I am not a very religious person, having attended church sporadically as a child and more for the social aspects then true unwavering faith in one particular church. The family that I married into is religious. They aren't really overzealous but rather the nature of their religion is at times one that evokes strong responses. These are people who feel so "connected" to their church (I hesitate to say faith because it seems more of a habitual thing) that they have traveled 18+ hours for a wedding in which much of the family was not allowed to be present, they give a "tithing" that often requires them to then turn to the church for assistance and stay married while miserable and in separate bedrooms for going on 8 years. The way things are done in the church leaves them grappling to deal with our life (haven't even gone down the Poly road!) with me as a person and doesn't allow them to see their son as the person he is.
Because of the teachings of the church (I know this seems to be stereotyping but I know of support groups within the Poly community back home for this) Lobster comes into this with a LOT of self imposed guilt. I know that some of the guilt comes from being a very mono minded person however the extent of it's reach... The thoughts that the poly discussion came up because of lacking in something, of not being enough, I understand. Actually much of the sources of guilt I get. What blindsides me every time is these moments of peace with the situation, these moments of, Wow this isn't as bad as I thought, I'm ok with this and then BAM! Suddenly we are back to day 2, and this is completely wrong and can never be ok. Those moments usually don't last long, and then we are back to the point we were but they are there. It's almost like really on a deep level it makes sense and it's ok but then something comes up to remind him that this was not the way that he was raised (often times a conversation with one of his parents) Usually this not only shakes our poly situation as it is but also his place in every other aspect of life. Suddenly doubts of the kind of father he is are running wild and guilt that his job takes him away, and that it falls on my shoulders..It's a big domino effect after that and takes a long time to get everything back upright.
I don't blame the church or the beliefs, I think a LOT of it has to do with the kind of family Lobster grew up in. However a close friend of my parents' in the poly/swinger community spends much of her free time helping others come to terms with this upbringing as she herself did it. In her case she lost much of her family because of her choice. We have made the conscious decision to keep our choice away from his family for as long as possible. I've gone against his mother many times in the past and she and I have brokered a quiet little peace in which I bite my tongue and she keeps her control through guilt to a minimum.
I guess not being a religious person myself, I don't completely understand how to help Lobster to gain back this part of himself. I do truly feel that a part of him is still very much wrapped up in this religion, in times of stress when I'm not around to help him, he will go back to it like a security blanket. He has not been an active member of the church in about 10 years now, the last few being out of an ultimatum given by his mother. (That helped his issues with the church TONS!) Any advice out there for this..cause I'm drawing a big blank..