Hey everyone. I go by "Beyonder" for now as I'm still figuring out my place in the world as a "closeted" agnostic atheist. The reason is that I'm married to a conservative Christian whom I have not told about my loss of belief in the supernatural or its associated dogma. I'm not sure how she'll take it. My parents are also pretty conservative Christians as well. Let's just say most of the people I've associated with in life are believers.
I've been blogging about my thoughts and experiences at http://beyondbelief.blog.com and would love for you to read and/or subscribe if you can.
If you have any advice on "coming out" as an agnostic atheist, that'd be great. Thanks!
I read your blog - I was only planning to skim over and get the gist of some of it, but you write exceptionally well! I found myself reading all of it, no skimming, and clicked back post by post until I reached your first post - and then, disappointingly for me, the well ran dry. You come across as a very sincere person, with a really good way of expressing yourself. Thank you indeed, for sharing your personal thoughts.
You may not have told your wife yet, but when you do - and I believe you will do that - you cannot control her reaction. She is a person unto herself, and she will say, do or behave the way she chooses to. I would guess that it is the havoc you are dreading wreaking in what is currently settled waters, that is giving you such concern.
Perhaps you could show her your blog - or at least excerpts from it. You write so openly that it would be hard to misconstrue what you mean. But again, from the open way you write, I am going to guess that you would be able to sit down and talk to her just as openly.
None of us know your wife or your interaction with her, so although some members have perhaps had similar situations to deal with, they will be different personalities with different interactivity. Not much help there, then.
So here is the million dollar question. Can you go through the rest of your life with your wife (and family), pretending you still believe? Or do you feel that you need to be honest with them at some stage?
If you can see yourself faking it for years to come, then that is an option for you. Having read your blog, I would not guess that this was the case, but if you chose this path, I don't think anyone would blame you. Certainly, nobody can judge the considerations of your own set of circumstances.
If you need to be honest with her then it is not a matter of 'whether', it is simply a matter of 'when' and 'how'. You have to realise that you cannot control the outcome, so you need to focus on clear delivery - it is amazing how people blur their delivery when they are giving information they believe will not be willingly received. So be clear and open, and give your wife a chance to understand and absorb the new information. Maybe even suggest that you have something to tell her, but you would like her to have time to digest it so that you can have a discussion after she has had time to absorb it and reflect.
I really hope it goes well for you.
Wow, your compliments on my blog are very kind. I've always been told I'm a good writer. I guess maybe I should pursue making money at it or something.
Just FYI, here's a link to my newest post about "coming out" to my wife:
Thank you for coming back to this thread and updating everyone. It sounds as though you have done it (the coming out) really well. I was hoping your wife would still want to be married to you, and it was nice the way you discussed your kids with her.
You have made it clear that you have no intention to try to deconvert her, and I expect she found that reassuring. Your attitude to 'Phil' being told was also great.
I see at the end of your post that you are considering 'coming out' to more people. Might I just suggest you let the dust settle with your wife, so she can see that nothing in your relationship has changed, before you do that? The reason I suggest a bit of time, is simply because if anyone feels alarm at your declaration, they may well take it up with your wife rather than with you, and I suspect she will want to come to your defence as her husband, yet not have enough ammunition to do so yet.
In fact, as you seem to be including your wife in your decisions, which sounds wonderful to me, you might like to discuss with her to whom, and when your non-belief should be shared. That way she can be prepared, and a willing participant in the dissemination.
But honestly? I think you'll manage just fine. Go you!
Good thoughts. Yeah, I think she and I need to let some dust settle and have a few more discussions. The next person I need to tell is my dad. It's going to be a tough conversation.
Abandon hope all ye who enter here!
Welcome! Maybe you don't need to have a coming out event, you know? I don't think I ever did, but the people who know me best know I haven't attended church since I left for college back in 2000, and realize (subconsciously, at the very least) that I haven't mentioned a belief in God in conversation for the last 15 years or so. They can maintain whatever illusion they like, but I think that deep down—or not so deep, depending on the person—they all know. It's just not really mentioned, the relationships stay the same, and life goes on just as it always has. I'm not the atheist black sheep or anything, because that aspect of myself doesn't define me to my friends and family.
Certainly, your wife is another matter. If you feel it's important to come clean with her, you're probably right to do so. I don't think it would be wrong, though, to just be who you are and let her realize it on her own. That might be a gentler way to go about things.
I'm going to read your blog now!
If you feel it is important for those in your "inner circle" to be aware of your status I would deal with those individuals on a one on one basis, starting with your spouse. To me it is important to establish and recognize the essential foundations of your relationship. The ties that bind. When your partner is reassured of your commitment to them it will help to allay their awareness of your atheism. It is important that they remember you are still the same person that they have trusted and confided in all along. Hopefully they can see the importance of mutual respect for one another and that your love for one another is not predicated on having identical religious beliefs. I wish you well.
Thanks everyone for the kind words and thoughtful suggestions! Here's an update: I "came out" to my wife this weekend. Here's the blog post about my announcement and subsequent conversations with her and the minister who married us:
I feel that if your wife truly loves you there will be no problem coming out to her. I wish you the best of luck :) And as it has already been said welcome.
I just told all my believer family (which was all my family) to fuck off and die in a grease fire. It's worked out excellently for me but I don't suggest this strategy if you actually want to maintain any sort of relationship with them.
First cackle of the day duly initiated....
Just think of the bundle you saved on Christmas cards --!