Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published several times a month.

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, "Dear Bro Jo" is not an LDS Church website. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

Nothing here is meant to take the place of talking with parents, leaders, or Church authorities. Please, if you need serious help, talk to a trusted adult, leader, and / or professional counselor.

Please like our Facebook page, and check it often for Discussions, Notes, Events and just General Good Stuff!

Everything here is copyrighted. If you're going to quote any part of anything here, please get Bro Jo's written permission. You can reach him at

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lost in a Relationship with a Non-member Girl - Part 1

[Readers - the following Letters from "Lost" are Part 1.  Part 2 will publish in two weeks. - Bro Jo]

Dear Bro Jo,

So, I went on your site for the first time today...

I have a pretty big question, but I want to know make sure this is the right email and all... and whether you personally check all the emails you are sent...

I'd kinda like to ask you about a relationship that's been stressing me out... I'm a 16-year-old guy and I'm going way off my rocker...

My relationship with a 16-year-old nonmember girl has been making my life tricky... It's one of the few things I just can't figure out... I've been dealing with depression and this has been stressing me out considerably... I want to talk about it, but I'm kinda uncomfortable to start out with... Could you ask me some questions to get me started?

I'm okay with you publishing what I say, but someone will have to edit the final message I end up sending to you so it makes some sort of sense... :D Anyway, I'm seeking for answers... and sometimes too prideful and stubborn...



Dear Lost,

All emails to "Dear Bro Jo" come directly to me.

I'm not sure what questions you want me to ask, and I suspect that like most of our readers you already know the answers . . .

Whatever you ask my opinion on, I'll tell you the truth, even if it's unpopular or you may not like it.

I'm not a licensed or trained therapist, I don't speak for the Church, and I'm not to be considered a substitute for talking with priesthood leadership.

But if you want to correspond about your situation, I'm game.

For starters, you could tell me why you feel depressed, what's making your life tricky, and why you're not doing what you deep down know you're supposed to do.

(See? I warned you!)

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Just deciding I was going to send you this email changed my outlook. I went to the Lord, instead of my friends, to look for a solution to my issues, and I found much-needed help and advice on dating from you site.

I really appreciate this. :)

I'm going to shift a little, because as I've been pondering, praying, and searching, I've had slightly different concerns...

This girl, we'll call her "Dora", and I have had probably a little too intimate of a relationship for our own safety and happiness. We've spent a ton of time together and done a lot of 'hanging out'. I'm yet to take her on a real Casual Group Date, though we've spent one on one time going to dance classes and movies at home, etc...

We've done a lot of cuddling and holding hands, though she won't kiss me unless she's in an exclusive relationship. I care about her a lot and she cares about me a lot. Because she is not Mormon, she wants an exclusive dating relationship. I need help understanding why we have been advised to stay out of such relationships. Part of me, it might be the natural man, seeks for that...

Anyway, how can I heal our relationship and communicate to her what the best choice is? Is there any opportunity for us to ever date like that? (Her mom is anti-Mormon, but she's neutral... :/)

How can I bring the spirit into our relationship so we can be close, happy, and comfortable with each other and with the Lord?

Oh, and how much and what kind of cuddling is allowed in church standards? (The For Strength of Youth says you shouldn't lay on other people, but that's the only thing I've found...) I miss her... I distanced myself because I was concerned... I'll do what the Lord would have me do because I know that will bring the most joy, but I often wish for a closer relationship with her. This whole thing is just so difficult for me.



Dear Lost,

That "difficult" feeling you have? That's exactly why youth are counseled not to get into serious relationships. Life as a teen is hard enough without all of the tension and drama that teenage exclusivity brings.

For the record, at your age No Kind of Cuddling is acceptable by Church standards. You've already crossed the line. I know it's tough to believe this at 16, but the teen brain is so messed up with hormones and chemicals (that's science, not prejudice, by the way) that the cuddling, kissing and romance really affect your ability to think clearly and make sound moral decisions.

Don't get me wrong: cuddling and kissing is great! I highly recommend it for married and soon to be married people!

But for teens? No.

Let's face it, the distance from hands around each other to hands on each other is very short. Add a blanket, turn out the lights . . . and from where you are then to "what shall we name the baby" is very short indeed. (Trust me, I have seven children.) So knock it off.

In fact, you shouldn't be trying to interject the Spirit into your relationship at all. You're 16 for crying out loud! You're supposed to be Casual Group Dating lots of girls!

Yeah, I understand: you'd like to do some smooching. I don't blame you. I have no problem with a quick kiss good night under the porch light at then end of a date (check out "Bro Jo's LIST of KISSING APPROPRIATENESS"), nor do I think there's anything wrong with holding hands while out on the date, but where you're headed . . . the make-out and cuddling sessions, the serious committed relationship . . . trust me, it's more adult than you want in your life right now.

- Bro Jo

No comments: