Recently I came to visit some of my good LDS friends and found that two were a little too close together. The guy is just over 15 years old and the girl is almost 15. They are all over each other every time at the church dances, and seem to be dating even though they don't technically go out on single dates. But otherwise they seem to do every other thing boyfriend and girlfriend would do to each other, except for kissing.
They have been "pre-dating" for at least 7 months, and in my opinion really don't think they should get that close together before 16. Everybody knows about their relationship but nobody has seemed to care that much.
Ok, maybe I like the girl a little but I don't think that’s all of the issue. Is there any way to let the couple know that they are pretty much breaking church standards (I think) and that they should cool it a bit without seeming like a total jerk?
You’re right: they shouldn’t be “together”. It’s a HUGE mistake to be exclusive before you’re old enough to propose for O-So-Many Reasons. Here are just a few:
1) The longer they’re together the more “familiar” they’ll become. You say they’re all over each other, well that’s not something that you do if you’re uncomfortable. You don’t think they’ve kissed, but I bet they have. 7 months? That’s a long time and a lot of familiar for smooching to NEVER have happened. Sorry, bud.
2) Exclusivity means not dating anyone else. Obvious to you, right? But maybe not to them. They may not care, because they’re so “happy” now, but I submit that it’s difficult to find that person you want to spend eternity with if you’ve only ever dated one person (or even fewer than 10 people). Yeah, it can be done, but the degree of difficulty makes it very unlikely.
Trust me: People Care. There are some people this relationship keeps up at night.
As a parent, you can tell your kid that you think being in a Boyfriend-Girlfriend relationship at a young age is a bad idea, but once they’re in one, there’s not too much you can do. You can limit contact, chaperone like crazy, establish a communicative relationship with the other child’s parents (and hope to Heaven that they also discourage early pairings – too many parents don’t, which in my humble opinion, is dumb), but you certainly NEVER want to say anything GLARINGLY BAD about the other child, lest you drive Romeo and Juliet closer together.
As a friend sometimes you have more power, sometimes less.
I respect that you’ve confessed a little jealousy. Whether you like Her or envy the Relationship (or both) doesn’t really matter; the feelings you have are real and legitimate.
So what should you do?
Number One is to learn from what you observe. How will you act differently?
Number Two is to still be a friend. We may not like what people do, but we can still love them.
Number Three requires you to draw a line. For the most part this relationship is none of your business, which is also a big part of why you can’t say anything; but you are still your “brother’s keeper”; if things get to the point where Worthiness is an issue, if you truly care for them, then that’s the point to speak up. If they won’t listen to your advice to see the Bishop, you’ll have to tell them that you’ll be forced to go to the Bishop on their behalf, and then follow through with that promise. They’ll hate you for a season, but be grateful later.
Number Four is what you CAN say. You’ll get nowhere, unless you can be really tactful. Something to the effect of:
“Hey, you guys, can I talk to for a minute? Look, I like you both, and it’s great that you make each other happy, but the Touching aspect of you relationship makes me uncomfortable. I know that’s more my problem than it is yours, and maybe I’m a little jealous, but I also am uncomfortable with two people I like so much breaking away from Church standards.”
Bold, but honest. Don’t expect an answer or a change. Just float the feelings out there and let what happens happen. Don’t get defensive if they try to turn things around on you. Just stick to your statement and be grateful that they gave you an opportunity to express how you feel.
At some point, in every relationship (even the non-romantic ones), The Conversation needs to be had.
I can’t promise you that they’ll cool things off, but you’ll feel better for having stood for what’s right.
And set the example by following the Dating Rules yourself.
- Bro Jo