There aren’t many breakups within the sad, insular world inhabited by the Duggars.
Divorce is punishable by exile, and couples who begin the courtship process wind up getting married in the vast majority of cases.
In fact, until recently the only documented case of a Duggar courtship that didn’t work out was Josiah Duggar’s breakup with Marjorie Jackson.
Now, Josiah finally has some company in the failed romance department, as Jana Duggar has broken up with Stephen Wissmann.
As you may have heard, Jana and Stephen began courting sometime late last year, and for a while, it looked as though they were headed for marriage.
Fans have been rooting for 31-year-old Jana to get married and leave the nest for the better part of a decade, so the news was greeted with tremendous enthusiasm.
(Unfortunately, Duggar women aren’t allowed to leave the house unless they get hitched.)
It was a long-distance relationship — Stephen is a Nebraska-based businessman and amateur pilot — and fans reasoned that was why the courtship was taking so long.
Alas, in the end, these two decided to go their separate ways, and Jana will remain at the infamous Duggar compound for the foreseeable future.
It’s a tough blow, but she seems to be handling the situation as well as could be expected.
And we imagine that’s largely due to the fact that she’s been receiving a great deal of support from her sisters.
Jana joined Jessa, Joy-Anna, and their kids at quaint fall-themed festival this week.
According to UK tabloid The Sun, the group enjoyed petting barnyard animals and picking out some seasonal gourds at a pumpkin patch.
The women documented the occasion on their Instagram Stories, but none of them made any mention of Jana’s single status.
No surprise there, as the relationship between Jana and Stephen was conducted in total secrecy.
Yes, the Duggars are a very, very private bunch these days, as they’re all hoping to steer clear of scandal following Josh Duggar’s arrest on child pornography charges.
That means they’re not sharing nearly as much information about their personal lives as they used to.
Jana and Stephen never officially announced their breakup, but that makes sense, as they never officially announced their relationship either.
The Duggars used to announce new courtships from the nearest rooftop, but that custom is long gone, along with the family’s tradition reality TV stardom.
The secrecy is such that Jed Duggar’s courtship with Katey Nakatsu was not announced publicly until after the couple was married.
But on the bright side, Jana is probably reveling in her privacy these days, as it means she won’t be forced to contend with a million questions about what went wrong or whether she’s planning to stay single forever.
Breakups are hard under any circumstances, and Jana’s is made even more difficult by the fact that it’s her first, and she’s dealing with at the same time that the world is learning that her brother is an even bigger predatory monster than we thought.
We wish Jana all the best during this difficult time.
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