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Monday, May 4, 2015

Why NOT To Wait

Dear Bro Jo,

So my story starts off 3 years ago.

I moved to a new ward my senior year of high school and I was one of two seniors, the other was a young man. I got a strong feeling that I needed to get to know him and we went on a few dates before we established ourselves as a couple (I know, I know...shame on me).

We dated for about 6 months before he headed off to BYU and I went to a university in our home state. We remained great friends while apart, calling and Skyping daily.

Things picked back up when he came home for the summer before we left on his mission that August.

He told me that I should date while he was gone (which I agreed with) but said that if I was single when he got home, he would want to date me again.

Fast forward almost two years and I'm single with a month before he gets home.

I dated plenty while he was gone but still wrote him.

I was always friendly in letters and made sure to not come off as flirty.

This past week, I got an email from him asking me if I knew he was going to date other girls when he got home. (He's going back to BYU and I'm moving to Orem to attend UVU, FYI).

I did not know this but it wasn't something I had brought up in letters or planned on bringing up until he got home.

I'm not necessarily hurt that he wants to date other people (I do love him very much and have prayed about marrying him) but I understand that he needs to do what he needs to do.

I'm more disappointed that he brought up while still on his mission.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I have no idea how to respond this without coming off as mad and disappointed and without damaging our friendship.

Any and all advice is appreciated!

- In Love?

Dear In,

I'm glad that you didn't "wait" for him . . . and it sounds like you've discovered why I tell girls not to. 

Life is full of pressure, and not everyone responds to that the same way.

Certainly there's pressure in the Church (or at least from its members) put upon young men to marry quickly once they come home from a mission. (Girls, too, for that matter.)

And, as we all know, finding someone you can love and care enough about to spend Time and All Eternity with is daunting.

I think he's wise to warn you not to pin all of your hopes on him.

I think he should date lots of different girls when he first comes home. (My recommendation to RMs is at least one date per week.)

I think it takes the pressure off of you both; it sounds mature and realistic.

And I think you dating BEFORE he comes home was also very smart.

Now he's set the tone, and you'll have no reason to be surprised when he doesn't come over to your house with a ring the day after his release. (Not that you were expecting that, but as this Young Man and I both know, many Many MANY girls do.)

But I also think that at some point you need to tell him that his choice to date a bunch of other girls is fine with you, so long as he understands that you're not going to wait around or be single forever.

Not angry.

Just matter of fact.

You're reminding him that you're not going to just sit idly by, being the consolation prize.

As the reactionary that I am, in your shoes I'd probably respond with that right away.

Sister Jo, who is much wiser than I, would ignore the email for a while; make him sweat it out. Then, if he fails to ask out out in the first 6 weeks he's home or brings this little piece of information up again once he's home (heaven help him if he's dumb enough to say something like this on a date with you) then you say your piece.

But, like I've said, Sister Jo is the Master!

As she always says: "make him earn it!"

Don't Be Hurt;

Be Confident and In Control.

- Bro Jo

PS:  While the "Shot Gun" approach to dating is a good way for Return Missionaries (guys and girls) when they first come home, at some point they need to switch to "Rifle Dating", where they focus on one great person and keep dating only that person until they either realize they want to date someone else (perhaps "anyone else") or that they should marry that person.


Anonymous said...

Never date someone who does not appreciate you! If he feels the need to compare you to others then he somehow believes there might be a better match for him. Ouch! He is probably wrong but the truth is you are too good for him. Do not waste your time and move on FAST. Do not even respond to his stupid email. Get beautiful, get fit, get spiritual and make him regret ever single word!

Anonymous said...

I think he is smart to not want to just date her when he gets home. One of the reasons girls are encouraged to date while "their missionary" is away is so that if when the missionary comes home the girl is still single she won't question if she could have met a better guy. Very few people marry their first love and it would be better to wonder and figure out if there is someone who you like better than your missionary or waitee before marrying them.