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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Why Won't He Kiss Her?

Dear Bro Jo,

How long does it take until a guy kisses you?

I have been going on dates with this guy since forever (5/6 months) and what I have from it?

Nothing.

He gives me all the signs that he likes me, but not this specific one.

I'm freaking out because I don't know if he is just playing with me, or what's going on in his mind.

Does that mean that I'm not kissable?

Because that is what I'm starting to think.

Yes, we hold hands, we have all this physic contact that shows me that he likes me.

Am I right?

Ok. So, what am I doing wrong?

All this time going out together, and not a single talk about our relationship.

Nothing.

Should I give up on him?

Should I stop answering his texts, and pretend I don't care?

I thought we were over this phase, but apparently we are still on "high school dating" phase, which we just hold hands and laugh at each other the entire day.

- Frustrated




Dear Frustrated,

I could recommend that you read Bro Jo's Guide to Kissing or The 6 L's of How to Get Kissed ... 

But what I don't understand is, if you two know each other so well, have been dating for this long, and have this "great connection" and all ... then why are you asking me and not him? 

Where is it written that you have to just wait around wondering how he feels??? 

Communication, dear sister; it's the key to any good relationship. 

No, don't confront him. 

In between all of those great "laugh all the time" moments, have an Adult Conversation. 

Tell him how you feel, and ask him the questions (perhaps in a much less dramatic way) that you've asked me. 

Be Understanding. 

After all, if he didn't like you he wouldn't be putting in all of this time and effort... 

So there's got to be some reason. 

And don't come across like you're begging, either. 

I mean, talk to him; do some teaching about feelings, expectations, and relationships; but also Be Considerate of his feelings, too. 

Be Prepared to get kissed. 

But don't just chuck this great relationship if he's not ready.  Wait until you hear what he has to say. 

Good luck! 

Talk to him soon.

And tell us how it goes. 

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

She's 20 and Still in School; He's 26 - Is That a Problem?

Dear Bro Jo,

Aloha Bro Jo!

I hope you will have some insight on my predicament…

I have been dating an RM for the past five months and I'll be completely honest I've fallen head over heels for him.

The only problem is that we're at two different stages in our lives,

He is 26 and graduated and currently working and I just recently turned 20 and am currently still attending college.

We absolutely love spending all the time we can together when I come home from school on the weekends and I wouldn't want to be with anyone else.

The only problem is that not only he but also my parents hate the age difference.

I try to overlook it since it is only 6 years… Should I worry?

And is it going to get harder since we are at two different places in our lives?

Or am I over thinking the whole situation?

Help??

Mahalo,

- Confused College Girl




Dear College,

I'm sorry, I just don't see any problem with him being 26 and you 20, or him being out of college and you still working on your education.

Couples, regardless of age, are often "at different places in their lives"; that's much less important than how you deal with those types of things.

Our world is full of people . . . and things . . . that work against Eternal Marriages.  Telling us that we're too young, or we need to focus on worldly things first, or that marriage is too difficult, too expensive, too hard . . .

Or one that I think is The Most Destructive:  that you shouldn't "settle" for the person you're currently dating.

None of which is true.

And marrying a Temple Worthy person who loves and cares for you, who will help you work towards raising an Eternal Family . . . should never be considered settling.

He me iki ia,

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 28, 2015

What to do When Girls Want High School Boyfriends Instead of Dates

Dear Bro Jo,

I hope you don't mind, but I've got a bit of a concern you might be able to help with...

I'd consider myself a good kid. Priest, Eagle Scout, 3.6 GPA, decent student, Choir VP (after one year of participation), Swim captain after four years, basically, an all-in-all well-rounded individual.

I've enjoyed being a "proper gentleman", holding doors, being polite, resurrecting chivalry, etc.

I've got a few dates under my belt, so I guess you could say I'm a "seasoned veteran".

All of them but one have been with LDS girls in my stake or school.

That one is the sticking point...

Over the summer, I invited a girl I got to know in Choir to go kayaking around on the lake.

We had several mutual friends, I had invited her to come hang out with us more often, and decided, "what the hey? Let's ask her out once."

Good girl, good standards, good company.

It was a lot of fun and we both enjoyed it.

None of my other friends were in town, so it was just her and me. (there's one blunder).

I thought I had made it clear that this was a non-committal, friendly date, but that apparently wasn't the case...

There wasn't much time between then and school resuming, so I saw her again then.

Homecoming was coming up and I wanted to ask her, but I decided to ask another friend (LDS, who also happens to be in choir) who I hadn't dated yet, had seen over the summer, and thought I'd have a better time with.

I did.

It was a ton of fun!

I didn't regret it, but this was my second big one.

But to backtrack, word spreads in High School.

Before the dance, she found out I had asked this other friend and confronted me after school.

She accused me of leading her on, being thoughtless, not respecting her feelings.

My hasty explanation (under heavy pressure) made the situation worse.

Three strikes, and I was out for the count.

Since, we've made up-ish (we're talking comfortably to each other again).

I know I botched a ton here and I've been working to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. 


Yeah, this was months ago, but my questions remain:

1.  How can I more clearly communicate For Strength of Youth guidelines and Church standards to non-members that I might try to take on dates?

2.  How can I let her know that this is not a move to become her boyfriend (because I'm planning on going on a mission this summer-I can't be distracted by a gal back home!)?

3.  Will she/peers really care that this is what my stance is, considering the almost overwhelming pressure to pair-off and get involved in a committed relationship in High School?


I have two good (LDS) friends that have fallen hard for each other (and have since sophomore year) and I'd rather avoid that entirely.

How can I better fight that pressure and still take good girls on good dates?


 Sorry about the length. I may have taken one too many AP English classes...

- Guy from Seattle




Dear Guy,

You start by going back to the Dating Rules, learning from the mistakes you made in the past, and not repeating them.

You can't control everything everyone thinks.

You could try apologizing to this girl, you could try explaining things, and maybe it's worth a shot, but she sounds to me like she's a bit of a relationship bully who's lashing out because she made some assumptions and got her feelings hurt.

You can't rationalize with irrational people.


Sharing the Gospel, which I think ultimately is what your question is about, starts with living the Gospel.

We need not be perfect (which is great, because we aren't), and it's important that we don't give the impression that we think we're perfect, either.

We testify of the Atonement by being humble and repentant.

We testify of the principles in For the Strength of Youth not by preaching them, but by doing our best to live them, not by judging others by their contents, but by explaining to others (when asked or the opportunity arrives) that we choose to live those principles (just as following all of God's commandments is a Choice) because of our testimony of the blessings that come from doing what we know is right.

We don't convert others, we provide opportunities for learning, invite the Spirit, and let him convert them.

(An important fact for all of us to learn, especially missionaries.)

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Depression, Counseling, and Moving On

Dear Bro Jo,

I've been I guess depressed for a while for many reasons really and I can’t seem to get out of it.

- NW




Dear NW,

Depression is a very real thing, with several possible helps.

Some thoughts:

  - Have you talked with anyone about your depression?

  - Is your depression constant? Or does it seem to come in waves?

  - How do you deal with being depressed? What makes you feel better? Do you find that you do things that actually make it worse?


BTW - Sister Jo is an advocate of eating ginger when depressed. Ginger cookies. Ginger snaps. Stuff like that. She swears by it.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I've mentioned it before to a couple people.

It seems to come in waves like when I go to bed and have time to think or sometimes at school I feel like breaking down and crying cuz nobody talks to me or sits with me or even really notices me.

Honestly being depressed kinda scares me.  I don't want to be like this.  This isn't who I want to be.

A lot of the time talking about my past sometimes it makes it worse but at the same time it helps.

I cry a lot like almost every night. I dont think I have ever tried ginger for it . . .

Hmm something to look into I guess, right?

- NW




Dear NW,

Absolutely.  Ginger is highly recommended.

The other thing Sister Jo recommends, VERY Strongly, is Service.

Doing good things for others Always helps us feel better about ourselves.

I'm off to bed, but I'll be up early.

Feel free to email me whenever you need.

Even if it's just to vent.

Make that appointment with your Bishop!

And remember: you're a great and valuable person!

Why?

Because Heavenly Father says you are!

Let me know how things go.

Best,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I love doing service!

Thank you so much.

I’m sure you will hear from me more.

Thanks again and I will make that appointment.

Thank you,

- NW




Dear Bro Jo,

Here is my big update!

I talked to my Bishop and I am now seeing a counselor.

I think it is helping a lot!

This guy that left on his mission . . . well I kinda liked him and he was saying he loves me and that he would wait for me after he is back and I am gone.

However today I found out he emails like thousands of girls and that his number one is his girlfriend who he told me was just his friend.

I kinda expected this because he cheated on his girlfriend with me and he cheated on me with the girl he is dating now... it is a huge mess.

Anyways I am really sad and wanted to get your opinion on things.

- NW




Dear NW,

My opinion is that you're well to be rid of him.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I've been trying since the first time he hurt me.

But I think going on my first real and proper date with a guy I know is great will help.

- NW





Dear NW,

Undoubtedly.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you!

You actually did help.

You got me re-excited for this date!

 - NW




Dear NW,

Anytime!

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 21, 2015

She Needs to Repent, and So Does He . . . but He's Leaving in a Week

Dear Bro Jo,

I need to repent and so does he but he is leaving in a week.

Hello my name is (withheld).

I have a friend that is leaving on his mission in about a week and he is unworthy to enter the Temple and I don’t want him to leave knowing I could’ve done something to change that. I have tried before but nothing has happened.

He has gotten into porn and masturbating and he used to cut and has threatened to do it again.

He has also sexted me and kissed me and made out with me all while having a GF.

He has touch me inappropriately and has gotten me to do things I am not proud of and am trying working to get rid of.

I need help idk what to do.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

You need to ask the Lord for help and comfort, and then you need to go talk to your Bishop.

Some of what you mention (making out with you while he has a girlfriend) qualifies him as a bad guy, but isn't the type of stuff that would preclude missionary service.

Some of the other stuff (the cutting, the porn, the sexting) are bigger issues.

Your Bishop can not only help you Spiritually overcome your own concerns, but he can warn the Bishop and Stake President of this Young Man so that they can help him get the help he needs before he goes.

If what you say is true, and I have no reason to believe it's not, the longer he hides his sins the bigger the fall will be, and he may end up taking others (like his future missionary companions) with him. 

So call your Bishop right away.

Tonight or first thing in the morning, and tell him you're having some Spiritual challenges that you need to talk to him about right away.

And then do.

As a dad of three young men on a mission, I can tell you from my perspective that I hope someone like you, who has the information you do, would speak up before one of my boys gets stuck with a companion who is not worthy, mentally ready or spiritually ready to serve.

The boy is not just in spiritual danger . . . he's in emotional and physical danger as well. Cutting is serious stuff.

He needs help.

More professional help than either your or I can give him. By calling your Bishop, you may just be saving this young man's life. 

If there's anything I can do to help you, please let me know right away.

God bless,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Idk what ward or stake he is in so idk how to contact anyone about that I know I need to talk to my Bishop as soon as I can to clear my stuff up.

I would feel awful if he brought other missionaries down.

I wish I could do something more to help him.

Thank you so much!

- NW




Dear NW,

If you know he's leaving soon, I imagine you know where he lives and what mission he's going to be serving in and which MTC he's reporting to.

And, certainly, you know his first and last name, right?

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I know his first and last name and the MTC yes and where he lives, what will this info do?

- NW




Dear NW,

Knowing where he lives is all your Bishop will need to know should he feel it appropriate to find out what stake he's in and who his Bishop is.

The mission he's been called to, which MTC he'll be training in, and the date he's leaving will help the Bishop confirm that he's got the right guy.

Now, all of that said, are you okay?

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

With this yes.

Other stuff idk.

- NW




Dear NW,

Do you want to talk about that other stuff?

- Bro Jo


[Readers,

We'll continue the remainder of this post this Wednesday.

- Bro Jo]

Friday, December 18, 2015

Should She Move On?

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm sure you get a lot of these every day, so I hope I'm not making your job more annoying. I normally wouldn't do this and I go to my parents for all of my advice, but I've been intrigued at the responses I've read on your blog, and I thought maybe I could ask you for your professional dating opinion. I've also read your book, Bro Jo's Guide To Relationships, but I couldn't find what I was looking for.

First I'll start with some background. I'm a BYUI student coming up on my 7th semester. I'd written a missionary, who came back in December and he wasn't "ready" for a relationship so I decided to break it off with him.

Long story there.

He just didn't grow as much on his mission as I would have hoped a missionary would have.

During that time of writing I'd been on A LOT, of dates, but never been in a serious relationship because I'd always compared them to my missionary, and never really "felt it" with any of them.

Well after things ended with my missionary, I was sorely disappointed. It's been almost a year since that happened, and I am so grateful it didn't work out with him because he didn't have as much substance as he should.

Also he was a taker, not a giver. He never really appreciated me and I bent over backward for the guy. I'm just being honest.


Anyway after the break up, I guess you could say, I had been on a few dates, and life had been pretty okay. A return missionary I went to high school with had a real interest in me and decided to pursue me.

At first I was not interested, not because of any red flags, but because I just wasn't. I didn't know him in high school, we hung out in two different crowds, and I just wasn't interested in getting to know him after high school.

There wasn't anything I found wrong with him, and he's an attractive young man, but again I just wasn't "feeling it." I actually got to the point where I told one of his friends I wasn't interested.

I know pretty snobby of me.

Well I can eat my words now.

So any way, he tried really hard to get my interest. He remembered things I would say. He knew I wasn't a fan of constant texting so he would make sure to call me every weekend and invite me out. He was a real sweetheart. I guess I just wasn't used to a cool guy really caring about me and giving continuous effort. It was just weird to me.

After I had told his friend I wasn't interested, I found myself really regretting what I had said, and I realized I was giving up a shot with a really great catch, who really cared about me. Shortly after that realization we started dating. It was the first time that I felt like I didn't need to worry about making someone stay interested in me. I could really be myself. It was also the first guy I couldn't complain about because he did everything right I guess you could say.

He truly cared and he made it known.


We got to know each other for the substantive things.

We never kissed, not that I didn't want to, but I made it clear that a kiss to me was commitment, and I wanted us to actually get to know one another before anything physical.

So we got to know each other over the course of 2 months. I had really enjoyed my time with him, more than I thought.

He's talented, fun, magnetic, personable, stylish (it doesn't hurt), sweet, hard working, spiritual, not to mention flat out hilarious, etc. As I got to know him I realized he was everything. He was my "list," and I didn't realize that at first. I just had preconceived high school notions.

It's more important to be the list than to find it, I realize that, but I'm just appreciating his qualities. I realized that he was someone that made me want to be more because he was so much more. Well unfortunately before getting more serious Bro. Jo he broke it off with me.

He said that he felt that it wasn't the right time for him to be in something "like this." (Yeah another one who wasn't ready, but this is a completely different guy from the guy a wrote.

I'm not one to put pressure on people, really I'm not. Just because I want actual commitment doesn't mean I want a ring. I never even talked to either of these not ready guys about marriage).

He said he felt like he needed to date more, but he had no one in mind. I guess maybe he didn't feel he had relationship experience.

I don't think you have to go through hundreds of heart breaks to gain experience. Experience is a relative term, and furthermore he dated so much in high school.

Way more than I had.

He then gave me a 2 page letter with all of the things that he loved about me in it.It was very tender, and heart felt. The letter also said how much he actually trusted me, and that he still wanted us to hang out.


We didn't have much time to talk because we both had places to be.


After that we messaged for a while, and he told me that he had sat out in the rain hoping I would be okay. I told him that I would be fine, and that I trusted that he was doing the best thing....

I told him that I didn't want to try and be friends, and that I didn't want to see him date other girls.I had said that, but because he had actually talked to me about his feelings and didn't avoid me as a lot of guys had done, I felt that I could eventually be his "friend," again, or at least that we could talk normally, just because I don't believe in that friendship term.


Well, that happened a month ago...


We started talking again recently, and we've even hung out a few times because we have the same friends.

The first time it really hurt, because old feelings were rehashed, but he said that he still felt super comfortable around me.

Yay more crying!

I invited them all over this past Sunday, and he actually stayed 3 additional hours after everyone left, and talked to me on our front porch.

We just talked about whatever like we used to. Not about our relationship.


3 hours Bro Jo.


My question has nothing to do with being friends, because like I said I don't believe in that term. My question is why?

Why would someone who was, and is still I know it, so smitten with me not want to commit to me?

He was so whipped.

He would do anything for me, and he says he still would, but he doesn't want to be my boyfriend?


All his friends say it's nothing personal, and they can't even find a reason.

I just feel like he's still in high school.

We aren't 16, we're almost 22 we can be serious about dating.

I know he still likes me, I know he hasn't been on any other dates by his choosing.


Girls like him, PLENTY of girls want to date him. He's a good looking, likable guy.

I have been on one date since the official split, but I still have feelings for him.

I didn't think I would feel this deeply about him, but I do. I truly admire him.


If I could get back together with him, I would in a heart beat without doubt. It just stinks, it really does.


You finally feel even-stevens in a relationship and for no reason it just ends.


Maybe I'm just looking in places where I can't find answers, and maybe I'm hoping for closure that you can't give me, but I just can't let this go.


How could I forget about someone like that?


How could I forget about someone so absolutely everything, so unique, so eccentric, and feel okay with life?


He's not replaceable.

I want to get back together with him, I do.


Should I stick around, and then call it quits if it's not going anywhere?


We have the same friends, so it's hard not to see him all the time?


I guess I could get new friends, but they are truly amazing to me, and a support.

There is something holding him back, but there's obviously more he can't let go of. He said he would be stupid, and missing out not to be around me.

Come on, at my house for 3 extra hours?


You said in your blog that guys don't stick around for a significant amount of time unless they are interested in a girl.


I'm sorry I'm overly analyzing, but it doesn't add up to me. It's not typical, and I still feel so good around him.I always feel at peace with him, always.

I know it's the Spirit.

Then what's wrong?

Does he just feel he's not at a place to move into the next step of life? I'm sorry this is unbearably long.....

Thank you so much if you actually get through it.

Again I appreciate it.

Sincerely,

- Not Getting Any Younger




Dear Not,

I'm not sure if this is so much because of what you said, or just something I feel based on what you've said . . . but I just get the sense, little sister, that the problem isn't him . . . it's you.


You kind of come across as cold and controlling. And, frankly, unappreciative.


More than affection, even more than sex, guys want . . . need . . . to feel appreciated.


Yes, sometimes that comes in the form of a smooch; and sometimes it's an actual out loud expression ("thank you", "I love you", "you're the greatest!"); and sometimes it's in the things that you do.


Now, before you get defensive and start telling me "but Bro Jo, I do all of those things!” ask yourself exactly what you're asking me: Why would a guy who clearly likes you, who likes spending time with you (3 hours!), and with whom you have such a great connection, tell you he wants to date other people BUT NOT DATE THEM?


If you were in his shoes, why would you behave that way? 

Why would you say those things?

Therein, I think, is your answer.


Now, let me tell you one more thing: if I got a letter from a guy who said "Bro Jo, I've been dating the same girl for two months, she's great! We spend all kinds of time together, and I love being around her, but she refuses to kiss me until we 'get to know' each other better" . . . I'd tell him to Move On.

Not that kissing isn't important . . . but it's not unimportant, either. 

It's not just commitment or sex. Yes, it can be those things, but it’s also a sign of affection and love and appreciation.

Given the other side of the story, I'd think "wow, man; she's kind of using you a bit; I'd never propose to, let alone marry, or even be exclusive with, someone I'd never kissed".


I'd tell him to not force himself on you, and to certainly not pressure you into anything you're not ready to do, but at some point he's got to be wondering "Is this what I want for Time and All Eternity? Am I just her escape from being in her 20s and unmarried, or does she really find me attractive? Do I want a marriage devoid of passion? Devoid of spark?"


Does that make sense?

It concerns me that you describe him as "whipped".

A lot.

I'd tell any guy whose girl thinks she's got him whipped to get . . . the . . . heck . . . out of that relationship NOW and go find him a girl that loves and appreciates him more than herself.


Look, I think you should make him cookies or brownies or something, go deliver them in person, tell him the truth (that you love him!), kiss him - a Good Kiss (preferably on the porch, not alone in his house), and look in his eyes and ask him how he feels.


It's a bit of a risk, but if you don't take it I think you're going to be regretting sitting around and letting him go for a very long time.

If, and I mean IF, you can respect him . . . which I'm not sure you've been doing.

At least, I'll bet he's not sure he can see that from you. If you can't, if what you value most is that he'll do whatever you want, then do the guy a favor and let him go find someone that actually loves him. 

But, I'm telling you now, I think you'll be making a mistake.

Better to change your heart than to be alone.

- Bro Jo 




Dear Bro Jo,

I appreciate your honesty and advice.

I'm sorry if I came off controlling, and cold. That really is just not me... :( .... I wish I could actually talk to you in person, but I understand that you only have so much to work with.

I know kissing isn't wrong...

And I never really unappreciated him.

I wrote him letters too, brought him lunches, held hands, cuddled...

But if you think there is more I can do then okay.

You're right, I do come off as selfish, and I do have some changes I need to make. I will take what you said into consideration and do my best to make it work .

Thanks again!

- Not




Dear Not, 

If all of that's true, and I believe you, then what do you think the problem is?

Maybe you should ask him.

- Bro Jo 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sister Jo Says "Learn to Sew!"

Dear Bro Jo,

In past emails I asked you about the red dress on the cover of your Guide to Relationships book.

You mentioned that Sister Jo sews, to make things modest.

Does she have a blog for LDS women wanting to learn to sew in order to keep our clothes modest?

I just bought my first sewing machine and am very excited!

- J




Dear J,

No, J, no blog.

But Sister Jo says that there are probably all kinds of classes you can take where you live.

Try asking at places that sell sewing machines and fabric.

She also says that you should check out Pinterest, which has lots of great ideas and links to millions of sewing blogs.

Congratulations!

Good luck. And have fun!

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

My grandma said shell teach me basics while I'm home and I’ll take a class when I get back to BYU-I.

Thank you,

- J




Dear J,

Grandparents are the best teachers!

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

They are aren't they!

My great grandma taught me how to crochet and now I'm making her a blanket

- J




Dear Readers,

Sister Jo learned basic sewing from her mother and grandmothers and aunt and leaders and others, but her skills grew out of necessity.  She started making clothes for herself because she was frustrated that she could never find quality items that we could afford.  Then she began making Halloween costumes for our children, and now makes original formal dresses for our daughters.

She insists that that sewing is a skill that anyone can learn, and feels very strongly that more of us, guys and girls, would be greatly blessed by learning how to create our own clothes.

- Bro Jo

Friday, December 11, 2015

Taking One More Step

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey, I have a question for you, and would love to hear your opinion.

There is this man, he is 24, and I met him about 2.5 months ago.

We team-taught an anatomy program at an elementary school together this past semester at BYU.

He is definitely different from other boys that I have dated--he is much more introverted and reserved.

We can talk for hours though and never get bored.

He actually initiated our first conversation outside of school-related things, so I feel like that is a good thing.

Anyways, he is new to Provo, so I invited him a couple weeks ago to go see a movie with a whole bunch of friends.

It was not a date,

I just invited him to come hang out because he's new and I know he doesn't have a ton of friends.

We had a fun time, and it was good to get to know him a little better outside of school.

This past week, he gave me a ride somewhere i needed to go (he's very kind, always willing and wanting to help me out in whatever way he can), and I invited him over as a friend to hang out, lots of people, again I just want him to feel welcome to a new place.

However, I won't deny that I do like him, and I'm fairly confident he also likes me.

Tonight, I just so happened to have 2 tickets to the Christmas devotional in SLC, and none of my roommates wanted to go, so I just asked him if he wanted to go.

He did, so we went, and spent like 5 hours together this evening, and I had a really good time.

I definitely got to know him better, and I want to go out with him on some more dates, but I just don't feel like he is going to ask.

He is just one of those people who is content with life as it comes, and life is busy for him, and he is reserved by nature, and I could see him just not asking me out in the future, even though I'm fairly certain he likes me.

I think he just really needs to go at things at his own pace, in his own time.

I'm fine with giving him some time (I don't think he dates much due to his reserved personality, and I don't think he has ever had a girlfriend, or kissed anyone, or anything like that, even held hands with a girl).

What should I do?

I've taken some initiative on the whole thing because I thought he needed a little push, and I just really like spending time with him as a friend, but he needs to take the initiative now.

He is giving me a ride to the airport in a week or so because I'm flying home for Christmas, and I TA for a class that he is taking, so I see him at reviews, but those things aren't dates. I just would like your take on things. . ..

I've never been interested in someone quite like him.

Normally the guys I like are outgoing, loud, and quite the open book.

This guy is just . . . different.

Anyways, I look forward to hearing your response.

- BYU CoEd




Dear CoEd,

I think you can go one more step.

Tell him what you've told me: that you like him and want him to ask you out.

You have nothing to lose.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Cheese and the Digging for Compliments Guy

Dear Bro Jo,

So I have a... An acquaintance, we can call him the Gold Digger.

I see him at Church most weeks, and went to his house to a movie party his step brother invited me to one time.

Recently I mentioned to all the young men in our ward that they looked better with short hair.

The next time I saw them 3 had gotten haircuts, including the Gold Digger.

Now today he finally got the courage to ask me on a real live double date!

I said sure, and as soon as I said yes he started being all creepy the way he was texting me, and he started digging for compliments.

I thought only insecure girls did that?

He texts me "It’s no nice you aren't ignoring me."

Less than 2 minutes later "Do you think my baseball pants make me look muscular?"

I say "go to bed" he says "Don't you think I look so much more attractive with my hair cut."

Me "good night" him "You don't need to act like this now that you already agreed to go on a date".

I don't respond.

Moments later "I think I need to work out more. What do you think?" and on and on and on.

Umm... What do I do?

He's never really talked to me before other than in the hall at Church.

- Cheese




Dear Cheese,

I'm not certain if you're using the phrase Gold Digger the way I do ... but that doesn't really matter.

I think the best course of action is to not engage.

Simply ignore the creepy, fishing for compliments texts.

(You know I think y'all text too much to begin with.)

Even a "Go Away" text is still giving him attention, and thus encouraging him.

Good thing this is a Double date!

Otherwise it might be best to cancel.

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 7, 2015

How Can a Guy Get a Girl to Stop Waiting for "Her Missionary" and Like Him Instead?

Dear Bro Jo,

I originally wrote this as a comment on your February 13th, 2013 post, When All The Girls Around You Seem To Be Waiting. However, it exceeded the character limit by a just a smidge:)

So here's the 'ole copy/paste:

I don't know about JA, but I think that opening line for dates is perfect!

I intend to go to BYU in the Fall, and frankly I'm feeling a bit uneasy about the dating scene, myself. 

Some of this comment is for JA, some for Bro Jo, some for both. I am BEYOND excited at the idea of there being a sea of genuinely Good Guys to date.

However, I am 18!

And as we all know, there are a lot of anxious-to-be-wed RMs. In fact, with the announcement, that'll be most guys. I don't want to get married for another couple of years, at LEAST.

And on top of that, yes, I do have someone I hope to be able to consider when he returns from his mission. As long as I'm still open to dating other guys, even getting into a relationship with someone if I so choose, I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Do you?

I could go into details about why I really want to keep the heavy stuff (talk of marriage, engagement, etc) off the table next year, but it is enough to say that the missionary is only a small part of it. Also, from what I've seen with other people, I think a lot of girls just use the missionary as a scapegoat/excuse when they're just not interested.

Look at all the e-mails Bro Jo gets from the Dear Johned and the Dear Johners.

There is one pattern: if she's honestly likes you, she will keep going out with you, despite whatever missionary she has.

This is one of those harsh truths, but it is a truth nonetheless.



Only a small percentage of the girls with missionaries are actually so blinded by their "love" for "their guy" that they can't consider other people, but there IS a reason she chose to wait.

Obviously, she really cares about him.

Respect that, don't push it too hard, and I guarantee things will go much better, because moving too fast will definitely establish you as "the bad guy", with most girls. I speak from the experiences of both myself and several MG friends.

When I've dated guys since my missionary (pardon the phrase, Bro Jo, I know you hate it) left, I've always been open from the start, and I'll say something like "Hey, there's something you should know. There is someone I really care about, who is very far away. So if I ever seem like things aren't going as well as you'd like, it's not that I dislike you. "

I say that rather than telling the whole story because it's short and simple, and also because it's easier to understand than the whole standards thing (there aren't any member guys of dating age for hours in any direction).

They always say "Yeah, that's fine. No problem", and I think everything is fine.

Then on literally the second date, they're trying to kiss me and ask to get in a relationship, and when I turn away and say no, they get really angry, even though I asked them not to move quickly at all.

It hurts that they would disrespect my feelings and comfort zone so much.

By pursuing so hard, so fast, it feels like they thought the feelings I have for my missionary didn't matter or weren't even real.

And that, my friend, eliminated any chance they had of going on another date with me.

Summary advice to JA: If she's an MG, take it slow, and you just might have a good shot.

Seriously dating an MG takes patience.

That patience shows her that you respect and recognize her feelings for the missionary, and it honestly makes her like you more.

When an MG goes on a lot of dates with a Legitimately Nice Guy, she often feels guilty and confused when she starts liking him.

Taking it slow lessens that uneasiness, or even eliminates it (which is how you win her over).

If you rush it, of COURSE she'll emotionally go back to solely the missionary.

Savvy?



Here's where you really come in, Bro Jo:

It's been a long time since I lived somewhere with dateable guys (dateable= mentally/emotionally stable, good standards, able to speak a language I understand, age 16-23), so I'm really at the "I just want to get to know people, have fun, learn, grow, prepare for when I DO want to start looking for an EC, and all that jazz" stage.

BYU will be great because everyone will understand standards and things, but I am legitimately worried that it will be the same thing all over again, but worse because it's on a bigger scale (going from high school guys looking for relationships, to RMs looking for an eternal companion?!?).

My question is what's the best way for me to get that across to a guy, especially an RM, without giving the impression JA and others seem to have of all MGs?

Also, like Cheese (many of my favorite posts on your blog are her stuff), I've already been getting creepy proposal-like things. How do I best avoid those without stomping on people's hearts?

Is there any way to tell when those things are coming?

Do all guys start when-you-get-married q/a conversations with the ulterior motive of proposing in the near future?

Any other essential BYU dating advice?

I can handle normal plain old just-for-fun dates.

Those are cake, and I enjoy cake.

But the "MUST HAVE RELATIONSHIP OR MARRIAGE ASAP" guys are plain intimidating, and I seem to encounter more and more of them as I get older. And I'm not even old yet!

Though older girl friends who tell me dating horror stories don't exactly reassure me either, haha. 

Past Solely Group Dating, But Don't Want Anybody To "Put A Ring On It" For A Good While (or as you're coming to know me by my regrettable plethora of letters),

- Melody

P.S. Sorry for the novella.




Dear Melody,

No, I don't think there's anything wrong with you being open to dating whomever asks, but willing to date a guy you already know when he comes home should you still be single and each of you still interested . . . that's what I've been suggesting for years!

I think your comments about girls "waiting" often using that as an excuse or a crutch and that going away if she meets a guy she likes is absolutely spot on; I appreciate your candor and honesty.

I think the key to dating at the Y (or any college or institute, frankly) is a lot like attending sacrament meeting or a conference: you get out of it what you put into it; your attitude will have an awful lot to do with your experience.

My general advice is, like going on a mission,

Be the Best You You Can Be.

Be Happy.

Be Positive.

Be of Good Service.

And Be Open to meeting new people. 

Don't worry about what might or might not happen or when.

Anyone, guy or girl, who's more focused on commitment instead of getting to know someone better is missing the point.

You'll meet some of them (it sounds like you perhaps already have), and that's okay; it's all part of the experience.

Heck, it happened to Marjorie Pay!

It can happen to you!

Laugh it off and move on.

Happy days!

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Haha, thank you.

I will definitely keep all of that in mind.

I don't think I've been worried for ...myself. I know everything will work out for me how it's supposed to, one way or another.

It's more the fact that I hate knowing someone is upset because of me, regardless of my surety of the rightness of my decision, and it always makes me feel like a terrible person.

So I generally avoid getting into those kinds of situations as best I can, but at the same time I'm also one of those "if I feel it is the right thing for me to do, I'll do it regardless of the opinion of others" people.

It is sometimes a catch-22.

But again, it'll all work out.

Thanks again!

-Melody




Dear Melody,

Anytime!

- Bro Jo

Friday, December 4, 2015

Online Dating - A Follow-up

[Readers, 

In September of 2012, I posted an email that asked about online dating. You can read the original post HERE.

Below is the follow-up that the original writer sent me. I am aware that many of you, particularly those at Church schools, are using swiping apps as a means of finding dates. 

As an Old Fashioned Guy I'm just not sold on how effective this is. It strikes me as superficial, and more about "hooking up" than about creating a meaningful, long-term relationship.  

What are your thoughts?

- Bro Jo]



Dear Bro Jo,

I saw that you posted my email, I was very surprised ha!

But I realized that I never told you how it went, so I thought I would update you.

I tried it for a month, and got tons of messages and requests and stuff, I went on a few dates but it wasn't really my thing.

Most of the guys that I had contact with and that I was actually interested in never seemed to follow through on wanting to meet, they would say it or we would talk for a while but we never actually met.

The few I did actually meet up with were okay, but just not guys I would be as interested in.

There were a few I would really have liked to meet but we just never made it work, and one of the hardest parts was the distance, I did not want to actually "date" someone online, as-in through emails and such, but more I wanted to meet people through there and date the more traditional way, so trying to get together when we lived far away was kind of difficult.

Overall I guess I'm glad I tried, but I don't know if I will try it again, maybe though... I also think the stigma is still holding me back some, I know that it probably shouldn't but I just can't get over it yet...
I am still definitely struggling with meeting new people and I am hoping to move soon to get to a new area,

I date quite a bit, but without much success so far.... Hopefully soon!

- BP




Dear BP,

Dating "quite a bit" is a good thing.

Relax.

Have fun!

When it comes to meeting new people, sometimes I think it's like food storage: trying to do it all at once, whether it's stocking a 2-year supply from scratch or meeting either a bunch of new people or that special guy is just too much to handle; it's overwhelming!

Just buy one can of soup.

Meet one new person.

Get to know one new guy at a time.

And you're right; it's much easier to get to know people in person than over the internet.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Bunch of Questions

Dear Bro Jo,

Ok so some background.

I'm 21, female, YSA, Activities CoChair, and outgoing.

I have tons of friends and no issue meeting new people.

Now I use to be inactive and have been back for close to 2 years.

Also I am a little on the heavier side but by no means crazy overweight.


Dating issues:

Why do LDS girls feel like they need to be married by 24?

I'm way mature for my age and could be married but most girls I know are not ready to be married and the ones that are now realize they were ready.


Why is it acceptable to be newly married and live with your parents?


Why is it that LDS guys go for girls out of there league?

Let me explain. In the real non LDS world if a guy rated a 6 out of 1 (ugly) - 10 (hot) he goes for a girl who is around a 5-7.

In the LDS YSA dating ALL men go for a girl who is a size 6 or smaller and is usually way out of their league and they look like the "Molly Mormon" leaving a lot of women who have no chance till they get older and date older men who usually are divorced or finally wise up that they can't get those girls.

Numerous of us YSA have talked about this and the guys don't realize it.


Why won't guys date in the ward or date for fun?


Why do guys friend zone more then girls do?

Girls friend zone mainly due to lack of attraction.


Do guys not like when girls are forward because they say they do but yet it's the shy girls getting married?


Church perspective:

Why is it that they make short garments and long garments?

Shouldn't they be a set modest length?

Why do Mormons stick out like a sore thumb and all of us fit into the stereo type and are shown in Mormon ads as "Molly Mormons"?

Why does the Church make people who have a past write a letter to the first presidency about everything they have done before they are allowed to serve a mission?

The Church teaches if all is handled through the repentance process and priesthood it is a clean slate remembered not and forgiven.

Yet they make you right a letter and where it as though it is still part of you.

Why are girls turning to a mission (not all this way) but they see it as I'm not getting married might as well?

Why are some people disfellowshipped because they had sex but others not?

Even in same situations only thing different was the Bishop?


I will start with these questions and hope to hear back.

I also appreciated a lot of the question answer post but I think it would be neat if you put out a question and posted people's responses.


Such as what is a good cheap date?

Should women ask men out?

How do you show a guy you are interested?

Pros and cons of BYU?

What are activities your YSA Ward has done that you liked?

Pros and cons of moving out? With roommates? With friends?

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

I'll do my best to address your issues as you've listed them.

Before I do, let me say this: I'm glad you've come back to activity - good for you!

Okay. Here we go!


1. Marriage isn't something that anyone is every truly "ready" for.

There are several things like that in life. You have to live it to really understand it. IMHO too many people put things like this off because they feel the need to know everything . . . to prepare for every contingency . . . and the truth is, there's No Way Anyone can be fully prepared for marriage. I'm not convinced that the push to be "married young" (whatever that means) is necessarily any stronger inside the Church than it is outside. It's a cultural thing. For every study someone finds that says that people should wait until they're older to get married, another one can be found that touts the virtues of being married young.

What I will concede is this: I agree with the prophetic advice that marriage and family should not be delayed for selfish reasons or worldly pursuits


2. .I think there are indeed times when it makes sense for multiple generations to live under one roof, but generally I don't recommend it. I think there's a lot of good from a young couple getting out from under parental wings and struggling to make it on their own. And I think a lot of parents are doing their children a disservice when they, IMHO, over-shelter them. Literally. Barring extenuating circumstances, Sister Jo and I have no intention of letting our children live at home when they're first married.


3. No explanation necessary; I've seen what you're talking about. I blame both the guys AND you girls. First of all, I think all of you (including those of you at home) are being Way Too Shallow. I don't think one should limit themselves to dating only one pre-determined type, and I think there's some truth in understanding that you're going to attract the type of person you are, but I also understand that some people are just universally a little (as my kids say) "a little easier on the eyes" . . . and it's no surprise that those folks get more attention.


4. Many guys do date for fun and within their own ward.


5. I wouldn't say that guys "friend zone" more; I think it's the opposite. I think guys do stick girls in a "back up zone", but guys typically don't spend any "friend time" with girls they have no interest in or attraction towards. Girls, on the other hand, will collect guys as "friends" that boost their ego but they have no intention of every being romantic with.


6. Most "Good Guys" find girls that are too aggressive socially to be a turn off. Lots of guys are lazy. Those guys like it when they can sit around and do nothing while girls "hang out", making them cookies while they play video games. Don't confuse "shy" with "polite" or "attentive".


7. There is no such thing as "long garments and short garments". All garments are a set length relative to the other measurements of the material. Sisters at the distribution center love to laugh at the girls (and guys, now) who come in asking for "garments for shorts". People who alter their garments are in violation of the purpose and spirit of them.


8. I believe that some people carry themselves with the light and attitude that should accompany someone who is a disciple of Christ, and that shows in the way they act and the way they treat others and they things they do, don't do, say and don't say. I see nothing wrong with that.


9. Your "letter" comment isn't entirely accurate.

While there is a part of the application that talks about your testimony, and some things (such as tattoos) need to be documented, a letter outlining every sin ever committed is not part of the application.


10. Doesn't everyone want to feel like they're doing the best things with the time they've been given that they can do?


11. All Church disciplinary action has but one function: to help the member return to full fellowship with the Savior and to know of the blessings of the Atonement. All situations are different, and one of the burdens of the call of Bishop is to know how to help each individual member.

No two different situations can fairly be compared in the way that you're trying to compare them.


All of your other questions (and most of the previous ones as well) have been answered (multiple times) on both the Facebook Page and the Blog site.


Feel free to search both - there's lot's of great stuff in there!


If I've missed anything or you need some clarification, please write again.

- Bro Jo

PS:  It's okay to have doubts and questions, but as the saying goes, Doubt Your Doubts Before You Doubt Your Faith.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Getting Him to Ask You Out

Dear Bro Jo,

So my freshman year of high school I met this guy in my stake. He was a senior at the time and I was smitten.

Four years later and I’m a freshman at BYU and he's returned from serving a faithful mission.

He's been home for almost a year already and every day I find myself liking him even more.

We talk quite often on campus and each time I leave just so happy.

Honestly, I REALLY like him.

The only problem is that I've never dated anyone and I've only been on a few dates so I have no idea what I'm supposed to do now!

My friends keep telling me that I should ask him on a date but I don't want to embarrass myself. I don't think he would say no, I just don't seem to have the courage to do it. I'm pretty sure that he's as close to perfect as they come but I just don't know what to do!

Please help!

- Secretly Smitten




Dear Smitten,

Well . . . the first thing you need to do is breathe. 

One cannot act rationally if one is not calm.

Secondly, take him off the pedestal. He's not perfect, and I don't want you to be disappointed or discouraged with you get to know the real guy; infatuation and fantasy cloud our thinking (regardless of how fun they are).

Third, your friends are wrong. If you ask him out you're going to insult his manhood and possibly scare him away. (I know that sounds weird, even lame, but the truth is that lots of Good Guys want to be traditional and the girl doing the asking comes across as . . .well . . . desperate.)

Instead, what you need to do is get him to ask you out. Subtle, perhaps, but much more effective. 

Check out "Bro Jo's How a Girl Can Get a Guy to Ask Her on a Date"

You've got to jump from where you are now to letting him know you're romantically interested.

And, know this: if you don't act, you may always regret it.

Especially when you find out he's marrying a girl who made the move you were afraid to make.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

- Bro Jo

Friday, November 27, 2015

Follow Up Question to "Short Engagements"

Dear Bro Jo,

Just wanted to send a quick reply thanking you for posting the Will Girls Date Him Even Though He Didn't Go on a Mission?

If you do not remember I was the one who sent that, seeing that and some of the comments helped me out.

I was going through a slightly tough time and this really helped. Just a quick question you keep saying long courtships and short engagements what do you mean by short engagements out of curiosity.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

My personal opinion (and Sister Jo happens to agree) is that after a couple formally decides to get married (meaning an actually proposal) then the Sealing should happen in three months or less. 

All the reasons couples come up with for waiting are worldly ones, and the temptations to no longer be Temple Worthy become pretty darn strong. 

I know one couple that had a two-year wait between engagement and Sealing, and they made it to the Temple, but they'll tell you that it only worked because: 

     1) they lived a 10 hour drive apart with no decent flights between, 

     2) they were both phenomenally busy, and 

     3) when they did see each other they were never left alone for very long. 

And with all of that, when they were together, they could barely keep their hands off each other . . . and they often didn't. 

And they're two of the most focused, righteous people I know. 

So I say "short engagements". 

If you've made the decision, pull the trigger. 

BTW - Did you see the almost fanatical response I got from readers one the Facebook page who had married men who didn't serve? 

I thought some of them were ready to reach through their computers and punch me. 

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Confession to the Fiance

Dear Bro Jo,

What I am about to share with you is kind of complicated.

When I was in my early teens, I was introduced to masturbation by some very immature friends.

I started indulge in masturbating and viewing pornographic material.

It soon became a vicious habit.

My struggle was more with masturbation than pornography. Pornography was more something I used to make it more exciting.

I viewed pornography (almost never hard-core pornography) because I masturbated, I didn't masturbate because of a pornographic addiction.

I had this problem for years.

The problem is that I was never taught about this sin (of masturbating) and I justified my pornography problem my telling myself it was "not really pornography".

I never had a "father to son" talk and the subject was not really mentioned at Church, though deep inside I knew it was wrong.

But I thought only sexual intercourse needed to be confessed to the Bishop (or at least I tried to think it that way).

I thought I could just resolve the problem myself.

I then decided to go on a mission.

My Stake President asked me if I had masturbation or pornography problems.

I foolishly said I didn't (once again I justified that I would stop to do it by the time I left for the mission).

I got to the MTC and was successful at forsaking those evil practices for about 1 month when I gave in while in the mission field (not to pornography but masturbating).

I did it a few times and felt so so so guilty (I could barely eat) that I confessed to my Mission President.

However I was so scared of being sent home that I lied.

I said I had stopped the practice a year before my mission and that I had one it only once on the field.

He asked me if I had used pornography and I said no.

He said it was not a sin a missionary got sent home for but it needed to be cleared up.

But obviously I had to see him again to fully confess.

I finally told him that I had actually used pornography along with masturbating.  I had actually indulged many times the year preceding my mission and that I had stopped only for a month at the beginning of my mission.

He asked me if I had stopped a month before my mission.

I said no, but I was not exactly sure when was the last time I did it before leaving (it was not exactly true, I knew I had done it a few days before entering the MTC).

He finally asked me if it was a habit (I think he meant asking me if masturbating was a habit when I left on my mission) and replied that yes it was.

Since I had not given in and had been clean for 5 months, he told me to forgive myself and move forward.

He gave me a blessing telling me I was forgiven for my sins.

It was hard for me to believe that my sins had been forgiven.

I went back to see my Mission President many times throughout my mission.

Every time he told me to stop thinking about it and forgive myself. That I was worthy and a great missionary (it is true I had a great mission. I was a hard-working and obedient missionary).

Though my mission went great, I always had these issued on the back of my mind.

I was not tempted to fall again but I had a hard time believing my confession was complete and that I was forgiven, though my Mission President kept on saying that I had not what I needed to do and was forgiven.

I regularly felt guilty for nothing.

When I had a "wet" dream, I felt horribly guilty!

My last night on my mission, I met with my new Mission President (who didn't know a thing about my past transgressions).

I shared with him my problems, that I had left on my mission with a masturbation and pornography problem, that I had masturbated a few times on my mission but that I had confessed to the previous Mission President and forsaken.

I told him that I had a hard time forgiving myself and that I never felt that I had done enough in my repentance process.

I told me he had received a spiritual witness that I was forgiven and should move forward.

I returned home with honor. I still don't have any problem with those past sins.

When I encounter pornography or even just suggestive images on the web, I naturally and automatically look away and go on an other website.

My problem is that I am always afraid that my confession was not complete enough, that because I still feel guilt, I probably was not 100% honest in my confession. Though I told him everything important that needed to be said, it is true that I was not completely honest about very minor things ( for example when I told him that I didn't know exactly when the last time was I had masturbated before my mission though I knew it was a few days before).

And I now feel silly going back to see my Bishop when my mission president said he had received a spiritual witness that I was worthy.

Should I just forget about it and trust my Mission President?

Or go again to see my Bishop anyway?

I am really trying sincerely to do what the Lord expects of me but I am often confused about what I should do.

And I am now engaged to a great LDS girl.

Should I tell her about my past transgressions before we get married?

Thank you for reading this long email,

- Name Withheld




Dear NW, 

First of all, nocturnal emissions are not sinful in and of themselves, so I don't think you should feel guilty about it. 

Yes, it can be a byproduct of spending too much time in lustful thought during the day, but that's not always the case; and it's not like we have any real control over what happens when we're sleeping. 

So I say don't worry about that stuff. 


Secondly, I think that a little "guilt" (or "regret") can be a healthy thing. 

I know we're taught that if the Lord forgives us we should forgive ourselves, and I believe in that . . . but I also think that we should never "totally" forget everything wrong we've ever done. 

I think that's a misunderstanding that lots of Latter-day Saints have about repentance. After all, how are we supposed to learn from our mistakes if we "forget" them? 

Part of becoming better people is that we remember Not To Do the things we regret. 


Now, if you're worried about it, by all means go talk to your Bishop . . . but I think you should trust your Mission President . . . and in the Savior and the Atonement. 


As for your fiance . . . I've written a few times about Things You Should Know Before You Get Engaged (here's one of the links); it's also in the Notes section on the Facebook page. 

I don't think you and your fiance need to tell each other everything in graphic and gory detail before you get sealed . . . and I think too often people say they're "being honest" when they care less about the person they're "confessing" to and more about alleviating their own guilty consciences . . .

But I do think there's value in sitting down (perhaps in more than one sitting) and going through that list of stuff. (If you read it closely, the items that come closest to what your challenges have been have more to do with repentance of sin than the details of the transgressions.)

You're going to be okay, my brother.

Trust in Christ.

And congratulations on your upcoming wedding! 


- Bro Jo

Monday, November 23, 2015

Should She Slow the Relationship Down?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey, Melody again.

Well, I am now at the Y, and a lot has changed since last time I wrote.

I recently halfway Dear Johned "my missionary" based on promptings that I needed to put some distance between us and open my heart to other relationships.

We still care about each other and plan to date when he comes back, and I'm still going to write him, but it's more of a friend thing for the next 10-11 months. Shortly thereafter, I met a great guy, who I've kind of been seeing. He's spiritual, kind, fun, affectionate, just a great guy. I mean, the first time we spent time together, it felt like we'd been dating for months. Basically, it's been moving really fast, everyone who knows us thinks he might ask me to be his girlfriend soon.

Don't worry, I've been setting boundaries to help slow it down, which he has completely respected.

The only problem is he doesn't ever verbalize his feelings about me, so I have no idea where we're at (at the end of our last date, I asked, but he changed the subject).

He's also an RM of about two years.

Anyways, I'm a little torn because I'm significantly younger, I've only been in one relationship ever, and I haven't known him that long (3 1/2 weeks or so, and we've been "dating" for about two, though he's tried to see me every few days, so it's pretty frequent), but I feel ridiculously drawn to him (perhaps this is one of those things I was supposed to open my heart to) .

So, I was wondering…do you have one of your magical lists floating around in your head about Stuff You Need To Know Before Getting Into A Serious Relationship With Someone?

Something like that?

- Melody




Dear Melody,

I don't see a reason for you to artificially slow things down. 

And I don't think 19 and 23 are too far apart. 

It's still a bit early to be verbalizing feelings, or expecting him to. 

I think the list you're looking for is Bro Jo's Levels of a Relationship . . . 

or maybe Things You Need To Know Before you Get Engaged

- Bro Jo

Friday, November 20, 2015

Lots of Guy Friends . . . but No Dates!

Dear Bro Jo,

I found your blog tonight when someone posted a link to it on Facebook.

I found it interesting and informative, but wanted to ask a few questions since most of your advice is geared to teens.

I'm a Junior at BYUI.

I've had one boyfriend and lots of friends that are boys.  I enjoy doing things more with them than with most of the girls I know.

I have lots of guy friends, but I rarely go on dates.

What can I do to change that?

I'm fun and outgoing, but I have a hard time pushing for dates or flirting.

Several of my guy friends have asked me about if I'm dating anyone or going on dates and when I tell them I'm not they get confused and I get even more confused.

I want to go on dates, and I want to get to know they guys in a more serious way.

Well . . .  especially one guy I met at the beginning of the semester.

We are both involved in an activities organization on campus together and have done a lot of the volunteer activities together . . .

We're good friends, talk easily, have fun together, similar interests, etc . . .

We are both single, and have had lots of opportunities to go on dates, but we never do . . .

But whenever we are together we talk for hours (think 2-3 at a time during the week and if it's a Saturday activity 4-6).

I want to know if this friendship is going to go anywhere beyond friendship, but I don't want to hurt it by pushing it to be something more than a friendship.

Would it be weird to ask him on a date?

I don't want to come across as desperate, because I'm not desperate, but a lot of girls here are like that right now.

I'm also scared that I'll get hurt.

The last guy I dated dumped me pretty hard in May and I don't want the heartbreak again so soon. 

How can I tell if I'm just a friend, or if it could go somewhere?

How can I go on more dates with the guys who are friends with me?

- Confused and Getting Mixed Messages




Dear Confused, 

There's an awful lot of stuff at Dear Bro Jo geared to YSAs. 

If you click on the tags on the side, like the one that says "Serious Single Dating" you can filter to all of the posts with that in common. 

I'm going to be very candid with you, Little Sister, because I care: you need to stop dragging your feet and stop being the "pal" and start being the girl that guys go out with. 

(I'd also like you to click on the tag that says "Guys and Girls as Just Close Friends"; there are some truths about the whole "guy friends" thing that you need to learn. Oh! And click on "Hanging Out" as well!) 

The hanging out and "being friends" thing you're doing, the not acting on the hints when dropped, are roadblocks that you're putting up, and they need to be torn down. 

While it may not be weird to ask this guy you're favoring on a date, it would be the wrong move. 

Instead, and this may sound semantic, but you need to tell him that HE needs to ask YOU out. 

That subtle difference can make all the difference in the world. 

Want to know if you're just a friend or if there's something more there? 

Then you have to communicate. 

That's not desperate; it's telling these guys that you know you have value (which of course you do!) and they need to know that, too. 

You may get hurt, but like any other muscles the heart gets stronger when it gets torn down and then heals. 

Really no different than lifting weights or any other work out.

The only races we truly lose are those we never run.

So the next time you see this guy say to him everything you've said to me. "Hey, we're both single and we seem to really get along, how come we've never gone on a date?"

If he's not smart enough to ask you out, then move on.

- Bro Jo 

PS: When a guy asks you if you’re dating anyone your response should be "Why? Are you asking?"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Should Her Bi-sexuality Keep Her from Missionary Service?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey Bro Jo!

It's me again, so just being straight forward . . . I'm bisexual (non practicing) and I'm due for a mission soon even though it is postponed right now.

So only a few people in my life know that I'm bi and those people are not even close to me because I'm so terrified of losing the people who are the closest.

Anyways back to the topic, so my mission has been postponed due to personal issues and I've told my stake president that I'm bi but should I tell the Bishop too?

Because maybe that'll I don't know help things or is it not relevant seeing as I'm not practicing.

But I am worried however because I'm going to be with girls 24/7 and I just don't know if I can handle it along with my problem

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

So let's be clear. 

Do you say you're bi-sexual because you find girls and boys sexually attractive? 

Or because you've had sex with both boys and girls? 

What does "non-practicing" mean to you? 

Does it mean "not now", "not ever", or "never"? 

Your email seems to imply that you're a girl; is that correct? 

When you say that your mission has been postponed, does that mean you've already applied? 

Has a mission call been issued? 

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Hey, no; I don't have sex with guys or girls.

I'm sexually attracted to both and yes I am a girl and non practicing means not doing anything with girls of the sexual nature (I'm in the closet and don't have plans of coming out).

And yes I've already applied for my mission.  I know where I'm going but the date has been shifted so I can have time to sort out my issues.

- NW




Dear NW,

Do you know that attraction is not enough to mean that one is homosexual or bi? 

To be that you have to:

     a) be having sex, 

or 

     b) choose to be identified as such. 

Only acting out makes you such.

Simply recognizing the attractiveness of someone the same gender as you does not mean you’re gay. True story.

Now, IMHO, gay, bi, straight or otherwise if you can't control your sexual impulses you have no business on a mission.

Nor do I think it's appropriate for someone who intends to engage in homosexual behavior post mission to be teaching about Temples and Eternal Marriage to potential members.

But I also think all of this ultimately needs to be between you, God, and priesthood authority.

Before you go.

Remember, simply wanting to do something is not the same as actually doing it.

Self-control and self-mastery are how we should be using our agency, and when we do we grow closer to God and He blesses us.

To my mind you're not "in the closet", you're in control of your thoughts and passions.

- Bro Jo

Monday, November 16, 2015

Life After Rape in Provo

Dear Bro Jo,

I want to start off with a little back story first. I am currently attending Brigham Young University Provo.

Two months ago I was unfortunately raped by a boy off of campus.

I will call him "David" for confidentiality reasons.

I was not dating David nor was I interested in him in any way.

I had dated his friend last semester and he left for his mission.

I ended up speaking to David at the beginning of the semester.

He had a girlfriend at the time and confided in me about his past about drinking, immorality, and drugs.

I did not judge him but I wanted to help him.

He told me that he had talked with his Bishop and that he was planning on putting his mission papers in soon. I was thrilled to know that someone could change so much and was proud of him.

A few days later he broke up with his girlfriend.

We talked twice in person and that was it.

One night he called and texted me multiple times and I was worried something was wrong.

I called back and he asked if we could talk and I said yes.

He picked me up and drove off campus.

In the next hour and a half or so is when the rape took place.

He took me back to my apartment and since then I have reported him to police and have been in contact with the school's Honor Code.

I am currently in counseling and seeking help although it is hard because I have developed PTSD, my anorexia has resurfaced, and I've become an insomniac due to the experience.

I have found it very hard to get myself to be interested in guys.

Ever since the incident a lot more guys have been approaching me and I think it's due to the fact that I seem vulnerable.

I work on campus and one day at work a boy that we'll call "Tyler" came in with his friend.

They were very nice and I was instantly attracted to Tyler.

He had asked my coworker for my name and would converse with me a little bit.

They came in again the next week and again he asked for my name.

We would joke around and at one point I heard his friend say "Ask her out!!" in a hushed tone.

(I don't know if he had expressed interest in me to his friend or if his friend was just being funny.)

He didn't ask me out and I still sometimes see him at work.

When we do see each other we joke around a lot and we are friendly.


Now, going back to David.

He is on the Rugby team here and so is Tyler.

I know that when boys are on teams they tend to become very close to each other.

I have had some people come up and ask if what happened between David and me was consensual because that is what he is telling them.

I am afraid that he has also told his teammates about me and put me in a bad light that makes it so that it would be very hard to pursue Tyler.

Ever since the incident with David, Tyler has been coming less in to my work to see me.

I am worried that he knows.

I don't tend to pursue guys, Tyler is actually the only guy I have ever really pursued.

I've never had to pursue (I know that sounds cocky but I've had a steady boyfriend before and I don't really have a hard time with boys.)

I don't know what to think in this situation.

Does he know?

Is he avoiding me?

Does he think it's consensual if he does know?

Should I even pursue him?


Tyler is a great guy.

He exudes the gospel and he is one of the kindest people I know.

I am so very interested in him but this thing with David is stopping me from making a move.

Should I wait for Tyler to make the move?

Or should I just forget about him all together?

He is the first guy that I have really been interested in after the rape....

He means a lot to me.

But is it worth it?

Sorry I know this was really long but I wanted to make it detailed so that you could understand my point of view.

Thank you so much! 

- Sincerely,

Lost




Dear Lost,

I think not allowing "David's" crimes to keep controlling your life is a good thing.

I understand why you feel the way you do, and I think you deep down agree with me, but I thought mentioning it was a good place to start.

I'm curious: when people ask you if what happened between you and David was consensual, what's they're reaction when you tell them "no"?

I'm sure he's spreading that it was to try and build his defense and save his reputation.

I'm struggling to understand how he's still on the team, frankly.  Either he raped you or had sex out of marriage; either is a violation of the honor code;

I would expect BYU, even the club Rugby team, to do a better job of following through on the honor code.

I'm sure Tyler knows at least one version of the story; it seems like everyone else does.

You could talk to him.

Doing so would certainly answer the questions of whether or not he has any interest in you and whether or not he intends to follow up on that interest.

That's a bold, mature, and difficult thing to do . . . but I think you could do it if you wanted to.

Another, less scary option would be for a trusted girlfriend to talk to him on your behalf.

This friend could go up and say: "Hey, Tyler, you need to know the truth. David and my friend didn't 'have sex'; he raped her. She's reported it to the police and the honor code, and he's in big trouble. She thought you were interested in her, and now that he's spreading rumors about her, she's afraid that you're not interested anymore. What's the deal?"

It may be worth it.

But know that Tyler's not the only "great guy" out there; he's not even the only "Great Guy a the Y"!

As time passes, and the counseling continues to work, your faith, confidence and health will be restored.

If not Tyler, then I'm sure you'll meet another, if not several Great Guys.

Continue getting the help you need.

I have a testimony in the Healing Power of the Savior, and I know that you are loved and deserve to be whole and happy.

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Friday, November 13, 2015

What If You Don't Have Much in Common?

Dear Bro Jo,

First of all, I'm a huge fan of your blog. I think you make some really good points, which is why I'm asking for advice...

I've had some really bad experiences with guys in the past. I've been through the whole child abuse scenario and was sexually harassed by a lot of different boys in high school, so I've become super cautious with the whole dating scene.

Not that I haven't dated at all, I've had a few different boyfriends, but because I'm so cautious, I make sure they complete this sort of list I have.

So most of the guys I've developed any sort of relationship with have been perfect on paper, but I haven't really connected or fell in love with them.

I'm 20 and know it's time I start learning to open up and trust so that way I can get going on the next phase of life sometime soon.

Now there's a new guy who on paper is not a good match for me at all. We have pretty different interests and some of our opinions are really different.

Plus he fails at the whole dating thing.

His friends tell me he just doesn't date much, but is more of a flirt.

We've gotten to be really good friends and spend a lot of time together. He'll plan things that I consider a hang out, and then he ends up paying so I'm confused, realizing he considers it a date.

He breaks some of your rules too- like he texts me a lot.

But he's really different than the perfect guys I've dated.

He has been flirting with me all semester and has always been very observant of me and can always tell what I'm thinking or feeling.

I'm an awkward person by nature, and he thinks it's adorable, which is such a rare thing. He can tell that I get uncomfortable dating, so he plans group things and doesn't push anything, but now I want him to.

It's just he's the first person I've really felt connected with. It scares me how much I actually like him.

He doesn't spend time with other girls and I've never seen him flirt with anyone else- so is he just leading me on or are his friends wrong about him?

How much leeway am I allowed to give him?

Or how to I discreetly tell him to be a man? 

Sincerely,

- Cautious




Dear Cautious,

Everything you've told me you need to tell him; every question you've asked me you need to ask him.

A good relationship does not require that both people agree on everything or that either person conform to some mythical list of required attributes.

Go talk to him.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Is This THE Guy She Should Marry?

Dear Bro Jo,

This time last year, I was so excited to enter the realm of YSA and start dating, but I still saw marriage in the very far future.

Or at least a couple of years down the road.

Well that certainly has changed!

Four months ago I started dating this guy. He got home off his mission last October. We met a couple weeks after that.

My ward car-pools to where we have Institute about 30 minutes away, and he was in the car one day.

At the time, me and another guy in my ward were talking so I didn't think too much of it.

That didn't work out, and around the end of January, he asked me on a date.

After our first date, about the next week he told me he wanted a more one on one relationship.

I immediately was like woahhh! I have only been on one date with this guy!

He initially can be a shy person, and that generally is not the kind of personality I'm attracted to.

I like really talkative people.

I just told him I wanted to get to know him more first.

So we saw each other more...a lot more.

About 2 weeks later it came back up again about us dating exclusively.

I only went on Casual Dates in high school, so this would be my first relationship. I was scared!

He was willing to wait as long as I needed.

Two or so weeks later, I had spring break so I came home.

He came down that weekend and met my family for the first time, and we then decided to start dating exclusively.

We didn't see each other at all the first week we were dating since I was on spring break at home, and he was back up where I attend school.

After about 2 and a half weeks of dating he tells me that he loves me!

A couple days later he told me that he knew he wanted to marry me!

I asked him if he prayed about it and he said yes and he knew that it was right.

So I am most definitely freaking out at this point!

I knew that I liked him a lot, but this was my first relationship and after 2 weeks he knows he wants to marry me?!

Yeah...crazy.

So fast forward to almost 4 months later, and we're still dating!

I'm at home for the summer, and he's been coming to visit about once a week.

A few weeks ago, I told him that we were going to get married.


Not long after this, I started having all kinds of doubts , , ,

Am I ready for marriage?

Can I really be happy with him forever?

Are our personalities really that compatible?

Do I really truly care about him?

Can I put his needs before my own?


And I've told him that I am second guessing myself, but he is still so confident that we are going to get married. I don't know how to discern between doubts that are actually doubts telling me this isn't right, or just doubts that everyone has.

I've gotten all kinds of advice from different people, and everyone's circumstance is different.

I know that ultimately whether or not I'm happy in marriage is my decision, but I still want to make the best decision!

Any thoughts?

Sincerely,

- Overwhelmedddddd!




Dear Overwhelmed,

Do you love him?

Do you WANT to marry him?

Are you willing to put his needs before your own, and can you trust that he'll do that for you?

When you disagree, are you comfortable with how you resolve your disagreements?

And, perhaps most importantly (IMHO) can you imagine life (and eternity) without him?


I think those are the questions you need to ask yourself first.

You may also want to go through "Bro Jo's Five A's of Why Not to Marry THAT Person" (also HERE) and "Things You Need to Know Before You Get Engaged" (also HERE).


Everyone has doubts.

That can be a good thing . . . if you seek Spiritual Guidance and Answers.


It's a bad thing if you allow your doubts to rule your life.   (Remember that Fear, Doubt, and things that scare us away from Temple Blessings all come from the Adversary.)


Marriage is a big enough deal that I don't think you should do it if you're uncertain; and I don't think you should get married out of fear (I'll let you ponder what that means); but you'll have to face the this: if you're not going to marry him, you need to tell him so he can go find someone else.

If you're comfortable with that idea (and please be very careful before you say that you are - you may not get a second shot at this guy) then you have to let him go.


If you can't bear the thought of eternity without him . . . tell Satan to get behind you! . . . and get married.

- Bro Jo

Dear Overwhelmed,

I talked your situation over with Sister Jo, and I think she put this better than I did.


What she says is this:

Do you love spending time with him?

Is he your best friend?

And, most importantly, are you willing to make it work?


Marriage, she says, is about work.


If you love each other enough that you're willing to work at your marriage, then it would be (her words) "stupid NOT to get married".


She says "marriage is about making it work, not about being in love or attracted to each other all the time every day forever".

So there you go.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I think part of my problem is that I have always had an idea of how I wanted everything in my life to pan out, and getting engaged at 19 wasn't one of those things.

I think I'm having trouble with letting go of independence and committing 100% to the relationship.


I feel like I may be looking for excuses, because I don't think I truly have a legitimate reason to NOT want to marry him.

At least no red flags. I do love spending time with him, but I also feel like he misses me more than I miss him when we're away from each other.

I feel like he cares more about me than I do about him . . . and that kind of scares me...

It makes me question whether or not I love him enough.


I think since I knew so quickly in the relationship that he knew he wanted to marry me, then I also just focused on figuring that out and not just enjoying the relationship.

I have friends in the Church left and right who are getting engaged...and yeah the idea of getting married sounds great, but I also know that marriage is a big deal.


And I know I'm also thinking about some things the wrong way...there is no ONE and ONLY right person for me.

I know that, but then I still think what if someone else would make me happier?

And I know that if I did decide to let him go, we both would eventually find other people.

But I don't know if that is a legitimate concern or feeling or just some annoying nag that is holding me back.

I just feel like other couples who decide to get married are so sure and ready to get married as soon as possible.

Of course, I can only see what's on the surface, but I want to feel sure and know that I love him enough, that no matter what I'll make it work.

- Overwhelmed




Dear Overwhelmed,

I don't necessarily see your "reasons" as issues .... him missing you more, being scared (meaning nervous, not fearful), him being certain already ... all of that strikes me as actually being positive things when seen in the right light.

But your statement about thinking you might find some as yet unknown person out there that may make you happier ... yeah ... to be candid (no surprise, right?), that strikes me as a concern.

Maybe it means you're just nervous.

Maybe it means you're not ready.

Maybe it means you like the idea of him, or the idea of getting married, more than you like the actual guy.

You know you best.

I think you need to do some prayerful introspection and be honest with yourself.

Now.

What I will tell you is that if someone wrote me and said "I'm in love with this person and I want to marry them, but they want to wait and see if "someone better" comes along ... (is that how you really feel?) ... then I'd tell them to get out of that relationship ... FAST.  And don't bother looking back unless they come and apologize for being dumb and sincerely beg you to take them back.

And even then it's an "only one more chance" situation.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I've worked it out!

I pretty much told him I needed some time for two days and we didn't talk in that time.

So I prayed a lot, read some talks from general authorities, got some advice, and did some thinking...
I love him, and I know he understands that I am a Daughter of God and will always treat me as such.

We're both worthy members who are striving to become better each day.

We want to be married in the temple.

We're both far from perfect, but we're able to encourage each other to live the gospel.

So why wouldn't it work?

It will work!

And I know that.

Maybe there is someone who could make me happier, but I shouldn't let go when the person I have now is already striving to make me happy each and every day and does a pretty great job. I still have some things to work out, like when in the world should we get married!

But answers are coming with time.

- Ready Now




Dear Ready,

Wonderful!

And . . . congratulations!

- Bro Jo