Moving in together is a significant milestone for any couple – but it’s not always plain sailing. One young woman – henceforth referred to as “OP” – took to social media to find out if she was in the wrong for banning her family from bringing anything remotely religious into her new home.
A Central Role
Religion played a central role in OP’s upbringing. Church visits every Sunday and prayers before every meal were the norm for her. Her mother, a devout Catholic, initially struggled to accept her daughter’s bisexuality and, in OP’s words, she moved out at 18 and kept a “respectfully distant relationship.”
A Distant Relationship
OP wrote: “Long story short, I moved out at 18 and have kept a respectfully distant relationship with [my mom]. She’s mellowed a bit in her age, but she still tries to invite me to church every week, even after I told her plainly to cut that out. She’s respectful to my girlfriend, mostly because I will choose her over my mother if it comes to that.”
Rejecting Organized Religion
Religion was also central to OP’s girlfriend’s upbringing – but it was far more traumatic. Outed as LGBTQ+ at 12, she endured abuse from her parents until she turned 18. Then, she was disowned. Throughout this ordeal, her parents invoked Bible verses and claimed to act in God’s name.
Using Religion to Abuse
OP wrote: “My girlfriend has an even more traumatic past with religion. When she was outed at 12, her parents abused her until she was 18, then disowned her. The entire time, [they used] Bible quotes and ‘God’s mission’ as an excuse. She still believes in a god, just not in religion or worship.”
A No-Religion Space
Given their shared experiences with religion and its traumatic effects, OP and her girlfriend decided to establish their new home as a sanctuary free from religious influences. This meant bringing in a strict “no-religion space” rule, which included no prayer, religious symbols, proselytizing, or discussions about religious matters.
Criticism From Friends
OP’s mom found it hard to adapt to the no-religion policy, particularly struggling with having to remove or conceal her cross necklace when visiting. Friends also criticized the couple, arguing that they were “using their trauma as an outlet for revenge” and going too far in their efforts to exclude religion from their lives.
OP’s Mom’s Struggle
OP wrote: “My mother hates [the no-religion rule] because all her friends are churchgoers, and 80% of her stories relate to something happening in the church. She also gets mad that we make her take off or cover her cross necklace, as are the rules. She claims we’re being hypocrites, to which I told her she’s lucky to be in my life at all. Still, some of our friends told us we’re taking it too far and ‘using our trauma as an outlet for revenge.’”
The Internet’s Response
The criticism from her friends left OP wondering if she was in the wrong in the situation. As such, she took to social media to gather opinions from a diverse range of strangers. Her post now has over 2,000 comments, and opinions were divided.
A Very Popular Opinion
One person’s opinion was so popular that it garnered over 16,000 likes. “Your house, your rules! But I personally think telling her to cover up her cross necklace is probably one step too far,” they wrote.
Religious Trauma and PTSD
Replying to the aforementioned commenter, another person said: “On the fence about the necklace. I think in other contexts, it might be too far, but I know people with PTSD over religious trauma [and] it can be triggering seeing religious images. The house should be a safe space, so I think it’s fine. If [the mom] wants to talk about friends at church, she can leave out any religious references and just talk about it like a community center.”
A Hostile Environment
Others said OP was in the wrong. “Faith is something deeply integral to people. You just can’t snap your finger and demand they switch it off. Sure, you can tell them not to proselytize or preach to you – but no religious symbols or praying? You have turned your home into a hostile environment,” one commenter wrote.
Taking It Too Far
Another individual said: “You had me until your mother had to cover a necklace. That’s taking it too far. Are Muslims allowed to wear hijabs? That’s a religious symbol, just as a cross is. It’s fine that you don’t want to talk about religion or have any religious symbols around the house, but to control what people wear is taking it too far.”
Simply General Gossip
Echoing the aforementioned commenter, another person said: “The cross necklace goes too far. I feel stories about her friends, which are not directly about faith, should be okay, too. Like, I bet a lot of what she says is more general gossip.”
The Importance of Boundaries
Hitting back at those claiming OP was in the wrong, one commenter wrote: “None of us know the full story of how much trauma religion has caused OP’s girlfriend, nor are we entitled to it. If their parents were staunchly religious and wore religious-themed jewelry while being abusive, had their house decorated in iconography, and used stories from the church to verbally abuse OP’s girlfriend – sure, it’s an extreme position. But it’s their personal space. I am super picky about what food comes into my house because of allergies, which isn’t the same, but it’s a boundary in a space I’m supposed to be able to control.”
Just a Necklace
Another commenter said: “Your house, your rules. As others have said, religious symbols can be traumatic to some, and it’s just a freaking necklace, not a tattoo she has to cover up. Just take it off if you’re asked to. It’s such a small thing for the mother to be [angry] about.”
A Different Suggestion
One person suggested that OP stop inviting her mother to her home. They wrote: “Don’t you think that, all things considered, it might be better if you go low or no contact with her? Just ask her not to come to your house and see how that goes. You can meet her for lunch and whatnot, but there’s really no reason for her to be in your home if everything you say is true.”
Christianity and Abuse
One person was a little harsher with their words. They said: “Christianity is almost always abusive… when the Bible is followed properly anyway. Sure, there are some ‘nice’ Christians who pick and choose bits, so they don’t have to be terrible people. You’re definitely [not in the wrong] for not wanting reminders of that abuse in your home.”
A Home Is a Sanctuary
Another commenter said: “Your home should be your sanctuary. If religious symbols, rituals, or discussions trigger your trauma, then it is not about weaponizing any revenge. It is about preserving your mental health in your own space. Clearly, from your perspective, religion was used as a weapon toward both of you. So it is only appropriate that you do not allow that negativity into your own home.”
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