Dating outside your religion
When religion plays a significant part in your daily life, it may seem that your only option when it comes to dating is to choose someone who shares the same spiritual outlook.
Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to find that special someone in your religious circle.
There’s all the pop culture references I missed out on, the fact that I wasn’t used to being friends with people outside of church, the clothing I was told was wrong to wear, and, oh, yeah, sex ed, which was very similar to the “have sex and you’ll die” strain of curriculum.
It’s all been weird, difficult, and laughable in equal measure.
The approach is highly supervised and very centered around the needs of men and the idea that the worst thing a woman could do is possess a tempting body. I signed up for the ridiculous dating apps, told my friends I was open to being introduced to whomever, and worked on making eye contact with boys in public.
Like the Duggars, but without all the smiling at the cameras. I had a string of first dates in which I learned about banter (surprisingly, my most successful tactic has been to talk about my 22-year-old car that I’ve named Susan Sarandon because, like the actress, she is hardy and just keeps on running) and immediate turn-offs (when a date dropped homophobic slurs in conversation, I knew right then it would never work).
Navigating the world outside of the sphere of an all-encompassing religious upbringing comes with a steep learning curve.Turns out the central issue was that I didn’t want to kowtow to the rules of my old religion, but even in my new version of faith, I still didn’t want to be in a serious relationship with someone who didn’t share at least some aspects of my spiritual life.I had to recognize that the reason I felt uncomfortable in it was not because of the voices of my past, but because who I was now needed that connection in a partner. I called him up and tried to explain how there would be a level of connection missing for me, and that we both knew we were already serious and therefore trying anyway would only end in heartbreak.If you meet someone from a different religion and find yourself interested in dating them, there are several simple steps you can take to bridge the differences between your faith and theirs and build a meaningful relationship that encompasses both of your religious points of view.Avoid Assumptions No matter what you've heard about the religion of the person you're dating, take time to seek out the truth. You may have been misinformed about certain aspects of another religion and end up looking foolish when you reveal those wrong perceptions.