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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,


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

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