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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How to Date a Return Missionary (and Anyone Else, Really . . . )

Dear Bro Jo,

     So this is probably going to sound like a really stupid question...but I've looked on your blog and I haven't seen anything about how to date a return missionary.

     I'm almost 20 and my best friend (21) came home from his mission a little over two months ago. We dated a little before his mission, not too seriously because I was still in high school. I wrote him, emailed, and sent him packages his whole mission but wasn't exactly "waiting for him." I went on dates with other people and had fun. Oh, and I also moved about 45 minutes away from the town we are both from.

     Now that he's home though we are kind of back to dating. And I make the little drive back home a lot more than I did when he was gone. We aren't officially boyfriend/girlfriend but We go on dates and hang out a lot. For a while it was weird because it was almost as though nothing had changed, but then again it was also like we were totally starting over. But it's getting a lot more comfortable. We hold hands and he puts his arm around me and he's kissed me once. (Since he's been home. He had kissed me a few times before his mission)

     Rumors are flying around our home ward about the two of us. I get asked almost daily by different people "How are things with so-and-so" "Is he your boyfriend yet?" "Why don't you two just make it official already?"

     And sometimes I ask myself the same question... and because I don't know how to respond, these questions drive me crazy.

     I've done a lot of praying about this, asking my Father in Heaven if pursuing this relationship is a good idea, and to me it just feels right. He is also the only guy I’ve ever dated that I can see a future with. Is it ridiculous to be impatient because he's taking things so slow? I would love to just be his girlfriend already, but at the same time I also understand that he's only been home just over two months. Am I going to scare him off if the next time we hang out I ask him where he stands? And if not, how exactly should I go about doing this? Is it bad for mw to want to know this early on? Maybe I just need confirmation that I'm not wasting my time. I don't know. And if the answer you're going to give me is to just be patient and let things play out, how to I respond to these questions I get all the time from our mutual friends and church leaders?

     I know, I'm probably totally over thinking this. And I'm still young, I know. But I just need some advice on how to date an RM. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I don't know what info you'll need. Thanks in advance for any advice.

- Potential RM Girlfriend

Dear Girlfriend,

Yes, as I've said often, "Communication is the Key", but sometimes I don't understand why we feel the need to talk about everything instead of just observing what's going on around us.

Is he dating anyone else?

Do you go out at least once a week?  (Remember those dates can be simple and money need not be spent.  What qualifies it as a date is that you a) go out, b) have scheduled the going out, and c) it's just the two of you paired off.  In other words:  Plan, Pickup, and Pay.

Depending on how long this has been going on it may indeed be ridiculous to be impatient.

For your convenience and consideration:

Bro Jo's Guide to Where Your Relationship Probably Is
Phase 1 -  Under 3 months?  You should just relax and enjoy.
Phase 2 - 3 - 6 months and you still have no clue and have not talked about your relationship at all?  You should step back and see if he's being exclusive.
Phase 3 - Over 6 months?  Okay, now you probably should have the "where do we stand and where is this going" talk . . . assuming you don’t already know . . . and you probably should.
(You may also want to check out Bro Jo's Levels of a Relationship.)

As for the questions from your well-meaning friends, family and ward members (parents are the exception, btw - they have a right to know! - in my admittedly very biased opinion), I often repeat what Sister Jo says:  tell them, politely, "our relationship is private, and right now so many people are asking that I just feel like we're being unfairly pressured; I promise that, should anything become official, you'll know shortly after"; smile and leave it at that.

Understand that when we old people ask about your plans and relationships we're usually (the occasional ward busybody being the exception) just trying to show genuine interest and concern in your life.  We have a testimony of the joy that comes from Eternal Companionship and Eternal Families and we're hoping that you'll have that in your life, too.  We ask because we love you, not because we want you to feel bad.

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is amazing I really needed this thank you so much!