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Friday, March 31, 2017

He's Ready to Give Up Looking

Dear Bro Jo,

I don't know where else to turn right now.

I guess you could call me a "late bloomer." I never had much interest in dating while in high school and even following my mission I really only thought about dating because that's what was expected of me. About a year or two after I had returned from my mission I finally felt ready to truly start dating to find a wife. The only problem was that I had so little experience that I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up not having very much success.

I am an extremely introverted person and don't socialize very much. My friend group has always been pretty small and I have difficulty talking to and meeting new people. It would always take me weeks or even months of planning to work up the courage to ask a girl out. Then when I finally did it and went on a date with her, things after that didn't go exactly to plan.

To make a long story short I would very rarely get to go on a second date with the girl. There were a variety of reasons that things never worked out, but many times it left me feeling like I just wasn't good enough. I wasn't entertaining enough, I wasn't funny enough, I wasn't exciting enough, I wasn't attractive enough. All of those kinds of thoughts would run through my head. during this time. And the next time I wanted to ask a girl to go on a date it would be that much harder to ask. I knew that she wouldn't actually be interested in me, so why go through the effort?

And that brings us to now. I am now 27. I just graduated with my Bachelor's degree in May from a school in Utah and am now working on a graduate degree at a university in the Midwest. I have felt the Hand of the Lord guiding me to go here, but the opportunities to date just aren't here like they were while I was still in Utah. In fact there is literally only one YSA girl who is available to date in the area. I was fine with that because I find her very attractive and fun to be around. Except now that some time has passed it has ended up like every other time I have tried dating. She told me that I am a genuinely kind and cute person and that the girl that chooses me will be fortunate. But all I can hear out of it is that same thing, I'm still not enough.

At this point I feel like giving up dating entirely and accepting the fact that I'll probably end up never finding someone and should get used to it just being me for the rest of my life. I also know that isn't the plan Heavenly Father intends for me, but it is extremely hard for me to have hope in that plan. Every experience I have had with dating up to now has led me to feel that I am not desirable enough and that no girl would ever actually be interested in me romantically.

I guess my real question is how am I supposed to have hope that I can find someone, when I don't and feel like I can't believe that I am a person worth dating/marrying?

- Undesirable

Dear Brother,

I hope you're okay with some tough love . . . that's my thing, and frankly it seems appropriate.

I always kind of figure that people know that, and that's why they write me.

With all candor, brother, it seems like you're operating on the wrong side of the definition of "faith".  As an RM I suspect you know what I'm talking about.

You keep talking about "hope" . . . and that's good . . . but I'm not seeing any "action".

Remember when you were teaching people the Gospel and they SAID that they wanted to move forward but they just wouldn't come to Church?

That's Hope without Action.

When was the last time you attended a Family Ward?  If it's been a while, have a double-Church Sunday and go take a look around a Family Ward Sacrament meeting.  All shapes, sizes, personalities . . . some very, very shy, some overwhelmingly outgoing . . . and note:  there are no "hot" people over a certain age line.  (Hotness is something we grow out of, you know.)  They got married.  And so can you!

IF you're willing to do something about it.

If you're not, then that's fine, but accept that and move on.

Only one active single girl in your YSA Ward and dating her is off the table?  Go activate some sisters!  Or put your Missionary skills to work and go convert some potential dates.  All of those guys in your ward surely have sisters, cousins, friends, girls your age from back home that despite how great they are never got married.  (Sister Jo and I have a LONG list of amazing guys and girls that like you, despite their awesomeness, have never been married . . . in fact they've rarely dated.  Just like you.)

You don't have to change who you are, but if you don't like the direction your life is going then you need to change something.

LIFE, my friend, does not go exactly to plan.

That doesn't mean we can have that as an okay excuse.

My Brother there are only two people in this universe telling you that you're not good enough, to get a date, get married, or do anything else:  you . . . and Satan.

You need to do things that will help you feel better about yourself.

Start working out (if you're not already), set a goal of making one new friend a week, and (as Sister Jo always says) go do acts of service for other people.  Nothing helps us to feel better than acts of service.

Stop playing on the computer, watching movies by yourself, and sitting around.

Start going OUT.  For a walk.  Rake a yard.  SEE things.  GO places.

Live your life like you did on you mission.  In bed and lights out by 10 am.  Up by 6 am studying the Gospel, praying and preparing for your day.

The only exception is if you're Out with Friends or On a Date.

If you are trapped (and I mean TRAPPED) inside one afternoon, watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Could change your life.

Let's you and I talk often.

For now, set some Action Goals.  Easy stuff that you can go do.

And Go.  And Do.

Chin up,

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

"She told me that I am a genuinely kind and cute person and that the girl that chooses me will be fortunate."

Of course she's only trying to let him down easy, but when a guy hears things like "the girl that chooses you will be fortunate", or "you'll make another girl a wonderful husband" what he hears is "you're boring and unexciting". Contrary to what she intends, thats actually going to make him feel worse.

Anonymous said...

There are indications you missed several critical parts of his letter - you asked him how long it's been since he's been to a family ward, when it's clear that he's currently in one. With the possible exception of military branches, YSA Wards containing all men except for a single woman probably don't exist, and the number of other YSA men in his ward likely number only two or three at most.

Reading this letter more closely, it looks like Social Anxiety may be at the root of his late blooming and the mental blocks behind dating, and that a competent psychotherapist (and a fair amount of space for healing) would likely do this guy a lot of good.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand where this guy is coming from. I'm a girl and the amount of available young men in my YSA ward is none. All of the RMs are either dating someone or not active. The younger ones are planning on going on missions and as an RM myself I don't want to get in the way of that. So I often feel caught between the couples and the pre-missionaries. It's an awkward phase but it's nice to know that I'm not as alone as I sometimes feel. I appreciate what you mentioned about going out and doing things. I'll have to apply those things to my life as well. Thank you for your advice. And thank you to the young man who shared his situation. That alone took a lot of courage.