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Monday, March 12, 2012

Crush on a Future Missionary

Dear Bro Jo,

My name is (withheld), and in a few days the guy I like will be leaving for his mission. My friends and I have talked about whether or not I should write him while he's gone. But I still don't know what I should do.

The tricky part is this: I'm almost 16. He's obviously 19. For almost a year (I know, 15 and 19 is not a good age gap) we liked each other. But we kept it very casual. We talked before/after seminary with a bunch of other people around us. We occasionally texted, and limited our touching to hugs when parting ways. Then in the singles ward he met a girl. I don't know much about her, but his younger sister (who I'm friends with) says she's "AMAZING."

While talking one day about his mission, he says he wished he had left before he met and started dating her. I've heard from both him and his sister that he really likes her, and that he doesn't really like me anymore. I'm still rather smitten with him though. My parents know this, and they think I
should still write him.

I very much want to, but I don't know if it would be too awkward or wrong for me to do so. If it would be okay for me to write him, what are some good things to write about? Should I wait a while before writing him? If it isn't too awkward or whatever, how often should I write? I know to definitely stay away from talking about relationships, and to not get all "mushy" when writing him. But otherwise I have no clue what to say.

- (Name Withheld)

Dear NW,

I pray that he only thinks of you as "a little sister he goes to Church with", and does not "like" you in the way you may have convinced yourself he does. I think (and hope) he's just a nice guy and you've allowed your crush to taint your thinking . . .

Because 15 and 19 isn't just "not a good age gap" . . . it's horrific. And wildly inappropriate, even though you may not agree or find it flattering.

And, for the record, 17 and 21 is bad, too. 18 and 22 is a little better, but still not good. 19 and 23 I can live with.

I'm not trying to be patronizing, but it's important that you, and others just like you, understand that, because therein is the answer to your question.

See, it breaks down like this: if he really is attracted to you and he's 19 and your 15 (and not just being nice or flirty or flattering), then no matter how good he may seem, he's creepy and you need to stay away from him (thank goodness for the mission!).

Now let's be realistic here: the man (not "boy") you have a crush on likes another girl, one that's actually his age. When he comes home in two years, if she's still single (and she probably won't be), then he should date her. If she's not single, he should date women between the ages of 18-24. You'll only be 17, still in High School, and won't qualify.

So, as far as your crush goes: my feeling is: enjoy it, but get over it. Focus on boys your own age and Casual Group Dating (when you're old enough).

If you do write him, and I'm not sure that you should, wait at least two months. Keep it simple and with a purpose, like a holiday or birthday card. If you want to enclose a personal note, make it something like "we're all proud of you" or "keep up the good work" or "may the Lord bless you as you serve Him".


If and when he writes back, don't respond for at least a month, and keep your letter to "how is you mission going, how do you like the place you're at, have you met any interesting people?" kind of stuff.

You don't want to burn any bridges, but it would be silly to hang very much on anything ever happening with this guy.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

Brother Jo dont get me wwrong I love your blog, but I think it would be okay if thay dated maybe a year after his mission IF hes still single, My parents are 4 years apart and theres nothing wrong with that age difference

Dave Johnston said...

To every issue there are exceptions, but I can't advise to the exceptions.

In fact, when people follow the exceptions like they're the rules, they often make huge mistakes.

- Bro Jo

Jordan N said...

@anonymous You'll also notice that he said "18 and 22 is a little better, but still not good. 19 and 23 I can live with." Which I take to mean he doesn't have a problem with 4 year gaps, more of an issue with a 21 year old dating a person still in high school.