For the first week after we broke up, I was relieved, as were my parents.I no longer had to struggle to understand someone so different from myself, or question whether or not we’d spend eternity together.Adam tried his best to meet my needs, but he couldn’t fulfill all of my expectations — there was no way he could understand the full scope of pressures exerted by a culture he wasn’t raised in.It wasn’t that our values were so different that we couldn’t talk about them deeply and agree on some guiding principles; it was the constant ache I felt for the familiar.But in the end, it felt phony, and even morally wrong, to him.I had tried, too; I tried to keep my religion the way it had been passed on to me and hold onto a person who was headed in a different direction.More than one dinner out ended with me crying at the table in frustration, so we started eating at dimly lit restaurants. It was my family, the only community I had known, my education, and my profession, but it simply wasn’t for the person I loved. Luckily, Adam’s patience was just as strong as his stubbornness, and he put up with Sunday services, my parents prophesying over him, and the celibacy that I had committed to as a 13-year-old (despite the fact that I’d lost my purity ring, oops).He tried to explain to me that maybe, just maybe, our differences had more to do with rhetoric and semantics than actual value disparities, but I couldn’t accept that. As we passed milestones in our relationship and continued to circle the major issues dividing us, other problems arose — namely, our different cultural expectations.
First, there was the aforementioned "I’m right but you just don’t see it yet" period. Our arguments about how the world worked, whether or not I’d actually witnessed "miracles," and the foundations of morality were emotionally charged.I didn’t want to believe it at the time, but I knew he was right. And yet, there was something that couldn’t keep us apart.A week after he had shed one of his rare tears kissing me that final goodbye, he stood outside the crappy Italian restaurant I was working at and asked if we could "try." And so began the most difficult journey of my life to date.I was free to retreat back into the world I knew and find solace in overly emotive worship services.But once weeks turned into months, the places I used to go to to find peace became increasingly devoid of any comfort or assurance.