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Friday, June 3, 2016

Relationship Anxiety? Or Discouragement from Satan?

Dear Bro Jo,

I am 22 years old. I've been home from my mission for a little over a year and in that time I've officially dated 2 girls (I never steady dated before my mission) and have had the opportunity to date a few others.

Neither of those relationships lasted more than a few weeks (and the "few others" lasted even less).

With each of those girls I had a lot of fun but I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get deeper than just the surface stuff.

Now I don't expect a girl to tell me her deepest secrets right off the bat, but I think building a relationship involves a steady flow of disclosure and a sort of emotional/spiritual connection.

Not being able to reach these girls on a level that I wanted, I got a lot of anxiety and called it off.

Looking back, I think it was the right thing to do in both cases.

But now I'm in a pickle.

I've admired a girl for a while. For the first time ever my initial interest had nothing to do with looks (we guys are visual, what can I say?). I just simply thought she was a great girl.

Last month we started going on a few dates.

We've been able to talk about important things.

After one conversation where we talked about how we want to raise our families, I was so happy I could have floated home.

But after the winter break, the same sort of anxiety I felt before came back.

Because of the sick feeling in my stomach and the gloomy feeling that followed, I started losing interest and now I don't feel any desire to be with her even though she seems perfect. I guess I don't have as much fun with her as I do a few other girls, but is that something that should cause me so much anxiety?

The question is, should I try to rekindle some interest and overcome my anxiety, or is anxiety a legitimate indicator that, for whatever reason (including lack of personal preparation), it's not time for a relationship?

My mom seriously recommended seeing a counselor.

My roommates tell me that I just haven't found the right one yet.

I just want to know if what I'm feeling is normal or if it's something I need to get checked out.

- Name Withheld

PS: I really appreciate what you do. I'm amazed that a man would go through so much trouble for a bunch of strangers. God bless you.

Dear NW,

Come on, Elder!

Where do negative feelings come from?

If it's righteous to get married, and it certainly is, who might want you to feel anxious?

Who has a goal of keeping you from finding a Good Woman and going through the Temple with her?

When it comes to dating, I think anxiety is like getting in a swimming pool … sometimes you've got to just stop psyching yourself out and jump in.

Do Not stop seeing this Great Girl.

And do yourself another favor : stop treating every girl and every date like your eternal salvation hangs in the balance.

For now, Brother, they're just dates.

If you're not ready to be exclusive with this girl, or any other for that matter, then don't.

(A Good Guy, by the way, makes that clear. Simply tell a girl that you like her, would love to keep dating her, but you're not quite ready to be exclusive yet.)

And your roommates are right in that you need to be dating a lot more girls.

My RM recommendation, by the way, is at least one date a week, whether it's with the same girl or different girls.

Counseling may help; moms often know what's best, but I think you just need to stop letting Satan rule your life and power past this, too.

- Bro Jo

PS:  Thank you for the kind words, though I'm fairly certain I don't deserve them.  Cheers, - Bro Jo

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