Is Singleness a Blessing? Sometimes
This post is rather personal, but it may help those who lurk, so if you will all please bear with me?
Not long ago, I visited the town where I grew up, got baptized and married, gave birth to both my daughters. It’s a smallish town and among the Witness population, everyone knows everyone. Although I was inactive when I went back to visit, I knew the rumor mill had been working overtime about my divorce. My ex-husband had called most of our former friends in the area to put his spin on what a bad person I had become. After much thought, I decided to make contact with one person, a sister whose daughters had been my daughters’ best friends, and who had been my friend as well. I was not certain how my call would be received under the circumstances. As it turned out, she was glad to hear from me, and even though her husband had received “the phone call” from my ex, she did not believe any of it. We talked on the phone for almost an hour, during which time she described a marital situation even worse than my own (although I might not have believed that to be possible). Her children, like mine, were grown and gone, but still she was afraid to leave him. She had never worked, other than house cleaning jobs, and did not believe she had any options. Her husband was an elder, as were all the males in his family, and she knew she’d be vilified if she filed for divorce. I listened and was as supportive as I could be without shouting to her: “leave the sick bastard,” which was what I wanted to say. Even though the police had been called to her house to protect her from her husband, the elders took no action against him. The details of her ordeal are terrible, but not to be discussed here.
In case she is reading this board – doubtful, since she does not even have an answering machine, let alone a computer – I would like to tell her how things are with me. I want women to know that survival and happiness are possible after ending a bad marriage.
When I first made the decision to divorce my husband, I was almost in a panic. How would I earn a living? Did I have the job skills and stamina to make a livable wage? How would I take care of my house? How could I change the oil in my car? Who would make the hard decisions? How would my children accept their parents divorced? How could I cope with being alone? Would my “mango” get me into trouble? (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.)
The panic was soon replaced by a determination, and the knowledge that the alternative was living a lie and setting a terrible example for my daughters. Did I want to teach them the lesson that when a woman is miserable, she must quietly endure because there is no life without a husband? Could I go on slowly watching myself die inside?
Yes, I survived, as many of you know. I’m not patting myself on the back; we all do what me must to live, and many have endured far worse things in life. But for Witness women, sometimes the biggest fear is the thought of living alone.
I’ll admit, I did not do this entirely on my own. My loving sister and her husband who left the Org about the same time were always there to lend a hand. My younger daughter sometimes kicked me in the butt when I was too terrified to act. With those few exceptions, I had no friends and no man to hold onto. (Contrary to gossip, there was no phantom man waiting in the wings.) At the time, I didn’t even have the community of ex-JW’s I’ve since discovered on discussion boards such as this one.
Three years later, I’m fine. I actually enjoy being single. I came to realize, I wasn’t getting any help or support when I had a husband, so what really changed when he moved out? I still do the home repairs; the difference is I am no longer resentful of a person who is sleeping on the couch while I mow the lawn. I enjoy my own company and am not afraid to eat alone in a restaurant or travel by myself. Weekends can be tough when all your co-workers are talking about plans with husbands or boyfriends, but I wouldn’t go back for anything. I’m slowly becoming financially secure and don’t intend on ever being dependent on someone else to provide for me. I’ve begun to make new friends, although it is a gradual process.
I may someday find a partner, this time an equal one. If so, great. If not, I’m still happier than I have ever been. Please, women, if you are reading this, understand it is within your power to change things. Don’t ever stay in a relationship because you feel you have no choices. If you can’t see beyond your current situation, you just need to climb higher to get a better look. Others have scaled the mountain and made it to the other side.
Disclaimer: I do not advocate ending a marriage just because things aren’t perfect. Wherever possible, work towards a resolution of problems. The foregoing is for those situations which are truly beyond all hope of redemption. My dear friend, please trust yourself. Don’t wait for the police to come unlock the closet door, you have the key.
Thanks for listening,
Thanks for "daring to post" your story. It sounds like life is slowly creeping back into your soul! That's great!
Don’t ever stay in a relationship because you feel you have no choices.
I would say your advice also can apply to men in a sense. (Disclaimer: I know it's a little different, perhaps easier, for men going out on their own.)
I was pushed out of the organization and out of a marriage (currently I am separated), and things seemed beyond hope. In addition I was struck down by arthritis, which has made independent living quite a challenge.
So like you, I felt very much alone, with only my sister to help at first. I've begun making new friends by re-discovering a few childhood friends, some ex-JW's, some not. It is a very gradual, but rewarding process.
Then this board came along and sped up my healing process. I've made multiple friends and acquaintances out here, including you and your sister, and everyone has nudged me along my new life path.
I believe that after a short time of adjustment to new circumstances, that those of us thrust into a new situation can adapt and indeed learn to be happy in any new-found freedom. We just need to believe that freedom can be ours, and not feel unworthy to have it.
Standing Ovation for that one!!! Bravo, my dear. You are going to inspire so many women
with that post. In fact, can I have your permission to post it, as is, on my site?
I'd title it something like: Advice to women who are afraid of making it on their
own, from a courageous lady who is doing it!"
Even though I'm married again now, I remember the immense sense of relief that I had
coming home after work, tucking my daughter in bed and knowing, just knowing that
I was going to have a peaceful evening because my ex wouldn't be picking a fight.
My family used to say to me "What if things with Justin don't work out?" and I said, "then
I will be happy to raise my child on my own." And I meant it. There are much worse things
than being single...like being married to a tyrant!!!
Again, bravo. To the lurkers I can only add, it can be done, if I could do it, anyone can!
Was, you're an inspiration to me.
The Four Agreements:
Be Impeccable With Your Word
Don't Take Anything Personally
Don't Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
Thank you for posting that. What a reflection of my own thoughts. I had no children, but was very much in many of the same situations.
Sometimes it actually pays when the mate does nothing. Because then when you find yourself alone, you are not helpless!!!
Yes, there are so many choices. We just have to recognize them and take advantage of them when they come along!!!
I would never, ever for any reason stay with an abusive partner again!!! I have the Borg to thank for that kind of thinking that kept me in a bad relationship for almost seventeen years. Thank God, he finally left me. That is what it took for me to start recognizing my choices.
Now I see new horizons and choices everywhere. And it is delicious!!!
I raise my hat to anyone male or female who can move on and have a wonderful attitude like so many expressed here.
There are so many advantages to being single...I spent most of my adult years single, and as you so aptly put it,it was a time of real personal growth. We find that we are able to accomplish more than we ever dreamed! We find we can do just about anything we set our minds too. No job,option,decision is beyond us.
We had/have the opportunity to get to know ourselves and expand on that. We find there is a major difference between being alone and lonely.
Our esteem talents and abilties grow with each step and/or achievement.
We take full responsibility for ourselves as we learn more and more about ourselves. We unlearn the 'garbage messages' that were instilled in us in the past and find that we are OK,good people.
We discover how competent we are!
We find we are special people and worth knowing.
We are choice-makers,learning to take risks,for without taking risks,we cannot learn ,grow,and explore new/different possibilites.
We find our worth.
And when we make mistakes we learn from them.
We celebrate ourselves,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,just some thoughts,luv,Tina
Essie: of course you can use this post on your site. I wrote it with one person in mind, but I know many women are in this same situation.
Everyone: thank you for the kind comments. I received so much help from sites such as this one when I was first on my own and without a support group to lean on. Now that I've got my feet on the ground and no longer in free-fall, I feel I should give something back. I hope that doesn't sound smug, but I want people (women especially, but men too), to understand they can be happy even if they are alone. Essie said it best: being with the wrong person is way worse than being on your own. You can be with someone and still be lonely, as many of you know.
Thanks for letting me vent. There really is strength in numbers.
Was-feel firmly on the ground.
Excellent post Sis, thanks for sharing that. It seems to me we sometimes treat relationships like something it's not, a thing we "get" as if there's a relationship store out there or something. We have a relationship with everyone, it's just all unique. Sometimes I look at how people get into romantic relationships and it seems like it's little more than kids deciding they're going to be boyfriend-girlfriend. Of course, given our JW background perhaps we're used to arbitrary relationships rather than ones that develop naturally, relationships based on .. relating! Thanks again, it's obvious many appreciated this.
You are my hero.
Wow. You are a strong woman. And a great example of what you can become if you decide to throw caution to the wind and decide to live for yourself instead of staying in a relationship out of fear of the unknown. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.
That was a beautiful post, was. For those of us who have made the scary transition from the "truth" to reality, we have to face our fears at first. As in your case, I found new strength as I made myself take each step forward. As always, nothing bad in my new life made me want to return to what I knew were lies. The longer I live, the happier I get in my new life. Your post made me re-live those moments all over again! Thanks.
Wasasister, excellent post:)
And all of the replies, too:)
Sharing your story is an inspiration. Most of us can relate to what you're saying to our feelings about leaving the borg and/or all our family and friends, in essence, our support group.
I also left a spouse after many years with 2 children to support. He was not abusive, just neglectful and terribly needy. I got to the point where I had nothing left to give him, and if there was going to be anything of "me" left over, I had to get out. And with that one scary decision, yes, a whole world of possibilities opened up. I enjoyed my time alone, my independence. And even though I am now with a wonderful man, part of what makes us so good together is that we don't "need" each other to survive. We choose to enjoy life together.
The borg taught me to be codependant, and then I married someone who reinforced that. Now I will never go back to that again, not with any organisation, not with any man.