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Need some advice about a couple of issues in our relationship


tigerfan88

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OK, so I've posted here before, but not in this forum. Anyway, to summarize, my boyfriend and I (he's 21, I'm 20) started dating back in March, broke up in May (because we were both busy and didn't spend enough time together) but stayed friends throughout the summer, and have been spending time together consistently for the past month at our college. We get along amazingly well and have so much in common. We are still in the beginning stages of getting back together, but are feeling really good about this.

 

I am a Catholic and go to church regularly; he is of another Christian denomination and goes to church regularly as well. We were talking a few nights ago about our parents and what they've told us about relationships, and he mentioned that his dad was pretty strict in the idea of his son dating someone only of his denomination; my BF didn't feel the same way as his dad, as religion isn't a huge deal to him. But still, this made me a little bit nervous. I know my BF will get along pretty well with my parents, but I'm kind of concerned about how his dad will like me since I'm not of his denomination, even though I'm a very respectful, ambitious, kind person and I do not push my beliefs on others. What should I do when I meet his dad to hopefully make him like me more? Should I talk to him openly about religion in the hopes of making him see I'm not a bad person for not being in his denomination or ignore the topic altogether?

 

Another concern of mine is how we act. We're both incredibly shy, though I've made tremendous progress in this department (I used to have issues with focusing in on conversations and making eye contact with everyone I talk to, but now I don't have those problems anymore). When we were together before, we never hugged, held hands or kissed, which is something we both realized was a problem after we talked about our relationship before. He never initiated this because he was so shy and probably didn't think I'd be open to it, even though I definitely would have been and still am. Should I tell him that I want this stuff too and to not be afraid of my rejecting him (because I won't), or should I just initiate that myself?

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What should I do when I meet his dad to hopefully make him like me more?

 

Nothing. Just be yourself. I certainly would not be raising the religion subject. I think it is poor that he would make such conditions but given he has, it is best I think to make him deal with you on your terms rather than in the one area he has an issue.

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My son-in-law's parents are devout Roman Catholics, my daughter is agnostic. It caused some concern at first and there was some issues around the wedding plans when she refused to have a nuptial mass (they did get married in an RC church) but all was resolved and they are now happy that their son is happy.

 

My daughter largely won them round by treating them respectfully but holding her ground where she felt strongly and not allowing any issues to affect her relationship with her husband.

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I'd handle the physical thing with actions rather than words, but I'd relax and trust that it will work itself out naturally over time. (It will.)

 

The BF folks thing I'd approach using the same techniques I use as a consultant in major corporations. I make it about them, not me. I don't try to 'sell' them on anything, but rather I relax and listen and enable them to be the drivers and communicate to me what's important to them.

 

That's how you can gather information and form a go-forward strategy. And you'll need one.

 

Please don't go in there trying to make an impression--especially by attempting to overcome a negative. I'd assume instead that there are no negatives, only beliefs. Discover any potential degrees of conflict now, but don't address them. There will be plenty of time in the future to discuss religion--or not.

 

If his folks raise religion, I'd consider them as hosts to be the discussion leaders, and I'd enjoy a humble learning experience rather than challenge them on their beliefs. Challenges can come later.

 

If you play this smart, you'll think long-range and win them in time.

 

Otherwise, if you try to win them 'over' in one night, that's short-sighted and turns your pressure-cooker up too high. You raise your odds of coming out sideways and blowing the lid off the thing. Just consider getting through the night in a relaxed manner without any irreparable conflicts--and that's honestly ALL you need to accomplish the first visit.

 

May the force be with you!

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