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, January 16, 2017

Does He Want to Be More Than Friends? - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo,

I ended up having a DTR with Jay.

It turns out I was completely wrong about his advances. I talked to him. I asked him, "I noticed lately that you have been a little touchy towards me lately and I was wondering if you meant something by it." He thought about what he was going to tell me for a few minutes. He told me that he is just a physically affectionate person and that he feels super close to me that he treats me like his family. He said that he cares for me a lot and that he loves me but not in a romantic way.

I lied. I said that I didn't like him in a romantic way. I honestly did this because I didn't want there to be awkwardness between the two of us and I thought that this might be the best way to do it.

I have a neighbor that is friends with my roommate. I knew that she liked Jared. She and Jared went on a date last Friday and I overheard her say that she didn't even know if she liked him in that way.

It hurt so much hearing her conversation that I had to leave my apartment. I didn't think that it would hurt this much. Like I can't sleep because I keep thinking about it.

Did I read the signals wrong?

Do you have any tips to help me get over him?

Should I tell him that I do like him?

Sincerely,

- Sissy




Dear Sissy,

I don't think you read the signals wrong.  I think Jay has clearly made some mistakes here ... some he may later come to regret.

I understand your self-preservation move, but wonder if it wouldn't have been better to be a little more upfront ... (meaning, yes, you should have actually told him you like him)

There are four things that help us get over someone:

Bro Jo's List of How to Get Over Someone
1.  Be social with your friends
2.  Date other people.
3.  Be of Service to Others
4.  Be Patient


Hang in there!

- Bro Jo

Friday, January 13, 2017

Does He Want to Be More Than Friends? - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

I want to start off and say that I really like your blog. I have read quite a few of your postings and they are quite enjoyable.

This email may be very long, but please bear with me.

I am 19 years old. I am at my third semester at BYU-Idaho.

I love it here.

I am in sort of a dilemma. I like my best friend.

His name is Jay.

He is wonderful.

He makes me laugh, he is there to listen to me, and he'd do almost anything for me if I asked.

Jay and I have gone on a few group dates together either he asks me or I ask him.

Let me tell you how we met.

He was in my FHE group my first semester. I got to know him as a friend and we got pretty close.

Then I left for a semester because I am Fall/Spring.

I would text him or he would text me at least twice a week to four times.

It would get a little weird at some points because he would send me nerdy pickup lines

(He's a chemistry major) or other cheesy lines via text message.

This confused me a little bit.

I returned back to BYU-Idaho Spring semester.

When I came back it was as if I had never left.

Then things with Jay started to get a little weird.

He would put his head on my lap or rub my back.

I was a confused by this.

At this point I had begun to have feelings for Jay.

After Spring semester, I returned back to California. (Where I am originally from).

In between Spring and Fall semester there is a 7 week break.

Over that break I would either get a text from Jay or talk to him on the phone every day for an hour.

This went on over the whole 7 week break.

Now, we are in Fall semester/present day.

Jay will put his arm around me, cuddle me, rub my back, touch me when he is laying on the couch and I sit next to him.

Jay is one of my really good friends in life.

This might sound cheesy, but I can't picture life without him.

Now this is where things start to get complicated. I have talked to Bob, a good friend of his and this friend is a good friend of mine too.

Bob told me that touching people is Jay's way of communication to others to show that he loves them but Jay doesn't touch anyone else the way he does to me.

The reason I bring it up is because Jay tried to hold my hand last Saturday.

We were watching a movie and we were sitting on the couch and he tried to hold my hand.

He did this for about 15 seconds until I moved my hand away.

This is when things started to get complicated.

I talked to another mutual/good/close friend of ours, Randal, who lived with Jay for 2 years.

He told me that Jay is very timid when it comes to girls. He's never had a girlfriend before.

He also said that I need to be patient with Jay and that I should see if it works out.

The reason I bring this up is because I am not sure about whether or not that I should talk to Jay about it.

I don't know if I should have a DTR in essence.

I have been told not to bring it up to him because he might feel rejected or hurt.

I have also been told that I do need to have a DTR with him. I know that in relationships communication is an important factor in relationships. I also know that he is never going to truly know what I feel or think if I do not tell him.


So my question is:  do I or do I not bring talk to Jay about our relationship?

I honestly feel that we are very compatible and that we have the potential to get married.

Also, Fall semester is soon coming to a close and I will be gone for another 3-4 months.

He is also doing student teaching and will be leaving after Spring semester to go to either graduate school or go teach at a school somewhere.

I just want to figure this part of my life out before it is too late and I may never see him again. In advance, thank you for any advice that you have to give me.

Sincerely,

- Sissy




Dear Sissy,

I don't understand:  why did you move your hand away?

And if his friends, the ones who know him well, are recommending the DTR, why are you hesitant to do that?

Jay sounds like a great guy, he likes you, and you like him . . . dare I say that you're falling in love with each other???

And that seems like a very good thing.

Two things I'd add to the excellent advice you've been given:

1.  clearly this man needs some training, so give him some; extend your relationship communication to include inviting him to do things that need to be done (i.e.:  "I think you should ask me out for this weekend", "it would be great if we could go to this dance", "you know, Jay, girls love it when their boyfriends bring them flowers")

2.  I think the two of you need some more "just you" time.  Hang outs and you asking him on dates aren't really good ideas until you're officially a serious couple, and even then you need to continue going on dates - forever - (Sister Jo and I try to go out on dates once a week).  He needs to get more comfortable with you, and while calls and texts have helped him open up a bit, you both need to be having good long talks In Person and with no one else hanging out with you.  Go for walks.  Go ice skating.  Wander down for a hot cocoa.  Simple things that will give you opportunities to know each other better . . . to look into each other's eyes . . . and perhaps give a smooch or two.

Have fun!

- Bro Jo


[Dear Readers,

Part 2 of this post will be published Monday, January 16th.

- Bro Jo]

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Getting Away from the Unrepentant Porn Addict

Dear Bro Jo
,
First off I want to say how much your blog is a blessing. I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone and then when I saw your blog I felt like I should email you.

I am 24 years old. I have a strong testimony of Christ and His gospel. I want to get married in the Temple with a worthy priesthood holder someday.

Up until a week ago, I knew exactly who that man would be. "Tom" and I had been friends for a long time. We got to know each other better. I invited him to institute and church and it was all going well. He confessed to me that he liked me and asked me to on a date.

I told him that even though I thought he was great, I planned to get married in the temple and therefore we should stay friends.

He didn't give up.

Over time I begun to grow feeling for him too but always kept them to  myself.

He then took the missionary lessons and once I saw his interest for the gospel was legitimate I confessed my feelings for him and we started dating. Things were great. He got baptized and we were official. Literally it all felt like a fairy tale and I soon fell in love.

Well that when the problems started.

We got a little too comfortable being alone and I started staying at his apartment overnight several times. We did cross our previously set boundaries a couple times and even though nothing serious happened we felt like we should talk to our Bishop.

I felt so relieved of all the guilt and shame.

We repented and I felt as if I was once again okay with the Lord.

Everything was going well and we even talked about marriage but then I began to feel uneasy and doubtful.

We decided that we would pray and fast to see if marriage was the right thing for us.

I never got a "yes" and I asked "Tom" if he had gotten an answer and he said no.

I began to feel like maybe there was a reason I didn't get the feeling of "He's the One".

I continued to pray and I finally asked him if there was something he needed to tell me.

And that is when my heart broke to a million pieces.

"Tom" has been addicted to pornography since he was 13 years old.

It shocked me to the bone because there had been a couple instances when he would want to show me something on his phone and I'd see an inappropriate image.

When I confronted him about it, he would just say that it's just something on Facebook one of his friends posted and promised me that he doesn't intentionally look at it.

He had lied to my face. I immediately broke up with him and asked him to please seek help and talk to the bishop and to never speak to me again.

A whole month went by and we didn't speak. I even attended church elsewhere so I wouldn't have to see him. I was depressed and the little self-esteem I had was completely destroyed. I began to lose weight the unhealthy way and I was constantly comparing myself to other women around me.

I was even tempted to look at pornography just to see "why" he had chosen that over me.

Of course I could never compete with those women.

I am old fashioned and far from what they look like. It took me a while to let the Lord help me. I also went to talk to the Bishop and he told me that "Tom" had been going to Church without missing one meeting and that he though "Tom" would fight his addiction.

He told me that I was the reason he would fight it and that I could be of great support.

I just teared up and nodded but inside I wanted to shout I wanted to tell him about the hell I was going through and I didn't ever want to see him in my life.

I wanted to tell him about how I couldn't see myself in the mirror anymore that I would avoid it as much as possible. That my testimony of celestial marriage had faded and I was so angry for allowing myself to share my most dear goals and dreams.

But I though this is the Bishop and I should obey his counsel.

I prayed and fasted for guidance.

Then one night I went to his apartment to say sorry (I wasn't sure for what). I told him that the way I reacted to his confession wasn't at all Christ-like and that I wanted to help him. I told him that I still loved him and I wanted to be there for him.

Over time he later started blessing the sacrament again and had routine interviews. I felt like I was healing on the inside as he was repenting.

We even got to attend the Temple with the youth and did baptisms.

When I was there I got this amazing feeling that I was doing the right thing. That if we fought his struggle together, we had a chance at getting married in the Temple.

Everything was going well after that and I knew that people don't overcome addictions overnight so when he confessed his slip ups I would try to react in a loving and understanding way.

Over time I would ask "so, how's it going?"

He knew what I really wanted to know and he said, "It's going great".

I felt like we actually had a chance at this.

Then of course Satan doesn't give up.

Just this past weekend we had a little argument as all couples do over our scripture reading and praying.

We had slowly stopped doing things like this together and he seemed to always be distracted and distant so when I asked him what was bothering him he let me have it.

He said that he was mad at me for talking to one of my good friends, "Jerry" (who lived several states away and is 10 years older than me).

"Jerry" was there for me when I first found out about "Tom"'s addiction.

"Tom" told me that his jealousy triggered him to get back at me so he would watch videos.

He said that he didn't think it was fair that he was trying his best and I was going behind his back talking to other men. I asked if this was a one-time thing and he said no. His face told me I probably didn't want to know how often.

About "Jerry" - part of it was true.

The times we broke up I did talk to "Jerry".

He was the only friend that had dealt with a similar situation. I didn't want to talk to my friends or family about it because I didn't want anyone else knowing of "Tom"'s problem.

I didn't want people to judge "Tom".

He told me all of this right after church this past Sunday. I had been fasting for guidance once more and right then and there I told myself, "You are going to have to deal with for a very long time".

If I married "Tom" was it always going to be like this?

Every time he was upset at me he'd go and look at things he's not supposed to?

So I broke up with him. I really do think it's for good this time.

I can't say I didn't try. I gave it my all. I trusted in the Lord and "hung in there" as Bishop says.

It's a terrible thing when you feel as if the only person that can fix you is the one that hurt you.

This is where I need you Bro Jo ( and Sister Jo because I am dying to be able to talk to a woman about this).

I am scared that when I go in to talk to Bishop about why I will no longer be attending church at his ward he's going to try to talk to me into staying and "endure to the end".

I've gone through too much sadness and pain that at this point I think it would be best if I just stay away from "Tom" and everyone that will be asking tons of questions.

I guess I need to know if I did the right thing?

Will "Tom" be better of without me?

Will he still continue to fight his addiction if I'm not there to hold him accountable?

I'm not going to lie- I do love him and wanted to marry him in the temple but I think about what our future looks like with his addiction and it scared me that it will only lead to divorce.

I would love to hear what you think Bro Jo and Sister Jo.

Thank you and God bless you.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Using you as an excuse to succumb to pornography is definitely a sign that "Tom" is A) not quite free of the demon, and B) not quite ready for a mature relationship.

I hope and pray that both things will happen for him.

I personally think you're being a little too dramatic.  Christ is not an "all or nothing" guy, and we need to strive to be the same.

That said, I agree with you that you need to break things off with this man for a while.  And Sister Jo agrees.  She also feels very strongly that you're making a mistake by letting "Tom" become your excuse for not attending Church.  In that way, your actions would be no different than his.  When times are their most challenging we need to grow closer unto the Savior, not further away.

Face the pain and let Christ help you though.  Go to your meetings, partake of the Sacrament, and be of service to others.  That will help much more than running away.

We both are also wondering if you and "Jerry" should date . . . sounds like a nice man.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for responding.

I will continue to attend church (as it's the only thing that keeps me going) just not at the same ward as "Tom" - at least for now.

I know it may be partly immature on my side but the last time this happened Church became rather uncomfortable for me.

The members kept being pushy as to why I broke up with him.

"Jerry" was a missionary in our area a while back and is a great guy but I don't think he has much interest in me other than being a good friend/advice giver and he lives far away.

I will take your advice and continue to grow closer to the Savior. I hadn't thought much about serving others.

Perhaps this will keep my mind off the negative aspect of my situation.

Thank you so much!

- NW




Dear Readers,

Through the Savior we can overcome all things, including addiction.

One of the things that concerned me most about this email was how the writer failed to see how manipulative "Tom" was.  From my perspective everything about their relationship looked like he was controlling her . . . including blaming her for his problems and faults.

That's never good.

Sisters, there are So Many Great Guys out there!  Please don't sell yourselves short.

Brothers, there are a lot of Great Girls out there just praying that you'll find them.  Don't give up!

- Bro Jo