Thank you for your answer. I am sorry that you were trapped in an unhappy marriage for so long! The WT society advises young people to wait until they are mature enough before making such a big life commitement. May I ask you why you married so young? Did your parents agree with your choice?
Many factors contributed. At the time we were told that Armageddon was imminent, I married in 1973, the big A was supposed to happen in 1975, and the religion taught at the time that after Armageddon people were going to not marry, so if you didn't get hitched before then, no sex for you. It was silly and I was very, very immature. Of course you should wait until you are mature to marry, but college was not permitted, so my options were to get a job and live at home (young, single women were discouraged from living on their own) or get married. I was painfully shy and still under eighteen and couldn't get a job at the time (McDonald's didn't hire women then) so I was desperate to get out of the house, my mom had terrible mood swings and was borderline abusive, she saw me as a failure and was hyper critical of everything I did. She once slapped me in the face she caused a severe nose bleed.
Like many young women, I saw marriage as a ticket to adult hood. Of course people act different when they are dating, but I admit I closed my eyes to some signs he was selfish and fairly immature himself. But the question is, do you let someone suffer for years because they made a foolish mistake? Did I have to be punished because I was a silly teen aged girl? Surprisingly my parents did not oppose it, although I am sure they had their reservations. My ex was newly baptized, he had a past and had done some horrible things, like dealing drugs, but was trying to shape up. But they were friends of his parents, and I think they thought it was my best option. Within six months my ex stopped going to meetings, in a few years he was disfellowshipped. I slogged on with the religion by myself. He also couldn't keep a job, he had probably twenty or thirty jobs in the twenty eight years we were married, I lost count, it might have been more. My mother confessed to me that she wanted to tell me to leave him "but of course I couldn't". That just made me mad, if I had had any sympathy or encouragement I would have left him in a heartbeat. I would have gladly lived celibate for the rest of my life, but by the time I did finally leave, the stupidity of the whole thing made me lose my faith in the religion. We don't live in bible times where a woman is stoned if she is raped (but only if she lives in the city, cause she should have screamed) or where it can be fixed by a forced marriage and twenty sheep given to the father. The bible reflected the morality of the time, not universal truly the that are the only way to be.
Divorce may not be the ideal, but it is a reality. You could even call it a sin, but why do you have to disfellowship people because they left an intolerable situation? I am not the only person forced out because of this. Others manage to manipulate the system and get a convenient divorce, but I couldn't lie and be that much of a hypocrite. I knew a man that claimed his invalid wife confessed to adultery, he got a divorce and married his wife's (much younger) caretaker and stayed an elder. It happens, and they get away with it, especially if it's the man who makes the claim. Others have their JW spouse leave them because they left the religion, even though it's technically not grounds for divorce.