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As a child, I grew up in Conservative congregations in Georgia, New Jersey, and Minnesota, was educated in Jewish day schools from kindergarten through fifth grade, and spent most of my childhood summers at Jewish summer camps.
As an adult I have written for Jewish newspapers and teach in a synagogue. She would usually say that she was “not an atheist” or that she was a non-practicing Methodist.
It felt wrong for me to pressure her, yet at the same time I knew that if she didn’t convert, the relationship would almost certainly have to end at some point.
I was eager to find a wife, but I couldn’t have children that wouldn’t be Jewish. So, even though I wanted it and believed it could work, marriage was off the table so long as Alicia was still a gentile.
But as I fell in love with her, she fell in love with me—and with my Judaism as well.
In high school, this decision proved to be mostly moot. I tried not to follow up on them at first, but I was frustrated and lonely and had finite willpower.
After one date, though, I would beat myself up mentally for breaking my rule, and I’d avoid making second dates.
I went to a Christmas at her family’s house and it felt less ritualistic than family’s Christmas Eve Chinese-food-and-a-movie tradition.
Even as our relationship became more serious, I did not want to push her to convert, yet I kept hoping she would become interested in the religion on her own.