On Dating

I don’t date non-Pagans.

To be fair, I generally don’t date at all. The inane rituals and cultural expectations that surround dating usually leave me too mystified to participate in any kind of meaningful way and I end up alienating my potential partner right out of the gate.

I’m bad at flirting. I’m bad at subtlety. I’m impatient. I simply do not have the mental fortitude to wonder whether or not a guy likes me or likes likes me over any length of time. If he doesn’t tell me explicitly—and verbally, as we’ve hopefully all learned by now that physical contact does not equate to actual interest—I’m eventually going to assume that he’s not interested and go back to whatever book I was reading. If I’m the one doing the pursuing, my strategy is usually off-putting bluntness (this is a poor strategy).

Dating is already impossible. If I have to explain that most of my life is devoted to the practice of witchcraft on top of everything else, it’s not even worth considering.

Now, most of the Pagans I know who are also in committed relationships are involved with non-Pagans. How they pull this off, I have no idea. My guess is that their Paganism is a little less explicit than mine, or else that their partners are so disinterested that I have to wonder why they’re involved with each other at all (spoiler alert: financial security/youthful impulsiveness/cultural pressure).

If your Paganism involves a shelf with some candles on it, some books on dreams in the living room, and a trek to Pagan Pride Day once a year, then you probably won’t have much trouble with a non-Pagan partner. If your Paganism involves routinely burying jars of pee, periodically being possessed by spirits, and sacrificing the odd small animal or two to some god or other, your situation might be a little more challenging. Throw kids and property ownership into the mix and I don’t even know.

I’m somewhere in between these extremes. I run a coven, maintain an overtly Pagan household, and am committed to writing about Paganism. If witchcraft were a sport, I’d be spending most of my life at the gym and all of my weekends and evenings at games or practices. I’d have crazy food restrictions that would irritate anyone else who lived with me and I’d constantly be speaking in jargon. I would be unbearable. Throw in the fact that my Craft is lineaged and oathbound and naked, and it’s all downhill.   The guy would have to be a saint. Or else just so boring as to never get in my way (in which case why are we dating?).

My experience has been that statements such as, “I can’t hang out this weekend; I’m reading runes at a psychic fair,” go over poorly with non-Pagan love interests. Equally ill-fated are, “You have to leave the house tonight because my coven is coming over,” and “Don’t touch that jar in the fridge! It’s part of a spell.” If there’s blood or dead animals involved at any point, forget it.

Another Pagan on the other hand, even one a little more gentle than myself or one from a different tradition, will generally put up with quite a bit more. There’s just a lot less explaining involved, and fewer raised eyebrows accompanied by exasperated sighs. Everybody is happier.

More importantly, I don’t want to be involved with anyone with whom I cannot share such an enormous part of my life. Even if they were sympathetic and “didn’t mind,” which is how my Pagan friends always describe their partners. “Oh, he/she really doesn’t mind.” Well, great. It’s nice that they’re willing to overlook this like any other flaw.

Looking the other way or being quietly tolerant isn’t good enough for me. I require involvement on some level, beyond support.

And when having a partner isn’t a necessity, why settle?

16 thoughts on “On Dating

  1. Hi Thorn,,,,Coral here from FSG…..you are a Goddess who needs a King….this is my call line on most online dating sites. It is hard to be a Goddess and find that right King who would understand the hierarchy…..most beautiful witches have this problem.

  2. Mighty Zeus

    You’re a clever little shrew…think I’ll follow your blog a while. Maybe you can convince me that Charlotte isn’t HELL!

  3. ‘If I’m the one doing the pursuing, my strategy is usually off-putting bluntness (this is a poor strategy).” As a guy who, in his younger days, pretty much had to be hit over to head to figure out a girl was interested, let me say that bluntness has its place. 🙂

    I don’t really understand settling for a partner who “doesn’t mind” something deeply important to you either.

    Missed seeing you at Starwood! Hope all is well.

  4. Chris Mann

    Considering how ritual heavy your branch of Wicca is, I think it’s funny that you don’t like the rituals involved in dating. It’s ironic. Well, not entirely, but it struck me as such.

    “How they pull this off, I have no idea.” – I wonder how early Christians did it. St. Paul describes Christians marrying pagans and marriages between two pagans but one converts. These days I guess it’s easier because in our society, even people who are not Christians understand a bit of what it’s about. I can’t imagine a marriage between a religious person and a fervent atheist, though. That would be just too difficult.

    Have you known any couples where one of them became pagan after they got together? I’ve heard that kind of thing can be very difficult when one gets heavily into something simpler like a self-help movement.

    1. Haha, yeah, I can see where that would be ironic. Maybe the difference is that the rules aren’t really agreed upon in dating. 🙂 And gradually discovering a magical system, constantly striving toward an end that is hidden to you (the Mystery, etc.) is gratifying and exciting in a way that dating (which, though ritualistic, has predictable ends) isn’t. Dating makes me want to just shake the other person and go, “YEAH BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS ON DYING TOGETHER AND BUYING HOUSES AND BABIES.”

      I don’t know anyone who because Pagan over the course of a relationship with a Pagan partner. Just a lot of divorcees. I’m sure it can be done, but perhaps only if the person in question lacks personal conviction to begin with.

      1. Chris Mann

        re: “BUYING HOUSES AND BABIES”. I can “put up with” buying a house, but buying babies would be a deal breaker for me.

        Within wicca as a whole, I was under the impression that the ritual rules are also not agreed upon. Dating and its rituals also seems like something that one gradually discovers and are rather mysterious. Or, maybe it’s just that way for me because I’m a guy and women are mysterious and confusing. I thought the difference between wiccan rituals and dating rituals is probably that the former has personal meaning for you while that latter does not.

        Also, sorry I was unclear with my question. Do you know any couples where they had gotten together as non-pagans but one of them, but not both, became pagan later on? If so, what affect did that have on their relationship?

  5. Hi Chris, It happens all the time. A Christian will meet a non Christian and one will conform. Same holds true with the craft. Sometimes we are meant to be on the path for the other person to help us. Call it a soul mate, twin flame or soul contract…..there are times when we meet and one person has more knowledge than the other. I’ve also met couples and or pagans who share and respect each others faith and path even if it is different than their own. I believe when you get to that point you are growing as a human being.

    1. Chris Mann

      Sorry. What I was intending by my question was: Do you know any couples where they had gotten together as non-pagans but one of them, but not both, became pagan later on? I’d like to hear your input on that as well if you know of any such couples. If you do, what affect did it have on their relationship?

      1. Well I know many situations of which you speak. But one comes to mind….we have to remember that people do not stay together based on their beliefs. I know of one couple who found each other. One was Alexandrian the other was Christian. They married, trained and started a coven. They were at that point a HP & HPS who had a very successful coven. They had many years together and enjoyed the wiccan path. One day,,,,,the HPS decided that she wanted to return to her Christianity. That is fine in my book,,,,we are sometimes called back to our original tradition. She could have had both, and grown combining the two belief systems. The problem was, she wanted her HP to leave the craft. This of course ended badly. This of course is only one story. I have more but don’t want to take up the blog.

        I think the main point is that two people have to respect each others individual beliefs to truly be in love. Love demands respect. If one person is telling another that they had to believe in something because the other person does then “Houston we have a problem”….as long as there is respect and acceptance true love can bloom.

        One last thing…..I married a non witch. We had 13 years of a perfect marriage. I circled and he sometimes joined me,,,,,I also went to church with him. We loved each other. Our marriage ended because he cheated, not because of our belief system. We raised our daughter in both traditions and she is fine. She was Wiccaned and Christened and then she wanted to be Baptized. She follows both paths and is beautiful….I always joke that she will marry a jew…..and I will be fine with that because I love her and respect her choices in life.

        Perfect love and perfect trust.

  6. Mighty Zeus

    I’ve always enjoyed the company of Pagans. I admire anyone who follows their chosen path with passion. I am not Pagan or Non-Pagan. That is to say, I do not believe there IS a God or that there ISN’T a God. It simply doesn’t matter to me. I choose to invest NO energy whatsoever in matters over which I have no control. This mindset allows me the freedom to participate in and enjoy rituals and ceremonies of Pagans and Non-Pagans alike, without judgement or moral reservation. Releasing myself from the dogma of ANY belief system has been the most profound and rewarding choice of my life. I’ve gained opportunities and insights that few people will ever allow themselves to experience. So, as far as relationships go, it is much simpler to me than most make it out to be…if you are confident enough in your own beliefs to truly give your partner UNCONDITIONAL love, then there really shouldn’t be a problem whether they are Pagan or not.

  7. scott

    Too true, wished I read this many years ago.
    At last, now I’m not in unholy deadlock anymore and the advise of this article I believe I should follow hereon, only makes sense.

  8. When my husband and I married, I was what one might call a lapsed Christian. Over a couple years I basically rediscovered the witchcraft I had dabbled in as a teen. I committed fully after about 4 years of marriage and informed my husband that I was no longer identifying as Christian. He did some yelling and it took him about a day to calm down enough for us to talk. Fast forward another 4 years and he is my biggest supporter. He has happily helped me set aside a piece of furniture for my altar and is very respectful of it. He has bought me numerous items for my practice and has no issues with my teaching our daughter. He has even asked me to work a few things for him.
    We bought a house this year and he helped me with the house cleansing. He asks me about Sabbats and Esbats and asks about which incense he should burn. He tries.
    It wasn’t easy at first and there was a lot that we had to talk through. We did though and it has been great. He doesn’t participate in rituals, but he doesn’t keep me from it and has gone out of his way to make sure that no plans are made for those times.
    He isn’t a saint and he certainly isn’t boring. He aggravates me to no end sometimes, but he knows just what to do to make me swoon. Case in point: I’ve been looking for the “right” athame for me for years. Nothing was ever quite right. For our anniversary this year, he handed me a box and inside was the most beautiful dagger. It was perfect. I picked it up and it was like it was made for me. I cried.
    It isn’t easy and I know sometimes he is uncomfortable. Sometimes this is because he doesn’t understand what I’m doing, in which case he will ask me about it (never in the middle of ritual though). There has only been one time that he raised objections to what I was doing and that involved our daughter. We talked about it and discussed how what I was doing with her was no different than sending her to Sunday school.
    This isn’t to say that all couples can do this, because I don’t believe they can. My husband is what I like to call a liberal Christian. The type I personally feel Jesus may have been. The “I’ll love you, if only from afar, because that is what I feel should be done” type. He doesn’t condemn me. Someone with a stricter world view may not be able to live like this and that is okay.

  9. Heather L.

    My fiancé has known that I am a witch and that isn’t something I’m going to give up on account of our relationship and as a matter of fact, he highly respects that. He wants me to be my own person. Though having a mom who was into woo kinda helps my case but he knows what I do is not of the Edgar Casey variety of woo and he is fine with that. In fact, he’s relieved I’m not.

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