First of all, I'll introduce myself: I am a sixteen-going-on-seventeen Young Woman, having been born into the Covenant and raised in the Church by a strong LDS family. I have been home-schooled all my life, and therefore have always been very shy and I guess "socially-awkward" because all the people I've ever known were my family or in my Ward.
My mom claims I was born boy-crazy, but to be completely honest, my first real conversation with an unrelated boy was when I was twelve. But since then, I've made a great effort to become social, but as I'm home-schooled, I have very little experience with all the drama with which public-schooled youth are so familiar.
What I'd like to discuss with you deals with high-school relationships. I'll start at the beginning of my first:
All my life, my parents had taught me about casual dating and not dating until I'm sixteen, and I wanted to follow that. But a couple months before my sixteenth birthday, I started talking with a boy, whom I'll call Walter, in my stake (so yes, he's LDS) with whom I'd had little interaction in the past. He was very sweet and flirtatious and easily convinced me that I was the most beautiful girl he'd ever known; needless to say, since I was socially naive, I fell for him. Five days before my birthday, he asked me to be his girlfriend, and I accepted. The day before my birthday, we kissed.
Truthfully, we were blissfully happy together for six months. Since I'd recently moved into the state, he was my only close friend--my BEST friend. I was happier with him than I could ever remember being. Our friends were jealous of our relationship; they'd tell us, "I want a relationship like you guys have!" I thought we were "perfect." My parents had a similar courtship, dating young and accumulating in marriage, and this boy and I joked that we would "continue the trend."
Then, the day after our six months anniversary, I caught him swearing. I have very high standards for the boys I date, and would not seriously date an unworthy Priesthood holder. When I confronted him about it, he apologized and said he never usually swore, so he didn't know what had come over him. Throughout our relationship, we had a pact that we would NEVER lie to each other, even with trivial things, and I trusted and believed him. I brought this incident up with a girlfriend, who was also his friend, and she admitted to me that she was aware that Walter frequently swore--at school, when they hung out, even at church activities--but Walter would change when he was around me, cleaning up his act, because he knew I wouldn't approve.
I was so hurt by this discovery that I broke up with Walter. Apparently, my doing so devastated him (his mother even admitted that he had cried). Because I still had strong feelings for Walter, I challenged him to change permanently, and after a few weeks all of his friends claimed he'd stopped swearing altogether. So Walter and I got back together...but I was a little guarded, as now I was aware he would lie to me.
We lasted about three months longer, until one day we had a pretty nasty argument (we used to NEVER fight) and he suddenly told me he didn't like me anymore, and asked for a "temporary break." The next week, I saw him "with" another girl, and he treated me like I'd never meant anything to him. So I cut the cord completely. This was almost two months ago. Since then, whenever we chance to come upon each other, we argue. I'm the type of girl who hates to be mean, who everyone likes--I have never had enemies before, and the fact that my enemy had once been my best friend, my "true love" (...), cut me even deeper. I've never had anyone I "don't talk to," and always thought the arguments my friends had that kept them away from each other were immature.
My problem is, this is my first real relationship, and I'm not sure of the rules or what's abnormal. Recently, I tried to patch things up between Walter and me--I didn't want a relationship, but hoped we could work out a friendship. He told me he could never "just be my friend" because his feelings for me were still too strong. (Which, after what he did, doesn't exactly make sense.) All of my friends tell me to just forget him and move on, as if this is something easily forgotten.
But...even though he hurt me, it honestly makes me feel SICK to think that Walter is out of my life forever. He'd been my best friend, my shoulder to cry on, my first love--we'd clicked in a way that I never do with people; as I'm very shy I don't easily show my crazy side, but I was comfortable enough with him to do so--or he brought it out of me.
As I've said, he's admitted he still has feelings for me (he and the other girl broke up), and I can't deny that I still have feelings for him, too. I DON'T WANT HIM OUT OF MY LIFE. But is that stupid, naive, immature? Is this something that will pass? My rational side argues that I'm much better off without him, but my hopeless romantic side counters that he and I once were happy together, so we can do it again, right? I don't want a "what if?" but I also don't want to make a mistake. I've been praying and fasting like crazy, but I can't seem to get a clear answer.
Is this typical of a broken relationship?
Thank you for any advice you may have. (And please, I'm a writer: I can take heavy and direct criticism. What I think I need is someone to knock me over the head and say, "Duh!")
That's pretty typical of a Broken Relationship.
Regardless of the exceptions that you may read about in People Magazine, "amicable" just doesn't happen very often. In fact it ONLY happens if the two people have discovered a Mutual Uncaring about each other. "Oh, you're cheating on me? Well I've been cheating on you! Ha ha ha! Well . . . since neither of us really cares we should probably go our separate ways, eh? No, I don't care what stuff you get. What's that? You don't care either? Hey, that's great."
Life just doesn't happen that way.
What you may be gaining a testimony of (not to be sacrilegious) is why I say the Boyfriend-Girlfriend Thing is NOT a good idea in High School, and why "Men and Women Can't Be Friends" (or, as seems to make our readers more comfortable "Guys Can Not Be Just Close Friends with a Girl without the Relationship Ultimately Becoming More or Dissolving Away Forever".
Here's the "Duh" moment you asked for:
You saw all of this coming. You knew having a boyfriend wasn't a good idea. You KNEW Casual group Dating is recommended, and yet you get yourself a boyfriend!
Welcome to the club!
We ALL do stuff like that. Hopefully we keep the mistakes to a minimum, but Life and Love happen.
What you need to know is that your desire to have a boyfriend is Natural and Good. AND the experience you've gained (and will continue to gain) from this relationship can be positive and educational. (You realize I'm not telling you to run right out and get another boyfriend so you can learn more, right?)
There are no rules when it comes to relationships, so most everything that happens is normal. (Which, of course, is not to say that anything and everything that may happen is acceptable.)
I do have to say that one thing I hope you learn is that No Companion is Perfect. You could find yourself married to a man for time and all eternity that doesn't swear, promises you he'll never swear, and doesn't the first 25 years of your lives together. Then one day he may hit his hand with a hammer and let loose a tirade that turns the air blue. Will that make him "unworthy" or a liar?
It will mean he's human and struggles with stuff like the rest of us and, like the rest of us, he'll deserve the opportunity to repent and improve.
That said, should you be in a relationship with someone who consistently does something that you find morally repugnant?
Of course not.
Unless you've already married them.
(See how there are no clear rules? Everything seems to have it's exception!)
I invite you (and anyone else that might feel so inclined) to read "Bro Jo's FIVE A's of WHY NOT to MARRY" as a primer on valid reasons to stay away from, or get away from, a person.
(You may also want to check out "Bro Jo's LEVELS of a RELATIONSHIP" to help fill in some of the other blanks.)
I also feel the need to explain just a little bit more about why relationships with guys are all or nothing, that there is no "platonic best friend zone". How did you feel when he got another girlfriend? Hurt? Betrayed? Well there's no way he's going to tolerate being "just your friend" as you go out with other guys, perhaps kissing them, unless he thinks at some point you'll take him back. Why would any guy do that? And what girl wants her boyfriend to spend large quantities of time with his "ex-girlfriend"? Even if it works out now, while you're both in High School, that will only happen if neither of you gets in another relationship (which I think is a Good Idea) and if you both only Casually Group Date, and if neither of you tells the other too much about other people you're interested in or date or . . . hold hands with.
And all of that will change the instant you're both old enough to get married. You'll either marry each other (Very Unlikely - your parents are the exception, not the rule) or marry other people, in which case the "friendship", IF it still exists (and it shouldn't) will go away (as it should). Ask your dad how he'd feel if some good looking guy, married or otherwise, was "best friends" with your mom. Taking her out to lunch. Going to the movies just the two of them. Talking on the phone all the time. Coming over to chat when he (your dad) isn't home . . .
Same thing works both ways.
For now the best thing you can do is get back to The Plan: Casual Group Dating! (Check out "Bro Jo's DATING RULES for TEENS" and review them with your parents.)
Be nice to the ex (you don't want to earn the reputation as a shrew, and you don't want to burn any bridges), and don't stop praying; everything happens on the Lord's timetable, not ours; you always want to have the lines of communication open.
Take heart. It never goes away, but it does get better.
- Bro Jo