I think I have reached an equilibrium with my atheism. I no longer feel the need to constantly seek out affirmation of my deconversion. I rarely visit ex-christian.net, mostly because I find the posts to be almost juvenile in their approach. That is to say that it is a great place to go when you are just beginning your ex-christian journey, but doesn't really dig in past that point. I needed them at the beginning. Now I don't.
There are enough supportive people in my life who also know about my deconversion, that I no longer feel lonely in that area. The people that I see on a regular basis are aware and understanding so I don't feel like I am hiding who I am. And I have surprisingly found compatriots. My brother, it turns out, is also an atheist. My best friend is beyond supportive. I used to think about joining some kind of atheist group all the time, just to make friends, but I have found that I haven't needed them.
As for my hardcore Christian friends...although I don't like lying to them, even by omission, they seem to be utterly clueless. For a group of people who claim to have a direct line to God, their heavenly father seems to have totally missed the boat when it came to me. To be clear, when I started to have very serious doubts, I prayed over and over that God would reveal my struggles to one of my friends or family. Anyone. I hoped that if there was a God, one of them would call me up and over coffee would tell me that God told them to talk to me and that they knew I had doubts. People often ask what it would take to make someone believe. In the beginning of this deconversion, that was all it would have taken to keep me as a believer. I wasn't asking to walk on water here. I just needed one of those God-talkers to know of my struggles without me telling them. Let's also be clear that I am talkative and opinionated so it's not like I was walking around pretending to be the perfect Christian. No one ever came. In my mind, this is damning. My mother still doesn't have a clue. One of my good friends who I have known longer than my best friend (and who I was the matron of honor in her wedding) has no idea. This is the woman who reads her Bible everyday, has a daily quiet time, and her and her husband also do Bible studies together, AND they lead a Bible study at her church. And at no point did God ever tell her, "Hey, your friend is really struggling with her faith. You should talk to her."
My husband, despite a rough start, also seems to have come to terms with my atheism. It took a couple of months before I could convince him that my atheism had very little to do with my extremely conservative Evangelical upbringing. It took even longer before I could bring up topics regarding religion without him or me getting immediately defensive. I can also safely say that I am an atheist without him getting upset about it. This is the person I married and he didn't do anything to deserve this huge breakdown in my faith. He wanted to marry a good Christian girl, and all he got was a good girl. People change, I have reminded him. This affects both of us.
The biggest thing I struggle with is the idea that I can never truly live outside of the closet. I can't attend atheist events, like atheist Facebook pages, and will be forever skirting the line with believers and my family. I think these Skeptics conventions sound interesting, but I also know that it would upset my husband and although I certainly am an autonomous being, I also desire to have a good relationship with this person I have chosen to love. I also love and adore my family and would never want to damage those relationships either. If the choice is between watching my nieces and nephews grow up and going on an atheist cruise, I'm going to pick the kids every time. Yes, I do expect to have less access to my nieces and nephews should my sister-in-laws ever find out. I do sometimes think about the future, when I am old and my husband is more than likely gone. (his family doesn't live to be very old and he was a cop. I'm thinking late 70s tops) I think about how it won't matter as much when I am 80. I think about how I can date men (old men) who don't believe in a God and how we can go to these conventions together. I think about what it would be like after my parents are gone and my nieces and nephews are adults and I don't have to pretend anymore. It's not that I want my husband gone, because I love him dearly. It's that I imagine my twilight years are going to be very different than the life I live now. And by then, I don't think I am going to give a shit.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.