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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Hesitant Boyfriend - Part 1

[Readers - Looking forward to your discussions, comments and analysis on this new 3-part series. Part 1 is today (June 22nd), Part 2 next Friday (June 29th), and Part 3 will be published on the first Friday in July (the 6th).  So? What do you think?  - Bro Jo ]

Dear Bro Jo,

Here's my problem in short:

I'm 19, my boyfriend's 29 and an RM. This may sound bad, but it doesn't bother me at all, and he doesn't care, either. Neither of our family's has a problem with this, and my parents are in fact several years apart.

We've dated for over 5 months now, and this is both of our first relationships (never dated anyone else for more than a few weeks).

We are both aiming for a Temple Marriage, and both active in the church. We're not in the same ward, but over the summer the wards in our area are combined and he drives me to church and we sit together every week.

Basically, we've talked (a lot actually) about getting married. The problem is that he keeps saying he's not ready, he's worried that he'll be taking me away from life experiences (didn't say specifically what), and I don't get it!

Why is he waiting? We get along so well, have never had a fight, and he's very good to my younger siblings, my whole family loves him.

Something else you should probably know is that he's in the process of repenting. He used to be addicted to porn, before his mission and relapsed after his mission. He's been completely honest with me, is seeing his bishop and it's been going very well.

Everything about us just feels so right, but I don't want to pressure him, maybe I'm just being too impatient for him to make up his mind but I think he might be the one. His bishop has told him to have a short courtship and short engagement (he believes in the long courtship, short engagement) because a long courtship can get people into trouble as much as a long engagement. I know he doesn't want to jump into this, and he's naturally shy and hesitant about everything, but how long should I expect to wait? And what should I do or say to him in the meantime?

Another factor is that I'll graduate from college next year and have my driver's license, which would make married life easier, but a year seems soooo long to me. He really thinks we should wait til next summer, if at all. I don't know what to do...

-Confused and Impatient

Dear Impatient,

Okay. Here's my "because I love you enough to tell it to you straight" opinion:

He still has a porn problem, and he's not Temple worthy.

When a 29-year old man who's an RM says he's "not ready" for a Temple marriage, it’s a HUGE Red Flag. In his case it means he's not yet worthy to enter the Temple again. (That's not true of every 29-year old LDS man, but it IS true of way too many of them.) The reason he's telling you "a year" is because he figures that's how long it will take to get his spiritual act together. (Many forms of Church discipline require that repentance be demonstrated over a certain length of time. For some transgressions a year is common.)

I submit to you that he's being PARTIALLY honest with you. He's told you his issue. He's told you he's working on it. But he really isn't making any progress because he hasn't stopped the sinful behavior. His parents are "fine" with the whole thing because they're hoping you can help to save their son, and he's figuring that because your only 19 he's still got some time to . . . mess around, before he gets it all together.

He's figured that he can quit this addiction cold turkey whenever he wants, but he can't.

And he hasn't.

When he does finally get it together, and is ready to take you to the Temple, then, IF you're still available, he's worth consideration.

But you shouldn't wait around.

I say break it off. Tell him you'll keep dating him as long as he's making progress, but you're going to be dating other marriage prospects as well. No more talk of marriage until he's holding a Temple recommend and is ready to use it. Until then, you're just the safety net he's using that allows him to keep screwing up.

I know it sounds harsh, but trust me. Addicts need to know that we're not going to just sit around waiting for them to stop self-destructing.

Tough love is what I think this brother needs to get his act together.

And, this is important, if he balks or argues or tries to make you feel guilty, you'll know he's not ready to put you before the porn.

And, little sister, its best to find that out now.

Good luck to you both,

- Bro Jo


Laura said...

1) There is no "one" person out there for us to marry. You may be extremely compatible with him, and if he didn't have this problem it could very well work out. But the fact of the matter is, he does have a problem, so
2) he's not ready. You might very well be ready. Only you and the Lord can really know that. You are also so young. While I don't agree with the "you shouldn't get married yet because there is still so much for you to do" (implying that you're young and single and should postpone marriage so that you can have "fun"), I do feel that there are a lot more men out there for you to meet. You'll have your license soon. You will be able to go other places and meet people.

3) This may be a great guy, but I will pull out Bro Jo's "Five A's of Why Not to Marry Someone" - Addiction. It is a life-long battle, and he hasn't finished getting over it the first time. Before he can devote his life to a wife and raising children, he needs to learn how to devote his efforts to battling his addiction. This addiction will ruin a marriage.

Anonymous said...

I married someone who said that he did have a porn problem in the past but it was dealt with. Never believe that, I was married and pregnant before I found out how serious it was. I would say brother Joe is right, he still has a problem. Pray and fast about what to do. It's much better to get out now before things get difficult. Because it will be more difficult to deal with after your married, I know from experience it's not something you want to be involved in.