I was raised in the cult, but finally saw the light after 35 years. I had long been aware of errors, but was willing to keep ignoring them as long as I thought they were mistakes. It wasn't until I found out that many of the "mistakes" were outright lies and that the GB that we worshiped (and anyone who thinks thay are a JW and worshiping God or Christ is self-delusional) were blatant liars and deceivers, that I finally quit. Told my wife I was done. She knew I had done my homework, and knew that I was telling the truth. For family reasons, she could not take a stand. I told my family that I wanted them to respect my beliefs and that in return I would not try to "save them" from the Watchtower. As I am not DA or DF (just faded as of now) there has been a somewhat uneasy truce. Who's to say if that will remain the case? My wife rarely attends meetings, but since JWism was really all we ever had in common we slowly drifted apart. On October13 we will be divorced, though I believe it will be amicable and we will remain friends, but not married.
I have not dated, and have no immediate plans to do so, but I am only 40 and may feel differently perhaps sooner, perhaps later. As a JW you have such a tiny tiny pool of prospects that a truly loving marriage would seem to be an exception, a fluke, rather than the rule. My own observation seems to bear this out as well. Most of the "happy" JW couples I know (knew) were either so busy with JW stuff that they didn't have to spend time with each other, or were barely JWs and had developed various coping methods (the "double life" syndrome), or else were completely faking it. My poor wife (I really should get used to saying "ex-wife") will be dipping right back into that pathetic little pool if she chooses to pursue another relationship. I, however, have no such limitations. The whole world (and I don't mean "world" by WT definition) is now open to me. I could possibly, someday, some way, actually find a girl who has interests in common with me. What a concept!
But a thought has occurred to me. Though I know JW is a religion of lies, using fear and guilt to manipulate the poor "sheep", it has undoubtedly left a permanent mark on me in ways which I probably couldn't even define. For example, I haven't been to a meeting in three years, but I have never celebrated Christmas or a birthday. Not because I am morally opposed, but because I simply do not think about that stuff. Ever. It has never been a part of my life, so I didn't "miss" it. Last year somebody said to me "Merry Christmas". Having been taught for so long to say "Thank you" without even thinking, I didn't even react. Finally I said "Oh, is that today?" It wasn't - we were still a week away - but Christmas and the like simply doesn't register with me unless it is brought to my attention by someone else.
Getting to the point (finally!) - my question is this: Is it better to date somebody who has been a JW in the past? She would certainly be able to identify with what I have been through and she would understand, at least to some extent, what effect the religion has had on me. Since I am not fully aware of those effects myself, this could be invaluable. On the other hand I see two major drawbacks. First, we are back to the limited pool (perhaps even smaller), and second and far more worrisome is the though that she could some day want to go back. Egads! I know I will never have a relapse. I am WT free, but can I be so sure of someone else?
Choosing a never-been-a-JW seems to be the wisest course, but what will that bring that I am not thinking of? What if I don't buy her something for her birthday? It won't be because I don't love or care for her, but simply because birthday celebrations have never ever been part of my life. Will she be understanding, or think I am a hopeless clod? I am using the birthday example because it easily comes to mind, which means that I probably really would be able to remember her birthday. But what things don't come to mind? Which JW symptoms are so ingrained in me that I would hurt or offend a woman simply by being (unintentionally) inconsiderate?
Any ideas? Have any of you married or dated ex-JWs? How did that go? How about those who have married never-beens? Any thoughts would be appreciated.