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Most of the women the site matched me with wouldn’t risk even a simple online chat with me.

It was the day I’d long hoped for, marrying a nice Jewish girl. In fact, by the time we’d started dating, I’d given up on Jewish women, and my dream of a perfect Jewish wedding, altogether. The intense pressure I felt to date and marry within the tribe damaged my perception of Jewish women and my ability to be myself around them.

This information was pounded in from all directions, from rabbis, from my parents, my grandparents, Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah.

This was my ulterior motive when I planned a trip up to New England.

I was planning to stay with a friend from college for a few days, but I also arranged to meet Alicia, whom I’d known online for five years by that point but had never met in person.

But even while my relationships with non-Jewish girls fizzled, I still didn’t have any other options.

Jewish girls often were interested in Jewish guys—many of these girls ended up dating and even marrying Jews; they just weren’t interested in dating high-pressure, community-survival minded, intense, and awkward me. While I was at school, I joined an online discussion forum where I began to chat with a non-Jewish girl named Alicia.

Unlike me, she hadn’t dreamed of meeting someone Jewish and having a Jewish wedding.

I was only able to relax around non-Jewish women, because I didn’t feel the same pressure; that’s how I met, and fell in love with, my wife.

My parents liked Alicia, but not the fact that she wasn’t Jewish.

My paternal grandparents were more concerned; I promised them that I would only marry a Jewish girl.

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.

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