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I remember having similar conversations on at least two or three occasions about things like the Mormon modesty dress code or the Word of Wisdom being means of social control.
And I worried that J(wh) was doing something very similar to what J(2) had done—constructing the same argument over and over, asking me to make sense of something he found nonsensical in the name of wanting to understand but really in order to force me to change that thinking. I knew I couldn’t handle the pain of falling for another wonderful man who couldn’t accept my religious beliefs. I canceled our fourth date on the rather flimsy excuse of not feeling well.
Knowing the relationship would be short-lived, J(1) didn’t make an issue of religion at the time.
But when I asked him two years later whether he would consider dating someone with religious beliefs as strong as my own, he said simply ‘No.’ I’m not sure how we would have navigated that tension had the relationship been more open-ended. We spent hours IMing until it felt like I knew him far better than I actually did.
With time I realized that the real problem was not the simple of our different religious beliefs, but rather J(2)’s inability or unwillingness to accept that we believed differently.
I recognized that the heart of the matter was each partner’s willingness to accept the other’s beliefs without either 1.
Fortunately I have a conscience that made me feel bad for doing so, so I proposed an alternate date for a few days later.
But even as I did, I contemplated canceling that one, too.
So I surprised him a bit by calling him back and saying that yes—I’d love to get dinner with him on a “casual date.” Our first few dates all ended with us sitting in his car, in a campus parking garage, talking—talking for two or three or four hours at a time.In many ways our relationship was very good, but we both knew it couldn’t last more than a few months for a variety of reasons.Although we had several intense conversations about our different religious beliefs, our relationship ended for much more pragmatic reasons.But I knew I couldn’t always be fighting the same challenge over and over.And then he surprised me by saying he felt like I was arguing with someone who wasn’t there. And J(wh) and I have had some difficult conversations about what our religious differences mean—in our present and in any possible future.