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Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Wanna Hold Your Hand - Part 1

Hi Bro Jo,

I've discussed things enough with you that you know the basics of my current life situation - living at home, going to school in town (transferring to an LDS school out west this fall or winter), having hardly any YSA's in town.

The last part has changed a little - there are a few more YSA's in the ward now. One in particular has been asking me out, and since Valentine's weekend we have been going out nearly every weekend. We have a lot of fun. We like each other (at least I'm assuming he likes me...considering he always asks me if I have any plans for Friday night - and if I don't, if I'd like to go do something with him... pretty sure if he didn't like me he wouldn't bother) But - could he also just be lonely and be wanting an LDS friend?

He's a fairly recent convert - baptized 5 months ago. He was a self-investigator for a few years before he was baptized. Looked up on his own as a teenager and got in contact with missionaries when he moved out here to go to school. He's extremely smart and has made a lot of really good choices.

I guess I'm just a little unsure of what to do. See, we've gone out probably 10 times in the last 6-7 weeks. During the third date he offered to hold my hand because it was cold outside, but he said he did not want to get me sick because he was sick (and he knows my immune system is suppressed).

Nothing quite like that ever since.

I'll admit, it's kind of a disappointment to go do all these fun things, get to know him, like him, have a good time with him, even when we're just sitting and talking (which is what we do most of the time) and not get to at least hold his hand.

But I don't want to make the move - I want him to! He hugs me every time we see each other and when we say good bye. I occasionally give hints that are more like invitations, such as saying "oh I'm cold" and shivering a little, and other things like that, giving him the perfect opportunity to put his arm around me or hold my hand or something. Are all guys really just that clueless??? Or is this guy a special case? He usually suggests "oh let's move into the sunlight" at those times.

I have some theories as to why he doesn't ever do anything.... he told me his dating history... when he was in high school in his hometown, before he knew anything about the church, he had one girlfriend.

She was LDS, but she never told him. He found that out on his own and questioned why she never wanted to tell him. He never found out why she never told him, and she was reluctant to give much information about the Church because he would think she's "weird" or something.

Obviously their relationship ended. All he knew from her about her standards was that she had very very very strict dating policies. Like, he was not allowed to hold her hand or put his arm around her until they had dated for a year. And he was only allowed to ever kiss her only once. He did not judge all Mormons negatively because of this - he just assumed maybe everybody was like that when it comes to dating. He had no idea otherwise. He came here to college, had another girlfriend, and when she asked why he wouldn't hold her hand, he said he thought everybody was the same way as that other girl.

However, I don't know that he ever held her hand. He told me he figured out that one girl from home was a bit of a nut job, and I told him it's totally normal to hold hands with people even if they're not boyfriend/girlfriend and they're on a date or something. He ended that second relationship after he saw that they had very different values in life and he was not enjoying being with her anymore.

So, one theory is that his past "dating" experiences have left him with nothing to go off of (he told me that's how he felt after the first one, but I don't know how he feels now after the second one - which ended over a year ago), so he doesn't know what to do.

Another theory is that he is not going to do anything because he knows I'm moving away for school in 6 months and he doesn't want to hold hands because to him, that means a "relationship". Even though to me it does not.

Or maybe he thinks of me as just a "friend" and wants to keep it that way. Which you know, I'm kind of okay with that. It would be ridiculous for me to go out to this large LDS school and expect to hold a long distance relationship with a guy who also needs to do some more exploring in the dating world. I really don't want to do that. BUT - I don't think that means we shouldn't, or couldn't do things that are a little flirty, like having his arm around me or something.

I'm eager to move away and get a lot more dating experience, but it's a serious bummer to be dating this awesome guy right now and not get to enjoy the little perks to single dating.. like holding hands...!

Again, I present lots of opportunities for him. I touch his arm, "bump" into his hand with mine while we're walking, give him a little push when he teases me... but nothing from him. It's frustrating.

Am I being selfish? Or too expectant? Or something else? I don't think I'm hoping for more than I should be (I just want to hold his hand!)..

I've suggested he look at your page . . .

I don't think he has. I'm totally cool with being upfront and direct - I just don't know what to say, or how to say anything without ruining whatever is going on.

Could you answer some of my questions maybe? Point something out that I could be missing?


Thank you,

Cold Hands

Dear Cold Hands,

You're a Serious Single Dater now, and that means a little physical contact is okay and expected.

Yes, many guys ARE that clueless, so the trick becomes how to clue him in without seeming to . . . forward and . . . eager. Right?

I do think you need to say something, like "hey, so how come you don't ever hold my hand?" or "how many dates do you think adult should go on before kissing goodbye is part of the relationship?".

What you're dealing with is probably a combination of shyness, lack of experience, and a fear on his part that the moment has come and gone. Whatever it is, at 6-7 dates you each needs to know where the other stands on some of this stuff. Discuss where the boundaries are and just how fragile you are or aren't.

If it helps, review "The Six L's of How to Get Kissed".

Good luck!

- Bro Jo

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