If you’re here, we know you’ve probably got yourself in a predicament. You’re either already talking to someone who is religious or are interested in someone who is religious, and that’s just not your cup of tea. Why can’t like be easier, right? Dating someone religious when you are not is certainly not an ideal situation, but you probably already know that so we won’t beat a dead horse.
What we’d like to do today is get to the bottom of this issue and see if we can’t give you some helpful advice for your specific situation. We’re going to look at both sides of the argument on whether dating someone religious when you are not is right or wrong and whether it’s worth trying to make it work.
You’ve probably got a lot of questions right now, but luckily you’re in the right spot to get them answered. Let’s get started.
Will Dating Someone Religious When You Are Not Work?
The number one question you probably want to know is whether or not dating someone religious when you are not will work. Can you actually have a great meaningful relationship or are you doomed continually to have issues and butt heads on different issues? Well, the answer is that it depends. It depends on several different questions that you can ask yourself right now to figure out whether it’s going to work out or not.
How Serious They Are About Their Faith
The first question you have to ask yourself to figure out if dating someone religious when you are not will work or not is how serious they are about their faith. Is their religion just something that is very casual (like they go to church a couple times a year) or are they serious about their faith and are very active in their church? Do they feel very strongly about a lot of the issues that their religion preaches or are they also casual about those things?
If you find that they’re very serious about faith, we hate to be blunt, but it’s probably not going to work. You’re going to constantly butt heads about issues, and both of you are just going to get frustrated. Sure, you both can try to look the other way for a little while, but eventually, the issues are going to keep coming up, and you’re going to get upset.
What happens if things get serious? What happens if you have kids? Are the kids going to be raised religious? What happens when you want to do something that is against their religion? Who wins that argument? We’re going to be blunt. If they are serious about their faith, it’s not going to work, and you need to let them go.
Now, if their faith is something that is casual, then it’s a bit of a toss-up. It could work, but it’s still not going to be ideal. The risk you run is that one day they decide to get more serious about their faith and if you’re not on board with that, it’s going to create issues. Most of the major religions push pretty hard that you should marry someone with the same religious beliefs as you. And frankly, regardless of where you stand religiously, we have to agree that’s some pretty good advice. There are just too many issues that will come up if you’re both not on the same page.
Are They Okay With You Not Being Religious?
The next question you need to look at when deciding if dating someone religious when you are not is going to work is how the other person feels. It can be easy to look at all of these issues from your point of view, but you really need to be fair and look at things from their side. Are they okay with the fact that you’re not religious?
There are two ways to figure this out pretty easily – one you can observe and one that takes action on your part. The observing that we’re talking about is looking to see if they are trying to convert you to their religion. Are they constantly inviting you to their events or wanting to talk to you about your faith? If they are, they’re most likely not okay with the fact that you’re not religious.
It’s a passive aggressive way of dealing with it. They probably like you a lot and are hoping that you come around and “see the light.” The problem is that when that doesn’t happen, they’re going to get frustrated and it’s going to get ugly.
The second (and best) way to figure out if they’re cool with you not being religious is to ask them. Communication is awesome and the key to any successful relationship. Just ask them straight up if they are okay with you not being religious. Make sure, though, that you get a real answer. Don’t let them give you a short answer that you can tell really isn’t from the heart. Get to the bottom of it because it could save you a lot of time and heartache.
Will They ALWAYS Be Okay With You Not Being Religious?
Here’s the real issue. They might be okay with you not being religious now, or they at least might say that they are. But, are they always going to feel that way? What happens when they get more serious about their faith? What happens when it’s time to get married or have kids? What happens when they want to get more active in their church? These are all things that could easily happen, and it’s going to be a nightmare when they find out that you’re not planning on converting.
You HAVE to be honest with yourself with these questions. When people that are not religious are dating people that are, they have a tendency to try and pretend everything is okay and that it’s not going to be an issue. Why? Well, it’s usually because they really like the person and that’s what makes all of this so hard.
But the bottom line is that if you really like the person that much, you should be willing to ask the tough questions about your potential future. If you’re thinking about starting a relationship and dating someone religious when you are not, we’d probably advise against it. We’ll talk in one of the next sections about some other options you have where you’ll have fewer issues and a better shot at happiness.
If you’re in a relationship now, you’re probably here because you already see issues. No one comes looking for articles like this unless they think something is wrong or might be going wrong. Answer these questions honestly, and you’ll have your answer about what you should do. If it’s not the answer, you were hoping for, be strong and do what is best for both of you.
Practical Steps You Can Take Now
So, when we write our online dating guides, we don’t want to just give you “information” without including advice on how you can use that information to make your life better. So, with that said, let’s take a look at what you can do today if you’re currently dating someone religious when you are not.
1. Make a decision about what you want to do.
You have to decide which way you want to go. The worst thing you can do is make no decision and be half in and half out of the relationship. If you feel that their faith is going to create too many issues in the future, you need to decide to walk away and find someone new. We’ll cover this in step three below. If you feel that their faith is something that you both can work around, then skip down to step two.
The bottom line takeaway here is that you have to make a decision and you need to make it now. Things are not going to just magically fix themselves or get easier. We will tell you that if you’re here looking up guides like this, you’re probably already seeing issues and need to walk away. This is certainly the tougher of the two decisions, but if you love each other or care about each other, then you need to do what is best for the both of you.
2. If You decide you want to try and make it work, you need to have a serious conversation.
While we really don’t advise it, some of you have decided to try and make it work, and that’s okay. It’s your relationship and not ours, so you get to make the decisions. But, if you are planning on going down that road, we do have some advice for you. You NEED to have a sit-down and serious conversation about all of this.
No, we’re not talking about a casual conversation where you dance around the issues. You need to address everything, and it needs to all be settled once and for all within that conversation. You need to look at any current issues that you’re having as well as any issues that you foresee in the future. Allow your religious mate to air out any concerns they have as well.
Are there things you do that they don’t like? Are they going to be able to accept those things or are you willing to stop doing them? Are there things that they do that bother you that you’re not okay with? If you’re in a serious relationship, how are things going to look if you get married? How will you raise your kids – in the church or not?
Some of these issues might seem a little overboard and way down the road, but you have to address them now. If you think they’re just going to fix themselves or that you can deal with them later, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Dating someone religious when you are not isn’t easy, and if you’ve decided to try and make it work, it’s actually going to take some proactive work on your and your partner’s behalf.
Schedule a “meeting” with your partner and let them know you want to talk about something important to the relationship. They’ll respect you for hitting this head on and taking their faith and religion seriously.
3. If you decide you want to walk away, that’s okay.
If you came here looking for us to tell you what to do or what we suggest, this is what we recommend. The fact that there is enough of a problem that you needed to hit the Googles to look it up tells a lot. Even if things “aren’t that bad,” the fact that you potentially see an issue is enough that should tell you that you’re in a tough situation.
While this may be the toughest of the options, it’s going to be for the best, and you need to remember that. Sometimes doing the right thing is not easy and this is certainly one of those examples.
Taking care of this now and not waiting until months or years down the road is going to make it easier. Not much easier, but still easier. It’s unfair to both of you to stay in a relationship that you know is not going to work because you disagree on something too fundamental and foundational to a relationship.
4. If you decide to walk away, start looking for new singles in places where you can find non-religious singles.
If you do decide to walk away, it’s going to hurt, but it’s not the end of the road. There are tons of singles out there who share the same views on religion as you. One of the best ways to find non-religious singles is using online dating. Why? Well, it prevents you from having to ask them where they stand on religion because they have to put that information into their profile.
So, before you even choose to start talking to someone, you’re going to know whether they are religious or not. This will prevent you from getting into the same predicament you find yourself in now.
Now, we’re not saying that you have to go out and find someone new right away. But, if and when you’re ready, we do have some recommended online dating sites that can help you find that new special someone who shares the same views as you.
Written By: Jason Lee
Jason Lee is a journalist and data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.
His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.