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.)

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Should She Share with Her Parents that She is Struggling with Same Gender Attraction?

Dear Bro Jo,

I can't believe that it's almost been a year since I wrote that first email to you. Funny how things change and yet stay the same. I'm still working on the depression and my relationships with my family are still messy and frustrating. But I've learned a lot too. I've realized that I need to be active in the gospel, even when I don't want to be or it's hard. I need to learn to trust the Lord, even when it seems impossible. I need to be honest with Him and honest with myself. I've learned that I need to take care of myself, and that sometimes saying yes to what I need to do for me means saying no to someone else. And that's okay. I've realized that I can't be happy if I'm not living an authentic life and being true to who I am.

And I guess that's where I need your advice again haha. It's been a soul searching year of coming to terms with something I tried to bury for a very long time and I still have a hard time sharing. I experience same gender attraction. I ignored it and hoped it would go away, but it didn't. I tried to get busy with other things in life but avoidance doesn't really solve anything. So I finally let myself accept it and started thinking about what it would mean to act on those feelings. I made some mistakes along the way but am working on overcoming those. I know now that it won't bring me any lasting happiness or peace. So a few months ago I told a few close friends about this internal struggle I was having and the isolation I felt because of it. Only one of those friends was a member of the church, and she was supportive but made it clear that she wanted me to stay active in the church and she would not support me in anything other than that. I know that's what I need to do. But it's also hard to understand how this is part of God's plan, and how God loves me like this. But I'm going to work on it, and I feel like it will work out. The others were more outwardly accepting and told me it was okay not to have answers. That was reassuring, even though I know I need to stay active in the Church, something they don't necessarily fully understand.

My next step is that I want to be open about this with my family. Except my family doesn't talk about anything real or personal or meaningful. We talk superficially and around the real issues. My sister and I are breaking those habits, but I'm afraid this might not go over well, especially with my parents. My parents and I can't even have a real conversation right now, but I still love them and value the relationship we could have as parent/child. So I guess I'm wondering, as a parent, what do you think would be the best way of going about this? I'm afraid of how they'll react (mostly because I don't know what that reaction will be) and so I talk myself out of telling them. I also feel bad that they aren't the first to know. Yet I know that I needed to process this with others first and that's why I didn't tell them first. And I'm realizing more and more that not being honest about my feelings and experiences is taking a toll on me, especially because I know that I need to be more authentic in order to connect with people and have meaningful relationships. But I do want my family to know before I really tell more people. Does that make sense? I'm also afraid my family will want answers, and honestly, I don't have answers right now. I know how I feel, I know what the church teaches, I have a testimony of the church and I'm going to try to follow that, even though I don't feel very close to God right now. I'm going to work on accepting myself for who I am and go from there. I'm working with my bishop to feel the spirit more in my life and working with a counselor to help me by more self-compassionate. But I feel like that doesn't give them the answers they want, and I'm not sure I'm open to giving them that detailed of a response haha.

Any thoughts or advice? Am I just over-thinking this and imagining the worst?

Thanks!

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

How great to hear from you!

It really sounds like you're doing so much better than last year; good for you!

I'm a much more private person than I think many people realize. So I don't always understand the need to share everything with everyone.

I get that we take that risk because we're hoping, perhaps even expecting (though we may not admit it) that the people we open up to will be loving and supportive and maybe even condone what we have to say.

It's as if our happiness is dependent upon their reaction. I get that. And I understand it. But I also think sometimes it's best to limit who gets how much information.

If you don't have the kind of relationship with your parents at this point in time where you feel that you can safely share information, then I see no reason to be in a hurry to do so.

However, I'll also say this: were you my daughter, even though I might react in a way that is different than you hope, I'd rather know than not know. Especially if it's something your're struggling with.

I'd want to help. And I'd hope that in the same way that you'd want patience and understanding from me that you'd give me time and understanding, too.

Maybe for now you should keep the quantity of people you share your personal thoughts and feelings to a small group; not telling anyone else until you've had the conversation with your parents, regardless of how far in the future that may be.


Lastly, I'd like to take the opportunity of your email to share somethings about same-gender attraction that you may or may not have thought about in this way before.

First of all, simply recognizing that someone who shares you gender is attractive, or even sexy, is not enough to mean that you're gay. Or bi. Or anything else, for that matter.

Secondly, regardless of our sexual attractions, we control what we do with our bodies and who we do what we do with. I hope that makes sense.

We can certainly talk about it further if you like.

Oh, and one more thing: I think your Church friend has given you the best advice; you're lucky to have someone in your life who cares enough about you to tell you the truth, to tell you how they really feel.

Let's keep the lines of communication open.

Best,

- Bro Jo


[Dear Readers,

I haven't heard from this writer for several years, but I thought you might find it interesting that she has since been happily married in the Temple.

- Bro Jo]

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dating and Race in The Church

Dear Bro Jo,

Yo Bro Jo!

I'm so frustrated with my nonexistent love life right now and I apologize that I am writing to you about it, but I've been reading your blog and you seem to know more about it than I do...

So I'm in college and have been able to date for a while and just don't understand why no man is attracted to me.

I've been a convert for a while, baptized when I was twelve, and I live in a place where I can be spotted from a mile away.

Why?

Well, I immigrated to America from Africa when I was a toddler.

I'm from Sudan, and those are some of the very dark people in Africa.

Ever since I was baptized, I've felt uncomfortable because of the attention this gave me.

I am proud of where I'm from and the culture I've been born into, but it seems like that's the reason why no one is interested in me.

This is what I've heard from the guys and girls in my YSA:

     "Oh, she's black, I can't take her out."

     "No one likes black girls."

     "I mean, you're pretty for a black girl."

     "I just don't think black girls are good girls to date if I want a real relationship."

So I'm asking you, is this the mindset of every male in the Church?

I have the same desires of every young woman; I want to be married in the Temple, I want to be able to raise my children in a home that has the priesthood.

This becomes more and more of a fairytale every passing day and with the feedback I'm getting from fellow members confirms it.

I'm really active in the Church. I'm a Relief Society teacher, I go out on team-ups with the missionaries every chance I get, go to the Temple when I am able, read my scriptures, go to institute, and so on.

I do all the things I need to and I love doing them, but I guess keeping the commandments and standards only get you so far.

You have to "look Mormon", too.

Tell me that isn't true...

Signed,

- Miss Africa




Dear M.A.,

Absolutely not!

I know many, many men of various backgrounds that care not at all what ethnicity a person is.


[Tangent story.  

This goes both ways, you know.  

When I was in High School I tried very hard to get a very pretty girl to go out with me.  I suspect you and she have similar coloring.  

We'd flirt and all, but she'd never agree to go out with me.  

Finally, when I pressed her for a reason one day, she said "I just can't go out with a guy who's that white!  My parents would freak out and my friends would all give me a tough time."

True story.
]


If it means anything, and I think it should, the emails I get from women in your age group who are upset about their lack of dates and romance are from all nationalities, colors, and cultures.

So, in that, you're not alone at all.

Further, I say shame on anyone who has said the things you've heard!

Hang in there.

Continue to be of service to the Lord and others.

All things happen in the Lord's timetable instead of ours, but as we seek to widen our circle of friends (and it sounds like you could use some good ones) and lose ourselves in service the worries we have (like yours) seem to somehow resolve themselves.

Be Open.

Be Positive.

And remember:  this is a Global Church.  There's no such thing any longer as "looking Mormon".

God bless,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

You don't know how much that helps.

Really, thank you so much!

I'll open the New Year with an open heart, positive mindset, and remember that the Lord has it all handled.

Your reply reminded me of a scripture; 3 Nephi 13: 30-34

Thank you for bringing that to mind; it's calmed my heart.

You are the bomb, Bro Jo, I hope you know that!

- M.A.




Dear M.A.,

That is very kind.

Thank you,

- Bro Jo

Monday, September 26, 2016

Should He Move On from the Negative Girlfriend?

Dear Bro Jo,

I've been intermittently reading your blog for a while now, and I want to thank you for what you do. 

That being said, now I'm in my own predicament.

 A little about myself, I'm 25 years old and have been a member of the Church for about 3 and a half years now.

I spent the first 2 years of being a member at a family ward and the last year and a half in a YSA ward. I must say it has been a great journey so far with its ups and downs.

Anyhow, for some background on my situation, I met this girl through a mutual friend from our YSA stake about a month ago. I thought she was pretty cool so we went on a date a week later.

We hit it off really well, and as a result, we started spending a lot of time together.

We talked a lot on the phone as well and I enjoyed it, which was surprising because typically in the past I haven't cared for talking on the phone much and would feel bored or distracted. Things progressed pretty quickly and a little over two weeks after our first date we decided to go exclusive. 

Now fast forward to today and I'm at the end of the first week of being exclusive.

The problem is, over this week, I've learned a lot about her that makes me feel uneasy that wasn't apparent previously. I've discovered that she's actually quite negative.

She's 27 and doesn't think she'll get married. She said she's felt like this for several years now, because she doesn't really consider herself "wifey material".

She says she's not really the romantic or lovey dovey type (though she is affectionate, so not sure what she means by this), and she is quite independent.

Another thing is I realized that her testimony isn't as strong as I initially thought it was. I know she's had some issues in the past falling away and coming back to the Church but she seemed pretty good now.

We were talking about the temple the other day and she expressed her concern about taking out her endowments.

She said part of her doesn't really want to take out her endowments because she's afraid that when she ages out of the YSA and is forced to go to a family ward that she will not feel as connected to Church anymore and might fall away.

And she doesn't want to take out her endowments and then have that happen because she would feel so guilty about it.

As you can see, she has a very negative outlook on her future and her activity in the Church.

I told her I didn't understand why she would even let that be an option.

Why would you ever let falling away from the Church be a possible option?

She later agreed that she shouldn't be thinking this way.

The point is, this kind of stuff is very alarming to me and I'm not sure how to approach the situation. 

It's just so odd because, for the most part, she is very pleasant and such a sweetheart and we get along great and have great chemistry when we spend time together, until somehow the future is brought up and then I feel like she's a completely different person.

While part of me is telling me to jump ship, another part of me feels like I can help her but at the same time I kind of feel like that's not my responsibility.

If we were married and her testimony started wavering, then I feel it would be my duty to help her as husband, but considering we've only been steady for 1 week, it is seriously concerning to me.

I feel like maybe this is why we met in the first place, so that I can help her. I almost feel like if I don't help her, that she very well might fall away at some point in the future, especially if she doesn't get married like she envisions will be the case.

I'm just not sure what to do, and it's kind of stressing me out. I would appreciate any advice that you may have.

Thank you so much for your time.

Sincerely,

- Conflicted 





Dear Conflicted,

Negativity could be a deal breaker.

Few of us want to spend eternity with someone who is a downer all the time.

But before you write this girl off try putting a little more effort into understanding her. You might find that building her self-esteem and confidence ... showing her that she's "worth eight cows" (Mormon culture reference; if you haven't seen Johnny Lingo, do) might work wonders.

Sounds like she's worth the try.

- Bro Jo

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Should She Wait for Him to Overcome His Addictions?

Dear Bro Jo,

I have not always been a member, but I was raised in the Church. I had to fight for these beliefs and because of parental dissension, I had to wait to be baptized until after I was legally an adult.

Being temple worthy and a good member is so important to me.

I have not always dated members, and the last guy that I dated seriously was verbally and emotionally abusive.

I broke up with him right before FHE one night this last summer, and a friend of mine went with me because I was afraid I would be struck by this boy I had thought loved me.

After I ended that relationship, I had a blessing that told me God would reveal himself to me in the form of a friend, and I immediately pictured the friend who accompanied me to protect me from my ex.

A few months later, and that friend and I had been going on a few dates and flirting, but he was struggling with a masturbation and pornography addiction.

We prayed about it and decided to enter into a relationship because we brought each other closer to God, we both pushed each other to be better, and we both wanted to give each other a healthy relationship.

After a month of dating, the physical temptation was too strong and we broke up rather than make a big mistake.

During the break up it was difficult because we both still had feelings for each other and still had to see each other at Church.

We both felt it was imperative to stay in each other's lives, especially since he had just been called as my home teacher, literally that morning.

So during this break up we came up with a deal. We agreed to be in "waiting."

He and I would be single people, not attached to each other, yet we would be "waiting" for the other one.

Single, yet unavailable to other suitors.

We gave ourselves a one year time limit, if we aren't ready to date once again within a year, we will move on for good.

Bro Jo, am I insane?

Waiting for a boy who can't go on a mission and has had these serious addictions for years?

I tell myself that I'm young, turning 20 in a month, and that I have only ever dated seriously, so some single-time would be wise, but am I just waiting for more heart break?

I know you've said that boys with these issues look for girls like me, ones who want to fix them or to hold their hand while they get better, but I just keep hoping that he's different.

Am I insane for playing the waiting game?

Sincerely,

- Waiting




Dear Waiting, 

Well ... I certainly wouldn't recommend the course of action (or lack thereof) that you're taking. 

(You know what the definition of "insanity" is, right?) 

I'll be candid (I'm sure you expect nothing less), I think your "promise" may be hurting the both of you. See, by telling an addict that you'll "always be there" for them, we often give them permission to continue the behavior. 

It's as if there's no consequences for the addiction, so there's no motivation to change. 

We think we're being helpful and supportive, but often we're enabling them. 

And what if you meet a great guy? 

Are you going to let that opportunity get away because you've roped your boat to this anchor? 

I'll go a step further. I think you need to let your Bishop know that because of the sexual temptations in the past that you don't think it's a good idea that this guy is your home teacher. 

What happens if, in a moment if horny weakness, he comes over? 

What if you invited him because you're feeling lonely? 

Never date or wait for an addict. 

Insist that they get clean first, then you'll think about it. 

If you were already married and the addiction was new and he was seeking help I could understand sticking it out for a little while ... as long as honest progress was being made. 

But that's not the case here. 

(You do realize I hope that there are only two reasons for him to tell the girl he's dating about his problem: either A) he wants you to encourage him to see his Bishop and get his act together, or B) he's hoping it will lead to fooling around.)  

Don't shun him or completely cut him out of your life. 

Recovering and repenting people need to know that they're lived and have friends. But one can be a friend without being the girlfriend. 

And as long as your commitment is to him, and you can't possibly be dating anyone else, that's exactly what you are. 

You're too young to not be going out on dates with nice guys who ask. 

- Bro Jo

Monday, September 19, 2016

Keeping the Flame Lit Over a Long Distance

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey there!

I don't know if you remember me, it's been a while since I emailed you last.  I'm just looking for some advice again.

To sum up what's gone down so far on the girlfriend-front, life's pretty good.

We have been together for coming up on 7 months and we've recently gotten engaged.

It all went pretty quickly, but we both feel really good about this decision after lots of prayer, and we're happy and excited to be together!

It hasn't been an easy time together, she's 20 and I'm coming up on 22, so we're still pretty young.

As I mentioned in my previous email to you, neither of us have had a ton of experience with serious relationships, and so we've had a lot of growing up to do.

It's been a worthwhile adventure and I'm excited to see where our relationship goes.

That said, here's my question:

I got a job working at this place in northern Arizona by the Grand Canyon. The job goes from now until October, about 4 days before our wedding.

I've never done this whole long-distance thing before, and it's been rough for the first few days.

We've spent the last 7 months together almost every single day back at BYU-I, and so being apart isn't easy.

I wonder what you'd suggest about long-distance engagements, how to make those work out and what NOT to do.

Communication is a struggle down here, since I'm basically living in a cabin in the woods, we're limited to Facebook messaging and phone calls when I can find time and service. What should we do and not do so that our relationship doesn't suffer?

Also, we still need to have a serious conversation about our expectations physically for after marriage, I know that's part of your pre-engagement checklist but we kind of felt like we should wait until the wedding was closer to discuss those things, and I don't know the best way to do that. Is that an appropriate Skype conversation to have? I mean, Skype is definitely the safest way to do that, since it would be hard to break the law of chastity from a few hundred miles apart (she's working for her Grandpa in California until the wedding). Would it be best to wait until we meet up the week of the wedding and have that conversation in person? Anyway, any advice you have to offer would be great. I just don't want to meet up in two and a half months and be all awkward and have to re-learn each other two days before we get married, you know? I want to keep this relationships as close and alive as I can, that way we can start off on the right foot when we begin our lives together! Thanks so much for all you do, you provide a great service for us youngsters by giving inspired, old-fashioned, and down-to-earth advice.

You're the man!

I wouldn't mind one other piece of advice if it's not asking too much of your time. The one thing that has been the hardest for us both has been the difference in our interpersonal skills and habits. I have a tendency to be really outgoing and give a lot of attention to people I care about, while Emily is a bit of a "homebody" as she would say, and labels herself "socially inept". She's not, but she is shy and reserved with her feelings. I've had a hard time not taking it personally when she isn't as friendly with me as she is with other people she's known longer, or when she has kind of had "enough" time with me for one day and would rather do something else. I've never been able to have "enough" of anything I really enjoy, so it's hard to understand where she's coming from. She assures me often that she loves me and is excited to spend her life with me, I just sometimes have a hard time looking past those little things that worry me and kind of set off my insecurities.

I know that it's mostly a lack of trust in her, and just the fact that we haven't had a ton of time to get to know each other as well. So any advice on how to let go of my insecurities and trust her more?

Anxiety is something that runs in my family, and I'm taking some extra vitamin B to try to counteract a possible deficiency, but what are some behaviors and habits I can develop that will help?

Thanks again!

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Do

- Write letters.
- Call.
- Send small inexpensive but thoughtful presents.

Don't
- Make plans to see each other alone.
- Call, text or Skype late at night.

As for the "expectations" talk ... I'd keep it limited to simply seeing if either of you have concerns. 

Unless there's a big issue, you'll figure it out and work it out.

The keys to sex, like the other parts of our relationships, are communication, trust and understanding.
As for your last concern, you don't need to be identical to enjoy spending time together. (I'm on a plane right now with Sister Jo. She's crocheting and I'm answering emails and playing Atari games.) 

Help her to feel safe around you.

Understand that she's not exactly like you, and admire those differences.

Celebrate her strengths.

Best to you both,

- Bro Jo

Friday, September 16, 2016

How Soon is Too Soon to have a DTR?

Dear Bro Jo,

I just finished my first semester at BYU-I and met a guy barely before finals week.

The first date went really well, and then so did the second, and the third, and the fourth, and fifth... 

Well, we parted ways for the holiday break and, of course, the moment I stepped in the door to see my family I was pelted with a thousand questions.

Like, have you guys kissed yet?

Have you held hands?

Are you official?

The respective answers to these are no, no, and who knows?


While most outside of our faith would reassure me not to be worried since we only saw each other for a week, it's, of course, different in LDS culture.

Should I be concerned that no definite communication has taken place already between us concerning whether or not we are official?

Or should I just 'go with the flow'?

As for the kissing and hand-holding, I have little reservation at this point and am ready to move forward with that after the break when we see each other again (if he is comfortable).

I know communication is key . . . .I could be straightforward and ask him, "So, are we official?  Are we an exclusive couple?"

I am perfectly willing to do that if he doesn't beat me to it within the first few days back.

That's just the thing, though—I want him to take the initiative. I truly want things to work out with this guy, but I also don't want to jump the gun and send him running by moving too fast.

From what I've told you do you perceive any reason for me to be concerned?

Thanks,

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Just a couple weeks in is, IMHO, too soon to be having a serious conversation about where a relationship is and where it's going.

Relax and Enjoy!

You know, Sister Jo and I never had a "DTR" (Determine The Relationship) talk.

We realized we were together because . . . well . . . we were together. All the time.

I think it's clear he likes you.

Communication IS Key, but not all things need to be instantly put into words.

Give this time.

If you still have no clue in 2-3 months, let's talk about it again.

But, for now, I agree with you: once the semester starts again in a week or so I think you'll know where you are in this relationship.

Don't let the curiousness and excitement of friends and relatives make you feel pressured. They're acting this way because they love you and are hoping good things for you.

While I agree that I want him to take initiative, that's not meant to give you license to leave him in the dark, either.

If you haven't already, a note from you saying how much you enjoyed your time together and how you're excited to see him again might be a really good idea.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Should He Tell Her That She Shouldn't Marry That Other Guy?

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm a recently Returned Missionary.

My question does not have to do with my own life, but rather the life of a young woman that I met in my mission.  (There is NO romanticism between us. Don't worry lol).

She's a member. I imagine she's in her 30's.

I met her near the beginning of my mission. She was going through a lot of problems at the time.

You see, she's single, and she's had many guys (the majority non-members that she doesn't like) pursue her.

As missionaries we couldn't leave any advice or opinion, so we just aimed to strengthen her testimony.

Long story short, I lost contact with her when I got transferred, but now that I've returned she's been messaging me asking for help.

She's SUPER kind and hates to hurt other people's feelings.

And that's a great blessing, but it's also part of the problem.

One man (a returned missionary) had been pressuring her into marriage.

She doesn't like him. At all.

I don't know the details but she says she has no interest in this man.

She's been asking me to help know what to do.

She tried running away, but whenever she returned (she lives with her family) the guy comes back. 

The guy appears very manipulative. I don't know him, but he's used lots of tactics. Even to the point that he took her to the temple, brought his WHOLE family over to meet her, and did other things to win her. He just proposed to her, and because of her sensitivity and fear of disappointing the families, she finally said yes.

And she's getting married this Thursday. I've read through many of your pages (and I LOVE it BTW) and advice and I have an idea of what I can tell her. Not to change or convince her. But rather to help her understand the magnitude of her decision.

I have an uncle that did something similar. He married to please others, and now he's miserable.

I really don't want this young woman to pass through same thing.

Could you give me any advice on the matter?

What's your perspective?

Anything would help.

Thank you for your time.

- Brother (Name Withheld)

PS: I served in Mexico. Loved the mission. And I love your blog. I can truly feel the spirit and your love for others as I read it. I really admire your efforts and diligence in helping us.




Dear Brother,

Your responsibility now is no different than when you were a missionary.

Tell her to trust in the Lord and give her advice on how she might better hear and feel the Spirit.

Other than that, it's not really your place.

Or your business.

Unless you DO have romantic feelings for her . . .

Taking the girl you want to marry to the Temple and having her meet your family aren't "tactics" . . . they're normal and wise things to do!

It sounds to me like he HAS "won her" (whatever that means) and that's probably a good thing.

She has no business telling you, a Single Man, that she's marrying someone she doesn't like . . . and the only reason for her to do so that I can see is that she likes you. (Now THAT sounds manipulative.)
Perhaps she's nervous.

Perhaps she's venting to you.

Perhaps she's an idiot. (I'm sorry, but marrying someone you can't stand simply to make them - or anyone else - happy is not something we call "brilliant"; just ask your uncle.)

But overall I'm just not sure this is something that you should get in the middle of . . . or even that you have any business getting in the middle of.

Imagine being the fiancé . . .

If he wrote me he might say something like this:

"Dear Bro Jo, I'm about to be married for Time and All Eternity to the woman of my dreams in 24 hours! She's wonderful, and I love her. She took some convincing though, but I thought everything was fine once she met my family. But now I'm not sure. She keeps emailing a young single man that she met when he was serving here as a missionary. He has told her not to marry me and that has lead to her having lots of doubts. What should I do?" 


Looking at things from another perspective can be eyeopening.


And before you say "BUT . . ." I want you to consider that she is an Adult With Agency.

If she decides not to marry this man, that's her decision.

And if she decides to marry him, that's her choice, too.  Even if, like your uncle, it's a bad choice.


Letting people screw up is perhaps the hardest thing we ever have to do.

Can you feel what it must be like for Heavenly Father?


You've told her not to marry him, now it's up to her.

(Again, unless you're offering an alternative - and you don't seem to be - I don't think that was your place, but it is what it is.)


I've had friends and relatives make what I thought were BAD marriage choices.

Sometimes I was wrong.

If two people are willing to put God and the other person first nearly any marriage can be awesome. 


Sometimes I was right.

But you know what?

When people told those folks "hey, don't marry that person" they almost never listened.


The last thing I have for you is this: it is inappropriate for you to have a close friendship with a non-relative married or engaged woman; just as it is inappropriate for you to have a close friendship with a non-relative woman regardless of her status once you're engaged or married.


Thank you for the kind words,

- Bro Jo

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Beauty of the Atonement

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi.

So I have recently just been through a breakup with my boyfriend of 3 years, he's a member and I'm not.

All throughout our relationship there has been struggles due to the fact I wasn't baptized but I knew I had to wait till I knew it was right.

He always said to me that the one thing holding him back was me being a nonmember therefore having differing views or opinions and I respected that!

I also knew I couldn't get baptized just for him.

When we met he was inactive.  We both drank and smoked and did things typical non-religious couples do however when he became active and extremely strong in the Church that all stopped and I was proud of him but I still had my moments where I would want to go out with my friends and I'd have a drink or a cigarette.

I eventually decided I didn't want this anymore and stopped and I thought that it would be plain sailing from there, especially when I finally decided I had a true desire to be baptized!

We spoke about marriage and our futures and it was perfect especially after the hard times we had been through.

I then messed up and thought to myself 'one more drink and one more cigarette' . . . and I did.

I immediately regretted it and prayed for forgiveness with the most intent I think I ever have.

However the very next day my boyfriend broke up with me and now a week later I am left heartbroken, guilty and feeling like God is punishing me.

I don't know how to fix this.

I really think we're meant to be together.

If it helps, I'm 22 and he's 25

Thanks.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Maybe you're meant to be together . . . and maybe you're not.

Fortunately the Lord is more forgiving than your ex-boyfriend seems to be.

When you are baptized you'll be starting with a clean slate, and that will feel wonderful!

Does that mean that you'll never be tempted, never make a mistake?

No. Of course not.

If we're being fair, from your ex-boyfriend's point of view it must seem like you have no intention of really quitting.  Let's be honest:  much of what you've done up to this point is procrastinate and make excuses.

Here's your chance to prove him wrong!

Addictions, in particular, aren't things that simply go away, they're battles that we constantly face. 

And every day there will be things that we can do better.

That's the beauty of repentance. It allows us to move on, to feel the Spirit again. And the Spirit allows us to avoid bad situations, to feel strengthened and sustained.

You'll make other mistakes, but hopefully not the same ones again.

God does not punish people who are trying to draw nearer to him.

Ever.

Keep improving.

Keep moving forward.

And someday some boy smarter than this one will be lucky to meet a great girl who has such a powerful testimony of the Savior and the Atonement.

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Friday, September 9, 2016

Following Up with "Blindsided" - part 3 of 3

Dear Friend,

Soon I'll be posting the emails you sent a couple years ago (from when the "girl of your dreams" blindsided you with a breakup) and it got me wondering if anything more ever came of that relationship and how you're doing now?

Cheers,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Wow I am so glad you messaged me! You're awesome.

To tell you the truth I had to take a second to remember what happened with "girl of my dreams"....

I guess you could say that's a good benchmark for how I'm doing now!

We never spoke again, fortunately.

After all, she did dump me over text.

That hurt.

She wrote it off as a sick kind of, "it's like ripping off a bandaid, the faster you do it the better".

Relationships aren't band aids and need to be terminated respectfully, IMHO.  I know, you've said this before, but maybe someone else that's newer to your page will see it and take it to heart.

I'm doing incredibly well currently. Next week my wife and I are celebrating our anniversary!

I met my true dream girl about 10 months after that breakup  and we dated for five months, then I proposed, and we got married three months later!

To ditto most other married couples I know: it's the best decision I've ever made.

I'm super grateful for the lessons both verbal and non-verbal I've been taught by those around me who strive to exemplify a happy marriage.

When it comes down to it it was because of those examples that I was excited and eager to get married; the Church being one of the major sources for those examples.

I've also learned on a new level just how much the Lord guides our lives if we're willing to step out of our comfort zone and do what He wants us to do.

It's comforting.

It's good to hear from you Bro Jo, and thank you for checking up!

Hopefully someone will find solace in their time of darkness via my story and know that if they have patience and endure, the Lord does make his promises come true.

P.S. I just realized something. Ever since I got my patriarchal blessing I've always been confused as to why the Lord said that, "in (His) own due way and time you will marry a sweet daughter of God". I realize now that it was because of that episode with that one girl that he said that. Dang. It's crazy how you think you understand a concept and then something happens to make you perceive even more fully just how omnipotent the Lord is.

- Happily Married and Now Mystified




Dear Happily,

Thanks for your email!

I'm so glad, but not surprised, to hear you're doing well. Congratulations on your marriage!

With your permission, I'd like to post this on Friday as a follow-up. I think it will help a lot of our readers who are lonely, sad, and struggling, to realize that things to get better.

Not that life is perfect, but we do recover from breakups, and there are Great Companions out there. 

All the best,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Absolutely you can!

- Happily



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Blindsided by the Girl of His Dreams - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you for your advice.

I have, I think, gone through that process that you described in your business affairs.

The feelings of anger, confusion and betrayal have come and gone.

Who knows whether or not in the future she'll feel like she should give us another shot.


You must have read my mind when you said that I need to realize that she called it off, and that means it is off. There's nothing I can do to make a relationship work if I'm the only side wanting it.


I was actually going to ask whether or not I should try and get back with her.

Thank you for that. I don't know why the Lord would have said that it's not right for us to be together, and I don't know if I will ever know.

But this has been a kind of shocker and wake-up call to those areas of my life that I need to improve.

In that aspect I'm grateful. In a couple months I'm sure I'll probably be grateful that she called it off so soon instead of giving me time to fall in love with her and be truly hurt.

I also don't think I would have ever asked the right questions either.

Your insight will be super useful in asking the right questions in the future.

Just a side note: she said there's nothing I did or didn't do that helped her reach this conclusion, nor is there anything I could change to better go about dating anyone in the future.

This was a bit enlightening, because it either means she's lying to me, or I'm kind of good at this whole dating thing.

The hardest thing for me now will be having to stop talking to her.

I legitimately enjoy her company, and even now she makes me laugh.

This is the worst part.

But thank you for helping me understand this a little better.

- Blindsided




Dear Blindsided,

I totally understand.

Hope things have gotten better.

- Bro Jo

Monday, September 5, 2016

Blindsided by the Girl of His Dreams - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

Yesterday the girl of my dreams broke up with me.

I played football and don't think I was ever caught off guard like this.

To call me roadkill right now would understate the severity of the trucking I just went through. She said she "just knows it isn't right".

That's the answer she gave me and, apparently, the answer she got from HF.

Also, she did it by text!

My mind has been racing ever since trying to figure out everything. I'm a little mad, extremely sad, and still trying to be happy amidst this trial. I'm just mad because she did it by text actually, but beyond that I'm not mad.

How could I be with her, right?

Here's the thing Bro Jo, I certainly hadn't prayed like she did, mostly because we made things official six days ago (not a real great track record coming off the mission, I know haha), but I felt like it was right!

Heck, I will even go so far as to say that I felt good about moving to Salt Lake from Cali because I met her and that pretty much explained to me why I felt like moving out here anyway!

I figured it was HF's doing.

Maybe it's too soon to call her the girl of my dreams. We have known each other about a month, though, so I felt like we got to know each other pretty well after all the dates we went on. I say girl of my dreams because she served in the same country that I did, speaks the same second language, is down to earth, rational, smart, funny, incredibly good looking, fun, and digs me (kind of a rarity). 

Now that we understand that I'll say this: I realize you've had people ask you this before but I was too lazy to go back 4 years into your blog to look for it, so why, if I felt that it was right, would she get a "not right" answer?

Now I know His thoughts are not our thoughts, and I don't expect an absolute answer, but I would like some outside perspective if you would be so kind.

Also, I do plan in asking Him, but not yet.

Right now it wouldn't help at all with my biased heart and frantic head.

After your response I may have some more questions so, brace yourself.

- Blindsided




Dear Blindsided,

While I do think one month and 6 days of being together are hardly enough investment to be using the "girl of my dreams" label, I can certainly understand the sentiment

Let's tackle the larger philosophical question: when two people are dating and they go to the Lord to ask if this is a relationship they should continue, how is it possible that one could receive confirmation to continue while the other is prompted to call things off?

And the answer is . . . wait for it . . . it isn't possible.

Why then does it seem to happen?

Simple.

One of them is wrong.

Or, at least, one of them is interpreting the revelation wrong or was asking the wrong questions or doesn't understand the nature of revelation.


In your specific case it's easy because, as you said, you never really asked Heavenly Father anyway. 

But let's say you did.

We'd first have to look at what question you asked.


See, there's a difference between "should I keep dating this girl", "is this THE girl I should marry", and "is this someone for whom I will be a Good Eternal Companion".


I suspect, depending on the situation and the person asking and the person being asked about, one could get what seems like three different answers and yet all still have the same outcome.


For example . . .

You could hear "might as well keep dating her" and think God means "YES!" when he just as well means "until someone else comes along".

You could hear "there's no such thing as THE girl" and think you're being told "nope" when what is meant is "this is a good one, don't blow it".

And you could ask the last example question and get "if you promise to always serve her with all of your heart, might, mind and strength" but think you're hearing "you're not yet worthy of her".


And all of that is possible because personal revelation goes through the filter in our head.


If we read the Doctrine and Covenants carefully we learn that personal revelation has the purpose of helping someone else for whom we have stewardship; that's how we know it's true.


But a lot of the questions we ask are selfish in their motivation and composition, therefore it's difficult for us to understand the answer . . . IF there is an answer.


What you do need to understand is this: she called it off, and whether she's right or wrong, it's off. 


One person wanting the relationship to succeed is not enough.

Maybe she got revelation to that effect.

If she did, what she would have heard was that it's better for YOU that she break up.

If she thinks she got that it was better for HER, well, that's too selfish (even if correct) to be revelation.

Either way, while it won't feel better for some time, it's best you two aren't dating.



I'll share with you one last thought: in business I often get bummed when a regular client decides to try one of my competitors.

Sometimes I feel angry and betrayed.

Sometimes I feel cheated.

What I should be doing is considering whether or not I was giving them the service they required.

If what they needed was something that I can't provide, they're better off elsewhere.

If it's something I can and should have provided, I need to make some improvement and may even try to win them back.

If I can't win them back, then at least the experience should help me improve.


But you know what happens some (maybe even most) of the time?

They try the other business and realize that I am a pretty good value.

When they come back, rather than dwell on my bitter feelings about them leaving, if I show gratitude and do my best to take care of them, they'll be loyal clients for life.

Make sense?

- Bro Jo

Friday, September 2, 2016

One Girl's Story - Part 5 of 5: The Follow Up

Dear Lonely Ute,

Hi!  It's Bro Jo.

Next week I'll be posting the emails you wrote me a several years ago as a series.

Putting them together tells a story, and given where your life is now I think it might be inspirational to our readers.

Hope you're well and happy!

Cheers,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro!

Tell your readers I just got married!

We met 3 years ago, and started dating a year ago.

We just moved to another state so that I could start graduate school.



[Readers, take note:  that's before any of these other emails posted this week were sent.  - Bro Jo]


We were involved in similar student groups that happened to interact a lot.

I wasn't interested in him, but he was a good friend I enjoyed seeing and hanging out with at various activities.

Fast forward almost 2 years, and both of us had just come out of very serious relationships (talking marriage) a few months previously.

He asked me out two different times, and both times I had been busy and had to decline.

A couple weeks later, I happened to have tickets to an event I didn't exactly want to go to, but I figured if I asked him, and he could go, I would use them.

He said yes and we went, had a ton of fun, and ended up making plans for the next week.

We started to get serious, but I was a little nervous about getting too attached because I was planning on attending graduate school, and I was pretty sure I would end up having to go out of state, and I didn't want to get too attached to anyone and have to say goodbye to them once I moved.

I definitely tried to not let us get too serious the first few months, but eventually I knew I loved him and the thing I loved about our relationship was how secure it felt.

In January I flew to interview for a program I was really excited about. He had dropped me at the airport and picked me up the night I got back.

Less than a week later, I found out I had gotten in to this program, and I immediately accepted.

The next evening when he came over after school and work. We sat down and talked about what this meant for our future.

He told me he wanted to get married and move with me. He was sure that I was it, and that this is what he wanted.

I wasn't so sure.

I was still trying to process that I would be starting a grad program in the fall and that I was moving to another state. I told him I was scared (because of previous experience) and that I didn't just want to make the decision because it was what he wanted or what was the obvious next step for us.

So I went to the temple, and I prayed A LOT.

A few weeks later I had a realization that I did not want to go without him, and that he was a righteous son of God who treated me WAY better than I could ever imagine.

He loved me unconditionally, and I would be hard pressed to ever find someone as good to me as he is.

We were engaged a few weeks later, and sealed for time and all eternity about 5 months after that.

We moved to where I'll be attending Grad School 2 weeks exactly after we were married.

I am so grateful for my husband!

He is so steady and strong.

He has so much faith as well.

He uprooted his whole life to move with me, and it has been a hard adjustment for us, but I am very grateful the God put him in my life, and led us to each other in the CORRECT time for us.

Our relationship is a good indicator that God loves me.

The timing of everything in my life has all worked so well, and I know that has to mean there was divine intervention, none of this could have happened by sheer luck. 

Thank you for checking in,

- A (not so) Lonely Ute!




Dear Friend,

An excellent story!

Thank you for sharing.

Best wishes to you both.

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Thursday, September 1, 2016

One Girl's Story - Part 4 of 5: Devastated

[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 seven months after Part 3.

Best to you all,

- Bro Jo]




Dear Bro Jo,

Get ready, this is a REALLLY long letter Last time I wrote you, I was coming out of a weird "sort of" relationship that ended really suddenly and without a ton of explanation.

A few weeks after that I met a charming young man in my Singles' Ward who was very forward with his intentions and made it clear very quickly he was interested and wanted to take me out.

We dated for 6 months.

Here is the deal, I found out a couple days after our first date that he is divorced (he is 26, I was 21 at the time, I am now 22).

It was a little scary, but I was open minded and understanding about his situation.

He told me that he had been married for two years to a girl who was a convert.  She just woke up one day and decided that she didn't want to be a member of the Church anymore and she didn't want to be married anymore.

He said she was the first girl to every end things with him (vs the other way around).

He has never talked about her in a poor light, besides explaining problems she has/had, and how it has changed his view on certain things.

I thought / still think that was very respectable of him. (She really did have some serious mental issues, and some daddy issues, and all kinds of stuff that I think could affect him in a really negative way, and quite honestly, I am sure that it did.)

His divorce was a year ago in and he doesn't view it as a negative experience, but he viewed it as a learning experience and something that would help him become a better person in the future.

I found out that he was still "friends" with her, which to my understanding at the time, meant that if she ever needed a favor he could do it, or they would just check up on each other every once in a while and say hi.

We became serious really quick, everything just felt right.

Neither of us wanted to date anyone else, which I felt was really good because between his divorce and meeting me, he went on a dating rampage.

After a couple weeks of dating, he told me he had had a really cool experience, he had felt prompted to call her and see if she was doing okay, so he did, she wasn't, and he went over to see her.

He said they talked about the Gospel and how maybe that is what is missing from her life, she told him about a guy she had been going out with, and then he told her about me.

When he told me about this I became fairly upset.  I explained how that wasn't really fair to me, and how I felt that this meant he was holding on to her still.

He tried to explain to me that he struggled with just cutting her out of his life completely because she had become his best friend.

He felt that they had come into each others lives in such an intimate way for a important reason, and why would God want him to just shun her for what she did to him?


We talked through it, and he agreed to decrease the amount of time he spent communicating with her period.

Things went really really well for a long time.

Fairly quickly into the relationship I knew that I could marry him in the Temple and I would be very happy.

His family loved me, my family loved him, all of our friends loved us together and thought we were so good together.


We would travel with each others families and do quite a bit of stuff together, each learning and embracing each others interest.

I had told him that I felt really good about us and that I thought we could get married and be happy, he agreed, but he said it would definitely need more time than the "typical" Mormon timeline.

I understood and I was willing to take the time that we needed.

He always said he wasn't quite where I was, but he felt that we were headed that way, and he thought that once things fell into place he would catch up to me quickly.

I know that the fact that we were on a different page was hard for both of us throughout the relationship. We talked about it one night (4-5 months in) and he asked me if I had a deadline for when I would give up on him if he wasn't ready. I told him no, but I reminded him that I am applying to grad school this fall, and if all goes well, I would start June 2016, if we were not at least engaged by then, and I had to move away, I felt that we would not last, but at that point we would have been dating for 18 months, so if he still wasn't sure by then, then I was wasting my time.

About 2.5-3 months in, we were sitting in church one day and he just seemed off, I asked if he was okay, and he asked if we could go for a drive after church, so we did, and he then told me he had been struggling since his separation with "natural urges."

I totally understand how it could be so hard to have something such as sex quite freely in a marriage, and then all the sudden have nothing is really really hard on someone.

He said that he had struggled with masturbation, and there had been a couple times he had looked at porn too.

Seeing how torn he was, I wasn't mad per-say, I was definitely hurt, but I could see how much he was hurting and how guilty he felt.

We talked about it a lot that day. I felt that all I could do was love him, talk to him about his problem, and hold him accountable, let him know that I was not okay with that. I was really glad he confided in me.

He concluded that he didn't think it would be a long term problem, that if he was married, it wouldn't be an issue again.

We worked on it together for a while, and things were again, better than ever.

However, I stopped checking as frequently because it seemed like it was as much of a problem anymore, and sometimes when thing were going well, he seemed annoyed that I asked.

He had moved back in with his parents following the divorce (I think it was good for him).

But one of his friends had bought a place, and he moved in with his friend.

I felt like that was a really awesome move for him as well, for a while at least.

His friend is a super bachelor, and really lonely, and kind of needy. I felt like I had to compete with his friend for my boyfriends attention. It was really hard for me.

I became a little jealous of all of their inside jokes and all of the stuff that they would just pick up and do, I also felt like my boyfriend was getting the short end of the stick because he would go half in with his friend on everything for the house, but his friend owns it, so my boyfriend wasn't really ever benefiting from it. I had said something to him once, and he had been upset by it, so I just kept quiet whenever stuff like that happened after that.

Going back to the ex wife, I discovered over Christmas break that he had been talking to her kind of frequently again.

I became really upset, and we literally had the same conversation as when we first dated. I finally told him that I would never tell him who he can and cannot talk to, but I felt that he was still stuck and that as long as he kept her in his life, he would never be able to fully move on. He (sort of) agreed with me, and he said that I was really important to him and that he was fearful if he didn't cut back on his relationship with her that he would lose me. This current semester started, I had a lot on my plate. I was stressed all the time and he said that it stressed him out when I was stressed and there was nothing he could do for me. Things started getting rough, I was stressed that we were not able to see each other very often.

Soon, I felt like he was scheduling other things during our designated time together during the week, I understood that sometimes things would come up for both of us during those times, but I felt like it was on purpose. I also felt like when we didn't get to see each other, he hardly wanted to talk on the phone.

One night I was really stressed and I had a complete melt down while I was with him, I told him I didn't feel connected with him anymore and I felt like I was drowning in all of my homework and responsibilities. He swore he didn't want to break up, but he was concerned about me, and felt like our relationship was the only thing that could give at this point in my life. I told him I didn't want to break up, I just needed to figure out the balance for the semester.

We both agreed to work on our relationship and even decided to both focus on reading scriptures together when we had time, and on our own when we couldn't see each other.

For a week things were good.  We both worked on making each other a priority, and I worked on not projecting my stress onto him. Then the next week, it was back to the same thing, I felt totally neglected and like he just didn't care enough to see me.

I kind of threw a fit because he had literally planned on not seeing me from Sunday to Saturday because the only nights I had free he had planned stuff with his friends (vs the nights I was not free he totally admitted that he didn't really do anything productive that night). We got in a huge fight, the worst I have ever been in before. I told him I felt neglected, he said he had never been told that in a relationship before.

He said he would work on it, and for the next week he did, and things finally felt back to normal, we both felt happier and we both felt like things were really good again. side note: One reoccurring issue we had was that he would over-commit himself, if he had other plans, he would tell me he wanted to come see me after, and then he would keep me waiting because he didn't keep track of time or he wouldn't leave whatever he was doing.

It happened a lot.

Also, he would often push off our plans so that he could finish whatever he was doing, or he was just in general, always late (not just 15 minutes late, but like an hour late).

I tried to be understanding, but it can only happen so many times.

Now we come to Valentine's Day, this was my first Valentine's ever spent with someone, and I knew he knew that. I was really excited because I wanted to go to a special even together.

We had made plans to go to that, then go back to his place to make dinner.

He promised me that he was mine all day.

I had some stuff I had to do in the morning, so I thought if he picked me up by 2, we could get to the event before it closed with plenty of time to see the exhibit, and we could still make dinner and everything.

He agreed.

The day of, he texted me around 1 and said that he had been working on a truck with his friend all morning, and they weren't quite done, so he said he needed to push it off until 3.

I was okay with it.

3 rolls around, and he texts me to tell me he is just finishing, and he needed to go home and get ready.
At this point, I was upset with him.

I started to cry about 3:30, my mom and dad both told me he blew it, and my dad offered to take me himself right then.

The exhibit was suppose to close at 5, so I didn't think we had time.

He went to look up the hours (it was suppose to be leaving Salt Lake soon).

At this point my dad told me that it was open until 8, and my boyfriend showed up.

I was upset, but I really wanted to go, so I said lets just go.

I kind of pulled myself together in the car after a very strongly worded conversation.

He apologized.

He said he had been selfish.

We went to the exhibit, and it was fun, I loved it.

We we were leaving, he told me he thought that we should go out to dinner instead because they had just had a new roommate move in the night before, and he didn't know how to ask him to be MIA the day after he moved in.

I said that was fine, I understood.

We went to a Thai restaurant near where he had lived with his ex wife.

He literally spent all of dinner talking about his ex wife.

I was super upset at this point.

He made a comment about how his ex had often not seemed to want to spend time with him. I asked him if he realized that he was doing that to me too?

We left.

When we were driving home he admitted that he hadn't bought me something.

He said he would rather take me to the store and let me pick something out that I liked.

I scoffed.

He asked me if I thought it was a cop out, I told him I thought it was.

He then went into some big, long winded excuse.

He apologized and asked if I wanted to watch a movie at one of our houses.

I said sure.

He gave me his phone to look up a Redbox.

I opened his web browser, and it was opened to a google search of porn.

I showed it to him, asked him what it was, and he said "its my problem".

 I totally shut down.

I didn't want to talk to him.

He asked me if I wanted to go home and I said yes.

He then asked if I thought he was just an a-hole, or he didn't care.

And I said quite frankly, both.

Between everything that had happened that day, I was honestly questioning why I was even dating him.

He dropped me off, and I stormed inside in tears. My best friend left her Single Girls party to come see me and make sure I was okay. I was a mess.

I slept on it, and I felt like I needed to break up with him.

The next day.  At Church.

I was sitting in sacrament, and he came up to where I was sitting and asked if he could sit with me (the Bishop was making announcements and my bf was making a scene by standing there, trying to have a conversation).

I told him I didn't care, just sit down.

He kept asking me if I was doing okay, what he could do to fix things etc.

I still was pretty quiet and frankly, I wasn't ready to talk to him yet.

I left after sacrament, I was an emotional wreck and knew I couldn't be there around him any longer.

I had a really strong feeling that we did need to break up, I felt at peace with the decision, but I also felt totally heartbroken over the situation. I also felt really strongly that we aren't really over. Like somehow we might still end up together.

He texted me that night and asked what he could do. I told him that I didn't know what to ask of him that I hadn't already asked. I then told him if he wanted to talk, I would be home after 7 the next night.

He didn't say anything to me all day, I was devastated that he wasn't going to try.

He called me at 10 and asked if he could come talk to me.

I agreed.

We had along talk about the outcome. We both agreed that we needed to breakup. He actually said that he hadn't been feeling it for a couple weeks, but he wasn't going to just end things, he had wanted to work on it (ouch).

I also asked him how long he waited after our fight before he contacted his ex wife. (I had just had the feeling it had happened) He looked at me kind of dumbfounded then admitted he had pretty quick, but he didn't feel like he had anyone else he could have talked to about our problem.

I was FURIOUS.

I told him that quite frankly, our relationship was none of his ex wife's business. I was doing okay (not having a total meltdown), and then he gave me a hug, and I lost it. 



One effect he always seemed to have on me is that I could never really stay mad at him when we were together. We ended up staying there for a long time talking about everything. He kept telling me what he was going to miss about me, that I was the best girlfriend he had ever had, and the most loving person he had ever met. He felt like I had been made for him because I had always pushed him to be better and brought out the best in him, and then he told me that he didn't want to lose all contact with me.

At this point he told me that he didn't feel like we were really over, which I then admitted that I had had the same impression. I told him that I wouldn't date him again until he figured some stuff out (like the porn, and his unresolved issues from his divorce) I even suggested he goes to see a counselor.

I asked him to give me some space for a while, which is hard, considering the whole same-ward-thing and the fact that we have A LOT of mutual friends. I think he stayed so long, and I didn't want him to leave, but we both knew how much we love each other and that when he left, it really was just over and done with.

He kept trying to stay later, and I finally had to kick him out because the lingering was killing me, and if anything, it was making it harder. Obviously I was a roller coaster of emotions for a few days. 

Then of course, came Sunday, where I had to see him.

Sacrament was fine, but then after I swear he was waiting to see me, I walked out, and he was standing right outside the door by himself. Then I was talking to a couple friends in the hallway right before Sunday school, and he came up, and picked one off the group to start talking to, then I turned around to talk to someone, and when I turned back, he was talking to all of them. I was so mad because I had asked him to give me space, which I think would include my friends (considering he wasn't friends with them before we started dating).

Then I went into Sunday School, and my friends and I were spread out between 2 rows, and there was one empty seat on the row in front of me, next to my friends, and he came in late and sat in that seat. 

He kept looking back at me.

My friends who I talked to about it later all agreed that he probably misses me and that he just doesn't know how to deal with it. I understand that, but he did kind of do this to himself, so while he allowed to feel that way, he should respect that I did ask for space. I think that he thinks we are going to be friends once the feelings are gone. But I honestly don't think I can do that. I don't think I can see him go out with other girls and act like there was never anything more between us. I honestly believe that if there is someway that we are gong to end up back together, we need to lose and "re-find" each other in a sense.

I think that if we were to do the friends thing we wouldn't date again. I also think that I just can't be in his life until he figures at least some stuff out. I really feel ruined now, and so scared to date again. I can't imagine ever feeling crushed like this again. It is awful.

I also don't know if I can give him another chance if the opportunity presents itself again. I am worried that all of the crap we have been through would prevent me from ever really trusting him again.

Help?

What am I to do?

I wish I had of been strong enough to be a better support system for him. I wish that I could have been more selfless and that it didn't bother me so much that he chooses to be friends with his ex. I feel betrayed, because I feel like he stopped making me a priority at the end.

I felt like he said he didn't want to quit, but he never put in the work necessary. I feel like he made a lot of empty promises and could never prioritize me when it was necessary. I am hurt that despite how great our relationship was, he could never let go of his ex, and that I almost felt like his second choice by default.

I know that the porn issue was something deeper, but I was hurt that he couldn't deal with it, even with my support. I have never felt like my self worth was connected to a guy, but man I feel crushed. 



I have been contemplating sending this to you for a while now, I feel like I am just venting and looking for pity.

I just don't know how to handle what has been dealt to me, and quite frankly, most of my friends don't know how to help me either.

- Devastated (Lonely Ute)





Dear Devastated,

Breakups are rough.

And you've just gone through a difficult one because even though it's the right thing to do you don't want to.

Plus, if he had his way, you'd stay together and keep putting up with his bull until he either got back together with his ex-wife (a very real possibility given all we know) or you realized that he'll never fix things as long as you're in his life because, well . . . he won't have to.


Only three things will help.

1. Time. Perhaps a lot of it.

2. Lose yourself in the Gospel. Service. Magnify. Read. Pray. Worship.

3. Start dating again.  When you're ready. Just as you moved on last time you can move on again. 


And, if I were to add a fourth one, you may want to switch wards.

You can't get the space you need if you keep going places where he's going to be, and you certainly shouldn't stop going to Church.

I agree with your dad: the dude blew it.

And I'm sorry he did.

As you know I dated A LOT when I was younger; only one relationship worked out, and that's the one I'm in now!  (We call her "Sister Jo".)

Chin up,

- Bro Jo