It’s one thing to use your new employment history to find work, but what about a new social life? It’s complicated for witnesses to make friends or romantic partners. After all, as The Guardian points out, they’re unable to ever, ever discuss their past, much less whatever huge trauma they’ve certainly endured.
This raises a big question. Namely, when you go out on a big date with someone, and they act all weird about it every time you ask what their family is like, how can you tell if they’re in witness protection? The bottom line is, well, you can’t. Unless they’re a lousy liar, anyway. Even if a person in the program meets the love of their life, according to Pete Earley’s Witsec: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program, they’re expected to spend the entirety of their happily-ever-after lying about where they come from. Probably not the secret to a healthy marriage, that’s for sure, but as a former WITSEC inspector told Earley, “You had to look down the road. What if there was a divorce and the spouse went running to the mob for revenge?”
And yes, people really do unknowingly get hitched with witnesses. That’s what happened to Sherry Anders in 1981, according to an archived issue of The Bulletin, who had no idea that her husband Martin Lewis was actually Henry Hill, the notorious gangster later played by Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.