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Friday, May 20, 2016

A Reader Wants to Know: Is She Caring or Confused?

Dear Bro Jo,

I was dating a guy for 3 months earlier this year. We broke up about 6 months ago.

The basis of our relationship was friendship...

I'm a slow mover and he was my first boyfriend (it was a month before I was sure enough to officially date/kiss him).

The more I spent time with him, the more I found about him that I liked: we felt the same way about working hard in school, loved cooking together, liked the same quirky movies, and he got a long amazingly with my family.

Our first date as a couple, he told me that he was bisexual. I was totally surprised, but also impressed and grateful that he would be so honest with me.

I knew it would be difficult, but I had confidence that we could continue dating as long as we were both honest and open, and felt that it was right.

As we continued to date, I realized how very UN-attracted to me he was. Since it was my first relationship, I felt frustrated and humiliated when he pulled away from my physical signs of affection (hand holding, cuddling, kissing).

While I never wanted to take it too far, I also hated the single, hesitant peck at the doorstep after our dates.

As the weeks passed, I realized that there were other reasons we couldn't continue dating: avoiding clarifying conversations we needed to have, ignoring invitations to do things together, standing me up for dates. I waited for a week or so for things to change and attempted to be understanding, but then realized (with counsel from my parents and roommates) that a breakup was necessary.

I initiated it, but it was mutual and we parted as friends.

I was miserable for MONTHS, but am finally feeling ready to date other people again.

The incredible thing is that we've managed to stay friends.

We have a big group of mutual friends, stayed in the same ward, and spend time together (in groups) nearly every week comfortably.

But I have a problem. I'm a very caring person.

Once I decide to let my guard down with someone, I love them with my whole heart, and empathize with their experiences.

So while I was never IN love with this guy, I loved him a lot.

He is still struggling with many issues (more than I ever realized when we were dating), and he's at a difficult stage in his life.

I know that he needs friends, support, and most of all love from people he trusts.

Is there a way I can continue to support him and show how much I care for him (in a non-romantic way) without causing confusion?

I don't want to undo emotional progress I've made, or make things awkward/difficult for him as an ex-girlfriend.

However, he is still a big part of my life, a good friend, and someone I care for very much.

Sorry that was so long, but I'd be grateful for any advice you have to offer on the situation!

- Caring and Confused.

Dear Caring,

Let's be clear: "Bi-sexual" means that this man wants to have (and, if he's using the term correctly, HAS HAD) sex with both men and women. 

"Hetero-sexual" is how we're all born and designed, "Bi-sexual" and "Homosexual" are terms that define what some choose to do with the parts they're born with.

So I think Both Of You are confused.

But it's your email, not his, so let's talk about you.

There's nothing wrong with being caring, but it's also important to not let those you're trying to rescue drown you in the process.

That same principle that applies to basic lifesaving also applies to soul saving.

Listen:  Be a Good Friend and Disciple of Christ, but don't allow his recklessness and neediness drag you under.

Invite him to attend Church, but don't sacrifice your own quest for a good relationship to be bogged down in this bad one.  Even if you're "just friends".  (By the way, who the heck tells someone what their sexuality is on a first date???  That, my friend, is a Huge Red Flag.)

Encourage him to repent, but don't stay up all night texting and talking as he uses you as his confessor. Be loving, but realize that the love of your life needs to be someone else.

- Bro Jo

Dear Readers,

As most of you know, most emails I get don't post here, and those that do are often several years old.

Recently parts of what are discussed in this post have become quite the topic in the media and social media.  

(It seems like all day, every day, the last verse of "Follow the Prophet" keeps playing in my head.)

There's a lot of twisted meanings out there, and one thing is for sure:  more and more people seem to have confused words like "sex", "marriage", "love" and "gender"...

I do not believe that we necessarily control whom we're attracted to . . . (though I do think that culture and environment have a bigger impact on that than many people admit or realize) . . . 

HOWEVER, I know for a fact that we have Agency and Control what we do with our bodies and whom we do things with.  I also know who it is that doesn't like agency and who didn't want us to have it.

Just wanted to share those thoughts with you at this time.

God bless,

- Bro Jo

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