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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Everything here is copyrighted. If you're going to quote any part of anything here, please get Bro Jo's written permission. You can reach him at dearbrojo@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Mom Shares the "Relationship Disaster Warning Signs"

Dear Bro Jo-

First off let me say that I love your blog.

I am a mom with a bunch of kids and I love the straightforward info that you give me, as well as my kids.

Next I would like to address the post you put up this week about the victim of rape.

Been there, done that.

Went through counseling, still have a counselor.

One thing that I have been wishing you would cover bad relationships and the earmarks that precede them.

I married a Return Missionary who lies like a rug.

All the symptoms of a bad relationship were there prior to our marriage, but I had no clue as to what to look for - it isn't something that is covered in mutual and my parents didn't cover that in my education process.

Sad to say, I became one of those statistics that almost don't become a success.

I lived through a lot of abuse- physical, mental, sexual at the hands of my ex.

My ex-husband threatened to kill us, and then tried to kill us multiple times before I was able to get myself and all of the kids out safely.

It was a huge feat.

He is still looking for us.

You can't imagine what that feels like.

He isn't in prison because those of my children who could testify against him were too traumatized to go on the stand and the judge and my lawyer encouraged me to disappear (with help from child protective services).

That is where we are at even now.

Truth is - the signs WERE there. I just didn't know what I was looking for then.

Now that I am educated on this subject I have made sure my kids are protected and it would be helpful for your readers to know them too.

Satan's minions don't change the way they operate very much and education is the best way to combat them.

The domestic violence organizations have lists of warning signs:


WARNING SIGNS

Many of the signs women are taught to Interpret as caring, attentive, and romantic are actually early warning signs for future abuse. Some examples include:

INTRUSION: Constantly asks you where you are going, who you are with, etc.

ISOLATION: Insists that you spend all or most of your time together, cutting you off from friends and family.

POSSESSION AND JEALOUSY: Accuses you of flirting/having sexual relationships with others; monitors your clothing/make-up.

NEED FOR CONTROL: Displays extreme anger when things do not go his way; attempts to make all of your decisions.

UNKNOWN PASTS / NO RESPECT FOR WOMEN: Secretive about past relationships; refers to women with negative remarks, etc.


MORE WARNING SIGNS
1. Was or is abused by a parent.
2. Grew up in a home where an adult was abused by another adult.
3. Gets very serious with boyfriends/girlfriends very quickly – saying “I love you” very early in the relationship, wanting to move in together or get engaged after only a few months, or pressuring partner for a serious commitment.
4. Comes on very strong, is extremely charming and an overly smooth talker.
5. Is extremely jealous.
6. Isolates partner from support systems – wants partner all to themselves, and tries to keep partner from friends, family or outside activities.
7. Attempts to control what partner wears, what she/he does or who she/he sees.
8. Is abusive toward other people, especially mother or sisters if he is a male.
9. Blames others for one’s own misbehavior or failures.
10. Has unrealistic expectations, like expecting partner to meet all of ones needs and be the perfect partner.
11. Is overly sensitive – acts ‘hurt’ when not getting one’s way, takes offense when others disagree with an opinion, gets very upset at small inconveniences that are just a normal part of life.
12. Has ever been cruel to animals.
13. Has ever abused children.
14. Has ever hit a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past.
15. Has ever threatened violence, even if it wasn’t a serious threat.
16. Calls partner names, puts him/her down or curses at him/her.
17. Is extremely moody, and switches quickly from being very nice to exploding in anger.
18. If a male, believes women are inferior to men and should obey them.
19. Is intimidating, for example using threatening body language, punching walls or breaking objects.
20. Holds partner against his/her will to keep him/her from walking away or leaving the room.


There are almost always clear signs, but sometimes infatuation, love, lust, or simply the feeling that they need someone to love them can get in the way of clarity in a relationship.


My ex cut off all resources - parents, siblings, and a huge list of church-going members including the Bishop.

I was incredibly blessed to get out, safely, with all of my kids.

I will be eternally grateful for that.

By the way, I have forgiven him, his new wife (who has been deluded), and a whole list of others who could have said something but didn't.

Heavenly Father will take care of them and I am certainly glad I don't have to judge where insanity steps in and moral judgment steps out... Thanks again Bro Jo - you are greatly needed resource and I am grateful for your counsel.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Thank you so much for your kind words and, more importantly, your testimony and advice.

I've written about "earmarks" before, most notably (I think) in my columns that have mentioned "Bro Jo's 5 A's of Why Not to Marry THATPerson"   (or HERE), but I really like the way you've listed the signs people can look for.

It's so often easy for us to see the dangers that others are headed for, but so difficult to see when those dangers lay in our own path.

And yet, when we see dangers for others we're not sure how to tell them in a way that they'll understand or accept.

Worse, when people warn us of what they see, we too often get defensive or make excuses . . . exactly what we hope others won't do when we talk to them.

The frailties of human nature, I suppose.

I'll certainly be posting what you've written on the "Dear Bro Jo" page, though I'm not certain when. 

Likely soon.

Thanks again for sharing.

Best to you and your family,

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 29, 2014

When Your Friend and Roommate Dates Your Ex

Dear Bro Jo,

This past winter semester was my first semester at BYU-I and also my first semester away from my home.

I was nervous about moving up here, but was going to be rooming with my best friend since 8th grade who'd been up here a couple semesters.

With that in mind I figured I could make it.

Also attending BYU-I would be my ex-fiancé, whom me and my roommate grew up with in our home ward.

He and I had dated for about 3 years and we had a very long history which my roommate knew all about and helped me get through.

I wasn't keen about having to see him a lot, bit figured moving on and trying to be friends again would be worth it.

Towards the end of the semester my roommate began to start sneaking around and being a bit shady and I knew something was up.

I finally confronted her about it after about a week and she confessed that she'd been going out and doing things one on one with my ex.

I became very upset and told her I wasn't okay with the whole thing, considering that my ex was still in a relationship with another girl, and he was going and doing one on one date like things with my roommate.

In the end he did end up breaking up with his girlfriend in order to pursue my roommate.

My roommate doesn't understand why I'm upset and doesn't think that her new relationship with my ex would have any effect on our friendship.

I cannot maintain a healthy friendship with her without being angry with her all the time and being judgmental.

All of which I told her would happen if she continued to go on a date my ex.

It hurts me to think she'd rather have this relationship than our friendship and I'm unsure of how to handle the situation.

What advice would you give me?

- Anon




Dear Anon, 

You may not like this, but I ain't gonna lie . . . you need to move out and get some new friends. 

Romance nearly always trumps friendships . . . and usually that's good. 

If they don't work out, your friend may want to be your friend again . . . something you may or may not be open to. 

If it DOES work out, then that means she'll be picking him over you. 

Heck, who are we kidding . . .she's already done that.

I understand you being upset.  I would be too!

It's kind of a betrayal.  And I get that.

However, friendship does not give you the authority to dictate who she does or doesn't date and, frankly, the man is your EX.

The problems you have with him are your problems, not her problems. 

You didn't care that he was dating someone else while he was dating your friend; but now that they're exclusive you're jealous and mad and hurt . . . perhaps that he's dating her and not you?

Again, understandable.

Maybe it bothers you that your friend is being dumb about who she chooses to date and this guy really is a jerk 

Perhaps it's that you don't get to dictate whether or not she goes out with him, and that's what's upsetting you most . . .


She's an idiot for not understanding why you are upset, but I'm not surprised that your feelings aren't trumping hers.

After all . . . the two of you Broke Up.

While it's true that we leave our friends behind when we cleave to a spouse, ditching one's friends completely is never a good idea. 

I'm sorry she wasn't more sensitive. 

I'm sorry you and he didn't work out.  (Although it sounds like that is for the best.) 

I'm sorry you've discovered that she's picked him over you. 

I hope that you can find happiness despite all of this.

Don't stoop to her level. 

Be Nice. 

Be Kind. 

Don't say anything you may regret someday. 

And move out and make new friends. 

- Bro Jo

Friday, December 26, 2014

She's Worried About Her Overweight Dad . . .

Dear Bro Jo,

My Dad is over weight and I'm afraid that if he doesn't lose weight that he might die and live me so I need advice on how to tell my dad In a nice way that he needs to lose some weight?

He doesn't eat right and I don't want to hurt his feelings by telling him to get healthy and lose weight he is age 66.

From,

Name Withheld




Dear NW,

People carry too much weight for lots of different reasons . . .

We can't force people to change, but we can love them, and we do have an obligation to share our concerns when their behavior is affecting their health and welfare.

I think you should start with "I love you".

Let him know that it's because you love him that you're so concerned.

And gently tell him what you're concerned about.

Be prepared to offer help if he asks. 

And be prepared to love him even though he may blow you off.

Let him know you're serious.

But also reassure him that whatever he does or doesn't do you won't love him any less.

I guarantee you that if his size is bothering you, it's bothering him, too.

And, understand, that for him to change his life this will have to be something he decides from within.

Lastly, I can tell you from personal experience, that successful long-term weight loss is gradual.

It took me 2 years to loose 60 pounds.

That's an average of just over half a pound a week.

It took some serious self reflection motivated by sincere unhappiness with myself, and is still a constant battle

(I've put 12 of those pounds back on, but every day work on edging them back off). 

Love him and be supportive.

And, as in all good things . . . pray.

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 22, 2014

Are They Boyfriend and Girlfriend?

Dear Bro Jo,

I usually am not one to be writing in but I've been struggling with some decisions.

I'll just go on and give you the low down. There's this guy that I have known for a while now. We started liking each about a year ago. I wasn't sixteen when I first started liking him but I am now and so is he.

At the very beginning we decided together that we were going to follow the counsel of the prophets and not steady date each other.

We decided would go on dates with each other but made sure that we went on dates with other people to not get into that trap. Whenever we get a little too close we always talk about it and fix it.

Our relationship is much more emotional than anything else.

We can always talk about anything without having to worry about it.

But here's the problem. He is a very very strict Mormon (which I'm not saying is bad but he takes things a little too far sometimes) some people lately have been saying I'm his girlfriend which he corrects them and tells them that I'm not and I do the same when people tell me he’s my boyfriend.

We have been trying (and succeeding) in doing the right thing for the past year but since people have been saying that he's taken it seriously even if we aren't steady dating.

We have talked about ending our "relationship" for a couple of days now but for no other reason than he is worried that we are steady dating from what other people have said.

And to him it's the extremes.

We have to either stop dating or just keep trudging on.

I took it upon myself to write down all the good and bad things about what we are, fast, and pray about letting him go and stop dating him all together to save his sanity.

But every time I've prayed about it I don't feel like it's right to end it.

He had been studying (as have I) about what's appropriate for how young we are and we both have completely different opinions about what we are and what's the right decision to handle it.

I don't want to just end dating altogether, but I want to do what he thinks is best for him.

How can I make the right decision about that when I feel like it's wrong?

I don't even know if it made sense and it was kinda vague but that’s technically the situation.

If you have any questions please ask away!

- Confused?




Dear Confused,

Not only does it sound like some people are right when they say that you're his Girlfriend, it sounds like that's exactly what you want to be. I understand the sentiment . . . and the denial.

With all due respect, he's right, you're wrong.

Casual Group Dates are what's appropriate at this time in your life.

"Relationships" are for him when he comes home from his mission, and for you once you're out of high school.

That doesn't mean you can't date him anymore, or that you can't still like him (and he you), or that you can't still talk and be nice to each other.   (I agree that "all or nothing" is Way Too Extreme . . . but he may be trying to tell you not that's how he feels, but that's how he thinks you feel . . . and if so, it sounds to me like he's right.)

Follow the Dating Rules.

Be not sad; but enjoy what you've got and what's within what's recommended.

For now, yes; I think you need to cool things off with this young man.

- Bro Jo



[Readers, 

One thing that I didn't address with this letter writer is a Doctrine I think many people misunderstand.  I often have people tell me that they think a particular behavior or action (or lack thereof) is "okay" because they "fasted and prayed about it" and "feel that it's okay".  But the problem is often in the question that they're asking God.

First of all, the whole idea of asking God's permission to do something you know is wrong is . . . well . . . wrong.  (Think about Joseph Smith and the lost manuscript.)  We have our agency, so God will give us advice and council (some folks call those things "commandments" or "rules" ) but he then gives us the freedom to follow or not.

Secondly, when we seek revelation we need to not be asking about what we want, but rather seeking to know what God wants.

Remember, personal revelation is what God tells us through the Spirit that we need to know so we can help others, not what we want to hear so we can help ourselves.

Cheers,


- Bro Jo ]

Friday, December 19, 2014

Will Her Non-member Boyfriend Be Serious About Chastity?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey Bro Jo, I like this boy a bunch...

He's not a member. We started dating last summer.

When I started liking him after a few dates I tried to keep my feelings to myself so that it could remain "casual."

But it came to a point when I was invited over to his place and I chose to share my feelings.

Not verbally like normal LDS people would do, but sexually - not all the way, but definitely farther than recommended.

Immediately after that I told my Bishop what happened and the boy went back to school in another town.

I forgave him cause he didn't know any better.

I had a priesthood blessing which said I was forgiven.

And I eventually forgave myself.

I got over him assuming I'd never see him again.

He came back!

We got in touch.

The first date we held hands and the second date we held hands and kissed.

Now I have these feelings all over again.

What am I doing here?

I know it could be a horrible repeat of last year.

I think this boy I like is generally a good guy.

He's okay with me not drinking, will he be alright with me not having sex?

I'm afraid that if I bring up the law of chastity it will mean certain rejection and that scares me.

Especially if I've already broken it, will he ever take it seriously?

I know there are good LDS alternatives to date here but none have shown interest besides premies and guys with special needs.

Members I have dated since joining the church haven't treated me well and chastity-breaking has been a theme in all of those "relationships" as well.

Dang it!

Anyway, I hope you have time to answer this because I would appreciate it a lot !!

If you have any other questions please let me know.

Thank you,

- Concerned




Dear Concerned,

I'm less worried about him taking chastity seriously and more worried about you taking it seriously. 

You need to learn that no man will ever love a woman he doesn't respect, and you can't respect someone who doesn't respect themselves.

Going "farther than recommended" is not exactly having self-respect or seeing yourself as a virtuous and valuable daughter of God.

Know this: for guys sex and love are two different things, kept in two different compartments of our brains.

Yes, we kiss the woman we love, but kissing her doesn't mean that we love her; it means we like kissing her AND we happen to love her.

Two of the things you wrote that give me the most concern, and frankly are very telling, are: "I'm afraid that bringing up the law of chastity it will mean certain rejection and that scares me" and "chastity breaking has been a theme in all" of your other relationships, too.

First of all, any guy who dumps you because you want to stay morally pure, chose the path that God has recommended for you, or because you won't give in to his advances is NOT A GOOD GUY.

I don't care how attractive he is or how nice you THINK he is, the dude is a slime ball.

He has no respect for you or your beliefs, doesn't care for you nearly as much as he cares about himself, and honestly, if he's not getting what he wants from you he has no issues going and getting it from any other random girl.

To him, you're not special, you're just willing.

And it doesn't matter if he's a member of the LDS Church or not.

There are Good Guys that will respect you who are not members of the Church, and Bad Guys who only care about getting as far as they can with you who pretend to be good and worthy priesthood holders.

Secondly, the notion that losing a guy who doesn't respect you scares you is a HUGE concern.

You're a smart, talented, wonderful young woman! 

If he can't see that, that's his problem, not yours.

Just because you've been unlucky in love so far, that doesn't mean you should give up looking for the Good Guy you deserve.

And I'm going to be "extra honest" here:  if every "relationship" you've had has a "chastity breaking" component, you're probably scaring the Good Guys away.

So don't blame them for not dating you; instead accept responsibility and start dating Good Guys exclusively.

Stay away from situations where chastity breaking is a possibility.

Be more patient.

Widen your circle of friends and associates.

And STOP "going over to his place".

And, no, I don't think this guy will ever take you seriously or stop wanting to use you.

Nor do I think he "didn't know any better".

That's ridiculous.

He may bide his time for a while, but that will only be because he thinks he can eventually get you to give in.

And if you do he'll likely lose all respect for you and that will be that.

And you'll have given in for nothing.

You're worth more than that.

Stick to your standards.

You'll always be glad you did.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Will They Still Be In Love When the Missions Are Done?

Dear Bro Jo,

I normally wouldn't do anything like this but I've reached a very confusing point and a man's insight would be great.

There's a guy I know who just left on his mission.

He's a bit older than most missionaries because he's a fairly new member to the Church.

We met at school through an organization where he was an advisor type of a person to me.

My first year we went on one date and it was terribly awkward, but a crush started to form.

My second year we became practically inseparable.

We spent about 85 % of our time not in classes together.

This summer I moved back home and I began preparing for my own mission.

We received our calls pretty much at the same time and we still remained in almost constant contact through it all.

I know he's serving The Lord, and that I will be soon.

I'm not too worried about marriage, but I've got to know if there's some chance we might end up together.

I'd love for that to happen.

I've tried asking what he thinks and he's said things like "look forward to what will be" but he just won't tell me any straight answers.

So, my question is:  does it sound like there's a chance?

And how do I keep that going while remaining completely appropriate in my letters and not allowing him to distract myself, or becoming a distraction to him?

You're awesome!

Sincerely.

- Called to Serve and a Bit Confused




Dear Called,

The answer is: you DON'T keep it going.

Focus on your mission and let him focus on his.

That's it.

Whether or not there's a chance you two could end up married is a topic that no one should worry about until you come home.

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 15, 2014

Three Quick Questions

Dear Bro Jo,

I really need help with a few things (actually 3 things) but I don't want to ask my mum.

First before I start, I think I should tell you I'm a fifteen year old girl who lives in Australia (I thought I should say that to explain the different spelling) and I'm LDS.

Ok, here's what I need help with:

Firstly, I like a non-member boy who is the same age as me and he's been in the same form class as me for the past 2 years and is again.
He seems to like me but I don't really know (I know that I shouldn't date until I'm sixteen and I don't really want to date right now).
He seems really sweet and nice but he's a non-member and he has very foul language. I would like to get to know him (yes Know that you say boys and girls can't just be friends) before I turn sixteen, just in case I do want to date. I really care about him but I don't know if he would.
 How can I get to know him?
(By the way there isn't a Tri-Stake dance until April, so I can't get him to go to a Church dance with me)

Secondly, a new school year started recently and there is a new boy who's in my class.
He knows some people at my school and one of those people just happens to be my best friend (a non-member), that wouldn't be a problem if they both like each other and my best friend asked him out (he was going to ask her out but he got really nervous and didn't but my best friend doesn't know that).
I'm afraid that my best friend will be upset if they stop going out which I think might in a few weeks and they've only been going out two days.
She's thirteen and he's fourteen which is a bit too young to be dating as boyfriend and girlfriend.
The thing is how can I tell my best friend that they're too young?

The Last thing hasn't got to with love or dating.
I feel left out in Sunday School and Young Women’s because I'm the only (and I'm not trying be to racist) white girl in my Ward.
Can you tell me how I can try to fit in? 


- From a Little Aussie Sister




Dear LAS,

(That's "Little Aussie Sister", get it?)

Okay . . .

First, I don't say that guys and girls shouldn't be friends, I say that guys can't STAY "just close friends" with a girl and that guys don't become close friends with girls they don't find attractive.
Getting to know a guy better before you date him can be a really good idea, especially as a teen. You'll get to know him better by being nice and asking him sincere questions about himself, just like you would if you were dancing (there's a suggested list of questions in "Bro Jo's Guide to Casual Group Dating" ).
As for the foul language, there's nothing wrong with asking him to tone it down when he's speaking to you. Just be sincere, sweet (maybe even bat your eyes a little) and don't do it in front of his friends.

Secondly, you can't lecture your friend unless she asks your opinion.
Friends almost always chose romantic possibilities over their friends, if you lecture her she may see it as an attack, pick him over you, and then you'll not be able to help at all.
What you can do is, in subtle but not condescending ways, casually mention how and why you're choosing to wait until you're older.

Third, you're going to have to become color blind.
We're all God's children.
Even you.
And learn from these feelings.
Your experience is opening your eyes to what it must be like for others.
Make friends by being a good friend. 
Understand that there may be cultural differences that you can't necessarily relate to or overcome, but do your best to be understanding.
We all need the Gospel, and we all need each other.
Try selecting one or two particularly nice young women in your ward and get to know them better.
Kindness knows no color.


Usually the first part of the bridge needs to be built by those that want to cross it.

Cheers,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dealing with Unwelcome Touching

Dear Bro. Jo,

In my English class there's this kid, we'll call him Chow Mien (just for fun), well this kid isn't LDS and he is a moocher, he sits in class and texts the whole time, and then takes your answers.

Well now to the awkward part.

Today in English we were doing a spelling bee (I'm in 11th grade so it seemed silly and pointless, which it was) and so I intentionally messed up on a super simple word, and I sat down on a table (not in a chair on the table, and crossed my legs) well he rubs my arm from my wrist to my shoulder, up and down and I shy away awkwardly, but he doesn't stop there, (this whole time we're talking too) well after that I get up to go talk to some friends, and he follows me!

Well I'm talking to my friends, and he goes to my back and starts texting with his hands placed on my back!

This was super awkward for me and he said "don't move" so each time I moved even a little is got more awkward.

THEN I go sit back down, he starts playing with my shoes!

That were on my feet!

And he asks me all these weird questions about my shoes (and I am semi-self-conscious about my feet because I wear a size 11 in women's.)

So I'm still sitting there awkwardly when he starts to tickle my knee!!!

I had no idea what to do and I kind of froze up until he said 'doesn't this tickle?'

And I was like no.

But the rest of the class just got more awkward!

I have him in 2 of my classes and I am afraid that it will go super awkward and I will have to turn him down hard.

I don't know what to do, I'm not looking for a relationship, and I don't really see him as a potential "partner" for dating and such things, because he doesn't meet my standards, and he makes me feel really awkward.

Please help me ASAP (I have another class with him Monday)

Sincerely,

- Weirded Out




Dear Weirded Out,

Unwelcome physical contact is a form of assault.

You have a responsibility to tell him clearly (and preferably with one of your friends as a witness) to stop.

If you don't, he may think you welcome the attention.

(Hormones often override what little intelligence a guy may have.)

You can do it in a nice way, but you'll need to be clear.

Try: "I don't mean to embarrass you, but I don't like it when you touch me. My back, my legs, my arm, my shoes . . . any part of me or my clothing. I don't like it. Don't do it. I'm asking you politely to stop. And I've asked (name of friend who is with you) to be here when I tell you so that she can verify what I've said to you".

When and if he apologizes, simply say "thank you".

And walk away.

In your diary or some other place, make sure you note the date, time, what you said and who your witness is, just to be safe.  (You should be noting when he touched you and what he did, as well.)

And, I don't think you should wait until Monday.

Waiting will just have it sit on your mind all weekend, plus this could get a lot worse by then.

Oh, and if you think that ignoring it will make it all better . . . well, it won't.

Now, the father in me that often writes these things as if I was giving advice to my own daughter would like you to add the phrase "because if you touch me again without my permission I'm going to take this size 11 shoe and shove it through your nasal cavity while my foot's still in it". . . but you probably shouldn't say that.

Yet.

Let me know how the conversation goes.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I told my parents, and they say that its normal and that I shouldn't be weirded out, and that kind of worries me only because my parents are usually super protective.

I will tell him asap about how I don't appreciate it.

Thanks so much!

-Weirded Out




Dear Weirded Out,

Maybe your parents think you need to do a little more flirting in your life . . . I'm certainly not someone who sees problems with flirting, but this is beyond that, and I stand behind my earlier statement that you need to take a stand.  In fact, I think lots of young people should be speaking up and allowing themselves to be pawed less.

Teenage hormones are what they are, but self-control and respect for self and others should not be pushed aside because people think "that's normal".

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 8, 2014

Surviving a Break Up - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi, Thanks.

It helps that a few weeks prior to the breakup, I recognized that I was feeling a "stupor of thought", and was wondering what the heck I was doing that was not in accordance with the Lord.

When we broke up, I was heartbroken, but I also felt at peace, and knew right away that the constant confusion I was feeling was from this relationship.

It was really a very healthy, stable relationship, and had he not made the spiritual choices he did, it could have very well worked out and we would be married next fall.

But there must be more I am supposed to do.

Around the same time that the confusion entered my head, the thought of a mission did, too. I am going to give it all time, though. (Conference has certainly continued to hammer the idea, though!)

I know much of his questions were simply based off of his "own understanding" of who God is, what the Bible means, and the like.

It is as though he was not willing to be flexible or try to understand.

In conference, Elder Bednar talked about how conversion comes from having a testimony.

I look back now and realize he was never truly converted.

If he was, he would have been open to the Spirit and able to understand why his "understanding" was incorrect.

The YSA's here really are fantastic.

I have no intention of getting into another relationship at this moment in time, simply because I feel like I could easily "rebound", and need to get past this point.

But a lot of guys at Church talk to me and invite me to do things, like swimming parties after FHE with a campfire after (crazy that it's still hot enough to go swimming!), group movie nights, game nights, and the like.

I plan on using some of your "how to get a guy to ask you on a date" moves in the future with a few of these men.

I'm completely down for having fun, being with good, wholesome people, and just enjoying my young adult life. I'll be happy with my circumstances (Uchtdorf reference!), and live on the Lord's timing. Everything will be okay. :)

Thanks again,

- Spinning




Dear Spinning,

Anytime.

And, for what it's worth, I think you'd be a great missionary.

Whichever is the right path, I'm sure you'll be fine.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Woo-hoo Bro Jo!

You were dead on about guys wanting to date me, but I was 'taken'. I've got a date tomorrow!

I'm so happy with life right now. It's fun!

- Spinning




Dear Spinning,

Good for you!

Hope you have a great time,

- Bro Jo

Friday, December 5, 2014

Is It a Waste of Time to Serious Single Date non-Members?

Dear Bro Jo,

Your BlogSpot is totally wonderful and I've been reading your comments and suggestions to others, and I feel that you are such a wonderful adviser that I would like to ask your point of view about my situation. :)

 I am 19 turning 20, and I might say, I look attractive physically. I am not modelesque (coz I’m kinda small), but I take care of how I look like, and other people really check me out whenever I go out. You can say I am quite a stunner (some says).

I am active in the Church and have callings, and am also spiritually fine, I am a voracious reader and love reading the scriptures and other Church publications.

Anyways, enough about that. I just wanted to share, that ever since, I never had a boyfriend that belonged to the Church.

They have always been non- members.

(Of course I know the boundaries and does not push it when it comes to my exes.)

It just seems to be that the members aren't attracted to me?

My bishop told me that I could look very intimidating for guys. It's like, the members aren't attracted to me, but the non-members are chasing me so much.

I admit this could be my fault as well, because I do entertain the non-members, I find them easier to talk to, because when I go on dates with members It just seems so, restrictive.

The members say I am beautiful, and wants more dates from me, but they are actually, are more criticizing than the non-members.

They will notice the littlest details.

With the non-members, they just accept me the way I am, nothing more (in my situation).

And I feel that, for guys, you should accept us girls the way we are, and if you are a worthy man, then we would work hard to be as worthy as you are.

And also, when I date members I feel disappointed (though I don't share it) when they don't come up to the standard, I mean, when I date a guy from the Church, I would want him to be a worthy priesthood holder who sustains his callings and would be able to provide for our future family, and loves the Lord much more than he loves me.

(It would be a bonus if he's good looking too. haha)

But somehow, none of them comes up to the standard and I feel disappointed so I would think like, I'd rather date the nonmember, at least with them they don't know the standard so I could share it to them and make them a better person.

And sadly the non-members who asks me out, looks very handsome and dashing compared to the members, and I am the kind of person who even though likes a very good and spiritual person, would also like looking at someone presentable (since he would be the one who you will wake up with every morning if ever you get married right?).

I know in myself, that I would never ever take a nonmember seriously, like marry him, but in the rate this is going, it seems like I’m about to eat my words.

I know I am still young, but goodness, how would I ever get interested in members?

Maybe I should wait for the right member to come then?

Because the nonmembers are flocking all over me and I'm afraid I might pick one of them, instead of that worthy young man who could somehow be waiting for me out there.

Do you suggest I don't date non-members (the ones I date have good standards but I know that isn’t a good justification), and instead just date members?

Or should I lay off dating a little while and start to assess why I don't like dating members so I could somehow know the root cause of why I am like this and change it?

Is it wrong to date a nonmember?

I mean, you know, the serious dating stuff. I want to be able to marry in the Temple and I know that I need to marry a worthy priesthood holder, but what If I cannot find someone I like in the Church?

They all somehow fall short of my expectation.

I am so sorry for all the rambling and I do thank you for the time you’ve spent reading this email.

Hopefully you can give me a wonderful advice like how you did with all the others. 

Sincerely Yours,

- Miss PH

P.S. It would be so lovely for you to be able to go to a fireside and tell us more, but sadly it might be a bit too far away. I'm here in the Philippines. :) Best regards to Sis. Jo, I feel that she is so sweet even though I only heard from her in some other questions you have answered. Have a great day! :) 




Dear Miss PH,

1. Thank you.
2. Sister Jo and I would love to visit the Philippines! (perhaps next summer!)
3. No guy, especially a "Good Churchy Guy" would be interested in dating a girl he constantly sees spending lots of time with non-Church guys.
4. I think it’s wrong and unfair that you’re holding Church guys to a standard far higher than the other boys you're dating.
Consider: you're comparing guys who aren't flawless in their priesthood with guys who don't even hold the priesthood.
5. Any guy you date at your age who isn't Temple Worthy is a waste of your time, regardless of how nice he is.
6. I know for a fact that there are lots of great single LDS men in the Philippines. Seek them out and give them a chance! 

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wanting a Better College Dating Experience

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey Bro Jo!

Well first I'll give you a little background. I am 18-going-on-19. I recently moved FAR away from a small town where there are few Church members, to Utah for college.

And I am thus far dateless.

I'm doing my part- trying to look nice, going where the guys are,

I'm very involved in Church and have a strong testimony...

I've even used some of your "How to get a date" lines; but to no avail.

I mean overall I'm a fun person.

I love getting to know people, and I think I'm pretty easy to talk to.

In my hometown there were a few boys in my ward who were close to my age.

We were all friends and would occasionally "hang out" one on one...

But no dates.

Sometimes boys are just dumb.

It's true.

Now here I am in Dating Central.

People are getting dates all around, but none for me (yet).

So here's my question(s)..

1) What can I do here to start getting some real dates? I'm just hoping for a better college dating experience than my dateless days high school. High school was great, but come on, it's time for some dating.
2) I can't help thinking that there's a reason that I haven't gotten a date. I think just as a girl I'm inclined to think that because a guy hasn't asked me out, there must be something wrong with me. I know that's not necessarily true. But it feels like it. I really am trying to be the best 'me'. I'm trying to put myself out there. I'm not locking myself in my room so I don't have opportunities to date. But it just hasn't happened. Am I a dud? Is there a reason guys don't want to date me? 

I know I'm still very young, but I feel like I'm missing out on just regular experiences like dating, that are supposed to be preparing me for college and the future, and that it's going to affect how things will work out now.

I mean how many of the girls here haven't gone on one single date?

Is the fact that I haven't gone on a real date before going to keep guys from wanting to date me now?

I don't know.

I guess I'm just looking for advice. I'm up for whatever you've got.

- Milk Dud




Dear Little Sister,

First of all, if this column tells us anything, it's that there are TONS of girls Just Like You, who are also waiting to finally be asked out on a date.  Even at Church schools.

Here are some things you can do:
1) Stop "hanging out" - why should a boy date you if he can spend no-pressure time with you for free?
2) Ask your roommates and friends (those that love you and know you best) why they think you haven't been asked out; be prepared for some hard-to-hear words, but heed their counsel
3) Offer to set your friends and roommates up on dates if they'll do the same for you (have you read about "The Set-up Game"? )
4) Widen your circle of friends - the more people that know you, the more likely you'll get asked out
5) Always look your best and stay positive - no one wants to ask out someone who's a downer or looks like they don't care (sweats are for the gym and sleepwear, not saying you do, but never wear them outside)
6) Always strive to improve - we all can, and nothing helps our self esteem better than becoming better at something
7) Serve others - a lot of Great LDS Guys realize that they will have more service and, frankly, leadership opportunities if they marry a woman that has a testimony of selfless service Plus, and this is the big one, when we serve others our own trials and difficulties seem a little easier to handle. 

Let me know how it all goes!

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 1, 2014

Surviving a Break Up - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

Well Bro Jo, just how does it get better?

18 beautiful months, and it just isn't going to work out. I'm completely heart broken.

I can't say I didn't see it coming.

He has been having questions about the Church for a good year now, and has finally decided he cannot take me to the Temple, does not want to be a member, and that it is not fair to keep me in a relationship that will only end the same way later as it is now.

I completely agree.

But my goodness this hurts so much.

With (name withheld), I wanted to end it.

But I didn't want to end this.

How on earth does it get better?

I can't sit here and cry all day... I just don't know what to do with myself.

So can you answer me this: how does it get better?

Thank you,

- Spinning Like a Record




Dear Bro Jo,

I answered my own question.

I guess I knew the answer when I sent that letter, but at the time, it seemed as though life had just ended.

All motivation and happiness seemed to be void.

It has been 4 full days since we broke up and it is still hard.

My mind will sometimes race, and the only question I have is...

  Why didn't he feel the same spirit I feel when we went to the Temple?  
 
  Or when he read the Book of Mormon?

  Or prayed about the truthfulness of the Gospel?

  Why did he only receive confusion about the Church?

  And why does he feel "at peace" following another religion (actually a cult and not very fond of Mormons)??


I don't know that there is a straightforward answer. But even in this relationship, I have been putting all of my faith, trust, and timing in the Lord's hands.

I have been relying 100% on the Spirit for this whole relationship, which is one thing that made it wonderful, and also the one thing that assured me that this had to end. I still can't really believe it happened, that he is no longer actively in my life, but as sad as it is, I feel at peace.

I miss him so much, but I feel at peace with the decision. I'm still hurting, and this is so hard.

The answer to my original question is just that it takes time.

Even just a few days later, I have not shed a tear today.

That's a step.

I'm working on involving myself even more in my own hobbies and talents. I have a new calling in the ward as a ward missionary, and that should keep me busy as well.

The YSA ward is superb, very supportive, loving, and everybody has my back.

Nearly everybody has been in my shoes before, and one guy in the ward was dumped just a week before I was.

He and I talked quite a bit, and the empathy this ward is willing to share is astounding.

Sorry this is a bit more like a journal entry and not so much an advise-seeking letter.

General Conference could not have come at a more perfect time.

Thanks for all you do,

- Spinning Like a Record




Dear Spinning,

Sorry I'm just getting to your email now.

When you're not the person doing the breaking, the only things that makes breakups seem easier are time and then, eventually, dating someone else.

I don't think this will make you feel better at this point, but I think that the reason people say they feel "at peace" when they wander from the Gospel is because their new "reality" allows them to dodge, postpone, or avoid consequences.

For me it's a pretty straightforward answer.

Trust me, there's something going on with him that he just doesn't want to admit or face right now. 

And, while I know it doesn't seem that way today, trust me: you're better off without him.

I know you don't need any advice from me . . . you're going to be just fine. 

Just do yourself a favor: be open to dating again.

No one says you need to jump into a relationship, but I'll bet there's a great guy or two out there that wanted to date you before but you were "taken".

Take a chance.

- Bro Jo

Friday, November 28, 2014

Be Happy

Dear Bro Jo,

First I would like to say thanks for all that you do.

You probably hear this all the time, but your site has helped me out A LOT!

I suppose I'll start out with a bit of back ground information: I am a 17 year old girl. I've been a member of the Church my whole life. and I live in (location withheld).

If ever asked what my happiest memory is I can't say I would have a good genuine answer.

It's not that I'm a sad, and unhappy person (although lately I think this description would fit), I can laugh and have fun I just could never identify those moments with happiness.

I have been going to therapy for around three years to help with my social anxiety, and although I would say I have made substantial progress, I cannot say that I am happier.

I try to be a good person. I serve others to the best of my ability, I have attended so far three years of seminary, I very rarely miss a day of church and I go to the temple when ever the youth have a temple trip. I am an honor (AP) student, I am the Laurel class president, I have received my Young Women's Medallion for completing the personal progress, and I am on my way to getting my Honor Bee.

I try to be an example to those around me, I read my scriptures almost every night, and I pray often.

Yet regardless of all these things I cant say that I am happy.

I have so many blessings and things to be happy and grateful for, and the fact that I am not makes me feel terrible.

I wish I could take everything I have and give it to someone who really needs it, because they deserve it much more than I do.


And now that you are caught up I'll explain what has been going on.


This past week has been pretty bad.

School is out and I have had nothing to occupy my time.

I wouldn't say I have been feeling sad but rather empty.

I like doing many things yet none of them have been able to really make me happy.

They act as more of distractions that keep my mind off of how I am feeling.

Furthermore, I have been really irritable. Even the smallest things will set me off, and I don't know why. Though obviously I get angry like any one else, but recently I has been magnified.

I guess my questions are:

     Any advice on how can I be happier?

     Would you recommend talking to anyone (bishop, young women's president) about my situation?

     and

     From what you have read so far can you help he figure out where this "emptiness" comes from?

I know these questions are subject to ones opinions and frame of view, but at this point I need any help I can get.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

- Empty Well

PS: Other information that might be useful:

 - I've never been good at making or maintaining friendships, and in too many of those friendships I have done much of the chasing.

  - Most people don't really come to me to try to be my friend. As a result I have been very lonely. Even in Church the other girls in my ward don't really care to talk to me or help me in establishing a friendship. Which has lead me to be very lonely and question if there is anything wrong with me?

(Ex: Why am I not good enough for people to WANT to talk to me?)

  - I'm a natural introvert





Dear Well,

I want you to know that I've given your email a lot of prayerful thought.

This is not meant as a substitute for the counseling you've been receiving.

You may also want to consider taking control of your situation and your life.

See, you have the fortunate situation of being in a position where everything that's bothering you is something you can fix.

And fix quite easily, I might add.

You've achieved so many good things!

Let yourself enjoy those things and be proud of your accomplishments.

Rather than giving your things away because you feel unworthy to have them, use them to help others.

AP student?

Go tutor someone who needs help. (Great way to make a new friend!)

See, I think you're "choosing unhappiness" because, on some level, it makes you feel better.

Perhaps it makes you feel less guilty.

Perhaps you think (wrongly, btw) that unhappiness equals humility.

Having traveled to where you live a few times, I refuse to accept your claim that there's "nothing to occupy" your time.

I'm sorry, but I care too much to sugar coat this: that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard! I could spend weeks at the Museums there alone!

And then there's the parks . . . and historical things . . . and great things to see . . . and DO!

Afraid to leave your home?

Even then! There's a great history of the area that's over 1200 pages; well worth the read!

In short, if you want to Be Happy, choose to Be Happy.

If you really are done feeling sad and sorry for yourself, then stop it.

If you don't like your life as an introvert (which, frankly, is a label I think you're comfortably hiding behind) then CHANGE.

And if you do like the idea of being an introvert . . . then stop complaining!

Do the righteous things that help you to feel joy.

If you want to go make friends, go make friends.

If you'd rather stay in and read, then do that!

Both are great and wonderful ways to spend your time.

My father says that the cure to all depression is WORK. Maybe you need to get a job.

Sister Jo says nothing makes us feel better than being of service to others. You could certainly find people in your area that need some service.

I don't think you're an empty well. I just think you're expecting someone or something else to fill that well, when the only person that can fill it with any positive long tern results . . . is you.

All around you are miracles and blessings.

See them.

Be Grateful for them. Fill your well with the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ put around us, put into our lives, every day.

- Bro Jo

PS:  Depression is a very real thing; by all means if you find that your suffering from depression that you just can't overcome on your own, then talk to your Bishop and/or Young Women's President and/or Parents and get some professional help.  Don't delay!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

When to Break Up

Dear Readers,

A week or so ago I got this comment on a post:

Anonymous said:
Dear Bro Jo,
... In your opinion what falls into the category of a good reason to break up?

And I thought it deserved it's own post, so here goes.


Dear Anon,

Great question!  Here are:

Bro Jo's REASONS to BREAK UP

Casual Group Dating age (pre-mission for guys, pre-high school graduation for girls) – everything.  

You shouldn't be in a Serious relationship at this point.   At all.  I don’t care how “cute” other people think it is, how supportive or encouraging your parents are, or how common it is where you live, exclusive relationships at a young age lead to 1) temptation, 2) drama no pre-adult should invite into their life, 3) missed social opportunities, and 4) confusion and control you don’t need when you’re still trying to figure out who you are and what you want.


Serious Single Dating (post mission for guys, post high school for girls, adulthood required) – assuming that you’re actually IN an exclusive relationship (you've been Out On Several Dates, typically kissing and holding hands is happening, and you've either had “the talk” or you both spend so much time with each other you just know, you know? – then these are reasons I think it’s okay, even advised, to break up, and to do so right away:

1.  You discover any of the things in:

 Bro Jo’s FIVE A’s of  WHY NOT to MARRY THAT PERSON
(See HERE for the link), which include:

a.       Absolutism – they’re never wrong, they boss you and everyone else around

b.      Abuse – of any kind, toward any living thing, including themselves

c.       Addiction – if it’s repented of, in the past, and you can live with their history, fine, but NEVER hang around waiting for them to get over it; safely in the past is one thing, no other situation is worth the risk

d.      Anger – everyone gets upset, but this is about How they deal with being angry; if they don’t deal with life’s trials well, or they’re just mean, get away

e.       Apathy – won’t work, won’t participate, a real downer

And the bonus 6th A . . .

f.        Attitude – theirs is bad, or yours and theirs, at least about the big stuff, isn’t the same, this is going to be a long hard road


2 .  You realize that:

a.       They’re No Fun - you don’t enjoy being around them much, no particular reason, you’d just rather be by yourself, or with anyone else, than with them.  There are people out there for everyone, and if you can’t stand being around this one, for whatever reason, go find someone you like being around, and let them do the same.  Understand, even couples like Sister Jo and I, who hang out a lot, don’t spend every moment around each other – as you learn with your family, roommates, and mission companions, no two people get along All of the Time, but if you don’t like being around them all or most of the time, move on.

b.      You Can’t Trust Them - they’re not who they pretended to be, you get a bad vibe, or you learn something that they can’t answer satisfactorily.  Trust is the most important ingredient in any long term relationship, and absolutely required for a positive marriage.  If you’re invested in this person, you should give them a chance to explain, but if you don’t buy it (let the Spirit Guide, and maybe get some input from some great friends or family) you’ve got to get them out of your life.  Now. 

c.       You’re Attracted to Someone Else – looks will change, personalities don’t.  If you can’t stop thinking about that other person now, it’s not going to get better later.  Best to cut this person loose and let them find someone who actually values, likes, and wants to show them some physical affection.  Just remember, if you’re being shallow you may really live to regret it.


3.   For whatever reason, Temple Marriage is just not in the foreseeable future.  Look 1 year ahead.  If you’re serious with this person and you just can’t imagine being sealed for Time and All Eternity within 12 months (not to say that it will happen for sure in that time, but you just don’t see it) then both of you need to move on, no matter how great each of you thinks the other person is.  If they’re so great, and you’re so great, and everything is great, stop dragging your feet. 
A word about that last one:  it includes missionary service and other things that may make a 1-year separation into a 1-year + non-dating situation.  Too many possible great Eternal Companions can pass your way in one year, and If you’re blinded by sticking in an unlikely situation the chances of you being in No Situation are very high.

Remember, like auto parts, relationships only have two directions, if they’re not growing they’re dying.

I'm not ready to say that this list is complete, but I think you get the general idea.

(I'm sure we'll see a bunch of comments from readers who have either great reasons of their own - and perhaps some lame reasons, too - to a bunch of justifications to why I'm wrong on the above, so stay tuned!)


Monday, November 24, 2014

Workout Buddies

Dear Bro Jo,

How are you?

How is your family?

I haven't written in a while, but it's mostly because I don't have a ton of questions until now.

Here's the story: I have a friend from work, I'll call him Steve Rogers (he is an ROTC student, I feel like the military connection just works. And he thinks he's a superhero.) and he is married to a friend.

On Halloween our work had a party and I met her for the first time and she and I were instantly friends.

After that we started going to the gym together for our workouts and sometimes "Steve" would join us.

I didn't think much of it until the last few days.

In a week she will be deployed for military service for 9 months.

Steve helps me a ton when I go to the gym.

He spots me, makes sure I have proper form, and pushes me so I get the best workout.

After my friend is gone she has told me if I want to continue to work out with Steve that it's fine with her.

But would that be weird to be working out with my friend’s husband while she is out serving the country?

I am friends with him independent of her, but I would have never started working out with him if it weren't for her.

Thoughts?

You always seem to know what to say.

Thanks for all you do, and Merry Christmas!

- Natasha




Dear Natasha,

Yes, it would be wrong to spend ANY time with him when she's not there ... but especially at the gym.

Even more so while he's lonely because she's out of the country.

It doesn't matter how you feel or whether or not she gives her permission; a man in a committed relationship shouldn't be spending any one on one time with a girl who is not his wife.

Ever.

There is not any situation where that is appropriate.

Merry Christmas,

- Bro Jo 

PS: Relatives are the exception to the one-on-one rule, but by that I mean moms and sisters, not sister-in-laws. At the very best it looks bad, but it can also lead to hurt feelings, confusion, and . . . well . . . some pretty bad decisions.

Friday, November 21, 2014

He's Lost the Will to Seriously Single Date - Part 3

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you again for your help. Sorry for all the drama and whining.

I didn't mean for it to come out that way but I guess what other way would it come out. I realize that I probably just complain a lot more than I should and I'm just a selfish jerk.

I know I need more dating experience.

I'm just too stupid to know how. I've only posted my frustrations on Facebook once and I regretted it and never did it again.

I try to talk and text to women. Texting is the chicken’s way out,

I am an idiot for doing it.

I do not live in Rexburg any more I moved away from there a long time ago.

The group date thing was before my mission not after.

But like I said I am to stupid and pathetic to know anything about dating.

I will just always be some stupid awkward computer geek that scares all the girls off.

Thank you for all your service and hard work helping us crazy single people out.

Even if I am the only crazy one.

- Dateless




Dear Dateless,

I didn't say you're a selfish jerk, and I don't think you're stupid.

You're not crazy, either.  And if you were, believe me, you wouldn't be the only one.

(If you really are struggling with mental health, please get help.)

It does sound like you're being melodramatic again, though . . . (I did mention that girls don't dig that, right?)

Look, you have an opportunity here.

You've realized that there's something in your life that you don't like and you want to change it for the positive.

So ... do it.

Complaining is only worthless if we don't do anything about the things we're complaining about.

Rather than throw in the towel, why not seize this moment?

Why not let this be the point where you go out and start running the race?

Go start doing the dating you've always wanted to do.

Ask out that girl you're interested in!

Don't make it a big deal.

Just think "I'm asking her out because I want to get to know her better".

And ask out some other girls, too.

If a girl you ask to dinner turns you down, shrug it off as her loss and ask out someone else.

There's nothing wrong with being into computers. We nerds get great jobs and can fix stuff that other people can't.

And, let's face it, we're pretty nice guys.

No go get some dates, my man.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bro Jo's SIX STEPS FROM ZERO to TEMPLE MARRIAGE for YOUNG SINGLE ADULTS

Dear Bro Jo,

I just came across your page and love reading your advice!

First off, you probably get a million emails, so I thank you if you take the time to read and respond to mine.

My situation is, I am almost 23, female, active in YSA ward, pretty, funny, tad shy but friendly.

I have never kissed a boy (besides a kid who tried to stick his tongue down my throat in 4th grade, but that dosen't count).

Its strange, I know.

I used to worry a lot about it, like whats wrong with me?

Am I ugly?

...Still bothers me a little but I know I'm not ugly or have a defect, I just haven't given anyone a chance or acted interested in anybody due to a lot of stress in my family life.

My real question is about this guy I have been hanging out with that I really like, he is 30 and has had a few serious girlfriends, he knows I haven't had any serious relationships but not that I have never been kissed!!

What if it comes up before he kisses me?

How do I tell him?

Have any funny ways to break it to him if he asks?

Oh, and I read your L's on getting kissed and plan to use them, but is the first official date too soon?

We have hung out with friends a few times and gone to the gym and after he bought me lunch, so was that considered our first date?

I dont know!... but I'm pretty sure he is in to me, he called me and we talked for over an hour and he told me after our gym "date" he would really like to hang out again.

Oh, and this is a pretty dumb question but what do I do if he does kiss me?

Like, do I let him do all the work?

Or is there a way to do it?

Will my lips just know what to do?

haha!

Maybe, Im just way over-thinking all of this?

But, I like him a lot and I don't want to scare him off when he finds out he'd be my first kiss!!!

I know your advice will help!

Thank you!

- Ready to Be Kissed




Dear Ready,

Thank you.

And it's not "a million" . . . but I do get quite a few.

First of all, 4th grade counts, so yes, you've been kissed.

Not well . . . but kissed none the less.  So you can let go of that worry.

I doubt he's going to ask if you've ever been kissed.

In fact, at your age and his if he does . . . well . . . that's a weird question to ask . . .but if he does ask "have you ever been kissed", I think the best response is a coy "not by you".  (Smile, wink.)

The L's really work.  (For the original column, "The Six L's of How to Get Kissed", click HERE.)

And yes, I typically say that the first date is too soon.

However . . . despite my best efforts . . . I couldn't help kissing the future Sister Jo on the first date . . . and that's worked out pretty well.

Most importantly, and I can't emphasize this enough . . . STOP HANGING OUT!!!


Let me make this super clear, because y'all have obviously not been taught correctly:


Bro Jo's SIX STEPS FROM ZERO to TEMPLE MARRIAGE for YOUNG SINGLE ADULTS 

1. Once you're ready for Serious Single Dating (back from the mish for guys, out of high school for girls), then it's time to Date With a Purpose.
No, that doesn't mean that you go from nothing to a proposal on the first date, what it does mean is that you stop hanging out, stop playing around, stop being a baby about all of this.
("I'm not ready" is invalid - a date is not a proposal, and if you delay Dating with a Purpose . . . well, that's where many of you will end up writing me at 27-32 freaking out - and rightly so - that you've "missed your chance"; it's not entirely true, but the feelings and concerns are real.)
And stop being selfish.  Putting video games, school, career, travel, lifestyle, etc. ahead of an eternal family is, IMHO, not God's hope for us.  Pretty sure that's in some kind of Proclamation somewhere . . .

2. First Dates are No Big Deal.
Guys need to ask everybody and girls need to say yes to everyone who's not on the list of offenders and abusers on the bulletin board at the police department.
(By the way, girls, if you haven't checked that list out, I suggest you do at least once a month.)
There's no such thing as Too Old, Too Fat, Too Shy, Too Different or Too Whatever at this stage.
First dates are how y'all are supposed to get to know people, NOT by hanging out with them.
(This, by the way, is where Many Many of you have it backwards.)
Why?
Because the lack of formality in a Hang Out versus a Date means that you're not really getting to know the person well.
In one-on-one situations people act differently, the conversation is more personal and intimate (The Conversation, you guys; I'm not talking about other "intimate" stuff), and you get to know The Real Person.
And NEWS FLASH - it may take (and almost always does) more than one date to get to know someone. (Duh!)
If you go on a date and have fun (which you should be cause you should both R-E-L-A-X) and the person seems interesting and you're remotely attracted to them - at all - then you should go on one or two more dates with them.
At least.
And YES, unless you're head-over-heels for them, you should be dating other people, too.
THAT'S part of what will keep things from getting Too Serious Too Soon.
When you space out your second and third dates with others in between, then no one is breaking out the wedding notebook too soon.
And, for the record, while I don't think waters should be muddied in the first couple dates, if there isn't at least a "good night" kiss at the end of the third to fifth date, then you both need to realize . . . well, heck, let's just say that at the end of the third date I think there should be some kissing, and if either of you isn't interested in kissing the other then let them move on to someone else.
Have the kindness and courage to call it off and let them get back to dating everyone else.

3. Once you get to the point that you want to keep seeing Only That Person, then yes, by all means Formalize Things a bit.
For many of you this means having the DTR (Determine The Relationship) conversation.
I asked Sister Jo. We never had one. Didn't see the need.
We were going out with only each other all the time (several times a week), so it was pretty clear there was no one else.

4. AFTER you're in an exclusive Not-Dating-Anyone-Else Relationship, THEN you can start Hanging Out.
However, until the Eternities End (or you're no longer together) you should make every effort Keep Dating at Least Once a Week.  Go Out (movies on the sofa don't count).
Sometimes life won't let that happen, but you need to continue (especially after marriage) to get away from your home and daily routines (and kids) to spend time together holding hands and talking.

5. If you find yourself doing the exclusive thing with someone for three months, you need to Ask Yourself Whether or Not You See This Relationship Going to the Temple some day.  (Ask them, too.)
NO, that doesn't mean I think you should necessarily propose at the three month mark, but you should know by then whether or not you have any intention or desire AT ALL to be with this person forever.
AND that they feel the same about you.
(Very important, that.)
If the answer is no, then let them go.
And if you're unsure, the answer is no.
If you've been getting to know them (like you're supposed to) and spending all of that time together and you have no desire to spend time with anyone else, then you should have thoughts about Forever.
If you don't there's no reason to expect that's going to magically change after you've spend a few more months (or years) together.
Don't let yourself get caught in the Casual Relationship that's Going Nowhere because it's Comfortable.
Old shoes are comfortable, but if they smell bad or aren't good for your feet you need to toss them.

6. I believe in Long Courtships and Short Engagements.
How long?
In LDS culture, if you're unselfish and doing your due diligence (and the other person is, too), then barring other circumstances (and I understand that there can be lots of those) I think 6 months is long enough.
The only reason to not officially plan a marriage at six months is that you haven't put in the work you should have getting to know the person (and their family) up to that point.
If you're not ready to commit, then it's time to quit . . . to quit looking and realize you've got a great person in your life and you need to make that relationship permanent.
There's no shame in being aware enough of one's self and situation that you can admit things are not working.
Does that mean the relationship needs to be perfect?
I hope not!
I have no doubt I make Sister Jo roll her eyes or get mad at least once a week (she says much more often, btw).
Marriage, good marriage, is about Communication, Trust, and Selflessness.
That's what makes it work.
And if you can't see that at all in six months . . . well, there's just too many other available people out there.  
I'm not saying everyone should be married in 6 months!  
I AM saying that at the end of six months of exclusive dating if you don't care enough to make a plan, care enough to let them go.  
Just realize that may be the dumber of the two options.



Now, as for you, Little Sister . . . the lips know what to do.

Kissing gets better with practice, so don't worry if you're (or it's not) amazing the first time.  It almost never is.

Those kisses you see in movies?

So fake.

Trust me, to get a kiss to "look right" (whatever that means) on film . . . well . . . let's just say it ain't like real life.

As for him finding out he's your first kiss . . . I don't see any reason why you need to tell him that now, or soon after.

Maybe tell him on your 10th wedding anniversary . . . or your fiftieth.

- Bro Jo

Monday, November 17, 2014

How Do You Transition from In-Class Flirting to Getting Asked Out?

Dear Bro Jo,

First of all, thank you so much for your blog and all the answers you give. I really like how blunt and to the point they are. So thank you!

Okay. There's this guy in my class and he's been coming to sit next to me since just before the middle of the semester. I hadn't really noticed him until he sat next to me one day and started talking to me.

Now, I'm really shy and I don't feel like I've been able to be myself around him and talk a lot, of course we are in a classroom setting so I don't like talking much in class anyway.

But he talks a lot.

The very first thing he started talking about is how 18 year olds don't have much life experience and that actually made me pretty mad. I went home to my roommates and told them that I really didn't like this guy because he seemed like a jerk.

Then he sat next to me the next class.

I was really confused because he would sit by me and talk to me all class and just leave at the end of class without saying anything.

I thought that was a little weird, but I didn't say anything about it.

Then one class he started telling me how to show a guy that I want him to take me on a date and he said touch is a great indicator that I want a guy to ask me on a date.

Then he started walking out of class right in front of me but he wouldn't say anything and he would kind of walk a couple feet away and just barely in front of me if that makes any sense.

And that continued.

Then he started walking out with me and held the door open and would make small talk.

I actually can't believe he still sits next to me because I'm not the most talkative person around him which is weird because usually I've warmed up to people once we've talked for a while.

I told him that I'd be living in the area for this next semester which is my off track and he seemed pretty interested and excited that I would still be around.

So anyways . . . we have had about three quizzes in this class and our teacher lets us take them with a person in the class if we want and I usually take it with my roommate because she has the class the hour before me . . . but this time when the teacher told us we could take the test with someone else, the guy that always sits next to me asked if I wanted to take the quiz with him (this is the last quiz of the semester) and I said sure so he handed me his phone so I could put my number in it.

So we planned a day and he said he would text me when he's done with classes.

We're taking the test tomorrow and I'm honestly dreading the fact that he's coming over to my apartment.

I don't really know why.

I like him when I'm around him but sometimes it's like I start to second guess myself.

He's a really awesome guy and I just don't feel like I'm good enough to even be his friend!

I'm praying that I can be more myself around him because I feel like he doesn't know the real me and I'm worried that once he does he's not going to like that.

I don't really know how to feel and I don't know if I should worry about it.

But a lot of people have said that they think they like me but I'm not sure.

What should I do?

- Flirting




Dear Flirting,

I think you should put him on the spot.

We often aren't communicating as well as we think we are, and I think that's the case with this guy. 


Quick story.

At one point in high school I started eating lunch in the library. For reasons I don't remember it had occurred to me that rather than going home to a mountain of homework every day I could do some of it in the library during lunch.

This was during a particularly cocky period in my life (neither Sister Jo nor I can figure out why), so one afternoon when I went in there I saw this really cute girl sitting by herself at a big table, so NATURALLY I sat next to her and we started talking.

We were getting along great and I was seriously thinking of asking her out on a date.

For reasons I regretted for a very long time afterwards I thought I could ingratiate myself to her by putting down the cheerleaders at our school.

I think that in my ignorance I figured that since she was in the library that she was probably one of those more "studious girls" at our school that hated the cheer squad. (The Jo Girl who's currently a 4.0 student and a cheerleader loves to roll her eyes and get indignant and hurt whenever I tell this story.)

You guessed it: that was the end of the flirting and any date hopes I'd had with this girl.

Not only was she a varsity cheerleader, so were all of her friends.

(Ever wonder why I keep telling y'all that boys are dumb?)


Anyway, the point is that, intentional or not, this guy is clearly giving you signals that he's hoping you'll tell him it's okay to ask you out.

I say "do him the favor"; touch him on the arm and say "so, when you said that girls are supposed to touch guys to let them know that they should ask them out, is this what you had in mind?"

His reaction will tell you all you need to know.

Yeah, he may start sitting somewhere else, but he may also be grateful that you picked up on all of his, albeit not very smooth, hinting.

Let me know how it goes!

-Bro Jo

Friday, November 14, 2014

He's Lost the Will to Serious Single Date - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo

Thanks Bro Jo for your reply.

I guess to start off with I'm a 24 years old RM.

I consider myself a pretty average guy with average looks. I am quiet and not to outgoing.

I grew up in a small town with not many girls my age.

I usually just kept to myself when I was younger.

Now that I am older I try to stay social and go to all YSA activities. I try to treat every girl like a princess.

I have not asked out a whole lot of girls not even close to your 50 suggested dates a year.

I have only ever asked out 6 girls.

Most of them I would not consider to be the popular girls that every guy wants to ask out.

I have asked out both girls that I was hoping would go somewhere and girls that I just wanted a friendly experience with.

To be honest half of the girls I asked out said yes to a date the other said no either they weren't interested or they were always busy when I asked.

Out of the 3 girls that said yes one of them I straight out asked if she would be interested in going out again sometime and she said no. I was not expecting anything to much she was just one the few girls I actually knew at the time.

Well attending school at BYU-I I Went on a group date with a bunch of friends to a movie.

After the movie my date said she was not feeling good and wanted go home. The rest of the group went to have ice cream after the movie.

This was the only time I had a girl go home from a date even though I know the first message I said girls.

Now for the girl that said no when I didn't ask. There was a girl I kind of like and I thought she kind of liked me to. I never asked her out because I was kind of tired with this dating thing and I only wanted friends. I thought we were pretty good friends but she started to ignore me and I got frustrated and posted on Facebook how I hate it when girls ignore me.

She was quick to text and apologized for ignoring me and told me she just didn't want lead me on and all she wanted was friends.

I told her I was fine with that and I was not trying to be anything more than a friend.

She continued to ignore me after that.

I just feel like girls are not interested in me for anything more than friends.

I would define success in knowing that someone actually had some sort of romantic interest in me.

Maybe someone that would actually go on a second date because they wanted to.

I feel like I have not been successful because every girl I have asked out even if they said yes to a date I felt like they made it clear they didn't want to go on a second one.

I don't feel successful because the girls that I thought were interested in me straight up told me they are not.

Over all I stopped carrying and I have never been happier.

But what has me frustrated now is there is a girl that I like and she has done a few things to make me think she might like me.

The biggest thing is just a little while ago she went out of her way to come talk to me and she got really close and brushed her arm against me and not just like a bump into you but she held it there for a while.

The thing that frustrates me is if I text her thanking her for her lesson at Church or something like that she will reply but if I actually ask her a question when I text her she ignores it.

I just feel like girls act like they care sometimes just to get a reaction and build their self-esteem while it is tearing apart the self-esteem of others.

Thank you again for your help.

- Dateless




Dear Dateless,

I'm sorry, but clearly you need a little tough love in your life.

You've come to the right place, my man.

1. You don't have nearly enough dating experience to claim to be "tired" of anything. Less drama, please. 
And less whining. 
Dude, I dated 65 different girls before I started dating the one I was fortunate enough to marry, and I was dumped by more than half of them. 
I had one girl breakup with me on our anniversary, another dis me because she wanted to date my best friend (they had actually been making out for a week before she told me), one girl stood me up and then I never saw her again (she quit where we worked, never took my calls again, and told her mother to send me away when I went to her house), and another break up with me one night, say she wanted to get back together the next morning, and then dump me again after smooching for a while.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. 
So don't come at me with your "one girl who you never dated said she just wants to be friends", "one girl got sick and asked to be taken home", and "no success after dating a whopping 6 girls" throwing your hands up and ready to quit dating altogether.
Brother, you can't quit a race you've never run.

2. Stop posting your frustrations about dating and girls on Facebook. I can't think of anything more pathetic. 

 3. Put down your freakin' cell phone. 
Stop texting women and start talking to them.
In person!
Seriously.
There's no excuse for a guy at BYU-Idaho not to have a date every weekend.
I've been on that campus many times. I've got more emails than I can count from great girls who would love to be asked out by guys just like you.
Well . . . the less whiny version of you. 

Also: when one comes back from a mission, a Group Date is not a date anymore . . . it's a Hang Out. 

Or an "activity".

Until you're in a relationship, no more hanging out.

Forget about looks.

Forget about what everyone else thinks, says and does.

The world is full of great girls your age, LDS and Single, who want to go out.

Stop thinking that you have to know someone super well before you ask them out.

Getting to know someone is what those first few dates are for!

Make up for lost time.

Get a date for tonight.

And plan one for tomorrow.

During the Christmas holiday you should have - at least - six dates.

And don't be lame.

Plan.

Spend some dough.

Go up to a nice single girl (I'm sure you know tons of them, but even if you ask a stranger that's okay) and ask her if she'd like to go to the new movie tonight.

Then go up to another girl (in person, no texting!) and ask her out to lunch for Saturday.

Then find another girl to take to dinner.

When you've got more experience you'll know whether a brush up against the arm means anything or not.

No excuses.

Just get out there, man!

- Bro Jo