Converting for the purposes of a relationship?

majormerrick

New member
I'm facing a decision regarding my future and possibly getting involved with my exBF that I am very close to. I’m leaning in the direction of joining his family. I’ve been in love with him for 15 years, and I suspect that my GF#1 is in love with his first wife and that their relationship is growing past the friendship level. I'm trying to work out a situation where everybody wins and is happy. The family situation we would be looking at would be me becoming his third wife, and my GFs being involved with his wives but probably not with him.
My ex and his family are part of a small sect of Christianity that has a unique set of beliefs, and they consider me to essentially be a non-believing heathen. I believe in God, just not the same way they do. In order to have a relationship with him and become part of his household (if that is what I want) I would have to officially convert to following their spiritual path. The word "cult" could possibly be used for this particular religious group, although it doesn't really bother me. My ex is aware of my beliefs as we discuss them often, and I think he understands that my conversion would mostly be formal. It would be necessary, though, since he holds a leadership position in his group and has to set a good example.

My problem is, I just can't be convinced that their beliefs are the truth. They have some interesting regulations about how women are supposed to dress, groom, and behave. They support their statements with verses from the text, but I don't see that it adds up. They don’t believe anything that I find really offensive, it is just a different perspective. Changing a few facets of my life wouldn’t bother me, however I would have to profess faith and become involved in an aspect religious service.

So...is it possible to simply say that I convert to make the relationship work, or do I somehow have to convince myself of their point of view?
 

GalaGirl

Active member
The family situation we would be looking at would be me becoming his third wife, and my GFs being involved with his wives but probably not with him.

If your GFs would be involved with his wife... I assume your exBF and his wife practice Open Marriage. So your GFs aren't marrying anyone. They would be wife's GFs. So... couldn't you do same? You just be his GF and not his 3rd wife?

Why convert to his faith when you don't believe in it? :confused:

It wouldn't bother you to go through their religion's ritual or process for adult membership knowing it's a sham/lie mainly to gain access to him? That doesn't seem respectful to him or to his religion.
he holds a leadership position in his group and has to set a good example.

Since he has to set a good example, I'm surprised he would be ok with you "going through the motions" of conversion just to marry him. How is this a good example of him or you living out that faith's beliefs or traditions?

In your other post you were talking about everyone living together... this is a lot of changes all piled up together.

Your GF and his wife dating... then you and him getting married... and everyone living in the same house....

I suggest slowing it down some.

Galagirl
 
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vinsanity0

Active member
Personally, I couldn't (wouldn't?) do it. Everything about this just seems so hypocritical to me. But I'm an Atheist and would probably have a hard time living with someone who wasn't.

The one time I did get married was in a church. I did it for her family, but I didn't pretend I was joining or anything. That was before I was fully Athiest. Now I probably wouldn't even do that.

I suppose it boils down to your principles and what you can do and still live with yourself.
 

majormerrick

New member
If your GFs would be involved with his wife... I assume your exBF and his wife practice Open Marriage. So your GFs aren't marrying anyone. They would be wife's GFs. So... couldn't you do same? You just be his GF and not his 3rd wife?

It wouldn't bother you to go through their religion's ritual or process for adult membership knowing it's a sham/lie mainly to gain access to him? That doesn't seem respectful to him or to his religion.

Since he has to set a good example, I'm surprised he would be ok with you "going through the motions" of conversion just to marry him. How is this a good example of him or you living out that faith's beliefs or traditions?

In his religion, intimate relationships between girls aren't considered "real." He and his wives are technically a closed relationship, and the relationships between the wives are simply overlooked by the church as harmless female bonding. Male homosexuality and adultery are condemned. This is one of the things that separates my beliefs from those of his church. He doesn't believe in that part either, although exactly how my GFs are going to fit into the picture is kind of a sticking point.

My relationship with him predates his involvement in the faith. When we were together, he was part of a major "normal" Christian denomination. He converted mostly because of his two wives, and he accepts the lifestyle that it brings. The church also believes that an unbeliever can be brought to faith and salvation through marriage....so for him to marry me is not necessarily a violation, even if I'm just going through the motions.

I know that he agrees with most of what the church teaches, but with some minor variance. For me, I have difficulty fitting into anything that requires a standard of ethics. My standard is "do what works for me" which means that I'm basically my own authority. Most religions focus on pleasing an outside authority, which always struck me as a futile effort. Mostly, I'm just a bit too much of a rebel to fit in sometimes. Earlier in life, I chose that over settling down. Now, I think I might prefer to fit in quietly for another chance with someone I've loved for so long.
 

GalaGirl

Active member
It sounds like you are considering compromising your core values in order to be with him.

"Doing what works for you" in your own spiritual path (by whatever name) where you are the internal authority.

vs

"Doing what works for you" to gain access to him even if it means accepting a faith that goes against what you actually value and trying to go through the motions of it.

When you cannot have both? I would answer to the higher value. To me the higher value is following your own spiritual path rather than compromising it. I think over time living a lie would ding your own spiritual health.

I would leave it at (exes and friends) with this guy and not marry him. To me it sounds like bending yourself into a lot of pretzels just to be with this guy. I don't find that worthwhile. But I'm not you. You have to make your own choices.

I guess if that's what you want to do, you could go ahead and do it.

Have you thought ahead? What if it doesn't work out? Are you allowed to leave him/this church? You mentioned

The word "cult" could possibly be used for this particular religious group, although it doesn't really bother me.

...so think things out really well before making final decisions.

Galagirl
 
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majormerrick

New member
Have you thought ahead? What if it doesn't work out? Are you allowed to leave him/this church? You mentioned

Galagirl

That is one thing that gives me pause. I ended my relationship with him a long time ago because I was independent and I just wasn't ready to settle down. After all this time, I think he and I have learned how to handle each other. Saying goodbye just never worked out for us. Technically, I think I am allowed to leave. However, I know that if I marry my ex he would not be permitted to divorce me. I am not a virgin and I am unable to have children, which means that a waiver has to be signed for him to marry me. Unless I commit some heinous act, he's stuck with me.

I'm definitely asking myself what happens if it doesn't work out. His church is like a separate, mostly closed society. If you need a doctor, the church has a couple (including my ex's mother.) If you need a lawyer, the church has them. You can shop anywhere you like, but the church runs an at-cost grocery and all members have gardens. If you have a problem, you don't call the police first, you call the church security team. My ex is currently the head of security, and he is on the governing board. I think having a close community like that is a wonderful thing, but I question whether it makes members who leave less able to function well in the outside world again.

Spiritually, making a compromise just doesn't make a lot of difference to me. I've never really focused on spirituality, which is what tends to make me ethically flexible. I believe in God, I've just never really felt that faith did a a lot for me. In turn, I never felt obligated to return any favors to God.

Part of me also wonders if maybe by joining up, I might learn something? My ex's church seems to have a genuine community that I haven't seen elsewhere. My GF#1 has been drawn to it - she attends worship with them and is becoming a believer. She hasn't made a profession of faith yet, but I think that is coming soon. She's not going through the motions either - she really believes. That alone is going to bring some changes, I suspect.
 

GalaGirl

Active member
Spiritually, making a compromise just doesn't make a lot of difference to me. I've never really focused on spirituality, which is what tends to make me ethically flexible. I believe in God, I've just never really felt that faith did a a lot for me. In turn, I never felt obligated to return any favors to God.

You do not have to believe in God to have a spiritual worldview or path. One can have whatever worldview they have.... and they could live in alignment with it. Above Vinsanity identifies as atheist and states that getting married in a church today would not be something they'd do because it is not in keeping with their personal view/path.

You ask

So...is it possible to simply say that I convert to make the relationship work, or do I somehow have to convince myself of their point of view?

I think a better question to ask yourself is

"Is doing this in keeping with my personal view/path?"

If you are having problems trying to figure out if you can convert to "make the relationship work" or if you "really" have to believe their POV... it doesn't sound like it aligns with your personal path. I could be wrong... but it sounds like you could be going against your own grain.

However, I know that if I marry my ex he would not be permitted to divorce me. I am not a virgin and I am unable to have children, which means that a waiver has to be signed for him to marry me. Unless I commit some heinous act, he's stuck with me.

Aren't you also stuck with him? What if later on you want to marry one of your GFs but legally cannot because you are still married to him? Then what?

If you have a problem, you don't call the police first, you call the church security team. My ex is currently the head of security, and he is on the governing board.

And should you have a serious problem with your ex... and you cannot call the police... and he's in charge of the church security team... and he's on the governing board that makes decisions for the community...how would that play out for you?

Part of me also wonders if maybe by joining up, I might learn something?

You can attend worship and hang out with the community without marrying him or joining it formally. Learn whatever "close community" things you want to learn that way.

That's why I said earlier... this sounds like piling up a lot of things together. I suggest slowing some of that down and think really well before making any final decisions.

Galagirl
 
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majormerrick

New member
I could be wrong... but it sounds like you could be going against your own grain.
Kind of. Which is why I’m asking questions. But at this point, I’m also feeling like I’m going against my own grain by not being with him. I’ve always followed my heart, and messing up my relationship with him years ago is one of my biggest regrets. I love my GFs, and I love my ex. Poly seems to be a way to make it all happen.
Aren't you also stuck with him? What if later on you want to marry one of your GFs but legally cannot because you are still married to him? Then what?
Legally, no. I would be wife #3, and no paperwork would be filed with the government. My GF#1 was intent on legal marriage to me for a while, but when she fell in love with GF#2 she realized that having two of us legally married could put the third at a disadvantage, so she changed her mind.
And should you have a serious problem with your ex... and you cannot call the police... and he's in charge of the church security team... and he's on the governing board that makes decisions for the community...how would that play out for you?
That one doesn’t worry me at all. In our past relationship, I was the one who was prone to violence, not him. I had a lot of problems in those years and there were times I treated him pretty rough. No matter how badly behaved I was, I could count on him to hold me and calm me down. I can’t imagine him hurting me, because he is one of the few people in my life who has kept me safe. He even saved my life once when we were much younger, at considerable risk to his own.

I spent part of the day with him and his family. I feel such a mixture of feelings. On one hand I feel like things are going way too fast and I kind of want it to slow down. On the other hand, I remember I felt like this when GF#2 came into our lives, and that has turned out really well. Since considering this major change in our lives, my attraction to my ex has multiplied. I know it is mostly hormones, but I am incredibly driven toward this choice. My GF#1 is clearly deepening her connection with his wife, so that’s something to consider as well. They aren’t open about it, but I can tell just in how they look at each other that they are head-over-heels right now. I feel just a twinge of jealousy, but mostly I think they are adorable together. At this point, I’m thinking that joining our households together is going to happen eventually, it is just a matter of figuring out timeframe, boundaries, and logistics. I certainly don’t want to rush.

I do appreciate the advice and help. Working out my thoughts on this is a challenge. I hope my indecision and uncertainty isn't making me seem silly...
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Having no indecision or uncertainty would be silly, IMO.

Have you two been dating or is this some sort of all or nothing deal? Is there some sort of rush to escalate to marriage?

When I got back together with my ex wife people told told me there is usually a reason someone is an ex. Boy were they right...lol. Actually, Mary and I are exes as well, from a gazillion years ago. We are in a comfortable place which doesn't include any escalation. I am 100% certain that taking it any further would be a disaster.

I'm assuming your ex wasn't a cult member when you were with him previously. I hope he hasn't changed too much.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Vinsanity has a point. People change, and sometimes for the worse. For your own safety, take time to date anew.
 

GalaGirl

Active member
On one hand I feel like things are going way too fast and I kind of want it to slow down. On the other hand, I remember I felt like this when GF#2 came into our lives, and that has turned out really well. Since considering this major change in our lives, my attraction to my ex has multiplied. I know it is mostly hormones, but I am incredibly driven toward this choice.

Could slow down then. You loved him this many years it doesn't sound like slowing down would change the love or change anything about your life -- he's already a close part of it.

It would also let the hormones chill out.

At this point, I’m thinking that joining our households together is going to happen eventually, it is just a matter of figuring out timeframe, boundaries, and logistics. I certainly don’t want to rush.

Then let it take the time it needs to take and do not rush.

Galagirl
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hi majormerrick,

Keep in mind that I don't have much respect for religion as a whole. So I don't have a problem with you joining that church for whatever reasons, I'm not concerned about that maybe tainting the church. On the other hand, you have to live with the person you see in the mirror, so you might want to give some (more) thought to how you would feel about yourself if you professed a belief falsely. If you can live with yourself in that scenario, then I say you have the green light to proceed. In a way it's better to "belong" to a church and not believe, than it is do belong and believe. That's how I feel about belief, but then, I am a total unbeliever.

But I'm not sure any of that really matters. From what you say here so far, I think that on some level, you have already decided. You're just kind of going through the motions giving your doubts a nod. You love your ex, and you are willing to do what you have to do to be with him. That's a decision that you've already made, even if not consciously. And you are certainly within your rights to make/follow that decision. I just mean that to some extent this thread is an exercise, with regard to what you'll do. The most you can get out of this thread is an opportunity to sort/organize your thoughts. Which is certainly worth something ... but it doesn't change your decision.

Perhaps the next step is to figure out what your life will look like in the future. It sounds (to me) like this particular church will exert a lot of control over your life in great detail. You need to think about how you are going to retain your sense of identity in the midst of all that control. Will you be able to separate yourself from the church to some extent? If not, how will you cope? Again, all you have to worry about is the person in the mirror. I'm not concerned about the welfare of the church.

For what it's worth, I'll vote in support of you regardless.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

majormerrick

New member
Well, the whole thing just got real today. My girls (sneaky, devious, adorable little things) have been in on this for a while. When I woke up this morning, I was cuddled up in his arms with my girls laying next to me, and his girls there too. He had the box with the ring he gave me years ago, and he proposed to me :eek:

Of course, I said yes, even though I would have preferred a bit more time. Then again, time wouldn't have changed my answer. Since I am not a virgin, our engagement will last 40 days (more like 42-ish), and then I'll have to go through the marriage rituals. I'm happy and really scared all at the same time. My GF#1 is visibly relieved, since she's in love with his first wife and hasn't been able to fully express herself about it. Watching her happiness is totally precious.

I've thought it through, and while I can live with the added issues of the church, I can't live without him. I think the trick is going to be to adapt to my new duties, join our houses, and do my best to learn to love the other girls. His second wife is a lot like my GF#2 - quiet, simple, and easygoing. His first wife is a diva, and somewhat neurotic. I like her, but she is *extremely* high maintenance. This is going to be an adventure.
 

opalescent

Active member
Good luck majormerrick.

Look, of course you can live without him. You are choosing not to. Be conscious about the decisions you are making.

I really hope you have not been suckered into this out of wanting to please him and your other partners. You are agreeing to never be fully authentic with him or with the religious community you have decided to join. That’s not something I could stomach. But I am not you and I hope your new life goes well.
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
Pretty much textbook groupthink.
a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

You're being love bombed,
an attempt to influence a person by demonstrations of attention and affection. ... Critics of cults use the phrase with the implication that the "love" is feigned and that the practice is psychological manipulation in order to create a feeling of unity within the group against a society perceived as hostile.

The expression has been used to describe the tactics used by pimps and gang members to control their victims, as well as to describe the behavior of an abusive narcissist who tries to win the confidence of a victim. Modern social media can intensify the effect of love bombing since it enables the abuser with nearly constant contact and communication with the victim.

One of the signs of love bombing in the start of a relationship is much attention in a short time, and pressure for very rapid commitment. It is often the first sign of narcissism, and if successful turns to control and degradation. Psychologist Dale Archer ... advises: "Stop, Look, and Listen" to avoid love bombing, and to break off contact with the abuser, if possible, and seek support from family and friends.
 

GalaGirl

Active member
Of course, I said yes, even though I would have preferred a bit more time.

You do have time. Your engagement can be as long as you want.

I've thought it through, and while I can live with the added issues of the church, I can't live without him.

You've been living without him as a husband for many years. It's not that you cannot live without him. It's that you choose to change things now.

I wouldn't get married like this myself, but you seem to have made up your mind. I hope things go well.

GL!
Galagirl
 

majormerrick

New member
Well, groupthink or lovebombing or whatever, I’m definitely on my way to getting married. Actually, now that I’ve had a few days for it to sink it, I’m feeling really, really, happy. I initially felt like things were going too fast… now I can’t wait for the 40 days to be over. It actually doesn’t feel like a 40 day engagement, more like a 15 year engagement. Long enough, I think. The engagement is definitely difficult for me. I’m expected to cross my legs and wait for the marriage to be intimate with my fiancé, but my girls have both already bedded their favorite counterparts. Wife #1 is being especially sweet to me, and I can tell that she is trying really hard to make me feel welcome. The anticipation of family life is helping me overcome my anxiety about the logistics of moving in, selling my house, and adjusting to a whole lot more people around me.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
It sounds like you are ready for this marriage. You will be entering an intense community life, but actually you're looking forward to it. Use the next 40 days, as much as you can, to anticipate the bumps in the road, and decide how you'll roll over them. And keep us posted, if you're willing, as things evolve.
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
I refuse to support authoritarian polygamy, much less to further the notion that the practice has ANYTHING to do with polyamory.

There have been organized attempts to paint polygamy as a sort of ur-polyamory, therefore somehow "mostly the same thing." Half a year ago, the Wikipedia entry for "Polyamory" had a chunk deleted that attempted to reframe polyamory as "modern polyamory" or "egalitarian polyamory" with the clear implication that it was somehow a dumbed-down version of polygamy, & are all sorts of kissy-kissy --
[P]olygamy advocacy groups and activists and egalitarian polyamory advocacy groups and activists can and do work together cooperatively. In addition, the two sub-communities have many common issues (poly parenting, dealing with jealousy, legal and social discrimination, etc.), the discussion and resolution of which are of equal interest to both sub-communities, regardless of any cultural differences that may exist. Moreover, there is considerable cultural diversity within both sub-communities.
IMNSHO, though anyone is free to join a cult if that's what (they believe) they really want to do, the practice is not consonant with polyamory, & these forums are NOT a place to romanticize harem-building.
 

Rockit49

New member
Whaaa

Setting aside your core beliefs (understanding of nature)
For the love of a man! Who's core beliefs begin with oppression ... Sure, lasting heavenly bliss to all!! Cheers y'all
 
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