My dad asked me once if I was gay, because all of my friends got married pretty much right out of high school. I wasn't dating anyone in the congregation, or even thinking of looking at any of the guys there. I was 19 at that time. Talk about pushy!
Thoughts on NOT dating
Nothing wrong with not dating. But if you do, I think it takes a good while to get to really know a person, and I think you have to live with someone for well over a year much longer, really, before you truly know them. Everyone wants to put their best foot forward in the dating process, they don't let their guard down until much later.
Good read: "Are you the one for me?" Barbara D'Angelo (I'm pretty sure thats how to spell it. She talks about how much more we research a car buy or a piece of furniture, than someone we plan on spending the rest of our life with. There are red flags you should watch out for. She recommends making a list of things that are "have to haves" and things that are good but less important, the things you can compromise on. If you and your potential love disagree on things in your "have to have" list those would be a red flag that no matter how much you are attracted them, you really are not going to suit. Its important to not leave the whole matter up to your hormones.
I was basically set back by about a decade.
Amen, Midget-Sasquatch. Me too. I have no idea how to date and I can't read a lot of the cues normal people give when they're interested.
Although exposed to JW teachings by my mother as a child, I sowed my wild oats and converted in my young 20's.
My wife became a JW before she was a teen. So one of us had experience with teen dating, fooling around, sex. The other did not. We married when she was 20ish. She was very naive about so much. It's hard to say that teens should be teens, but it seems that responsible parenting would include loosening control as teens get old enough to handle dating and being alone with other teens.
WTS rules and common expectations totally warp things. JW's get married young to have sex, to have adult lives, to get out of pioneering while living at home. We cannot simply discuss one aspect of JW teens not dating until ready for marriage without discussing the other problems that make the JW way so difficult on teens/young adults. But the main thing seems to be that restrictions lead to young marriages which leads to higher divorce rates and greater chances of incompatibility and misery.
And some of the JW customs are ridiculous. Date only with chaperones or meet in public places. If you are seen sitting together at the hall, all the JW's expect that you are engaged already, some still object. My wife and I didn't even kiss before the wedding, but people questioned our conduct together (without merit to their questioning).
The short engagement thing is just mainly because of the NO SEX thing. If outsiders were having sex before marriage, they can take their time about being sure they want to marry each other. But the NO SEX thing is still common among any very religious groups.
I have a question about this NOT dating.
What if someone who is not a JW, divorced, and in his/her 40s decides to become a JW and gets baptized. Do the same dating rules apply to him/her. . .chaperone and all??
Praying4justice...Yes, same rules still apply. Chaperone ALL the time. Even when driving in a car from the KH to field service, or if say your fiance was to pick you up from your home to take you to the KH, then a chaperone would have to tag along too. Age is no barrier.
I too was once asked if I was gay. I was only 17! I was considered 'odd' because I hadnt had a boyfriend.
Praying, the chaperone rule applies not just to people who date, but to any people of the opposite sex at any age. Let's say only two people show up for field service: a sister in her 60s and a brother in his 20s. They cannot go in the ministry together because a man and a woman cannot be alone.
P4J, the "rules" are not enforceable. They are really just suggestions, strong ones but just suggestions.
For teens, parents and elders can make it feel like they are unquestionable rules. Many JW's who are adults on their own do not abibe by the "rules" on dating. Many do go out without a chaperone and do just fine. WTS tries to convince members that they cannot trust their own hearts, but typically the fear of everlasting destruction keeps adults from violating the NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE rule.
Thanks wantstoleave, bluecanary & OnTheWayOut.
I thought that might be the answer. Now what about those darn elders who think they're it. If you know what I mean. What about phone calls. Is it OK for elders to make calls to young girls during the day and night? Is it not appropriate for women to fellowship with women, instead of elders to women?
I mostly grew up in the faith and since there were and I'm sure still are about 7 sisters to 1 brother, sisters were fawning over these brothers. By nature I'm not like that and wouldn't resort to such behaviour. I still don't. I never dated a witness. I went out with a couple of "worldly guys" on the sly, but wouldn't sleep with them. Was quite happy to try a couple of other things though.
I had a lot of guy friends in the faith though and I'm sure much was whispered about my easiness around them.