I am a long time lurker, first time poster and felt compelled to respond to your post. Before I proceed, I completely concur with other posters in that you should walk away from this relationship and not look back. Cut your losses now before you are too wrapped up emotionally. A relationship under these terms simply isn’t worth pursuing because it can’t go anywhere long term and why waste your time, energy or emotions? Life is too short, even at your age.
Extricating someone out of a cult is very complicated, especially when she is very young and she will be forced into an emotional tug-of-war or perhaps an ultimatum between you and her “family” and there is rarely a winner in this battle. I know only too well.
Your experience resonates very deeply with me because I am the girl you speak of, this was me over 30 years ago and our stories are strikingly similar, however I can provide a glimpse into the crystal ball.
Here is my story.
I met a great guy who I fell in love with, he was in his early twenties, and I was in the last year of high school. I kept my home life secret from him and always had conjured up reasons why he couldn’t meet my parents or drop by the house to pick me up. I always had some elaborate story or scheme going to maintain my double life. After about 6 months of charades, I opened up about my JW life and how strict my parents were and how ashamed I was to be a part of this religion. I told him I would understand if he wanted to break up and never see me again. He stated he did not care about my (parents) religion, he believed that everyone has a right to believe what they wish and he wasn’t going to prevent me from what I wanted to believe, provided it made me happy.
By eight months into our relationship we were in love and decided that we wanted to be together. I simply couldn’t move in with him because I did not want to hurt my parents so that meant getting married. I broke the news to my parents who went ballistic. They were very distraught but somehow realized they couldn’t control me, they felt I was on the path to destruction and let me know it – guilt trip. Once word got out about me and my worldly boyfriend, my dad had to resign his position as Elder in which I was blamed for humiliating the family and causing them immense grief – guilt trip. To this day, I still feel guilty that he lost his position because of me.
We married shortly thereafter but I still believed the truth to be the truth. I had all but stopped going to meetings, perhaps a Sunday every now and then and never missed the memorial – guilt trip. But I always felt it was the truth and because of this I did not celebrate birthdays or holidays, I did not pursue post secondary education (guilt trip) and I was afraid of any major event in the news, afraid it was the beginning of the great tribulation and that I would die at Gods hand.
My ever loving husband did not know of my indoctrinated fears or guilt. He did know that I did not feel comfortable celebrating holidays or birthdays and he gave all that up for me. His tolerant family accepted my peculiar behavior because they loved their son and me. How fortunate I was to find my way into this family, but it was very difficult when every time a holiday rolled around. My husband couldn’t understand why we couldn’t put up a tree, purchase gifts or have a cake now and then. I stood firm to my beliefs.
Into my mid twenties I had 2 children, which was a turning point for me. I decided that I had to raise them as JWs because I did not want them to perish at Armageddon, I did not want their blood on my hands, so I immersed myself back into the clutches of the religion head first, taking my children with me. Notice I did not say “our” children, because there was only one way to raise them, my way as my they were my children. You can only imagine how the next few years went, I was unwilling to bend or compromise on my beliefs.
Even though I returned zealously, I wasn’t really accepted within the congregation given that I was married to an unbeliever, I tried very hard, impeccable meeting attendance and pioneering when I was able. I was an outcast within the congregation and in the outside world. I didn’t fit anywhere. I wanted to convert my husband even though I promised him I wouldn’t try.
Going back was biggest mistake I have made in my entire life! Once my children were into their teenage years, my one child was completely devoted and quite a zealous JW, striving to become a full time pioneer and possible bethel service. My other child was an independent thinker abounding with questions, obstinate in every way, quite a challenge to say the least. This child in essence, initiated the beginning of my thinking processes.
Then an incident occurred in which my loyalty to Jehovah (aka the Elders) versus the loyalty to my husband was in question. I was forced into choosing between Jehovah’s side or my husband, a man who accepted me and my beliefs all the years we were together, who tolerated my absences on weekends, who put up with raising our children as JWs, who gave up so much of his life because he loved me.
I was backed into a corner, accused of not understanding the bible correctly, not being loyal to Jehovah and his organization and not being submissive. It was at that moment veil was lifted from my eyes.
In the end everything worked out, I am still happily married, I managed to break my child away from the JWs, the relationship with my parents is strained at best, but I wasted so many years of my life going back for the sake of my children. It was not easy breaking free, it is actually quite traumatic.
Why am I telling you all this… Getting involved with a JW will only cause problems now and later on in life, why risk a relationship and the possibility of getting emotionally involved – there are plenty of other girls out there without this baggage. The teachings, fear and guilt are ingrained so deeply, they are incredibly hard to break free of. You do not want to come in between her and her family, who only love conditionally or be seen as the one that led her astray. You will be blamed and viewed with disdain, at some point this could backfire and she will turn on you too. She will become an outcast, shunned by her family and you will not be accepted. Her father’s position in the congregation will be in jeopardy if she dates outside. This is just the beginning…..
She isn’t acting maturely, she is young and leading a double life and doesn’t know what she wants and how could she for that matter, she isn’t taught to think. She is being denied a normal childhood and teenage years – just like I was way back when. It is a house of cards that will collapse. Would I have done things differently had I been raised in a normal environment - YES!
Turn and walk away, simply not worth it.