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Monday, October 10, 2011

Friends with . . . Benefits?

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm 16, turning 17 in February. I've been dating since I was about 14.

I've always had these 'horrible break-ups' and I never seem to find a nice guy. Maybe it's because it's (location withheld) and there aren’t many LDS guys here . . . or maybe it's because I'm picking all the wrong ones.

Finally, I seemed to have found the 'ideal' guy for me. The only problem? Not LDS. He's a Catholic who wants a family, perhaps much later in life.

I'm a junior in high school; he's a freshman in college. He drinks occasionally but he has the biggest heart. His heart, his smile, his kindness, makes me forget about his flaws. I don't want a serious relationship, and he has issues with me being in high school and past relationships made him scared to a real one now. For now, we're 'just friends' but dating-ish. I don't want to say its friends with benefits, but that's basically what it is.

We both have high morals, so it's nothing bad but... Bro Jo, he makes me melt every time I look at him, every time his name pops up of my phone, every time his name pops up on my Facebook page, every time he looks at me and smiles randomly. He loves that I'm a good girl and just like every other girl, I think I can 'change' him. Not change HIM, but his 'habits' he does at college, which is basically drinking. My parents, sister, and my friends love him. I don't know what to do - go for it? Still keep dating? Or let him go because he's not up to my ‘standards’?

Thanks for your time!

- Name Withheld

Dear Little Sister,

NO! Don't "go for it"!!!

Are you nuts?!?

A college age guy that has a drinking problem and hit's on 16-year old high school girls???

(BTW - Do you even know what "friends with benefits" means? It means you're having sex with him, and if that's the case, KNOCK IT OFF!)

I'm sorry, I know this guy gets your head swimming . . . but he's a bad dude. Plus, and read this very carefully, you'll NEVER change him.

Or his habits.

That's "old guy" experience talking.

You're attracted. Infatuated. And clearly not thinking clearly.

There's no way your dad loves a college age guy who drinks getting physical with his daughter. If you honestly believe that's the case, give me your dad's cell number; I'd love to talk to him.

At your age "Casual Group Dating" is where you should be at. You're rushing into adulthood too soon, and frankly much sooner than you're ready.

Looks fade, but addictions rarely go away without someone hitting rock bottom; and the problem with that, Little Sister, is someone like you always gets crushed between the rock and the bottom.

Trust me. I've seen it. I've lived it. I know.

Have one last in public conversation with this guy where you tell him that he's too old for you and not living up to your standards. If he stops drinking, starts going to Sacrament meeting, and stops touching, calling and texting you until you're 18 and graduated from high school, then you can consider dating again.

But, seriously, between you and me, I think if you cut this guy off physically he'll choose to be gone from your life forever, because frankly my dear, that's the only value a 16-year old girl has to him.

And, I hate to be this blunt, but the situation requires it; you need to know that he doesn't love you. How do I know? Because he doesn't respect you. Oh, I'm sure that he says he does, but if he did none of what's happening between the two of you would be happening.

- Bro Jo

PS: Casual Group Dating does not have to be only with LDS guys.

Bro Jo,

Sorry to have scared you with the whole 'friends with benefits', sex is definitely NOT what I meant. Sex in NOT in plans - AT ALL. Making out with him not as boyfriend/girlfriend is what I call friends with benefits, because I do have morals, I promise!

The difference with me and him is we've been friends for 3 years, so the whole college/high school thing isn't such a big deal. With that said, I know he doesn't live up to what my mom and dad wants for me, and I know I can't change him - but somehow even after your reply, I feel like maybe he would change when he actually grows up.

He doesn't necessarily have a problem with drinking; he just parties on weekends - not even every weekend - like a regular college kid. No, I'm not okay with that, but partying in (a non-LDS) college is kind of regular, especially around here.

I know I sound horrible, like I'm okay with what does or I'm making excuses for the things he does - but since we've been friends for years and I know what he went through, I kind of just brush off the bad things he does.

I'm confused with my feelings; I know what I should and shouldn't do.

I've always been 'serious' about dating, I'm not sure why, but casual dating, I'm sure, isn't a bad idea!

Thank you for replying, it really means a lot that someone is there for me.

- Name Withheld

Dear Little Sister,

Well I don't know, friend; I'm not sure that I would define "making out without commitment" (or NiCMO, as it's called at the Y) as "having morals". I'm glad that when it comes to "friends with benefits" you're naive instead of slutty, but you are absolutely making excuses. For him and for you.

You can care for someone without ignoring the bad stuff they do; your quickness to look the other way, especially given your reasons why, is not good. Neither is your attitude of "well, that's just what people do around here". One of the quotes I have on my office wall is from Michelangelo: "The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark".

I'm afraid not of sinful behavior, but that you dear little sister, are setting your standards too low. You are worth more than you give yourself credit for. We're taught to love the sinner, but hate the sin, and I think that if you don't change your failure to do the latter, you're going to be in more trouble than you want. It's the little things that matter. Sometimes that's because, unchecked, they're the gateway to the bigger things.

I have no problem with a quick kiss good night or goodbye after one has Casually Group Dated someone for three or more dates, or perhaps on a special occasion (like a birthday or holiday), but making out should be saved for after one is out of high school and in a committed relationship, preferably with someone that is a serious Temple Marriage prospect.

I think you're allowing your hormones to cloud your judgment. You're not alone; we all do it or have done it. But I think its past time for you to gain some self mastery.

Casual Group Dating IS a great idea! (If I do say so myself.) And let's be honest, you've not been "dating", you've been  in (my oldest daughter uses air quotes when she says this) "relationships".

Dating, little sister, is when a guy makes a plan, picks up, and pays (if he's dating correctly, and you're not letting him off too easy). When someone jumps into a bad relationship, regardless of their age, it's because they're trying to fill some gap; usually it's because they're struggling with their sense of self-worth, and they mistakenly believe that being "with someone" bestows them with value.

It doesn't.

Our value comes from Heavenly Father and his love for us, not from the admiration of others.

One more thing. You may hate to hear this, but it's true: this guy doesn't love you. Regardless of what he may say. Why? How do I know?

Because no man loves a woman he doesn't respect, and you can't respect someone who doesn't respect themself.

We can't expect to be respected when we drop our standards for others and ourselves.

I know that as a Daughter of God you have great individual worth!

Always here for you,

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you for the reality check, I needed it.

Thanks for reminding me of my worth, I needed that more.

This whole thing that you're doing for not only, but everyone, is great. I especially appreciate it.

Bro Jo, you're awesome.

Thanks again. :)

- Name Withheld

Dear Little Sister,

Any time!

(And thank you.)

- Bro Jo


Peter & Molly said...

It is sad when we choose to use intimacy for entertainment.

Bro. Jo's always good for a reality check.

Felicia said...

Here's the best, (besides Bro Jo) that I've ever heard. "Intimacy is the reward of commitment."
How much commitment is she willing to, able to, supposed to give this guy?

Anonymous said...

I'm an older woman who married someone I had known since I was about 14. We hadnt seen each other for a few yrs and reconnected when in our 20s. He drank some- I didnt realize til after we were married that it was a problem. I stayed married to him for 16 yrs before I finally had enough. During that time the drinking went up and down- he quit for awhile and rejoined the church. We both got active at that time- then he started to drink again and it got worse and worse. Dear young sister-- please please really consider deeply the results that could happen in a relationship with someone who may turn out to be an alcoholic- you may not realize it at first. In time, the drink can take over their life-- money that should go to the home, children- bills -- could be squandered on that liquor. You don't want to travel that road- don't even put yourself at risk of it please. Value yourself so much more than that. I dont usually comment on posts but this one struck home with me so deeply that I felt compelled to respond. Please value yourself, Brother Jo's advice may seem dated and unreal to some but its so sound and if followed can help you find the eternity you deserve. Much love from someone who traveled that road and is still struggling to recover from it after 8 plus years.

Dave Johnston said...

@ Anonymous - thank you for your sharing your story and testimony.

Addiction is one of the "Five A's of Why NOT to Marry THAT Person" ->

And thank you for reading!

- Bro Jo