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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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

One Girl's Story - Part 3 of 5: They've Had the Talk

[Dear Readers, 

 A special treat this week. Five posts, all from the same sister. 

I'd like you to see how life changes and evolves in just a few short years. 

This email came one week after Part 2. 

Best to you all, 

- Bro Jo]




Dear Bro Jo,

So I did it.

I talked to him last night. I took the week to really think about it and how I wanted to approach talking to him. I also was out of town all weekend (camping) and when I got back Sunday morning I had a text from him just asking how I was.

It was awkward...

So I responded a few times and just asked him if he could chat later that night.

I just asked him if he was trying to be more of friends at this point, and he said yes, that he realized he wasn't ready to start dating again.

I knew he had had a pretty bad breakup in the past 6 months, and he was still bitter about it, and I should have taken that as a sign that he wasn't ready to date, but I liked him so much I ignored that fact.

Last night it came out that the break up had only been 3 months before we met.

And he had thought she was the one.

I think he has a lot of unresolved issues from it.

He kept apologizing and saying that he felt bad he didn't want to hurt me and that's why he handled it so poorly.

I told him that I would have understood if he had of told me when he realized it, and I'm probably more upset that he dragged me along than anything.

The biggest thing I think I got from this is that I was getting asked out by other guys and wasn't sure what to do, because I liked this boy enough to not want to go out with other guys.

But I can move on and start going out with other guys without all of this in the back of my mind. Thank you for telling me to talk to him, I probably would have just let it fizzle out and I would have never had answers.

It hurts a lot, but I think I'm pretty resilient and I'll be okay sooner than later.

- Still One Lonely Ute

PS:  When I said something about our mutual friend who I thought he was too close to, he was astounded that I was ever jealous of that!

He couldn't believe that I would feel threatened, and he pretty much said he would never decrease a friendship with someone for a relationship with another person, because he saw them as two totally separate things.

I disagree with him, but I found it interesting.

Anyways, thanks again!





Dear One,

Hard as it is, knowing is better than not knowing . . . I think.

It will be interesting to watch this young man as he learns somethings about friendship and relationships.

Best,

- Bro Jo

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

One Girl's Story - Part 2 of 5: A Relationship?!?

[Dear Readers,

A special treat this week.  Five posts, all from the same sister.  I'd like you to see how life changes and evolves in just a few short years.

This email came five months after Part 1.

Best to you all,

- Bro Jo]


Dear Bro Jo,

I wrote you a couple months ago because I was frustrated I wasn't going on dates. Your advice helped a lot and things got better!

Well, I got set up with this amazing guy at the beginning of June and things were going really well! We were going out on a regular basis, we were talking fairly regularly, he was making excuses to see me, and he would do cute things like randomly bring my favorite candy bar to me at school (we're both going summer semester).

I had gotten to the point where I didn't really want to go out with other people.  However, about the time I decided this, things got weird. He would still do cute things, but acts totally disinterested at the same time and I feel like I'm initiating more conversations than when we first started going out, and we don't talk as consistently as before. I feel like we are on two totally different pages now, and I don't know what to do.  This past weekend I got asked out on dates by two different guys that I don't think I'd be interested in anyway even if this first guy wasn't in the picture, but do I go out with them?

I feel like I need to just ask him where we are, if I should be moving on. Or if I just need to be patient with him?

We haven't kissed yet, but we've kinda talked about kissing before, and he thinks it's really really important, but even without that, we cuddle a lot and he's been fairly affectionate with me (though, not much in the past week).

I'm struggling with all of this so much because in the beginning things felt so right, and easy, and I feel like we haven't progressed enough to be comfortable enough for the "wooing" to stop. If anything, I feel like we've just stalled. And maybe taken a couple steps backwards.

Also, I think he is way too close to the friend who set us up (probably because our mutual friend is a girl) but whenever I am around both of them I feel like the 3rd wheel.

Maybe I am just jealous because I like him so much, but I think her boyfriend feels that way too. I feel like I am stuck in between a rock and a hard place, either I am going to look like I am crazy and possessive, or I am going to be miserable.

Help!

I just don't know what to do anymore!


One Lonely Ute





Dear One,

Lots of thoughts here.  I'll try to keep them organized.

Two adults who have been on three or more dates, IMHO, should have at least kissed each other goodbye, exclusive or not.

I don't think you should kiss him just to keep him interested; but I don't understand why you haven't kissed yet.

Should you go out with guys you're not necessarily interested in?

Yes.  If you're not exclusive with anyone else.  Does this guy you've been seeing have reason to believe you're exclusive?  Well, yeah . . . if you two are spending all of your free time dating each other.

What do I think about the fact that things have "cooled off" this soon in the relationship???  I think that, for him at least, there's no interest in things moving forward.  Maybe.

(For the record, with most couples the wooing never stops; i.e.:  I still buy Sister Jo flowers and she makes me treats.)

He brought you candy . . . what did you do for him?  Was he putting in "all the effort" while you just sat back and thought "wow, this is great!"  (That certainly would have killed it for me . . .)

BTW . . . outside of "may I kiss you", before the first time, I think any discussions about kissing are weird.  If he said that and you said "I'm not ready, yet", I'd have told him to give you 1 week, 1 romantic date (after the third) to "get ready" and to expect you to say "I'm ready now".  If you didn't, I'd tell him to move on.  FYI.)

Now, all of that said, he and his "best friend" are totally dating the wrong people.  They should be dating each other.  Or they should stop being "besties" and focus on whom their dating.  I think the fact that you feel like a third wheel when they're together is very telling.

And I think you need to be telling . . . as in:

- telling him that you "feel like a third wheel when the three of you are together"
- telling him that you're not his "wait for her to dump her boyfriend consolation prize"
- and telling him that you'd "like to hear from him where he thinks the relationship is at and why he thinks you feel like things have cooled of recently and so soon"

Knowledge is power.

And Information Precedes Revelation.


Don't be dramatic or uptight; don't grill him or be overly possessive.

But go get some information.

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 29, 2016

One Girl's Story - Part 1 of 5: Lonely at the U of U

[Dear Readers,

A special treat this week.  Five posts, all from the same sister.  I'd like you to see how life changes and evolves in just a few short years.

Best to you all,

- Bro Jo]




Dear Bro Jo,

I am 21 and a Junior at the University of Utah.

I am so single, that it is becoming absurd.

Most people find out I am single or haven't been on a date in ages and are totally surprised.

I love my life here at the U, and I am making tons of friends, LDS and not. I am super involved in campus and at the Institute on campus. I spend a lot of time with my institute friends, and spend a lot of time helping out with LDSSA events.

I am a very outgoing and social person, smart, hardworking and nice, and I would say I am quite the catch!

(I have been told I am as well)

My friends and family alike, all joke that if I had of chosen to attend BYU, like I had originally planned in High School, I would for sure be married by now.

So I am curious. Why is it different at the U?

I have met a ton of AWESOME worthy priesthood holders recently through the Institute, LDSSA, and my campus involvement, but I haven't been asked out by any of them, even though several people are pretty sure at least of few of them are interested in me.

(Based on the way these guys treat me, I would say they like me as well, and I try to encourage it, I talk to them whenever I see them, I flirt, I touch their arms, and they reciprocate it, but NEVER have tried to ask me out, though one of them has my number, and tries to arrange to sit with me at U sporting events)

My best friend's husband told me a couple weeks ago that I should slow down, as the fact that I am so busy and involved is a total turn off.

However, I don't feel like it is, and the guys I am attracted to are also super involved, so in theory, wouldn't they like girls who are as well?

The other week I had a good male friend tell me that I come across as sociable, and flirty, and fun to be around, but not date-able.

That guys don't think I am interested in dating seriously, so they don't bother to ask me out.

So I am confused.

Is it possible that I am actually giving off this vibe?

Or is it that these guys really aren't interested in me enough to DO anything about it?

HELP!

- One Lonely Ute




Dear Ute,

Perhaps they mean to be complimentary, but with due respect to your friends and family one is no more likely to be dating (OR married) by attending BYU vs. the U.

What you're experiencing isn't school specific, it's an epidemic in Church Culture.

In our world of video games, lack of in-person communication skills, and man-boys whose parents pay for their lifestyle and never taught their sons to date, we've become overrun with Marrying age Guys who just aren't socially or emotionally prepared to be Serious Single Dating.

Girls are at fault, too.

They chase boys away with future mission proclamations (even if she's sure she's going to go, no girl should make that public until the papers are in), impossibly high expectations, and their own brand of hiding in a virtual world.

And both sexes place Way Too Much Emphasis and Pressure on First Dates.

Those first few dates are about getting to know a person, should never imply any kind of commitment (even if there's a little bit of kissing), and shouldn't be reserved only for people you already know "really well".

Look, you're not alone in your frustrations.

I hear from Men and Women all the time, from around the world, who feel just like you do.

The solution, dear sister, is that you need to start doing some training.

Pick out a guy (or four or five) that you know that you think should ask you out and tell him so. "Hey, I've been expecting you to ask me on a date; how come you've never done that?" The answers you get will be Very Educational for you . . . and I wouldn't be surprised if you get a few dates as well.

The best way to "advertise" that you're available for dating is to go on dates, and the best way to get some of these sadly-never-trained-LDS-Single-Men to ask you out is to teach them how to do that. 

Keep me posted on how these conversations go, will you?

- Bro Jo

Friday, August 26, 2016

Age Gaps: 19 and 30?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hello!

I haven't read or followed your blog very much. I have a question though.

I met a person and am starting to like him a lot. I am still getting to know him.

He is extremely smart and put together.

He served a mission.

He is working on his masters and teaches dance, tai chi, and fencing classes.

The only thing is he is quite a lot older.... He is 30.

I am just 19.

Is that terrible?

All the guys I meet closer to my age are very desperate and more attached to the idea of a girl and not me.

Help please!!

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

You can search the blog site for different topics, and there are Tags on the Left Hand Side that will take you directly to a list of more frequently asked questions.

You may want to check out the one that says "Age Differences".

In general I think 19 and 30 is pretty far apart . . . I typically don't recommend it.

It can work, but it depends on the individual people.

Dating is about discovering who we are and what's important to us in a companion.

 As you date this man you'll learn more about him . . . and about yourself.

For now I say "Be Open", but "Be Cautious".

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Difference Between High School Dating and Post-High School Dating

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm 19 and just got done with my first year of college.

After reading through more of your posts, it's got me thinking.

During high school I didn't get asked out.

To be honest, I wasn't interested in dating though I would've gone if a nice guy had asked.

So I definitely wasn't heartbroken, and most of the time I didn't feel like I was missing out on much.

I never pursued dating but I am a little surprised I didn't get asked--I have nice features and take care of myself, though I am quiet unless I have something to say.

Most of my friends were girls and I've always been happy with having just a few good, close friends to spend time with. I've always been the type of person who has been myself 100%, known what I want, and known who I am and I'm very grateful for that.

It's made a lot of decisions easier for me. Even though year at University was different, (I got asked out more than anyone I knew and had a lot of fun and a few not so fun dates. I even ended up finding a guy I really liked by the end of it),

I'm wondering exactly what would the benefit have been if I had dated in high school?

Do you think I've "caught up" in a sense?

How can I better transition to dating/pursuing dating now that I am interested/realize it can be fun? 

Also, two random questions:

     1) is it ever okay to text a guy a picture of yourself?

I told him to use his imagination as far as remembering what my face looks like ha.

He didn't mean it in a sexual way, though we do have a date this weekend.

Along with this, he's a nonmember.

     2)  Generally speaking, what is the protocol for dating nonmembers so as to not lead them on/get hurt as a YSA?

I don't see any point in dating someone I already know I don't want to marry, but a couple dates seems harmless enough right? 

Thanks in advance!

- Kellie




Dear Kellie,

The benefit of dating in High School, in my opinion, is that you could have started your dating experience in a much less high-pressure situation;

Casual Group Dating is, by definition and moniker, much easier to start with than Serious Single Dating.

That said, it sounds like things are going very well on this front, so I don't really see that you need any advice as far as transitioning.

Keep having fun!


As for your "random questions" (I have found in my experience that, despite the label, these are never "random') . . .

My gut instinct is to say, no, it's never a good idea to send someone a picture via text. Even if it's a totally appropriate and modest head shot, you need to realize that nothing you send electronically is ever really private.

At the very least, be extremely cautious.

(You know, Little Sister, you'll go very far in life if you ask yourself questions like "why does this guy want my picture?" I'll let you see if you can guess The Real Reason.)

Sister Jo says that a girl should always want to keep the guy interested and guessing, and she says that there's a lot of Girl Power in being Mysterious.

*Side note: call me skeptical (I prefer "realistic"), but whenever someone feels the need to say that something IS NOT the reason, it's always actually the reason. 


Secondly, I frankly think it's a waste of your time and his money to date non-members at your age and in this stage of dating.

While I agree that superficially a couple of dates seem "harmless", I counter by asking you: what's the point?

Look, if you were still in High School and this was a Casual Group Date, I'd say by all means "go"; but at this point in your life you need to have certain criteria that all of your dates need to meet, and I think "worthy, active priesthood holder" is the bare minimum.

I mean, unless this guy is sincerely investigating the Church, I wouldn't bother.

That's not to say that you should be mean, but . . . certainly not.  And I'm sure he's a nice guy, but again, what's the point?

Since it, at least at this moment, has no hope of going anywhere, then it's kind of like you're taking advantage of him.

Even if he doesn't care, that's not a good thing.

And since things with this guy aren't going anywhere, doesn't that mean that every moment you spend with him is a moment you're not spending with a guy who could possibly lead to a relationship that IS going somewhere?

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Is It Over?

Dear Bro Jo,

I don't know how to begin. I'm 27 soon to be 28 and my boyfriend is 24.

We have been dating officially since the end of Feb.

I feel like I really messed things up.


Here's a little background.

Hes studying pre-med and will be a senior this next year and graduating.

I will be a junior and I'm in the middle of deciding my major.

I met him while he was working in the cafeteria at school last fall semester.

I thought he was pretty cool so we started talking and hung out once or twice and then he asked me on a couple dates.

Nothing happened, but we had fun.

We kept in touch briefly and then spring semester came, he saw me, made the effort to spend time with me and our first date we HIT IT OFF!

It was incredible!

From then on we just kept finding time to spend with each other.

We decided to make things official at the end of february and have been dating since then.

We have said the "I Love You's and everything.

I really care for this guy.

I asked him once what he wanted with this relationship and he told me hes at a point in his life where he's looking for a future companion and so far so good, but we will see.

He's even told me that he feels like we have a lot of the same goals and dreams...

But, this is how I feel like I messed things up.

I worried WAY WAY WAY too much about everything and couldn't appreciate what was going good.

And because of my worrying I caused him to question how he feels.

So dumb.

I asked him what was going to happen once the semester ended.

He had his internship (which is where hes at right now for this month) and I wasn't sure if I was staying here or going home for the summer.

I told him I didn't want us to waste each others time.

Well, he became a little distant after that and it finally was really noticeable.

My feelings were really hurt.

I am his first serious relationship and well to be honest, he is mine.

He's not very good at expressing his feelings and neither am I. Its something we are working on.

I realize I've been the one who's impatient and not just letting things flow and happen as they will.

Well, before he left we agreed on a "break".

Whatever that means...



I have spoke to him twice on the phone since he's been gone and both times he's told me he loves me, but, he doesn't text me now.

To me that says he's over me.

Am I wrong in thinking this? I mean, how hard is it to send a text..it takes less than a min...

My mom just tells me to be patient, that hes really busy with his internship and to just see how things go when he gets back.

I don't know what to do.

I feel like I've screwed it up and I don't know how to make things right. I'm miserable and feeling like I'm in limbo.

I know he's busy with the internship and working on top of that as well as helping the doctor he's interning for publish an article, but is it asking to much for just some sort of contact?

We agreed that with the break we were still "dating"...but, I don't even know what that means anymore.

I'm trying to give him his space so he can figure out what he wants.

That's what he told me he needed...was to be able to figure things out.

Is that just a cop out for I really don't want to be with you and I'm too chicken to say anything?

Am I being ridiculous in my thinking?

Help.

- Hurt & Confused




Dear Hurt,

You know . . . I'm not a big fan of texting.

It's fine for sending little pieces of information (Sister Jo and I will text each other updates when we're at simultaneous sporting events in different parts of the state), but there's so much communicating that can't happen in a text.

Tone, expression, body language . . . it all goes missing.

Time is passing much faster for him than it is for you right now because, as you said, your schedule isn't quite as busy as his.

If he continues down this career path then his life isn't going to be any less busy any time soon, as I'm sure you're aware.

The problem, of course, is that you left things differently than you wish you had, and that's exacerbated by the fact that, in terms of marriage culture (especially in the Church), he's got a few prime looking for a spouse years left, and frankly . . . you don't.

Not to argue with your mom, but I don't think you have the luxury of "being patient".

Yes, it's only been a month, and yes, two calls during that time is pretty good, but a girl needs reassuring; and he probably needs to be taught that.

To me it sounds like the last few times you saw him you were giving his boat a push in the opposite direction . . . sitting back and waiting isn't likely to change the current of the ocean . . .

So . . . I think you need to bring it up.

Tell him how you feel, tell him what you're worried about, and tell him what you want.

Tell him you love him and need some reassurance.

On the phone is fine, in person would be better.

If you "scare him off", I submit he was already out the door anyway.

And if you never ask, and things never happen, you'll regret it forever.

Good luck.

Let me know how it goes.

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 15, 2016

Boy Problems

Dear Bro Jo,

Hello!

I'd really like some advice about a boy I know, and I'm at a current point where I don't feel comfortable opening up to my parents about it, so here is my story.  (Sorry that it is so lengthy!).

I started high school this year and in that school, there are a mixture of 2 elementary schools literally down the road, and I happened to go to the smaller, French immersion one, and when we registered we had the choice to go into Extended French which is immersion or just regular.

I chose the regular as I am terrible at French and all my best friends and the majority of my classmates from my elementary school chose the extended French!

I was put into 5 out of 8 classes with people I didn't know. It was really hard at first, but I started to make friends with some people (yay!).

 About 3 months after being friends with the new people in my life, I started to develop a full blown crush on this guy - we'll call him Bob for now!

I had the butterflies, speechless-ness and everything for. I fell for him HARD.

He was always so sweet and funny and a gentleman-to me especially for reasons I still don't know- and he was pretty much everything I wanted in a guy, except for the fact of him being a non-member. 

Some of my new friends figured out that I liked Bob and started to drop hints about me liking him, but also trying to figure out who HE liked, if anybody. They did it in such a way that he got really upset with them teasing him about it and never giving solid clues of who liked him.

They told me after a few weeks of the 'teasing' and I was upset as they then were pressuring me for a week to tell him that I liked him as 'it's unfair to tease him like this!'

After a week, during free period they chased me down the halls to tell him how I felt and the bell had rung at the point where I had finally stood face to face to him. I told him in the worst way POSSIBLE!

I asked him if I could talk to him for a minute and he said okay. I then proceeded to say almost instantly "I like you..." and he looked shocked.

I panicked and walked away. I felt humiliated!

I know that wasn't the best way to tell him, but the pressure and stress and everything made me scared.

I didn't talk to him for about 3 days until I messaged him on Facebook apologizing for the craziness.

He accepted my apology and we proceeded to become friends and talk literally, every day for 2 months! I was so happy!

But then, he dropped a bomb asking if I still liked him and I was honest. I said 'yes' and then he stopped talking to me for about a month.

I spent that month obsessing and freaking out and regretting the past few months.

Please understand, the whole time after I told him my feelings, he was so hot and cold; one day it appeared to me that he liked me and others he would pretty much ignore me. And whenever we would talk in person or on Facebook, he'd ALWAYS start the conversation!

One of my best friends and I talked about it and she told me to ask him how he felt about me, so I proceeded by sending him a message on Facebook basically asking him that I wanted to know his true feelings so I could move on with my life.

He then promptly replied with "IDK"!

I was so angry, but after that we started talking again!

I was torn!

I ended up liking him still, and he asked me once more how I felt about him and again I was honest-however this time, nothing changed.

This all led up to one day when he messaged me with "Hey sexy! ;)" and I didn't realize it until we ended the conversation.

I flipped out and asked my best friend what to do, because lately at that point he was acting very odd and I jumped to conclusions.

Then the next day, he asked me how I honestly felt about him.

I wasn't sure anymore, and I didn't want to affect his answer so I said 'maybe' and then finally asked how HE felt about me (I never had the guts to do it after the whole 'IDK' incident).

He replied with "I think your a pretty, amazing, nice girl, but I don't think of you as a girlfriend. I think of you more as a friend." and I felt numb and empty and terrible.

We stopped talking after that.

For the past month however, I had believed I was over him and I moved on and I felt great!

We started talking again, but not as much.

We saved the friendship and its been going great!

Unfortunately, I have started to notice him with a mutual friend, and he flirted with her (I know they are honestly just friends though and its all a joke that they play...I asked her!) and each time I see him joking around like that, I always get a pang of jealousy. I don't think I'm completely over him!

I also find myself trying to impress him sometimes again and whenever my friends mention him or tease me about him I still blush!

UGH!

So, now you know the story!

I want to be able to go to Youth Conference in August ready to meet new guys and not think about Bob anymore!

Do you have any advice on how to get over him?

I sincerely want to be just friends with him and I want to keep him in my life as he really is an amazing person!

Please help me! Thank you!

- Hopelessly Confused




Dear HC,

There are only two things that help us get over our crushes: time and a new crush.

So, give it some time.

Eventually your feelings for "Bob" will cool off a bit and you'll find someone new to like.

Sure, your feelings for him may never totally go away, but that's okay. Just do me one favor, please? 

From here on out be a little less aggressive in your pursuit of boys.


You don't have to talk or text a guy "every day", you don't have to confess to a guy that you like him, and you don't have to find "The Guy" any time soon. 


And, trust me, this whole process is going to go a lot better, with a lot less drama, if you reign it in a bit.

Okay . . . a lot.

Take the hyper-drama down a few dozen notches, will ya?

Remember, your value comes from Heavenly Father and your real beauty from within, and neither is based on whether or not you have a boyfriend.

And, know this: Good Guys don't like being aggressively pursued.

In fact, the Really Good Guys find it a turn off, especially as they get closer and closer to going on a mission.

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 8, 2016

Help, I need somebody, help, not just anybody...

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey Bro Jo, I need some help.

I'm part of a YSA ward that has ages 18-35 in it.

I'm friends with this guy who is really nice and I don't want to hurt his feelings, but he's starting to act like he likes me as more of a friend and I'm afraid he might have a crush on me.

There are two things wrong with that:

1) I'm preparing to go on a mission this Fall

2) I'm 20 and he's 32 and I'm not comfortable with that age gap.


Why do I think he has a crush on me?

He's been texting me more and more. I'm not much of a texter myself, so I don't usually reply, but he still texts a lot.

He told me I make him happy, and then gave me a (sideways one-armed after permission) hug.

He's also told me I'm the only reason he still comes to YSA ward.

He's started sitting next to me whenever I'm alone.


This has all been weirding me out.

But it's hard to tell if he has a crush on me or if he's just being himself.


This is a very affectionate guy who likes to let his friends know how much they mean to him. He also doesn't like seeing people alone, he likes to make people feel included so that could be why he sits next to me.

But I'm honestly afraid he might ask me out and I'd rather he didn't.

We're very different from each other, and while he is a friend and we hang out (in groups of friends) it's really only because he's a friend of a friend.

Ignoring age and mission, I'm not interested in him anyway.

I'm afraid to say anything to him, because if it is just him being himself I don't want to make our friendship awkward.

But I don't know what I'd say if he asked me out.

I'd like to keep him as a friend, and that's it.

Is this something I can ignore until he does ask me out?

Am I being paranoid?

I've been kind of avoiding him lately, because of awkwardness, but I feel bad about it because he's a friend. I fear that if he does have a crush on me, maybe it's because I've been sending the wrong signals.

I'm a very conversational person when people want to talk to me. Even if they're talking about something I don't care at all about, I act interested out of politeness.

I've been told I treat everybody like family, and I wonder if that makes him think I like him.

Any advice?

- Too Young Pre-Mi




Dear Pre Mi, 

Yes, I agree that he has a crush on you. 

And yes, in this instance I think you can ignore it as long as he doesn't do anything that you find to be too forward or that makes you too uncomfortable. 

If he does ask you out then I think you should tell him "thank you, no". 

If he needs more information, or you feel compelled to give it, be a good enough friend to tell him the truth. "I'm leaving on a mission soon, and even if I wasn't you're frankly too old for me. Further, while I think you're a nice guy, I just don’t have those kinds of feelings for you." 

And move on. 

If he drops you as a friend then you'll know that this whole time he was being nice because he wanted to date you, not because he thought of you as a pal or because he's just a friendly kind of guy. 

- Bro Jo

Friday, August 5, 2016

Talking to Your Bishop about Pornography

Dear Bro Jo,

I have been dealing with something that I was hoping you could help with.

A few months ago I had been struggling with pornography and I've done some things I'm not proud of.

I felt truly horrible about it, repented and stayed away from it and moved on with my life.

Or at least I thought I had.

I read in a New Era an article that made me realize that in order to truly repent I had to talk to my Bishop.

I'm scared.

I really want to talk to him and get rid of this guilt I've been feeling ever since.

I want to tell my parents first but I'm afraid of their reaction.

They always say they trust me and I don't want to hurt them or disappoint them but I know I have to do the right thing.

I also don't trust the Bishop as much as I would like to.

I realize that the only opinion I should really care about is God's but it doesn't make it easier.

I don't know how to approach them and just come out with it.

I don't want to feel this way anymore.

Please help.

Thanks.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Addiction isn't something that goes away; it's something that is a constant battle.

(And knowing that is actually a good thing.)

I'm not saying you're addicted, necessarily, but if you are I think it can be freeing to know the realities of how addiction works so that you can better ward off temptation.

Talking to your Bishop will be something you're really glad you've done. Start there.

Satan wants to keep you from the Love of the Savior, to keep you from feeling the Spirit, from feeling good about yourself.

He works hard to make you feel like your Bishop can't be trusted, like you're unloved, alone, and unworthy.

I've met a lot of Bishops and while no one is perfect, and each has their own promptings and style, if you go in with an open heart and contrite spirit I think you'll see that this good priesthood holder loves you and cares for you and wants desperately to help you.


Use our communication today as a catalyst to talk to him right away.


I figure you sent me this email (perhaps you were prompted?) so that I will tell you what I tell everyone: go make the call RIGHT NOW and set the appointment!

You can do it!

You'll be so glad you did.

And whenever you're struggling, including before the actual meeting, pray for help.

The Savior's Love is a wonderful thing.

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 1, 2016

Is Her Possible Fiance too Superficial?

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!

- The Girlfriend




Dear GF,

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 is NOT 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




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...

- GF




Dear GF,

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!

- GF




Dear GF.

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