My first love was tall, dark and handsome. Smart, funny in a devilishly sarcastic way and treated me like a princess. I was head over heels in love, and though I wasn't even done with my first year of college I found myself getting excited to meet his family (they lived on the other side of the country) and even planning our wedding secretly in my head.
After two years of dating, I still hadn't met any of his family (or even heard him talk about me to them) or many of his friends. I knew he was Jewish, and was very active in the Jewish Community Center in our area and often attended events...yet he never invited me, which I thought was weird, but I loved him so much I didn't care. I wondered if he was ashamed of me, since he seemed to have an entire separate life that I clearly wasn't apart of.
He seemed oddly conflicted, half of him totally in love with me, while the other half was always pushing me away, never letting me in completely. One night, after dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, we stood in the parking lot, each leaning up against our cars, ready to go our separate ways-I thought it was just for the night, but we ended up having the talk. You know, the talk.
He broke up with me. He was Jewish, his faith was of the utmost importance to him, and his friends and family would never be able to accept that he was dating a Christian girl. I was his closet case, and he didn't want to hide anymore. He didn't want me to convert, he didn't want to explore all the possibilities together with me, it was over. He loved me, but I wasn't Jewish-it was that easy, and that hard. And as much as I loved him, I respected him. He deserved someone who shared his passion for this religion and culture, who could connect with him on a level that I simply couldn't. As much as I realized that on a very rational level and wanted what was best for him, my heart was still shattered.
These feelings were brought back to the surface after a new study and infographic on interfaith dating by We Love Dates Christian Dating revealed that Jewish singles are the most likely to marry outside of their faith, among other revealing facts about dating outside of your religion. This had to make me wonder if things would have been different had we decided to try to make it work.
Although breaking up was hard to do, I know for us it was the right choice. However, there are plenty of couples who are able to cross religious barriers and find common ground. There is definitely not a "one size fits all" answer to interfaith dating.
Have you ever dated someone outside of your faith? Would you date someone of another religion?