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Monday, September 15, 2014

What to Do When He's Too Old for You?

Hi Bro Jo,

So I'm 18 years old and I started going to my local YSA ward about two months ago now.

I'm loving it!

I've made some wonderful friends and have been able to serve both as one of the ward organists and on the Family Home Evening committee.

It's so fun to be involved and socialize with people my own age.

Having lessons geared more toward my age group is wonderful for my spirituality, too

(In my family ward, Relief Society lessons always ended up talking about people's grandkids...a little hard to relate to for me).

All in all, it's been a wonderful experience so far.

I've gotten to know some great guys, too.

There's this one in particular that seems pretty interested in me.

In our very first conversation, we were making small talk and I asked him what he's doing in life.

He talked about his job, his research for his master's degree, "and I'm just looking for a wife, someone to make an eternal family with, you know?"

We've talked before/after meetings since then, and he's invited me to an party one of his friends was having, which I had to turn down since I was working that night.

He seems to be a perfectly nice guy,

I'm just not attracted to him.

He's 28 and about to graduate from grad school.

I'm 18 and finishing up my freshman year of college.

We have completely different interests, not much in common at all.

And honestly, the mention of marriage so early kinda creeped me out.

Also, he is known in the ward as the guy that hits on all the new girls.

So what I want to know is if I have an obligation to give this guy a chance?

If he's a notorious flirt, how should I interpret his attentions?

And how can I (preferably nicely) get him to stop flirting with me?


- Young Single Lady

Dear Young,

No, you're not obligated to give this guy a chance.

If he were six years younger I might have a different answer, but at only 18 you're too young for him at 28.

Is it possible he's just being nice?  Is it fair to assume the reputation is true?

Yes.  And yes . . . and no.

In the Church we spread too many rumors and make too many assumptions.  I don't think those are things the Disciples of Christ should be doing.

Rather than stress out about this, I think you should "act as if".  Yes, I agree that he's probably hitting on you, but if you "act as if" that would be ridiculous because of the age gap - not being mean, of course - and simply treat him decently, you'll have nothing to fear.

As for any guilt you should feel regarding not being attracted to him, consider this: there are millions of great single guys in the Church there's no way you should be attracted to all of them.

I might not be the right person to ask about "nice". I think if he asks you out you should tell him that you're flattered but he's just way too old for you.  Sometimes "sugar coating" is a nice way to say "lie"; but to be honest and direct (if you can do it without being malicious or intentionally being mean) than to hide and dance; that's how wrong impressions are received.

If you want to be nice, suggest a few of the a few sisters much closer to his age (there are tons of them) that he can ask out.

I bet they'd be willing to go, too.

And that may be just what this guy needs.

- Bro Jo

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