QUESTION FROM A GREEK TRAGEDY READER: I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. That’s odd for me to even type because as long as I’ve remembered, it’s been difficult for me to share that with people. I was married just as I was turning 20, to someone who I really thought I was in love with. There is still a part of me that hurts because there is still a part of me that loves him. We married because that was just the next step. In reality though, I believe it was more about being the only way we could stop sneaking around having sex—which of course, we weren’t supposed to be doing until we were married anyhow.
I thought I was happy those first couple of years. Then I started to realize that this marriage and this life was turning me into someone I didn’t want to be. I always felt like something was missing. I was not a happy person, and I was not happy with who I was. The only positive from this marriage was that my family loved him. I had always been the black sheep and now, finally, it looked like I had done something to win their approval. My relationship with my family flourished and that was what made me happy.
My husband did not want the same things that I now wanted. He was lackluster about having children. If they happened, they happened. He never wanted to move beyond the confines of where we had both grown up. He wanted to keep playing bachelor with his buddies. Pretended to be a rockstar in his bar band. I realized it was a one-sided relationship, and I was trying to put in enough effort for the both of us. The same few fights kept reoccurring like they were on a giant lazy susan. And there was never any resolve. I didn’t mind taking my share of the blame, but I did mind that he could never take any part of it.
When I was 23, I met someone who made me feel something I had never felt before. He was raised in a polar opposite religion with polar opposite beliefs. He was not physically “my type.” He was not who I would ever have imagined myself falling for.
He was the type of person who would take a vacation to Mexico and never come back. Or travel to Thailand to teach children how to speak English. He had lost his mother to cancer recently and had so much appreciation for his life and the people in it. He had lived this life that made me realize how much I had been missing out on.
And how much priority I had been putting on things that didn’t even matter. He made me laugh and made me think and made me question things I had been scared to question.
Then I kissed him and everything got turned upside down.
I became the cheater, which I never in a million years would have foreseen. This was not ever supposed to happen, and it is a decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Eighteen months later, I feel as though I am finally settling down. I separated from my husband for two months. Got scared of disappointing family, friends, the church. Being on my own for the first time was scary too. Got convinced I should try to make my marriage work. Broke the “other guy’s” heart. Got back together with my husband, and tried to work things out for four months. That didn’t work, and the whole time all I could think about was this “other guy.”
My husband asked for a divorce, which I agreed to. I fought myself on that decision for a long time. Only just recently has that fight seemed to subside. Meanwhile, the “other guy” took me back with open arms.
Four months ago, we moved seven hundred miles from home. I am slowly but surely building a new life here. I ignored all the rules and all the advice about rebound relationships. Taking time to heal on my own. Not jumping into something too fast. We have a lot of things to overcome, what with religious beliefs and family. I want to make everything work but I’m not sure how it will. And everyday I fall more in love with him.
I lost 99% of my so-called friends. Nobody cared enough to call or even email when the news got out about the separation, let alone the divorce. I didn’t feel it was my duty to contact people to let them know. Maybe that was my mistake. Maybe I should have. Regardless, it was like these people and life as I knew it had just never existed in the first place. I was disfellowshipped from the church, which basically means I am completely shunned until I repent and come back. If I pass someone I know on the street who is a JW, they aren’t even supposed to say hello. I don’t see why they would since none of them said as much before I was disfellowshipped.
My immediate family, the one who’s new found relationship I had begun to rely on so much, is gone. They haven’t contacted me now in over a month. I’ve attempted to tell them about this new person in my life, but they don’t let me get too far. They were just as hurt by the divorce as I was. As well as by the decisions I’ve made.
Have I built a bubble for myself, and am I just convincing myself I’m finally finding “happy”? I feel like the only thing missing is my family and the only way to get them back is to become a part of this religion that I’m not even sure about. Another part of me keeps saying that it doesn’t matter. That I will do whatever it takes to get that relationship with my family back.
I realize it’s difficult to give advice on this subject when you haven’t personally walked in the shoes of someone who has been raised in such a….controversial, I suppose is the right word, way.
I just really need some insight and have always appreciated your opinion.