Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with occasional additional posts, too).

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Bro Jo is not a spokesman or authority for the LDS Church. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When the Relationship Downgrades from "Boyfriend-Girlfriend" to "Friends"

Dear Bro Jo,

I have been dating this guy up at school for the past few weeks.

Everything was going great, then today he decides "we need to talk".

He has decided we need to become friends before we can continue dating.

The idea of this is confusing to me.

We are friends, we enjoy each-others company, we have great conversations.

We do kiss and hold hands but that is not the center of the relationship.

So once I finally got him to say what is behind all of this, this is what he said... "I just don't want to keep going then maybe get married and not know you, as well as I should. From where we are now, I see it going in one of two ways in a short period of time. Those two directions being, getting married or breaking up."

So from what I understand is he just wants to slow down a bit, the thing I am having a hard time with is going backwards to friends.

I feel like this falls under hanging out, and I am dead set against that.

I mentioned why don't we just continue dating and continue to get to know each other, my friend suggested we have like a timeline.

So say we will continue dating, but won't bring up engagement until,  say . . . December (just a time we are both comfortable with).

Bro Jo, how would you recommend handling this?

I am so out of practice with this.

I haven't been in a relationship since high school about 4 years ago.

I am trying to follow the guidance of the general authorities. How do they define Hanging out?

Is being "friends" looked at as the same thing?


- To Be or Not to Be

Dear Not to Be, 

What does his version of "friends" mean? 

No more kissing? 

No more dates? 

Does he want to date (and kiss) other people and he wants to sow some oats before he marries you? 

See, to me, it sounds like you just got dumped. 

That's harsh, I know. But it's not my fault this guy is stupid. 

Now, is he hoping to keep you dangling out there in case he changes his mind someday? 

Gets bored kissing all of those other girls? 

Can't find anyone "better" than you? 

Is he maybe just not mature enough to be considering marriage? 

All of those things may be true. 

The bottom line is, you're too valuable to pal around with a guy who doesn't get it, waiting and hoping that someday he'll figure it out. 

I say cut him off. 

If he comes to his senses, perhaps begging you to take him back, 

IF you feel so inclined, and IF the begging is really good, and IF you want to, then I say give him one, and only one, more chance. 

Until then, painful as I know it is, you're better off without him. 

Be Kind. 

Be Polite. 

But you're right: certainly don't become his Waiting In The Wings Friend. 

- Bro Jo

*** A coupe weeks later ***

Dear Bro Jo,

I did give him a second chance he blew it two days later. 

So I did cut him off. I have moved on since. 

I am so much happier now!

- Not to Be

Dear Not to Be,

Good for you. 

Curious: how did he "blow it"?

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Well we had talked everything out, he had just gotten really scared, so we just decided to take things slower. 

Two days later he just stopped talking to me completely. 

Never told me what was really going on. 

He even came to a party at my complex, ran into him and he wouldn't say a thing.

- Not to Be

Dear Not to Be,

We may never know what his deal was. 

I've had that happen. 

It's tough. 

But you move on. 

It gets better! 

And if you're not already, I promise you'll be glad you moved on. 

- Bro Jo

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Love of Her Life Just Left on a Mission

Dear Brother Jo,

I am sixteen years old and the guy I like is 19 and he left on his mission yesterday.

I met him my Freshmen year, I was 14 and he was 17.

After he graduated we continued our friendship and I grew to care about him more.

I found he has qualities that I like and want in a man.

You know how in Young Women's leader's tell us to have a list of things we want?

I've never done that.

Every Young Man, has something to offer and every guy is different . . .  but this missionary has everything I want.

I told him on Sunday that I like him as more than a friend.

He thanked me for being honest, but I know he likes me that way too.

Even though he didn't say how he feels.

I know he has to focus on his mission.

Bro Jo, I don’t know how to talk about this or deal with this.

One of my friend's says I should move on, that he's too old for me. 

Three years isn't that much older!

Bro Jo, please help.

He's my best friend. I could see myself as his wife and being with him forever, and when I'm with him I see a side of myself, I've seen of myself before. It's a good side. 

Please help, Bro Jo


- Hoping

Dear Too Young,

At your age three years IS a big deal.

Your friend is right; move on.

Right now is the time for Casual Group Dating; do lots of that.

When he comes home he'll be 21 and getting ready for marriage; you'll only be 18 and still a bit too young.

19 and 22 is okay, and there's nothing wrong with 20 and 23.

But, and this is the thing that you can't let go: you may WISH and HOPE and THINK he feels the same, but he DIDN'T say anything.

(Which is perfect, by the way; as a guy who's headed out the MTC door he should be keeping those feelings to himself, whether he likes you the way you like him or not.)

Perhaps when he comes back things will strike up for you romantically; perhaps not.

One thing you need to realize is that TONS of guys have those same qualities you see in this young man.

Oh, and one more thing that speaks to you being too (forgive me, but the word is correct) immature to be making long term plans about a guy who can't even take you on a date for the next two years: marriage isn't about what the other person can do for you, but about how your love for them makes you want to do things for them.


Lecture over.

Now go have fun with kids your own age.

- Bro Jo

Friday, October 24, 2014

Should She Get Married or Go on the Mission?

Dear Bro Jo,

I used to be friends with a young man from the Church. He would sometimes take me on dates but it never got serious.

I liked him a lot, but he didn't seem to like me as much so I stopped talking to him.

He wasn't planning on serving a mission and I was still his friend so I pushed him that he should go.

Finally one day he called me and said he spoke to the Bishop and that he was going on a mission.

We continued to be really good friends.

Finally he left on a mission 5 months ago, and ever since his mission we have been writing each other weekly, sometimes even more.

A little while before he left on his mission, and we were just friends, I had decided that I wanted to serve a mission too.

I am only 18, so I won't serve until next year but since October general conference I have had a desire to serve.

The only problem is, the young man I am writing just sent me a letter saying he hopes to marry me when he comes home and that we should have been together from the start.

What do I do!?

This letter kind of made me like him again, and the possibility of getting married in 19 months when he returns is real, but I still have already told everyone in my ward that I would serve a mission, and I've tried praying about it but it seems like I am not getting an answer. Help!

- A Friend

Dear Friend,

I think you chalk his letter up to "lonely missionary", smile and give it no more thought or attention until you and he are both single, available, and in the same place at the same time.

(Which, by the way, may never happen.)

I think you were premature to announce your mission service to your ward, but that ultimately it doesn't matter what you said or what they think. 

I also think you're writing him WAY TOO much.

You're a distraction. (The Jo Boy Missionaries agree with me.)

When you get a letter from him. Read it. Perhaps begin writing your response, and then send it when three or four weeks have passed.

If he writes you multiple times during that window, put all of your responses in just the one letter. I'm not saying to ignore him, just slow things Way Down.

(Sister Jo would tell you that there's power in letting him miss you.)

Keep praying.

Realize that sometimes "no answer" is an answer; and sometimes it means we're asking the wrong question. 19 months is a long time away.

Live life.

Date other guys.

When you're much closer to 19, if you feel INSPIRED, then start the missionary paperwork process.

If you're UNCERTAIN, then you can wait to submit your papers until after he comes home.

Be Patient.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I hate how blunt you are but I needed it and you really helped me. I was only writing him once a month because a missionary in my ward said letters were a distraction to him on his mission, but when he insisted on writing me twice a week I thought maybe he needed the encouragement!

I guess I was wrong and I will listen to you, thank you very much, Bro Blunt!

- Friend

Dear Friend,

Sorry about that.

And you're welcome.

- Bro Jo