A Chapter on the Loneliness of a PIMI/POMO Marriage
Has someone ever held you in their arms, telling you how much they love you, but all you can feel is impenetrable loneliness? Their warm body against your own, yet you feel so far removed. It's a loneliness I didn't know could exist. A dark, deep hole with no sound or warmth. I often put together another life in mind whilst trying to fall asleep. One of a marriage where I am head over heels in love and feel heard and respected. A connection so deep and intimate it can surpass any barrier. What is that like, I wonder?
When I first confessed my doubts and my uncertain disbelief, my husband was kind and understanding. He encouraged me to research these vague doubts, even when I was clear my research needed to come from secular sources and not just Watchtower. He assumed I'd realize we indeed had the truth and that I would confirm it with a bit of digging. Instead I woke up.
He arranged numerous shepherding calls with the elders, each one worse than the last. He arranged a visit from "friends" in other congregations to help set me straight. Instead I endured conversations that would give me panic attacks and nightmares for the next year. When I begged him to stop arranging these meeting, to stop blindsiding me with visits for which I was given no time to prepare, his solution was to arrange them anyway, but give me an hours notice. Eventually, the gossip and the preliminary shunning caused me to stop going to meetings even for his sake. I was forced to "come out" to my parents before I was ready. Everything spiraled out of my control and I resent him for setting it in motion.
When I told my husband how traumatizing it had all been, he felt terrible. He cried with me. He stayed home from work with me one day when I had spent the night before having my first ever panic attack. But he never apologized, and he still eyed me suspiciously. When I pointed out the cruel words and actions of the elders, he made excuses for them and glossed over it all. He was torn between them and me. He loved me deeply, yet I was under Satanic influence according to the elders. Who could he trust? Not me. Speaking on the topic of belief became taboo. And when we did speak of it, he began to parrot the cruel reasonings of the Watchtower. That God's genocide was moral because, well, everyone was going to die sometime, so what did it matter? My suffering, the suffering of all of those reading this, didn't matter because he had only experienced good things. He told me to move on from the religion. I explained that to move on from the religion meant moving on from him. I felt, and still do, like a rock in a river; life rushing past me and I can only watch it, paralyzed.
A year has passed. The research he promised he would do isn't done. The questions and concerns I put into numerous documents for him are still without answer, and most likely, unread. When I asked him about it, he said if I made a list of non apostate videos to watch about the CSA issue, he'd start right away. He watched one video (it was part one of a two part series) out of the many that I sent and, to my knowledge, he hasn't done any other research. This was a month ago. He continues on as if the conversation never happened. I am so tired of begging my husband to believe me when I tell him something is wrong. I am asking him to do the unthinkable. Think for himself. I know he agonizes too, but for completely different reasons.
I've grown resentful. Resentful that I get his leftover time and respect. That I can't speak openly with him on anything because he makes excuses and chooses to not take me seriously. I've become sneaky. Hiding ballots and opinions and Christmas cards from him. I don't like being secretive. I'm disgusted that he chooses to side with the abusers instead of their victims. Where once I admired his innocence and loyalty, I now loathe his naivety and willful ignorance.
I live a comfortable life. He has a degree and a good job and a retirement plan. We have a nice home and no money worries. I stopped working a few years ago at his encouragement to pioneer, which I couldn't bring myself to actually commit to. I don't have a degree. Hell, I don't even have up to date references. I live in a city where I know no one and have no connections. Rent is increasing dramatically and jobs that aren't purely brute labour or require an education are scarce. My own retirement account from the few years I had a semblance of a career is laughable and currently dormant. I think about putting an exit plan in place to leave him, but I know my quality of life would drop significantly. I hate myself for it, but I can't stomach the thought of being broke and alone and without security for the future. It's a tale as old as marriage, isn't it? It's only been in recent times people marry for love. Who am I to expect more? I'd have nothing but a fantasy to daydream about. If I left him, he would be devastated. He truly thinks everything is hunky dory. I'd hate myself for hurting him. I do everything I can to make sure he is happy and taken care of. It hurts me if I think he is feeling neglected or unloved. If I left him, my parents would most likely shun me completely. I just want him to wake up. He's the only one I have. Without him I'm truly alone.
I cry sometimes falling asleep; especially after the most physically intimate moments where I feel no connection or closeness. An act I do anymore out of routine to keep him content. Sometimes he notices the tears and will ask me the next day if I want to talk about it.
"No." I'll say. You don't listen anyway. I've become a broken record stuck on the same track and even I'm tired of hearing myself.
"Is it about anything...new?"
"No." No darling, just the same trauma I've explained a million times and you've dismissed and ignored.
If I tell him I feel resentful that he doesn't take me seriously, that his continued blind loyalty and dismissal of my complaints makes me feel like he views me as a gullible moron, if I tell him I'm angry, if I tell him I feel neglected, what would actually change? I've told him it all before. Nothing has changed. Well, no, I've changed. Even re-reading all of this I feel like I've done him a disservice. I know he's a good person. I know he loves me and cares about me. After all, that's why I married him. The sheer complexity of being in this situation has so many ever changing nuances that there just aren't adequate words to describe it. Or perhaps, and more likely, I'm just not adept enough to write them.
I am hollow and lonely and sad. I got a taste of freedom from the cage only to see I am tethered to it still. I want to be happy and travel the world and experience true love and kiss under mistletoe. But the reality is...the reality is...all of it's a fantasy! Instead, I am trapped in the cage. The door is open and I see other birds flying about. I want to fly, too, but my wings have been clipped.
submitted by EveUnraveled