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Thursday, December 29, 2011

When Its Time to Move On - Part 2

Dear Readers,

A year ago today I posted a letter from "Pickled" who had a problem with this guy who was being a real jerk. I told her to move on. (You can read the original letter and my response HERE.)

What I didn't share with you then is that she wrote me AGAIN, less than a month later, still having problems with the SAME GUY!

Her second email and my response (from over a year ago) follow. The goal is not to pick on her or single her out here (she's since moved on . . . several times, I think) but to provoke discussion.

Why do you think people, especially young people, stay involved with people that are a cancer in their lives, especially when their still young and single?

Post appropriate comments below.

Happy New Year!

- Bro Jo

Hey Bro Jo,

It's me again! Same guy, almost same problem, but I just need your advice.

The weekend after this message was exchanged, I went home to visit family and friends, and this guy was there. We all got together as friends to go to the cinema to see the new Harry Potter film. I'd already told him I needed to talk with him, and he'd agreed, but that he didn't want me to 'reject him in front of everybody else'. As it happens, we didn't have time to talk privately about it all weekend, but when we were with all our friends, he was trying really hard to stick close with me, whereas I was trying really hard to do the opposite.

I felt like a child, like I was being stupid about cooties or something! All our friends were aware something was up, but me and this guy have had our fair share of 'scenes' before, so they just ignored it. I think my actions over that weekend really puzzled him. Then, the following week when we'd both returned to our respective Universities, I stayed silent until he called me, at which point I explained that I didn't think we should talk anymore, because the friendship/relationship thing we had was unhealthy.

He was confused, but I think so hurt that he just accepted it. Since then we haven't spoken or texted or anything.

I didn't really think of him at all, except sometimes when I'd feel a bit guilty that I wasn't so troubled by this new gap in my life. Upon reflection, I think I felt a little freer, to be honest, and felt that I could build more relationships with the YSA in my Branch and focus more on things right in front of me. At one point he wrote a facebook status saying 'wishing someone would stop being an idiot and call me', which I wouldn't have even seen if one of our mutual friends hadn't texted me to point out that he was obviously talking about me. I was pretty certain that she knew all about it (she and another friend had gone to visit him at Uni) and I had a hunch that he'd asked her to mediate between us and alert me to this message. I pointed this out to her, and her silence on the subject after that pretty much confirmed that.

Last night, however, I was running the YSA FHE in my Branch and I got a call from him. I let it ring; I had a valid excuse for not picking up and I didn't call him back when I became free. Then this evening he called me again and asked me to go on Skype. He sounded upset, and I couldn't think of an excuse, so I said yes. He told me that my reasons for abandoning him didn't make sense, that he didn't have romantic feelings for me anymore, that I obviously didn't care about him as much as he cared about me because I hadn't missed him at all (which, to be fair, is true - I hadn't particularly missed him. But I basically remained silent and talked only when I had to. It was really awkward).

He reasoned that because he doesn't have romantic feelings for me anymore, that we can just be friends again. I told him that I thought girl/guy relationships were unhealthy and didn't work, which he again found ridiculous. He demanded to know if I'd cut myself off from all my other guy friends - which I've not - but the difference is, I rarely speak to these guys. The people he named, I text them once a fortnight, if at all. I tried to explain the difference, and also tried to explain about your blog. I'd mentioned it before to him when we'd still been speaking, so he knew what I meant.

I sent him the link to your blog and told him to read. We hung up there.

It wasn't a good-feeling conversation. I just find it really hard to tell him exactly what I mean because I feel like I'm telling him contradictory things all the time, like I have double standards. He's accusing me of being unfeeling, and sometimes I wonder the same. I just lost a really good friend; why am I not sadder about this? The only thing I seem to be worried about is possibly having to mingle in the future because we have the same friends!

I used to want him to be a member of the Church so I could date him and it'd all be okay. That went down the drain completely, and I'm beginning to think that what's happened between us, and my reasons for it all, will turn him against the Church completely. I know he'll never accept the teachings from my mouth, but I used to hope that maybe he'd listen to someone else because of his association with me might make him curious. Now I think he hates God and the Church even more. That worries and saddens me more than anything, and I don't know how to fix it.

That was a long rant! I would say sorry, but I think you're used to it! Haha

Sorry all the same,

- Pickled

Dear Pickled,

I think this guy is a cancer in your life. What kind of friend consistently belittles another friend's beliefs and faith? What kind of potential boyfriend mocks you, demands that you put his feelings first, and expects you to do the calling?

You said you didn't mean to make him sound like a jerk, and you didn't, but he is.

First of all, friend or not, you need to stop initiating the contact. If he wants to talk, let him do the calling. People call me "outdated" about this all the time, I don't care. When a girl calls a guy, especially consistently and, in your case, on demand, she gives him too much power over her. It's true now, was true 20, 50, and 100 years ago, and it will be true in the future.

Another thing you need to realize is that this guy may "want" you (um . . . to be his girlfriend . . .), but he doesn't respect you. He thinks your faith is dumb and that you're dumb for living your life that way. No man will ever love a woman he doesn't respect. As a friend or otherwise.

Now, I will say that I think something more may be going on here with him. He may truly think you're dumb and is trying to convert you to his way of thinking, perhaps as some kind of power play; he may also be, although inappropriately, begging for you to testify to him of the truth, perhaps because deep down he knows you're right and he knows that he needs to repent and get his act together. However, even if the latter is the case, it IS NOT a good idea to date someone in hopes of spiritually saving them. People need to be converted from within, not because they have a romantic interest in someone.

This is going to be painful, and it will likely get ugly. Better to deal with it now than to drag it out.

(By the way, I don't agree with this guy that you've been stringing him along. That is, however, further proof that "Guys Can't Stay Just Close Friends with Girls"; you think you're just being nice, he thinks you're acting like you have strong romantic feelings for him.)

Stop calling. Stop writing. If he calls or writes, respond, but he has to make the initial effort Every Single Time. When he's belligerent or insulting cut him off. Hang up. You must demand that he place you on a pedestal of respect. I believe that when you stop letting him badger and manipulate you he'll go away (that's what bullies do). He'll either do that or change (but be cognizant that real change takes time; it doesn't happen in a phone call, weekend or month).

If he asks you out, tell him no. If he acts hurt or bewildered, be kind but aloof. If he asks you why, tell him that you feel strongly about being Sealed for Time and All Eternity in the Temple to a worthy priesthood holder who loves you, who respects you, and who will treat you like a princess and a daughter of God, (which you and every woman is entitled to, by the way). Tell him that you're no longer a child and you're at a point in your life right now where it makes no sense to spend any romantic energy on someone who can't give you what you want.

Don't tone it down. Don't make excuses. Don't try to spare his feelings or give him false hope.

Be clear. Be strong. Be faithful and determined.

With guys "no" has to be very clear and said specifically. Anything else can be heard as "try harder" or "maybe later". Yes, we're just that obstinate (or dumb, if you prefer).

You deserve eternal happiness, and catering to a little boy's ego and demands is not the way to get there.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, you posted the same response to this letter as the response to her first letter. Just thought I'd point it out. :)

Dave Johnston said...

You're absolutely right!

If I gave out prizes, you'd win.

I believe I intentionally gave this writer the exact same advice - Exact Same - because I didn't feel that she'd listened the first time.

Nice catch on your part!

- Bro Jo