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Friday, February 24, 2012

Dating the Pre-Mish Guy

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm a 17-year-old girl and have been in a relationship for a little over a year now with a 19-year-old member of the Church (we'll call him Johnny). We were friends at first, and after a couple months we started to take a liking to each other. It took us more than 3 months to kiss after we had established the fact that we liked each other, so we didn't exactly rush into the relationship. I knew I was very young and naive (still am); which was why I held back being in a relationship. However we became very emotionally attached and of course that comes with physical closeness, so I was being very careful about our alone time, trying to be smart and not make mistakes.

Johnny's in college now, planning on finishing a year of school before his mission. I'm going to college soon also and I knew that we needed to sort of cool down the relationship so it wouldn't be so heart wrenching when he left on his mission. I knew I needed to go on dates with other people during my high school/young college years in order to gain experience, maturity, and know qualities for my future spouse, and that Johnny needed all his attention focused on his mission and not on who I'm dating while he's gone. So, in a nutshell I told him we needed to be just friends; it took a lot of guts.

Johnny took it hard at first, saying there was no way he could just be friends after such a long relationship. I kept trying to help him understand that I was doing this because I loved him (I think I do! Maybe I don't know what love is haha!) and that it was the best for us, even if we didn't like it. I told him I would be a distraction if we kept our relationship going and that he wouldn't be able to get the most out of his mission. He kept making the point that I was a good influence and have inspired him by being an example, but I said by being friends, we don't have to lose that. After a few days of trying to make my point across, he graciously agreed and we are still very good friends. We limit our time together to once a week and no longer kiss or hold hands, say I love you, etc. He's whole-heartedly supported my decision.

Hopefully, after dating and gaining friendships, I'll realize he's the one and marry him (in a perfect world), but I don't want to deprive myself of the chance that maybe there's someone else out there for me, and same for him, because I want him to be happy. But if it does work out, after we've both matured and are ready to dedicate ourselves to one another (perhaps a couple years after his mission, who knows), I'll know I did the right thing and it'll make it that much more meaningful.

It's hard but I'm pretty confident I made the right decision. Do you have anything to give me suggestions on? Thank you!



Dear Hopeful,

You don't need any suggestions from me; you did the right thing and are absolutely on the right track.

The only caution I'll give you, which I sense you already know, is that as his mission gets closer, the temptations for the two of you will likely get stronger. Satan does not like it when we're trying to do the right thing.

Keep the faith,

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm the 17 year old girl who dated the 19 year old ("Johnny"), who is going on a mission soon and we decided to break it off and be just friends, just in case you don't know. Anyway, it has been going well but lately it's been really hard not to be close to him, like just sitting by him and such. Because I still care about him. Where do you think I should draw the line when it comes to physical closeness? It's very hard to be strictly friends after a year of being together. I've met and hung out with at least 5 other boys after we broke it off, so I'm meeting new people and "Johnny" doesn't mind at all, he encourages it actually. So, I feel like Johnny is more like a best friend, I enjoy being with him the most, however I restrict my time with him... But can I be best friends with him? Is that allowed? Haha I just don't know where I should draw the line.

What are your suggestions?

Thank you so much!

- Hopeful

Dear Hopeful,

I think you're drawing the line just fine. Keep it simple. Keep it Casual.

Your friendship with him will go in one of two directions: either you'll be best friends for eternity (we call that Temple Marriage) or you'll each end up with someone else. Only time will tell.

Can you hold his hand, gently kiss him goodnight, or give him a hug?

Only on or at the end of Casual Group Dates. But you don't have to do any of that.

Before he goes, make no commitments or promises to each other.

When he returns, if you're single (and you should be dating while he's gone), and if the interest is there, then by all means, date.

But one thing at a time.

- Bro Jo


Ashley said...

What an interesting post.... because I am currently waiting for a missionary. We never broke up and things are going wonderful :)

Dave Johnston said...

@ Ashley,

Oh, you broke up; you're just not living on a planet I like to call "Reality".

Bro Jo

Mama Cheese said...

Hopeful's comments in her first letter worry me a little. She talks about maybe this guy being "the one" and "the chance that maybe there's someone else out there for me." The conversation with Bro Jo went a different direction, but I wanted to quickly point out that the idea that there is One True Love out there for a person while still dating is dangerous and leads to a lot of misery. You chose your One True Love and stick with him or her for time and all eternity after marriage. But before the temple there will be many good potential eternal companions.