One, big, complicated mess – - I just need a little advice/guidance/support

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This topic has 3 voices, contains 4 replies, and was last updated by  symptom 1675 days ago.

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December 26, 2009 at 2:20 am #4143

K M

Hi all,

So – for the last six years my best friend and business partner and I have formed a very, very close bond. Six months ago I realized it was too close and brought this to his attention. Prior to telling him, though, I went through a lot of soul searching. He identifies as an Orthodox Jew but is not that observant – enough that it seems hardcore to gentiles, but not enough for the Orthodox community to accept him as one of their own.

Anyway, long story short, I told him that we were too fully emotionally invested in each other to be in successful relationships with other people so I was going to dissolve my partnership with him and move away, leaving him free of me to find his true path. I respect his parents and the community very much. I myself am “Jewish” but not along the matrilineal line.

He wouldn’t let me and again, long story short, we’re dating now. I’ve been his “Jewish community” for so long, but about a month in, a chabad rabbi moved to town. That suddenly put a lot more pressure on me as he lied to him about our relationship, yet I am now a regular invitee to shabbos dinner and friends with the rebbetzin.

The only right thing to do to me, it seems, is to convert, so without him knowing, I enrolled in Judaism lessons taught by a Haredi rebbetzin online. It’s a fairly intense course. When he found out about it, he was actually upset. Is worried he is not Jewish enough for me. As in – if I convert, I will need to be far more observant than he currently is and he doesn’t want to change.

Despite my intentions to convert – and not just for him, but to fully be a Jew, because I am tired of people telling me I am not – he still has not told his parents nor the rabbi about us. We have reached a breaking point and he’s decided our relationship is good enough that he will. But  .  . .

I don’t know how that’s going to solve the above problem. At this point I don’t know how I can follow every rabbinical ruling on mitzvahs as interpreted by the Orthodox movement, he doesn’t intend to identify as conservative or Reform anytime soon (and in the Reform movement, I’d be considered Jewish), and so now I don’t know what I want to do. It feels like converting could screw our relationship up as much as not converting.

And I really, truly, understand why interfaith dating/marriage is a bad thing. I believe its reasons and have defended his faith for years before we were dating – it’s what kept us platonic for so long, I think. It wasn’t until I began to observe Shabbot and kept kosher that I really bonded with him and was open to a deeper relationship.

My Catholic mother is busy trying to win me back to the church (which I left ten years ago), I can barely take the lies and the weird limbo I’m in right now where people accept me as a Jew, knowing full well I am not, and also hiding the fact I’m in the middle of converting.

I keep thinking that once this stuff is figured out, cool. Short term problem, long term happiness. But I have no one to talk to who is going through this so I was hoping I might hear from some sages out there.

Thank you for your time.

December 27, 2009 at 12:42 am #4144

Ruth Abrams

I put your question on our front page and I’ve learned that when I do that, people often come to look at the discussion thread without commenting. I don’t want you to feel unsupported, so I’m going to leave a comment, even though I’m not speaking “ex cathedra” (so to speak!) It also happens that I’m revising a piece of writing this evening that’s about this question. I can’t believe it came up on the discussion board, right now!

I can’t advise you–not really. I can only offer the basic principle that conversion, like marriage, has to meet the standards of the community you want to join. It’s also something you would be doing for yourself, not for your partner.  Anyway, I’m offering those mental vibes one can send through the internet for you to feel confident in your decisions, and I’m hoping that other readers here will have stronger, been-there-done-that advice.

December 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm #4145

guest

I suggest to make an appointment with the rabbi and discuss the whole thing with him face to face. Having had lots of experience with Chabad rabbi’s, I can assure you that most of them are non judgemental and genuinely happy to help wherever they can.

Yes, your boyfriend may have to eventually increase his level of observance, but hopefully, with the rabbi’s help and guidance, he will do so because he wants to, not because he has to.

December 28, 2009 at 7:25 am #4148

K M
guest wrote:
I suggest to make an appointment with the rabbi and discuss the whole thing with him face to face. Having had lots of experience with Chabad rabbi’s, I can assure you that most of them are non judgemental and genuinely happy to help wherever they can.

I am waiting for my boyfriend to come out to the rabbi about us. We’ve befriended he and his wife and go to shabbot every week with them. I stopped going when he outright lied to someone about us just being friends as I couldn’t handle it. I will. I hope he has something helpful for both of us. Thank you.

guest wrote:
Yes, your boyfriend may have to eventually increase his level of observance, but hopefully, with the rabbi’s help and guidance, he will do so because he wants to, not because he has to.

Exactly. It’s like I can’t fully commit for myself knowing that at the same time, the commitment could destroy us if he doesn’t do the same. I just know that he’s my bashert – I’ve believed in it since one of my best girl friends told me of the concept and I want to do what’s right. Leaving him wasn’t right, but limbo isn’t either.

Thanks so much for your attention so far, both of you.

December 30, 2009 at 8:10 am #4164

symptom

Don’t worry about anything. Life knows its way. Do what ever comes to your heart, learn to be free person.

Happy new year!

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