Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with occasional additional posts, too).

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Bro Jo is not a spokesman or authority for the LDS Church. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

Nothing here is meant to take the place of talking with parents, leaders, or Church authorities. Please, if you need serious help, talk to a trusted adult, leader, and / or professional counselor.

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Everything here is copyrighted. If you're going to quote any part of anything here, please get Bro Jo's written permission. You can reach him at dearbrojo@gmail.com.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Commitment Issues: Part 3 of 3

[Dear Readers,

Sister Jo and I have been discussing what we see as a sad trend among young people in the Church:  Young Single Adults, men and women, giving up on wonderful relationships with wonderful people, sometimes not even giving these relationships much of a chance to start at all.

It happens for several different reasons.  


We know that modern media has clouded and confused the definitions of love and infatuation; that the prevalence of Social Media and Electronic Communication is crushing meaningful connections and real conversations; and that Satan is working very hard to lead our young people away from eternal relationships with one of his greatest tools:  fear.

Rather than take the risk and do the hard work that a Good Eternal Marriage requires (and reaping the blessings that come from all of that) excuses are made, worldly distractions and ambitions take over, and . . . well . . . like I said . . . opportunities are lost.  Or, rather, thrown away.

Enjoy this week's series!

- Bro Jo]



Dear Bro Jo,

I do it because it feels good to be in shape.

I know when the race is over I'll be proud of myself.

It's something I enjoy.

- NW




Dear NW,

So even though it hurts the end result is worth the pain and frustration and hard work?

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

It is!

- NW




Dear NW,

You see where I'm going with this, right?

Look, I have the worst breakup stories . . . and lots of them.  I may have been dumped by more people than you've dated.

My junior year of high school I caught my girlfriend making out with her ex parked in a truck in front of my house.  I had gone to her house to give her flowers.  When she wasn't there I went home.

There was the girl that broke up with me on our 1 month anniversary and said she'd have dumped me sooner but she knew I'd never dated anyone for a month before and she wanted to set the record.  Which, by the way she said, she thought would stand for quite a while (and it did).

There was the girl who worked where I did. We saw each other at work and set a date for that night.  She even kissed me when we parted.  Not only did she no-call no-show, she quit work and I've never seen her since, despite going to her house and writing her letters.  (Actual ones, not the email kind.)

There was the girl who broke up with me . . . TWICE . . . in 12 HOURS!  At the end of a date she broke it off.  (This one actually broke the 1 month record.  I thought I'd marry her.)  I cried all the way home.  When I got home I called her.  She apologized, said she was just scared, and she wanted to keep our date plans that we had for the next morning.  I picked her up.  Good date.  Lot's of kissing.  At the end she said "no, I think I was right, this just isn't going to work out".

There are more, but you get my point.

Every relationship you get into ends, often horribly for at least one of you, except for your Eternal Companion.  And yeah, sure, not ever Temple Marriage works out . . .but it's worth the risk.

Sister Jo and I split up once.  Well, I say once, she insists that she tried to get rid of me several times.  We're passionate opinionated people, so there were more than a few "disagreements".

I can't promise you that you'll never get hurt.  In fact, I CAN promise you that you will.  Maybe a lot.  Heck, even Sister Jo and I have hurt each other from time to time.  Happens.

But, as I said, and as you've said with your training:  all of the pain and frustration and hard work is worth it.

It's okay to be afraid.

Just don’t give up, don't give in to the fear.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Well thanks.

I can see where you're going now!

Alright, I won't give up and I'll try to be brave!

Thanks for sharing your insight. I really needed it!

- NW




Dear NW,

Good luck and God bless,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Commitment Issues - Part 2 of 3

[Dear Readers,

Sister Jo and I have been discussing what we see as a sad trend among young people in the Church:  Young Single Adults, men and women, giving up on wonderful relationships with wonderful people, sometimes not even giving these relationships much of a chance to start at all.

It happens for several different reasons.  


We know that modern media has clouded and confused the definitions of love and infatuation; that the prevalence of Social Media and Electronic Communication is crushing meaningful connections and real conversations; and that Satan is working very hard to lead our young people away from eternal relationships with one of his greatest tools:  fear.

Rather than take the risk and do the hard work that a Good Eternal Marriage requires (and reaping the blessings that come from all of that) excuses are made, worldly distractions and ambitions take over, and . . . well . . . like I said . . . opportunities are lost.  Or, rather, thrown away.

Enjoy this week's series!

- Bro Jo]




Dear Bro Jo,

Sure thing. And sorry it was at 12:30. I have insomnia and forget people don't go to sleep as late as I do.

The young man I've been starting to see lately, I've never dated before. I met him a couple of months ago, and he seems to be a great guy. We get along really well, he honors his priesthood, and he's great fun to be around.

The thing is, I get really nervous when I start to get close to someone. I did have a pretty bad experience a while back with someone else, and I feel like I can't trust anyone anymore.

This bad experience was that I began seeing a young man when I was 18.

I knew him from school, he was LDS, I knew who his friends were, and he seemed like an excellent fellow. BUT as it turned out, he had a girlfriend.

He had started calling me his girlfriend, but there was someone he was seeing before me, and nobody told me. I was so angry and hurt. I felt like a fool.

The girl was mad at me, I had no clue she even existed, the guy tried to make up a couple of dumb reasons why we should keep seeing each other, and I left him. I didn't want to be "the other woman". It was horrible.

I don't know why this experience was such a trial for me. It's really ruined my dating expectations. I get nervous when I get closer to other young men out of fear they'll do the same thing (if not something similar) to me. I get scared that by getting close to someone again, I'll be making a wrong choice, or making myself more vulnerable to being tricked and hurt again.

There are young men that I've WANTED to date who have wanted to date me, but I get scared. I get so nervous, I quit contacting them. I make myself busy doing other things so that it all comes to a swift end. It's terrible. It's so hard for me to trust. I don't want to invest so much time into a relationship and then get stabbed in the back. I worry that if I get into another relationship, I'll get stuck in it. Or that it'll go completely bad and I'll be played as a fool again.

I feel lonely. I want to get close to people. I want to be able to be in a loving relationship, but I get so nervous and afraid that whoever I'm dating might turn into someone I never wanted to be with.

I don't know if any of this makes sense, but it's really hindering my social life. I feel so distant and unhappy, but every time I try to go on a date, every time I put some effort into trying to date like a normal person I get so scared. I freeze up and cut myself off. I don't know what to do.

Thanks,

- NW




Dear NW,

Do you play sports or a musical instrument?

Are you in school or do you have a job?

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I have a job and I'm doing school at the same time.

I'm pretty athletic and am training to do a triathlon. I play piano.

- NW




Dear NW,

I know that training for a triathlon requires you to push yourself physically.  Sometimes it hurts.  Your muscles ache.  Your body is sore.  You're tired.  You work out even though you don't want to, even when you know today's workout is going to cause you pain.  Right?

So . . . why do you do it?

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 26, 2016

Commitment Issues - Part 1 of 3

[Dear Readers,

Sister Jo and I have been discussing what we see as a sad trend among young people in the Church:  Young Single Adults, men and women, giving up on wonderful relationships with wonderful people, sometimes not even giving these relationships much of a chance to start at all.

It happens for several different reasons.  


We know that modern media has clouded and confused the definitions of love and infatuation; that the prevalence of Social Media and Electronic Communication is crushing meaningful connections and real conversations; and that Satan is working very hard to lead our young people away from eternal relationships with one of his greatest tools:  fear.

Rather than take the risk and do the hard work that a Good Eternal Marriage requires (and reaping the blessings that come from all of that) excuses are made, worldly distractions and ambitions take over, and . . . well . . . like I said . . . opportunities are lost.  Or, rather, thrown away.

Enjoy this week's series!

- Bro Jo]





Dear Bro Jo,

Hi!

I love your blog and all of the insight on dating!

Anyways: I need help. I have no clue how to fix this. Trust me: I've tried so hard before!

I am a 20 year old female and I will admit that I have some HORRENDOUS commitment issues!

I have no problem getting dates, I have no problem finding wonderful young men to go on dates with. BUT a guy could be wonderful, respectable, fun, brilliant... You name it but as soon I as I getting even an inkling that he likes me I distance myself. I get nervous.

I unintentionally mess things up. It's really hard because I could really like the guy back but I have this strange fear that if I settle down too fast I'm going to miss out on something or I'll be unhappy with whichever choice I make.

I don't know what to do! I have such issues that I try to avoid dating altogether because I really don't want to crush anyone's feelings.

It's not that I don't want to get married or anything, because I really do! I'm having a really hard time with this and I'm at a complete loss. How do I get over this overwhelming commitment issue?

Thank you!

- Name Withheld





Dear NW,

I struggle with those psycho-babble phrases that are so common today . . . like "commitment issues".
I don't know . . . maybe it's because the word "issues" drives me crazy . . . it's as if we use the phrase to keep from saying what our problem really is . . .

Are you telling me that there are guys you dated in the past that you really liked and WANTED to be in a committed relationship with but you dumped them anyway?

Are you using "commitment issues" to explain why you sometimes act goofy around guys you like?

Is there one guy in particular?

Can you be more specific about what you've done?  Perhaps describing a situation or two?

What prompted you to write at 12:30 in the morning?  Did a date just go badly?  Are you lonely?

When you say that you mess things up what do you mean?  How?  Why?

And, perhaps most importantly, what is it that you're afraid of???

And why?

Is it intimacy?  Affection?  Being vulnerable?  Trust?

Why do you think that you are this way?

And, if it really bothers you, why haven't you changed it?

Is it possible that, as great as these guys may or may not be, you're looking for a quality that they don't have?

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dealing with Angry People

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo,

My dad is having some anger issues and he gets angry with me and my mom and I don't know why he gets angry over little things that don't matter.

I do know when he was growing up his father who has been dead for a few years now had angry issues because my dad told me.

What can I do to make him not angry and he says unkind things to my mom in front of me and he hurts her so bad and he makes her cry in front of me.

I think he needs help and he is very active in the church and I don't know if I should tell my bishop about this issue with my dad or not .

Please tell me what you think I should do.

From,

- C





Dear C,

There are some factors to consider:

- how old you are (if you're an adult, you should give strong consideration to moving out)

- your relationship with your mother (have you talked about it?  what's her reaction?  how does she feel?)

- your relationship with your father (is it the kind of relationship where, in a non-angry moment, you can tell him how all of this makes you feel without him getting angry?  those kinds of conversations go best, btw, if you can avoid using the word "you"

- and what you mean by "anger issues" (if the behavior is violent, unjustified - some yelling is just communication, and the issue can be us being too sensitive, constant, unprovoked . . .)

You may want to consider that when one interviewed for a temple recommend one is asked if there's anything in their behavior that's not the right way to treat one's family.  If your father's behavior is harmful, it could certainly be appropriate to talk to your Bishop.

Most importantly, any abusive behavior needs to be communicated to a trusted adult.

I invite you to give this some prayerful reflection.  Is this a harmless expression of anger and frustration that is better expressed than bottled?  Or is verbal abuse that is unbecoming a follow of Christ?  That crosses the line of how we all deserve to be treated with respect.

And, if you're at all not sure, it's better to have a conversation (mom, dad, Bishop, whomever) than to not.

You can't change your dad; that will have to come from inside, and the love and help that the Savior can provide will go a long way.

To that end, the more prayer, scripture study, living the Gospel and following Christ that your family does the easier all of this will be to tackle.


- Bro Jo

Friday, December 16, 2016

What If the Guy She Likes has Kissed Other Girls?

Dear Bro Jo,

I have a problem, and it might be kinda confusing to write, but hopefully it will make sense.

There is this guy that I really like! He is in my ward, he is a worthy priesthood holder, SUPER nice, and pleasing to the eye.

We have become really good friends over the last couple of years, and my family teases me about him all the time. The only problem is he is totally dating a different girl, before his mission (he leaves in July) I know for a fact that he has kissed several girls, and made out with his current girlfriend.

I on the other had have never kissed or held anyone's hand because I think it really should be saved for someone special.

I really think he is fantastic and would love to date him in the future, but feel like some of his standards are not the same as mine.

Since we are such good friends, should I confront him about it, or leave it alone since it is none of my business?

Should I wait for him and get over the fact that he has done that? Am I being to much of a stickler on standards?

-Confused and currently alone




Dear Currently,

Very rarely is it a good idea to confess feelings you have for someone you're not in any kind of a relationship with to them, and never when they're in a serious relationship with someone else (even though I agree he shouldn't be), or dating everyone else but you, and never when he's about to leave on a mission.

As for him kissing other girls (and not you, which let's be honest, standards shmandards, is really your issue) . . . NO . . . you absolutely should not confront him about it.  Frankly, as you said, it is none of your business.

And, NO, you should not "wait for him".

There's nothing wrong with you sticking to your standards.

Ever.

But it's time you realize that this guy, great guy that he may be, is not smart enough to be interested in you romantically.  You should be spending your years from now until the time you're old enough to Serious Single Date (that's after high school, Little Sister) going on all the Casual Group Dates you can.

Have Fun!

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What Should She Do About the Mixed Signals?

Dear Bro Jo,

Alright sorry if this gets a bit scattered.

So background on me, I currently attend a University and am going to be a sophomore. I didn't date…at all this past year(my freshman year) Although I did do the whole obnoxious hanging out thing. I’ve also always only been friends with guys, I mean I socialize with girls but I normally end up being the "little sis"-like best friend type person and since I’m not looking to date super seriously/get married anytime soon I’ve been okay with this so far. But all that aside  I think there is a slight possibility something has been developing with this guy I met through the institute.

First of all he's 5 years older than me and every time were hanging out and age comes up, he remembers that were fairly far apart and it kind of freaks him out, but he is only a semester ahead of me in school because of late major changes and a mish. In my mind the place you are in your life is more important than your age (within reason)

But he is honestly the King of mixed signals. I’ve been talking with him since March which makes me think that if he was seriously interested he would have acted on this by now! He does things like come to my performances and walked me to class a couple times. But he hasn't asked me out on an official date. We have hung out one on one (like after my performances and around the institute) and in group settings. And he has mentioned before like "oh we should see that movie or go to that restaurant" And I’m always open being like "Oh yeah for sure!" But I didn't want to seem like too eager or anything so I never pushed things. I consider myself good at flirting and they're is definite witty banter going on. But at the same time he is always the one to stop responding first via text and just so confusing. He sits by me at church activities (sacrament and firesides) but then we don't talk as much as I think we should after those events…like when there’s refreshments and stuff. Every sign for the building of a relationship is quickly followed by a step toward the friend zone.

I’ve been recently looking through your blog and seen your "men can’t be just friends with women rule" which I can see being accurate but if that is so, why the heck hasn't he asked me out after all this time? Is it time for me to just stop talking to him and let it go or should I steal his thunder and just ask him why he isn't asking me out? Or am I just totally reading too far into things and is he just being a nice guy?

At this point I’m just at a total loss.
What do you think?

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

You're what ... 20?  And he's 25?

Yeah.  I think you should ask him whether or not he intends to ask you out on a date anytime soon.

It's a yes or no question, and anything other than a yes is a no.

For you it's a win-win.  Either this guy finally asks you out or you'll know it's time to move on.
In which case I wouldn’t burn the bridge, but I'd shift your time to someone who's at least a little more ready.

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 12, 2016

What Makes a Better Relationship: Attraction and Fun or Stability and Tenderness?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro. Jo,

I've been dating a lot since I've last emailed you, and it's been great! I've been dating a lot of very different guys and it's helping me learn more about myself and how I need to improve in order to progress towards marriage. It's also helping me become more aware of the type of man that I am most compatible with.

This brings me to my current situation. . . .

There are two men that I am currently involved with. By involved I just mean dating, but neither is exclusive. I like them both for different reasons. The first guy is so fun and outgoing, super funny, hardworking, committed to living the gospel and following Christ, and I feel very comfortable around him. We talk about anything and everything. We have SO much fun! We're both the youngest children of huge families, and as a result, are incredibly similar (in good ways, and not so good ways).

The second guy is also very hardworking, committed to the gospel, and so kind. He is a little less outgoing and funny, but has such a kind, tender heart. I feel at ease around him because he is so calm and easygoing. I feel like he mellows me out a bit, which is good for me. We aren't as similar, but I feel our personalities and lifelong goals complement each other well.

So, I ask you: when looking for an eternal partner (as I could easily see myself marrying either down the road), are opposites really best? Or should I look for someone more similar to myself, personality wise? Neither is perfect, they both have their flaws (as do I. . .times a million). I've been reading about "Birth order marriages" and it says two last born children do not a stable marriage make, and I could definitely see that happening if I chose the first guy (we're both very free-spirited). I could also see us having the funnest life ever together. But, with the second guy, I could see us having a very stable, tender relationship.

What do you think? I have never been married and don't quite have your expertise. ;)

Thanks in advance for your help!

- Just Wondering




Dear JW,

Finding a Good Eternal Companion is less about attraction and more about finding someone you can love and serve and whom you can trust will love and serve you.

Sister Jo and I are opposite about somethings, but not very many.

I am very grateful that I married someone I like to hang out with; someone I can trust; someone I can talk to.

Yes, I find her very attractive and we have a ton of fun together, but that doesn't mean we don't fight and argue!

It does mean that when the dust settles I know she's there for me.

I love talking to her more than anything else.

And, perhaps most importantly, I trust her.

Don't put too much stock in things like "birth order","opposites attract" and other random internet quizzes and compatibility studies and stuff.

What we've heard in conference is true:  a couple that makes the Gospel the center of their lives and relationship will do extremely well.

There's lots of possible great companions out there for each person.

As far as these two guys go (they both sound like great guys), trust your instincts; you'll figure out which is the better choice for you.

- Bro Jo

Friday, December 9, 2016

How Best to Handle Friends with Health Issues

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo,

I have a girlfriend that really wants me to go and see a movie with just her and she has health problems and I don't want to go because I don't feel comfortable being with her because if she would start feeling bad I won't know what to do.

So how can I tell her nicely that I can't go with just her to see a movie.

Please help me.

From,

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

I say this with love . . .

Grow up and be a better friend.


Look, if you're afraid that something might happen and you won't know what to do, ask her beforehand.  Simply say "I'd love to go; is there anything I need to know, you know, should something happen?"

You'll get some education.  She'll be glad that you care enough to ask.  And you'll both enjoy a lovely time.


- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It's Tough Being Older and Single

Dear Bro Jo,

Good day to you.

I am writing you this mail because I’m beginning to lose it!

I joined this church a little over 7 years ago and I’m over 32 years old now. I’m still very much single.

I’ve had offers from non-members but because I’m hell bent on temple marriage, I did not give them a chance.

Now I hardly have offers again. I’m being passed across as a married woman because now I actually look like one.

What do I do? I have a date that is eight years younger than me but I must confess that that is not what I want.

I’m not sure he would even marry someone like me because I’m just too old for him.
I need your advice ASAP because this matter is beginning to make me have a low self-esteem. All my mates are married.

I’m really scared. Even if it is for someone to match make me and someone I would be glad. I hardly get that offer too.

Please help me.

Kind Regards,

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

The first thing that may help is realizing that your value comes because you're a daughter of our Heavenly Father, not because you're in a relationship.

Secondly, I think you need to be a little more open.  While I agree that it's pointless to Serious Single Date guys who have no intention of marrying you in the Temple, it may be possible that falling in love with you may just inspire one of these non-member guys to embrace the Gospel.

And I think if ta 24-year old man wants to ask you out, you should absolutely go.  I can't think of anything more flattering for a woman's self-esteem than going out with guys who want to date her.

Lastly, be proactive  If something is wrong in your life, and it's bothering you, fix it.  Don't just sit back and hope that something happens.  If you want to date certain single guys, get to know them better, let them see what a great person you are, and if you need to, tell them they need to ask you out.


- Bro Jo

Monday, December 5, 2016

Too Worldly? - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks Bro Jo, I agree completely we do need to talk. And we do talk often and I have told him most of these concerns...

I definitely do not want to be controlled, I want a happy marriage partnership and I will make sure that is what it is going to be before I make any decisions.

Much of the problem is that this a long distance relationship so we are only able to see each other on the weekends, we talk on the phone throughout the week, but obviously the big stuff I want to talk about it person.

One thing that I have loved about our relationship from the beginning has been our ability to talk about everything, we communicate very well, and I really like that.

I will see him this weekend and definitely be talking to him about these concerns and I think it will help me to better understand where things are and where they should be going.

Thanks for your insight, it sometimes just helps to have an objective opinion on things...

- NW




Dear NW,

How did it go?

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

It actually went very well.. We talked a lot this weekend and the awesome thing was most of my concerns were addressed in our conversations without me bringing them up, the conversation just went in that direction.

I talked to him about who I am and made it very clear that I will not be controlled. A lot of the things he has said that made me feel that way were jokes and I think he realized that he needs to be more careful about things he is joking about. His attitude seemed different this weekend as he talked much more about our future life and family and less about his future wealth.

We discussed his concerns as well as mine and the reasons that we are still making the decisions. He talked about his fears... One of which is that he wants to make sure that this is the best decision, he knows it would be a good decision but he wants to make sure it will be the best.

I actually had kind of some weird feelings this weekend, and spent a lot of my time trying to figure out what they mean. I felt less excited I guess about our relationship and I was trying to figure out if that is because I feel like it is not right or something else... The feeling that I have gotten about it is that our relationship is making the transition from excited early twitterpation to a comfortable normal mature relationship.

As I think about him I realize how well he treats me, he builds me up in so many ways and we really have a lot of fun together.

I have always been the kind of person who believes that there is not one right person for anyone, but you need to find someone who loves The Lord, is willing to keep the commandments, and work with you to create a happy fulfilled life together.

I think there is always part of you that wants some magical confirmation that your life will be wonderful and perfect with this person, but I think I am too old and too logical to believe that. I need to take my own advice and make sure that he is a good man and that we will work well together to progress for eternity.

When I think about things that way I feel so good about him and us. I am still seeking answers and trying to listen to the spirit as best I can. Knowing when something is truly coming from the spirit has always been a little difficult for me, and something that I have been working in trying to improve for years.

Hopefully this makes sense, and I would like your opinion about all of this.

Thanks!

- NW




Dear NW,

Not only does it all make sense, but it sounds to me like you have a very mature understanding of what's important and how this is all supposed to work.

You're on the right track!

- Bro Jo

Friday, December 2, 2016

Too Worldly? Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks for your advice at random times when I have just needed someone else's opinion on something. This is another one of those times.

I am dating a wonderful man who makes me so very happy, I love him a lot. He is a strong member of the church, and attends the temple. There has been a lot of talk about marriage, and I feel very good about it most of the time. I have been to the temple a few times to help make my decision about if this is the man who I want to marry, and I really think he is.

However he is still deciding a little bit, we talk as if we are going to be married but at times he still mentions that he hasn't gotten his answers about it yet, and that scares me a little. He was married once before and has a son. I think that the problems he had in the previous marriage are what fuels his doubt now, he says he has no doubt about me, he just wants to make sure this is truly the right thing, and I want him to make sure.

I am writing you because I sometimes have doubts myself... He is a very driven individual (works full time+ and is taking 15 credits) and has very high aspirations of being rich someday. I am so glad he is a hard worker and wants to provide but it seems to be a very very large focus of his life... We have had multiple conversations where I have asked him if he could be happy with our life even of he wasn't rich. He says he could.

I guess I'm just concerned if he is too worldly and if it will make our lives unhappy? He talks a lot about money and physical beauty... I am a fairly thin girl which he loves, so he mentions a lot that he doesn't want his future wife to get fat. He wants me to be fit and healthy and I want that too, but he just dwells on it a little more than I do.

He is a wonderful man who treats me really great and he is a great father as well. There are so many things that I love so much about him. I am just wondering if these concerns are just Satan's way of trying to keep a good eternal marriage from happening or if I should be more worried about his focus on worldly things? How much of this is just a guy being a guy?

Thanks for any insight you can give me!

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

I do think that much of what you both seem to be worrying about are indeed the things that Satan uses to try and keep two people from forming an eternal family.

I also think the cure is very simple:  you two need to talk.

You need to share the concerns you shared with me with him.  Everything you told me, you need to tell this man.

It's like the post from the other day:  more than attraction, even more than love, what makes a marriage successful is Trust.

And the key to trust is communication.

For example:  you need to trust that, for whatever reason, if you do "get fat" (whatever that happens to mean) that he won't belittle you or mock you or abandon you.

Marriage isn't about manipulating the other person to make them be what you want them to be, or keep them from changing.

I've quoted this many times before, but too many people go in to marriage this way:

"Men marry women hoping they'll never change, and women marry men hoping they will change; both are horribly wrong"  (or something like that).

I do have to say, there's an element here that is making me uncomfortable:  and that is his need to manipulate and control.  Now perhaps that's just the part that you've chosen to share with me . . . and I have no doubt that this is residual from his failed marriage, but I'm wondering how happy you're going to be with him controlling you . . . or how he may cast you aside when things seem out of his control . . .

Look, there are no guarantees, and I honestly believe that people delay (or avoid) good eternal marriages because they're looking for that non-existent guarantee.

Again, the bottom line is I think you two need to talk.

Soon.

And I think you both need to decide if these are just nervous ponderings or if you're both clinging to a relationship that will never be more than 80% there?

Does that make sense?

I mean, is this really going somewhere?  Or is it just easier to keep on going down this dead-end road because it's familiar?


I'm not saying breakup.


I'm saying have a mature conversation about these concerns you're both having.


And yes, if these aren't things you both can get to a point that you feel comfortable with, then move on.



Good luck, and please let me know what you come up with.

- Bro Jo

Monday, November 28, 2016

Is It Okay for Single Adults to Date Outside the Church?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hello again!

I find myself in somewhat of a place I have never been before and need advice from someone not emotionally involved. I am certainly hoping that you and Sister Jo can give me some advice.

I wish I had had someone with your wisdom that I could have asked questions of a long time ago. But there you have it, I didn't.

I think I told you my ex was ultra-abusive. I might have been better at seeing the signs had I had more extensive experience dating but prior to my marriage I wasn't asked out a lot, almost never, and dates consisted of group events mostly set up by me, or other activity directors, etc.

Even though I don't go out on a lot of dates I watch a lot of people, I pay attention to what goes on around me.

After this divorce ten plus years ago, I find myself in the same spot. I have not been out on a single date. I have been with several group dates, again almost exclusively arranged by myself.

A lot of my guy friends see me as someone to talk to, someone who solves problems, someone who can make things happen.

I have followed your suggestions for getting dates.

Nothing.

I actually have a good guy friend who bluntly asked another guy why the heck he wasn't dating me. his response - we are just friends.

I have asked my guy friends what they see in me, good and bad. I have been told I am the life of the party, the light in any room, the nicest girl, they say I a one of the most active women they know, church wise, etc.

ll positive, even though I asked for honesty good or bad, it all came back good.

So what is the deal?

I live in a very rural place which I love but it also cuts down on the amount of single guys available so I make it a point to travel to dances and other activities in bigger areas, including Utah where I go on business occasionally. I dance, but mostly because I have good guy friends who will ask me or I will ask them, (they are good enough friends to know which songs I like, etc.)

I have been on several of the dating sites and recently it was suggested I try a newer one, Plenty of Fish. It doesn't delineate between LDS or non LDS, but it will allow you to stipulate non drinking, nonsmoking, non-drugs, Christian, etc.

So I met a guy on there who is catholic (and can I say for the record that I always thought Catholics were Christian but after multiple conversations now don't believe that). he is a very good guy and very much like me in all points except that he isn't LDS, and he doesn't have a very good concept of Heavenly Father, etc.

Major conflict there.

He also lives in on the other side of the country.

But I do like talking to him, I have been teaching him the plan of salvation, etc.

He thinks I am wonderful, he wants to date me, he is sending me a Christmas gift, he is very chivalrous, perfect gentleman, in fact MUCH more so than any other single guy I have met in the last ten years bar none...

If this guy was a high priest, current temple goer, etc, this relationship would be a foregone conclusion. But he isn't.

I already go to the temple once a week and when I get further along in life and the kids are out of the house I really want to serve in the temple. that's a major goal that I won't be changing.

Bro Jo, I am not in any hurry here at all. I have three kids still at home and while they want a dad I am not going to rush into any relationship - I can't afford to because it isn't just me and my future at stake. I am thoroughly enjoying the conversations, the attention, and having someone think I am wonderful but what the heck do I do from here?

I do not want to lead this guy on, I am just flat out too honest for that and he is too good a guy.

The biggest mess I see is women getting married because they are lonely. I know what that feels like but I have also been blessed with good friends who help balance out the loneliness. It has taken a long time and a lot of therapy to undo the horrible voices in my head from my ex-husband telling me how I would never measure up and for the first time I am actually hearing a man tell me that I am worthwhile and it isn't a line to see how far he can get.

So there you have it.

Your thoughts please, as well as those of Sister Jo.

I have no desire to have a part member family, as a huge part of who I am is the gospel. I told him that what he is attracted to is the light of the gospel, not me, but he says he thinks it is me.

A huge chunk of me is service and I used to take a verbal beating from my ex when I took time to help others. I don't ever want to go into another relationship where a guy puts me through that again as it is so much of who I am.

This guy is an active catholic, active as in attends church several times a week. Good heart, helps others, sees things positively, just like me. Just missing the light of the gospel.

Ironically several members of my family served missions where he lives, I just moved my folks back in August and I wouldn't have a single problem hooking him up with the missionaries once he is ready, if he gets to that point, and that is a big if...

There is always the chance that when he comes to visit (he is already thinking and talking along those lines) that the height thing might bug him too much but he says it doesn't. Even meeting me he might realize that he is in love with a pipe dream.

That thought stays in the back of my head and I also realize that part of the crap I am fighting against are the horrible words of the ex. I know I am worthwhile, I know my Heavenly Father loves me, I also know that I am supposed to get married again (Heavenly father told me that, not anyone else.)

I think that I can wait to find the right guy for me but I think I am invisible to all of those guys.

UGH!!!

Thank you for your time and service to others. You are a wonderful asset.

- A Friend




Dear Friend,

In general I feel that, for someone who has Eternal Companionship as a goal, dating someone who is Not Yet a Member is a waste of time.

Now, helping a person become a member of the Church . . . that's an EXCELLENT use of our time.

Membership need not be a requirement for friendship, of course, and never should be.

But Serious Single Dating?

Yeah.

I don't think you should waiver on that.

Be Patient.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you for you advice!

We had another conversation the middle of last week and I told him the story of the 2000 stripling warriors and about the title of liberty (as I have a copy on my wall and it is a big part of who I am).

He told me that he would love to read the book of Mormon which is a good thing as I am sending him one for Christmas, marked with some of my favorite scriptures.

He really is a good guy, and I am glad there is a whole distance between us as it gives me time to adjust and have some good conversation before we meet. I am enjoying the friendship.

Thanks again!

- A Friend




Dear Friend,

Anytime!

- Bro Jo

Friday, November 25, 2016

What Comes First: Roommates or Romance?

Dear Bro Jo,

So there is a guy I am quite interested in.

He's not in my ward and we met a couple months ago, so besides our mutual friends I don't know him all that well.

Nonetheless, he has certainly caught my eye and I would very much like to go on a date with this young man. Here's the kicker.

A friend of mine recently asked him what he thought of me.

He said that his roommate really liked me, and that they have a rule in their house when it comes to girls. I get where he's coming from. My roommates and I would never go after the same guy.

It makes for an awkward living situation.

But still. I would really like to get to know this guy better, unfortunately it seems the only way of doing so would be through his roommate and that is just mean.

Should I just give up the thought and move on to other prospects?

Or should I peruse him and risk ruining a friendship?

Sincerely,

- Slightly Perplexed




Dear Perplexed,

One does not cling unto one's roommates for Time and All Eternity.

A gazillion years ago I was one of those guys who dated whomever he wanted, regardless of the feelings of his buddies. And I lost a lot of buddies.

So then I became a guy who decided he would never date anyone that his friends liked. And, sure enough I found myself in a situation where there was a girl in our social group that I really liked; we flirted a lot, and really got along.

But one friend specifically asked me to not ask her out. He really liked her, and had for a long time. 

In fact, he was the one that had introduced her to our social group and had done so in hopes that he'd get to know her better and eventually get up the courage to ask her out.

Time ticked by.

I really liked her, she and I had great conversations, and tons of fun. But I did nothing.

And neither did the other guy.

I waited.

Time kept going by . . . and still he didn't act.

I kept pushing him to ask her out, and he kept delaying and making excuses.

And she and I kept growing closer.

Finally, during one phone conversation she said "I have to know: we get along great, I like you and you like me; how come you've never asked me out?"

I told her about how much our mutal friend liked her and how he asked me to never ask her out.

She sighed and said "look, he's a nice guy, he's been chasing me since elementary school, but he's never asked me out, is never going to ask me out and if he ever did I would say no, and not just because I don't think of him in that way but also because I like you."

So I, without hesitation said "would you like to out on a date with me this Friday?"

My friend was mad at me for a long time.

He felt that I had betrayed him.

The girl eventually told him that she and he were never an option in her mind . . . and then eventually she dumped me (twice in 18 hours - that story is in the postings somewhere), and those two things together helped my friend feel a little better, but it was still a long time before he and I were really pals again.

I don't regret dating her, or "sacrificing" my friendship with him.

The truth is, had he been a better friend he wouldn't have stood in the way or begrudged me taking action when he A) had no chance and B) wasn't taking a chance anyway.

And those lessons paid off for me a short time later when I was the only guy who had the courage to pursue a girl that ALL of my friends wanted to date.

That girl, the one that I had to work for and did so while others only talked about it, the one I dated regardless of the "risk" of losing all of my friends who also wanted to date her (and it was many), we now call Sister Jo.

So my answer for you is this: if you're interested in dating the roommate, then tell the roommate that you'd like to date him and you're wondering if he's ever going to ask you out.

If you like this guy instead, then tell him "look, I hear your roommate likes me and that's the only reason you won't ask me out"; and if he confirms that's true, then tell him what the one girl told me. 

Because, when we're all done, it's our spouse to whom we're bound for Time and Al Eternity, not our roommates or our pals.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Being Happy

Dear Bro Jo,

First I would like to say thanks for all that you do. You probably hear this all the time, but your site has helped me out A LOT!

I suppose I'll start out with a bit of back ground information: I am a 17 year old girl. I've been a member of the Church my whole life. and I live in (specifics withheld) in New York City.

If ever asked what my happiest memory is I can't say I would have a good genuine answer.

Its not that I'm a sad, and unhappy person (although lately I think this description would fit), I can laugh and have fun I just could never identify those moments with happiness.

I have been going to therapy for around three years to help with my social anxiety, and although I would say I have made substantial progress, I cannot say that I am happier.

I try to be a good person.

I serve others to the best of my ability.

I have attended so far three years of seminary.

I very rarely miss a day of Church and I go to the temple when ever the youth have a temple trip.

I am an honor (AP) student.

I am the Laurel class president.

I have received my young women's medallion for completing the personal progress, and I am on my way to getting my Honor Bee.

I try to be an example to those around me, i read my scriptures almost every night, and I pray often.

Yet regardless of all these things I cant say that I am happy.

I have so many blessings and things to be happy and grateful for, and the fact that I am not makes me feel terrible.

I wish I could take everything I have and give it to someone who really needs it, because they deserve it much more than I do.


And now that you are caught up I'll explain what has been going on.

This past week has been pretty bad.

School is out and I have had nothing to occupy my time.


I wouldn't say I have been feeling sad but rather empty.


I like doing many things yet none of them have been able to really make me happy.


They act as more of distractors that keep my mind off of how I am feeling.

Furthermore, I have been really irritable. Even the smallest things will set me off, and I don't know why.


Though obviously I get angry like any one else, but recently I has been magnified.


I guess my questions are:

     -  Any advice on how can I be happier?

     - Would you recommend talking to anyone (Bishop, Young Women's president) about my situation?

     -  From what you have read so far can you help he figure out where this "emptiness" comes from?


I know these questions are subject to ones opinions and frame of view, but at this point I need any help I can get.


Other information that might be useful:

     - I've never been good at making or maintaining friendships. And in too many of those friendships I have done much of the chasing.

     - Most people don't really come to me to try to be my friend. As a result I have been very lonely. Even in church the other girls in my ward don't really care to talk to me or help me in establishing a friendship. Which has lead me to be very lonely and question if there is anything wrong with me? (ex: why am I not good enough for people to WANT to talk to me?)

     - I'm a natural introvert

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

- Empty Well





Dear Well,

I want you to know that I've given your email a lot of prayerful thought.

What I write here is not meant as a substitute for the counseling you've been receiving.

You may also want to consider taking control of your situation and your life.

See, you have the fortunate situation of being in a position where everything that's bothering you is something you can fix.

And fix quite easily, I might add.

You've achieved so many good things!

Let yourself enjoy those things and be proud of your accomplishments.

Rather than giving your things away because you feel unworthy to have them, use them to help others.

I'll explain.

AP student?

Go tutor someone who needs help. (Great way to make a new friend!)


See, I think you're "choosing unhappiness" because, on some level, it makes you feel better.

Perhaps it makes you feel less guilty.

Perhaps you think (wrongly, btw) that unhappiness equals humility.


Having traveled to New York a few times, I refuse to accept your claim that there's "nothing to occupy" your time.

I'm sorry, but I care to much to sugar coat this: that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!

I could spend a week at the Museum of Modern Art alone!

And then there's the parks and other museums . . . and historical things . . . and great things to see . . . and DO!


Afraid to leave your home? Even then you can find things to do!

There's a great history of the area ("Gotham") that's over 1200 pages; well worth the read!


In short, if you want to Be Happy, choose to Be Happy.


If you really are done feeling sad and sorry for yourself then (love this talk!) Stop It.


If you don't like your life as an introvert (which, frankly, is a label I think you're comfortably hiding behind) then CHANGE.

And if you do like the idea of being an introvert (and beleive me, there's nothing wrong with being shy) . . . then stop complaining!


Do the righteous things that help you to feel joy.

If you want to go make friends, go make friends.

If you'd rather stay in and read, then do that!

Both are great and wonderful ways to spend your time.


My father says that the cure to all depression is WORK.

Maybe you need to get a job?


Sister Jo says nothing makes us feel better than being of service to others.

You could certainly find people in your area that need some service.


I don't think you're an empty well.


I just think you're expecting someone or something else to fill that well, when the only person that can fill it with any positive long tern results . . . is you.


All around you are miracles and blessings.

See them.

Be Grateful for them.

Fill your well with the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ put around us, put into our lives, every day.

- Bro Jo

Monday, November 21, 2016

Talking to Each Other

Dear Bro Jo,

Keep loving the blog. Thanks for every single post.

My question deals with a problem that I would love to be able to fix if it lies with me, and do something about even if it's not my fault.

What do you do when you can have a great conversation with a guy, (in person or online, I don't have a phone) and then the next time he sees you he can act like you barely know each other.

Is it up to me to break the communication barrier and infuse some casual friendliness into the relationship or should I wait for him to open up a little more and treat me the way he has before or does online?

It seems like when I wait for him to do something we just grow farther and farther apart until we never speak, in person or online, and if I do something like continue the conversation or just start a new topic, (in person of course) they feel uncomfortable with that too.

Could it be that I''m too forward?

Okay, well where's the line between being a friend and starting a conversation and acting desperate?

I'm afraid I have zero social finesse with guys, though I have a few good male friends, and I'd like to know what to do before I get to the college campus in a few months and squelch all my chances.

I want to be someone they look on as friendly without being in the "friend zone". I'd like to be able to have them ask me out and feel comfortable that it won't be a commitment, but just a nice way for the two of us to get to know the two of us, without other people around, like when hanging out.

I hope this isn't too confusing and I really, really hope that you can give me some good solid Bro Jo advice.

I am willing to get out of my comfort zone if good results are guaranteed, just so you know.

Thanks in advance!

- Dateable




Dear Date-able,

In general, guy, girl or otherwise, I think if you have a good conversational relationship with someone and the next time you see them they seem distant and unfriendly, you should ask them about it. 

Communication is the key to all successful relationships.

Communication and understanding.

If something seems weird, you ask about it, and then you're sensitive and try to be understanding about their answer.

Understanding doesn't mean that you have to agree or comply; it just means that we acknowledge that we're all different, with different points of view and experiences that control what we bring to the table.

Technology can really mess up people's ability to communicate with other people, especially in person. I think its creating a serious social problem world wide . . . but I digress.

Whether its now, or when you're in college in the future, I think the best way to act around people is to be yourself, be sincere, and make friends.

The best way, of course, to make friends, is to listen more than you speak, and treat everyone like the have value (which, of course, they do) and are special (which, of course, they are).

You might be wondering how all of this applies to meeting a guy and getting dates . . . well, the thing is . . . it all applies.

At this point I think you should just focus on being yourself and meeting new people.

As you make those around you more comfortable with you and themselves, dates and relationships will happen.

If you find yourself in college not getting asked out as much as you'd like or by some of the guys you wish would ask you out, well . . . let's cross that bridge then.

For now just be happy and confident with whom you are, and help others to be the same.

- Bro Jo

Monday, November 14, 2016

How Do You Approach Someone Who's Closed Off?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hello again!

I know I've sent you some rather melodramatic letters in the past, but I hope you'll forget those and help me with something that I think is a real issue, for me at least.

What do you do with a guy that is kind, mature and athletic, but is used to having girls swoon over him and so he just treats them all exceedingly nicely, but not really genuinely?

That sounds awfully confused . . .

This guy is nice and definitely attractive to me in more than just the physical way, but he doesn't want to let anyone in.

He's nice, but doesn't want to share who he is with someone.

What do I say or do so he knows I really want to get to know him as a person, and not just as eye candy?

Any light you can shed would be appreciated.

- No Clue




Dear Clue,

You talk to him.

Often.

About meaningful things.

With sincerity.

Show him that you're interested in him as a person, not just superficially.

Don't "hang out"; you want to be a pretty girl that cares about him, not a buddy.

Encourage him to take you on some fun dates.

Oh, and be understanding.

If he's pre-mission he shouldn't be looking for anything too serious.

Respect that.

- Bro Jo

Friday, November 4, 2016

Should She Keep Him?

Dear Bro Jo,

I’m thinking about sending you an email for a while now, and I finally got the courage to do it.

I’m sorry if you receive emails with this same problem every day, I just don’t know what to do, and to talk with you seems like a good idea at this moment.

First of all, I’m 19 and I never had a boyfriend.

Yes, I know.

And I agree with you. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

Anyway, it’s not like I never had a guy chasing me.

The problem is that I never like them back.

The guys I like are totally out of my league, and I don’t know why I keep torturing myself with it.

I am a very quiet girl, but I’m working on it.

I try to make friends, especially in my ward, and I know most of the people there. But, for some reason, the guys that end up interested in me are the ones that would never get my attention.

That’s my first problem.

The second problem is, I know this guy for quite a while now.

We were friends, but now it’s different.

He has given me a lot of attention in the past few months. I LOVE it!

I like him, and he acts like he likes me back, so I was really happy when it started. We went out twice.

He texts me a lot, and he always will sit next to me in class and church activities. However, it never moves forward.

This texting phase is lasting FOREVER. I know that “guys” like texting, and “men” like talking. But I don’t think I want to give up on him.

I already tried to stop talking with him because I thought it wasn’t going anywhere, but then he comes back and I just forget everything about the “guy and man” thing and act like nothing is wrong.

I did text him first a few times, and that may be one of the problems here, I really don’t know.

We do talk when we see each other, but it’s not the same.

So, I don’t know what to do anymore. Is it a lost cause?

Should I just give up on him?

Or give up on dating at all?

(Just kidding. I do think that sometimes, but it’s just drama – I hope).

Bro Jo, I know you can’t guess a lot of what’s happening by reading this email, but you are a wise man and you know things. I don’t.

Just give me your best advice, and I’ll be very happy with it.

- 19 and Wondering




Dear Little Sister,

I've never understood why people want to drop out of a potentially great relationship simply because of one small problem . . .

 I have news for you: the problems never stop!

Sister Jo and I constantly have conflicts crop up in our relationship . . . seriously, like every week! 

(Sometimes it seems like more than once a week.)

Let me ask you: just exactly what is the problem here??? 

Is it that after two dates he hasn't proposed?

Is it that he texts you all the time, and gives you lots of attention?

Is it that you can't wait to jump from "never had a boyfriend" to "we're glued together all the time"?

Do you see how ridiculous all of that is???  

Let me ask: when was the last time he took you on a date?

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

College Dating Plans

Dear Bro Jo,

Ok so this blog thing is like... the coolest ever!!

I love it and have had so much fun reading it and learning, its great to see other people can feel just as confused as me and that there are simple answers for it all.

SO... I am 18 years old and will be heading off to college next fall.

I dated, as in AWESOME GROUP DATES :), a ton in highschool and loved it and met so many great people.

My junior year I totally fell in love with this guy, hahaha ok actually just had huge crush on him, and he is my best friend. We never had a physical relationship, and never talked about anything romantically until the summer before his mission.

I think we did things maturely and I don't have any regrets because I am not "waiting" for him, but we do write every once in a while.

Now that he has been gone for about a year I have dated alot and met alot of boys that are cute and even liked a few of them, but I still just love him :)

I'm not ready for a serious relationship right now, and I don't even know if I will be when "missionary man" comes home, but as I go to college and start dating alot of RMs and such, what do I tell them?

Do I tell them I am writing a missionary, cause its not like I am his girl friend or whatever, but I do LOVE him?

Do I just say I am not interested?

I do want to go ON dates but I don't want to be DATING someone, is that just not the case in college?

I know that if I continue to do the best I can to follow Heavenly Father I will marry someone that I completely love and they love me and it will all work out but for the next year or so what do I do?

Thank you so much and sorry if those are lame questions :P

Sincerly,

- Growing up?

P.S. since I didn't know what all you needed to know I just gave the basics...not really sure what else I needed to say to get an answer




Dear Growing Up,

The basics are often all I need. You did great!

So my opinion is this:

1. Date lots in college (in fact, go out with any decent guy that asks; go out twice if he's nice, and more if you have a good time with him) 
2. Don't tell anybody you're writing a guy in the field unless they ask, and even then play it casual ("I do write this guy I went to high school with once in a while; yeah, we dated, but it's not like I'm waiting for him" - all of which is true) 
3. Don't worry about or put any effort into NOT getting in a relationship; if it happens you'll be glad, if it doesn't happen no big deal at this point 
4. Realize that it's okay that you "love" the guy that's gone, but that part of those feelings is that he's gone (can't fight with or stress out over anyone that can't date, can't call, and isn't supposed to have any other possible girls in his life), and part of it is that you like "the idea" of him  

I hope that helps.

And thanks for reading "Dear Bro Jo"!

- Bro Jo

Monday, October 31, 2016

Well . . . There's Always THIS Way to Find Out if He Likes Her . . .

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi. I found your blog today and I can't say thank you enough to the help you are giving YM/YW and YSA, especially for giving them (us) a place to calm our fears and anxieties, and gush a bit when necessary.

I am 25 and have been in singledom for a very long time.

I am sure you get emails every day and likely do not have the ability to respond to them all, but I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping you will be able to give me some much needed advice.

Let me start by telling you that I am a researcher by nature. If I have an issue with something, whether it be a home appliance, my phone, or a social situation, I research it. I read thoughts and opinions from others, see what has worked and not worked in the past, and my own thinking about how I can apply the "fixes" to my situation.

I have spent too much time "researching" dating advice that doesn't exist.

All the dating advice out there is all about sex, and that is obviously not very helpful for me.

Your blog gives me hope that somehow, someway, I can get the advice I am so desperately searching for.

So.. As I said, I am 25.

I work for a university and have finished my Master’s Degree.

I have never had a steady boyfriend and did not get my first kiss until I was 23 (I was pretty overweight, and although I DO think that played a role in it, I think my self-confidence being so low was the biggest issue).

I am quite shy when it comes to dating and I typically do not do any of the pursuing.

He is 24 and the Elders Quorum President in my ward.

He is pursuing a Master’s Degree and applying to medical school. He has been the EQP for about a year, but I really didn't pay him any attention until about 4 months ago.

I don't know if I can call him shy, but he definitely does not pursue girls regularly.

I know of two girls he has been on dates with in the last 18 months, I believe he went on two dates with each girl.

I told him we should do something sometime, then later (same day) that he should give me a call sometime. I gave it a week and he did not follow up with me.

The following weekend was a ward temple trip and I was hoping he would come, but he was not there.

That Sunday at church I talked to him about his weekend (he had a work issue that prevented him from attending) and told him that I would love the opportunity to get to know him better and that we could do something one on one or plan a group activity that he would want to come to, etc..

He took that as an opportunity to plan something, but our schedules conflicted.

He ended up asking me to accompany him to see a movie he promised he would see with his cousin and his fiancé, then said that he knew that movies aren't a great way to get to know people.

I told him he was right, they're not, so if this worked out, it didn't count.

We went to the movie and had about an hour long conversation beforehand (we got there very early) which made me all the more interested in him. I felt like the date went well, but two weeks later, he hadn't followed up.

So, I took the opportunity at a Church event to tell him that a few weeks before that I told him I wanted to get to know him better and the movie didn't count, and he said "correct, that didn't count, so I was thinking about my schedule this week...".

He took it from there and planned a date.

We went to dinner, a comedy show, and then got frozen yogurt. I had fun and loved talking to him.

The next day I told him I had fun and we should do it again sometime and he immediately told me that the only issue that week was his schedule and the RS President had just taken his only free day, so it would probably have to be on the weekend (he also made sure I knew that the free day she took was for presidency stuff).

I then got hailed by the Stake President and told said boy to give me a call.

He didn't call.

This weekend my stake is having a "girls ask guys" movie in the park.

So, I asked him, and he seemed genuinely happy to come with me. So, we have a date on Saturday night.


Okay, now you are all caught up.


He rarely texts and twice I have texted him without a response (though, to be fair, the texts did not necessarily require a response).

He doesn't seem to like calling at all. This means that the only interaction I have with him is in person, and as he is EQP, pursuing a masters, applying to med school, and has a lot of family responsibilities, combined with my schedule, this really only happens on Sundays or during scheduled events (like the dates).


I cannot tell if he is interested.


I feel confident saying he is not disinterested, but I need that reassurance from him.

My heart is starting to get involved and this is the point that I would typically shut it all down and back away, but I don't want to do that.

This is the first time that I have felt like the guy is worth any heartbreak that could result in pursuing a relationship.

And logically.... we would work!

My head and my heart have to agree, and this is the first time they do, I just don't know how he feels. So, Saturday is technically our third date.

Should I ask him if he is interested?

Should I ask him about what he is looking for?

He seems to be a really slow mover, and I'm afraid of trying to take things too fast and pushing him away.

By this weekend it will have been 6 weeks since our first date, so I have given it time. But, in that time, we haven't had much interaction.

It's that last part that I want to change.

How can I know if there is the potential for more if I only see him outside of a church a few times a month?

I just don't know where to go from here.

I'm sorry this is so long, but if you made it this far, I would be so incredibly grateful for a response.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Third date . . . you're 25 and he's 24 . . . I think there should be some kissing.

You could go about it a couple different ways.

The most common is at the end of the date. He walks you to the door, you hint . . . linger . . . play with your keys . . . flat out tell him "hey, this is the point where you kiss me good night" . . . whatever.

Could be fun!

Could be romantic. 

Could fill the evening with pressure and expectation . . . which isn't always bad.

Another option is to hit him with it at the start of the date!

Unorthodox, I know, but can be very effective.

He's at your door picking you up and after you hug him hello (and before you completely let go) you say something like "I know there's a lot of pressure and expectation to kiss at the end of the third date, and I think you should kiss me now so neither of us has to spend all night waiting, wondering, and hoping".

It certainly changes the tone of the date!

Believe me, not only will the kissing tell you whether or not he's interested, barriers will be dropped, and this guy will get some much needed encouragement and training.

Will he be scared? Yeah . . . but kissing will fix that.

Seriously.

And if he balks . . . well, then you'll know where he stands.

'Cause, let's be honest, you shouldn't be wasting any more time on a guy that has no interest or clue. 

And, whichever option you go with, ramp up the connection with at least some hand holding.

Let me know how it goes!

- Bro Jo

Friday, October 28, 2016

What If Her Boyfriend Chooses a Mission Over Her? - Part 3 of 3

Dear NW,

I was re-reading an email you sent to me a few years ago.

(It's posting on the blog site, anonymously of course, soon) and I thought I'd reach out to you, see how you're doing, and ask how things turned out with the boy, his mission, and your potential Church membership?

All the best,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Wow!

I completely forgot about all of that.

I don't remember what all I wrote to you, but a lot has changed since then!

I joined the Church a year and a half ago and it has been the best decision I've ever made!

My family is not at all supportive but things have improved somewhat over time.

The boy and I got back together for awhile, and I was waiting and writing him for a little over a year into his mission.

We eventually decided to end things and see what happened when he got back.

We haven't talked in a quite awhile, and I've since started dating someone else, but his mission is just about over and he'll be coming home next soon!

So I guess we'll see what happens.

It's been a crazy journey with a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn't change any of it. I'm happier than ever!

Thank you for checking in!

- NW




Dear NW,

Thank you for responding!

I appreciate the update.  Keep us posted!

Cheers,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What If Her Boyfriend Chooses a Mission Over Her? - Part 2 of 3

Bro Jo,

Thank you for responding!

I am in Oklahoma, so "all ya'll" applies here too!

The reason I said that I am a potential convert is because I am probably a little further down that path than many other people (at least any people that I know).


First I will address your first concern.

I know and am fully aware that my conversion to the Church has to be for me and only for me.

That makes perfect sense.

It would be pointless to do it for any other reason.

At this point I can't count on much from my ex-boyfriend, so any further steps I take are solely for me...

And I have taken a few.

I am continuing to read the Book of Mormon (which has always brought me a sense of peace and comfort) and pray about it.

When I wrote to you, I also wrote to Voices for Virtue (an LDS non-profit organization with a Facebook page that offers advice and encouragement to youth) and they (I'm not entirely sure how it works) were going to try to get me in contact with local missionaries and possibly a Bishop.

The woman that receives the referrals called me last night and we talked for awhile. She is going to continue calling me, talking to me, and teaching me things, and then set me up with the local missionaries when I go back to school.

Also, a bit more background information--I never really realized that there was anything wrong with my faith or spiritual life until I met my ex-boyfriend.

I had always gone to church out of habit, never getting anything out of it, and that's it. My family is close, but we don't pray together, we don't have family scripture study, we don't talk about anything religious, none of that.

So he kind of helped me to realize through his example that my faith can be so much more than sitting in church on Sunday not paying any attention.


And now, the relationship.

I don't blame his parents for everything, but I do blame them for some of it...

I don't think he was hiding me from them.

I met them each on different occasions, both of which were very brief.

He called home and talked to one of his parents every night (usually his dad) and sometimes I was present.

He would often talk about me, or how he had spent time with my family and I, or our friends.

They were well aware that I was in his life, and he had told them on more than one occasion how serious we were.

I just don't think they liked me from the beginning, simply because I am not a member of the LDS Church.

I still find this frustrating, because he dated several non-members in high school and they never had an issue with it before.


With that said, I'm not defending him.

He did put everyone in a difficult position, and he does need to man up. I completely agree.

And the possible outcomes of our relationship...I don't see him not going on a mission.

If he sets his mind to do something, he's going to do it. He's just that kind of person.

He's very determined.

He wants to go, his parents want him to go, his friends want him to go.

He may have gotten off track and it may be postponed, but he will go.

 (He had a situation with a similar outcome during his young teenage years--he was addicted to pornography. All of that has long since blown over and he's been clean for several years, but he tried and failed multiple times before succeeding.)


So option one seems unlikely to me.


He has also stated (more towards the end of our relationship) that he is unwilling to marry outside of the Temple for any reason.

So we can also mark option two off.


Based on what I said above, option three seems less likely too.


I'm with you, hoping for option four or five.

I honestly cannot see myself with anyone else (though I'm sure every other girl whose boyfriend went on a mission probably said the same thing).


So I'm much more hoping for four than five.


As for the coming school year, he told me before he stopped communicating with me that we cannot be anything more than friends before he leaves for his mission.

I understand that and respect that, and that honestly seems like the best way to make sure that nothing else happens.

I think he will come back to school strengthened and motivated like never before, which will be exactly what he needs in order to stay focused on his mission. So anyway, we will not be in a relationship again before he leaves.


In answer to your final question--am I willing to more seriously consider the Church?

Yes, yes I am, and I plan to.

Again, thank you so much for responding.

I will think about everything you've said, and hopefully you can understand a little better now that I've provided more information.

- NW




Dear NW,

Thanks for filling in some of the blanks.

The only thing I have to add at this point is that, slightly in his parents' defense, they can't not like you if they don't know you, so I'll bet it was more that they were worried about the situation, and it was the situation that gave them something to fear and not like.

And, between us, it's not like they were totally wrong (about his being with you keeping him from being worthy to serve a mission). . . right?


Anyway, it sounds like both you and he are on Good Paths . . . keep it up!

Always here if I can help in any way.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I guess that's true.

I never really thought about it that way.

Thanks again for your advice!

- NW

Monday, October 24, 2016

What If Her Boyfriend Chooses a Mission Over Her? - Part 1 of 3

Dear Bro Jo,

I just recently discovered your blog and I've found your posts incredibly informational and comforting. I've skimmed through some of them, but none of them exactly pinpoint my problem...

I am nineteen and I am not a member of the LDS Church, but my ex-boyfriend is.

We began dating during our freshman year of college, and our relationship was absolutely wonderful. We were close friends before we started dating, and things between us only got better with time. We fell in love and began to talk about and plan a future together (after he returned from his mission).

However, along the way, we had a few problems with chastity, and each incident became worse than the previous.

He talked to his Bishop and we talked to his parents about everything, and his mission was delayed six months for him to have time to become worthy.

However, he went home for the summer and had to tell everyone that despite our efforts, we had messed up again.

We broke up about a month ago, and his parents took away both his phone and his computer to keep him from talking to me.

(His mission has now been postponed at least a year.)

We have been able to communicate since then, but he recently wrote to me saying that he decided he can no longer have any contact with me in any way so that he can focus on his mission.

I understand why we had to break up, and I understand his need to focus on his mission, but he ended everything in an email and I have so many questions and absolutely no closure.

I was raised in a Protestant church and have always sort of questioned my own faith, but I visited Church with him and I'm about halfway through the Book of Mormon, both of which I enjoyed.

I've also done lots of research and some extensive reading on Mormonism. I think it's safe to say that you could classify me as a potential convert.

I guess I just don't really know what to do, and I don't know what to expect from him.

We had talked about getting married, and had created this whole future together, but now I don't even know what he's thinking because he won't talk to me due to his need to stay focused.

We will still attend the same college (which is on the small side), have some mutual friends, and possibly have two classes together, so I don't think that he will be able to ignore me forever. But who knows?

His parents have never really liked me (they also made no effort to learn anything about me in the six months that I dated their son) and they seem to have an extreme amount of control over his life considering he's nineteen. (I say this with full understanding of the importance and closeness of LDS families.)

I also feel that they had a very heavy influence in his decision to cut contact with me. So it would not be surprising if they try to keep him away from me for a long time.

They say that when you've found the person you're meant to be with, you just know, and I have that feeling about him.

I haven't given up on him or on us, and I am more than willing to wait for him for another three years.

I am excited for him to get to go on a mission because I know how much it means to him. But what do I do now?

Trying to get answers from him is not going to work any time soon, so the earliest I can get any sense of closure will be when school starts. And that's if he agrees to talk to me then.

I don't think I can just give up, walk away, and never look back, because I've never loved or cared about anyone this much.

So should I just be patient?

Pray that he comes around?

I don't know what to do.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Hi!

First off, thank you for the kind words. Between you and me, I see (as they say in Texas) "all y'all" as potential converts.


There are several things here ... I'm going to address the one I see as most important first ... and that's your possible conversion to the Church.

If you decide to be baptized LDS it needs to be for you, and entirely separate from your relationship with him.

Would you please read that last paragraph again?

I really mean it.

If you're going to do it ... do it for you.

Do it forever.

Do it because you feel it's the right thing to do.

Don't do it for him.

Your relationship with God is more personal, and may last longer, than your relationship with this guy.


That brings me to the second part of your email: your relationship.

I think it's interesting that you blame his parents for everything but don't give him much responsibility. ..

Consider: whose fault is it that his parents didn't get to know you?

You imply that they made no effort, but isn't it also possible that he was hiding you from them?

You talk about how they control his life and he needs to (my words) Man Up and act like an adult.

I don’t disagree.

I see where they can be a little controlling, but it's not like he's taking control either.

I can understand them being worried that his relationship with you has pulled him off track because ... well... it has.

But in my opinion that's your boyfriend's fault more than anyone else's.

Out of all of you ... you, his parents.... he's the only one who had all of the information.

He knew he shouldn't be doing what he was doing, he knew he needed to be focused on going on a mission, and he knew that he was keeping you away from his parents.

Do you see what I'm talking about?

He knew his parents, fairly or not, would have negative feelings towards you; he knew that they would see you as keeping him from a mission. I think he put you, and them, in a very difficult position.

That doesn't sound very manly or mature to me.


So ... that said, I see this relationship going one of the following ways:

1. He bails on the mission, struggles with his relationship with God, and you don't end up together 
2. No mission and you do get married, not in the Temple for Time and All Eternity, and it takes a long time for his parents to like you; if you join the Church someday (you're sincere when you do and you do it for you) and eventually get sealed in the Temple that will help them come around if they haven't already 
3. He goes on the mission, can't handle it (or shouldn't have gone - likely because he didn't come clean in the interviews) and we're back to 1 or 2. In this scenario if he comes back to you it will be to use you ... and that makes this one the worst. 
4. He goes, serves God honorably, comes home ready to get married in the Temple, you're ready to go there too, you two REALLY fall in love and it's Happily Ever After 
5. He goes. You join the Church while he's gone. Because you both wisely promised each other that all bets are off, and that you're going to date other people while he's gone, you find someone else and marry the new guy instead. 


Of those five scenarios, the only ones I like are 4 & 5 (no surprise) because they're the ones that end with you Eternally married. Statistically speaking, 1 and 5 are the most likely. Give that some serious thought. Clearly you two are so strongly (forgive me) "attracted" to each other that you're not going to be able to keep your hands off each other when you're alone together.

If he's trying to go on a mission then Satan will work on making the temptations even stronger.

That means that for him to go on a mission you two have to be chaperoned or apart. And apart has the better chance of success.

Let me give you one more truth to ponder: when a guy does something he knows he shouldn't do and the end result is that he has sex, you can be assured that was exactly why he did it.

Not because he was "in love".

So the best thing for you is to get out of this relationship.

(Sister Jo agrees. She also says, btw, that she thinks he either won't go or he'll get sent home. Neither of which, she says, is good for you.)

Beyond that ... I guess the next thing for you to think about is: are you ready to more seriously consider the Church?

I'm sorry if this wasn't what you wanted to hear, but I care for and respect you too much not to tell you straight how what I honestly think.

Good luck.

Keep me posted.

And feel free to email any time about anything.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Are They "Just Friends"?

Dear Bro Jo,

I don’t know how relatable this letter will be to your normal audience, but I need some advice on the predicament I am currently in.

In sophomore year, my interest was sparked by a boy who was quite different to the others at my school, he was kind, courteous and had respect for people, like I had never seen.

We became close friends, and ended up being partners for a math assignment, after extended periods of time working on the assignment together, he invited me to a Church dance.

I was overwhelmed when there, but wanted to find out more (he was the only member at my school).

I ended up going to Church with him, and he dumped his current LDS ‘girlfriend’ in preparation for asking me out. I met his family and they took me in instantly (I have become like an older sister to his nieces whom he lives with).

I continually went to Church, and Church activities and started meeting with the missionaries.

Much to their dismay, being a 15 year old, I wasn't looking to commit to a religion, however through learning the truthfulness of the gospel, my heart softened. However, the missionaries’ jobs did not become easier, I was determined to know of the truthfulness for myself, and did not want to be known as the girl who converted because of her boyfriend, considering my family were not interested in the gospel.

As I learnt of the Church I realized that my relationship was contrary to the teachings of the prophets and as my testimony was strengthened concerning the need to follow their counsel, I broke it off with my friend, using the excuse that school was too much (we were seniors at the time).

So after nearly two years of attending Church and being taught by missionaries, I was baptized and was fortunate enough to be baptized by my friend.

Our friendship was as strong as ever, most people didn't even realize our status had changed.

We even referred to each other as bestest friends (this I am extremely confused about after reading your articles on Men and Women Can’t be Friends).

He continued to date other people, and outwardly I said that I didn't mind and was in fact happy for him, however I did wish we could rekindle what we had previously had, only after he had returned from an honourable mission.

Whilst preparing to serve a mission, my friend became serious with one girl. His family was (and still is) angry about the situation, and up until now they had not been openly adverse to his relationships until this particular this girl.

However they have stayed a couple and she is waiting for him.

Meanwhile, we still call each other best friends, and at first I didn't realize that was code word for “we’re not dating but I’m waiting for him” until his girlfriend pulled me up whilst saying it.

I was there at his call opening, farewell, setting apart and at the airport, when his girlfriend wasn’t.

He includes me in his family emails as well as sending me a personalized email each week.

I have tried to say to him save the time to email more important people, but I continue to get the personalized emails.

He is now 10 months through his mission.

I don’t know what his intentions are… Does he have a sense of obligation because he was the one that introduced me to the Church?

Have I become like a family member to him?

Does he want something more?

Or am I the fall back option if everything doesn’t go to plan?

I never thought I would be the person to email into an advice blog, but your truthful, sincere advice is definitely what I need right now.

Whatever your take on the situation, any advice on my future actions would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

- Confused




Dear Confused,

I'm with you!

I have no idea what he wants.

Are you a backup?

A safety net?

Is he just being nice?

Does he feel guilty?

Is he "in love"?

Is he afraid that you don't feel the same way?

Here's the thing: since we don't know, and it shouldn't be asked, brought up or considered until he comes home . . . we have to focus on you. And now is a great time for you to grow personally. 

Perhaps that means school . . .

Certainly you'll want to continue your path as a disciple of Christ . . .

And I think you need to be going on dates with other guys.

You've got 14 months.

That's a long time.

Be Free!

If, when he comes back, you're single and you're both interested in each other, then you can ask for answers to all of those questions.

Until then, I say write about it in your journal, and let it go.

- Bro Jo