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You Asked: Are We Just Too Different?

Dear Sugar--

My boyfriend and I appear to be from two different planets. Our faiths are as different as can be - I'm a Christian, he is agnostic. We differ on just about everything, yet I truly love him. When I'm with him and we don't discuss the taboos - religion and politics, everything is good. But the second these come up, or things that are sensitive to one of us, things go south. Take for example our most recent fight - he mentioned that if he were to be a quadriplegic, he would rather die. Both of my grandparents were paraplegics and I take serious offense to this. While I realize that this is a personal decision, this is something that I cannot support, given the way that I was raised. I sometimes wonder if this relationship is workable. Do you have any words of wisdom for me? -- Worried About it Amanda

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Worried About it Amanda --

You are not alone, Amanda. Many couples come from different cultural and religious backgrounds and have varying views on politics and religion, but if you love him, I have faith that you can get past your differences. In my opinion, being with someone who doesn't always have the same views as you is a good thing - it pushes you to look beyond your own ethics and learn another point of view.

I am not sure if you are talking about the future with this man, but if you are, it's important to discuss the big picture. Make sure you are on the same page about marriage, money, family, children (and how you will approach religion with your children), career, etc.

Opposites attract, but you can't avoid the taboo topics forever - sometimes you just need to agree to disagree. Think about how boring life would be if everyone had the same opinions! Trust your gut instincts here - if your love for him can overcome your differences, great, but if you truly feel that you are from two different worlds at the end of the day, you might want to be with someone who's on your same page. Good luck to you.

Join The Conversation
Sofiababy Sofiababy 9 years
i agree with you whole heartedly fluffy helen. if more people had greater respect for other peoples relgious views, and not try to "enforce" their own beliefs upon others, this world would be a much better place.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
You see, I also studied Theology. Christianity preaches tolerance, love and understanding of other people regardless of their faith. To pray for somebody to be "saved" is pretty much indirectly interfering with their free will. You are trying to effect a change on their lives and it is one which they have not asked nor chosen for themselves. Hence - don't do that. I believe that in STOUTLY Christian situations (where one person is all "believe in God or else") I think that the conversation about religion should happen VERY EARLY ON. I was in a relationship with a guy for two and a half years and I found out about six months in that he was a devout Christian with "no sex before marriage" views and all that jargon. I'm an atheist (now, AFTER studying theology). This did not go down very well at the time. Nor for the next 18 months. Eventually he cracked and we had sex. Unfulfilling, boring sex. It was all he was capable of. I was supposed to wait until marriage to find out he was barely capable in bed? No thanks! The relationship ended because he was a boring, self-absorbed individual who had a terrible addiction to computer games. I digress though. My point is - where religion is so drastically important to one person, the conversation about views needs to happen VERY EARLY ON. I could not handle somebody praying for my soul everyday. Just as I'm sure a Christian cannot handle an atheist cracking Jesus jokes all the time. =P
sweetnici sweetnici 9 years
this question sounds just like my current relationship. I just broke up with my bf due to religious views. I love him SOO much and feel he is an amazing guy. I have recently started to become closer to God and have began going to church again. The fact that he doesn't want to go with me and study the bible is a big problem. I believe that God gives you a foundation. A relationship with God is very important to me. The bible says it is a sin to be unequally yoked, meaning if you are a christian you should marry a man that shares your relationship with God. I know God has a plan for my life, and he will bless me with the right man. I continue to pray for my ex and hope one day God will save him!
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
I am a devout liberal and my boyfriend is a staunch conservative. OH the disagreements that we have over a variety of topics. =D Keep it lighthearted though. Don't make it personal. Not EVERYBODY is going to agree with your opinion all of the time. How boring would it be to have somebody agree all the time on everything? Zzzzz. As for the quadraplegic thing - it's odd you should have a fall out over that. I have a friend who has diplegic cerebal palsy and I had a fall out with her because she said she would rather have been aborted than been born like she was. Two years later as her full time carer and I understand where she is coming from. Sometimes you just have to accept that some people would rather not live that life, even if it is the one they have been born into.
Sofiababy Sofiababy 9 years
i think you need to learn to respect each others opinions. me and my boyfriend are VERY different, (in all ways that count- religion, politics, etc) yet its what seems to work for us. he balances me out. we challenge each other, open each other's minds and expand our views, and most importantly learn new things all the time because of it. i really respect the way he thinks even if its not the way i do. and most of all, when our kids are growing and learning, they'll get to CHOOSE what they want to believe, rather than have beliefs forced upon them. i think its really wrong and quite ignorant to ask him "what if our/your child was quadripalegic? you would kill them?" i would be HIGHLY HIGHLY offended if my boyfriend asked me that. i personally would not be for living my life in such a position, but for someone to ask if i would kill my child because of a handicap would send me off the wall!! think about the ridiculousness of it. its a PERSONAL decision/belief that each person has for themselves-- and its their right. he wasnt saying if it were up to him hed kill all handicapped people! really. i dont think he meant it as an offense to your family, but i understand your sensitive to that, and so should he. any way, if you guys continue to disagree thats perfectly ok-- even healthy-- just know that respect is key. plus you guys will always have the most important thing in common- loving each other. good luck sweetie!!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Agnosticism maintains that the nature and attributes of god are beyond the grasp of man's limited mind, that we cannot just simply say "we know" when we actually dont. It doesnt mean they dont believe in something, they are just super skeptical. That said his statement to you regarding being a paraplegic, has nothing to do with his religion, its a personal preference. I would rather leave this earth than be a paraplegic myself. The big problem is that if you can live with the fact that he is agnostic, and that if you have children you might differ on raising them a particular way. In my life my religious beliefs are non negotiable, i couldnt be with someone who didnt believe what i believe, because its important for me to share in my faith with the one i love.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 9 years
I think that in relationships like this, some people LIKE to have the disagreements. Which is why they stick around. It's like a bad habit. So you have to ask yourself...are you willing to stick around in this relationship, even though you know that you two will probably still be having the same arguements years down the road? Because it sounds like you have a low tolerance for his beliefs, as I'm sure he has a low tolerance for yours.
Marci Marci 9 years
My own feeling is that there are so many issues over the course of the day in and day out of a lifetime relationship, that as many things as you have in common and agree on the better. Who needs to be arguing or getting upset all the time over differences like that? I agree with LadyLibertine is so right that if it's too much work it isn't worth it. Yes, it takes work to make a relationship go the distance, but that doesn't mean *constantly*, and it doesn't really mean a LOT of work. If you have the rhythm with someone, it just works for the most part.
organicgirl organicgirl 9 years
I can relate. My boyfriend and I are complete opposites and in the beginning of our relationship this caused a lot of problems. However, we have been together three years and have learned to appreciate our differences. I agree with previous posters that on some things you will just have to agree to disagree. But I also think it is important to have common values - and yes you can be different religions/political orientations and still have the same values.
lintacious lintacious 9 years
ask him this... "what if our/your child was quadripalegic? you would kill them?" and see what he says. if you two can agree to disagree then things should be okay but the main concern is raising kids - if you two are serious enough for that to be an issue. i ended a four year relationship because he wanted to teach his kids things that I morally object to. i decided that if he felt so strongly that he wanted to pass on that passion, and i feel so strongly that i want to pass on the opposite, the future arguments would be endless a waste of my time. i have decided that while me and my future husband can have opposing views to things, there are several issues that we must agree on, must be on the same side for. no, these do not include politics are religion at all.
lily314 lily314 9 years
The romantic in me believes that you can make anything work if you truly love each other. The realist in me points to all the studies that say relationships where the two people have similar worldviews are more likely to last.
sarah-lynn sarah-lynn 9 years
I personally enjoy the taboo conversations I have with my boyfriend because his views and personality are so different, especially about religion and politics. It helps me learn more about him, and where he comes from. I can't say that I agree with you about the quadriplegic comment. I do believe that it wasn't his intention to be offensive, it's not like he was saying anything nasty or attacking your grandparents, not even attacking your beliefs. If I were in a coma I'd rather the doctors pull the plug on me, but it's not like I am saying that they should do this for all coma patients. It is his own opinion and his own point of view, and if you find his opinions and views, and clashing religious beliefs offensive more often than not, then maybe this isn't meant for you.
blingbling blingbling 9 years
I think there are certain things you can disagree on, but for me religion and politics need to be in sync. I'm agnostic and I could never be with anyone who cared what I thought about that. I have dated christians but not those who were so concerned about my views that they felt they needed to pray for me. My husband and I are the same on that and when it comes to questions about how we'd raise kids, well, there aren't any when it comes to religion. Politics - well, it depends on how passionate you (and he) are. I personally am a bit passionate - I can't fathom people who, for instance, support our current administration and are actually vocal about it (not to open that can of worms) so if my husband were like that it would be really hard for me not to throttle him. ;-) Luckily in terms of religion and politics he and are are in complete agreement and so we enjoy talking about them. For you, your grandparents left a big mark on your thoughts regarding being handicapped so I can totally understand how his views would be offensive to you. That also sounds like a biggie because, if you were married and something were to happen to him, you'd be forced to perhaps fulfill a living will that you were diametrically opposed to. All these things are important when it comes to raising kids, if you ever choose to have them. Even if you don't, you can't avoid these topics forever. As you age your views change - you might flip flop but you also might become more convinced that your views are "right" and might have a more difficult time dealing with those who differ. That's how I am - as I've gotten older I've grown less tolerant, not more. Just something to think about.
Cynnie Cynnie 9 years
Totally agree with lady libertine...sometimes you do have to work to make a relationship into a great one. There will be time when things get rough and if it's worth it then both of the people involved will have to work with eachother to make both ends meet... Now, people do give up on their relationships with ease because it's way easier to do so... Anyways, back to the main question. I'm a big believer in faith and religion and my guy isn't...and I'm fine with that because we respect eachothers point of view. As long as there is respect ... you'll find a way to work things out.
LadyLibertine LadyLibertine 9 years
""If you have to WORK to make them WORK, its pointless to me. We work all day, I wouldn't want to come home and work more."" I also think this is why people give up on relationships too easy when it gets too hard. anything worth having ( as long as it isnt a sick or unhealthy relationship ) IS WORTH working on it for. they will never be easy all the time but if you are in it for the long haul you learn to take the bumps together
LadyLibertine LadyLibertine 9 years
my guy was more a scientist and i a christian we learnt to have certain convos off bounds to make it work i think he should be more sensitive to how you feel on this considering maybe it should be a area to agree to disagree on and not discuss it. you say you are otherwise happy, I don't see how knowing some things you feel differently on should matter ""To me, a good healthy relationship just works on its own" I disagree on this, a healthy relationship takes work but does not mean that you have to feel the same on everything"
NdHebert NdHebert 9 years
To me, a good healthy relationship just works on its own. Yes you may have a few arguments here and there, but really they work out on their own. If you have to WORK to make them WORK, its pointless to me. We work all day, I wouldn't want to come home and work more. And also, no one is forcing you to be with this person. You live once, be as happy as you can be, and with someone who makes you happy. Don't settle, just to settle. My 2 cents. :)
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