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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Short Distance Between "Kissing Alone" and "Hello Fellow Parent"

Dear Bro Jo,

I am 17.

I graduated from high school this past June and am now attending community college and working saving money so I can transfer to BYU next term.

Here's my dilemma...

Where I work there's this guy that I have become pretty serious with.

Because of where I live and the losers in my ward, there aren't very many people to date, so when this boy first asked me out I was really excited about it, because I haven't dated much before.

Well, he's not a member, doesn't really have much future ambition (well, he wants to be a musician), and I don't think that I will ever want to marry him, but, I thoroughly enjoy his company.

He makes me laugh harder than anyone I've ever met, and he treats me so well. We both know that I'm going away to school next year and that I don't intend on continuing our relationship once I leave.

We spend a lot of time alone, but we never do anything more than kissing. No making out, no necking, no petting. I have very strong feelings against petting, and he knows that.

So I don't really have a specific question, I just want your advice. I know that I should be going on Casual Group Dates, but that option isn't really available, and since I'm in college does that rule not apply to me?

Is it fair to him that I am continuing this relationship even though I know it's going nowhere?

Would it be possible for us to go back to just being friends?

- No Name

Dear Sister,

You know, I had written my response to you a couple times before it finally dawned on me what's going on here.

I wrote about being 17 and out of high school and Serious Single Dating vs. Casual Group Dating . . . blah, blah, blah . . . and then it hit me; the key issue is the situation you've chosen to be in and what that says about how you feel about yourself.

Here's what I'm getting: you're in a "relationship" that you know won't go anywhere, spending a lot of time alone with someone who, nice though he may be, doesn't share your spiritual goals or have your same standards. And why? Because you haven't dated much, and he seems really nice.

I just see this whole thing as dangerous. Remember, I have seven children; I know just how short the distance is between "just kissing while no one else is around" and "good morning fellow parent".

Being a nice and funny guy who shows you attention and is a good kisser isn't enough.

In fact, to be honest, he's lacking the two qualities I pray the men my daughters marry will have:

1) be hardworking

2) be a worthy and active priesthood holder.

If you're going to be Serious Single Dating (which you ARE doing, even though you should wait just a little longer), then there's no point in getting into a relationship with anyone who doesn't meet those two minimum criteria.

It’s not fair for either of you to continue as you are, and lead to a big mistake. You'll never be able to be "just friends", unless calling your relationship that makes breaking up easier. I think you're fine to Casually Group Date him until you head off to school, but no more time alone.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Funny story. I had this really strong prompting to break up with him on Tuesday, and so I did. I was so strongly against it, but it was too strong to deny, so that night I went to his house and broke his heart. He was so upset about it, but we've been able to talk about it and have decided this really is what's best for us right now. I'm really happy about my decision, it's amazing how God really does know what's best for us.

- Sister

Dear Sister,

He does, indeed.

And good for you.

Not that you asked, but when you break up with someone it’s a good idea to get some distance; don't confuse things by acting as if nothing has changed.

- Bro Jo


Christopher Cunningham said...

We are led to believe from sitcoms with a never ending carousel of relationships that we can interchange those we are in relationships with and those who are only friends. Bro Jo mentions it briefly at the end, but the rule that men and women can't stay friends is quadrupedally true for those who have dated. If you don't see this person as a long term marriage partner, then staying near them only tempts those residual feelings to flare back up, and any behaviors that you are engaged in now will start right back up the instant a relationship ever starts again. Also speaking from a man's perspective, the only reason he would ever agree to "stay friends" is because he believes a relationship could start again.

Dave Johnston said...

Absolutely true.

- Bro Jo