I’ve never really thought about it too terribly much before, but as a Pagan person, it’s bound to come up when it comes to relationships. How does religion/spirituality as a Pagan person affect relationships, especially with someone not of the same path?
During one of the Interfaith Council sessions I attended, one of the girls asked if there were any restrictions or stigmas within Paganism against dating or marrying a non-Pagan. I said that as far as I know, most Pagans don’t care if a Pagan dates or marries outside of Paganism, and many don’t consider differing religions to be a barrier when it comes to relationships. As far as I can tell, that’s true–most of us don’t care. It is what it is, and if two people can’t reconcile differing beliefs or agree to disagree, then that’s fine, no judgement or condemnation for believing differently.
I think a lot of Pagans end up dating non-Pagans, either because there are too few Pagans around in the area, or the Pagans that are around are in some way not their type. To each their own, and that’s fine. My ex was definitely not Pagan, though he was Pagan-friendly, and I figure that’s the best I could ask for.
Some do find partners within Paganism, though perhaps of a different tradition. I can think of one friend who’s dating another Pagan, and I myself am involved with a Pagan now. Considering all the different paths and traditions and types of Paganism, I think that dating within Paganism can be as challenging and as difficult as dating across religious lines can be. Well, dating across Pagan traditions could be considered dating across religions in a way, depending on the traditions involved. For example, say an Alexandrian Wiccan dates a shaman. The beliefs and practices of each can be very different, and may be as different as comparing Wicca to Christianity. It’s like a devout Catholic dating a Protestant. Just because you’re dating within Paganism, it doesn’t mean you’re going to date someone with the same or even similar beliefs. It’s not like a Presbyterian dating a Presbyterian, for example. Even within Wicca it’s not necessarily a given that the other person will believe or practice similarly. The wide range and huge diversity of beliefs and practices under the umbrella of Paganism can make relationships within a Pagan framework more complicated than they might at first appear.
Another dynamic I’m aware of is actively not dating within Paganism. As one of my friends once said, “Pagans guys are just weird.” True, that’s a major generalization, but what she was getting at was that the Pagan guys she had known and dated were too “out there” or too off her own path that she couldn’t reconcile it well enough. Or they’re gay, which certainly takes them out of the running for a woman. From what I’ve seen, this mode of thought, however unconscious, seems to be fairly consistent. The Pagan relationships I’ve seen in other people just haven’t worked, for whatever reason, but they all ended and the people mostly went outside of Paganism to find partners after that. It’s a very interesting and subtle dynamic I’ve started noticing going on.
I could have sworn I had a point to all this, but now I think I’m mainly just bouncing ideas and thoughts off the Internet and my lovely readers. What do you think? Do you date outside of Paganism or within? Does religion play a large or small factor in relationships, or is it not a factor for you at all?