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Agnostic/Atheist Support Group

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justme1264 posted 10/21/2014 16:21 PM

You make a great point. People, me including, tend to try to understand the definition of a label (atheist, christian, agnostic, etc.) from the perspective of someone else's (or plethora of people's) description and understanding. Kind of feels like the telephone game you play as a kid.

Most people don't believe or understand their view point the same.

cocoplus5nuts posted 12/16/2014 19:37 PM

I have not read the posts in this thread. Way too long for me to even think about.

I'm atheist. My fWH is Catholic. He has said that he wants to start going to church again as part of his recovery from his A. He says he needs the spiritual guidance and support. The problem is that I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that, not because it's church, but because he'd be going without me. Yes, I could accompany him. My problem with that is what to do with our kids. Our only option would be Sunday school, which I do not want to subject them to. So, I'm left with either letting him go and hoping I don't drive myself insane wondering if he's just using it as a cover to meet the MOW, or telling him he can't go and, potentially, crushing a real possibility of help for him.

Tred posted 12/16/2014 19:45 PM

I see your conundrum Coco. Here is my advice, and it has nothing to do with spirituality - let him go. If he is going to cheat, he'll find a way. If he wants to use his religion as his cover for infidelity, is he worth being with? Talk to him about it. Be clear that you want him to be healthy, but if he is going to use faith to further infidelity, you'll want nothing to do with him. Then trust but verify from there on. Just my opinion.

cocoplus5nuts posted 12/16/2014 20:09 PM

Thank you, Tred. That is where I am leaning. He asked me if I was ok with him going. I told him I wasn't and why. He understood.

I certainly don't want to stop him from doing what he feels he needs to do to help himself with this mess. And, you are right. If he really wants to keep cheating, he will find a way.

StillGoing posted 12/16/2014 20:32 PM

If he's going to go back to church as a catholic I don't see why it has to be a regular thing unless he's suddenly convinced taking regular communion is going to weigh out against adultery.

Scheduling with you a good time for him to go to confession and talk with a priest about what he's done and how best to repair the damage with his family could be a happy medium there. Like he hits the church while you and the kids go wander around enjoying the morning as fun loving heathens and then meet up for brunch or something.

Doesn't have to be a weekly thing IMO. If he's really earnest about this then iirc marriage is a big old Important One on the sacrament list which makes you a priority there. Hitting up the spookybox to talk to the priest about how best to go about that once every few months isn't going to get him kicked out of the club.

eta:

I apologize if I seem a bit flip. Wasn't meant as disrespect. Grew up catholic, never had (m)any personally bad or disillusioning experiences with it so I slip into familiarity mode sometimes.

[This message edited by StillGoing at 8:37 PM, December 16th (Tuesday)]

sadone29 posted 12/16/2014 21:22 PM

I'm so happy to find this group! I'm going to spend time going back and reading as much as I can.

WH's reaction to being caught has been mind boggling. I feel like I'm in some weird alternate universe. He decided he wanted to be baptised and now goes to one of those evangelical churches where people cry and raise their hands in praise of jesus.

Before DDay, he was a staunch Atheist. He now takes the kids with him. He made it seem like my objections were me trying to pull parental alienation. But I didn't change. I was trying to uphold our deal in how we wanted to raise the kids. He changed it all. I'm the one who stands a real chance of becoming alienated from the kids. I know that stopping them (they like going because they get toys) would only push them further. So I support them.

But some days, I feel like I'm going to lose my mind. He says he understands why it feels like a betrayal. So he betrays me throughout the marriage, and now this, and he still has the fucking balls to keep trying to lay blame on me.

I hate the sonofabitch, and I have to live with him. Some days, the pretending that I don't hate him is difficult. But I will do anything for my kids. I patiently wait for the day my life is mine again.

StillGoing posted 12/16/2014 22:18 PM

Holy shit sadone. That is fucked up.

sadone29 posted 12/16/2014 22:46 PM

Yeah. I wish it was some cruel joke, but it's unfortunately my life.

I went to his church last Sunday to watch our kids sing a song on stage. That part was lovely.

The rest? Not so much. A few women around me were crying. When it was dark, I cried too, and it certainly wasn't from being moved by the spirit of jesus.

sadone29 posted 12/17/2014 10:00 AM

I was writing out my history, but it was turning into a novel, so I thought I'd try to cut it down a bit.

My parents grew up in Catholic families, but it was during the time when the religion was losing it's iron fist control in Quebec. They moved out of the province and left the church completely. They found a new spiritual path, but made the decision not to force it on us and allow us complete freedom to find our own path.

In high school, I was all about science and had dreams of being an astrophysicist. My grades weren't the best though, and ended up following the advice of a guidance counselor to follow what came easy to me. I wonder how different my life would have been if I had worked a bit harder and kept on with that goal.

I fell into new age beliefs. It's embarrassing the things I wanted to believe were true. As I grew older, those more outlandish things fell away, but still clung onto buddhism along with new age pseudoscience.

I know lots still want to cling to buddhism and not worry about the more challenging parts such as reincarnation, karma, etc. I can no longer do that.

By the time WH was born again, I identified as pantheist, and only if I was questioned about it. I was so uncomfortable with WH's transformation and new I had to do some reflecting on why that was. When I look back, it's so clear now that I was slowly losing all faith, and reverting back to who I originally was, but I didn't want to really take that step.

But at this point in my life, I have no room for ambiguity or bs.

John Lennon's God really does explain what it's like to wake up from faith. The dream is over. It's not sad. I actually feel relief.

Speaking of music, has anyone heard of Shelley Segal? I'm listening to An Atheist Album right now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4BaFlquvus

edit: I posted lyrics that might be against the rules, so I took them out!

[This message edited by sadone29 at 10:08 AM, December 17th (Wednesday)]

cocoplus5nuts posted 12/17/2014 10:30 AM

Sadone ~ I could not abide my H going to, and especially taking my kids to, an evangelical church. I can't even handle my H wanting to go back to Catholic church. Thank goodness he doesn't try to push taking our kids.

I know what it is to feel stuck, too. I've been a SAHM since 2003. A big part of the reason I didn't leave when I first found out about my H's A was because I have no income and nowhere to go. Most days now, I don't want to leave, but sometimes I wish I could.

What are your plans for being able to leave?

broken2 posted 12/17/2014 12:02 PM

Okay, so I found this thread by accident, but I'm glad I did. I don't necessarily fall into the "Agnostic/Atheist" category. I hope I don't get banned from this thread by this admittance. I'm not here to judge anyone's beliefs on anything just express things I've struggled with, so I'm going to guess that it will be okay to post here.

I've spent a little time reading what some of the folks here on SI have posted on this thread and it got to my thinking that maybe what I've been thinking all these years hasn't just been in "my" head alone.

I struggle with the fact that religion rules with fear. If you don't do this..., or believe that..., than you have an extremely horrible hot place waiting for you when you die where nasty things will be said and done to you. I also struggle with the fact that according to religion, I was doomed even before I took my first breath in this world. I was born a "sinner" already, a bad being. Really??? What had I done, but only just taken my first breath!??!! Already I'm bad??? Then, take into account that since I'm a woman I "made" someone eat a forbidden item and hence my life will be spent subservient and at times in pain to "pay" for "a" woman's offering of a food item?? No wonder some people have low self esteem! They hear this negativity early in their lives and are led to believe they are bad. This religious figure (no disrespect meant here) supposedly loves me yet in the very next breath tells me "you're bad", "you must follow me or else.....?????"

I can see where people say that believers that "give" their problems to God take no effort or responsibility to try and resolve these problems themselves. I see a lot of people that are blinded by this and actually don't "do" anything are lazy and believe that by some miracle something will happen and everything will turn out fine with no effort of theirs being put forth. I have always struggled with "giving" my problems to God.

Idk, but I do find some comfort, maybe a false comfort in religion. It is a conflict within myself. Spiritually I am to just believe that things just "are" which I find unsettling, when scientifically I read and I can explain things rationally.

I do with all my heart believe that we as humans should treat others with respect, work, be kind to one another, give rather then take, do good deeds.... you know,... the golden rule. If you exhibit good, surround yourself with good, try to help with good, try to be a good person, then you as a person can rest at night knowing you've given it your best shot. There is so much evil and bad in this world, why would I want to read about, worship someone who tells me negative things and at times seams like,...threatens me yet I find I do believe. Is it out of fear??? Have I fallen into the trap of religion?? Have I found the folks here at SI that agree with this?

I've never expressed any of this IRL. Thank you for letting me put this out on "paper" for the first time.

[This message edited by broken2 at 1:46 PM, December 17th (Wednesday)]

sadone29 posted 12/17/2014 13:39 PM

Cocoplus, what has happened after DDay has been even more difficult than the pain of infidelity. I barely even think about that anymore.

Narcissists are clever, I will give them that. Once we were in that mediation room, he made it sound like any concerns I had were me trying to pull parental alienation, even though I'm the one who stands to lose everything. He has set it all up perfectly. I cannot object to the abuse I've suffered. I can't criticize him (I never did so in front of the kids) when he is mean, petty or abandons the kids anymore. I have no voice. If I speak up, I stand to lose more.
He didn't take enough of my life. He needs to control everything. He damn well knew that once I decided not to R he could use the kids to control me. I wasn't ready for it though. I never expected the devious subtle ways he would go about it.

He is going along with the plan so far though. I'm trying to find financial help to go back to college. If I can't, it's going to take even longer to be able to go back. He put us through bankruptcy, so I can't get a loan.

Are you still with your H? Do you have a plan in place? Even if I did stay, I would still be working this plan. I don't count on anything anymore.

[This message edited by sadone29 at 1:39 PM, December 17th (Wednesday)]

StillGoing posted 12/18/2014 02:46 AM

yet I find I do believe. Is it out of fear?

Those waters run dark and deep.

healingroad posted 12/18/2014 03:40 AM

broken2, sounds like you're wrestling with age-old questions of religion. That's a path no one can take you on, you really have to work through it by yourself. But from your writing you're in a place many people find themselves right before they realize that they don't believe in a god or gods.

You may want to try to break down some of these questions. First, recognize that religion, spirituality, and the existence of god are all distinct questions. Obviously your opinion about one will be related to the others, but they are different. My progression looks like this:

- I see no reason to believe in a god. The questions that religion answers are all answered better and more honestly by naturalistic approaches.

- Further, I don't believe in any god. It's important to add this because belief itself is something that goes beyond just reasoning, it also requires internalizing the belief.

- To me religion is a net negative influence on society. One of the reasons is because its foundation is false, and you've mentioned a lot of the other reasons. It has roots in power and control and that has corrupted it, IMO.

- Spiritual can mean many things. Sometimes I avoid the label because it's can be confusing, but it's worth noting that there's nothing about atheism that requires an absence of depth and meaning and awe about life and our purpose. In this sense the "Spiritual but not religious" category could apply to me as well as the "atheist" label.

These viewpoints don't mean that I hate religion, or hate religious people, or claim that I know for a fact that they're wrong. They just mean that I don't believe and I do just fine without any of it.

One book you might want to read is Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation. It's short, excellent, and gets into depth on many of the key issues.

sadone29 posted 12/18/2014 11:42 AM

Hey broken! I agree with mhca. I was watching The Atheist Experience last night and the host said something that really resonated with me.

I was going to try to explain what he said, but I think I'll just quote him. "I had skeptically evaluated all sorts of things, it's just that the religious beliefs I had were the last thing I really looked at because there are protective mechanisms built into religion. An encouragement to not question, and a tradition to make it seem absurd to question it."

This is exactly how it happened for me, and I suspect it happens to many others. When I first chose to believe in my late teens, I went crazy with it. Because if you can have faith in one thing, what stops you from having faith in anything you desire to be true? So as the years went by, it was easier to drop the more absurd things like aliens, and then channeling, psychics/mediums (once you see the tricks they use, you can't unsee it), etc.

But I hung on to the spiritual label as long as I could. My thinking went like this: The universe=god, therefore, I believe in god...I'm good, I'm still 'spiritual'.
Of course I'm afraid of death, just like everyone else, but I also had (have, really, I haven't come out of the atheist closet yet) a fear of what others will think. I'm scared that they'll see me as evil or as someone who is stuffy and can't be awed by life.

The opposite has been true for me though. I have regained my natural wonder and awe of the universe.

edited to add another quote! "I reject that that claim is true, but it does not mean that I accept the opposite." It really does come down to burden of proof.

[This message edited by sadone29 at 11:55 AM, December 18th (Thursday)]

cocoplus5nuts posted 12/18/2014 11:59 AM

sadone ~ I am so sorry. My mom has a lot of narcissistic traits, so I have an idea of how it is to deal with someone like that.

Are you still with your H? Do you have a plan in place?

I am still with my H. We are attempting R. I don't have a specific step-by-step plan for leaving, but I have things I can do. My problem isn't so much not having anywhere else to go or a way to support myself and my kids. I can take my kids and move in with my mom or my dad. I can apply to get my old job back, which was more lucrative 12 years ago than my H's is now.

I don't want to go back to work. I hated it! Also, we homeschool. My younger kids have never been with anyone for extended periods of time other than me or close family. They've never been to a regular babysitter, a daycare, or school. I don't want to have to suddenly thrust into that.

I believe I know everything I need to know about my H's A. I believe he is remorseful. I believe he is trying to be open, honest, transparent. I believe we are both committed to R. However, if anything else happens, I will leave. I know if worse comes to worst, I can rely on my family for support until I figure out what to do. They all know what has happened.

sadone29 posted 12/18/2014 12:30 PM

Thanks cocoplus5nuts!

I'm willing to entertain the possibility that he's not doing any of this in a vindictive way. But that would mean that he's lost it and can't help it. Either way, my path is the same, so I try not to dwell on it too much (difficult some days). I'm glad you have possibilities! I have parents who live an hour away, and he made it clear that I would not be able to go there.

So, I keep trucking on. :)

I didn't mean to high jack the thread about N!

healingroad posted 2/10/2015 20:15 PM

Wow this thread has been dead for a long time! So I'll take a moment to chirp a bit. My D marches on but meantime I've found a nice atheist girl. It's so nice to be able to talk freely without wondering if I'm going to trip over some hidden religious tripwire. We don't even talk about religion that much, it's just comforting to know it's a non-issue.

(Not to mention seething over my "good Christian" STBXWW's adventures on Ashley Madison...)

SisterMilkshake posted 2/13/2015 20:22 PM

I am glad that you found a like minded, nice girl, mhca.

I found this article about some new research. Found it very interesting. It is called "Raising Children Without Religion May Be A Better Alternative, Suggests New Research" and here is the link:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/62411-raising-children-without-religion-may-be-a-better-alternative-suggests-new-research?utm_source=FBTraffic&utm_medium=fijifrost&utm_campaign=CMfacebook&ts_pid=2

Thank you Mighty Flying Spaghetti Monster for helping to alleviate my Catholic guilt.

phmh posted 2/14/2015 17:10 PM

I'm pretty sure I haven't posted here before, but saw it up near the top while I was looking to see if I could support anyone on the NPD thread.

My (lack of) belief has pretty much been a non-issue in my life; however, now that I'm dating again, it's something I'm thinking about more and more.

Not sure I could be part of a successful atheist/believer relationship, and there aren't that many atheists out there.

Anyway, planning to stop by more often. Hello!

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