JW's relationship problems?

by Matty 21 Replies latest social relationships

  • Darkhorse

    Hello Mattie. I am a worldly person who has became friends with a JW woman (I am a woman also). I do not know her status. We have become friends over the past three years; it has taken a while because she seems to have some of the socializing issues I have read in your posts and those of others. My friend confides in me with her personal problems (not the religion yet). If she ever starts to discuss the religion, I would be glad to listen to her. Friendships can take time.


  • Matty

    Hey, I'm back! Thanks to everyone who's posted, I've got a lot to think about now!

    Hi darkhorse, your friend might possibly be having problems with her faith, but its likely she doesn't want to give a bad impression of her religion, so if she's anything like me she probably won't want to talk about it. You kinda get used to bottling things up in a witness family. I only talk about my family's faith to one friend at work at the moment, but I always feel really guilty afterward if I say anything negative about JWs.

    Yes, I am Mr emotional baggage - and I imagine it must show. Do you think guys have it more difficult? Women talk over things with each other, whereas if I started talking about my life as it is to another man, the very least he might think is that I was very peculiar! Us guys only talk about soccer and beer!

    Anyway, inexperience and naivety might be thought of as cute in a girl, but it's not particularly impressive in a guy is it? Is that a bit of a generalisation? Am I just searching for excuses for all my disappointments and just blaming my strict JW family upbringing for everything? I tend to blame all my hang-ups on it, but maybe I would be like this anyway even if I wasn't brought up "in the truth".

    One things for sure - I don't want my family blaming anyone other than myself to for the decision I have already made but not expressed, but sometimes I think that I'm just looking for some wonderful soulmate that will give me a reason to get out, and stop myself from sitting on the fence, because I'm too much of a coward to do it on my own.

  • peaceloveharmony


    sometimes I think that I'm just looking for some wonderful soulmate that will give me a reason to get out, and stop myself from sitting on the fence, because I'm too much of a coward to do it on my own.

    you already have enough reason to get out. your freedom! your life! i know it's scary but you have to do it for yourself. you sound like you already know in your heart what needs to be done. now i'm not suggesting DA'ing yourself immediately due to family and friends still in but the slow fade has worked for many people here. maybe take a class on a meeting night that you'd always wanted to...

    i'm enjoying all the comments on this thread. most xjws have to learn or fine tune social skills after leaving because as jws we never had the opportunity to practice them when we were suppose to be learning all this stuff, like in school!

    i left the jws because i wanted to make my own choices, walk my own path and even though it's hard at times i'm sure glad i did it and wouldn't change a thing. i control my life now and it's a wonderful feeling (once the oh my god, what am i doing?? goes away hehe)



  • peaceloveharmony

    i want to add about emotional baggage, don't worry so much about that, fairly common in "the world" too :)

    and connielynn, your saying "i had led a sheltered life" is a good way to break the ice about jw stuff. even saying, my parents are fundemental christians/i was raised in a fundamental house would work. most people know what that means :)

  • Billygoat


    most xjws have to learn or fine tune social skills after leaving because as jws we never had the opportunity to practice them when we were suppose to be learning all this stuff, like in school!
    I think that is right on target hon!!!

    Also, my experience has been much more like yours. Most of my friends are wonderful when it comes to listening to my past. They are typically very sensitive and curious about the JW beliefs. But I tell them I want to educate them in order for them to protect themselves and loved ones from JW brainwashing. More often than not, they want that knowledge. Maybe you and I are just extra lucky!


    If you are feeling socially and emotionally retarded, then you're in good company. Most of us exJW are "retarded" in some areas of our lives because we never had the opportunity to learn those skills. And keep in mind, they are skills! They can be learned, honed, fine-tuned. Plant yourself around some good friends and let them know you realize this about yourself and want their help. IF they are friends, they will see to it that you get educated. More often than not, they want to help people, but don't know how. Make it easier on them and tell them what you want to learn.

    We all have baggage hon. Don't feel strange in that area. Some people have trunks and trunks of baggage. Others have a little carry-on. I'm working on repacking some of my stuff into smaller containers. It's work, but not something unattainable. Just stay on this board and learn, learn, learn. Read, read, read. Be patient - if you spent years in the Borg, just realize this stuff doesn't get fixed overnight or even over a period of months.

    Just my thoughts,

  • seven006


    I think Larc and Harmony both have valid points coming from different perspectives but I think it all depends on who you are talking to and where their head is. When I left I developed a group of new friends. Some found the JW subject fascinating and others did not. Those who did helped me in a direction that took me deep in to philosophy, psychology and finally into the depts of religious history and myth.

    As far as discussing these subjects with someone you are interest in on a romantic basis that again all depends on the person and where their head is. Trust me when I say everyone has baggage. Some have it in large trunks and others a simple carry on bag. Depending on how interested the other person is in you and the level of their interest in such subjects will give you some kind of guide on how to approach the subject and how much to reveal and discuss.

    After I left the religion I basically turned into a man whore and dated women who not only didn't want to discuss anything deep but couldn't even spell the word deep. Once I got the Barbie dolls out of my system (three four years top) I started to look for someone who I could have deep conversations with. I found that those with the heaviest bags talked about the heaviest subjects. After a few years of beating my head against the wall I figured out that I needed to find a balance between the two.

    So far I have not found a Barbie doll with a poster of Einstein over her bed. I really do not believe such a creature exists. I think you will find with each person you date you will learn about life, women, relationships, sex, how crazy everyone's mother is, and yourself. The very first Barbie doll I ever dated is still a very good friend of mine after 16 years (she cuts my hair and makes me laugh). All the Einstein's are long gone.

    Don't worry about someone not accepting you for who you are or who you "have been". Finding someone who can accept the whole package is the key. That is not easy. I have quit trying and am quite content not worrying about it. You are fresh out, you have a lot of mistakes to make and lessons to learn. It's all a part of the journey. Take it one day at a time and try not to get too frustrated.

    One day you will look back at it all and just laugh at yourself.

    Take care,


  • Matty

    Harmony, I'm at the early stages of a slow fade. I've got to the stage where I'm refusing invites to JW social occasions. I figure that it’s not good for me to be too close to the brothers and sisters now. I don't want to be missed that much. I'm basically doing in the congregation what I'm told to do in the world! This makes me feel sad because I haven't substituted that socialising elsewhere yet.

    My family moved to a different congregation a while back, and this was my opportunity to withdraw a little. I think my old congregation where I had lots of “privileges” would be surprised at how I’ve gone into my shell. I don’t “reach out” particularly now, and so I would be surprised if I was considered for appointment. But at the end of the day, I do what I’m told to do, and am a regular publisher, and I’m still on the School, nobody has noticed that much except that they might think I’m not as zealous as I one was – well, nobody has said anything anyway. The "oh my god, what am I doing??" thoughts are a constant feature – do they ever go away (?) – I was hoping that they would before I make the big break! Taking a class on a meeting night sounds like a good idea – that would get me meeting new people and will give me an excuse to miss a midweek meeting!

    I hope I will laugh about this one day Dave – when you take a step back, it just seems so silly – but I’m glad there’s some people around like you that know what I’m going through!

  • MegaDude


    your post really struck a chord here.

    I came out of the JWs and moved away to a different city to get away from my JW environment. When I started my job, I felt I was bursting to tell SOMEBODY what the hell I was going through (leaving a cult, just lost every single friend I had, JW wife and inlaws have turned against me, some of my own family has turned against me and treats me like dirt only because I left my former church) So I started my new job and at lunch it all just sort of came tumbling out.
    This happened on a frequent basis and my co-workers didn't know what to think. They had never heard of such things. They didn't say anything really. They just looked aghast at some of the stories I was telling them and got very quiet. They could not relate whatsoever. Hmmm, not a great way to start off my new job.

    my upbringing has had quite the opposite effect. I find it difficult to form relationships to say the least. I feel quite emotionally and socially retarded, and so I can’t compete in the dating game.
    The Watchtower mindset about avoid worldy people is deeply ingrained. My JW mother found it appropriate to terminate every single friendship I had as a small boy, unless that friend was a JW. I could only go over to another non-JW boy's house to play if I gave his parents some literature. Yes, I did do this a few times. I'll spare you the details on what happened, but you could guess, and you'd be right. After a while, I learned to feel extreme guilt over having friends outside of the JWs. So when I left at 35, I had some "issues" on social interaction on my plate, to say the least. Years later, I find that a lot of that has gone away.

    As time has gone on, I don't feel the need to bring the JW topic up anymore with people who can't relate. I agree with Larc in the sense that I've gotten the impression it's a huge turn-off for most people. It's an unpleasant story, and I was talking about it so much because I needed someone to empathize so I could heal from the experience. But it drove people away because it made them feel bad, hearing what I was dealing with. I am fortunate I found the 1-800 helpline and Randy Watters and other ex JWs I could talk to by telephone when I was overwhelmed by my grief and anger.

    I agree with Harmy that your real friends will listen, but the only people who can really relate to you when you first come out are ex-JW alumni. When I have met other ex-JWs at support meetings or apostofests, it's always been a pleasant experience. There's nothing to explain. Everybody knows exactly what you mean, exactly where you're coming from. But when I go to a party or out with co-workers, there are plenty of other things to talk about and I don't feel the need to bring it up. (I guess I'm healed! Can somebody say amen? )

    I agree with what has been posted, that interacting with people is a skill that can be honed. Me? I felt like a kindergartener on the first day of school. Be prepared for the fact it is going to take time since the difference between the closed environment of the JW world and the real world is *extreme.* I wouldn't say it's like moving to another country and learning the customs and language. More like moving to another planet. But you'll get there.

  • Matty

    Thanks for telling me your story MegaDude. I do feel like I’m from another planet sometimes when I’m at work; I feel like an alien at the KH too! One of the posters here has “Alf” as their pic, well that’s me too!

    I hear my work colleagues talking about their lives and I can’t identify with them. I feel a big deep sad feeling in my heart when people talk about just their regular relationship stuff, because I can’t identify with it. I don’t generally lie about my life; I just kinda evade the truth. The thing is, they don’t open up to me about their lives that much because they don’t know enough about me – but there’s nothing much to talk about when you’re the oldest virgin in town! I’m working hard at nurturing some friends at the moment. I’ve got to make sure they get to know the real me before I talk about my family’s faith. Because of the reactions I have before had I’m very wary now.

  • Satanus

    Have you read ray franz' crisis of conscience and search of christian freedom? They are good for firming up your decision.


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