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Ask a Party Planner: Should I Date Outside My Religion?

Conventional Wisdom is a different kind of advice column. Your questions will be answered by people from all walks of life rather than by advice experts. If you have a question you'd like answered on Conventional Wisdom, you can submit it here.

This week, a party planner offers advice to a woman unsure about a new love interest. After you read her answer, be sure to check out our Group Therapy group where I found this question.

Today's Question:

I'm a single 32-year-old woman and I am under immense pressure to get married from my family and community. I have been single for two years since my last relationship, and four months ago I met this guy and started dating him. We quickly got close and we really care for each other. He wants me to be his girlfriend now, however there a few issues with us — he is only 28 and from another religion. If this goes anywhere, then we are sure to face opposition from both our families. We are from cultures where our families mean a lot to us.


We have talked about this being a long-term relationship, but we have yet to figure out if we will end up married since it's obviously too early. I'm wondering if I should date other guys while we figure this out. I really don't want to, but my friends warn me to not put all my eggs in one basket, especially when he is four years younger than me. I also worry that our religions will come between us in the future. 

What should I do? Date other guys, or be his girlfriend and see this through?

Signed, Unsure

To see the party planner's answer,


Dear Unsure,

It seems like there are two issues here: first, his age, and second, your religions. Let's discuss.

I think you should not worry about his age. Twenty-eight is old enough to be in a serious, committed relationship if that's what he wants. Like you said, it's early in the relationship, so you can't predict whether you two are going to get married. But there is only one way to find out — by dating him exclusively.

As for the religion issue: this is something to seriously consider. But I think you need to figure out if you're willing to date someone with a different background — is it worth it to you, not your family, to work through the inevitable obstacles (like choosing how to celebrate holidays, or how to raise kids)? As for your family, I think that they will be more supportive than you think. If you're happy, they should be happy for you too. And you say this guy really values his family, so I think it's great that you found someone who thinks his family is important — just like you do.

If you really like this guy, it's worth giving it a chance. Good luck.

A party planner

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I'm agnostic, and my partner was born into a staunchly catholic family (not that he practices mind you). My mum's a Russian Orthodox and my dad claims to belong to the Church of England. I don't see why religion is such a huge issue if you can both get along without arguing over which path to god is better. :S
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
i'm from a mixed marriage and turned out just fine. it really depends on how YOU feel. not your family, not your friends. if YOU see this as a problem, end the relationship. if you don't, carry on.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I'm atheist, and my husband is catholic, from a very devout catholic family. We really upset his family when we got married by a non-denominational pastor. They don't know I'm atheist and we're pretty sure that if they knew beforehand, they would not have approved of the marriage, not that it would have stopped us. It's working for us so far. I deftly ignore his parents when they question why we don't go to church and why we don't pray before all our meals. We have great discussions on whether or not there is a God or evidence of a God and it's brought us closer since we can understand each other's thoughts. So marriages can work between different religions/views. But I wouldn't rush into accepting/forcing a relationship with this man just for the sake of getting married.
lilashleyxox lilashleyxox 7 years
I'm Catholic my boyfriends not. It would never make any difference to me what his religion is honestly.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
It really depends on the religions doesnt it? Catholics tend to be pretty rigid about not swaying from their brand of worship, while lutherans/ babtists/ methodists would be easier to go with the flow. Jewish/christian matchups can work but the ones i know of, someone usually converts.
ella1978 ella1978 7 years
I think it all comes down to how comfortable YOU are with it. I'm catholic and my finace is non-denom. christian - but he doesn't practice, and he has his doubts about organized religion. It is difficult for me sometimes, dealing with what will happen in our afterlives, will we be together? But I try not to worry about that. I love him desperately and I want to spend all my time with him now. I don't want to worry about what will happen after we die. None of us know what exactly happens. We all have our beliefs, but we don't know for sure. We have talked about it, and he's okay with rasing our future children catholic, but to also allow them to chose their own religion once they get old enough too. To introduce them to different cultures. I go to church every other week or so, by myself, and it's no big deal. Now we are also both white americans. I know that different heritages, different' ethnicities have bigger issues on the family scale - but ultimatly it's up to you. Are you super religious? Will it be something that bothers you a lot? Talk about it. It's the only thing that will make you feel better.
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