We're both out 2 years now- crossroads

by LittleMac 18 Replies latest jw friends

  • LittleMac

    Hi there all,

    This is a personal post, so be warned! It'a something that I've been needing to get off my chest and at the same time may be useful to others who are just coming out. I was raised as a JW nearly my entire life, from the time I was in about first grade until just two years ago, around Christmastime when I had just turned 37. I was the oldest of six children in a very serious Witness household, true believers. I was also separated from my birth mother and her family after I was about 5 and I wouldn't see her again until 25. Due to an extremist way of viewing relationships and supported by the JW backing as well. So, I always felt a lot of underlying anger at the situation I had in life, why was I picked to walk this impossibly perfect way of life as a witness? Because during all of those adolescent years I was not allowed to do the things that my entire being wanted to do. i.e. date girls, go to parties, play competitive sports, etc.. I covered it all up most of the time with very excellent talks, good comments, and exemplary status with everyone we knew. So, this good rapport with everyone we knew put me in good stead for 'Jehovah' to provide a wife..so I married one of my sister's friends from the hall who was seven years younger than me. The first relationship for either of us and amazingly we've been able to stay married for nearly 14 years now with two young children.

    This is what leads me to post today. During our first year out together, we had so much to share and to have in common, the enemy of the organization now, birthday parties galore, going out and making friends with people. The first year out was pure fun both inside and outside our house. Going out, discovering people and learning a smidgen about how relationships and friendships work. Now, the second year has been a little more challenging, for me I've had to wrestle with real questions about who I am, what do I want in life, and so on. I felt like in many ways I'm still operating from the old playbook of being a good dad, responsible for everything in my world, fixing everything, and being the sole provider at home like I always thought was the 'way it should be'. The whole male/female dynamic is nothing like what I ever thought it was. I tried so hard to be the 'good family head' and believing that it was supposed to be like that and now learning how to be partners. Like my own father who tried to keep our family insulated against 'bad influences' that was basically the model I've been trying to follow for the first 12 years of marriage and taking care of children and now there's almost a backlash against anything 'unforward' thinking. So pretty much everything is called into question as far as rules, it seems.

    Now, we both are realizing that we are growing at two different speeds..me not so much (imo) and she developing more than I was ever comfortable or prepared for to be honest, and I am happy for her on one hand, which makes me question is it really love because if I truly love her then I'll be happy for her no matter what, but at the same time it's such a close area of my life and with each change I feel more and more apart inside from the sense of well being that I used to have. Physically, we're in the same house but we're separated and at a real crossroads in our relationship. Basically, if it is going to work it can't go back the way it was. We're both agreeable that we may not come back from it and it's almost a relief to say that to each other but in the meantime it is what it is. Which is not the comfortable life we both had for this long. But it seems easier for her to change and adapt and that's a difficult thing to be cool with for me. I'm taking some time to really find myself (if that's even possible). I just want to find a sense of peace and calm so I can get my enthusiasm back for the simple things.

    I was wondering if any people out there are or have experienced something similar, and if not it really feels good to get this out of my mind and into words.


  • 00DAD

    Greetings LittleMac!

    Congrats to you and your wife getting out together. Not too many are able to do that. I certainly wasn't.

    Still, I can relate to the challenges you have in redefining your respective roles in your relationship as you come to better understand yourself.

    One thing is certain regarding your marriage: You need to grow together or you will grow apart.

    This does NOT mean however that you both have to have the exact same interests or passions. Treating each other with kindness and respect goes a long way.

    You're not specific when you say your wife is growing at a different, faster speed than you are. But it does seem that you feel threatened by this. Perhaps it is simply these emotions that are the problem, not what she is actually doing.

    My wife (I am remarried) supports me 100% in the pursuit of my personal projects. Some of them she enjoys sharing with me, others she merely observes. She to has begun a new endeavor, volunteering in a local community service project. Usually we do almost everything together, but this is something she needs to do by herself for herself. When she first told me that I was a bit taken aback, but understanding her reasons for doing this helped me to support that.

    I hope my comments offer you some perspective and food for thought.

    It sounds like you and your wife are in for many more wonderful years filled with beautiful experiences to be shared together.


  • dazed but not confused
    dazed but not confused

    It sounds to me like you and your wife are growing apart. The glue that held you together was the religion. You probably had the same interests in the org and now you two are rediscovering each other and yourselves. Maybe you didn’t have as much in common as you once thought. Maybe I’m way off but it almost sounds like in your gut you know something is wrong and possibly want a way out?

    This is almost the opposite for me and my wife. I feel we have grown closer since I left the borg and we seem to have more in common now then ever before.

    Trust your gut. Maybe seek professional marriage counseling and see if there’s anything you two can do to grow “together” instead of apart. Good luck.

  • jgnat

    When couples marry young, they haven't worked out all they want to be yet. All of a sudden, they may find themselves married to someone with completely different values, hopes, and dreams.

    Both of you are great people and you have children together, so it pays to try and work things out. I have a couple ideas. Go to a marriage workshop for further self discovery. Date your wife and pursue her as if she were a whole new person (which in a way, she is). See if the two of you like the new you's. Adding the romance back in just makes it more appealing.

    As for who you are, I suspect there were a few good things that came out of the order and structure that you were raised in. It is good to question all but I suspect who you become will be a mix of old values and new.

  • dazed but not confused
    dazed but not confused

    You need to grow together or you will grow apart.

    Great point 00Dad. You need to do this if you want happieness in your marriage.

  • dazed but not confused
    dazed but not confused

    and if not it really feels good to get this out of my mind and into words.

    I do something similar as this. From time to time I will write or type out what I'm feeling and then save it and read it a few times over a few days or weeks and then delete it or throw it away once I feel good about it. Sometimes its good to just VENT.

  • LittleMac

    Thank you 00Dad, Dazed, and jgnat!

    Some good advice jgnat and hearing your experiences guys is encouraging. (see? all those phrases stick around, haha.)

    Yeah, it's difficult right now. Of the entire family- 8 people, amazingly all came out within a year of each other..ours is only 1 of 2 marriages still


    So..it's been a tidal wave of change within our personal arena.

  • ruderedhead

    May I add my 2 cents in here? You have been given some great advice here by oodad, jgnat and dazed. Would your wife consider going to marriage counseling with you? It sounds like you have love and respect for each other, but need some help in figuring out where to go from here. Your whole world view had changed, the structure you were used to your whole lives is no longer there, you have choices you never had before. The honeymoon phase of leaving is over. Perhaps a professional can help you figure out what you both want/need. Just check them out first, cause not every counselor is right for every couple. I hope you will consider this since you have children. All the best to you and your wife, and congratulations on getting out together!

  • OnTheWayOut

    Its a standard answer to suggest marriage counseling but certainly a great suggestion nonetheless. Before you throw away what you have built up, it sounds like you are both willing to do all you can to save it.

  • clarity

    Hi Mac, nice to see you posting again ... you sound

    like a good guy!


    "Of the entire family- 8 people, amazingly all came out within a year of each other..ours is only 1 of 2 marriages still together.

    So..it's been a tidal wave of change within our personal arena."


    Is it only me ... or does this sound like an over reaction?

    Could you both be influenced a bit by this?

    Think carefully here ... good marriages don't grow on trees

    you know.


    The effort it takes to "fix" this with your wife & kids is

    no where near... the upheaval & avalanche of trouble

    that it will take to find another "better" relationship!


    Walk wisely my friend.


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