While being an Urban Pagan has its pros and cons, for every Pagan, and whether or not to keep your personal faith private when living in neighborhoods, dorms, apartments, or etc—another challenge rises for Urban and Rural Pagans alike…..
When or if to tell the person I’m dating or married to.
We have all been there, sitting across the table at the restaurant thinking to ourselves….
“Yeah, I like this person….but before I like them too much, should I go ahead and say I’m a Pagan? Or should I wait to see if it gets serious and if it does get to that point will I already be too attached? So if I tell them then, will they flip out, walk out, and that’s it….my heart is in too deep and suddenly broken?”
We could play it safe and date ONLY Pagans—certainly living in the city puts us in touch with groups so we could have a few picks. But to some, whether or not someone is a fellow Pagan isn’t really an issue. Although most times, once we tell the person—it becomes an issue to them.
If your spirituality is private, then telling someone in the beginning is not always something you are comfortable with. Why? Well, if it doesn’t work out some could-be-lovers could turn into complete-and-utter-asses—using our beliefs against us.
I dated a guy years ago who was swept away with the fact I was a pagan. Instead of flipping out, he and his family completely embraced it. They asked questions—“Are you a Witch. Do you curse people (one of their biggest fears). Do you worship the devil?”
I explained and washed their fears away—especially the part about curses and devils lol. The guy I dated was really paranoid about that. Afterwards, it never came up again. He and his family were very comfortable and accepting until we broke up. What was once private became the means to slay and slander me with. He told EVERYONE what I was but not a hint of the truth swam within his words. Instead he built vicious rumors that I worshipped the devil, did curses, and every other horrible thing under the sun and moon. It became so bad, I had to switch circles, stop going to the public places my friends shared because he and his friends were there. In fact, I lost many friends. And eating in the restaurants became a huge no, no as well. I remember one waitress spitting on my plate and then luckily, a real friend of mine, warned me before I ate it.
Dating is not the only problem. Some people discover their path to Paganism later in life after finding their partner or spouse. This, at times, causes problems in the marriage. For instance one friend of mine who we shall call Tim discover his path after being married to the same woman for many-something years. They had children, a home, an entire life. However, when his wife became aware that they no longer shared the same faith (Catholicism) divorce, for the first time, became a threat. Even after they spent a very long time trying to work through it…he promised to keep his faith away from her and the children….she still refused to take him back if he didn’t give up his sinful ways.
While Tim’s story had a tragic end, other times, the marriage isn’t affected. My friend Lucy told her husband and he couldn’t care less. In fact, he helped her find groups and learn more about her path.
So what do you do?
While the answer to that will be different for each person, we have at least one thing going for us….the fact that times are a changin’.
People are moving past the stereotypes of Paganism and anything out of the ‘norm’. For Urban Pagans, this may be a pro since in bigger areas and cities people seem to be more caught on or less concerned with what everyone else is believing in. Smaller areas, especially in bible belts or conservative communities, not so much.
My advice, choose circles to move and date in that are more open minded or could care less. If you meet someone out of nowhere, then go ahead and throw the cards on the table. After a few dates, bring up the topic of spirituality and then discuss yours in a non-threatening way. Don’t come off as if you disrespect any belief other than your own, and focus on the positives.
Then leave it to fate. If he or she laughs or makes fun of you, then toss them to the wind. Why date someone who is so narrow minded an judgmental?
If they are accepting or even interested, but then after breaking up, what happened to me happens to you—don’t let on that it bothers you. I changed my circles, therefore the negativity followed me longer. As soon as I popped back up again, the gossip stirred once more. But the moment I became unaffected, the moment I stopped letting it bother me, the moment the rumors stopped. Then, other people began to speak out that they didn’t care or that they were interested. In the end, the ex began to look and feel like an ass—in everyone’s eyes.
If you are married—true love can survive everything and anything. If you have had a wonderful marriage with the occasional ups and downs—and then your spouse is ready to end it all over a matter of faith?
Well, you will have to decide what to do from there—but weigh the options. What will you teach your children if you give up something you are so interested or drawn to? Can you be happy giving up something you are so passionate about? Will you say you have given it up and practice in secret? Is that really honest and being true to yourself and the partner?
Being honest about something you are starting to explore helps. In my friend Tim’s case, he had spent a year or so exploring his new path before dropping the bomb on his wife. Maybe if he would have said in the beginning or discusses a little here or there of the positives—let her get used to it…..
For everyone it is different—but at the end of the day you are still you and you have to follow your heart.