I have been in a relationship with a non-Jewish woman for eight years. I have always been up front about not wanting to marry her, but we can’t seem to break up, either. We lived together until two years ago and ended up being friends, then friends with benefits, then back to couplehood again, although I would never give up my own place (she’s a slob.) I don’t even know if I want to get married at all, to anyone, ever, but I don’t feel comfortable bringing her to family gatherings and including her in the Jewish part of my life, which isn’t even very much. I do love her, what do I do?
On The Fence, Scottsdale, AZ
Yo, On The Fence!: Tell me, it must be the sex. You don’t want to marry her or live with her, you just want to shtup her, right? Why she puts up with you I have no idea-must be the sex.
Generally, the sex starts to get old between people after a while and one or both parts of the couple want to move the relationship to a higher level (which includes even more intimate activities than sex, like flossing together and arguing about whose turn it is to empty the litter box.) If both people aren’t on the same side of this fence, so to speak, then the relationship ends and the two peacefully go their separate ways towards relationships that fulfill their needs. (Oh please. Ask for an example of a heartbreakless break-up and I’ll show you a couple of dividing plant cells.)
Is she even interested in meeting your family and participating in Jewish life? Maybe she enjoys having a monogamous-yet-non-committal, neurotic boyfriend that her parents wouldn’t approve of because she’s working out issues. Maybe she doesn’t want to marry you either. If neither of you wants to get married and have a family but want a little nookie in your life, what’s the problem? Sounds like an excellent situation to a lot of people, but you’re clearly tortured by it.
But if she still wants further into your life after eight years, it’s time to let her in or let her go, buddy. Like, now.
In any case, it sounds like your own disengagement with Judaism is causing you distress. Dating a gentile girl doesn’t make you any less Jewish, it’s you who determines how involved in Jewish life you want to be. Go to temple, keep Shabbat, revive your Hebrew education, learn about who you are. As you “get right with G-d” (to quote Lucinda Williams), this relationship will likely take care of itself.