Even when Jana Duggar almost breaks Jim Bob's rules, she can never quite step over the line. Why? Because he controls her entire life.
That's unlikely to change. According to a compelling new fan theory, it's Jim Bob's fault, not Jana's choice, that she remains unmarried at 30.
For years, fans have wondered why Jana -- who turned 30 years old last month -- remains unmarried.
She has courted, but said that none of that ever led anywhere.
Some have speculated that Jana is gay, obviously unwilling to admit it to her family or possibly herself, and thus lives a sad life of chastity and denial.
Others believe that she doesn't want kids, and is just holding out until she can escape the burden of baby-making before she gets married.
But a reddit user has posted an alternative theory that really makes a lot of sense -- and has a tragic twist.
"I think [Jim Bob] didn't approve of any man that approached her," the social media theorist suggests.
The reddit user explains that perhaps Jim Bob declined every man "because she was too important to running the household."
Jana is famously the Overly Put Upon Eldest Daughter, a phenomenon not exclusive to fundamentalists but taken to new extremes in the Duggar house.
According to this theory posted to reddit, Jana has felt discouraged from even trying to court for years.
Hearing "no" a lot will do that to you, whether you're hearing it from prospective suitors or, in Jana's case, from Jim Bob.
In fact, Jana may simply feel that it's too late.
30 is a fine time to get married in real life. But in the extreme fundamentalist world of the Duggar cult, it makes Jana an old maid.
It seems clear that, if this theory is true, Jim Bob just wanted to delay the marriage instead of forbid it indefinitely.
But putting things off has a way of getting out of hand, and now it may truly be too late.
Among their cult, on the fringes of society, the men are usually married off around age 20 -- if not sooner.
If he does marry her off, Jana could end up with a husband who is a full decade younger than herself, or matched up with a widower.
Tabling for the moment the idea of Jana Duggar as a cougar, this is such a tragedy.
First and foremost, Jana felt the burden shared by countless eldest daughters and some eldest sons -- being a third "primary caregiver."
Being a parent to kids is hard work. Being a parent to kids you never signed up for is just plain unfair.
To make matter worse, Jana has more siblings than the vast majority of people in history have ever had. Her life has been spent laboring.
On top of her lifetime of involuntary, unpaid nanny services, she's been denied simple adult pleasures.
We're not just talking about sex. We're also not talking about masturbation, one of the many normal human experiences forbidden in that family.
When Jana went to Vegas recently, she didn't go alone because she couldn't go alone. Jim Bob shadowed her on the trip.
She is a grown woman who can't even take a plane ride by herself, something that others do in high school.
And if this theory is right, this all because Jim Bob -- a millionaire -- wanted a few extra years of free childcare.
What a scumbag.