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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Friday, February 27, 2015

Should the Sealing Be Put Off Until Her Fiance's Brother Comes Home From the Mission?

Dear Bro Jo,

I've read your blog for quite some time now and I also have your book for Young Single Adults.

All your advice is just straightforward and simple, at least that's what it seems like to me.

So I've got a rather frustrating situation.

I am a YSA attending BYU, going into my Junior year.

I have been dating a wonderful guy for almost 8 months now.

The marriage talk has definitely come up and lots of time has been spent in thought, prayer, and conversation.

The conclusion?

Yes. I want to marry him.

He wants to marry me. Spectacular, right??

At first we were planning on being engaged by now and get married in December after Fall semester.

This was decided after 4 months of dating.

We soon realized after a couple of weeks that it would be much too soon to be engaged and that we had a lot still we wanted and needed to get to know about each other.

While I was a bit disappointed, only because the idea of getting a ring, dress, planning a wedding, engagement pictures, etc. just sounded exciting.

We both completely agreed that we definitely needed time.

Well, summer was definitely an eye-opener for us both.

We have spent a lot of time together.

His parents visited.

We visited his parents.

My parents visited.

We visited my parents.

So even both our parents like us together and are excited for us to get married.

Well, I was thinking that we could just get married next summer. Which would still give time for getting to know each other more and allow my parents to get use to the idea of their 19, soon to be 20 year old daughter getting married. (Which in the Utah Valley bubble is pretty average I guess)

He agrees on getting married next summer...but not until August.

Which is more than a year from now.

Reason?

His only brother doesn't get home from his mission until then.

His brother asked him to wait.

Not only that, his parents have also voiced that we should wait until he gets home.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't want his brother to be able to be there when we get married.

It's just, it seems like we are pretty much definite on us wanting to get married.

As well as I feel it's more dangerous to prolong it after coming to the decision and feeling that it's right for us to get married.

I haven't said much except that August just feels far away.

His only comment to the issue is that time will go fast.

How can I argue and fight against what his brother has asked him to do AND his parents?

Perhaps I am being completely unreasonable and just waiting for his brother to come back is what should be done.

All I know is, we are in love and we know we want to get married.

Our relationship is nowhere near perfect and sometimes we just get the most frustrated at each other.

But we know that together, we can help each other become who we are striving to be and we push each other to strive to be better.

Should I stay quiet and hope he will decide on his own to get married earlier or should I try and push for it?

I don't want to cause and rift between his family and I, but if I didn't voice my opinion at least, would I even be who they'd like to join their family? 

Any input is appreciated!

- Confused While Certain




Dear Certain,

First of all, thank you for the kind words.

One year can go by very quickly, and in the grand scheme of eternity, it's just not that long.

However, three points upon which I disagree are:


1. I don't like long engagements, especially within the Church.

Once a couple decides to get married the temptation for them to "no longer be temple worthy" becomes more and more intense.

I think engagements should last about 3 months, so I would have suggested that you two got married this December, not next August.

I do agree that getting to know each other's families is a great idea, and had he asked I'd have advised him not to propose until all of this summer's meetings had taken place.

Talking about marriage is not the same as proposing.

I don't count engagements as official until he proposes, there's a ring, and you've set a date for the Sealing.

I'm a little unclear as to whether or not he's done that yet.

If he has, I think you need to get married within the next three months.

If it's all still just talk, then I'm less worried about the wait. I've known a few couple where waiting has worked, but it's a very small number and they all stayed very far away from each other during that time.

(One couple in particular that I always think of when this topic comes up actually went to colleges in two separate states during their two-year engagement, only seeing each other a couple times a year, and even then being mostly chaperoned. They are the Very Rare Exception, and while they succeeded in waiting, its not something I'd advise.)


2.  While there's certain things I think each of you needs to know before you agree to marry (see "Bro Jo's Five A's of Why Not to Marry THAT Person" and "Bro Jo's List of Things Every Couple Needs to Know", I also think it's unwise to think you need to know Everything about someone before you marry.

I'm not sure you guys are postponing your marriage because you have an unrealistic expectation of that, and I do think 8 months is not an unreasonable time to be dating before a proposal is offered,

I guess what I'm saying is that the 8 months of dating doesn't worry me, but the 14 months of engagement does, and the excuse "then we'll know each other a lot better" doesn't fly with me.

Trust me, there's nothing you could do over any length of time BEFORE you get married that comes anywhere close to how well you'll know someone AFTER you get married.

Not that you would, but even living together doesn't help.

That's why so many couples who live together before they get married end up divorced.

They think they know someone super well and then once they finally get married they realize "oops, it's not the same".


3. I don't think eternal ordinances should get put off for earthly time lines.

A small accommodation for family is fine.

A week or a month.

Sister Jo and I had to postpone an already planned baptism for a month for one of the Jo Kids because Sister Jo's sister's husband died.

Stuff like that makes sense to me.

Putting off a sealing for a year because someone just left on their mission and won't be back until then does not.

It's too much time, too much can happen, and I think its pretty selfish, frankly, and too "of the world" to ask you guys to wait that long.

What if his brother extends his mission?

What if the plane crashes on the way home?

What if someone else is coming home just two weeks after that, and then someone else is coming home the next month, and so on?

How long are we going to keep putting this thing off?

Sorry, but it irritates me to no end when parents delay eternal blessings for their children because they, the parents, are not yet ready for this next phase in life.


Now that the discussion about next August has been had, there's not too much you can do.

But I think you need to, and I mean NEED TO, tell your boyfriend how you feel.

If you can't express your concerns and feelings to the man you're going to marry, if he won't listen to and respect your right to your opinion, then . . . well . . . maybe it’s premature to be discussing marriage at all.

I'm not saying you should demand that you get your way, or be a diva or throw a fit about the whole thing, but as your husband he needs to but your righteous desires (notice that I used "righteous" as the qualifier there) ahead of his own and certainly ahead of his mother's and father's.

Marriage requires that we express our opinions and then agree to compromise.

And, if it means anything, Sister Jo and I are two opinionated people (bet you're not surprised) who argue and get frustrated with each other all the time.

There's no such thing as a "perfect" relationship, only relationships between two people who are willing to work hard at making the relationship work.

Bottom line?

Yes, I think you should tell him how you feel.

No, I don't think you should wait for his brother.

But, heck, I don't think you should wait for next year, either.

Good luck!

Let me know how it goes.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Confused About Her Crush

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm 15 years old and this summer, I moved to Canada from Utah.

It’s been very hard for me to adjust and feel like I fit in.

Last week i briefly met a guy my age at a stake basketball night. Let’s call him Jose.

He seemed really nice (plus hes pretty cute)!

Our younger brothers are on the same basketball team, so a few days later we were both at a big game of theirs, but we didn't talk at all although I saw him looking at me often.

After the game my brother had his team over for a party at our house.

Jose's brother was there and told me Jose wanted my #.

A few minutes later Jose was texting me.

We texted for a while and it seemed like he liked me!

Two days later he texted me again, and said I should come watch his basketball game. And kinda stopped texting me in the middle of our conversation.

I went to his game, and after he was done he didn't come talk to me or anything.

Does this guy actually like me a little or what?

Should I just not worry about this?

Thanks!

- Over Thinker




Dear Over Thinker,

Yes, he kind of likes you a little.

No, you shouldn't worry about this.

Enjoy your crush, flirt with the boy, but remember:  Boyfriends are for when you're ready to get married;  Casual Group Dating is for 16 until you're that age.

And for now you should just focus on being nice.

- Bro Jo

Monday, February 23, 2015

Her Father Sexually Abused Her Brother

Dear Bro Jo,

I have a difficult topic for you today.

I found out my brother, now 21, was molested by my dad.

I'm not sure when or how often because he refuses to talk about it at all but has come out and said it to my mom.

My parents divorced about ten years ago because he was abusive to her in several ways.

I guess my question is, how can me/my family help my brother deal with this and prepare for marriage?

He suffers from depression, anxiety, and paranoia, and trust issues, (especially with men), coupled with learning disabilities which make him even more insecure eventually leading him to come home early from his mission.

Does the Church have a program for this?

He knows he needs help but is ashamed to admit it and he's digressing.

All I want for him is to realize that he can have a more normal life as he's expressed often. I don't know if it matters, but our dad is still semi-active in our lives and is still fond of my brother especially and openly admits to us that he manipulates him.

He wrote to my brother and told him to come home from his mission.

Is there a way they can have any sort of normal relationship?

My dad is relentless. I'm sorry if this is off-topic, but I really didn't know who else to ask.

Thanks.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

My heart goes out to you and your family, especially your brother.

There is help available.

Your Bishop can direct all of you to appropriate counselling.

Talking personally to someone trained in dealing with these kinds of things is sometimes a critical part of the healing process.

Encouraging your brother to get the help he needs is the best thing you can do for him, and the best ways to do that is to be kind, be prayerful, and help him through love and understanding to know that this is not his fault, does not make him a bad person, and has not changed how much you care for him.

I personally think your dad is a cancer and like the dreaded disease needs to be cut out so the family body can heal.

If he hasn't been prosecuted, I think he needs to be.

- Bro Jo

PS:  Again, I would defer to an expert, but I don't think abused children should continue to have contact with the abuser. At all. At least not until they've learned how to cope with the trauma. I expect that takes a long time.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Unwanted Attention from an Older Man

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi.

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

I'm loving it!

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

It's so fun to be involved and socialize with people my own age. Having lessons geared more toward my age group is wonderful for my spirituality, too (In my family ward, Relief Society lessons always ended up talking about people's grand kids...a little hard to relate to for me).

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

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

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

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

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

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

He seems to be a perfectly nice guy, I'm just not attracted to him.

He's 28 and about to graduate from grad school. I'm 18 and finishing up my freshman year of college.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks,

- Young Single Lady




Dear Young,

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

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

Consider this: there are millions of great single guys in the Church there's no way you should be attracted to all of them. I might not be the right person to ask about "nice".

I think if he asks you out you should tell him that you're flattered but he's just way too old for you.

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

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

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

An RM Has Dating Questions

Dear Bro Jo,

I am a recently (I just attended my first Sunday home) returned missionary who got tuned into your blog through a former companion.

I was looking at your Facebook page and was reading and saw this and it got me thinking:

DO – Date One-on-One. You asked for it, now you’re old enough that it’s OK.

Now I will admit I have not been the best at dating in the past.

Okay to be honest I have been downright chicken and have never been on a date.

Somewhere else I saw that you recommended that people that are in my situation go on group dates.

There is one Problem I came home to a new city and ward and so know no one, I would appreciate your input in how to approach the other YSA guys in the ward and stake about going with me to be able to do that without sounding overly immature, especially since I am somewhat older (23) than a good deal of them.

I just don't want to come across as the really weird guy and ruin any chance I have.

For your FYI I am planning to take advantage of all the YSA activities available.

I will have my first chance tomorrow night at the YSA FHE activity, we are going Roller Blading.

Thanks for all that you do,

- Brand Spankin New RM




Dear New RM,

No, no, no.

Group Dates are for Teens, not for you, my friend.

It's time you start Serious Single Dating, and my recommendation for RM guys is Once a Week, minimum.  (Remind me at some point to tell you about the difference between Shotgun, Archery and Rifle Target Shooting styles.)

I give recently return guys a couple weeks, not more than a month, to get over the culture shock.

It takes a serious mental adjustment to go from "don't be alone with a girl" for two years to "go start dating one-on-one, kiss a few, and marry one of them".

I get that.

But you're not a kid anymore.

I don't care that you're shy. I don't care that you don't have much dating experience. And I don't care that you don't know many people.

Sweet Lord in Heaven! What do you think all of that mission time was preparing you for???

Did you or did you not go up and introduce yourself to people you didn't previously know?

Did you or did you not talk to them to get to know them better?

Did you or did you not make appointments with strangers so you could see them again?

Did you or did you not eventually get to know them well enough that you could share meaningful and personal stuff?

Did you or did you not talk to them about changing their lives forever?

Casual Group Dating as a Teen is Mission Prep, and Missionary Work is Serious Single Dating Prep. 

Serious Single Dates need not be expensive, but you do need to Plan, Pickup, and Pay.

Here are some steps to get you started:

1. Make a list of fun get-to-know you dates that you can easily do and afford.
2. Get to know the Single Sisters in your area. (Those activities will help a lot. So will Institute classes and asking your friends.)
3. Ask one out for this Friday. (It honestly doesn't matter whom. Pick someone you think might be fun, and don't worry about her being a future spouse. It's only a first date, for gosh sakes!)
4. Go out. Have fun! Be Conversational. (That means make it about her more than it is about you.)
5. If she's not a colossal bore or the date a total disaster, then call her a couple (three is good) days later and ask her on another date. If you really like her, make that the next date you go on. If you sort of like her, date someone else in between.
6. Lather, rinse, repeat. Keep doing that until you find a girl that you like so much you only want to date her. If she feels the same, keep only asking her out.
7. If you've been dating the same girl exclusively for three or more months and you have no idea what to do next, fast and pray. 

If you're still clueless, write me again. Have fun!

- Bro Jo 

PS: No hangouts! We DATE girls, we hang out with our buddies.




Dear Bro Jo,

Okay, Thanks for the help.

I was kind of getting discouraged thinking about it, but now that I know someone else thinks I don't have to worry about single dates then that takes a load off my chest. I was planning to get some numbers tonight to find someone to ask out.

The Tips you gave were very good. I am anxious to try them out.

Thanks again for your help,

- Brand Spanking New RM




Dear MR,

You don't have to worry about dates, you just need to go on them.

Good luck!

- Bro Jo

Monday, February 16, 2015

What to Do About Her Roommate's Bad Boyfriend?

Dear Bro Jo,

I go to BYU and one of my roommates is my best friend.

I'm concerned about her and I don't know what to do.

She met this guy over the summer (let's call him John).

So she and John have been talking every day for the past couple of months.

I'm really glad that she has a guy that she can talk to, but this guy is not the best influence.

He's not a member, and he has a drinking problem and he smokes.

She's on the phone with him at least 5 hours a day.

She stays up till about 3 every night talking to him and she neglects her school work and her relationships (especially with me and the other 4 girls in the apartment) for her relationship with this guy that lives in Michigan.

They've only met one time in person and the rest of their relationship has been over the phone.

She's talked to me about how she doesn't feel like she can get a guy here at BYU.

I'm afraid that she's settling for John because she doesn't think that she has a chance with any other guys.

She and John say they are in love and I don't want to tell her that that love is not real, because most likely it is, I'm just afraid that she's gonna end up getting hurt and I'll just have sat by and watched it all. I feel kinda silly getting involved because it's not any of my business.

But she's my best friend and I love her and want what's best for her and I definitely don't want her to get in a relationship with John that wouldn't be good for her.

So I guess I just want to know what I should do, if there is anything I can even do.

I don't want to talk to her and have her hate me but I feel like I need to do something.

Thanks!

- Concerned Roommate




Dear CR,

There's a really fine line between being one's "brother's keeper" and meddling . . . and it can be a very tough line to find.

Often I tell people that if people don't ask for our advice we shouldn't give it, but best friends and family have an obligation to step in sometimes, especially when someone may be about to make a big mistake.

The only way to do that is to talk to them in a loving way, and be very careful with what we say.

You could start with a "hey, can we talk about something kind of serious?" - typically over a cocoa or frozen yogurt is a good start.

Then build her up a little.

Tell her how much you care for her, and how great you think she is. 

Then express your concern.

Keep it short.

In fact, she should be doing most of the talking.

Simply state your case. "Look, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I'm worried about you, about how late you've been staying up, and again, I hope you don't hate me for saying this, but I think you can do better; I picture you married to a worthy priesthood holder for Time and All Eternity".

And then let it go.

Let her talk.

If she asks you questions, give her loving and honest answers, but keep them short.

If she wants it dropped, then drop it.

Forever.

Unless she brings it up again.

You'll have said your bit.

Let it go.

If she wants to argue with her, don't get sucked in.

Listen.

Don't argue.

But don't change your tune, or agree with something just to make her feel better or go along.

Simply repeat "I love you, and I'm worried about you, and I just thought I should tell you how I feel".
Good luck.

And make sure you pray first.

These types of conversations are hard enough without asking the Spirit for help.

Let me know how it goes!

- Bro Jo

Friday, February 13, 2015

Only Right for Mr. Wrong (Why are LDS Guys so Clueless about Dating?)

Dear Bro Jo,

I am an 18 year old temple-worthy sister sophomore in college, active in my YSA, and maybe preparing for a mission in 9 months or more.

I try to be friendly to those around me, especially the boys/men I meet through the college and singles ward.

Here's the problem: The only men who make an effort for me (texting/calling me, initiating conversations, ask me out, etc.) are not LDS.

I have several male LDS friends who just won't man up and take the hint. One, who is my brother-in-law's nephew, has agreed to set up a double date for me, but this was after I brought up the idea and asked him to participate.

I have a few female friends, and I encourage my male friends to ask them out-- and they do. But they don't apply reverse reasoning and realize that I, too, could be dated, nor do my female friends reciprocate encourage the RMs to ask me out, although I have asked them to.

They are supportive in other ways, but not this one.

Maybe, you say, the men don't know I want to date... But they do. I've written articles for the college newspaper for boys that clearly states that I--and all girls-- like to be dated.

Many of my male friends have seen that article (I gave it to them...) and know that I am single, friendly, and ready-to-date.

I'm available.

Since I don't want to be too available (desperate, and seem unliked by men universally as opposed to unliked by temple-worthy, priesthood-bearing men), I try to date often.

Since no LDS guys are asking me out, I only [casual] date (for the last 5 months at least) non-LDS guys.

It is so frustrating because I feel deeply for one young man I am [casual] dating, but he is not interested in the CHURCH. I am particularly interested in one RM, whose testimony I deeply respect and knows that I am interested but he is not interested in ME.

In the single's ward-- I am friendly, I go to activities, I flirt and I smile but I never get asked out.

When I go to college activities, I flirt and I smile and the men come running-- nonLDS men, at least. I begin to feel that being interested in the church and interested in me are mutually exclusive.

I know that is not rational and will [probably] not always be the case, but I need some encouragement.

To simplify this situation, let's apply some logic: I will marry in the temple I will marry who I date I date non-temple worthy men I will marry non-temple worthy men I will not marry in the temple. OR I will marry in the temple. I marry who I date. I date no one I will marry no one I will die alone with 72 cats.

Unless I can convert a non-member to the Church, or convert an RM to me, my future feels a little bleak.

I know I'm young and have time, but I need a way to make things change.

In any case, why are LDS men so slow on the dating uptake?

Every other guy I know moves quickly, it's just the LDS ones--who can give me what I want (Temple Marriage) who aren't giving me what I want now (dates)--that are being so slow.

I am inviting the non-LDS men I know to church activities and meetings with high hopes-- I am going to an Institute dance tonight with one of those men. Is there anything I am missing?

Can you give me some encouragement and guidance?

Sincerely,

- Wrong for Mr Right, and Right for Mr Wrong




Dear Wrong,

First of all, you're only 18 ... I think you're being a little too premature and a lot over dramatic.

Like you've said, you're planning on a mission in less than a year, so what's the point in,and why the stress over, finding a serious relationship right now?

Has it occurred to you that maybe the reason Temple Guy hasn't found you yet is because now is not the time???

Mission or not, as a Single LDS Adult, dating anyone not of your faith is, IMHO, a waste of time.


I appreciate the humor of your "logic" strings, let me offer my own: 18-year old LDS YSA Sister Wants to get married in the Temple for Time and All Eternity to a Good, Worthy, Hardworking Priesthood Holder She widens her circle of friends, but only goes on dates with men who meet the above criteria

As time passes she may or may not go on a mission She holds true to her standards, regardless of how difficult that may be

She stays positive, prays often and serves others the best she can On Heavenly Father's Timetable, not her own,

She marries a Good Eternal Companion They Live Happily Forever After And there you go.


Candidly, Little Sister, I invite you to consider this: it seems to me that you're living your life through a lot of assumptions.

No one can read minds.

Hints, articles, wishing by a well . . . none of that is nearly as effective as "hey, I think you need to ask me out on a date!"

Let me leave you with one last thought: Good Guys often shy away from girls they think are shopping for a different kind of guy than the one they are.

- Bro Jo

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

Monday, February 9, 2015

Why Won't This RM Commit?

Dear Bro Jo,

I have been following you for quite some time with my two sisters. You have given me advice once before, perhaps you will be happy to know that your advice was great!

It got me several dates! Particularly with one guy, whom we will call Ryan.

We met at New Student Orientation at College last fall and we hit it off.

We both really liked each other and he is a Returned Missionary.

We went out on our first date the first week of school and continued to go on a date every weekend for the next month and a half until he pulled away because several people thought we were married on our 2nd date.

We ended up getting in a fight because of this.

He took another girl to the end of semester dance and then during Christmas break he told me via Facebook that he wanted a second chance.

We went out one more time, this time the morning before I left for my Great Grandma's Funeral.

I was heading home from the Funeral when he texted me to tell me that he wants to see other girls while still seeing me.

Then just before Valentine's he informed me that he was going to ask me to be his Girlfriend but decided not to because I was not going on a mission...

Serving a mission was always my dream and he knew that, he also knew that the reason I'm not serving is because of my health. however this was the reason he gave for not dating me anymore.

I was in the hospital less than two months later and he visited me, making me emotionally unstable because I still really liked him.

He dated my Best Friend after I came home for health reasons and then when he found out she had feelings for him he pulled away and they are no longer friends.

He still wants to be my friend and I have no idea how to handle it because he hurt me.

He's just not ready for a commitment.

I get that, but being friends with him makes me sad.

It's hard to get over my feelings for him when we live in the same city, go to the same small school, studying the same major and he insists on being friends like nothing ever happened.

I don't know how to tell him that being friends with him is too hard for me.

Any advice or tips you can give me?

It would be greatly appreciated!

One last thing, Social Media is not a very good way for a guy to ask out or break up with a girl and Vice Verse.

That is something I think everyone should know if you feel like sharing it.

Sincerely,

- Confused




Dear Confused,

You're absolutely right about "breaking up via social media"; it's not a good way to get dates, either. 

What a coward.

Him.

Not you.

Of course.

And therein is my advice: Cut Bait and Move On.

As you know from reading my posts, I don't believe he wants to "remain friends"; I think he may be saying that partly out of guilt, but mostly to keep you on the Reserve List while he dates around looking for "something better".

Add to that his being a manipulator, and I think it's time you stop spending time on this guy.

You're worth more than that.

And if he can't see that . . . if he doesn't realize that you're the best girl he could ever hope to marry . . . well, then . . . he's not smart enough to be your boyfriend.

Cut him off.

And if he whines about that, and I think he will, be sure to give him the "I'm not your consolation prize" speech.

If he ever clues in I hope you'll make him beg for another chance; and if you give it to him, be sure he knows that this is the last one.

Ever.

In the meantime, go use those Get A Date skills (glad they worked for you, by the way) and get some new dates!

Best,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I did as you said, I told him that being friends was not working for me.

Then I deleted him as a friend on Facebook and deleted his number from my phone as a way to remind myself to move on.

In a way the short friendship I had with him made me realize what I want in a guy and has brought me a step closer to one day finding my Eternal Companion.

Oh and Just as you predicted, he did complain,

He tried telling me we could still be friends but I pointblank told him that we can't be friends anymore because it was not working for me and right after I hung up I was actually happy that the frustration of that friendship was gone, behind me.

I figure that in the fall I will be polite and think of him as an acquaintance, especially if we have a few classes together since we are both studying medical assisting, but I wouldn't go so far as to hanging out with him again.

Anyways,

Thank you for your Advice, it really helps me!

Sincerely,

- Confused.




Dear Confused,

Good for you!

- Bro Jo

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why Won't the Girl He's Been Dating Commit? (Part 2)

Dear Bro Jo,

Actually, I'm a graduate student in a Midwestern state.

I got back from my mission several years ago, and she just barely returned from hers in January.

She's also a graduate student.

She says that she's always had this 'rule', but I can't conceive of any reason for having such a rule.

I worry that maybe she has her eye on someone else in the small, YSA community out here who hasn't made a move yet and wants to keep her options open just in case.

If that were the case, I'd rather not be in such a relationship.

However, I really like this girl, and if this odd rule really is just some idiosyncrasy of her family, then I'm willing to play along for a little while.

But still, isn't the definition of being in a 'relationship' being exclusive?

I apologize for not making my situation more clear before,

Thanks again!

- NW




NW,

The rule as teens makes total sense to me . . . but as RMs???

Nope.

Not in a million years.

Either she:

a) doesn't want to get married
b) isn't aware that she's an adult
c) doesn't understand that mature relationships go through various and increasing levels of commitment, and that's all part of getting to the Big Show at the Temple (too much NCAA for me right now, I think) or, hate to say it
d) she's trying to let you down easy, but the bottom line is she doesn't see you as The Guy. 

You could talk to her if you think it's a-c to clarify . . . but I'm with you; it's likely d.

I say talk to her, but be prepared to move on.

And, who knows, while neither you or I are hoping this is the case, it may just turn out that you've dodged a bullet here and avoided spending any more time with a girl who's . . . well, nutty.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why Won't the Girl He's Been Dating Commit? (Part 1)

Dear Bro Jo,

I've been going out with a girl for several weeks now, and we recently talked about whether or not we were going to call each other boyfriend/girlfriend.

During the conversation, the girl said something I'd never heard of before.

She said that in her family they don't do exclusive relationships.

I'm quite confused, because I don't understand what it means to be in an official relationship if it isn't exclusive.

Is this advice that's commonly given in some Mormon circles?

Or is she just stringing me along until something better shows up?

Thanks for your time,

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Tough to say.

I'm guessing you're under 18.

Lots of young people, some with the encouragement of their families, some regardless, choose to not be in serious or exclusive relationships until they're old enough for it to really mean something (as in "this may lead to marriage . . . SOON").

That's not just something that's confined to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, either. 

While it may be comfortable and common for pre-adults to form exclusive relationships, I never recommend it.

I know you all do it.

My kids have done the boyfriend-girlfriend thing in High School . . . often picking someone I think is really a super person.

But I don't recommend it.

Too much drama.

Too much time.

Too much energy.

And WAY Too Much temptation.

It may very well be, NW, that she's not stringing you along; she may just be mature enough to realize that neither of you are at a point in your life where you should be making those kind of commitments.
Be a kid.

Loosen up.

Have fun with your friends!

Keep your life as drama free as you can at this age.

Casual Group Dates.

That's what I recommend until someone is old enough to be considering marriage.

- Bro Jo

Monday, February 2, 2015

Long Distance Relationships

Dear Bro Jo,

I am a 19 (almost 20!) year old woman about to graduate from college, and have been accepted to start a paid doctoral program this fall.

My education is something that I have worked very hard for, and is extremely important to me.

I started seeing this guy back in November.

I'll be honest, I didn't intend for it to happen.

I fully anticipated (there's not a large number of YSAs where I live) and even wanted to graduate without dating anyone seriously, because even back then I knew I would most likely be leaving the state come summer.

However, I started talking and "hanging out" with this guy, and before you know it, we've now been dating exclusively for a little over 3 months.

This guy and I have a lot in common: we're both very much intellectuals, we have the same sense of humor, we both enjoy gospel related discussions and overall, like many of the same activities (especially when we're doing them together).

I love spending time with him, and it's not uncommon for us to see each other 5 (or more...) nights out of a week.

Recently, he introduced me to his family (we went back to his parents house for a long weekend), and he has already met my sister and her family who live close by.

I'm starting to get a bit leery of becoming too attached to him. I'm leaving for a school that is 10 hours away at the end of June, and I will be living there for the next 4-5 years.

He still has a year left of law school in the state that we both currently live in.

Is a long distance relationship something that I should even think about pursuing?

Sincerely,

- Long Distance Academic 





Dear Academic,

A Long Term Relationship is what you're supposed to be pursuing ... regardless of the distance.

Long Term as in Eternal.

The question you need to be asking yourselves is: is this someone I can spend Time and All Eternity with?

If you both answer yes, if you want to have a family together, if you feel that you are satisfied with things like the answers to Bro Jo's Things You Should Know Before Go Get Engaged, then you need to be moving in that direction, and that means being in the same town as a husband and wife.

If you're not ready, if you want to put worldly things ahead of eternal things, if your not willing to make the compromises that marriage requires, then I think it's best that you both realize all of the above and move on.

Allow the other person to move on so they can find someone who feels for them what you do not.

Unless a commitment is already made (think married people where one has to be deployed for military service), then I think Long Distance Relationships lack maturity; selfishly hanging on is not good for either person.

Even for people who have made eternal covenants, separations like we're talking about can be quite difficult.

Your education is important, and so is his, but it's also a mistake to postpone marriage and family for school or worldly things.

There are ways to put Eternal things first, though they may require a lot of sacrifice and additional hard work.

And we can't discount the sadness felt by many who have let blessings pass them by because they were on their own timetable instead of the Lord's, only to discover later that those opportunities may not come around again in this life.

So you've both got a lot to consider and to pray about.

The only other counsel I can give you is that the difference between a prompting being from the Spirit and from ourselves is that when it's from the Spirit it benefits others, not just ourselves.

God bless, and let me know how it all works out, please.

- Bro Jo