According to a study done in 2017 by Pew Research, folk religions and religions classified as ‘other’ make up approximately 6.5% of the world’s religious affiliation (1). That is only about 474.5 million people out of 7 billion. I know those are large numbers to visualize, but these numbers are important when thinking about dating and relationships with others.
We make up only a small portion of the world’s religions, so it makes sense that most of us might end up in relationships with a partner - or partners - that do not follow our religious path. I am one of those people, so I am speaking from experience on this topic. My boyfriend and I have been together since 2008 and he does not have a religious affiliation. He describes his beliefs as agnostic, which means he does not believe in a higher power but he also does not deny the possibility of it.
There are plenty of times when we do get into healthy discussions about my beliefs and how I understand the world. We have talked about my views on the afterlife, magick, energy work, and the Gods. It is never a discussion of right versus wrong, only a discussion for further understanding. We are far from perfect, however. We still have our differences when it comes to teaching our daughter and how to answer her questions.
Things to Consider
When dating non-pagans, several things need to be considered when looking at long-term goals. Do you plan on getting married? Having children? How do your families get along? All of these questions, plus those that I could not possibly list as they come up, will have some sort of impact on your relationship in regards to religion. If you plan on getting married, will you have a religious ceremony or a secular one? If you have kids, will you raise them in your religion? Theirs? Neither?
It is important to be open-minded and honest with your partner(s) about your religious beliefs from the beginning. This does not mean that you need to talk about religion on the first date but keep in mind that some people have irreconcilable differences with those that do not hold the same religious beliefs.
Communication is a vital piece of the puzzle.
People of different religious affiliations can have long and happy relationships, but several key things have to be true for that to happen. All partners have to be open-minded. All partners have to be honest with each other. Judgment cannot hold a place in their relationship. Communication is the biggest concern when in a relationship with someone who does not hold the same beliefs as you. This goes both ways, no matter the religion. Even though you are a pagan, you cannot hold judgment or resentment against your partner(s) for their differing beliefs. It is a two-way street, and all parties involved need to have open communication and honesty.
Are you in a relationship with someone of a different faith? If so, how do you manage the differences that are bound to come up in regards to lifestyle, holidays, children, and beliefs?
If you are not currently in a relationship, do you have any reservations about being in one with someone who doesn’t hold the same beliefs as you do?
(1) - Pew Research