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Monday, January 4, 2016

When Your Boyfriend Gets His Mission Call

Dear Bro Jo,

This boy and I have been a thing for 2 years.

We've still gone on plenty of dates with other people, which makes sense both for our age, and because we've lived across the country from each other the whole time. I am very close to his family and have visited for period of as long as 2 weeks before.

We do refer to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend.

If I'm being honest, though we have not been outwardly not exclusive, we're still each other’s "favorites" and are hoping for a future together.

I do intend to date plenty while he is gone.

Well, he is leaving on his mission soon.

We're not sure when.

It could be as early as the end of July but he will be submitting his papers this week.

I'm not sure how it all works, but I assume it will be later than that because they wouldn't want him to get his call and say he's leaving in only a few weeks.

But maybe that's just a bit of wishful thinking.

Well anyways, I just got back from a 2 week trip with him and his family and he's starting to really dive deep into mission mode.

Right now we're working on emotionally distancing ourselves; not talking as much, "breaking up" for all intents and purposes.

I am so grateful for his strong desire to be a missionary and the best he can be at that, but as you can imagine it is all very hard for me. He has been my best friend who I talk to about everything, through deaths in both of our families and struggles with friends and all the times we've both felt down in the dumps....

I keep having thoughts that we can drop the boyfriend/girlfriend thing but still keep the close friendship.

After all, you don't "dump" your best friends before you leave.

But I also know it's different when you've started so much closer.

Now my questions are: His family is having me again for a few weeks for a beach trip near the end of June. His parents, who talked to us about it being a good idea to break up in the first place, are okay (even enthusiastic) about it and I trust their judgement.

In these next however many months and my upcoming trip, what things should I make sure to be doing so that he can prepare fully?

Is there a way I can still stay best friends, or something, and not risk interfering?

Would it be alright for me to see him for a short time right before he goes for a sort of closure?

And how can I myself deal with him leaving?

Well I apologize for the novel, and I sincerely appreciate any advice you can give.


- Losing My Best Friend

Dear Friend,

I don't think you should make the trip. I think it will complicate things.

I think once a mission call is received things should go into "no longer dating mode"; I think Satan works very hard on missionaries to make them homesick . . . and less likely to go in the first place.

I think if you truly want to support him in doing the Lord's work you should let him go, in every sense of the word.

Write while he's gone, but not often, and keep any relationship - past, present or future - out of your letters.

Don't email each other, even if he's in an area where that's okay.

Your separation will get easier with time, especially if you focus on being of service to others and dating Good Guys when they ask you out.

Not just to be polite, but give them a chance.

Be a little less dramatic and a little less self-involved.

He's not dying.

And you're not "losing" him.

He's moving away for his good and the good of others.

The pain will get better with time.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

We've cancelled the trip.

But I still feel one question of mine goes unanswered.

During his preparation for the temple and the mission, is it alright for us to still talk?

Not as much, and we intend to leave our previous relationship out of it.

But when bad days happen, or good things, or just a chat occasionally like friends do.

Or should we tone all that way down, because of how close we were before?

He receives his call this coming week.

Much Thanks,

- Just Friends

Dear Friend,

Please understand, you two are not now, nor will you ever be "just friends".

You will either one day end up together (which could be great, but is statistically unlikely), or you'll end up with someone else (in which case the best thing you two can be to each other is "exes who are still friendly - meaning kind and polite - and nothing more").

I'm sure that comes with sadness.

That's part of the risk we run when we put ourselves out there . . . which is part of the reason why I don't recommend these serious relationships before missions are served.

Post mission? Absolutely worth the risk!

Because at some point you end up in that relationship where there's never going to be a break up . . . and that's pretty cool.

Of course it's alright to talk.

But you're so hung up on this guy I don't think running to him every time you have a bad day is a good idea or want to chat.

In a very short period of time you won't be able to do that at all . . . so let him go.

For his sake and yours.

Yes, by all means, tone it down.

Be Kind.

Be Polite.

Be Congratulatory.

But realize this: it's over. At least for the next 24+ months.

(Missionaries typically report 3-6 months after receiving their calls.)

The longer you wait to realize that, the harder it's going to be.

Trust me; I'm sure he's a great guy, but he's not the only one out there.

Nor is he the only person out there willing to be your Very Good Friend.

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Carly said...

While I do know of several couples who were in relationships before the guy left for a mission and then married when he came back (my parents included), I know of just as many couples who it did not work out for. (And side note, my mom dated other guys while my dad served. She was even in a relationship with a few.) Two years is a long time. It is the most important that you allow yourself to be open to the will of the Lord. Ask him for his plan and his guidance, and don't just rely on your hopes and wants. He DOES have a plan for you, and when you do the right things, it will be made known to you. Allowing the missionary to serve without distraction from a girl at home is the right thing.