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Monday, January 9, 2012

Why He Might Not Feel Like Dating - Part 1

Hello Brother Jo,

I hope this finds you well.

I've been reading your blog for a while now, and I must say, good stuff my friend.

As I've been reading, I've noticed that I'm in a situation that I can't say many of your readers find themselves in. I'm a single 23 year old member convert of the Church. I'm a priesthood holder and all around great guy, but I find myself turning down more and more dates.  These beautiful daughters of God are wonderful people. Amazing both inside and out, but the thing is, I just don't want to date. At all.

I feel so much pressure from the church and friends to get out there and date and see people and make connections, but I really have no desire. I mean its not like I'm starving for friends or anything, I just don't want to date. I've never had my heart torn out, or was mistreated by a woman. I don't suffer from same sex attraction. I just don't want to be with anyone at the moment or in the foreseeable future**.

I'm not having expensive vacations, or spending to much time with my guy friends or anything like that, but I feel like Everyone is placing this intense stress on me to find someone and settle down.  I'm seeking your advice on what to say to them to get them to cool his/her jets about this entire subject.

I've tried talking to them and telling them  "The more I learn of man, the more I love my dog ", but I don't think they understand that I more or less don't want to date.  I would include the phrase settle down, but I feel that would make it sound like I'm living life in the fast lane currently, which is far from true.


-Happy Being Alone

** I use the word "Foreseeable" because I'm well aware that at the drop of a hat, I could meet a young lady so amazing that it knocks the taste out of my mouth, and force me to eat all of these carefully chosen words

Dear Happy,

First of all, thank you for the kind words.

In a culture where we recognize the temporal and eternal joy that comes from marriage and family, and where every fellow congregation member thinks of themselves more as kin than friend, its to be expected that so many people would be in your business about that next stage in life. That doesn't make it right, necessarily, but its not wrong either.

You've given some pretty comforting answers to the typical concerns about why you're not interested in dating . . . so the question is, what IS the reason you're not interested right now? Because, whether we admit it or not, there's always a reason.


Whether you figure out or admit that to yourself is, of course, entirely up to you. But I submit to you that your reason may be a good one.

I'll tell you, my initial reaction upon reading your email was that you may just be sick of the overly aggressive women you know; what's up with you getting asked out all the time???

I mean, I'm sure you're a great guy and all, but its tough for a Good Guy to see much value in women who ask them out.  They figure that if the girl is so desperate there must be something wrong with her . . . plus it takes the whole "joy of pursuit" out of the equation.

Just before I started dating Sister Jo, I was dating a girl who, on paper, had everything. She was fun to be around, super smart, and frankly . . . stunning. But the girl was relentless! We'd go out on a date and then she'd ask me out again before I could catch my breath and ask her. She was great and all, but it really began to wear on me.

Just one time, I'd think, I'd like to be the person who initiated the phone call or the conversation or the date or . . . well, it was a real turnoff. Twenty-five years later and she's still single; I've wondered if that's why.

Anyway, your opening paragraph has me more worried about the lack of self esteem of the young women you're around than anything else . . . but that's a topic for them, not you.

Then I thought that it's perhaps as you've said: perhaps you just haven't met the right woman yet. Of course, dating others will help you prepare for being a better date for her when she comes along . . . and there's always the argument that you HAVE met the right woman (or, more accurately A Right Woman), you just haven't given her a chance yet because you're refusing to take her out.

Then, my friend, I had this thought: maybe the timing isn't right because there's something else you're supposed to be doing. Maybe you're supposed to be somewhere else . . . doing something else . . . and this feeling you have about not dating is really the Spirit trying to tell you that you need to do this thing, be in this place, at this time in your life.

See, what your describing is the same feeling my oldest son had . . . he really likes girls, and would love to be married someday, but he just didn't feel like dating. There was something else he was supposed to do. . . .

Do you see where I'm leading?

Maybe you're supposed to be on a Mission, my friend.

- Bro Jo


Peter & Molly said...

I really appreciated Bro. Jo's answer. I was a very awkward teen, who dated very rarely, and that certainly didn't change magically when I returned from a mission. I wanted to marry and have a family--eventually, but to everything there is a time. It is a matter of knowing yourself, and your strengths and weaknesses and where you are in your life. I'm not trying to say that we should put off marriage until we can make ourselves perfect. I'm just saying everyone can follow the counsel to get married differently and at different paces without being pathetic or immoral.
When I was 24 I started dating earnestly, and when I was 27 I got married. That timing worked for me, and I am as happy as someone ought to be. Like Bro Jo said, I simply had other things I needed to be doing. On the other hand, I think we often look down on people who get married very young. While there certainly are dangers with that approach too, they also need to be given the respect to do things on their own timing. The Strength of Youth pamphlet says that, "Many young people do not date during their teen years because they are not yet interested, do not have opportunities, or simply want to delay forming serious relationships." We are told the Strength of Youth pamphlet is a good standard for adults too. There is no reason why these same principles wouldn't continue into early adulthood.

Anonymous said...

some people might think that because this man is 23 that he may be "too old" to go on a mission. he'll be 25 when he returns! but i have a friend that didn't go on a mission til the very end of the age limit they allow. he turned 26 while he was in the mtc. he's never said why he waited so long but he is now happily married with a baby and he always says he loved his mission and would do it all over again. missions are wonderful! no matter what the age.