Coming Out to Friends and Family, How Did You Do It?

All my life up until now I've been an agnostic. But I recently made the move to atheist and I am happy where I am. It has brought a sense of relief to my life. But now there is a new challenge I am faced with. Telling my loved ones. I know I have nothing to be ashamed of, yet I am scared of being judged and treated with dismissal or negative reactions. I told my mother who stays quiet at times and others says she fears that I won't be in the afterlife with everyone else. I mentioned it to my sister and she said nothing.


Besides other friends and family, I need to tell my boyfriend. He is the person whom I wish to marry and have children with one day. He was raised catholic and holds to those beliefs. I don't mind our future children being raised with those beliefs as long as it doesn't negatively impact their lives. And I don't have reason to suspect this, but I fear he won't accept me.


Does anyone have any advice or experiences to share on this topic?

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Honestly, I think the weight of holding something like this in can be harmful in the long run. It can also dramatically change your boyfriends view of you if you tell him. If that is something you are OK with then by all means go ahead and tell him. I can only tell you if I were in your position and my girlfriend looked down on me because of my non-religious views I would most definitely not continue the relationship. This kind of thing sticks around. As for family if they truly love you they would except you for who you are. I told my mother and she didn't take it too badly, but then again I only visit home once a year.
Thanks for the advice, your right if he doesn't accept me then it probably won't work out in the long run.

While I have not "come out" yet, I think I may be able to help.


You can try a humorous way by saying "I'm a ______ (insert something they might find appalling), just kidding, I'm an atheist!"


In seriousness though, let them know what you believe in an appropriate manner. Then, if they get upset remind them of the good teachings of compassion and acceptance that Jesus preached. 


With your boyfriend, have a serious discussion. Explain your beliefs and let him know (if he doesn't already) that Catholicism has no problem with evolution and more recently the big bang theory (even though it is not "officially" sanctioned). Let him know you are still the same person he loves and admires, you just believe things a bit differently.


I would like to end with a little philosophy from Wayne Campbell : "If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's your's. But if you spew and she bolts, it was never meant to be."

Great response. Thanks for the advice.
i have some experience of it...i was raised in islamic family tho luckly its not a hard fanatic type family that i got since my family tree is pretty spread

everytime someone ask me, i will state it clear that i'm irreligious unless they ask in specific manner, i wouldn't go as far to state that i'm atheist since it will open up a debate party which is pretty annoying by this time after i had all these years debating it real life and online.

most of my friend doesnt mind about it, my gf doesnt mind about it (and i state this early to her even before we become a couple) to make a ground for the future), my bro and sis doesnt mind about mom on the other hand, doesnt want to accept it...well tough luck..cant get it all worked out, can i ? :D my father, doesnt want to know deeply since he just need to know that i'm good..but for family occassion, he expect me to follow islamic tradition....pfft.
Yeah with the parents it can be pretty tough. You feel that you are letting them down, but you have to follow your own way. Thanks

I've been slowly coming out to my immediate and extended family over time.  I've told each one separately, depending on that particular relationship.   My mother is catholic and what I did with her was to very slowly talk with her about my beliefs regarding separation of church and state.  This gave her a pretty clear idea of my beliefs, but not directly as it relates to belief in gods.  So when I finally came out and used the word "atheist" I don't think it was much of a surprise to her.  Although one time she actually said she thinks she failed me, she's never been negative  towards me again and we get along just as well as we ever have.  We just don't talk about her god. There's really no reason to.  I still talk to her about fundies and politics as it relates to religion, but that's as close to belief and god as we get. 

This gradual coming out really worked well for me.  It was slow and wasn't so much of a shock to anyone. 

I hope however you end up handling this that it goes well for you.  GOOD LUCK!

I'm happy your way worked for you! That is kind of how I've been doing it too. When the moment is right, I with tell the bf, in a way that would make it easier to handle. Thanks for sharing your experience.
"All religions are stupid"
I think that's how I came out to my family on my beliefs (or lack there of). lol
Strenght, Patience, Empathy, Love.

Strength in your convictions.
Patience with the reactions of those you tell and with their reactions.
Empathy for where their reaction are coming from.
Love for those who love you.

I know, most of the work sounds like is on you. I think it goes both ways. You have every right to come out to your family and loved ones and feel pride in what you feel and think and "believe". You deserve respect and you deserve to live life without hiding about who you are. It can be tricky with your family and the impatience we all have with the theistic world needs to be curbed with family.

So for the hocky and touchy feely reply. Let us know how it goes!
well coming as an atheist in this society is challenging enough but coming out to your family is going to be difficult. i came out to my to some members of my family about two years ago. and its been a rough road. i grew up in a very extreme christian home with my grandfather being a pentecostal reverend. so my road was and still is a long one. but i hold on to my non-beliefs, but at the same time me and my family are not on talking terms because of my being an atheist. so i can only wish you the best on your journey and hope that your family are more reasonable than mine. just make sure you are comfortable with this move. if your are then you should do well. if they truly love and respect you it shouldn't go bad like my coming out. take care. GOOD LUCK!
I'm sorry your "coming out" didn't go that well. And thanks for the advice.


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