered lots of good reasons as to why they answered the way they did. Here’s what some people said:
No, a difference in religious beliefs is not a deal breaker:
Quite a few people said no – having different religious beliefs doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. A few people gave resounding no’s including @princeasbin who cited his personal experience dating woman of many different religions. Others agreed that it wasn’t a deal breaker but qualified their no’s – Matt (@swlessons) and Taylor (@misstaylorcast) agreed that a difference in religion was not a the end of the world as long as the other person doesn’t force their opinions on you. Then there was Tana, (@Feistyfluffy) who made a great point that although she doesn’t see it as a deal breaker, having a difference in religion has often come up negatively in past relationships. Her comment really made me think. Even if this isn’t a deal breaker for this new guy, it doesn’t mean it won’t be an issue.
Depends, different religions could be a deal breaker:
There were also many tweeps who responded with the word “depends.” This didn’t surprise me, as I do very much agree that it depends on the person. But I did find it telling that most people said it depended on the level of seriousness of each person’s beliefs and just how different your opinions were.
Steve (@singlesteve) said if one person’s briefs are very strong, then that can be a tough position from a religion perspective. @thedatingfiles seconded that by saying that it really depends on the two individuals and the depth of their belief system. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that my new gentleman’s beliefs fall into the “very strong” category, so this was not good news for me.
Chelsea, (@celibataire30) said it all depends on just how different your beliefs are. While she’s not really into any religion, she does believe in God and wouldn’t date an atheist (Interestingly enough, this was a sentiment which was repeated quite a few time throughout the various responses).
Then there were the people like Meghan (@justasinglegirl) and @follyofone who said it depended on whether we are talking long term or short term. However, since I am not really interested in dating guys I know I have no future with, it would be irrelevant to me if it only worked in the short term…
And finally, there was Shane (@shanemacsays) whose response was actually quite similar to my thoughts. He said that it totally depends but that he never judges someone on their values because people change. Rather he goes with instinct and adjusts as he goes along. I’d like to think that I am the same way.
Yes, a difference in religious beliefs is a deal breaker:
Of course, this was not what I wanted to hear, but I appreciated everyone’s candor and and saw these responses as a bit of a reality check. @Realityoflynn said it is absolutely a deal breaker because the relationship can’t really go anywhere. Kristine (@specialkSD) recommended that I just ask him about it, but said that, yes, it can be a deal breaker if one person is casual about their religion and the other is serious. And @Romrealist and @shewontbetamed agreed with Kristine, and said that it would be a problem if one person was ultra religious or serious in their beliefs.
SO, what’s my takeaway from all of this? Well I’m thinking that it is probably unlikely that me and this new guy will work out seeing as how the vast majority of people think that it’s problematic if one person has serious religious beliefs. BUT, I have decided to keep hope alive. A. Because I am just getting to know him and I suppose taking a chance on someone is part of dating. And B. because I think it may be impossible to guess whether something is a deal breaker for someone or not. There is no way I can know the extent of his religious beliefs and what that means to him for dating. Therefore, my plan is to just chill out for a bit, and feel good that I know where I stand. When the topic comes up (which knowing me it will — probably sooner than later ) then I’ll deal with it.
Now in the meantime, if any of you have any suggestions on how I may bring this up, feel free to let me know…