So I’m dating this guy but his religion really bothers me. I really, really like him but I dont know what to do about my feelings toward his religion, and I’m hoping you can help.
You and your guy probably have tons in common. You like the same pizza, you’re excited to see the same movies, and you’ve both got that Cobra Starship album playing on repeat. Awesome. In a way, relationships would be a whole lot easier if those similarities just kept going on and on forever, but in every relationship you’re going to have some differences—but it’s actually those differences that keep dating interesting.
Dating someone from a different religion isn’t for everybody—some people feel very strongly about only dating people who share the same religious beliefs—but by being open to people from other faiths, you’re allowing yourself a greater chance to meet people you’re really going to connect and have fun with.
You’ve said his religion bothers you, but I’m wondering if you’ve taken the time to really learn about it. Sometimes beliefs that are different from ours can seem weird or wrong until you start asking questions. If you like this guy, and it seems like you really do, it’s worth being curious and finding out more about his religious roots. Ask why he practices certain customs or what a particular prayer means. Because many of the world’s religions overlap in ways, you may find out that his belief system shares a lot in common with yours.
The bottom line is that relationships are both about compatibility—meaning all that fun stuff you have in common—plus a hefty dose of respect. You don’t need to be so head over heels over his faith that you want to convert and join his religion, but it is important to respect that it is his religion, and that it’s at the core of his belief system. You can’t ask him to change that.
If you’ve tried to be open and learn more about his religion, but it’s still something that fundamentally bothers you, chances are that you’re not as into him as you think. Love is a pretty powerful thing, so if his faith is getting to you this much, your relationship might not be the real deal. That said, if he’s a great guy, and it seems like he is, try to stick it out. Tons of couples do every day— and some, like Chelsea Clinton, who’s Christian, and Marc Mezvinsky, who’s Jewish, end up getting married!
Good luck, be patient, and I hope everything works out for you.
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.