Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with occasional additional posts, too).

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Bro Jo is not a spokesman or authority for the LDS Church. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

Nothing here is meant to take the place of talking with parents, leaders, or Church authorities. Please, if you need serious help, talk to a trusted adult, leader, and / or professional counselor.

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Friday, May 31, 2013

Preparing for a Mission: How Does He Switch from "Boyfriend-Girlfriend" to "Casual Group Dating"?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi,

In the beginning of my letter I would like to say sorry for my English, which is not that good, I do not come from English-speaking country.

I am a member of the Church for 5 years... But, there are still some things, which makes me thinking what should I do.

I have a trouble, I am in age before mission, but I am already a priest.

I also have a girlfriend who is not member.

I saw already a link with similar situation, but that one is a bit different.

We are together as a couple for 9 months. But we never get too close, we always talked, and veery rarely kissed.

But the thing is... that we started talking about the future. Marriage, etc.

I am just a bit more over 17 and I really don't know what to do.

In my country, the Church is not that big, we have only one district and few branches there is only one another YM who is preparing for a mission as well... but what do you think I should do now?

I don't really think that is a good idea to decide about my eternal life in the age of 17...

Another question.... if it is a bad idea... how to end this all up?

Well, I am veeery confused... I miss her every day, and I just love talking to her and cheer her up.

I'm looking forward to receive answer from you.

-  H.anonymous.




Dear Anon,

I know that it's common for boys and girls to try the Boyfriend-Girlfriend Thing at your age (in every country, just so you know), but as you know I don't recommend it. 

I think you should switch from Boyfriend-Girlfriend mode to Casual Group Dating and Group Activities. 

That's not going to be easy; you clearly really like this girl and anything that she sees as going the opposite direction of advancing this relationship towards marriage is going to upset her.

There's no avoiding that, and you're just going to have to deal with it.

She's going to see you telling her that you no longer think it's a good idea for you to be exclusive as a break up . . . and, in a way, it will be.

You can, and should, try to lessen the blow by telling her how much you like her, how you want to keep dating her (but only on Casual Group Dates), and how you think she's great but that you have specific spiritual goals (a mission) after you turn 19, and a girlfriend just isn't the right thing for you right now.

She'll likely be sad, and perhaps angry, and she may choose to react in a very negative way.

The best things you can do are to stick to the plan, smile and be nice, and prepare to weather the storm. Better now than later.

When it's all over and people begin coming up and asking you what happened and why, speak of her fondly and positively; tell them that you think she's great, but now is just not the right time for you to be in anything serious.

If they press you further, explain that you intend to serve a mission for Jesus Christ through your Church, that it's very important to you, and that missionaries don't have girlfriends until they've finished serving and come home.

Your country needs you to be an example of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the joy that comes from being in His service; I believe others will find that joy through the examples you set.

May the Lord continue to bless you,

- Bro Jo

Oh, and don't worry about your English. It's a tough, often nonsensical language, and you're doing very well.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cheesy Wednesdays: Bad Dating Etiquette

Dear Bro Jo,

I have a question. Why else would I be writing you? :)

So last night was homecoming for a High School near me, and even though I do not attend school there I was asked. :)

I hardly knew my date; I only met him at a mutual friend's birthday party a few weeks ago, but everyone told me he was a nice guy (and he seemed like a super sweetie) so I was happy to say yes.

The day date went great!

Our group played water balloon volleyball, took pictures in a park, went out to a nice diner. Pretty much the standard.

The dance was super fun also.

We had a great time and he was a perfect gentleman up until about the last hour, when things got weird.

For about 15 minutes he would just walk away and talk with other girls and then come back, walk away, come back, walk away, come back, and then, finally he just disappeared altogether for 20 minutes straight.

It was really awkward for me because I didn't know anyone in the group (who, to their credit, stuck with me except when it was slow songs and they were dancing with their dates) so I wasn't sure what to do so I finally just went and Sat on a bench on the side of the floor all alone.

Some guy (I don't know who) took pity on me all by myself and came and asked me to dance so I said yes.

I PROMISE I would never ditch (or even flirt with) another guy besides my date, but I was all alone and had been ditched myself.

Then my date came back while I was dancing with the other guy.

He was furious.

He basically chewed me out for dancing with another guy and then wouldn't talk to me for the rest of the night.

The last slow song finally came on, he asked me to dance so we did, but while on the floor he continued to give me the silent treatment.

As the dance came to a close he leaned in for a kiss, which I skillfully dodged by ducking my head under his shoulder.

What the weird!?!

He goes from "I can't stand to talk to you!" to "Hey baby, how 'bout some sugar?" in like 20 seconds flat!

I'm so confused.

Did I do something horribly wrong?

Should I have not danced with Other Guy?

Should I have just called my parents to take me home when my date disappeared?

How is a girl supposed to handle this kind of strange behavior?

Or is this totally normal?

Was I just lucky when it didn't happen last year?

What's the etiquette for coping with a date who is etiquette-impaired?


- Cheese




Dear Cheese,

You didn't do anything wrong.

A guy (or girl for that matter) should never leave the side of his date without an explanation, and never to hit on other girls.

Once that happens, in my mind anyway, the date is over.

It would have been better to go up to him while he was talking to the other girls, join them all in conversation, and see if he had the class to introduce you as his date.

After a while though, especially if you wanted to be of service to the next girl (and if he failed to apologize or clue in) then you could have pulled him aside and taught him a little Dating Etiquette. In a nice way, of course.

If he just flat out abandoned you, and couldn't be found, a call to the family for a ride home would have been in order.

I don't blame you for dancing with the other guy, but I think the above actions might have been better. 

Likewise, while it was absolutely appropriate for you not to kiss this jerk, a lesson could have been taught there as well.

"What are you doing??? You can't just abandon your date to go talk to other girls, chew her out because she danced with a guy who chose to treat her better than you did, and then expect her to kiss you. Come on, buddy! Get a clue!"

Okay.

Maybe not that harsh.

But you know what I mean.

Learning a lot out there in Happy Valley, aren't you!

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 24, 2013

The 90-10 Rule - The Who Gets Asked Out One - A Guy's Take

[ Readers - 

The following was a comment left on a letter I posted on March 29th, 2013, "The 90-10 Rule - The Who Gets Asked Out One".  I've chosen to answer it as a separate post, here.  I look forward to your comments!




Dear Bro Jo,

I have also heard this at BYU that 10% of the girls get 90% of the dates. 

Girls in the 90th percentile are upset about never really getting asked out. When those girls express their concern to their bishops, bishops go to elder's quorum and tell the guys that they're not dating and that they should ask girls out. 

That does get a lot of guys dating again. 

However, they go and ask out the 10th percentile of girls, leading to more dates for them, more competition between guys, and still few dates for the large group of date-barren girls. 

Guys then get blamed because there's such a large group of girls that doesn't get taken out, they're told they're not dating enough, they start dating again but only with the cuter girls...the cycle continues. 

 What do you think can be done to help alleviate this problem? 

Guys usually don't know ahead of time whether or not a girl gets asked out much, but either way they take out the girls they're attracted to. 

Are the guys to blame for there being so many girls that don't go out on dates? 

Is there more that girls should do besides wait to be asked out and blame their shortcomings on guys? 

Is it really a guy's responsibility to spend time and money on someone that he's just not attracted to when he can spend that time and money putting himself out there for a girl he really IS attracted to? (ESPECIALLY because someone else might beat him to it if he's out with another girl). 

As a YSA guy, I feel that guys are only responsible for looking for a girl to marry. If they happen to go for the same girl that others do, then they go for the same girl, but they want to find a wife. 

Girls are awesome, they really are. 

However, guys will go for who they're attracted to and that's it. 

I personally hate competing for girls, but I have to do it anyway if I want to go for girls I'm attracted to. 

Just as a company shouldn't blame customers for not buying their products/services, girls shouldn't blame guys for not asking them out. 

Thoughts? 

- Anon



Dear Anon, 

Well . . . I think one thing that needs to happen is that we need to encourage our youth to do much more Casual Group Dating

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on those whom you find attractive, but I think that if more of you went on a lot of dates when you were younger, and those dates weren't about getting into a committed relationship, then you might discover that there’s much more to attraction than just a way someone looks.  (And I think your dating skills would be where you need them to be as adults.)

The second thing I think we should do is have a better understanding that as Young Single Adults a First Date (or a Second, or a Third) is NOT a big deal. 

Yes, it’s Serious Single Dating, but that doesn't mean that we need to take ourselves or the date too seriously. If we can affect this paradigm shift in our College Dating Culture I think both sexes would find dating less intimidating. 

 If you could ask a girl out without her thinking that you had already determined that she might be “the one”, think of how much more fun it would be! Wouldn't you be more likely to take girls out? More often? And wouldn't you find yourself less likely to limit those girls to the “10 percent”? 

I think you would. 

And I think other guys would, too. 

You said a couple things I don’t entirely believe, by the way: I think all of you in your University Wards have a pretty good idea who’s getting asked out and by whom, and I don’t buy into the whole 90-10 thing. I can accept that it’s a perception, but I think it’s wildly exaggerated. 

As for guys being blamed for girls not going out on dates . . . I say “yes and no”. 

The guys that go out on at least one date a week (that’s my Strong Recommendation for RMs, by the way), whether or not it’s with the same girl, no, they deserve none of the blame. But all the rest of the guys do. 

Our culture supports guys doing the asking, and it’s an aspect I firmly believe in (for reasons I've mentioned many, many times).  

It's kind of like Youth Dances.  The guys that dance every slow dance with a girl deserve none of the blame for some of the girls not getting asked.  The guys that stand around, run from the room, wander the floor afraid to ask a girl to dance . . . you've seen them . . . they deserve blame.  As do their fathers and youth leaders.  The girls that sulk, are unapproachable, flee the gym every time a slow song comes on, are moody and mean . . . they deserve blame, too.

(As I've said, Youth Dances are Dating Prep.)

Consider: if all of you were dating as much as I think you should, wouldn't most of the girls in your Ward have a date every weekend? 

The problem is that you've (both you as an individual and the collective “you”) incorrectly assessed that only 10% of the girls are worth marrying. 

That’s, to be candid . . . stupid. 

So what are you doing? 

Allowing your buddy to date the “one hot girl” (again, a totally incorrect assessment) in your ward and then, after he’s made out with her and decided that she’s not the one, either you or one of the other guys will get a shot at her? 

Somehow I’m not convinced that’s the case. 

In the same way that I told the original letter writer not to sit around and wait, that advice applies to you as well. I do agree that some girls need to do less whining and more putting themselves out there. 

And I think many of you could do much more to help yourself attract the opposite sex. 

Frankly, and I’ll be very candid here, I’m disappointed how many of you young people have horrible habits when it comes to your own health and well-being  

Stop eating so much junk food! 

More water, less soda! 

Put down the video game controller and get some exercise! 

Whine less and serve others more! 

Take a shower, brush your teeth, dress nicely, and smell good! 

And I don’t think many of y’all are being as competitive as you think you are. Not even close. 

As the Great One said: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take”. 

Let me give you one more thing to mull over that might help you a great deal: your Company and Customers analogy is a very good one, and I agree with it . . . but you need to stop thinking of yourself as the customer and realize that you’re the company. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cheesy Wednesdays: Why are some boys rude and stupid?

Dear Bro Jo,

Why are some particular persons of the male gender so... Incredibly rude and stupid?

- Cheese Herself



Dear Cheesy,

Either: A) by choice, B) by curse, or C) lack of training.

Fortunately for you and all other girls, not all guys are like that and there's no requirement for you to spend any time with those that are.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 20, 2013

Should She Share Details of Her Repentance with Her Boyfriend?

Dear Bro Jo,

I am 21 and am madly in love with my boyfriend. Imagining life without him is rather painful, but there are some things I'm confused about that have been on my mind.

I used to have some "mild" chastity problems with masturbation. I say "mild" because I never advanced to anything (details withheld), but I know that even that is beyond what I should've been doing.

I suffered for it (boy, did I suffer), I repented, and now I feel like an amazing new person; I truly feel forgiven and I haven't had a problem with it since, even in the slightest of ways, I'm not even tempted.

But I never told anyone.

I've never felt the need to (again, I really do feel forgiven and it feels amazing), but I'm wondering if this is something I should tell my BF or if it really isn't necessary.

Should I tell him?

On a related note... We are pretty serious and as such we do engage in passionate kissing, but oddly enough I never feel aroused.

I love him, and I love kissing (and hugging and cuddling) him, but still...I read on your blog about people who get a little too aroused but I get nothing.

I know before I repented I would have, but now holding off until marriage seems so matter-of-fact to me it's like disobeying the law of chastity isn't even physically an option. Waiting is just how it is and that's how it's going to be.

At first I thought this was a good thing, but now I'm wondering...is that a bad thing?

If I love him so much, shouldn't it be hard to keep off of him?

Shouldn't I be tempted to go further than what's right?

Why don't I?

Sorry if these are weird questions, but I don't know what to do!

Signed,

- Am I Weird?




Dear Bro Jo,

Disregard the second part of that if you would...I'm still curious about my first question though.

Thanks!

- Am I Weird?




Dear Sister,

No. I don't see any point in telling him. It's a past sin that's been repented of, has no bearing on your current or future relationship, and right now he's only your "boyfriend".

If at some point in the future, when you're much closer to engagement, you feel PROMPTED to share your story with him, then I say follow that prompting. (He should be asking questions at that point along those lines, especially if he's been reading "Bro Jo's LIST of STUFF YOU NEED to KNOW BEFORE YOU GET ENGAGED".)

But not now.

And for your "second questions", which I'm going to answer anyway, I'd say that not being tempted to violate the law of chastity is a blessing, not a concern.

Loving someone doesn't mean that you can't keep your hands off them . . . just so you know.

And I wouldn't worried about "being aroused"; the way you describe how you feel about kissing and hugging him, I think you're aroused enough.

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 17, 2013

How Does She Start Over?

Dear Bro Jo Hi,

Just been reading your blog and I'm after some advice.

My parents are both converts but I was brought up in the Church. I haven't always been active.

I started to get mixed up with the wrong crowd, drink, boys etc.. Long story short, I started having sex, with many different boys.

After a while my parents found out; they were so disappointed as you can imagine.

I realized what I did was wrong and I made an appointment to speak with the branch president. I started the process of repentance and tried to make my life better.

A few months later I moved away for work. There was a guy there...

We started getting along and one thing led to another.  I had sex with him.

Months later I fell pregnant.

Unknown to me, at that point of me falling pregnant, my boyfriend was seeing another girl behind my back.

The girl he was seeing was also pregnant, (not his baby though, somebody else's) so I decided I was going to tell my parents and hopefully move back home with them.

I was too afraid to tell my parents I was pregnant so I rang my dad’s mate who I asked to tell them.

Luckily enough, my parents were quite supportive and came to pick me up and take me home with them. 

Months later I had my daughter.

Her dad doesn't want anything to do with her so I'm bringing her up as a single parent.

I am slowly trying to rebuild my life and get back into Church but I won't lie, it's very hard!!

I'm just after a bit of advice as to going back to Church, relationships with guys now I am a mum etc... 

Thanks,

Single-mum




Dear Mum,

It matters where we've been, but it matters much more where we are now.

The most important things in your life should be your relationships with your Savior and your family; those things are forever.

Some people at Church may not be as welcoming and Christian as they should be, but most will.

Find some Good, Supportive Church friends that won't judge you for your past transgressions, but will love, sustain and encourage you as you move forward.

And be very careful not to rush into any more relationships, sexual or otherwise.

Eventually you'll find a Good Man who will love, honor and cherish you; he'll be a worthy priesthood holder and a faithful eternal companion.

He may not be an Adonis, but he'll have all of the qualities that really matter. He'll love and respect you, and you'll know that because he won't even consider having sex with you until you're married.

Remember that "no man will love a woman he doesn't respect, and you can't respect someone who doesn't respect themselves".

When we chose to have sex outside of the commitments of marriage, we lose our self-respect and the respect of the person we're involved with (even if they're "professing their love").

If you want such a man in your life, you'll need to be patient.

Slow down your romances.

Take a breath.

And put your child first. 

When you think you might have found a great guy, be sure he passes the tests of Bro Jo's "Five A's of Why NOT to Marry That Person and Bro Jo’s "LIST of STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BEFORE YOU GET ENGAGED

The road you're traveling has bumps and turns, but the blessings along the way will be huge.

As the Spirit more regularly comes into your life, as you mend your relationship with God, you'll know joy, real joy, often.

No one's life is easy, and you're not alone.

The destination is worth the hardships along the way.

I promise.

And I'm proud of you!  It's hard to pick up and start over in the face of certain scrutiny and adversity . . . but in that adversity the Lord Blesses us.  Don't Give Up!

Hang in there!

Don't let the negative opinions and "judgement" of others keep you from the Joy of The Lord.  Show your love of the Savior through your service to others.  Let your light shine through the darkness!

I promise that your daughter will be grateful for your hard work and commitment to her and to Christ.

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cheesy Wednesdays: Epic Dating Fail?

Dear bro Jo,

Don't you think if a girl wants to go on dates, she should go on dates when asked?

Here's the story:

Once upon 4 weeks ago, Cheese went to visit her friend Mac for a couple weeks. They had lots of fun and went on lots of dates. One of these dates was with the Reubenator. He is all that and a bag of chips--smart, funny, energetic, strong testimony, pleasant, courteous, yada yada yada. Cheese had tons of fun with him, but did not fall in love because she recently learned relationships are bad for 16 year old young ladies.

Fast forward to last night. Mac got a call from... You guessed it... The Reubenator. Asking her to go to a movie on a Casual Group Date.

So what do you think my dear friend did?

A) Go on the date with the lad,

B) Choose to hang out with girlfriends,

or C) Stay home and watch Pride and Prejudice all alone?

You're right! She chose C!

In a move of shocking stupidity she chose to stay home and fantasize about Mr, Darcy while simultaneously texting me complaining of her need for more romance in her life.

Later that night the poor Reubenator posted on Facebook about going to see Spider Man ALL ALONE!

I have advised Mac that if she wants to go on more dates she should go on dates when asked by nice guys. 

Do you think I should also advise her to take the Reubenator a big plate of fresh baked goodies to apologize for her breathtaking idiocy?

Love,

Cheese Herself




Dear Cheesy,

You're absolutely right: how can a girl who complains about not getting enough dates turn down a great guy when he asks?

It makes me wonder if there's something more to her refusal . . . (Maybe this date wasn't a well-planned Casual Group Date - after all, he posted that he went by himself; where was everybody else?  Maybe Mac needed a "dating break" after all those dates partnered with you . . . or maybe she's worried about falling into the same situations that have lead you to discover that "relationships are bad for 16-year old young ladies" . . .)

Anyway, yes, I think she should have gone. (Assuming none of the other things I mentioned are true.) Plate of cookies?

Hmmm . . .

Yes. I think that would be wise.   That and a note along the lines of "thank you for asking me, sorry I couldn't go, I hope you'll ask again some time.

She needs to repair the bridge lest she find herself continuously left on Prince Edward Island alone.  (I figured since we were mixing stories, I'd add an apropos one of my own.)

 - Bro Jo

Monday, May 13, 2013

What to Do When You Suspect Anorexia - Part 2

[Dear Readers,

Six months ago I ran a column called "What to Do When You Suspect Anorexia".

 Two days later the original writer sent me an update.

 It's posted here below.

 - Bro Jo]




Dear Bro Jo,

I finally got up the courage to ask her about it, she didn't say much besides "you know I eat!" and she seemed defensive.

So I started going to lunch with her almost everyday and making sure she eats something of nutritional value (like a healthy smoothie).

I feel like I need to talk to her more, I just don't know how to prove what I saw considering it was a while ago, and she got a new phone. I also don't know what else to say, I really don't want her to be sick, but I don't want to dissolve my friendship.

Also, "Naomi" is now assuming that "Ruth" is doing more things than just starving herself.

Here's that story:

Naomi saw cuts on Ruth's thighs, as if she was cutting herself.

I try to think of it more as she fell, but I'm not sure.

Then one day Ruth asked Naomi for some medicine and Naomi said "what for?"

And Ruth said "I feel funny" then Naomi said "pills aren't going to help that." and Ruth walked off and then told me she was going home and getting pills.

I am worried even more now, although I am trying to think on the brighter side of things.

Thanks again for all of your help!

- Name Withheld




Dear NW -

This reinforces what I said before: you need some serious back up.

Just like I warned, she's rebelling against you trying to help her, and if your suspicions are correct, she's getting deeper and deeper.

Self-medicating is a very dangerous thing. This is no knock on you or your friends but, please trust me, this is bigger than either of you can handle.

You've got to tell a parent, adviser, Bishop . . . someone.

And you've got to do it now.

I'm too far away to be much help.

Even if she comes to me directly, as people have in these situations, I would still call in someone local.

I'm counting on you.

Talk to someone right away and please let me know how it went.

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 10, 2013

Is He Too Conceited to be Good?

Dear Bro Jo....

Soooo, I have this situation...and I'm not quite sure how to handle it.

I'm 26 and I work at a gym.

This guy (24) who is looking into switching to my ward from his ward works out at it. He is gorgeous!

You know...piercing blue eyes, built body, long eye lashes and dark hair...anything that can make a girl swoon. Haha...well, at least me.

Well....he came up and started talking to me the other day while I was at work and then when I got off we talked for another hour until the gym closed. He then asked for my number and text me later that night saying he enjoyed talking to me.

We then text some more and then he asked me if I’d like to go out sometime. Well, that’s a no brainer. OF COURSE I said yes!

Lol

He then asked if he could call me...so he did and we were on the phone for about an hour and a half. He text me the next morning to see what I was doing and told me what time he was coming to work out. I told him I wouldn't be there when he came and so he said he just might have to come in earlier then. He then text me later that evening and then asked what I was doing.

Well, I had been running around all day since 4 and it was like 9 pm and so I said I was staying home and watching a movie. He told me what he was doing and then...(I know...my bad) I invited him over to play card games and watch a movie.

Totally wrong move on my part..cuz one, I hate "hanging out" and two...so does he...haha. well he came over and started talking about himself and showing me pics of himself and the whole night it was about him and how he's going to get set up with this girl and that so and so didn’t' give him her number, etc. tried to ask him questions getting to know him and hoping he would catch on and do the same, but he didn't. in fact a lot of the time when I tried to engage myself in the convo and ask him a question he quickly blew it off and was like "oh, I don't know" or he would just give me short answers...plus, he was always on his phone which was WAY annoying...he talked a lot about himself when I first met him, but I thought nothing of it.

He told me he doesn't have a lot of friends and that he gets dumped or rejected a lot.

He said girls tell him he’s too into himself.

Well, I’m starting to think the same thing.

Anyways....sorry this is sooo long. but, he text me today and just said hey....so I responded about 15 mins later when I could cuz I was at work and he totally ignored my text. I went to work out tonight and he’s normally there every day...so I txt him to give him a hard time about not being there...and he's totally ignoring me.

What the crap?!?

What kind of guy who says he has been raised right (which is exactly what he told me the first night I met him) asks a girl on a date and then talks about himself non-stop even though he says he’s not cocky and talks about getting other girls numbers?

I am totally lost and a little peeved about it.

What do I do?

I need help.

p.s. he’s divorced and apparently well established because he can't stop talking about it....please help!

Sincerely,

A Little Peeved




Dear Peeved, 

Wow.

Congratulations; you're in the friend zone.

(Or at least being held in "back up" status".)

And I think you should be grateful you dodged a bullet here.  It seems like this time that mistake may have saved you some time.

 Anyone who keeps trying to sell you on how great they are . . . isn't. (This guy wins the "King of Insecurity" prize.)

You have one shot to help him, but you're going to have to take it right away; you need to tell him, and you're going to have to be blunt.

"Hey. Buddy. Before you say another word I need to tell you that you're really turning me off. Every time you open your mouth all I hear is how wonderful you think you are. It's pathetic, obnoxious, and irritating. I already agreed to go out with you; I like you, but the self-importance and bragging isn't talking me into you, it's talking me out of you. Let me give you a little tip: when you're spending time with someone, try showing more interest in them than in yourself. Now, would you like to start over or are we done?" 

Anything less than an apology and plea to start over from him, and you know you're done and it's time to move on. And, believe me, if you're not this direct, it's not going to stop.

The dude lost a marriage and didn't clue in; subtlety is not in his profile.

If he's a smart guy (and I have my doubts), he'll clue in and make an effort. That could be very good for you.

If he's not a smart guy, you'll know right away.

That could be good for you, too.

Take it from a guy that dated actresses, dancers and models: pretty isn't enough.

Sister Jo is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, but more than her sexiness (and she is that), she's beautiful because of her service to others, her forth rightness in the Gospel, her wit, her intelligence, and her courage. I love to kiss her, but I would skip a month of kisses before I'd have a day without conversation. Hope for the best, expect the worst. Let me know how the conversation goes.

Don't delay the talk.

 - Bro Jo


PS:  Try being a little less superficial, friend.  There's lots of Great Guys out there that may not be Adonis, but have Much More to Offer.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cheesy Wednesdays: The Ex-Ex - Part 2



[Dear Readers,

Welcome to another episode of Cheesy Wednesdays, where we follow one reader's forays and foibles though the world of LDS Teen Dating.

I've posted several letters from Cheese (and her friend, Mac) over the years; in fact, you can find them by clicking the "Cheese" Label on the side, but it's been a while so I'm going to be posting several of them over the next few Wednesdays.

Enjoy,

Bro Jo]





Dear Bro Jo,

Yeah that sums it up really well.

At the moment I am not in town so we haven't spent a ton of time together. But when I am around he will take me out for lunch, dinner, a movie, to go on a hike, go to the temple for baptisms, go bowling, go long boarding, go to a tumbling gym, or something like this usually once or twice a week if Daddy Cheese is in town, but when he is gone we go out 3 or 4 times a week.

While I'm gone we talk on the phone a lot. but don't text much (I don't like texting to be the main way I communicate).

I don't know what would happen if I got a kiss goodnight from another boy. I hadn't really thought about it.

I assume my BF would be hurt.

I would probably feel bad about it.

But I don't really know what would happen to us.

- Cheese




Dear Cheese,

I'm still not comfortable with someone as young as you are in this kind of Serious Single Dating committed relationship. I think you're going to miss out on a lot of stuff.

And I think the sneaking around behind your father's back is a big red flag.

Playing Juliet may seem romantic, but it never ends well.

 - Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I'm crazy busy for the next few days so this will be short.

I re-broke up with him.

This time I plan to keep it that way.

- Cheese




Dear Cheese,

Someday, when you have more time, I'd love to hear the story.

Best,

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 6, 2013

Commit to the Relationship or Go Study Abroad?

Dear Bro Jo,

What is your opinion when it comes to studying abroad while in a committed relationship?

I'm 20 and my boyfriend is 25.

I'm thinking of going to Scotland or Ireland for the fall semester.

My boyfriend isn't a member yet, but he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, temples, and many other important tenets of the Church.

The point is, we wouldn't even be able to get married until at least the very end of the year anyhow (a year after he joins so we can get married in the temple).

Is it selfish of me to pursue my dream of going to school in Europe?

This is the only chance I really have to go because I'm going to be getting my masters in American History.

My boyfriend has told me that if he wasn't in the picture he'd tell me to go, but the selfish part of him doesn't want to be apart from me for so long. He's also afraid that I'll fall in love with Scotland/Ireland and not want to come back/be happy in the US.

He says he's sure that we can make it work since our relationship is so strong and we can use Skype and things.

Now I'm afraid I'm the one that's being selfish, though, by wanting to go overseas for a full semester and, in the process, end up leaving him here at home.

What do you think, Brother Johnston?

Am I being selfish by trying to go through with this and study abroad for a semester?

- Feeling Guilty




Dear Feeling,

He's not your husband.

He's not your fiancé.

He's not even a prospective Eternal Companion yet.  (Intentions are great, but lacking action they mean nothing.)

Go to Europe. Have a great time!

Learn a lot.

Frankly, I'm not a big fan of you being in a committed relationship with someone who doesn't meet the "Temple-worthy Priesthood Holder" criteria.

Once he becomes that, then we can talk, but until then I think you're wasting your time. 

Who knows. 

Perhaps while you're gone he'll realize that its past time for him to get his spiritual act together.

But I think you should give him the "it’s not fair for us to act like we're still a couple while I'm gone, and until you're ready to marry in the Temple this relationship can't possible go where I want it to go" speech.

Have fun at school!

Perhaps your absence will inspire him to act on that which he knows is true.

I hope so!

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 3, 2013

Divorced Young and Dating Again

Dear Bro Jo,

I have to say I love your column and need to get your book.

A little preface, I will be 25 in a few weeks and was married for about 13 months before my spouse left me.

I suffered from depression, long story, and it just wasn't anything she could handle.

I have been divorced for about a year and a half now.

I have taken what I consider to be a huge leap considering some events that happened in my past, and after consulting with doctors and psychiatrists have been steadily on medication to help stabilize me mentally and emotionally for over 11 months.

I guess that is probably enough background.

Now for my question.

Dating in a YSA atmosphere after divorce. How do I do it?

I have been on a few dates (I can count them on one hand) but no real desire to continue a relationship beyond that. I worry that I may become too picky knowing many things that I learned I don't want in a future spouse.

Also I am hesitant to flirt with girls in my ward or stake because I know that a lot of them are 18-20 y/o and I would feel like a creeper when I find out!

I don't want to be a creeper but I also don't want to be lonely forever either.

- Name Withheld




Dear Little Brother,

A few dates for a recently divorced guy, especially one who has had to take the time to overcome some pretty important things, is actually pretty good.

So I wouldn't worry about that too much.

Now that things are being handled (that must always be a priority) you can focus on meeting more women and going on more dates.

Rather than focusing on "flirting", I recommend that you focus on being a Nice Guy who wants to meet new people and discover what makes them so interesting and valuable.

I'm a firm believer in the Ray Stevens Song "Everything is Beautiful", and "everyone IS beautiful in their own way".

If you can learn to see people in that way, if you can learn to focus on each individual's value, than you won't be a creeper at all.

Well . . . if you're sincere, anyway.

You don't want to be too involved in the expression of your opinions.

I'm reminded of an episode of an old sitcom where a guest character was so over the top with his "positive attitude" and admiration of all things that he was just too much to take. You don't want to be That Guy, either.

Treat everyone you meet, including YSA Sisters with reserved sincerity.

Flirt a little when you feel like it, but don't be over the top, and then you won't have to worry about how old these girls are. Conservative Flirting (smiling kindly, the occasional sincere compliment, and what I call "happy eye contact") are all a good place to call home.

As you get to know more people, and get to know them better, you'll figure out who's too young to ask out (I agree that 18 or 19 is IN GENERAL too young for you, but 20 and 21 may not be).

Relax, have fun, and if you'll take some slightly unsolicited advice, women are looking for The Three W's:

- Worthiness - as in, serving God and Going to the Temple

- Work - be hardworking in all that you do, have a job, have Good Goals and be working towards them

- Willingness - to treat her like the Princess (and eventually Queen) that she is by Divine Design


Chin up and stay positive!

Happy Sunday,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cheesy Wednesdays: The Ex-Ex Boyfriend



[Dear Readers,

Welcome to another episode of Cheesy Wednesdays, where we follow one reader's forays and foibles though the world of LDS Teen Dating.

I've posted several letters from Cheese (and her friend, Mac) over the years; in fact, you can find them by clicking the "Cheese" Label on the side, but it's been a while so I'm going to be posting several of them over the next few Wednesdays.

Enjoy,

Bro Jo]





Dear bro Jo,

I meant to respond sooner, but I just didn't.

I no longer have an ex-boyfriend.

After a week and a few days we got back together.

I had gone on 2 casual group dates and all I felt like I wanted was to be back with him.

The 2 dates sucked big time!

One was with a guy who just wanted to find a dark corner to make out in, and the other was with a total jerk (this one deserves it's own email, more on it later, it's kinda a funny story).

I hadn't talked to ExB much during the broken up period, but he talked to my mom.

I tried not to think about anything he said, but mama cheese would occasionally make a comment on how he was sad, or he missed me, and it really just made me want to be with him more.

I started to talk to him, we got back together.

Mama Cheese found out within 30 minutes. She claims I seemed happier then I had been since I dumped him.

Daddy Cheese also noticed I was happier as soon as I got back with him, but he thinks I am finally feeling better about the breakup.

I know being back with him can't be the right thing though, if it were I wouldn't feel so scared to tell DC, right?

I also keep remembering that feeling I had before I dumped him.

We have decided I will still go on Casual Group Dates with other boys.  I have been on two since we got back together. They were a lot of fun, and fairly uneventful, which is good.

I feel so happy to be with him. It is amazing!

I love how he makes me want to be a better person, I love how well our personalities compliment each other so well.

I am glad he is being so patient with me and my imperfections.

I wonder if being with him is really the right thing . . .

I'm young, I know I shouldn't have a BF at this point in my life.

I feel so lost because any time I talk to MC she encourages our relationship. She is thrilled I got back together with him.

DC freaks out any time I hint I may still have feeling for him. He wants me far away from him.

I only get the extremes.

What are your thoughts on all this?

- Cheese




Dear Cheese,

So you're going on Casual Group Dates, but not with your Boyfriend.

You feel like you shouldn't have a Boyfriend, but being this Guy's Girlfriend makes you feel good.

And you're hiding this "relationship" from your father.

Does that about sum it up?

Let me ask, how would you define the time you spend with this guy?

What's the context and frequency?

And what's going to happen if you kiss one of your other CGDs goodnight?

- Bro Jo