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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cheese Gets a Stalker - Part 2

[Readers - Part 2 in a 5-part Special Saturday Series starting General Conference weekend.  Our friend "Cheese" has a guy in her life that really bothers her.  She's talked to her parents, but they're not listening.  Do they know something she doesn't?  Or is it the other way around?  - Bro Jo]

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you for your advice, it is always much appreciated.

With Peter, I guess I have turned to you because I have talked to my parents... One or two times a week for the last year... They know exactly how I feel about Peter and Big Cheese has been backing off a lot but Mama Cheese just never stops. She is this way with almost every guy though. I think Mama and Big Cheese have actually gotten to know Peter better than I have. When he is at the house he talks to them, and I will run off and do my own thing.

In my Ideal world Mama and Big would have gotten the hint the first time I sat down in their room with them and said “I don’t like Peter. He Is nice, but he gets on my nerves. I don’t plan on spending much time with him and I hope you are okay with that.” Peter would have never had the opportunity to learn enough about me to like me. And I could just go on dates with people that I actually enjoy spending my time with.

In my slightly less Ideal world Mama and Big would have gotten the hint when I sat them down after Peter came over one time, and I said, “I would rather have bamboo spikes wedged under my nails than spend another evening with Peter.” Peter would have gotten the back off clue when he was over for 5 hours and I didn't say a single word to him.

But we are in the real world... Any and Every time someone brings up Peter, Big Cheese starts going through the list of “Required Character Traits For a Husband” They are 3 things and everything else if optional, and then he points out how Peter has all of them and tons of the “Bonus” stuff.

I have also tried to sit down with Peter and try to get the message through his thick skull that “I’m NOT interested!” I sound like a jerk. But I don’t care anymore. I’m just so sick of my parents and the way they practically worship Peter. And the way he cant decide he likes one of the other girls that are falling at his feet. (He has a fan club at the high school he went to)

I just don’t think talking to Peter will be effective until Mama Cheese stops spoon feeding me to him. Because If I tell him flat out how I feel about him and Mama and Big Cheese start sending me to group activities with him It won’t be effective.

How do I get my parents to validate my opinion? I don’t want to sound like some snobby teenager and say ‘It’s my life” but it is. I don’t want to spend even one more evening with this guy, let alone eternity. But I just don’t know how to make my parents accept and understand this. I have told them Everything I have told you and more, and with them I told them all the details I was too lazy to type, and/ or just chose to leave out. I really do love them, and I know they want the best for me, but is it really that good for me if it makes me miserable?

Thank you again.


Dear Cheese,

Ah. I see.

You know I like your parents . . . and I make it a policy not to interfere . . . but there comes a time in each of our lives when we have to stand on our own two feet. You may be at one of those moments now. You've already told them all you told me and more, and their not hearing you; it’s time to stop beating around the bush and make your opinion clear and blunt. (Try smiling, it will help. And use that non-defensive conversational technique where, when you speak to them, don't use the word "you"; don't say "you aren't listening to me", instead say "I feel like I'm not being heard". It works miracles.)

Tell them "I just want you to know that I really can't stand Peter, I'm tired of feeling pressured to date him when I don't want to, and until I change my mind ON MY OWN, I'm not going on anymore dates with him".

Then be quiet and back it up with your actions.

Be stubborn.

The next time he's at your house waiting for a date, don't go. If they try to embarrass or push in front of him, just look him in the eye, and tell him "Peter, I've already told you and my parents that I'm not interested in dating you right now; I'm sorry about this situation, but I'm not going".

It may be a bit painful for all involved, but that may be for the best.

It might be helpful to divide and conquer. If Big Cheese is more of an ally right now, confide in him. Ask him to help you talk to Mama. Talk to him by himself and tell him how what your mother is doing is driving you crazy and ask his advice. If you can get him to buy into the solution because he's part of it, you'll be that much closer to having your problem solved.

What do you think?

- Bro Jo

Dear Cheese,

I was thinking about all of this again this morning . . . maybe a less confrontational approach is best. Stand your ground, but quietly. Bide your time.

Peter's supposed to be leaving for a mission soon. When he does a large part of this whole thing will go away. In the interim, just don't date him.

I know that may seem easier said than done, but I think there are some things you can do.

When Big Cheese talks about how he thinks Pete has all of the qualities you should want in a husband, have some replies ready. Instead of refuting the "evidence", agree with BC, but point out your concerns. Phrases like "daddy, on the surface he does seem like a Good Guy, but I'm telling you that when he and I are alone he's not the same man; I hope you don't want me to marry someone who's fake to you just so he can get to me" or "sure, those are great qualities, but it would also be nice to find a guy I can tolerate" might help. I know they'd work on me.

As for Mama, I do still think it’s a great idea to have dad help you with mom, and I'd include sharing with him how you think it’s weird that she texts Peter pretending to be you. By asking him how to help you deal with her, I think you'll strengthen that alliance and gain some very valuable insight. You may even want to bring in the siblings. Teach little brother Chunka what makes Pete such a loser, why he bothers you so, and how much what Big and Mama are doing bothers you, and I'll bet he mentions stuff to your parents the way only a younger brother can.

With Pete . . . other than waiting him out, I do still think that you should stop going out with him. As I've said many times, we guys are dumb, and instead of seeing the truth behind mixed messages we often see what we want to see. No matter how many times you sit on your hands, joke about not wanting to marry him, roll your eyes, refuse to talk to him when he's hanging out at your house, or do any number of things to try and "give him the hint", he's never going to get it, especially if you keep going out on dates with him. So stop going.

I know that's going to be difficult, especially if he's waiting at your house charming your parents. Just say no. Or better yet, "no thank you". And sit down. Or walk away. When the parental unit protests, when they say that you're being rude (and let's face it, you kind of will be being rude), tell them that you don't like "date ambushes"; tell them that you love and appreciate them, but you're tired of them pushing this creeper on you; tell them you're all "dated out" for the moment; tell them whatever the Spirit tells you is the right thing to say.

And never underestimate the power of prayer and how it can help us know what to say to people.

Between you and me, every time I need to talk to the Jo Kids about something important, when I remember to pray first, it goes A LOT better.

Again, Good Luck,

- Bro Jo

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