Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Discussions about negotiating relationships between faithful LDS believers and the apostates who love them. This applies in particular to mixed-faith marriages, but relations with children, parents, siblings, friends, and ward members is very welcome.
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jfro18
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Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by jfro18 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:26 am

Our kid is on a youth baseball team and I've been coaching with two others this season and we got together a few weeks ago to go over lineups, positions, etc as the league transitions kids during the year to be ready for little league next year along with just hanging out since we've been coaching but don't really get to just sit around and talk about non-baseball stuff.

Anyway... the other two coaches are very into beer (they were talking about all sorts of specific beers and I had no idea what they were talking about) and had all sorts there and I drank one with them because I just don't feel like getting into the "I used to be Mormon and so I don't really like beer because it's bitter and I never drank them" thing.

Because school is ending here, they wanted to have families over next week for a "coaches meeting" with the kids and wives... and I am terrified to ask DW because I know they'll have beer there, and I know she'll flip out if I were to drink one and I don't want to get into the "yeah I don't drink because I'm Mormon" stuff.

I really hate how awkward even being in a mixed faith marriage can make life in areas where Mormonism isn't relevant in any way imaginable, and I really hate that I don't want to ask my wife to go because I know it'll just cause problems...

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Corsair
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by Corsair » Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:44 pm

That's a tough situation. I don't know of a way to have that kind of honest conversation with your wife. Perhaps bring along some craft root beer that only looks alcoholic so that no one offers you a beer since you already appear to be holding one.

But this plan only kicks the can down the road in what looks like an intractable situation. If I knew what a real solution would be I might have already done it.

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jfro18
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by jfro18 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:42 pm

Yeah there's just no way to have this conversation that doesn't end poorly... and it's really frustrating because these are super nice people and I'm stuck in this rut where I can't really invite my wife to come with or it's so awkward it's not worth it, or I do invite her and have her mad at me for having a drink or having to deal with the possibility of her feeling uncomfortable or having to explain herself there.

These are the things that just make me hate this situation so much - it impacts me all the time even though I walked away and it's just so silly.

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Angel
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by Angel » Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:13 pm

Half of my family are alcoholic Catholics, so I don't drink because trouble runs in my blood. People understand "family history" issues, and it is no big deal, can be good to have a designated driver and all that. Many people have dietary restrictions and preferences, it's not a big deal. Can be a good thing to get tbm's to mingle with others I think.
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RubinHighlander
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:07 pm

It is super awkward, those mixed tribe situations with mixed faith marriages. There's no easy answer here. So you make excuses as to why you can't get together and life moves on, but there might be another approach to try.

"Guys, look, I'd probably be into beer, but I'm in a mixed faith marriage. To support my wife I just don't bother with it, keeps the peace. I don't give a crap if you guys have a beer at some party or function, but it's her belief and faith and I support her. This would make it a bit awkward if we got together. Would you be okay with hanging out with the families if it's without the booze?"

I think most guys would respect you for it and they would be totally cool with that. If they are former members or lived in Utah a while, they should be understanding and empathetic. I think for most of us it's a non-issue.
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jfro18
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by jfro18 » Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:27 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:07 pm
It is super awkward, those mixed tribe situations with mixed faith marriages. There's no easy answer here. So you make excuses as to why you can't get together and life moves on, but there might be another approach to try.

"Guys, look, I'd probably be into beer, but I'm in a mixed faith marriage. To support my wife I just don't bother with it, keeps the peace. I don't give a crap if you guys have a beer at some party or function, but it's her belief and faith and I support her. This would make it a bit awkward if we got together. Would you be okay with hanging out with the families if it's without the booze?"

I think most guys would respect you for it and they would be totally cool with that. If they are former members or lived in Utah a while, they should be understanding and empathetic. I think for most of us it's a non-issue.
This is great advice and on some level I wish I had taken it before we met the last time.

Honestly I'm in an area where mormons are just not relevant and as weird as it sounds I'm embarrassed to be associated with the church, so I never mention it to people who I'm not close to. It's just awkward and talking about it with people I'm not close to and they have no real idea of the culture of Mormonism here at all.

I think I'll just mention it to her and give her the out... it's going to suck but I don't know what else to do.

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alas
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by alas » Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:42 pm

My husband and I spent 20 years with him active duty military, so we had lots of socializing with norm....well, I won’t call military people normal because the marines are their own kind of weird and none of the military cultures are “normal, but they are for sure drinking cultures. So we had lots of experience interacting with people who drink.

First thing to remember, unless you make a big deal out of it, nobody notices. Mormons tell each other how people notice them for not drinking, but it is a bunch of bs. Nobody notices who drinks beer and who grabs a Diet Coke. There are enough people who don’t drink for dozens of reasons, than nobody notices whether you have a beer or soft drink. Mormons are not the only ones who don’t drink for religious reasons. Then there are the ex-alcoholics, your children of alcoholics or other relatives who have been traumatized or disgusted by an alcoholic. Then you have health nuts, diabetics (alcohol hits the system as high blood sugar spike quicker than straight sugar.) or a whole bunch of people who don’t drink for better health. Then there are all the thousands of people who don’t like beer, but might drink wine and if the party has beer, they drink coke. We noticed at military parties, over 50% of the people did not drink. And much of military socializing is based around booze. My spouse man was even taught “drinking etiquette” as part of officer training school. Things like, “At a formal dining in, the toasts follow this order a. b. c.” And “if you are a non drinker, make sure you have your water or other beverage ahead of time, because when the toasting starts, it is possible to get more booze, but you can’t run out and grab another coke.” But the funny thing was, we purposely volunteered for the social committee, so we could remind the planners that at the last three parties, they ran out of diet drinks for the ladies and the soft drinks for the kids, but there were three cases of beet left over. And the rest of the committee would go, “oh, yeah. We did run out of the Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi and root beer, but man it wasn’t just three cases of beer left over. There were three more in my car.” We would tell them the proper ratio is two cases of diet for every case of beer, one case of sugared Coke/Pepsi and three of the kid stuff, because every couple has 2.5 children. We explained about 5 times per party, that while one beer drinker will drink 4 beers, between the non drinkers and the kids, you have 4 -6 times as many people who will have zero.

Second thing to remember is all those stories you hear the Mormons tell each other about being mocked or forced to drink and then gaining this wonderful respect for standing up for your beliefs are all a bunch of bs. People are more shocked that Mormons don’t drink coffee, and it isn’t that they mock or try to get you to drink coffee, they just think it is mildly stupid to avoid coffee.

So, a simple, “my wife is Mormon so we don’t have alcohol, tea, or coffee at our house, just so you know what to expect. But she makes an amazing (whatever you want to serve)” If they are the kind of people who don’t think it is possible to socialize without booze, then let them make an excuse. But at least you have done the friendly thing and offered an invite.

Most people know two things about Mormons, they don’t drink and polygamy, so just the simple “My wife is Mormon.” usually explains enough. And if that is new to them, Muslims don’t drink alcohol either.

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jfro18
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by jfro18 » Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:11 am

As a small update to this, I ended up telling DW she was invited to go, she declined before I even got into the potential alcohol stuff so I went with our kid and then when I came back she said "I didn't know I was invited to go." :lol:

So the can has been kicked down the road for another day.

And I will note that part of the problem is me - I am embarrassed to say I was associated with Mormonism because I live in the Midwest and there's just no talk of Mormons here and I just do not want to get into the fact that she's a part of the church, I'm not, and what that means. I know that's on me, but I just hate talking about it with anyone I associate with except with like two people that I have known my entire life.

Because I remember when I had a 'normal' job and Mormons came up once and they joked about polygamy and I thought "Oh this is what people think of the church I am a part of," and at that point I already was mentally out but I just realized how silly it is to anyone outside of the church... so I have tried to run from it since I left, although I am still indirectly controlled by it through DW.

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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Jun 16, 2021 7:26 am

jfro18 wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:11 am

And I will note that part of the problem is me - I am embarrassed to say I was associated with Mormonism because I live in the Midwest and there's just no talk of Mormons here and I just do not want to get into the fact that she's a part of the church, I'm not, and what that means. I know that's on me, but I just hate talking about it with anyone I associate with except with like two people that I have known my entire life.

Because I remember when I had a 'normal' job and Mormons came up once and they joked about polygamy and I thought "Oh this is what people think of the church I am a part of," and at that point I already was mentally out but I just realized how silly it is to anyone outside of the church... so I have tried to run from it since I left, although I am still indirectly controlled by it through DW.
I understand this. My co-workers have no idea I’m technically Mormon because I’ve never talked about it. Embarrassed is an understatement.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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jfro18
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by jfro18 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:28 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 7:26 am
I understand this. My co-workers have no idea I’m technically Mormon because I’ve never talked about it. Embarrassed is an understatement.
I'm glad it's not just me then. Since I live in an area where Mormonism is not a presence at all, if I mention it then it's like putting a giant spotlight on me (and DW) and I just do not want to talk about it and I certainly don't want to be associated with the church and all of its baggage.

A lot of it bothered me as a believing member (polygamy and ban on blacks) but now that I know more I am just so embarrassed to be associated with it in any way, but I also don't want to tell people DW is a Mormon and then joke/bash/whatever the church either.

It's definitely cost us outings with people because I just passed on things rather than ask DW and feel uncomfortable, but now that I'm out and know about the church's history I am starting to care less and less about that even though I know deep down I'll never escape it.

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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:05 pm

jfro18 wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:28 pm
It's definitely cost us outings with people because I just passed on things rather than ask DW and feel uncomfortable, but now that I'm out and know about the church's history I am starting to care less and less about that even though I know deep down I'll never escape it.
I think you’re giving it too much thought.

Indifference to your past membership and wife’s current membership will get you out of the escape pod. Sometimes I feel like we all jumped into the emergency escape pod and pushed off, just to float around the Mormon universe indefinitely while our loved ones are still trapped. I am.

Here’s the secret. When it no longer occupies your brain, you’re in control. So do all things to dilute the brain occupation. Dilute her Mormon influence.

Accept invitations to outings and events with normal people. Let them think you’re the proverbial couple in the movies where a spouse is Jewish and one is catholic. That’s acceptable to normal people, right? So is marrying a Mormon.

You’ve got the perfect excuse Jfro. You joined the church for marital harmony. Then realized it doesn’t work for you. In the real world people can understand that and don’t care about Mormonism enough to worry about if your wife is and you’re not. Nobody cares.

Same goes for alcohol. Plenty of normal people don’t drink and don’t care if you do or not.

*Normal people is purely relative and my definition may not agree or correlate with the owners of this station. Discretionary use of the term may be advised.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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moksha
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by moksha » Mon Jun 21, 2021 6:16 am

If you invite the normal soccer people over, it would be good to have some adult beverages. The trick is to let them be happy, but not sloppy drunk. They need to drive home safely. Tell your wife to grin and be gracious. Is it a beer crowd or wine crowd or mixed? Just ask to find out.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Culper Jr.
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by Culper Jr. » Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:55 pm

jfro18 wrote:
Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:42 pm
Yeah there's just no way to have this conversation that doesn't end poorly... and it's really frustrating because these are super nice people and I'm stuck in this rut where I can't really invite my wife to come with or it's so awkward it's not worth it, or I do invite her and have her mad at me for having a drink or having to deal with the possibility of her feeling uncomfortable or having to explain herself there.
God I can empathize so much with this. I have ended up living this sort of double life, where I do things with TBM wife and family, or do things with nevermo friends. I feel like I'm always having to manipulate situations so that no one is put into an uncomfortable position; more from my wife and family making judgmental comments or trying to convert everyone if anything. Mormons can be so clueless as to how their comments come off to other people who aren't familiar with the culture of the church.

Really, outside of the morridor people couldn't care less if you drink or not. The church sets up this narrative, especially with the youth, where everyone is trying to get you to drink and sin and you can't let your guard down for one second or they'll get ya! In my experience living on the east coast where mormonism is completely irrelevant, no one cares, and it's only a big deal if you make it a big deal. I've also found that, unlike what the church teaches, most people are responsible with alcohol and are not raging alcoholics.

But yeah, I hate it, it's all so unnecessarily stupid.

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jfro18
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by jfro18 » Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:55 am

Culper Jr. wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:55 pm
But yeah, I hate it, it's all so unnecessarily stupid.
On some level this is how I basically sum up the Mormon church as a whole... but your point is spot on.

When I had my last 'normal' job, we had a number of work outings because they'd make our department work like idiots but take us out to dinners and then we had trade shows, etc.

I was still in the church and did not drink at the outings - when people asked why I wasn't drinking I'd usually just dodge - but I got home from one and my wife woke me up in the middle of the night to ask me if I had anything to drink. I brought it up years later and she swears she doesn't remember doing it... it's quite possible she didn't even know she did it - who knows.

That was one of those moments that always stuck with me after I left, because I always knew that's what she was always thinking about and it's obviously a direct impact of the church. As you said, just unnecessarily stupid.

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Angel
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Re: Problems interacting with normal people as a family...

Post by Angel » Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:45 am

I have alcoholics on both sides of my family - some bad stuff... so with or without religious dogma I do not drink alcohol as it is just bad mojo from my DNA. It is frustrating as so many social groups are formed around drinking. When people ask why I don't drink - I don't want to go on some family-history horror story, just not good to share stuff like that... so what do you say, "just trying to be healthy"? or something? It is what it is.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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