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Monday, December 23, 2013

Divorced and Over 30 in Provo - Is There Anyone Out There for Him?

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for your response, I agree with you for the most part, and would prefer to date women closer to my own age, but it has been a real challenge finding them.

Not be a sour sap today, but obviously I am frustrated, which is why I was writing you in the first place.

I really have a hard time finding these good, older, "REAL women" so I was wondering if you might know where these "THOUSANDS of single sisters over the age of 25" that you claim are at BYU live?

I want to move there tomorrow wherever it is!

I actually read your email on my cell phone in the parking lot before Church today, and I looked specifically around today with your thoughts in mind, and came away feeling more hopeless.

First off let me say that I selected my apartment based on numerous statements I had heard that this particular complex (which is a little further from BYU than many others) "skewed older" and did not have the typical abundance of young girls that you find around Provo, but was more popular with older students.

Also this apartment complex offers both single student housing and family housing, so I think it will work out well for me this summer when I want a family apartment when my daughter is here.

My best estimates have the average age of guys in this ward around 26-27, but the average age of girls is around 21-22.

As you would guess with these ages, most guys are juniors through grad school, and it is mainly junior and senior girls.

Girls are always further along in school than guys because of missions knocking 2 or more years off guys schooling, and the seeming underachievement and slower schooling pace of guys in general.

In a typical upper level undergrad class at BYU you have guys aged 24+ and girls aged 20-21+.

Many girls only stay at BYU until they finish their degree and/or get married, and many get married while pursuing their undergrad, so you end up with an overwhelmingly large number of 18-23 year olds making up the vast majority of the undergrad classes, and by nature all the student wards.

I checked on the BYU site, and in 2011 there were only 1,242 female grad students at BYU and 62% of them (roughly 750) were married .

That means that odds are there are only about 500 single women who are grad students at BYU spread out among the entire campus of over 30,000, and split between hundreds of singles wards.

Today I went to two different YSA wards. (my ward, and another ward.)

In my ward I talked with a guy who is a 28 year old never married, male RM.

We talked about your email response and discussed who the oldest sisters in the ward are.

He remarked the oldest girl was DEFINITELY "A", and she was 28, same age as him!

I hate to be judgmental of someone's physical appearance because I know you think I am shallow for saying I sought out "attractive" women, but "A" is several inches shorter than me and easily outweighs me by 50-80 pounds, and I am not a small man.

"A" supposedly works in a call center and does not go to school.

I understand that physical appearance is not the end all, or even in my top 3 most important traits, but "A" is un-dateably unattractive.

I frankly do not think I would be able to do this were I to marry a woman like "A", whom I find so unattractive sex would be non-existent in our marriage.

I also would fear the negative health implications, and genetic influences due to her weight issues which I acknowledge could be genetic.

The 2nd oldest girl in the ward is "B".

"B" is 25 years old, and although she is not textbook beautiful, and is curvy, I actually would be ecstatic to date "B".

Unfortunately/Fortunately for Them "B" is engaged, to a seemingly great guy I respect who is 29.

The 3rd oldest girl in the ward is "C" she is also 25.

She is roommates with "A" and unfortunately she shares a lot of the same physical characteristics as "A", they look like they could be sisters. "C" works at a bakery and is not in school, "C" has told me that her ambitions / life plans are to continue working in the local bakery so she lives in Provo until she meets Mr Right, and wants to get married ASAP like her mission president told her to do.

She then wants to be a homemaker.

I have actually spoke with "C" at length because a roommate was nice to "C" and she erroneously took his friendliness as a sign of romantic interest, and started coming over to our apartment uninvited frequently.

We thought "C" might propose to him despite his never asking her out, and her overt and awkward advances become troublesome because she did not stop pursuing him even after he told her directly he was not interested.

"C" scares me.

"C" has unrealistic expectations.

Beyond this there are about 15-20 girls aged 22-23, mostly 22, I would be happy to date about 75% of these girls, and I am not so judgmental about looks that I write off all but a few.

The girls I would like to date include skinny blondes and curvy brunettes, geeks and beauties.

My ex-wife was Scandinavian and had model looks, tall and naturally blonde, and actually did some work modeling bridal gowns, so I would be lying if I did not say that I prefer more physically attractive women, but I certainly do not let it prevent me from getting to know sisters that are less than perfect looking.

The reality is that 2 of the 22-23 year olds I might be interested in are engaged, about half of those left have "boyfriends" and are paired off.

I have already asked out 4 of the remaining 7-8 age 22-23 girls (the oldest remaining single girls in my ward) in the 2 weeks I have been in this ward. 3/4 said yes.

Two went well and have turned into planned 2nd-3rd dates.

The other one I went on a date with ended up being the one that posted the Facebook post I quoted before.

To fill in more details about that experience she actually approached me at FHE and flirted with me overtly which lead to me asking her out.

I took her to play putt-putt golf, and then to dinner at a nice restaurant.

While playing putt putt she was discussing other date ideas for the two of us. Baiting me to ask her about again.

During dinner she asked me how old I was, and I told her I was 30.

She looked shocked, said "but you look so young," and then asked me why I wasn't married. I said something along the lines of "I was married before, but unfortunately it didn't work out as I had hoped."

She asked if I had been sealed in the temple, and I said I was.

After each question she looked more and more devastated.

So I tried to change the topic and said that I did not really want to talk about my ex, but that I wanted to get to know her.

She ignored that request and asked how many kids I had, that was the question, not if I had kids, but how many!

I said I had "only one daughter."

She looked like I had literally ripped out her heart and stepped on it when I told her that.

It was as if my having a daughter in the covenant was a terrible sin, and was soooo painful for her she could not take it.

She was near silent for the remainder of the evening and no attempts I made to restart a lighthearted conversation succeeded.

She said goodnight and ran up to her apartment when I parked, and did not even allow me to walk her to the door.

I went on Facebook to try to talk to her when I got home, and that's when I saw the post.

I did not message her, but looked back on her Facebook the next day and saw all the other negative comments.

Unfortunately two of the six girls that commented negatively on the post were other girls from my complex, although not my ward, that I would have asked out if the opportunity had presented itself.

While my name was not mentioned in the Facebook post, I am certain it was mentioned in some of their apartments.

That night I felt like my reputation had been destroyed in the complex by that one post alone. Ironically today the girl who called me a "probably a pervert" on Facebook for dating "college girls" was sitting in OUR sacrament meeting today cuddling with a man from my ward, who is a 30 year old, divorced UVU undergrad, and who looks about 35-40 (he is balding).

I think she may have been just playing into the group think, or perhaps she was imprinting her repressed feelings about her beau onto me when she posted the hurtful comment.

Even more unusual, today I off-hand asked the 22 year old girl I am taking on a 3rd date on Thursday, what she thought about the guy who was being cuddled, and she said "honestly I think he is far too old for YSA because he is so old and bald and looks like a professor, its creepy".

That word "creepy" seems about the MOST USED ADJECTIVE by girls these days for describing men they are not interested in.

If he is not their type he is "creepy" if he is their type he's HOT!

Hot or Creepy it's one or the other, there are no good, normal, regular guys who they just happen to not be attracted to!

I think one girl is willing to look past my age / divorce, but not another guys identical age and divorced status, because I am better looking to her.

The difference between "creepy old man" and 3rd date to her seems to be a full head of hair, and youthful appearance.

The difference between "probably a pervert" and "wonderful cuddle partner" to the girl that called me the pervert seems to be either the fact that I have a daughter, or the mood of the day.

I think that these girls do not really care about age when it comes to someone who is only 30, they care about impressing their friends and fitting in with their peers, and a few of them care greatly, above all else, about a guys physical appearance.

Some also feel like a divorced guy is tainted, or automatically bad, and that's unfortunate because MOST of the divorced guys I know did not seek a divorce, they were all left by their wives for one reason or another, some valid, sure some are jerks, but most were left for not so valid reasons.

The one universal thing is that it seems that these girls in their early to mid 20's act like they are 17-18 year olds, and will always give in to whatever the group think is at the time from their peers.

The remainder of the girls in my ward are 21 and younger (ages I consider too young).

A few of these girls actually have approached me flirtatiously because I look about 25-26 years old, but I dismiss them because I think they are too young for me.

If you think all of this sounds really similar to high school drama and ridiculous on its face for a guy my age to be concerned about . . . you are not the only one.

I sat down in another ward later in the day today hoping to feel better.

I went to this ward, which I had never attended before, because a guy I met while eating lunch on campus said had "lots of older girls."

I actually saw him and sat down next to him. I looked around and thought the girls looked younger than in my ward.

Turns out that almost all of them are younger, and the average age in the ward is about 20 for girls.

To this guy who had been living at Liberty Square (basically BYU sophomore dorms), 20-22 year old girls (which made up about half the ward) were "older." compared to what he was used to.

Sometimes I feel like I am surrounded by kids, but I can't seem to find any quality women in their late 20's who are not already married / engaged, divorced because they left their husbands, or larger in size than myself.

I am not asking for physical perfection, a doctorate degree, or virginity, I just want someone I could be reasonably attracted to and have a decent conversation with, who cares about the gospel.

Internet dating is not an option for me as I have had bad experiences with it in the past.

Granted I have only been at this for a few weeks, but the results so far have been disappointing, and sometimes offending.

I do not think that I am asking too much to meet a decent quality girl in Provo who does not hold my past against me, but until I find such a person I feel that I have no option other than to pursue 22-23 year olds, the oldest women I seem able to find.

Thanks for you advice, and especially the advice about answering that I am divorced with humor, I will use that one almost verbatim.


Dear Bro Jo,

I wanted to politely ask you not to share my letters on your blog or Facebook without heavily editing out many details, and running the revised copy by me. While no names are mentioned they describe such a unique set of details and circumstances I am VERY easily identifiable by them and they could not be posted with anonymity as they are.

I haven't heard back from you, but I just looked at the Dear Bro Jo Facebook page today and notice that you are having a tough time finding women the "right" age for me too.

Church leaders are making a big point recently telling college age members to NOT delay marriage, and to NOT allow pursuit of a degree, home, money, or status to stand in the way of getting married.

This is going to lead the more faithful women (the ones I would prefer) to be even MORE likely to get married younger while still in college, because they will be following the guidance of the Prophet and Apostles, and are surrounded by young marriage minded men with the same righteous goals and intentions! 

Playing the devils advocate here, and assuming for a second that there really is a shortage of over-25 desirable single women living in Provo what could I do?

I can not realistically be expected to date women from other counties, because I will have virtually no way of meeting them.

I can't go ward hopping all the way up to Salt Lake every weekend, hoping to meet the 2-3 older girls that might exist in a random YSA ward, and activities such as YSA dances are announced at the stake level, not publicly, so I can't even crash them.

Furthermore I will be too old for YSA in no time!

I can't believe that I am only supposed to be able to date women from Single Adult activities where the age range is late 30's and up.

I am 30 years old and in college, should I really be competing with a 48 year old lawyer for the heart of a 37 year old woman with multiple teenage children?

Like most men, I would prefer a woman my own age or younger than me, with similar values, and who is in a similar place in life.

That makes the single adult program virtually useless for a college student that just barely entered his 30's. 

Does God's Church really have no place for me anymore because my wife left me at the most vulnerable age for single men in the Church?

Am I just left out of His plan of happiness now?

Why can't I reasonably have an opportunity to date quality women, regardless where in their 20's they may be, so that I one day might still have the family I desire?

I know I have not been newly single for very long, but you do not have to be stranded in the desert without water for very long to know that you are in trouble.

Worse yet with me turning 31 soon, I fear that the Church I love is going to build a fence around the only remaining water I can find.

I'm really at the end of my rope here,


Dear 30, 

Well . . . if I didn't think your second email was full of angst-ridden drama, this last one certainly is.

First things first: I always edit any details out of my posts that would easily identify the writer.

But, frankly, your situation isn't nearly as unique as you think.

Secondly, you need to relax.

You haven't been re-single for very long . . . finding someone that's a good fit for you takes time, my brother; your emails make it sound like you're in full-panic, clock-is-ticking, no-time-left mode.  Patience!

I have news: yes, you ARE too old for the YSA ward.

Maybe not too mature . . . but certainly too old.

(Or as you stated, will be soon.)

It doesn't matter if you're in school or not.

Sure, there may be a 22-year old girl or two out there that is willing to look past your age and your baggage and your history and see the valuable guy that you are; but my guess is that it will be harder to find that girl than a Sweet Single Sister closer to your own age, just as you've said.

And you saw the Facebook posts.

Not only are you not alone, but the one thread that seems to be in common is that you're looking in the wrong place.

(I know some of the sisters that suggested you look outside Utah County - as well as a few other non-Utah SA Sisters, and I'll tell you right now you'd be smart and lucky to date any one of them. Seriously, dude, if you knew what I know you'd send a couple of them a Facebook Message and see if they'd be willing to go on a blind date with your sorry behind.)

So stop making excuses for why you can't possibly go any further north than Orem, and widen your dating circle.

Your options are not just 19-22 or 37+, that's just all you’re surrounding yourself with.

You know that.

If you're in the desert, then move to the mountains where there's more water!

I agree: "ward hopping" sounds random and unproductive, but you live in an area Full of YSA and SA activities.

Attend those.

Find out about them through friends and relatives and your Stake Presidency or High Council or Stake Activities Committee or Stake Single Adult Committee.

Meet new people through living your life (school, work, social events).

Instead of judging every female you meet by the "should I marry her" meter, just relax and show all women what a good guy you are.

You may find that some of your best prospects come from attached or "too young" women setting you up with their sisters and friends. (In sales we call those "referrals", and just like missionary work, referrals are "golden".)

Your situation is not the Church's fault (so knock that self-pity blame-the-culture, excuse-making garbage off), nor are you doomed to a life of Single and Lonely. 

I'm sure you're just blowing off steam, but still . . .

And, you know what works wonders?

Stop coming across as so desperate, bro.

You may think it doesn't show except in emails to me and conversations with your buddies, but I promise you the women around you are picking up on it.

Just be you.

Be Happy and Be Positive.

Sure, go on dates, and earnestly seek a companion, but stop acting like you need to find her in the next 15 minutes.

When I met Sister Jo I was just a couple months out of a couple different "drive an hour" relationships. I swore I'd never drive that far for a girl again.

I thought she lived close when I asked her out, but it turned out to be a 2 1/2 drive.

She was worth every mile.

Again, have patience.

Be willing to put in more time and more effort.

Stop trying to pick the low-hanging fruit off the tree just because there's so much of it; get a ladder; climb up to the top of the tree where the fruit is much better.

Your daughter is not a liability; she's an opportunity for you to demonstrate what a kind and loving father you are.  Heck, I can testify what a Babe Magnet children are.  Take your daughter clothes shopping and ask the cute sales girls for help; I promise they'll think you're the hottest, sweetest hero-of-a-guy they've ever met.

True story.

And don't "crash" YSA dances.

That really IS creepy.

Your goal is to marry the kind of woman that wouldn't be caught dead at one of those dances anyway because she feels that, at 27, the last thing she wants to do on a Friday night is get hit on by 21-year old ultra-horny RMs all night long who then "freak out" when they find out that she's not 19 anymore.

You're not a YSA.

You're an SA.

There are four kinds.

1. Those that want to get married, and are still young enough to start a family.  
2. Those that have missed the boat, which is just as well because they're probably happiest being eternally single anyway. 
3. Those who were married, but are now widows and widowers and really still think of themselves as married to the only companion they'll ever need.  
4. Those who are much older, but just don't want to go through life alone. 

You're the first kind; you've got YEARS before you become the second or third kind.

You'll be fine.

Just relax and give yourself time.

- Bro Jo

Dear 30,

A couple more quick notes about letters and the blog page:

1. I edit my own stuff and don't give them to anyone else for approval or verification.  
2. Many letters never make the page. 
3. If a letter does make the page, it is often several months after I've received it AND it’s not likely anyone other than the original writer would ever guess who it was from. 

Hope that's a comfort.

Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving,

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

You're dead on about blowing off steam!

Thanks, you made me crack a smile.

- 30

Dear 30,

Glad to hear it!


- Bro Jo


Frank Pellett said...

Having been there (divorced with kids and way above the young-college age), I'd also recommend Bro Jo's advice. Relax. For me, it took my spending some time just being friends with those around me (whatever their age) and getting more comfortable with being just me. You're not running out of time, though I know it's really hard to be patient when it seems everyone but you is connnected.

I'd also recommend you get to know your institure teachers better. Once they get to know you, they might even know a young woman who might be perfect for you.

Just don't rush it!

Craig said...

30 is not a YSA.

But 30 isn't really a SA either.

30 is a MSA (mid single adult).

If I were in Utah right now, I'd be hitting up one of the several MSA wards which abound. They're just like YSA wards, but with the benefit of meeting women closer to your stage in life, people from ages 25-45. The ladies there are all in the first category of single adults (the ones who want to get married and start a family), and you're more likely to meet that 27 year old who wouldn't be caught dead at a YSA dance at a MSA activity than anywhere else.

Check out this website
Describes everything you need to know about who MSA are, activities they have, and where their wards meet.

Share it with everyone else who needs it!

Anonymous said...

One major issue has to do with his child. No women with children are in single's wards, and shallow or not the reality is most young people don't want to marry into a pre-made family. So you should be looking for widows and divorcees, particularly those with children. You're right, that's a much smaller pool than every single woman alive, but that's even more to Bro Jo's point about patience. Good Luck.

Danielle said...

It takes a strong woman who knows herself to take on another woman's child. And then to add a civilly divorced but still temple wed thing... of course women are going run for miles.
I know it sounds terrible, but I think it's reality.
Young YSA women are looking for someone who is free, and having a child and having been married makes you less free.
Being a SA, the child wouldn't worry me. However the temple marriage would. I would want to know that when I marry someone in the temple that it's going to be for eternity and not until Heavenly Father makes the decision after the resurrection.
Unfortunately his past is going to have a big impact on the women who are going to be interested in him.

Bro Jo said...

@ Craig,

I typically have a "no comments with links to other websites" policy; "Dear Bro Jo" IMHO needs to be free from advertisement and endorsement, but your blog is doing a good job providing information for and to a segment of the Church that I've been concerned about, spoken and written about, and advocated for for quite some time.

And I think it's a good resource.

Send me and email; let's you and I talk some more.


- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

As a female YSA over 25 who has/ had many roommates, visting teaches, friends, and so on who are 25-35, female, and single, here is where I find many female, older YSA sisters:

1. Be willing to look closer in your ward. Many of us “older” YSA are not the most outgoing, forward, or well known- many times these older singles may not know many people in the ward- they may be in attendance every Sunday but no one in the ward aside from roommates and the bishop know their name. Lack of outgoing personality/ introvertedness is why many older girls are still single- meet everyone in your ward, especially the quieter sisters, and you may find the older ones.
2. Institute: all my evening (at or after 6 pm) institute courses tend towards grad students or working professionals looking to socialize, with more females than males.
3. Parties and other non-ward activities: many parties, hikes, game nights, and so on can run a mix of YSA and midsingles: I have been to parties, where, at 25, I was the young one. Get to know people in your age range, even if you are not interested in dating them (or they are your own gender), make friends, and text to find out what is going on Saturday nights.
4. Similarly, friends can be a great source of “referrals” or blind dates; again, get to know more people, male or female, whether or not you are interested in dating them.
5. midsingles, as mentioned by other commenters, is worth a few tries
6. Be willing to “shop” a ward before moving in by attending it for a week or two before signing a contract. Housing outside of BYU contracted housing also tends to be older professionals, and no undergrads- attend a few of these wards to find a good fit, then move.
7. Get back in touch with a single friend or two living in Salt Lake county, where there are more “older” singles, and ask them to invite you to things in Salt Lake that they hear about. Or join facebook groups that announce these activities- dances, stake activities, and such are usually posted on facebook.

As you look in these places, you will be amazed at how many thirty year old singles are out there- you are far from the only one.

Sarah Rosendahl said...

What's the big deal here? Dating is hard for YSAs (as indicated by the very existence of this website). Dating is hard for SAs. Lesson: Dating is hard!!!! You just need to live your life, perusing your interests, constantly growing as a person, be social, and the Lord will take care of it. At least "30" has had the experience of having a happy marriage (if even just for a time), and having a child. Some people don't even get that much in this life.