A boy and a girl meet. There is an instant spark and they begin to date. They have a successful relationship until they realize an awkward fact: the boy is an Evangelical Christian and the girl is an Earth-bound Unitarian Universalist. They deal with the issue but the boy is still uncertain of the girl. One day she creates a new Facebook identity that open professes her religious views and says that she wants to meet others with like-minds. The boy finds out and feels betrayed. He hates the fact that she is an Earth-bound Unitarian Universalist and does not know if he can continue to be in a relationship with her because of this. What do they do?
This is the problem that my friend Sarah has come to me with. She continues to explain that her boyfriend is trying to convert her back to Christianity but she just cannot get in to it, no matter how hard she tries. She wants to continue to still be in this relationship but she just does not know how to make it work when he is so certain about not dating an Earth-bound Unitarian Universalist.
So first I asked her, is the relationship worth pursuing if they were having so many problems on this sole subject? She replied she thought it was. I concluded that she needed to talk to him about how she felt. Sarah replied that she did but he just defended himself like crazy and was sarcastic. “I got sarcastic too,” she admitted, “But that was because he was making me so angry and frustrated that I felt like I couldn’t talk to him any other way.”
I asked her why she let him talk to her this way.
“There’s nothing much I could do to stop him. Freedom of speech, you know,” she replied with a sniff, “It does hurt though when he says stuff like that. And I feel like he knows it too. I just can’t get him to see my side of the story. He is so hell-bent that he is right that he won’t take any other answer. He just gets me so worked up and he talks down to me too. Like he called me a derp and said that I’m clearly not understanding a word when I knew it perfectly. When he deemed the conversation over by saying he had homework to do, he merely said ‘good day sir’. I replied, ‘I am a proud woman’. To this he said ‘indignant to the end’. We got caught up in a flurry of arguments and petty cat-fighting until he said ‘good day mam’. Then I walked away from my computer and did what any Disney princess would do: throw myself on the nearest available space and cry.”
To this I asked her why is he treating you like this? What is causing his actions to be so crass?
“My sister said that he was probably just expressing how much he missed me since I am away at college and he is still stuck in our hometown. Personally, I thought that if he missed me so much why not say it instead of starting up an argument? My sister replied that he may not really know how since he is a boy and expected to be masculine and not display such ‘feminine’ emotions.”
With this, Sarah look at me with glossy eyes and asked what I thought. I told her to calmly try to reason with him but not immediately. Get off Skype. Step away from the computer and sit to take deep breaths. Drink some water or Gatorade. Do homework (if you need the computer, exit out of Skype and concentrate ONLY on homework and resist the urge to go on Facebook or any other social networking site to post your feelings (you never know who might see them)). Tell your boyfriend that you need to go and calm down so that you don’t lash out and prompt him to lash back. Then, read a book. Or listen to music. Avoid TV since there may be something that will bring your thoughts (and tears) back to the fight. Then, the next day or even two days later, message your boyfriend and say that you have calmed down enough so that if he wants to talk, you’ll be ready. If he replies with a snide remark, dismiss it. Fact is, he is probably still bothered by the subject. Try to make light conversation and do NOT entice a fight in any way, even if he says something really hurtful (then say, that is really hurtful or something and move on). Try to reason like mature adults and hopefully the situation will diffuse.
I hope that this advice is helping her along with anyone else dealing with problems about religion or anything that spurs a fight in a relationship.