Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I excuse myself from saying grace without offending my boyfriend?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I excuse myself from saying grace without offending my boyfriend?

(Image: dickuhne)
(Image: dickuhne) 

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I started dating a wonderful man who is Christian. I’m agnostic, but I respect his faith and understand that it brings him comfort. The only thing that bothers me is that he likes to say grace in restaurants. Every time he closes his eyes, puts his head down and takes my hand, I want to crawl under the table. I’m thankful to the chefs, not our heavenly father, for preparing the food we are about to receive. How can I get out of this ritual without offending him?
—Unholy Communion, HIGH PARK

You have to give your new beau credit for having the courage of his convictions. A less committed person would nix the public prayer for the sake of conformity. And if he’s that devout, this is likely one of several rituals he’ll introduce you to (say goodbye to Sunday sleep-ins). It’s perfectly reasonable to opt out of the practices that make you squirm, especially when the relationship is fledgling. Explain your feelings, but focus less on your embarrassment and more on your sense of fakery when you pray: your spiritual doubts are as valid as his beliefs. Let him know that when the two of you go out for dinner, you like to keep things secular. If he’s as wonderful as you say, he’ll understand. If not, it’s best you part ways now, before you end up married and arguing over whether or not to send your kids to Bible camp.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com