2006-04-22

How Religion Handcuffed My Social Life

Near the end of last year I noticed that my social life had been particularly active during that time. After about five consecutive years with very few to no dates, I had dates with about ten different women that year. I even had a wonderful relationship with a gorgeous, intelligent, responsible yet delightfully fun-loving and playful woman for about eleven weeks until she moved back home across the sea during the summer. My social life has remained fruitful since I made the observation. Until then, I hadn't pondered why there was such a tremendous change, but upon reflection I soon realized the reason: my deconversion!

When I was a very devout Catholic, I never would have considered dating a non-Catholic since I wanted someone who shared my faith, especially if I were to marry her. More than that, I wouldn't even date a weak or even moderate Catholic since I was so committed to living my life according to absolutely everything the Church taught. This meant that my potential dating pool was extremely small and on the rare occasions when I did find a woman who fit my stringent religious requirements, whom I liked, and who liked me, she almost always lived far away. This all meant that I didn't really date for about five years because of my religion.

I wouldn't have dated any of the women I've dated in the past year and a half except for my deconversion. None of them were practicing Catholics, most of them were not religious, and a few of them were even nontheists. While I would ideally prefer to be with another nontheist now, I am completely open to dating someone who believes in the supernatural as long as it doesn't adversely affect our relationship. This primarily means that she doesn't let attendance at religious services significantly interfere with our plans, she doesn't ask me to attend them, and her beliefs don't negatively affect our sex life. Obviously the field isn't totally wide open, but there are many more nontheists, apatheists, nonreligious and nonfundamentalists than truly devout Catholics. Dating is easier without one's choices shackled by religious fundamentalism.

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2 comments:

RC said...

Interesting post...

Personally I know I would have never dated or married my wife if it wasn't for God, because our shared beliefs and values were one of the things that attracted me to her...

Also my social life is rich in quality and depth of friendship...many (not all) of which share my beliefs as well, although how we interpret our faith sometimes varies on non-essential points.

Anyways...all this to say thanks for sharing, it was an interesting post...but my experience has been different.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

Secular Planet said...

Yes, religion can often benefit people socially, that is true. But in my particular case, the dating pool was so small as to be impractical. And note, too, that it was really only dating and not friendships that were affected. So I guess a better subject line would have been "How Religious Fundamentalism Handcuffed My Dating Life", but that doesn't sound as catchy.