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Friday, February 17, 2012

There's No Such Thing as a "Casual SINGLE Date"

Whattup Bro Jo?

I seem to have an issue when it comes to the whole dating scene.

It's long and would probably be really annoying for both of us if I were to tell the whole story, so I will try and keep a 5-year story down to a few paragraphs.

I suppose it all started back when I was 13 and she was 12. I did not like girls one bit, but one day I was sitting on the stand at church and she was called up to be initiated into the Young Women's program. For the first time, I had this strange flutter and peaceful feeling come over me. Nicole (name has been changed) never was really attractive to me before, but for some reason I was like "uhhhhh, wow, where did this come from?"

Looking back on it, I have no idea how I was attracted to her other than that one moment. Sometimes I would get rides with her to Mutual activities, since she lived only a minute away from me, but we never really talked. I don't have my journal on hand, so I don't know when or how exactly I came to have a crush on her, but by the time I was 14, I was totally crushing, but kept our relationship as "just friends".

As we came to talk and interact more over the next 5 years, I came to...dare I say..."love her" by the time I was about 16.

What has irked me is that, from talking with my parents, it is real love, not infatuation. Like I would end up spending almost each day thinking "I wonder how her day went, I hope she was happy, etc."

Admittedly, I was a little over-the-top when it came to communication over texts and emails, and the reasons were that I liked her, and she was so similar to me when I was in an environment that did not have really any nice girls my age.

Anyways, since she was only a year younger, and had the same values as I did, we found it easy to be good friends for about 3 years. We would occasionally have the innocent flirting as we got older such as a look or a compliment, but never anything serious.

Then she started high school (she has a late birthday) and she changed.

I ended up not talking to her for a really long time because all of a sudden her behavior totally shifted. The best way I can describe her was "Mean Girls meets the Church".

She professed (and practiced) what she would always tell me her beliefs were, but then she was noticeably more prissy, airheaded, and ditzy. It turned me off, and I kind of ignored her for about 6 months. After that time, she seemed to be a bit normal again, but with bouts of it returning.

In short, we resumed our friendship, and right before she turned 16 I asked her on a casual date. She was super excited on the phone, and could not wait to do our activity, which was horseback riding with my grandparents (whom she'd been taking lessons from for 5 months) and having a picnic on a hill with a little guitar lesson.

All-in-all, it seemed like it would be the perfect first date.

Boy was I in for a surprise.

She was waaaaay not herself.

And it wasn't nervous or shyness.

She was very offish and blew me off a lot during the date, even though I was doing all of the gentlemanly things I'd read about. Both my grandparents also noticed it. (Before you read further, you need to know that she is the queen of flirting. She has had guys hanging on her fingers for the past 2 years, has no fear, and is always bubbly and happy.) This was a darker side of her that I suspected existed, but didn't allow myself to believe in.

The date actually was kind of funny at the end, so I will tell you about it.

We went horseback riding and whatnot, but we couldn't do the picnic because he mom insisted that she be home a whole hour early so that she could go to a 3-year old cousin's ballet recital. So yeah, we basically rode horses for 30 minutes in a circle instead of an hour and a half exploring the ranch. Now get this, on our way back, her mom drove up and took a picture of us (they lived right by the ranch).

I don't think it would have been possible for the date to be any more awkward for her than that moment.

It got worse.

Her brother drove up on a quad. It was actually a pretty pathetic first date after knowing each other for 5 years (and I also must say that her mom is on the wild side, and I think Nicole has inadvertently gone on some dates that were set up by her mother, so it's not like the dating scene is exactly new to her or her mother).

Anyways, I felt really strongly by the Spirit that this one date would put my suspicions to rest, whether for good or bad. They have been put to rest...mostly.

Even though I have not talked to her at all since later that night, in which I had an awesome discussion where I, in essence, told her that I truly believed in the principles that were taught by the Strength of Youth pamphlet and that if she were to ever be on a date with me, that it would be 100% casual and that she didn't need to worry that I would try to make her my girlfriend. (Remember, at this time, I was operating off of the "oh, she was nervous" angle, and after I saw her leave, she didn't seem very excited about the date at all - which, guess what, was her first official one ever).

I felt like I should call to check up on her and tell her what I believed in regards to dating. Anyways, she reciprocated what I said and said she believed the same things, and then the call ended.

Upon further looking at the date, after the moment passed, I realized just how strangely she acted, which is where I am at now:

She has about a billion different personalities, I have had no real idea of who she was for the past 2 years, and even though i have stopped talking with her, i can't keep her out of my head for more than 2 or 3 days. Is it really possible to love someone that you really should not love?

I was attracted to and fell in love with the 12-14 year old Nicole, but even after she changed, I was still holding on to the "she has a good heart" thing. I have been trying to stop thinking and having any feelings at all, but it seems impossible. I just don't want to let go of her. I know for a fact that I did something wrong Strength for Youth-wise, and herein lies another issue with me:

I am too sincere. I know lots of guys that are like Mormon "players". They flirt with all the girls and they say they will marry them and they "get lost in their eyes" and spout off compliments like it's flowing water. I never do that. My belief is that you don't do that to girls if you don't really mean it, or that you don't nonchalantly give them away. I am much more sincere, and I don't really flirt with girls like that. I definitely can if I wanted to, I'm not shy, I just don't believe in telling every girl I meet "did it hurt when you fell from heaven?" or "I think we met in the Pre-mortal existence".

My sincerity is both my blessing and my curse, and because I was 100% sincere with Nicole, it seems that I allowed myself to get attached to her in a way that I shouldn't have, and the more I think about it, it seems that the relationship was lopsided: i think I liked her way more than she liked me. In our entire five years of knowing each other, I was always the first to send the message or call. Never her.

But back to my sincerity, all my parents and EFY counselors tell me that I should never lose that trait, and that my sweetness will be forever loved by my future wife, but it seems like such a curse at times. NOBODY I know takes relationships as seriously as I do. Don't get me wrong, I know how to have fun and be casual with girls. Right now at college, I have tons of them that like me, but only on a "hey, you're kind of fun to be around" level.

I've noticed that this has become an issue when I just recently developed a crush on a girl here at college who is just a month younger than me. I found out that she has a lot of similar qualities to Nicole, however, and when I saw one of those qualities happen, I had one of my "Nicole Neutralizers", where the rest of my day becomes a daze of nothingness.

I have no motivation to get anything done and an air of depression is with me until I go to bed. I find it weird that I did not get sad about my one-sided breakup with Nicole. I don't know if I'm suppressing real pain, or if I really actually am okay with the fact that I don't think she's "the one". I have always believed that it makes no sense to get sad about breaking up with someone if you find out they aren't "the one". You should only be sad, in my opinion, if you find out they look at "stimulating images" or participate in just completely wrong activities that goes against everything you thought they were.

If it's just a "oh wow, I wouldn't want to be around that anymore", then...yeah.

I dunno.

All I know is that whatever feelings I have are definitely not healthy. I just wish that my view of relationships didn't get skewed and there were girls my age who actually didn't want boyfriends. I know i sound hypocritical right now after everything I just said, but I think that I have inadvertently twisted my view of dating and feelings are in general due to years of observing just utter rebellion against everything the prophet has taught.

Here's something about me you need to know:

I am in complete rebellion against almost every behavior I saw in my ward back home. The young men in my ward were flirts, looking for girlfriends, loud, obnoxious, and threw around "I love you" as if it was nothing. I am the exact opposite. But I think that I have some animosity towards such behavior, and that is what is making it really hard for me to just get rid of these feelings.

If you were to watch me interact with people, you would not know about any of this going on "under the hood". I am a completely normal person on the outside, one that guys (and girls) love to be around who is funny, smart, polite, nice, and a cool person to be around (all of those are their words), but I have lots of internal emotional complications that seem to have arose since I allowed myself to be to attached to a girl that just barely turned 16, when it seems that I, while I am only 17, feel like I am in my 20's and expected the same out of a 16-year old.

I hope this made sense to you. I have probably come off as a contradictory, hypocritical, egotistical mess of a person, but I just wrote and wrote without stopping to think about it. I guess in short, my problems are this:

1. I can't stop thinking/feeling for a girl I should not like, but feel like i shouldn't give up on, bet then feel like I should because the way she is goes against everything I've ever wanted in a woman

2. My sincerity makes it excruciatingly difficult for me to be around people i "like-like"

3. The "Casual Dating Thing" has been so skewed and manipulated and shenagled in my home ward that I have no idea what is proper or not anymore, so I have basically put almost no effort into doing it and have basically decided I won't date until after my mission (I'm 4 months from being 18, just to give some perspective)

4. I don't know any girls that feel the same way I do about relationships and dating. They are all either huge flirts like Nicole, or "i want a boyfriend" minded. I can't begin to describe how hard it has been to be around that for the past 2 years. I have almost no trust in wanting to date girls anymore because I am afraid that if I do, they will want a relationship, and if I say I don't, that I will be made fun of or shunned in some way.

I hope this wasn't a bore, any help would be appreciated. I think my story is pretty complex, since it covers 5 years and a wealth of personality issues, so if some things don't seem clear to you, I would be happy to clarify. It IS midnight or something where I'm at right now. LOL

A little too sincerely it seems,

A guy who has deleted this sentence about 3 times trying to come up with some clever sign off . . .

(Just call me Z)

P.S. I will not be offended one bit if your response to this has to be absolutely frank. I need some frankness in my life, I need to know the boundaries so I can stay away from them, and I just want peace. I know I should try to casually date and all, but I can't help but feel I don't need it since it seems that I am totally comfortable in the social realm. It's just all internal and came about after my 5-year thing with Nicole. that's where it all comes back to. Her. I don't know how to let go. I know for a fact that if I can let go of her, then I can have internal peace again. I think that everything else I said was just like leaves on the weed. The roots are her. Everything else is just something else that I probably came up with to justify or something. HOW DO I LET GO????

Dear Brother Z,

The best way to get over a girl is to keep dating, and like it or not Casual Group Dating is what you need to be doing at this point in life. I get that it's not what people in your ward are used to, but no one says that your dating buddies and the girls you date have to be Mormons, either.

In a world full of LDS girls that want more dates (or any dates, even) with Good LDS Guys, it's stunning how many of them are active contributors to the problem. But not all of them. Lots of Young Women are great and fun and would love to go out with a good guy on a date with no boyfriend-girlfriend pressure.

Don't give up!

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks so much for the reply!

I will take that in to consideration.

Also, if anyone else will be reading this, I just had an experience a few days ago that might have shed some light as to why Nicole acted the way she did.

On Valentine’s Day I went on this Single Date with someone, but I wasn't crushing on her or anything. We were both singles, so I asked if she just wanted to do something totally casual and let her know that I wasn't looking for a girlfriend. The weirdest thing happened: I felt the same way after this date as I did after my date with Nicole. The difference between this girl and Nicole, though, was that this girl actually talked and put some effort into making it fun.

What did I learn?

It’s impossible to have a "Casual Single Date", and if it did feel casual, it wasn't really a date. Sure, me and Nicole were with my grandparents, but we were the only teenagers, so it was in essence a single date (I didn't realize that at the time). It really helped confirm in me that double dating is the way to go unless you are looking to be married.

In short, I will definitely take your advice. It actually makes a lot of sense to me! Also, I've been doing some personal reflection after doing an exercise at my Intercultural Peace Building class at BYUH (I am 17.5, jtlyk), I have come to realize that one of the reasons I haven't been able to let go is because of my own guilt. I actually feel bad for what I did to her. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be texted almost every other day....for a me.

It seems that instead of owning up to my mistakes, I got in a box and convinced myself that I was right, so she must be in the wrong, and by doing that, I created this sick and twisted picture of justifications that ended up perpetuating the problem rather than fixing it.

So yeah, a lot of my feelings are the result of my own fault too (but not all, hahahah). Still, I can't blame her for acting how she did. I won't ever do that again hahahaahah

Well, it seems high time for me to start dating correctly.

Thank you for listening! Your reply was as helpful as simply listening (sometimes as I talk a problem out to someone who will listen and understand, I end up seeing what I did wrong/what the real issue is and it helps me out).

I am a changed man, and am now happy and will take your advice to help me get over the last bits of her I still have.


A Happy Bro. Z

Dear Bro Z,

I do what I can.

It looks like you learn about as fast as I do, though.

And, by the way, "you're welcome".

- Bro Jo


Macey said...

Hey Bro Jo,
You said the easiest way to move on was to keep going on casual dates. What if you are a girl and aren't getting asked on any dates? What is the best way to move on then?
Thanks :)

Dave Johnston said...

@ Macey -

Get guys to ask you out!

Click on "Getting a Date"
( to see what I mean.

- Bro Jo