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Monday, August 1, 2011

He's Desperate for a Second Date - Part 7

[Readers - What follows is the next letter in a series of emails between myself and "Desperate".  He's frustrated that his dating life isn't going the way he hopes it will.  If you'd like to read the previous letters, I posted parts 1-5 starting on June 20, 2011.  Click HERE to jump there.  I'll post a new letter in this series the first Monday of each month.  Please feel free to comment; I only ask that you be sensitive and sincere.  - Bro Jo]

Dear Desperate,

How have the last couple months treated you?

My 14-year old uses a smarmy voice when he says this, kind of sounds like Tank Evans from Surf's Up, but "how are the ladies?"

- Bro Jo

Hey Bro Jo,

While there is still no success to report (not engaged, not in a relationship), I am feeling greatly at peace with myself right now.

"When the Lord commands us to do something, sometimes he's more interested in our obedience than our success."

Thank you for sharing that with me! I have pondered this greatly over the past few months - I even used the phrase when I bore my testimony last fast Sunday. I have asked out every active LDS girl in my area - and before you say it, I'm not being 'picky', I honestly can't think of one I haven't asked - and I believe I have come to the point where the Lord has 'accepted my offering' (D&C 124:49).

Women don't have the courage to be direct... which doesn't help at all. My married friends are absolutely dumbfounded as to why I'm having it so hard. We have been praying, studying and searching to find out what's wrong... and they've practically given up. Married female friends of mine all uniformly say that the single girls are missing out big time, because I am an absolute keeper once you give me a chance.

My last 2 dating experiences I'll share:

1. A sweet, interesting girl and I had a couple of dates just these past few weeks. She hadn't been asked out for almost 2 years when I came along, and we just went out to 'have a nice time'. Well, I enjoyed her company enormously, she was lovely. After the 2nd date, I said that I wanted to take things to another level - exclusivity; she said she wasn't sure. So, we went out a third time. I still was interested in going further, even though I wasn't wildly attracted to her. She then said "I don't think I'm ready for a relationship right now...".
I think we both know what that means!

2. I started seeing a girl that I was really into. Smart, confident, happy, attractive. We got along great and things were progressing well. Then she expressed almost the same sentiments as the girl on page 53 of "Bro Jo's Guide to Relationships". 'You make me feel special and safe, you're everything that LDS girls dream about finding... but I just don't return your sentiments'.

With these girls, they we're both in their mid 20's, both RMs, and both having a lot going for them. Girls that I would be 'equally yoked' with if you will. And girls you would think would have that next stage of eternal progression on their minds.

I don't know, but do girls have a secret rejection competition amongst themselves? The one who rejects a guy's advances in the most creative way is the most admired of all?

Honestly, I've prayed and fasted about this and it feels right to take a break from dating for a few months. We all need time to rejuvenate, to get that freshness back again. So I'm planning to move forward with my career and my personal goals, not worry about women at all, and just go ahead and enjoy life - although, President Monson's words are in my head (don't have 'too much fun being single'). And that's where I'm at right now.
I enjoy reading your blog posts and your Facebook comments - they help a lot of people, me included. Keep it up!

What do you think of my plans and experiences? Good, bad or indifferent? I welcome and appreciate any advice you (or indeed Sister Jo) might have.



Dear Bro Jo,

Another question I'd like to know:

How exactly did you win over Sister Jo? What did you do to earn her love and devotion for time and all eternity?

Do you know any other similar stories of friends or family members? I would love to hear and study them!!

- D

Dear D,

Good to hear from you, but I've got to tell you that after only a couple months I didn't expect you to be in a relationship, and certainly not engaged.

That's a comment on time, not your value or efforts.

To that end, I agree with your assertion that you should slow down. You said "take a break from dating", I'd say what you need to take a break from is more along the lines of "aggressively looking for a spouse".

Frankly, my brother, I think you blew it by pushing to take things to the "next level" with Girl #1 after only two dates. WAY TOO FAST, my friend. (I think you realize that, now.)

Sister Jo and I were kind of young when we met. Okay, not that young by LDS standards, but young just the same. There was a long time between that and the marriage proposal. It was several months before I finally talked her into going out with me (not that I tried right away - I was in a relationship with someone else when I first saw the future Sister Jo). Depending on which of us you ask, you'll get a different story on which was our first date - a story for perhaps another time - but while she now says that she knew we'd end up together that first day we met, and I say that I started to fall in love with her on what I consider to be our first date, neither of us brought up any type of exclusivity agreement until we had been dating only each other for several months.

I certainly don't agree that both you and I "know what that means"; I think you believe it means "forget it pal", while I think (and so does Sister Jo, by the way) it probably meant "slow down, Mr. Overeager, and try courting me and making me feel special for a while instead of dragging me off to the Temple before I'm ready".

Oh, and I think your line "not wildly attracted to her", is telling as well.  Do you always talk yourself out of wonderful women, jumping ship at the first sign of trouble and thinking that the excuses make it better?

And your story about Girl #2 makes me wonder whether or not your troubles lie not in the getting a date, but in the "advancing".  I know there's pressure to get married in our culture, and I admire you for working so hard to follow the counsel of the prophet, but the same advice I've been giving you all this time still holds true.

Widen your circle.  Keep dating.  Stop pushing so hard.  Be the best "you" you can be.  Relax and have fun. 

And be patient.

Oh, and don't be afraid to go back and date some of the girls you've taken out before again. Feelings can change and grow over time.

Thank you for the kind words about the column. I think this next week might be interesting for you; it's a week of postings about our conversations. (Actually it spills into the next week as well. This correspondence, however, won't post until several months down the road.) It will be interesting, I think, to see what the readers have to say and comment. If they're critical, don't take it too hard; let's focus on the positive things people say and the insight that they offer. Who knows? Maybe a Single Sister will feel inspired to meet you!

As for wooing Sister Jo . . . I don't know that anything can be gained by studying and emulating anyone else's story, but I'll tell you this: it took time, patience (especially on her part) and a lot of work.

 Just like marriage.

- Bro Jo


Kate said...

Hmm, sounds like he's made some progress. But yeah, way too fast. I had one guy grab my hand on the first date, mention relationship on the second, and bring up marriage on the third. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I said "I'm not ready for a relationship right now." Total cop out and I knew it. The next guy I dated didn't mention any kind of relationship until we'd been out 7 times in a row. He was a keeper. :)

Peter & Molly said...

Not knowing desperate's circumstances it's hard to give this advice, but what happened for me was similar. I struggled finding positive relationships. I lived in a place with a limited LDS community. There was an entire Singles Ward so it's not like there was nothing, but if Desperate is as odd as I am, then it takes a special kind of person to put up with you. I moved to an LDS rich area of the country, and had a succession of girlfriends. It certainly wasn't always rosy, but it has turned out well. I don't think it's the solution for everybody, and heaven knows I was hesitant to do it myself, but perhaps for some people it might be a good way to take advantage of Bro. Jo's advice to "widen your circle."

Macey said...

I think he needs to slow down a little. He thinks too much about the agenda and not enough about just enjoying it while it lasts.....

Anonymous said...

I once causually dated a guy that was great fun to be around- he was successful and motivated to do well, an RM, spiritual, and funny. I had more fun on dates with him then any others I had been on, but he wanted to move way too fast (wanted to get engaged within a month of our first date because the Spirit told him I was the one). Because of this, our relationship did not last. Fast forward 7 years, we are both happily married (to others). My husband and I have a child and the last I heard, he had two or three with his wife. My advice- slow down, don't push marriage, and really get to be friends with the girls you're dating- my husband never pushed me or tried to rush our relationship (I was the one who brought up marriage two months after our first date).

Anonymous said...

We girls like to whisper in hallways about guys like Desperate. And that's exactly what we label them. "Desperate."

The one line that always comes up, "He just really wanted to get married." And this line implies that you don't care two bits about WHO the girl is as long as the ordinance is performed. It puts a lot of girls off.

We like to feel special, and I'm not talking about the happy-meal kind that you just take and run. I'm talking "one-of-a-kind" special. We like to feel cared for. Even if there is no "the one" when you brethren want to date us seriously you need to make us feel like we are your "one." More importantly, she's got to believe it, and that takes time.

What desperate needs to do is (again) slow down. Date and become friends, then after a few dozen dates feel out the situation before asking about the next level. He may have already developed a reputation in his area as "the guy who just wants to get married," its going to take time to counter that stigma, but it's do-able.

Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot that has been said already. I'd like to add a comment that one of my best friends has told me, "Relationships are created by 30% attraction and 70% timing". I think one of "desperate"s biggest problems is simply getting a girl, rather than enjoying the process. I have been at BYU eight months and just barely got into a relationship after many failed experiences. Several of them were due to timing. Sometimes its on your side and sometimes its not. But certainly don't get too discouraged because every girl up to this point has only done one or two dates max up to this point. And keep in mind that girls talk A LOT and if they had a bad experience with a guy, there's a good chance that even girls outside her group of friends, i.e. the rest of the ward, will find very quickly. So, if at all possible, "desperate" here might want a change of location. The fish might be all but completely scared away by this point. No offense intended.

Dave Johnston said...

Great points!

- Bro Jo