We have a relationship that could use some help.
It comes from “Bob.”
His girlfriend’s dad is subborn, conservative-but-science-inclined, and a partial geek. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but appreciates church for the community it provides and for “maintaining harmony in the household.”
His girlfriend’s mom is a very devout Christian — a Southern Baptist.
His girlfriend is an atheist. According to her dad, it’s just a phase. (Yep. You read that right. Her dad.)
Not wanting to maintain lies with her folks, my girlfriend told her mom that I was an atheist to no real conflict. When she told her mom that she was an atheist, however, the sparks began to fly. Her mother insists that I’m a bad influence and insists that I was the one who led her astray, and her father (her father!) laid down an ultimatum: break up with me for her spiritual growth, or forfeit college support, medical insurance, and further contact with them.
How’s that for religious compassion?
It gets worse. Bob and his girlfriend can’t really support themselves right now… Bob will graduate in a semester and he will hopefully find a job. The girlfriend would have to put her college plans on hold until then.
The issue of medical insurance might force them to have to get married for financial reasons, and that’s not very romantic. But it might be necessary.
So now what?
Bob explains that using that Dad’s unbelief against him wouldn’t work. Furthermore:
Maintaining a relationship with her parents is an extremely high priority for my girlfriend, so burning bridges is out of the question, but she also knows that if she gives in here, she’ll just have to fight the same battle again down the road.
I don’t think she’ll ditch me for the education, logical as that would be, because she’s not willing anymore to live her life on their terms.
Do you or your community have any thoughts for us? I think we’re at an impasse and, barring renegotiation of the ultimatum, we’ll be striking it out on our own.
Instinctively, I would tell Bob to just give it a shot and try striking out on his own. It won’t be too long before he’s working (assuming he gets a job) and then he’ll be somewhat ok financially even if it’s really rough for a while. Hopefully, by that time, her parents will have come around.
My other thoughts involve a bank heist, a goat, and the World Series of Poker.