My life changing dilemma

by teel 24 Replies latest jw experiences

  • teel

    Hello all, although this is not my first post here, this topic was the main reason I joined here, so I can get different views on this. My native language is not english, so I might make a blunder or two. Please bear with me, my story will be long.

    As you can guess, I am a JW, and currently still am one, this is my 10th year. It all started with me meeting a very nice open minded girl, who was a JW. Yes, indeed she was open minded - back then. Seeing her model and seeing truth in their teachings, I was overjoyed to find out the Truth, and a beautiful wife at the same time. Well, as time went on, ugly things started to rear their heads. It started with a distinct feel that something is not quite right, but I couldn't put my finger on it, all went smoothly and logically. Then I started to realize, that this religion was no ordinary church, that they have about all control over just about everything I do. This has started to eat me in time, and planted heavy doubts. My wife on the other hand went in the completely opposite direction: from being an open minded God believing person, she started to tighten her grip with the organisation, and following strictly every word of it. Now as you can imagine this started to put a huge strain on our marriage. You have to understand, that I was never really open about my doubts, because I knew that she would just run to the elders and confess - which happened anyway a couple of times. So the strain wasn't directly because of the contrast in beliefs - no, the strain built up inside me, and I began to loose more and more control over myself, lashing out at her for almost no reason. She truly did her part too, now reading some documentations about JWs and mental illness I realize she has all the simptoms of the strain herself too, but she deals with it as the WT tells her to deal: by doing even more service.

    So all this lead to the inevitable end, she started having true physical disease symptoms that no doctors could identify (I read about this being common for JWs too). So little by little she came to the conclusion, that our fights (verbal fights, mind you) were the cause of her extreme tension, which causes physical illness. It might have something to do with it, but clearly that's not the whole picture. So after "careful" review of the WT materials she came to the conclusion that she has the right to leave me, because the Bible allows one to leave the spouse (without remarrying) in case of extreme threat to her health. The elders were clearly against this notion, the committee found me not guilty of domestic violence, yet arguing they can't see what's inside her mind, they couldn't rule out her choice as being against the Scriptures. So all they did was mark her privately, she couldn't have any specific privileges, so as not to show her as a role model. However noone except the elders and us knows about this restriction (which I believe was lifted since then). With me finding myself suddenly alone, I started to gain the courage to do what was inside my heart, but was forbidden: really put the WT to test. I stopped going to the meetings and preaching, and started little by little to read outside information.

    This happened more than half a year ago. Now she claims to have recovered from her physical illness, and want to try again with me. I questioned her motives, and she says it's not only because Jehovah wants her to do this, but she would really like that things go right with us. I talked to her about just a couple of things I learned that have ample official documentation, like the WT-UN association and that things were actually much worse a couple of hundred years ago. She seems nice, joins the conversation and all. I ask her if I get disfellowshipped, how will she react to me. She says it will be hard, but she will still be my friend, but she won't talk a lot about spiritual things. All in all it seems almost like her former open minded self.

    This until today - I received an email from her saying that she can only accept such sort of discussion once in a month, and that is assuming we talk positively about the society for the rest of the month, and from now on she will categorically stop any discussions of this sort. I really don't understand her, it seems to me deep in her heart she wants to be with me, but her faith in the Society won't let us have a normal relation. My dilemma is, that I want to be with her too, just not this zombie, but the open person I once met. I do not truly care of her beliefs, I am not offended by them, but the lack of open communication is what bothers me. To tell you the truth, I'm kind of afraid of being alone - not in the sense of living alone, but getting old without anyone there beside you. You have to understand that we live in a fairly small town, and when I joined JW I practically cut all other connections - I have absolutely no friends, even aquaintances only a few. I am not getting younger, and the hope for me getting remarried are as slim as WT admitting they were wrong in something.

  • Satanus

    'This until today - I received an email from her saying that she can only accept such sort of discussion once in a month, and that is assuming we talk positively about the society for the rest of the month, and from now on she will categorically stop any discussions of this sort. I really don't understand her, it seems to me deep in her heart she wants to be with me, but her faith in the Society won't let us have a normal relation.'

    She probably got advice from the elders. Thing is, as long as she stays jw, wt doctrines will take precedence over her natural feelings, at least some of the time. The elders are always happy to wiegh in on what she should do and how she should treat someone who is close but yet a 'spiritual danger'.


  • WingCommander


    I think what you need to realize at this point is that your wife is not really married to YOU, she is married to the Organization, and that is her #1 priority, everything else is a distant second place. I can really feel the hurt and lose in your post, but she is so far in and unwilling to even discuss your doubts that there doesn't seem like much hope of getting her out of the Cult. Do you see now why so many people refer to it as that? Your observations about them controlling EVERY aspect of your life are spot on. Take for instance conventions......imagine, telling grown adults which hotels they must stay at, what they can or cannot bring into the venue, how they must dress AFTER the convention in full business attire and with those stupid name tags that make you look like some kind of mentally challanged person......incredible!!

    I know you are in alot of pain, but I think if I were you I'd cut my loses now and walk away. She is trying to manipulate and control you with her tactics which is unhealthy for you.


    - Wing Commander

  • teel

    Thanks for your responses. Yes, I realized a while ago, that the Organization takes far precedence over me - heck, that was even stressed in the wedding talk! So I'm mostly fine by being second place, yet the "distant" part bothers me (as you put it right Wing Commander). I want us to have at least something close to a functional family. I see her manipulation, yet she claims almost every time we meet that it is me who's trying to manipulate her and change her beliefs. Satanus, you might be right about her talking to elders, we talked on Saturday, there was a meeting on Sunday, and she wrote her email on Monday evening (I just read it today). She says she only realized what I meant after leaving - which smells like a bit of outside help to me too.

    I am in true pain here, it hurts me so much to see the loveable person just die in front of your eyes, to be replaced by a mind controlled zombie. And somehow day by day I feel like I could live with her even so, that maybe there's a way, not to change her, just be with her and enjoy the other aspects of life together.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    Hi Teel. Welcome to the forum.

    My wife is in and I am out. It has been that way for a long time now. It isn't easy, but it can be done.

    We do love each other, and we try not to mention the elephant in the room, but it still happens now and again. Mostly when JW family stir things up

    I have given up telling JWs anything. they don't listen anyway.

    I only ever ask questions. Very few questions. Usually only one. I do not let them ask me a question on another subject until they have answered my question. I make sure that my question is one that they can't, or don't like to, answer so they don't get to ask me a question.

    Sorry I don't have better answers.


  • teel

    Hey Chris, thanks, actually your answer was very good, it gave me hope. It reminds me of the Beatles song: "Love is all you need". I think I sort of want what you have. Consider yourself envied Yet I'm the sort of person who likes to talk of such things, and my mate should be the first choice to talk to.

    Tell me Chris - do you have kids? If yes, how do you raise them? I definately want to have kids, she says she wants to wait until after Armageddon, but she doesn't rule the possibility out.

  • Satanus

    I can imagine the pain in seeing someone you love changing from being herself into a slave for the wt org. This is very similar to a mate who is alchaholic or drug addicted. Those addicts will be fine, beautiful people while they are clean. Then, they litterally change into another person who will sacrifice or use those who love them in order to get their drug. The drug comes before the person being used. In this case, the drug is the religion. This will not end, as long as she is in that religion. Getting her out is also very difficult, like trying to cure a drug addict, who doesn't want to be cured.


  • undercover

    So she wants to try again...but with conditions...her conditions.

    You're only allowed to discuss your spiritual opinion once a month, yet the rest of the month it has to be "positive" toward the organization.

    You want to be with her, but not the JW version.

    The truth is, you can't go back to the way it was. As long as she remains a zealous JW and you're not going back, your relationship will always be strained.

    Mixed JW marriages can work, but only when both sides give. From what you're saying, she's not willing to'll have to do all the giving. And going by your description of how you reacted upon learning the real truth about the organization, you will not fare well under such an oppressive relationship.

    My blunt, non-expert advice is this:

    Forget her and move on. Yea, it's tough, you love her but she loves being a JW. Yea, you're gonna hurt for awhile, but the quicker you decide to live your life and move on, the quicker you'll get over it and find happiness on your terms. You'll never be happy on her JW terms.

    Think of it this way...would you be so willing to take her back, if she were in love with another man and didn't want to give him up? Same thing, different lover.

    If necessary, get counseling. Your defeatist attitude of never ever finding anyone else is not healthy. You need to get over the negativity or you will be lonely.

    I'm sorry if I seem harsh, but I'm not in a mollycoddling mood today...

    BTW...welcome to the board.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    I made a mistake with my kids. Although I had drifted out without getting baptised, I was still influenced by my upbringing in the cult and let my wife bring them up with all of the psychological damage that goes with that.

    If you have children you have to teach them how to think. Don't teach them what to think, or let your wife teach them what to think.

    Buy this book and you and your wife read it together before you consider having children.



  • OnTheWayOut

    Love conquers all things. Heck, I don't even buy into the Bible anymore, but I think I understand why it says that about love.
    Free advice here is worth what you are paying for it. While the advice to cut your losses and move on is genuine and sound, it might not be appropriate to you because you love her. I noticed your reply: "I want us to have at least something close to a functional family."

    So, it is your call. Just as the elders are not supposed to make the call for you, we should not either.
    You are living without her, you can start to make friends and/or you can try to repair old friendships. You are not obligated to take her back under her extreme conditions. If you want to walk away, it's your call and nobody should fault you for doing that. The JW's will fault you, but you will learn that they should have no control over your life.

    I am happily married to a JW and we work it out. I will be a voice on the other side, the "if you want to stay with her" side. You need to encourage her to go with you to a counselor. A neutral counselor that is not a JW. You all need to work out your issues and separate them from this religion. If the religion is the only issue, then you need to be able to put it aside at home and make it an off-limits topic. That doesn't mean you can never share things with her that are about personal growth, but it would mean you cannot attack the religion and she cannot attack the anti-JW part of your life.

    If you really want to make a go at it, that's my advice. I would say that only because you are already out of the house, the counseling is an absolute. My wife won't go to counseling with me, but we have stayed together and worked on finding neutral ground. I tolerate her refusal to go to marriage counseling as long as she agrees to work things out with me and we put the religious differences aside. Once in awhile, it rears it's ugly head, but we manage for the most part to respect each other's beliefs.

    Even though I "respect her beliefs" to her face, I know she is manipulated. The best thing for me was an education on what that is and why that is. The most beneficial books I read were Steve Hassan's two books, COMBATTING CULT MIND CONTROL and RELEASING THE BONDS. You can find them at or perhaps at your library. (Small town, so maybe not.) Also, I tell people my thoughts on tough relationships when one mate refuses to go to counseling. If you move back together and she stops counseling (or you never make her go) then you still go. You can see how better to deal with things that way.

    If you all cannot afford counseling (really- even once a month is worth the strain on a budget) and you still want to work it out, start with those books and try some of these other books that might help:

    Other books by John Gottman can be found through that link.

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