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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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

Monday, November 9, 2015

His Friend's Girlfriend Asked Him to Prom . . . What Should He Do?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey Bro Jo!

I've got a Problem.

I have a friend that I really liked a while ago, but when I told her I liked her, another boy named "Dude" had told her that very same thing a day before.

She chose Dude over me and they have been happily steady dating ever since (about a year and a half).

When this school year started, they "broke up" because her classes this school year are super hard and Dude is preparing for a mission and he wanted to cut ties now rather than the day he left.

Thing is, they're definitely NOT broken up.

There has been plenty (but not an obscene amount) of PDA between them when I've seen them.

So here's where my problem starts.

This girl has just asked me to prom and I'm feeling very awkward about it.

I'm friends with Dude, and this girl, but it feels weird going out with the girl I got over a year and a half ago, especially while she still has a boyfriend.

What do I do?

It seems odd to go but rude and hurtful to say no.

Any suggestions?

Sincerely,

- Awkotaco in SLC




Dear A,

Isn't prom in the Spring???

I'm sensing that you're all still in High School; am I getting that right?

It might help a little if I know how old everyone in this circumstance is.

And, just curious: how did she ask you?

Oh! And WHY?

Not that you're not a great guy, I'm sure you are, but what's a girl doing asking a guy to prom?

Is she putting together a group?

Are you her date?

Is she now saying she likes you? 

Or is she just, as I suspect, using you to get back at the other guy?


See . . . I typically have a "go with the first decent person that asks you" policy, but I also temper that with an understanding that sometimes nice people ask Way Too Early, and often y'all have someone you're more interested in going with, and shouldn't necessarily have to say yes 6 months before a dance simply because Mr. (or in this case, Miss) Overeager asked too soon.


I wonder what would happen if you told her the truth . . .

"Hey, you know that a year and a half ago I had a crush on you and you picked the other guy. Now you're telling everyone you've broken up but I still see you with him. Whether or not I still like you or think we'd have fun together, the truth is that I feel like you're using me to get to him. So I'm not sure how I feel about that or what to say."

How she answers may be quite helpful.

What do you think?

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Yeah some background is probably a good idea.

This is a girl's choice dance, and my school has a winter prom and a spring prom.

This dance is in the first half of December.

Yes, she and the rest of the people in the group are putting everything together.

Dude graduated this past June, girl and I are both seniors.

I don't think she is saying she likes me, I think she wanted someone who was a friend to go with.

I'm not getting the vibe that she's using me.

This girl is literally one of the most honest, kindest, Christlike people I know, so I don't think she's using me.

Oh, and she asked me by putting post-it notes all over my yard with stuff written on them and had her name in one of a bunch of balloons.

- A




Dear A,

With all of that information I can't think of any reason you shouldn't go with her.

Don't over think this.

Go. Have a good time!

- Bro Jo

Friday, November 6, 2015

Is She a Hypocrite if She Goes to the Funeral?

Dear Bro Jo,

I have never had a good relationship with my grandparents on my mums side of the family.

Growing up my siblings and I always knew they considered us to be not worth as much as our other cousins because of who our dad is and the fact that we are all “brain washed” by the Church.

Whenever we would visit them we would always come away feeling worthless and unloved by them.

When I got married I invited them to my wedding but they didn't show up.

So when I had my eldest daughter I made the decision that I don't ever want her to feel that way – I never want her to feel like she isn't good enough to be loved for who she is –

So I told my grandparents that I would not have them in her life because I refuse to allow them to make her feel the way they always made me feel.

So they disowned me declaring that I am no longer their granddaughter – which honestly I'm more than okay with its not like they ever treated me like a granddaughter in the first place.

This morning I have been thinking... not so long ago my mum was talking about when her parents die – she hasn't spoken to them in over a year because of other things that have gone on with in her family (she's the bad daughter and the black sheep for marrying my dad and being brainwashed by the church) – my mum was saying she's concerned that no one will bother to inform her when they die and if they did she was worrying that the funerals would be difficult with her bad relationship with her family.

So I've been sat here wondering when they do eventually die – would it be bad/hypocritical of me to go to the funerals out of support for my mum even though I'm not likely to see or speak to them ever again while they are alive?

I know my mum would want me to be there to support her with my other siblings because despite the way they treat her they are her parents and she will be really upset when something does eventually happen to them.

But I worry since I have no doubt my grandparents have told everyone else in their family that I have been disowned would it be wrong of me to go...

I'm not too bothered what my aunts and uncles think of me, supporting my mum is my main concern. any thoughts or opinions on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

The Brainwashed Hypocrite




Dear Sister, 

I think it's wise to keep your children away from people who will hurt them, including (and perhaps especially) relatives, regardless of in which way that harm may happen. 

Attending your grandparents' funerals (when the time comes) out of respect for you mother, to be there and support her when she will need you most is not in any way hypocritical. 

It's brave and honorable. 

Funerals are for the living, not the deceased. 

You go. 

You're polite and respectful. 

You hold your tongue if needed. 

And you be an example of the Church, the Savior and His gospel. 

If you do that you'll be glad you went. 

And so will your mom. 

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why Isn't She Getting Asked Out?

Dear Bro. Jo,

I am having trouble with the whole dating scene. I want to date, and there have been plenty of guys that I would love to go out with at college, but no one has asked me out.

Ever.

I’ve been on one date, and I asked him. I was 21.

It’s a year later.

My self-esteem is, shall we say, not that great at this point in my life.

I read your How to Get a Guy to Ask You Out post, thought it was awesome, but here’s my problem: I have really bad social anxiety, plus Asperger’s, which makes me socially awkward as well.

Quick background, I was usually the shy, quiet girl that nobody noticed, from primary through Young Women (and still am, but have been improving). Always forgotten, always left out.

One of my greatest highlights at college was when one of my roommates made an effort to let me know our FHE plans by leaving me a note. I was used to missing out or coming late because I was left out of the loop.

I actually cried, because I was so happy to be remembered and acknowledged.

Now my biggest issue is being ignored as a potential date.

While I feel that most of my interests would make me a good date, nobody seems to notice me in that light.

I tried to be a little more vocal around my FHE brothers last semester, and we got along, but I could not figure out what to do about dating!

I’ve been told that I’m pretty from friends (and at least one was a guy), and I’ve been feeling more confident with my appearance (I rarely felt pretty as a teen).

I’m told I have a great spirit.

People think I’m funny.

So what’s it gonna take?!

One guy in seminary seemed to be attracted to me, but he was what I considered to be the class creeper.

I’ve been tempted to ask the guys in my FHE group what’s wrong with me that seems to deter boys, but I always backed out (anxiety).

I’ve thought about asking my roommates, but same issue.

Do you think I should ask someone who knows me from school?

Should I ask the guys if there is something(s) I do/say that sends the message ‘ABORT MISSION!?

I don’t even know if it’s an appropriate question, or something that would put someone on an overly uncomfortable spot.

I’ve been thinking lately of either asking a roommate to suggest to the guys that asking me out wouldn’t be a bad idea, or posting on Facebook, “Well, my HW’s done, and my weekend is free. Who wants to ask me out?” this upcoming semester.

But the more I think of doing it, the more panicked I feel about the idea, and the more I second guess if they’re smart moves. I’m scared.

I can’t help but feel that if guys aren’t asking me out at this point in my life, when will they?

Am I always going to be alone?

Am I the outcast who just thinks she fits in?

Am I always going to be the invisible girl who’s good for a laugh, then easily forgotten?

Is this something I should talk to a counselor or my bishop about?

Is there anyone else that could help? 

Thanks for listening.

Alone in the dark




Dear Alone,

First of all, NO, don't post the "who wants to take me out" thing on Facebook.

It screams "desperate", and even if you feel desperate, you should never advertise it.

Social Anxiety is real . . . and very difficult to overcome for some folks.

You may want to talk to you Bishop, and perhaps see if he has a counselor he can recommend. (School may have some resources, too.)

Sure, there's value in jumping into the water, so to speak; it can help you build confidence and help you realize that much of what you're afraid of isn't as scary as you feel.

You could make it easier by using one of those "you should ask me out on a date" lines on someone you're not head over heels in love with, who maybe also has some social challenges, so there's less pressure. (Perhaps I've been watching too much sports lately, but there's value in "dating scrimmages", kind of like a "warm up" game.)

But I also think your idea of asking your FHE brothers "Okay, fellas, what's the deal? I'm 22 and no one has ever asked me out, not even one of you clowns (a little humor may help them and you feel more comfortable); what is it about me? What do I need to do different?"

I believe that Information comes before Inspiration, so having some data here may be very helpful. 

They're not going to tell you anything worse than you already tell yourself, and it's likely they'll be very helpful . . . you may even get a date or a setup out of it.

To that end, YES! I absolutely think you and your roommates should be setting each other up on dates.

I call it "The Setup Game", and I have no idea why more of you Single Sisters aren't playing it.

One last thing, little sister: I know it can be lonely, but if no guy out there is smart enough to ask you on a date, that doesn't diminish your beauty, talent or value. It just means you need to surround yourself with smarter, more appreciative guys.

- Bro Jo

Monday, November 2, 2015

At 16 How Does He Know a Particular Girl Better?

Dear Bro Jo,

Okay so I am not sure how this Dear Bro Jo thing works and stuff.

Do I get an email back as a reply?

Do I check Dear Bro Jo and hope my question appears?

I don't know.

But I have a question.

So there is this girl I just met on a pioneer trek. We didn't talk much, but I would like to get to know her better and become friends.

My mom told me that when I was in nursery we used to be good friends. But I don't remember nursery, it was quite a while ago.

And after nursery she moved to a different ward, so I haven't seen her since.

We are both 16 now.

So I was wondering what I should do to be better friends with her.

Also I am sort of a quiet person, I don't talk much.

Thank you,

Anonymous




Dear Anonymous,

Now you know!

I respond via email first; not all emails get published, and those that do often are published months, if not years, after my correspondence with the writer.

I think the Church gives us great opportunities to prepare for missions, including helping us learn how to overcome shyness and learning how to talk to others.

This won't surprise you, but I think a great way to prepare for a mission, where we CONSTANTLY meet new people and talk to them to get to know them better, is Casual Group Dating.

You're 16, future Elder, it's time to start going on Casual Group Dates!

Including this girl among those whom you choose to date will be a great way to get to know her better, AND dating other girls will help you learn how to communicate with all people better. 

Including this particular girl.

Have fun!

- Bro Jo