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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Is Her Boyfriend a Pre-Mi or an RM?

Dear Bro Jo,

I have a slightly unusual situation that I would like some advice about, so I'll get straight to it.

I am currently dating a young man who has been sent home from his mission, but who plans to return as soon as he is permitted to.

We've been in the same social group for a long time, and everyone was really pleased when he left for his mission.

He wasn't gone for long before he requested to see his Mission President because he was feeling like he had some unresolved issues, and - his words - the Spirit really beat him up about it.

He came back to our Branch, and we've all been supporting him in any way we can, particularly with making him feel loved and welcomed, and not judged. I have so much respect for him that he has continued to come to Church, and that he has sincerely been changing his life.

I can remember the complete anguish on his face when he first walked through the chapel doors on his return.

This week he was permitted to take the sacrament for the first time since September, and he was a changed man.

I have no doubt that he wants to return to his mission and that he will make a hard-working and strong missionary.

Since he's been home again, we've been spending a lot of time together just the two of us, watching films or just talking (first, because the other YSA in our Branch were being dramatic and we wanted to get away from them a bit, then after that we realized just how much we really liked each other and decided we wanted to date).

He told me his intentions to return to his mission and that he didn't want to lead me on, and we talked about keeping it relatively casual.

We've been out on dates and we spend a lot of time with each other, and when we're not together we're talking and texting.

The thing is, now that we've been dating a while, things are feeling more serious. We are completely comfortable with each other (especially because we'd known each other for quite a while before we started dating) and we confide in each other about a lot of things.

Not many people know we've been dating, because he realized people would judge him and try to control him about it, but we've decided that we're now going to be open about it.

We're really attracted to each other, and we're taking measures to stay away from situations that could compromise our standards. I really care about this guy, more than I thought I would when I started dating him.

I told him that I was going into the relationship knowing his plans to go on his mission, and so there wouldn't be problems, but now I'm not sure.

He had a girlfriend just under a year before he left, and the Stake President said he shouldn't be dating a girl before his mission that he didn't plan to marry afterward.

Does that make me serious, even marriage material?

I don't want him to freak out or feel pressured if I bring this kind of thing up with him.

I'm trying hard to support him and encourage him in every way I can, but would it be more supportive of me to break it off now?

I don't want to, but I don't want to end up completely distraught when he leaves either.

I don't want to expect anything from him, but it's getting hard not to.

So I guess my question is, is it wise to date a guy going on his mission, especially one who was sent home?

Do I bring up the subject of marriage with him?

Is it possible to do that without seeming pushy?

Thank you,

- Deliberating British Girl

Dear Deliberating,

I think Serious Single Dating before one's mission is not a good idea.

I think it confuses things and pulls focus.

And I think that Satan may use you to plant doubts in his mind as to whether or not he should serve.

I don't think him previously trying to serve is relevant at this point ... unless he is using you as an excuse or shield to keep from serving...

I think you should both look at this as if he's a regular pre-mi, and that means to cool things off, cutting out all the calls and texts, keeping your dates to Casual Group Dates, stopping dating altogether once he's re-applied, and coming to the understanding that all bets are off while he's gone.

Be a friend, but not a girlfriend; be a supporter, but not a crutch.

That means no, don't talk about marriage.

- Bro Jo


Danielle said...

If he is home on his mission to 'resolve issues', he is technically still a missionary and shouldn't be dating at all. He shouldn't be spending time alone with any girl. He hasn't been released from his mission.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Bro Jo said...

Since he was sent home it's most likely that he was released as a missionary.

That can happen (and usually does) when one is sent home for medical reasons, too.

There are exceptions, but they're rare.

- Bro Jo

Danielle said...

Thank you. I guess that gives them a little more freedom than a missionary.