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Broke up with my non-Jewish girlfriend. Having a rough time.

I’m officially just two weeks out from breaking up with my non-jewish girlfriend and I just feel awful. I’ll try to keep this as brief as I can.

I want to start this with some much needed context. I’m currently a 21 year old college student and this was my first relationship ever. I was moved from day school to public after 9th grade and ever since then have been a bit off the derech. I was raised orthodox so I truly never became that un-observant, but I definitely didn’t upkeep my observance level the way I did in day school. Eventually I made my way to college where I am now, and after skipping over my gap-year in Israel because of covid complications and doing 1.5 years of online community college I ended up at a very Jewish populated university. But I was very very lonely when I first got here. Instead of living with the Jews and being in the community here, I was in the dorms for my first semester and felt completely isolated and distant from a community that used to feel so warm and familiar to me. I turned to dating apps to fill the void a bit and ended up finding my now ex girlfriend which gave me a very bright light in a very dark time for me.

We were together for just about a year and the entire time I got continuous pushback from both my family and friends. I tried my best to make both worlds work and being away at school made it easy to disassociate and burn the candle at both ends. Unfortunately, I recently suffered an injury that forced me to come home for a few weeks, and in that time had a very real discussion with my family (for the first time that didn’t result from insults or disapproval) about my ex and the reality of our relationship at the time. To make a long story short, beyond being non-jewish she has a complicated family situation, and within that I was shed some advice on where things could go.

I put my personal values far aside in the relationship in trying to make it work, and due to the pushback and feeling of isolation from the Jewish community I felt validated in focusing on this girl and ignoring her religious status. I thought I could “teach” her the things I liked about Judaism and coax her into the tribe. I realize now that the fact I needed someone to change that much for a relationship is a red flag in of itself, but nevertheless we were just hopeful college kids in a very lustful relationship. And to tell the truth, she is an amazing person and I really truly love her.

With all that said, in the year we were together there was very minimal effort from her concerning judaism. I bought her books, a transliterated siddur, some jewelry, discussed many topics from many perspectives, tried very hard to offer resources beyond myself, but nothing ever really clicked on that journey for her. While my emotional state was not good from the injury I faced and the confrontation from family about ending my relationship I had a moment of giving in and pulling myself out to consider what I was getting myself into. I have a lot of unhealed wounds in my past and current state, and the comfort of the relationship combined with the fact that she was just a loving girl really messed with my mind when trying to consider ending the relationship on “life situation” terms. I kept trying to convince myself that something could somehow work out, but I made my choice and met up and went through what was undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life so far.

There’s a lot left to be said here but I’m trying to keep it as short as I can. In essence, I know I made the right choice. Despite my current religious journey, I love Judaism and the values embedded within its practice. I want someone I can grow with in my spiritual journey and who I can raise a Jewish family with. And as infatuated and in love as I was with this girl, I don’t think that can happen. But it’s been so hard lately, staying up all night and just pondering on the what ifs and whether or not I made the right choice. I have moments where I know I did the right thing but others where I feel empty. The best way to say it is what I’ve been telling others: “logically it makes sense but emotionally it’s been really hard.” I just want some words of wisdom, I don’t know if I’m looking for validation in my choice or just words of comfort. But I’m hurting, and while I know in the long run I made the right choice it’s very tough to be where I’m currently at.

Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this.

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