I'm not religious. Why is it that all the girls I meet are?
February 27, 2008 8:03 AM   Subscribe

I keep attracting girls who are incompatible with me. How can I get women who I actually have a future with?

I'm 29, male, and just got out of a 10 month relationship earlier this month. The girl I broke up with left me because we couldn't get over our religious divide. She was hardcore Catholic and I am culturally Muslim. I don't have a problem with religion, but don't practice.

In the past couple of weeks, I've been talking to a girl who I've been friends with since 2003. She has told me that she has liked me since we first began talking. We have a good rapport, but I fear that this relationship is doomed because of the religious divide. I was talking to this new girl on the phone, and she said she wants a religious guy or someone who is leaning towards becoming more religious. I don't think I fit either criteria.

In my relationships, I try to respect the woman's wishes. I don't pressure a woman to have sex with me. I treat my girlfriends well. I don't play mind games. Yet, I cannot find a girl who I can have a lasting relationship with. All the girls who are into me are religious, and want someone similar in the long term

I'm not sure how I can go out and get a girl who is non-practicing as far as religion goes.
posted by stedman15 to Human Relations (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yet, I cannot find a girl who I can have a lasting relationship with. All the girls who are into me are religious, and want someone similar in the long term

Funny, because I know a lot of Christian people who have the exact opposite problem- they can't find someone religious enough! Where are you looking? You mention two girls in your question, your ex and an old friend- you realize there are more than 2 girls on earth, yes? There are all sorts of people in this world. So, if you can't find what you're looking for, one minute infer you are looking in the wrong places.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:16 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Match.com would be a good start--you can search by religious preferences.

Your problem is that you are dating people who feel strongly about religion, which is really the most divisive "anything" in human history. You need to find someone who is open-minded. For instance, I was raised Lutheran but in adulthood am an atheist on a bad day and agnostic at best on a good day, and I married a non-practicing Catholic. We got hitched in a Catholic chapel (which made her parents happy) by a very liberal deacon who didn't care about my religious preference, and I didn't have to jump through any hoops to compromise my beliefs.

We talk about religion all the time but our discussions are all very civil and never become emotional. That's the kind of relationship you need to find. Don't stick around for 10 months with someone if you don't have that right off the bat.
posted by fusinski at 8:20 AM on February 27, 2008

This might be one of those cases where eHarmony could be useful. It tends to be more focused on personal values than most other dating sites. But if online dating isn't your thing, then I'd just continue to be as open as you can without giving in to other belief systems if you honestly don't share them. Not every girl you meet will have as strong of an issue about religion as the one you've recently dated, so just keep at it.
posted by samsara at 8:26 AM on February 27, 2008

I'm an OkCupid user, myself. There you can actually tell it to show you only people who are, say, atheist or agnostic (or muslim, in your case?). It also allows people to specify how serious about religion they are, from "laughing about it" to "very serious about it." That kind of intel might help you make informed decisions.

I completely sympathize with your complaint, though, when it comes to meeting women "in the wild." I just had a relationship fall apart in part because of irreconcilable religious differences, and a couple of days ago I discovered a woman who I was sort of flirting with self-described as very religious. I think continuing to look is the only viable solution, though -- sure, we may both get hundreds of "uh, okay, no"s, but sooner or later one can hope we run into the good ones who share enough of our respective philosophical backgrounds to make it work.
posted by Alterscape at 8:42 AM on February 27, 2008

I don't know where you are in the world, but if you're in the US I would suspect at least some of these women are interested in you for the purposes of eventually converting you. The fact that highly religious Christians are interested in a Muslim (practicing or not) seems very odd to me. I've had a few evangelistic guys express interest in me as soon as they found out I was not Christian. I was friends with one for awhile, and eventually he started pressuring me to go to his church, and that was the end of that. I'm engaged to an ex-Christian now, and he has told me that fundamentalist Christans are taught that it's their HOLY DUTY to befriend non-Christians and steer them toward the light, by whatever means necessary, including expressing romantic interest.

I'd steer away from women who bring up religion, and I'd also join groups that tend to be more secular, i.e. that don't have to do with politics, social justice, etc. Volunteering at the homeless shelter (or whatever) is a great thing, but not a good way to meet non-religious women.
posted by desjardins at 8:46 AM on February 27, 2008

This type of problem is best solved with volume dealing. Meet as many girls as possible and keep in mind that your strong feelings aside, they might not be best for you. May the best woman win.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:49 AM on February 27, 2008

Sorry, I should have specified that the latest girl I'm talking to is also Muslim. I just don't practice the religion as 'good Muslims' do, and I doubt I ever will. I'm just not as into religion like a lot of people seem to be.
posted by stedman15 at 8:53 AM on February 27, 2008

Most of the people I know -1) hipsters, 2) indie rockers, 3) art students, 4) metalheads, 5) gamer geeks, 6) former english majors, 7) democrats, 8) anarchists - none of them seem to be religious. In fact, a lot of our conversations revolve around how much we hate organized religion.

I didn't seek this out, particularly. It seems that my interests tend to weed out the religious.

My point is that maybe it would help to identify the groups of people that tend towards non-religiosity. It's much easier, based on appearance, to identify a hipster than a devout catholic.

I don't know where you meet these girls. Try meeting some other kinds of girls. I can pretty much guarantee you that if you can start dating a metalhead/industrial/goth girl, she won't be religious.
posted by kpmcguire at 9:02 AM on February 27, 2008

kpmcguire - academia is the same way.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:06 AM on February 27, 2008

In my relationships, I try to respect the woman's wishes. I don't pressure a woman to have sex with me.

Religious women are being funneled toward you by the phalanxes of other men who are pressuring them for sex earlier in the relationship than they are comfortable with because of their religious convictions.

I think women are right to resist such pressure and take their own sweet time regardless of religion, and I am convinced a fair number of more secularly minded women of the requisite strong character will find themselves being pressed in your direction as well, and that if you want one of them, you only must wait and keep yourself from falling into a relationship born to be sundered by wedges of belief.

Good luck, though I don't you'll need much.
posted by jamjam at 9:19 AM on February 27, 2008

It sounds like you grew up with religion and are comfortable with religion, that's your background, but you don't personally believe. (I could be mis-reading.) It may be that that is partly why you end up hanging with other people who grew up with religion (but who became religious). Maybe a good match would be someone else who grew up with religion and who doesn't believe.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:42 AM on February 27, 2008


I have grown up with religion, having been raised until age 11 in the Middle East. I have no problems with people practicing religion. Whatever makes them feel better.

The issue is that I meet women who want someone devout or someone who will participate in religious rituals. I am neither.
posted by stedman15 at 9:53 AM on February 27, 2008

You don't seem to have a problem meeting people, so try to keep in mind that not everyone is religious and you'll have to find them eventually.

There are places where you tend to find more religious and less religious people. Academics, artsy types, party animals generally aren't very religious, whereas you'll find a higher percentage in sports.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:56 AM on February 27, 2008

I'm an OkCupid user, Alterscape. (See what I did there?)

I haven't set any religious filters, and I haven't needed to. It knows, based on other factors, that I simply don't have much in common with people who're deeply religious, and so they don't rank highly in my match listings.

It's pretty simple, really. Answer oodles of questions. Be as honest as you can. Skip the ones that suck. Every once in a while, paw through your "view matches" page and see how many of the candidates call themselves religious. It's uncanny.
posted by Myself at 10:03 AM on February 27, 2008

This is how it's supposed to work, isn't it? You meet people, have relationships, and when you find you're incompatible for whatever reason, you break up.

Right now you just got out of a relationship and that can be tough. That's no reason to think you're doing something wrong, though. To use a bad analogy, scientific experiments that don't produce the expected result are still valuable.

If you want to try screening people based on religion, you can go ahead, but I think you should follow your gut/heart. If you find yourself pulled towards someone, it's worth a shot.
posted by ODiV at 10:30 AM on February 27, 2008

What jamjam said. Also, most guys I know who aren't interested in religion tend to not date girls who are. It's a lot easier to date an atheist/agnostic and have this not be an issue, than a Christian girl who thinks it's ok that, you know, you're going to hell.
posted by herbaliser at 11:13 AM on February 27, 2008

I see no reason why a girl's religion should automatically exclude her, as long as you can respect her religion, and she doesn't force it upon you. These girls you know have simply failed to give your beliefs the respect that you gave theirs, which I think is crossing the line of mutual respect.

I say this as a child of a Catholic father and atheistic/agnostic mother, whose religion - or lack thereof - has never caused any rift or argument that I know of.

So far, you seem to be working with a sample of only two. Other religious girls may be more liberal & tolerant of your right to believe whatever you like.

Other than that, yeh, hipsters, indie chicks, academics, art students, etc - largely guaranteed to be atheists, and a pretty good talent pool for finding interesting partners.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:26 PM on February 27, 2008

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