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Monday, February 18, 2013

When the One You Like Likes Someone Else / Is It Okay to Date Non-members?

Hi Bro Jo,

I only started reading your column recently, when I found your casual dating book in my best friend's room.

She and I both love reading it!

It's hard for us to actual follow much of the advice because the Mormon guys in our area don't ask (Mormon) girls out much. There's also a definite girlfriend/boyfriend trend going on.

I finally got my first date a few weeks ago, though (I'm 17 1/2), so I'm satisfied about that for now.

So, the question I have now is about my guy best friend, who is a Mormon also, whom I also happen to love in a romantic way. It took me a while to figure that out.

Anyway, he took the (non-Mormon) girl he has a crush on to Homecoming. I wasn't happy, but I didn't bug him about it of course, because that would be jealous girl syndrome, aka "the Fangirl". I figured I might be able to get him to go to another dance with me later, with a little encouragement.

It's not like I haven't tried to be the kind of person he'd be into. I dress nice, I work hard in class and on my interests (not just because of him, of course), I try to be happy but honest, and I take care of him when he needs it. I'm always picking up stuff he forgets, etc... I've even done him favors involving this girl even though it kills me a little inside, because I want him to be happy.

And I want to be a good friend and make a difference in his life.

The problem is, I just found out today he and this girl are now boyfriend and girlfriend, and I am extremely disappointed, not only because I like him, but because I thought that was against the church rules (it is, right?) and I trusted him to do right.

He's always seemed to be, like, the 'perfect' guy, although I know he has weaknesses. I know what they are. I've been his friend for 4 years.

But now I'm a little lost because this... is wrong, right?

And as his friend I want to keep him on the right track, but I don't want to pry or be cruel. Should I talk to him about it, like, ask what's going on or something?

Or should I leave it alone and hope he figures this out himself?

I'm graduating soon. He's a grade below me. Who knows if I'll get a chance to go on a date with him now...

But I don't want to be the Fangirl. BUT I want him to be happy.

And righteous.

 Please help. :-(

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

First of all, I'm glad you and your friend are enjoying the column and the book!

Secondly, Casual Group Dating does not require that anyone, let alone everyone, in the group be LDS. 

Knowing that, perhaps you and your friend can expand your dating pool. As long as everyone follows The Rules, their denomination doesn't much matter.

As for the guy you like . . . He'll likely never think of you in "that way" so long as you're willing to be his "back-up girl", which is exactly what you're doing when you coddle (I'm sorry, "help") him with his other romantic interests.

You're in the "friend zone" and the only way to get out is to let him know how you feel and stop letting him treat you like a non-girl. (That means that he's treating you like a buddy, not a potential date.)

Now, I'm not sure that you telling him anything is going to make things . . . "better". It's not likely that he's going to dump her for you and, given your thinking about boyfriends and girlfriends (which IS correct, by the way) you don't really want him to be your boyfriend anyway. Right?

So you best bet is to say nothing but act differently. (I know, I know, I always say that "communication is the key", but this is, I think, one of those times when the best form of communication may not be verbal.) Stop giving him help with other girls, stop acting like he's the sun, moon and stars, and instead widen that dating pool and get yourself some dates!

In similitude of the wishes Heavenly Father has for us, we want those we meet and mingle with, those we care about, to chose eternal joy over worldly happiness, but each is free to chose their own path.

One last clarification: having a boyfriend or girlfriend in High School is, in my opinion, a Bad Idea, but I also understand that it happens; I don't recommend it, but I wouldn't say that someone is necessarily "unrighteous" because they had a teenage relationship.

Now what two people may be tempted to DO in that relationship, if they do those things, can be quite wrong, and the pressure of teen relationships can make teen life very difficult, but a kiss good-night after a Casual Group Date or occasionally holding hands is not something I would classify as a spiritual disaster.

Hope that all makes sense,

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for your advice!

That all makes sense. Your view on non-LDS kids being OK too is really helpful. I am making an effort currently to get other dates.

Now - I think your view is that it's not OK for girls to ask guys out?

But what if that's the only way you'll get dates?


- NW

Dear NW,

I know it sounds old fashioned and against current social trends, but some things are eternal . . .

When a girl asks out a guy, if he's . . . NOT a nice guy, he figures he's going to get somewhere.

If he IS a nice guy, he feels that she's uncomfortably aggressive.

Sorry, that's just the way our little minds think.

Girl-ask-guy events can be the exception, but even then I recommend that the girl only ask a guy whom she's already gone out with. (And, btw, I give the same advice to guys when asking girls to formal dances: only ask a girl you've already dated.) See, there's just an element of desperation when a girl asks a guy out, and let's face it . . . social unfairness or not, it IS true.

You want to ask guys out because you're frustrated that they're not asking you. I get it. I understand.

But I also know how guys think, and I'm telling you that you won't be doing yourself any favors. It may seem like splitting hairs but, as I've said in the Guide to Casual Group Dating book, the key is to get THEM to ask YOU out.

And you can be really blunt about it, too. "You should ask me on a date" is very powerful. "Will you go out with me" is not.

 Good luck!

 - Bro Jo

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