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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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Difference Between High School Dating and Post-High School Dating

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm 19 and just got done with my first year of college.

After reading through more of your posts, it's got me thinking.

During high school I didn't get asked out.

To be honest, I wasn't interested in dating though I would've gone if a nice guy had asked.

So I definitely wasn't heartbroken, and most of the time I didn't feel like I was missing out on much.

I never pursued dating but I am a little surprised I didn't get asked--I have nice features and take care of myself, though I am quiet unless I have something to say.

Most of my friends were girls and I've always been happy with having just a few good, close friends to spend time with. I've always been the type of person who has been myself 100%, known what I want, and known who I am and I'm very grateful for that.

It's made a lot of decisions easier for me. Even though year at University was different, (I got asked out more than anyone I knew and had a lot of fun and a few not so fun dates. I even ended up finding a guy I really liked by the end of it),

I'm wondering exactly what would the benefit have been if I had dated in high school?

Do you think I've "caught up" in a sense?

How can I better transition to dating/pursuing dating now that I am interested/realize it can be fun? 

Also, two random questions:

     1) is it ever okay to text a guy a picture of yourself?

I told him to use his imagination as far as remembering what my face looks like ha.

He didn't mean it in a sexual way, though we do have a date this weekend.

Along with this, he's a nonmember.

     2)  Generally speaking, what is the protocol for dating nonmembers so as to not lead them on/get hurt as a YSA?

I don't see any point in dating someone I already know I don't want to marry, but a couple dates seems harmless enough right? 

Thanks in advance!

- Kellie

Dear Kellie,

The benefit of dating in High School, in my opinion, is that you could have started your dating experience in a much less high-pressure situation;

Casual Group Dating is, by definition and moniker, much easier to start with than Serious Single Dating.

That said, it sounds like things are going very well on this front, so I don't really see that you need any advice as far as transitioning.

Keep having fun!

As for your "random questions" (I have found in my experience that, despite the label, these are never "random') . . .

My gut instinct is to say, no, it's never a good idea to send someone a picture via text. Even if it's a totally appropriate and modest head shot, you need to realize that nothing you send electronically is ever really private.

At the very least, be extremely cautious.

(You know, Little Sister, you'll go very far in life if you ask yourself questions like "why does this guy want my picture?" I'll let you see if you can guess The Real Reason.)

Sister Jo says that a girl should always want to keep the guy interested and guessing, and she says that there's a lot of Girl Power in being Mysterious.

*Side note: call me skeptical (I prefer "realistic"), but whenever someone feels the need to say that something IS NOT the reason, it's always actually the reason. 

Secondly, I frankly think it's a waste of your time and his money to date non-members at your age and in this stage of dating.

While I agree that superficially a couple of dates seem "harmless", I counter by asking you: what's the point?

Look, if you were still in High School and this was a Casual Group Date, I'd say by all means "go"; but at this point in your life you need to have certain criteria that all of your dates need to meet, and I think "worthy, active priesthood holder" is the bare minimum.

I mean, unless this guy is sincerely investigating the Church, I wouldn't bother.

That's not to say that you should be mean, but . . . certainly not.  And I'm sure he's a nice guy, but again, what's the point?

Since it, at least at this moment, has no hope of going anywhere, then it's kind of like you're taking advantage of him.

Even if he doesn't care, that's not a good thing.

And since things with this guy aren't going anywhere, doesn't that mean that every moment you spend with him is a moment you're not spending with a guy who could possibly lead to a relationship that IS going somewhere?

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Is It Over?

Dear Bro Jo,

I don't know how to begin. I'm 27 soon to be 28 and my boyfriend is 24.

We have been dating officially since the end of Feb.

I feel like I really messed things up.

Here's a little background.

Hes studying pre-med and will be a senior this next year and graduating.

I will be a junior and I'm in the middle of deciding my major.

I met him while he was working in the cafeteria at school last fall semester.

I thought he was pretty cool so we started talking and hung out once or twice and then he asked me on a couple dates.

Nothing happened, but we had fun.

We kept in touch briefly and then spring semester came, he saw me, made the effort to spend time with me and our first date we HIT IT OFF!

It was incredible!

From then on we just kept finding time to spend with each other.

We decided to make things official at the end of february and have been dating since then.

We have said the "I Love You's and everything.

I really care for this guy.

I asked him once what he wanted with this relationship and he told me hes at a point in his life where he's looking for a future companion and so far so good, but we will see.

He's even told me that he feels like we have a lot of the same goals and dreams...

But, this is how I feel like I messed things up.

I worried WAY WAY WAY too much about everything and couldn't appreciate what was going good.

And because of my worrying I caused him to question how he feels.

So dumb.

I asked him what was going to happen once the semester ended.

He had his internship (which is where hes at right now for this month) and I wasn't sure if I was staying here or going home for the summer.

I told him I didn't want us to waste each others time.

Well, he became a little distant after that and it finally was really noticeable.

My feelings were really hurt.

I am his first serious relationship and well to be honest, he is mine.

He's not very good at expressing his feelings and neither am I. Its something we are working on.

I realize I've been the one who's impatient and not just letting things flow and happen as they will.

Well, before he left we agreed on a "break".

Whatever that means...

I have spoke to him twice on the phone since he's been gone and both times he's told me he loves me, but, he doesn't text me now.

To me that says he's over me.

Am I wrong in thinking this? I mean, how hard is it to send a takes less than a min...

My mom just tells me to be patient, that hes really busy with his internship and to just see how things go when he gets back.

I don't know what to do.

I feel like I've screwed it up and I don't know how to make things right. I'm miserable and feeling like I'm in limbo.

I know he's busy with the internship and working on top of that as well as helping the doctor he's interning for publish an article, but is it asking to much for just some sort of contact?

We agreed that with the break we were still "dating"...but, I don't even know what that means anymore.

I'm trying to give him his space so he can figure out what he wants.

That's what he told me he needed...was to be able to figure things out.

Is that just a cop out for I really don't want to be with you and I'm too chicken to say anything?

Am I being ridiculous in my thinking?


- Hurt & Confused

Dear Hurt,

You know . . . I'm not a big fan of texting.

It's fine for sending little pieces of information (Sister Jo and I will text each other updates when we're at simultaneous sporting events in different parts of the state), but there's so much communicating that can't happen in a text.

Tone, expression, body language . . . it all goes missing.

Time is passing much faster for him than it is for you right now because, as you said, your schedule isn't quite as busy as his.

If he continues down this career path then his life isn't going to be any less busy any time soon, as I'm sure you're aware.

The problem, of course, is that you left things differently than you wish you had, and that's exacerbated by the fact that, in terms of marriage culture (especially in the Church), he's got a few prime looking for a spouse years left, and frankly . . . you don't.

Not to argue with your mom, but I don't think you have the luxury of "being patient".

Yes, it's only been a month, and yes, two calls during that time is pretty good, but a girl needs reassuring; and he probably needs to be taught that.

To me it sounds like the last few times you saw him you were giving his boat a push in the opposite direction . . . sitting back and waiting isn't likely to change the current of the ocean . . .

So . . . I think you need to bring it up.

Tell him how you feel, tell him what you're worried about, and tell him what you want.

Tell him you love him and need some reassurance.

On the phone is fine, in person would be better.

If you "scare him off", I submit he was already out the door anyway.

And if you never ask, and things never happen, you'll regret it forever.

Good luck.

Let me know how it goes.

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 15, 2016

Boy Problems

Dear Bro Jo,


I'd really like some advice about a boy I know, and I'm at a current point where I don't feel comfortable opening up to my parents about it, so here is my story.  (Sorry that it is so lengthy!).

I started high school this year and in that school, there are a mixture of 2 elementary schools literally down the road, and I happened to go to the smaller, French immersion one, and when we registered we had the choice to go into Extended French which is immersion or just regular.

I chose the regular as I am terrible at French and all my best friends and the majority of my classmates from my elementary school chose the extended French!

I was put into 5 out of 8 classes with people I didn't know. It was really hard at first, but I started to make friends with some people (yay!).

 About 3 months after being friends with the new people in my life, I started to develop a full blown crush on this guy - we'll call him Bob for now!

I had the butterflies, speechless-ness and everything for. I fell for him HARD.

He was always so sweet and funny and a gentleman-to me especially for reasons I still don't know- and he was pretty much everything I wanted in a guy, except for the fact of him being a non-member. 

Some of my new friends figured out that I liked Bob and started to drop hints about me liking him, but also trying to figure out who HE liked, if anybody. They did it in such a way that he got really upset with them teasing him about it and never giving solid clues of who liked him.

They told me after a few weeks of the 'teasing' and I was upset as they then were pressuring me for a week to tell him that I liked him as 'it's unfair to tease him like this!'

After a week, during free period they chased me down the halls to tell him how I felt and the bell had rung at the point where I had finally stood face to face to him. I told him in the worst way POSSIBLE!

I asked him if I could talk to him for a minute and he said okay. I then proceeded to say almost instantly "I like you..." and he looked shocked.

I panicked and walked away. I felt humiliated!

I know that wasn't the best way to tell him, but the pressure and stress and everything made me scared.

I didn't talk to him for about 3 days until I messaged him on Facebook apologizing for the craziness.

He accepted my apology and we proceeded to become friends and talk literally, every day for 2 months! I was so happy!

But then, he dropped a bomb asking if I still liked him and I was honest. I said 'yes' and then he stopped talking to me for about a month.

I spent that month obsessing and freaking out and regretting the past few months.

Please understand, the whole time after I told him my feelings, he was so hot and cold; one day it appeared to me that he liked me and others he would pretty much ignore me. And whenever we would talk in person or on Facebook, he'd ALWAYS start the conversation!

One of my best friends and I talked about it and she told me to ask him how he felt about me, so I proceeded by sending him a message on Facebook basically asking him that I wanted to know his true feelings so I could move on with my life.

He then promptly replied with "IDK"!

I was so angry, but after that we started talking again!

I was torn!

I ended up liking him still, and he asked me once more how I felt about him and again I was honest-however this time, nothing changed.

This all led up to one day when he messaged me with "Hey sexy! ;)" and I didn't realize it until we ended the conversation.

I flipped out and asked my best friend what to do, because lately at that point he was acting very odd and I jumped to conclusions.

Then the next day, he asked me how I honestly felt about him.

I wasn't sure anymore, and I didn't want to affect his answer so I said 'maybe' and then finally asked how HE felt about me (I never had the guts to do it after the whole 'IDK' incident).

He replied with "I think your a pretty, amazing, nice girl, but I don't think of you as a girlfriend. I think of you more as a friend." and I felt numb and empty and terrible.

We stopped talking after that.

For the past month however, I had believed I was over him and I moved on and I felt great!

We started talking again, but not as much.

We saved the friendship and its been going great!

Unfortunately, I have started to notice him with a mutual friend, and he flirted with her (I know they are honestly just friends though and its all a joke that they play...I asked her!) and each time I see him joking around like that, I always get a pang of jealousy. I don't think I'm completely over him!

I also find myself trying to impress him sometimes again and whenever my friends mention him or tease me about him I still blush!


So, now you know the story!

I want to be able to go to Youth Conference in August ready to meet new guys and not think about Bob anymore!

Do you have any advice on how to get over him?

I sincerely want to be just friends with him and I want to keep him in my life as he really is an amazing person!

Please help me! Thank you!

- Hopelessly Confused

Dear HC,

There are only two things that help us get over our crushes: time and a new crush.

So, give it some time.

Eventually your feelings for "Bob" will cool off a bit and you'll find someone new to like.

Sure, your feelings for him may never totally go away, but that's okay. Just do me one favor, please? 

From here on out be a little less aggressive in your pursuit of boys.

You don't have to talk or text a guy "every day", you don't have to confess to a guy that you like him, and you don't have to find "The Guy" any time soon. 

And, trust me, this whole process is going to go a lot better, with a lot less drama, if you reign it in a bit.

Okay . . . a lot.

Take the hyper-drama down a few dozen notches, will ya?

Remember, your value comes from Heavenly Father and your real beauty from within, and neither is based on whether or not you have a boyfriend.

And, know this: Good Guys don't like being aggressively pursued.

In fact, the Really Good Guys find it a turn off, especially as they get closer and closer to going on a mission.

- Bro Jo