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Friday, November 29, 2013

Marriage, Mission, and Messing Around - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo,

Hello again!

I know you haven't heard from in in a while (time flies), but I thought that I could give you an update on my situation along with thanking you for your help.

First of all, I am no longer dating the guy that we previously talked about.

We were eventually able to reign in the physical side of the relationship, and we were able to get to know the other person a whole lot better.

So, thank you for the counsel in that regard.

But our relationship didn't last very long after we got everything under control after Christmas break.

The beginning of the end was probably after I told him I wouldn't be able to marry him until I had known him for at least a year.

At that point we had known each other for about 4 months, and he was wanting to get married at the end of the semester (around the 7-mo mark).

This frustrated him greatly, and he started asking why.

I told him honestly that I needed to know him better before I committed the rest of my eternity to him, and his response to that was, "you've already known me for 4 months; what's four more going to do for you?"

I stuck to my guns, though.

That conversation was a very lengthy one, and by the end of it we were both upset, confused, and probably a little hurt.

But we worked through it, and I thought everything was going to be fine.

This whole time I had continued to wrestle with the mission decision thing, and since I wasn't receiving a strong prompting either way (continue the relationship and maybe get married or go on a mission), I was getting snagged on that decision and wasn't moving anywhere or making any progress.

My not knowing what to do was killing me, and I could also tell it was killing him, so I decided to take the mission off the table and focus on the present and the relationship.

I thought and prayed and pondered about it for over a week, and the answer I kept getting was "not yet."

I knew that he was waiting for some kind of indication as to where I was at, so I knew that I had to tell him at some point.

Our conversation on the night that I told him the answer I had been receiving was a very short one.

I explained everything to him (taking the mission off the table, focusing on our relationship) and told him that I wanted to see where this was going to go, but that my answer was that I wasn't supposed to marry him yet.

After I finished talking he just sat there for a minute, and when he responded all he said was, "Then I guess we should just break up."

So we did.

What I wanted him to say was, "Ok, that's alright. We'll date until it is time."

Something more along those lines.

But he didn't, and I couldn't make him stay in the relationship when he didn't want to.

Of course I was upset, but overall I felt very good about the break up, and that was my confirmation to me that it was a good thing that it happened.

A few days later he contacted me (Facebook messaged me, actually) and asked if I could talk.

I replied by saying that I didn't want this to turn into a verbal bashing, that I wanted to maintain my generally positive thoughts that I had of him, and he agreed to that.

Essentially what he wanted to talk about was getting back together; he realized that he missed me, that our relationship was a good one, that he wanted a second shot.

He wanted me to think about it and get back to him later with my answer, but I had been preparing for this, because he had done similar things in the past.

I told him that I was not going to get back together with him for multiple reasons.

For one, I made a personal promise years ago that I would not knowingly go back into a situation that would cause me heartache, pain, or grief.

Second, the people around me who cared about and loved me were also noticeably upset because I was upset; I was not going to intentionally put them through that again.

Third, I told him that I felt that it was the right decision to break up.

I also told him that I would rather him use this as a starting point to becoming a better person, to not dwell on the negative parts of it all because that's what I was going to do.

All in all, even though he was clearly upset, the conversation ended well.

A few days later, the more malicious behaviors started emerging.

He had some photos of me and my roommates from last December that he deleted off of Facebook.  (If the devil had a favorite media source, it would be Facebook. I'm currently on a hiatus from it right now.), and my roommates were all quite upset by that. I messaged him to see if I could get them from him (my mistake, I know. I shouldn't have contacted him), and he replied that he deleted them entirely, from his computer too.

He knew how important those pictures were to me, so I knew that he must have been struggling a lot to do such a rash thing, so (my bad) I asked him how he was doing. He responded that he was hurting but not too much, and asked me how I was in return.

Again, this is my mistake, but I responded truthfully, saying that I've been sad and lonely at times, but that I've been coping with it all.

I purposefully didn't try to make conversation out of my message, because I knew that I shouldn't have been messaging him anyways.

But he responded with a more lengthy message detailing a few things, such as how he glad his friends are finally getting him back to his "normal self." He's also done a few other things, but to save you some time and strain on your eyes, I'll just stop here.

Basically, I couldn't help but feel that he was intentionally striking out at me.

My theory is, is that he wanted me to strike back at him, so that he could move on quicker by hating me.

But I am proud to say that I didn't respond (because I knew that I would have a hard time being very civil) or strike out at him, and we haven't communicated since.

That all being said, I want to thank you for your advice.

It helped me take a step back and think about the things that really matter in a relationship.

After you pointed it out, I acknowledge the fact that hormones are very good at clouding judgment, and after I accepted that I was able to address that concern.

After seeing how he acted before, after, and about the break up, I very glad that I didn't marry this guy.

I've also talked with my Bishop about the things I mentioned to you last time.

Fortunately, the boundaries we crossed weren't as cutaneous (nice word, by the way) as I once thought they might be.

But you were right-- it was nice to get it all off my chest and the healing/repentance process has gone much better since then.

Thank you for being there as a sounding board for confused and troubled individuals like me.

Now, if I may, I'd like to address your post script. I found your blog by following a link off of my roommate's Facebook page (I guess it's not as devilish as I once suggested...).

She had found one of your posts inspiring and had shared it on her wall.

As for reaching younger audiences, I'm not sure.

I'm tempted to suggest contacting the editors of The New Era, but I don't know how rigorous the process is to be put in there.

However, having a Facebook page is very beneficial for you, because I know a lot of the kids in my home ward use Facebook a lot.

For better or worse, our world is becoming increasingly more digitalized, so any efforts you make in that regard will probably help you out.

Again, thank you,

- NW

P.S.:  Sorry it's so long again. I didn't intentionally write you a novel.

I guess I just needed to vent a little bit.

Dear NW,

Good to hear from you!

It's interesting, I think, what happens to some "relationships" when the physical component is reduced or removed.

While I strongly believe that marriage shouldn't be put off or avoided once we reach Young Single Adult age (and I mean that as "post mission" for guys, out of High School for girls), I also thing that we need to teach our Young People that Marriage (and a Mission, btw) isn't just a box on the List of Important Eternal Stuff to be checked off.

Yes, I think it's possible to know someone well enough in a few months to know that you would be Good Eternal Companions for Each other, but I think that's much rarer than we tell our Young People.

The Bottom Line is, like all revelation we seek, anything other than a "yes, go ahead" is a "wait" or a "no, don't do it".

One should never agree to marry someone they don't know well enough to Trust.

And that word - TRUST - is a very important thing.

Love is great!  Attraction is important.  But a marriage without trust is doomed.

I'll always love Sister Jo, but that doesn't mean we're always "in love" with each other.  (You imagine how easy it is for me to get on her nerves!)

And, cute though I'm sure I am, I'm certainly not the "hottie" I was (if I ever was) twenty plus years ago.

But we trust each other.  And that makes all the difference.

And it doesn't sound to me like you could trust this guy.

Glad you're well.  I'm always here if you need to "chat".


- Bro Jo

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