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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Do Relationships Boil Down to "Reachers" and "Settlers"?

Dear Bro Jo,

So I don't know exactly where to start, so I will just give you a little background on an experience that has me thinking.

Not too long ago, one of my friends came home from his mission. He was dating one of my really good friends before he left, and we became acquaintances through her, and I wrote him some while he was gone.

After he came home I messaged him on Facebook (he lives close to 2 hours away, but we are in the same stake) and we talked some. I saw him at seminary graduation, and we didn't really talk much there.

I messaged him again yesterday on Facebook and we talked for a few minutes, then that continued today and eventually he said he had to go but that if I wanted to reply I could text him, and he gave me his number.

Then I responded, something like "well I can't do that now, can I?"

And I gave him my number.

So another one of my friends who I met at EFY a couple years ago actually met this RM at a YSA activity.

So I was telling him what I said and in response to what I said at the end he said, "grow up and stop being coy."

Was I being "coy"?

Maybe, but I have tried to make it a general rule, that boys should text me or call me first if they want to talk to me.

Some guys think it's ridiculous.

But I can think of numerous occasions where I've been taught that I am worth it, and that a guy should make the effort.

My friend's point was this "the fact that when a guy respects a girl even though they're equal means that he truly loves them. It's not about equality or not because in the end he will always hold you in the highest respect, so it doesn't matter if you take the first step."

Well, to me I did kind of make the first step already.

And it would be nice to see some effort on the other person’s part, so I know they actually want to talk to me.

And I explained once again, I have always been taught that the guy should have to work for the girl.

So maybe what I'm looking for is what you think is "initiating conversation appropriateness."

In person: I think then a girl can go up to the guy.

Phone call/text:: I think he should make the first move on that one And of course a girl can lead a guy in the right direction in order to do so.

(I feel like some people think making a guy take the initiative is old fashioned.)

My friend said there is a Reacher and a Settler, usually the Reacher is the boy, but it can also be the girl.

I think of it more as the boy should be the Reacher and the girl should meet him there.

Am I right in my thinking?

I don't think I am expecting too much.


- Wanting Some Backup

Dear WSB,

The guys who think girls should make the first move are either lazy, cowards, or bad guys. (And that’s why you’ll hear so many guys say that they think it’s fine.)

Guys hate it when I say that.  They get uber defensive, call me "old fashioned", and both guys and girls start to bombard me with "relationship success" stories where the girl took the initiative . . . even proposed.

But all of that neither changes my opinion, or makes my statement untrue.

It's an international fact, and it's been true since the creation of Eve.

Stick to your standards.  Be Coy.  (I think "coy" is a good thing, by the way.)  Make guys text and call you first.

There's no better way to convince guys that you're worth the effort than to Require that Effort be made.

It's also totally okay to go encourage conversation, just like you said.

Flirt, get him to talk about himself, even tell him to ask you for your phone number or ask you on a date; all of that is brilliant!

In short, you're right and he's wrong.

And that includes the "Reachers and Settlers" theory.

I do agree that at first makes sense.  We see all these couples and judge that one person is bringing more to the relationship than the other person.  Or we theorize that to ask someone to dance or on a date is "reaching" and agree to dance or go out is "settling".

But that's not true.

Relationships work because BOTH people are not only GETTING something out of the relationship, but more than that, both people are GIVING something to the relationship.

It's very common for us Old Guys to sit around and talk (almost brag) about how we "married up", and about how our wives are so much better than we are . . . so much out of our league.

Okay.  On some level that's true . . . kind of.

Sister Jo is amazing, and I'm very lucky she agreed to marry me.

Like all guys who say we "married up", what I really mean to say is that "I'm very lucky and grateful to be married to such a great person".

But do you want to know the truth?

If Sister Jo felt like she was "settling" and that I brought nothing to the table . . . that I'm beneath her . . . if she felt that I was much better off having married her and she got nothing from being married to me . . .

then our relationship would be a disaster.

I need to feel appreciated by Sister Jo.  (Doesn't everyone need to feel appreciated by somebody?)

Some couples stay together for years . . . perhaps even eternity . . . in a lopsided relationship where only one of them feels like they bring anything to the table.

I think that's sad.


And, IMHO, often doomed to failure.

Asking someone to dance with, date, or marry you is not "reaching"; it's an invitation to join you.

And agreeing to dance with, date, or marry isn't "settling"; it's saying "thank you for the invitation; I'd love to!"

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the men who work with the priest's quorum in our ward tried to tell the young men that they should just wait to date until after their missions. When I protested that the young men need experience talking to young ladies and their parents so that they learn to talk to people, how to ask for what they want etc, especially for their missions he said, "Why? My wife proposed to me!"
Exactly! Is that what you really want?