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Lost a friend over religion


Janeway
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I live in the bible belt. I grew up ELCA. That is also where I took our children until a few years ago. Then we tried out a PCA church, moved on to a United Methodist church. Then we recently stopped attending. Our hearts, nor our beliefs were in it. Things seem so different here from where we grew up. 

 

I have known better than to tell anyone at all about my religious beliefs here. People tend to be very outspoken and they certainly do not want to associate with those who carry different beliefs. Finally, the other day, I was visiting with an old friend. We have known them for years. We are not very close, but she lives in the neighborhood and we seem to hit it off when we do visit. We do not have children in the same age. She actually only has one and that one is an adult. And, she lives in my neighborhood, but a few streets down. So I have rarely seen her.

 

Recently, when visiting with her, her husband comes up and sits right down and starts questioning me on my religion. Well, his wife had already told me she has not been attending church. She said she grew up Catholic and has no interest. Her adult daughter was sort of rolling her eyes while her dad was asking me these questions. Finally, since he kept asking, I said I was Methodist as that was the last church I had attended. And I did attend it until recently. I am still technically a member.  He brought up that they had a female pastor. I said yes, and she is wonderful. Her sermons are great. And then he brought up that when we met, I was Presbyterian. Yes, I was. And I did like that church a lot. But, it was not a good fit for my husband so we moved on to the Methodist one. The Presbyterian one was the PCA, so the conservative branch. His wife kept seeming like she was trying to get him off this topic. Finally, I just laughed it off and said "maybe I am agnostic" and he said "you are not agnostic." Ok...I really thought he was just visiting and being light hearted. But he really is an odd guy. He kept picking up my baby and my baby would cry at a stranger picking him and he would not get the hint or hand my baby back. He didn't keep the baby from me. He was just completely clueless and should have kept a distance.

 

So, when we left, after I made the agnostic comment, things got oddly quiet. I said I had to get going and was all polite about it and I left. I thought things were odd at the end. But then, I get a text from the wife that it is best that I not stop by when her husband is there and she will text me when she wants to see me again. Then that was it.

 

I was just wondering if it was safe to admit to people that I do not go to church or take my children to church. It seems not. Thank goodness she is not associated with anyone else that I am friends with or of anyone who are parents of my children's friends. I cannot even believe I am actually hurt over this. I am swallowing back the tears. It is so dumb. We were not even that close. 

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It is definitely possible to lose friends by saying "maybe I am agnostic." OTOH, it's worth wondering if what value a friendship is if they are this sensitive to anyone "other." But, having said that, I am very choosy about what I say about what I believe in mixed company. I'm not a big fan of having people whisper about how I am "back-slidden."

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And it doesn't sound like you lost her so much as you stressed her husband (because he is apparently very narrow minded and pushy) and she is trying to keep the situation from becoming even more awkward/negative/potentially contentious....

I agree. This probably says much more about tensions in their marriage / family than about you. But I would also feel bad, and I'm sorry you do. I once offered email support to a family moving to our area, spent a lot of time sharing information, then I got The Question. When I answered honestly, that was it. I didn't know the writer or care in any way to know her, but it was still hurtful and insulting. In the end, her action did more to clarify my thinking on her faith than any amount of thinking or praying or reading could have.

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I'm sorry.  I find the best option to shut up these sorts of men is, "I don't know, my husband chose the church."  Then they feel the need to harass your husband instead of you, obedient wife that you are, even if it is a lie.  Men like that generally treat other men with much more respect than they treat women.

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I'm sorry. It hurts to lose a friend, over anything.

 

I've lost friends over religion (or my lack thereof). And a few would-be friendships fizzled when I outed myself. I'm very cautious now, sadly, because I like people. Even those with whom I don't share religious views. It shouldn't have to be this way.

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Men like that generally treat other men with much more respect than they treat women.

:iagree: And it isn't your religion. It's her controlling husband. Someone whose faith isn't a front for their need to control others will respond with grace, even if they are surprised. Even in the Bible Belt. True faith should give people a humility that is noticeable. But, just like many other things, it can be twisted to shore up a messed up inner life.

 

I am so sorry you had to deal with that. Everyone has their story and a relationship with God (or lack thereof) is about as personal as it gets. That guy had a lot of nerve to try to intimidate you like that. And, frankly, I would not be at her house even if he isn't there, she can come to you. He sounds... Off. I can't imagine being married to someone who would have the audacity to tell me who I could and could not visit with in my own home.

 

You did nothing wrong. If he can't take your answer, he shouldn't be asking the question.

 

Rant over.

Edited by Professormom
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BTW, when I've been in these sorts of situations and had to say something like, "Ask DH," DH was not only glad I passed the blame to him, he got really angry and confronted the men, who abusers that they are, backed down immediately when confronted by another man.

 

Your poor former friend.  I wonder how else he abuses her.

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I am sorry. Encoutering people like this was what turned me finally off religion once I moved to this area.

His behavior was unacceptable - you don't do this to a guest, period.

The relationship between this woman and her husband sounds dysfunctional. A husband controlling who his wife is friends with, and she feeling having to go behind his back, or being pressured to end the friendship? Not healthy. Possibly abusive.

 

You did nothing wrong. Friends need to be able to handle differing religious views and not give each other grief.

 

Edited by regentrude
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If I were to guess on this, I would guess that your friend would still like to see you but has been told by her dh that she can't.  Ugh.

 

I'd bet good money that she is as hurt as you are in this scenario.  He sounds like a bully, from the way he was treating you, and he is probably even more so with his wife.  

 

Maybe you can meet her for coffee or something...if you like HER, don't write her off.  She may need a friend.  (Not saying that you have to step up and be her friend if you don't want to...but if you like her, assume the best about her at least.)

 

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I live in the bible belt. I grew up ELCA. That is also where I took our children until a few years ago. Then we tried out a PCA church, moved on to a United Methodist church. Then we recently stopped attending. Our hearts, nor our beliefs were in it. Things seem so different here from where we grew up.

 

I have known better than to tell anyone at all about my religious beliefs here. People tend to be very outspoken and they certainly do not want to associate with those who carry different beliefs. Finally, the other day, I was visiting with an old friend. We have known them for years. We are not very close, but she lives in the neighborhood and we seem to hit it off when we do visit. We do not have children in the same age. She actually only has one and that one is an adult. And, she lives in my neighborhood, but a few streets down. So I have rarely seen her.

 

Recently, when visiting with her, her husband comes up and sits right down and starts questioning me on my religion. Well, his wife had already told me she has not been attending church. She said she grew up Catholic and has no interest. Her adult daughter was sort of rolling her eyes while her dad was asking me these questions. Finally, since he kept asking, I said I was Methodist as that was the last church I had attended. And I did attend it until recently. I am still technically a member. He brought up that they had a female pastor. I said yes, and she is wonderful. Her sermons are great. And then he brought up that when we met, I was Presbyterian. Yes, I was. And I did like that church a lot. But, it was not a good fit for my husband so we moved on to the Methodist one. The Presbyterian one was the PCA, so the conservative branch. His wife kept seeming like she was trying to get him off this topic. Finally, I just laughed it off and said "maybe I am agnostic" and he said "you are not agnostic." Ok...I really thought he was just visiting and being light hearted. But he really is an odd guy. He kept picking up my baby and my baby would cry at a stranger picking him and he would not get the hint or hand my baby back. He didn't keep the baby from me. He was just completely clueless and should have kept a distance.

 

So, when we left, after I made the agnostic comment, things got oddly quiet. I said I had to get going and was all polite about it and I left. I thought things were odd at the end. But then, I get a text from the wife that it is best that I not stop by when her husband is there and she will text me when she wants to see me again. Then that was it.

 

I was just wondering if it was safe to admit to people that I do not go to church or take my children to church. It seems not. Thank goodness she is not associated with anyone else that I am friends with or of anyone who are parents of my children's friends. I cannot even believe I am actually hurt over this. I am swallowing back the tears. It is so dumb. We were not even that close.

I don't think you lost her. I think she realises her husbands behaviour was awkward and she's trying to avoid a repeat occurrence.

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Well that's really flipping odd.

 

Someone was once quite passive aggressive towards me about religion.  I'm an atheist.  I don't generally announce this, but if asked yes I have no problem telling people.  I live in a very secular area though.  I'm pretty certain she knew because I met her on Facebook and if she looked at anything I posted it would be pretty obvious.  So she'd make little comments like...her brother says he is an atheist, but she doesn't believe anyone is really an atheist...they are just in denial.  Oh brother lady.  Needless to say that "friendship" didn't go anywhere. 

 

I agree I don't think you lost her.  It seems to me that there is something odd going on that is between her and her husband. 

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I'm sorry you're having a hard time. It's difficult when you can't find "your people" so to speak and feel misunderstood. Btdt for sure. I don't think I would let one weird guy make me stop dialogue with others though. I do think discussing religion is something to be guarded for special friendships however, much like politics. Some people are able to have healthy discussions whether or not you agree on these fronts, some are not. I play it pretty close to the vest on those topics until I figure it out. That being said some of my best friends and I are on opposite ends of the belief spectrum on multiple things. Sometimes we discuss it, sometimes we don't. I haven't ever found anyone who agrees with me on everything. Sorry you are hurting. He honestly doesn't seem worth it, but I can understand the sting from your friend. :(

"your people"  what exactly does that mean?  my grandmother (from MO) used it a lot.  I never quite caught on to what she meant, but it always made me feel it was some sort of way to exclude others.  (I'd swear that WASP is an overly broad definition to her.)

 

Henry Fonda and Jimmy stewart.  they were as far apart politically as it was possible to be, and morally.  hank fonda was a scoundrel with how he treated his wife and the women with whom he had affairs.  (really messed up his daughter)  they were also best friends - and didn't talk politics.

 

I honestly think no two people will agree 100% on everything - and the expectation of complete agreement or you can't be friends leaves a very lonely life.  it all boils down to respect - and this guy doesn't respect anyone.   OP - I am wondering why you didn't tell him to stop picking up your baby?  he sent many flags up for me too.  if this is how he treats a guest in his home, I'd hate to think how he treats his wife and children.

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It isn't clear how old the husband is, but is it possible that he is having mental/dementia issues?  It also doesn't seem - from your explanation - that you have definitely lost a friend.  The text sounds to me like she just might want to visit with you on the "down low", you know? :001_smile:

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 But then, I get a text from the wife that it is best that I not stop by when her husband is there and she will text me when she wants to see me again. Then that was it.

 

 

I'm not sure that you have lost a friend.  It sounds more like she knows her dh was being pushy and rude and didn't want to subject you to it.  I mean, I could be wrong, but that's how it sounds to me.

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"your people"  what exactly does that mean?  my grandmother (from MO) used it a lot.  I never quite caught on to what she meant, but it always made me feel it was some sort of way to exclude others.  (I'd swear that WASP is an overly broad definition to her.)

 

Henry Fonda and Jimmy stewart.  they were as far apart politically as it was possible to be, and morally.  hank fonda was a scoundrel with how he treated his wife and the women with whom he had affairs.  (really messed up his daughter)  they were also best friends - and didn't talk politics.

 

I honestly think no two people will agree 100% on everything - and the expectation of complete agreement or you can't be friends leaves a very lonely life.  it all boils down to respect - and this guy doesn't respect anyone.   OP - I am wondering why you didn't tell him to stop picking up your baby?  he sent many flags up for me too.  if this is how he treats a guest in his home, I'd hate to think how he treats his wife and children.

 

I think it's like "kindred spirits."

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I'm sorry! I had a similar experience. My son lost a friend because of me. He had really clicked with this kid, spent time at each others' houses, talked on the phone, saw each other every week at church. Then, I was asked if I wanted him to go to this class that wasn't religious, but sort of related and very conservative. I declined and said I didn't really care for the program enough to miss a day's school. The mom never spoke to me again. Literally. She would barely nod at me and all contact with her son and mine ended except for what they had to do together at church. 

 

I was stunned and hurt, and it was really hard to diplomatically explain it to DS. After a while, I was relieved. I'm glad that I found out sooner rather than later what kind of weird the family was. It probably saved me some stress down the road. Obviously not a good match for us! 

Edited by Paige
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"your people"  what exactly does that mean?  my grandmother (from MO) used it a lot.  I never quite caught on to what she meant, but it always made me feel it was some sort of way to exclude others.  (I'd swear that WASP is an overly broad definition to her.)

.

 

To me "your people" means: the people who accept you for who you are; the people with whom you don't have to put up a front, but can relax and open up, can feel comfortable with. Your tribe.

 

I cannot see anything excluding about this. It does not mean: people of your race, your socioeconomic strata, your religion.

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I'm sorry.  I find the best option to shut up these sorts of men is, "I don't know, my husband chose the church."  Then they feel the need to harass your husband instead of you, obedient wife that you are, even if it is a lie.  Men like that generally treat other men with much more respect than they treat women.

 

 

BTW, when I've been in these sorts of situations and had to say something like, "Ask DH," DH was not only glad I passed the blame to him, he got really angry and confronted the men, who abusers that they are, backed down immediately when confronted by another man.

 

 

I'm not the OP, but I'd never do this because I refuse to promote that line of thinking. They don't have to accept it and they don't have to back down, because I'm a grown person who can say what I want to say and who can't be forced to sit there and accept their harassment.

 

He and others like him have no power over me, and no power over the OP. Say what you want to say (which might be nothing), and walk away. He can't make you listen to him or answer questions.

Edited by katilac
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I'm glad that I found out sooner rather than later 

 

I still remember a post made by a board member when someone asked why some people choose to have tattoos and piercings. 

 

She said that her kids were hurt again and again by people who were all friendly at first, then backed away when they discovered the parents didn't share their beliefs. Visible tattoos and piercings kept the people who had a very narrow view of family values from ever approaching them in the first place. She said that it was easier to know sooner rather than later. 

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To me "your people" means: the people who accept you for who you are; the people with whom you don't have to put up a front, but can relax and open up, can feel comfortable with. Your tribe.

 

I cannot see anything excluding about this. It does not mean: people of your race, your socioeconomic strata, your religion.

 

my grandmother would have found those to be much too broad.

as I said, my grandmother came across as using the term to exclude others.  she wore a mask everyday with everyone.  she could be very cruel to me because I saw behind the mask. 

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"my people" in the sense that Regentrude explained it is widely used. I think it's just a (nother?) thing your gma put her golden touch on, gardenmom.

 

I say it and hear it all the time. And pp is right, it does stink when you can't find your people offline.

Edited by OKBud
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I'm not the OP, but I'd never do this because I refuse to promote that line of thinking. They don't have to accept it and they don't have to back down, because I'm a grown person who can say what I want to say and who can't be forced to sit there and accept their harassment.

 

He and others like him have no power over me, and no power over the OP. Say what you want to say (which might be nothing), and walk away. He can't make you listen to him or answer questions.

 

In some areas of the country it's more socially acceptable to be confrontational than others.   IME, this man is likely to be fundamental baptist, abusive, and encouraging a confrontation could possibly be dangerous.  De-escalate and back away is safer than pushing it with this type of man.

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"your people" what exactly does that mean? my grandmother (from MO) used it a lot. I never quite caught on to what she meant, but it always made me feel it was some sort of way to exclude others. (I'd swear that WASP is an overly broad definition to her.)

 

Henry Fonda and Jimmy stewart. they were as far apart politically as it was possible to be, and morally. hank fonda was a scoundrel with how he treated his wife and the women with whom he had affairs. (really messed up his daughter) they were also best friends - and didn't talk politics.

 

I honestly think no two people will agree 100% on everything - and the expectation of complete agreement or you can't be friends leaves a very lonely life. it all boils down to respect - and this guy doesn't respect anyone. OP - I am wondering why you didn't tell him to stop picking up your baby? he sent many flags up for me too. if this is how he treats a guest in his home, I'd hate to think how he treats his wife and children.

I just used this term: "my people." I went to the Sheep and Wool Festival. I had a strong feeling of, "these are my people!" To me, it means these are people who value the things I value and like what I like. When I am at the little league ball field, I don't get that "my people!" Feeling. Doesn't mean there isn't anyone there I like; it just means I don't gel as well with the Travel Team moms.

 

I swear, at the Wool Festival, I never saw so many hand-knit shawls and scarves on others in one place! Lots of crunchies who undoubtedly keep chickens and can tomatoes and loathe single-use beverages.

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I agree with others that it sounds more like there is marital tension than that she blew you off for different beliefs. 

 

Did you stop by or was this a planned visit? 

I saw her on Sunday and she asked me to stop by to show her the new baby. I told her I could stop by the next evening with the baby. She said that would be great. I stopped by Monday around 7:30/7:45pm. So, before dark, but after the usual dinner hour. 

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I agree that you haven't necessarily lost a friend... she may well come around when the time is right.

 

If you have lost a friend, I agree that it was due to a controlling husband, not religion.

 

Try to keep the pipe open.  She may need it, someday.

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I agree with those who say the wife is trying to figure out how to do damage control caused by her husband, without rocking the marital boat any more than she may have already (in private, after the dinner).

 

I live in the Bible Belt and everyone assumes I'm Christian (which I am).  The problems arise when they discover I'm "not really" Christian, to use their words, because I'm Catholic. I haven't lost friendships, but I've lost the potential for some. And honestly, in my experience these situations end up one of two ways: either they drop me, or they try to 'convert' me to (their brand of) Christianity at every turn.  The former, though hurtful, is preferable once the sting wears off. The latter reeks of disrespect and condescension, if unsolicited (which in my case it always is).

 

In my experience, when it comes to these couple friendships it is often the husband steering the relationship - he decides if they'll drop me or if I'm convert-able. The wife usually submits, but I've had a few apologetically let me know that it's not me (it's their husbands). My teens (boys) are pretty well catechized, as well they need be living where we do, and now that they're older they do a great job going head to head with these type of husbands (who typically won't engage a woman in theological debate, but will sometimes railroad her in a theological cross examination like the one you experienced OP). The husbands still disagree, but are less likely to 'forbid' the friendship. I agree with the poster who said to pin it on your husband - not to promote any line of thinking, but more of a "when in Rome" thing where you're speaking to him in his own language.

 

I'm sorry about your friend. I'm also sorry that you were treated so rudely. :grouphug:

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In some areas of the country it's more socially acceptable to be confrontational than others.   IME, this man is likely to be fundamental baptist, abusive, and encouraging a confrontation could possibly be dangerous.  De-escalate and back away is safer than pushing it with this type of man.

 

She definitely does not have to encourage a confrontation, I didn't say that at all. I made a point to say that one choice it to say nothing (or politely decline to answer) and walk away/disengage. I can do that on my own, though. I just personally do not feel like it's a positive thing to reenforce the belief that a woman needs her husband to speak for her.

 

 I live in the deep south with many Christian fundamentalists around me, especially in homeschool circles. The men of this type might be convinced that I'm going to hell, and they might not let their kids play with mine, but I haven't found them any more likely to be batsh!t crazy and dangerous than the general population. I'm not going to live in fear of that remote possibility. 

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Wow, he sounds like a really odd duck!  I feel badly for his wife.

 

As far as sharing religious beliefs...  I am a Christian, but probably have pretty different ideas of what it means than most people in our area.  I don't just blurt it out to them, but if they ask me specifically, I'll tell them.  

 

But the way he was questioning you just seems wacky!   Sorry.   :grouphug:

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I would be hurt too. It hurts to think that people would exclude you, your whole person, that you're worth so little to them--less than a theological footnote, less than a hierarchical structure.

 

I'm sorry.  :grouphug:

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In some areas of the country it's more socially acceptable to be confrontational than others.   IME, this man is likely to be fundamental baptist, abusive, and encouraging a confrontation could possibly be dangerous.  De-escalate and back away is safer than pushing it with this type of man.

 

I think it's really unfair to jump from "he's pushy and rude" to "he's abusive".  That's a huge leap.

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I think it's really unfair to jump from "he's pushy and rude" to "he's abusive".  That's a huge leap.

 

Pushy and rude is one thing, controlling is another.  He is telling his wife who he thinks it's OK for her to spend time with. Based on non hostile theological differences.

I guess that is OK if you choose a patriarchal marriage? I guess? But it's deeply weird from a typical marriage perspective, IMO.  

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Pushy and rude is one thing, controlling is another.  He is telling his wife who he thinks it's OK for her to spend time with. Based on non hostile theological differences.

I guess that is OK if you choose a patriarchal marriage? I guess? But it's deeply weird from a typical marriage perspective, IMO.  

 

First off, we don't know that he told his wife that he's not ok with her spending time with the OP.  That is an assumption.  It could just as easily be that the wife decided not to subject OP to her husband, or that she's embarrassed by his behavior and doesn't know what to say, or that the husband's questioning made her realize that OP wasn't someone she wanted to be friends with, or some other X factor that we're not guessing at.  But they are all guesses and we don't know.

 

Second, if the woman's husband did tell her to drop the OP and that's the kind of marriage that they have, then that's ok.  I don't know how we label anything "weird" in marriage anymore, given where things are headed in our culture (he/he, she/she, he/she/she/she, etc).  Historically, a husband telling a wife to drop a friend wouldn't be weird at all.  Currently, it's more unusual, but not as much as you would think.  

 

Thirdly, and most importantly, none of those things add up to abusive, which was my point to begin with.  We don't even know if he's controlling.  We definitely don't know if he's abusive.  All we know is that he's pushy and rude...which is a far leap from controlling and abusive.

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I live in the bible belt. I grew up ELCA. That is also where I took our children until a few years ago. Then we tried out a PCA church, moved on to a United Methodist church. Then we recently stopped attending. Our hearts, nor our beliefs were in it. Things seem so different here from where we grew up. 

 

I have known better than to tell anyone at all about my religious beliefs here. People tend to be very outspoken and they certainly do not want to associate with those who carry different beliefs. Finally, the other day, I was visiting with an old friend. We have known them for years. We are not very close, but she lives in the neighborhood and we seem to hit it off when we do visit. We do not have children in the same age. She actually only has one and that one is an adult. And, she lives in my neighborhood, but a few streets down. So I have rarely seen her.

 

Recently, when visiting with her, her husband comes up and sits right down and starts questioning me on my religion. Well, his wife had already told me she has not been attending church. She said she grew up Catholic and has no interest. Her adult daughter was sort of rolling her eyes while her dad was asking me these questions. Finally, since he kept asking, I said I was Methodist as that was the last church I had attended. And I did attend it until recently. I am still technically a member.  He brought up that they had a female pastor. I said yes, and she is wonderful. Her sermons are great. And then he brought up that when we met, I was Presbyterian. Yes, I was. And I did like that church a lot. But, it was not a good fit for my husband so we moved on to the Methodist one. The Presbyterian one was the PCA, so the conservative branch. His wife kept seeming like she was trying to get him off this topic. Finally, I just laughed it off and said "maybe I am agnostic" and he said "you are not agnostic." Ok...I really thought he was just visiting and being light hearted. But he really is an odd guy. He kept picking up my baby and my baby would cry at a stranger picking him and he would not get the hint or hand my baby back. He didn't keep the baby from me. He was just completely clueless and should have kept a distance.

 

So, when we left, after I made the agnostic comment, things got oddly quiet. I said I had to get going and was all polite about it and I left. I thought things were odd at the end. But then, I get a text from the wife that it is best that I not stop by when her husband is there and she will text me when she wants to see me again. Then that was it.

 

I was just wondering if it was safe to admit to people that I do not go to church or take my children to church. It seems not. Thank goodness she is not associated with anyone else that I am friends with or of anyone who are parents of my children's friends. I cannot even believe I am actually hurt over this. I am swallowing back the tears. It is so dumb. We were not even that close. 

 

 

I haven't read all the replies, but it seems as though the daughter and wife are also uncomfortable with their husband's views?  If so, it really just might be that the wife enjoys you very much but that she just wants a casual friendship, not one where she has to ref between her friend and her husband (not that you were doing anything wrong) or an effort filled visit.

 

I have a very dear friend who just doesn't fit great with my husband.  I really like them both.  They don't care so much for each other.  It isn't a religious thing, it's just a personality thing.   We now live farther apart, but the most enjoyable way for us to spend time together was during the day when there was no friction.  It wasn't like, as adults, they couldn't be civil or polite. They were, but it was strained and took effort and they made the effort for me, but it was not as enjoyable as time spent with them apart from each other.

 

Frankly, I think these relationships are just fine.  There are friends from DH's high school times that I think are a bit challenging to spend time around too.  

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:grouphug:

When we moved, we found everyone asked us the same two questions in the same order.  "Where are you from?"  "Have you found a church yet?"

 

:lol:

It weeded out our friend potential very quickly to those we gave the "wrong" answer to. 

And even further if we gave the still more wrong answer: "We're Catholic."  Apparently that means we're one step above satan worshipers in some people's books.  Or equal to.  Haven't figured that one out yet.

 

It shouldn't matter, and I'm sorry it does to some people like your friend's husband.

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Wow, how odd. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I live in a fairly liberal, but also generally diverse area. I lean to the conservative Christian side, but if I could only associate with people who shared my religious beliefs, I wouldn't have many friends. The people I associate with range from outspoken atheist to extremely conservative. Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree or not discuss certain topics. I feel really sorry for the wife too. If her husband feels comfortable confronting any potential friend about their religious beliefs, I imagine he's quite controlling and the poor woman has difficulty finding friends.

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Wow, how odd. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I live in a fairly liberal, but also generally diverse area. I lean to the conservative Christian side, but if I could only associate with people who shared my religious beliefs, I wouldn't have many friends. The people I associate with range from outspoken atheist to extremely conservative. Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree or not discuss certain topics. I feel really sorry for the wife too. If her husband feels comfortable confronting any potential friend about their religious beliefs, I imagine he's quite controlling and the poor woman has difficulty finding friends.

 

 

Right.  OP, this is precisely why it's worth trying to find some way to leave open the gate to friendship, rather than responding to your own (understandable!)  hurt / confusion / irritation.  (forex, a short return text, "great! Would love to see you; let me know when it's a good time for you..." and then let it lie...)

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I haven't read all the replies, but it seems as though the daughter and wife are also uncomfortable with their husband's views?  If so, it really just might be that the wife enjoys you very much but that she just wants a casual friendship, not one where she has to ref between her friend and her husband (not that you were doing anything wrong) or an effort filled visit.

 

I have a very dear friend who just doesn't fit great with my husband.  I really like them both.  They don't care so much for each other.  It isn't a religious thing, it's just a personality thing.   We now live farther apart, but the most enjoyable way for us to spend time together was during the day when there was no friction.  It wasn't like, as adults, they couldn't be civil or polite. They were, but it was strained and took effort and they made the effort for me, but it was not as enjoyable as time spent with them apart from each other.

 

Frankly, I think these relationships are just fine.  There are friends from DH's high school times that I think are a bit challenging to spend time around too.  

the wife was very embarrassed by his questioning me and kept trying to get him to stop. But, she was soft spoken and she definitely seemed in a role where she was not allowed to speak up. My husband was never comfortable with the dad. He says he wants nothing to do with the dad as he seems very, as if he is extremely familiar. For example, one time, he and his adult daughter, who was a teen at the time, got in to an argument. The then teen showed up at our door and wanted to be let in. Fine, but that was odd. And she just sat on our couch. Eventually, the dad shows up. Instead of telling the daughter to go with him, or even asking her to go with him, he proceeds to sit on the couch and just talk with her for an hour. I was not home at the time. My husband said he had no idea what to do. The husband acts very familiar and will plop down by someone and talk to them like this as if he has known them his entire life. But really, he felt very off to me and did for a long time. In the beginning, we thought perhaps he just tried too hard. But eventually, it just became very red flaggish.

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