LDS Singles

Thriving and Growing as an LDS Single


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Unrequited Love

Thpurple-42887_640.pngey say that most people have dealt with unrequited love at least once in their lifetime, at least 98% according to an estimate in this article in Psychology Today . I think most of us who are single are nodding our heads sadly in agreement.

How to deal with it

  1. Remember that what was in your head probably won’t match what would actually happen had you been in a relationship with this person, no matter how good a person they may be. Even in marriages, the way you think things are going to go and the way they actually go are usually two very different things: and you don’t know this person that well.
  2. Most likely this has happened to you before. You overcame it and then you found new people to be interested in. Sometimes that took a while. Maybe it’s time again to get a better relationship with yourself, or your siblings or parents, or other family or friends. It’s hard when, each time, it seems like you’ve found an even better match for yourself but then it doesn’t work out yet again. This is not the end of the road. Maybe it’s time to focus on service or work or school or a church calling for a while.

Where do I go from here?

I hate getting over crushes or unrequited love: call it what fits you best. You have to go through the pain of realizing that something you’d hoped for, something important to you, may never be. At certain times in my life this has been harder than others. I had someone writing me when I was on my mission. Towards the end he was still writing. I was freaking out because I wasn’t sure what I thought, but in theory (because of the letters he was writing), he was still there.

Only he wasn’t. I got home to find out that he was engaged to someone else. It was a heartbreaking time for me. I had at least hoped I’d come home to have him as my friend, there, to talk about my mission with, as we’d corresponded nearly the whole time. Even though I wasn’t sure that I wanted more than that, the loss of the friendship was the most difficult. heart-642154_640.png

Another time period in my life I really liked someone and just wanted to get to go out with him. What I didn’t know what that he was dating someone else on the sly (heard of “stealth dating?”) and so when I told him how I felt he turned me down. Even though I felt embarrassed, I tried again a few months later. I got the same response and was mortified when I decided what a fool I’d made out of myself. To this day I still wonder if the girl he was dating (who became his wife) was bugged by me, or if she realizes that I’m long over it and that I saw almost immediately that they were a much better match, once they finally “came out” as a couple.

Getting over both these situations was painful, but tools our Heavenly Father has given us ultimately brought peace and healing for those times and others. In Isaiah 49:16 the Lord reminds us that he’s always there for us:

16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

 

Heavenly Father does want us to be happy and if we pray for his help, He will help us move on and he will help us through the pain. The pain can be a bittersweet opportunity to look at ourselves and say, “Why am I hurting? What was I expecting?” and we can use these answers for future goals and expectations. Sometimes some of the greatest things we do come on the heals of painful experiences.

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Facing Fears in Dating: from a BYU Devotional

Fear in Dating
from a BYU Devotional, “Daddy, Is Jesus Real?” Overcoming Fear through Faith in Christ
Scott Esplin, BYU Dept. of Church History, Jan 19, 2016

shield-492992_640.jpgI invite you to reflect on the last time you experienced the feeling of fear. Was it wondering if you’d be accepted into one of the many competitive degree programs here at Brigham Young University? Or waiting to see if the girl you asked out wants to go out again? Or worse yet, wondering what to do if she does? For me the feeling is as recent as sitting on this stand, looking into the faces of so many, and knowing that, through the miracle of technology, thousands more are watching this message.

Like you, I can testify that the feeling of fear is real. Indeed, of this powerful emotion, Elder Bednar taught in last April’s General Conference:

Notably, One of the first effects of the fall was for Adam and Eve to experience fear. This potent emotion is an important element of our mortal existence.

Today I want to visit with you about overcoming the fears that are an essential part of our experience in this Earth life.

One of my favorite classes to teach here on campus is the Doctrine and Covenants, because I find it highly relevant in my own life and in the lives of my students. In a well-known episode from the text, Oliver Cowdery, the primary scribe for the translation of the Book of Mormon, was offered the opportunity of the lifetime: to join Joseph Smith as a translator of that sacred book of scripture. Oliver was instructed,

“Ask that ye may know the mysteries of God, and that ye may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up according to your faith, and it shall it be done unto you.”

(unsure on source, text of talk still unavailable)
Shortly thereafter, when Oliver failed in his attempt to translate a portion of the Book of Mormon, the Lord explained the reasons for his failure, outlining several causes:

 5 And, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you.  Doctrine & Covenants 9:11

I’ve long wondered what it was that Oliver feared that he did not continue as he had commenced. Knowing that the project was of eternal importance, did he fear making a mistake, and thus marring the sacred publication?

I was the age of most of you when this scriptural episode came to have special meaning to me. I was in grad school here at BYU, and began asking out a particular girl. And, as things progressed, I became scared. Fear caused me to not continue as I had commenced. I was afraid of making the wrong decision; one that I knew was important and, ideally, eternal. My poorly thought out solution to this fear was to stop asking the girl out. As weeks turned into months, I buried myself in other things, all the while praying if I should pursue the relationship that I clearly wasn’t doing anything to nurture.

Finally one Sunday I was in church here on campus when I finally made up my mind: I would pursue the relationship. What would be the worst that could happen? “Maybe I would get married,” I thought. I called her apartment, only to learn that she had gone home that weekend. I left a message for her to call me when she returned, which, incidentally, is ideal for someone gripped by dating paralysis. The last thing a young man really wants to do is talk.

That afternoon my dad called. “Have you heard the news?” he asked. The girl was engaged.rings-877936_640

She returned my call later that night. “Scott, I heard you called.” “Yes, I was just calling to congratulate you on your engagement” was my response. Fear of the future had kept me from continuing what I had commenced, and the time had passed. I thought often about that experience, and the Lord’s instruction to Oliver Cowdery concerning fear, the next six years of my single life.

So how do we overcome fears, act in faith, and move forward towards an uncertain future? Eleven years ago last fall I was dating my wife Janice. The week before Thanksgiving I invited her to come home with me to Southern Utah for the holiday weekend. She accepted. And then, once again, I became really scared. I’d taken girls home on road trips before. And for those familiar with Interstate 15 between Provo and Southern Utah, usually by about the town of Nephi, they became the longest weekends of my life.

I started to think of the ways I could uninvite Janice. With fear swirling in my head, I came to campus on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Preparing to teach my class that day, I stumbled across these words at the beginning of Doctrine and Covenants Section 67.

1 Behold and hearken, O ye elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together, whose prayers I have heard, and whose hearts I know, and whose desires have come up before me.

As a 30 year old Elder, I had a desire, and had been praying for a long time that I might find a spouse and begin an eternal companionship. I could relate to these early saints. The Lord continues:

 2 Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give.

In my office at the Joseph Smith Building that morning, the thought struck me: maybe marriage is one of the riches of eternity, and maybe it is God’s to give. The revelation then warns:

3 Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive.

I realized if I didn’t face my fear of an uncertain future, I might never receive the blessings the Lord had in store for me. night-819579_640.jpg

I took Janice home for Thanksgiving, and the weekend went wonderfully. Returning to Provo, however, my worst fears of carrying on an extended conversation with a girl were realized: a snowstorm forced the closure of Interstate 15 and the two of us were stranded together in the car between the Utah towns of Beaver and Fillmore for several hours with no choice but to simply talk to each other. As our three hour road trip turned into seven, I realized that if we could survive this time together, maybe we could also face my fears of eternal marriage.

From these experiences I learned a valuable lesson: as you experience faith to overcome future fears and uncertainty, you will see God’s hand in your life. In fact, just a few short verses later in the Doctrine and Covenants, in Section 67, the Lord promises:

 10 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.

I now look back on those years of post-mission single life, and like the saints in the Doctrine and Covenants, realize that God was in my midst, and I couldn’t see him. There were lessons I needed to learn, primarily about overcoming fear, coupled with experiences both my wife and I needed to have, that eventually prepared us for each other and our future together. As I stripped myself of fear, the day came that I could see God’s hand, and receive the riches of eternity, but they only came as I exercised faith.

Facing fear in our life isn’t limited to dramatic experiences involving unknown future events like relocating at the command of the Lord or finding an eternal companion. Indeed, the happiness of some is crippled by fears of past failures and the foreboding worry that the present and future can never become bright again.

This is an excerpt. Listen to or watch the entire devotional address here.

faith antidote fear.png

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1. Do you make one another laugh?

Laughter is the best medicine, and you’ll need a lot of it in marriage. Do you find yourself laughing a lot with this person? Do you try to make them smile just as much as they make you smile? Can they laugh at themselves? All these questions will help you know whether spending eternity with this person would be joyful or stressful.

2. Do you learn from one another? 

Do you learn important life lessons from your loved one? Just as important as the first question may be a second: are you each teachable, humble, and willing to learn? By the same token, make sure that you let your loved one learn things on their own. Don’t jump in and accomplish the task for them, or you may end up with a husband that doesn’t actually know which button to push on the washing machine or a wife that could never fix a toilet.

3. Do you want to become more like this person?

Spending a lifetime with another person—not to mention eternity—will certainly change you. Couples naturally rub off on each other, and so it’s important to know if you want that person to … READ MORE HERE


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Appearance in Dating, Part II: Real Stories

heart addictedI asked some married friends if they would share their stories about what they were looking for while they were dating, and if it changed once they met their spouse.  I was delighted with the responses.  These friends come from a few different countries; although most are American.  They also come from several different faiths, not just LDS.  What they do represent still, I think, is how different things can turn out from what you think you want; and also the benefit of learning to look for (or just recognize) the things that matter most.

Once again, I’m not saying that appearance doesn’t matter at all.  I’m just acknowledging that perhaps, sometimes, we’re too picky in the things that don’t matter, so that a re-evaluation of our motives from time to time is probably a good idea.

The names have all been changed:

Will:
My wife did a couple of things that were unique.
 
I met her online. Her profile had 3 different photos of her that looked so completely different, I was perplexed to know who she actually was. One with platinum blonde hair, the other with a short brunette bob and the last bright red shoulder length hair wrap around sunglasses and a skateboard. It peaked my curiosity.
 
She contacted me and we had a lot of friends and common interests. It was somewhat shocking to me because we lived three states away.
 
Then I found she had a blog. As I browsed through her writings and her history, her words just grabbed me from the insides. This is a clairvoyant woman of depth and insight and intelligence. And she’s funny! I spoke out loud to myself, “I want to make out with her brain“!
 
I had to see who she was. She agreed to Skype with me because I was so curious as to who this mystery woman was. I this who I’ve been waiting for my whole life?
 
She was surprisingly super normal. She was nice. She was pretty. Our conversation was ok, but it did not strike me (as) anything I had to pursue right away. I had just started dating after my 2 year separation / divorce and I was ready to explore my options. I didn’t see how this woman (that lived so far away) was any different from any of the other women I could be dating locally. I wasn’t sure she was my “type”. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for.
 
So I kept dating. A lot. She flew out once and we spent a day together. She was nice. We had fun. I was pursuing another relationship.
 
But we kept in touch. We shared with each other our dating woes and single parent problems. When I was feeling low, she sent me a pie. When she was having problems with a guy she was dating, I shared advice. We developed a long term friendship. We would talk late into the night but not on romantic terms but as friends that really liked each other. This relationship grew much differently that I had expected. We had developed a real love for each other. Over this time I could tell that it wasn’t infatuation. It wasn’t hormones. it was a different creature than I thought love was.
 
She flew out again a year later. 
 
And then I held her hand. It fit my hand perfectly. There was magic. And then we kissed. We were married 5 months later. I’m so happy that I found the love of my life. We are so emotionally, spiritually and physically compatible it still boggles me that it wasn’t evident right away.
 
 
Now that I’ve told our story, I must emphasize that I came from an ugly divorce. The relationship of my first wife started with a kiss. The physical attraction was huge and loud and overwhelming. But because we started kissing before we got to really know each other and build a relationship of trust, It impaired us from the beginning. I dare say that we never achieved a solid level of trust. And though we were both spiritual people, we were not spiritually connected. After our marriage, our physical relationship crumbled so quickly and left us with very little to stand on.
 
With my current wife, I was physically intrigued just enough to try and get to know her, but we started on a friendship of mutual admiration and trust. We grew a relationship over time and it was not clear to me how compatible we actually were until we had developed a real emotional bond. She was so my type but I didn’t initially see it (she saw it. She’s smart). I had no idea that love could be so wonderful. It’s incredible. And just like a good movie, it ended with a kiss.
Samantha:
Attracted? Dark and handsome with a wonderful smile and the ability to make me laugh. (He failed on the tall part of tall dark and handsome). He was also 15 years older and very kind. That spoke to me because of my childhood. I needed a gentle-man… then and now. 
Now? My girls just sigh and shake their heads when I say how cute their dad is …..His jokes fall flat a lot of the time now but he has regained his smile after some years of terrible turmoil and I’m glad to see it.
Also, he has the most wonderful soft skin.
Was this the type I’d expected to marry? I’d given up dating 2 years before at 19 ’cause they were all either jerks or married and had gone to night school to up my qualifications as I planned to fend for myself for life.
I can’t speak to who he expected to marry because, I found out a few years later from friends, that he, at 37 was a confirmed bachelor when I met him.
We confirmed our love to each other a week after our first date…. this year will be 36 years.
Keiko:
 I had really dated a wide range of “types” so I didn’t really have one. I thought Al was handsome right away, but it was the fact that we talked really well right away-that doesn’t always happen for either of us, that sold me. He thought I was pretty and had great curves. He fit the requirements list I made when I was younger-smart, moral, funny, hard-working, kind…
Michelle:
 Like Samantha– before I married I was attracted to the tall, dark, and handsome, but really good social skills were the most important to me. My husband is tall-ish (6’2″) and dark (1/2 Mayan) and very handsome, but mostly he won me over by being genuinely interested in what I said and my life. He is able to be interested and care about lots of people in a way that I’m not. He always learns everyone’s names at Church and work and their personal stories too.Plus, there is no point in being handsome if you don’t make eye contact and SMILE!!!
Jenny:
 I was attracted to my husband’s blue eyes and voice. He was attracted to the back of my head (I had long hair at the time) and he was interested what the other side looked like. Those were our first opinions if each other.
I was always attracted to tall, dark, and handsome, not short, freckled and Jewish. He told me I possessed four out of five qualifications: brown hair, brown eyes, curves, and the name Jennifer. The only quality I don’t have is a Cuban accent like Daisy Fuentes. He is a kind, loving, romantic, sweet man. Those are very important qualities to me.
Gena:
 Because I met him 10 years ago in grade 8, up until that point, all I knew I liked in men was cool hair (long or spiky or crazy colors) and relatively hairless body. Roberto was quiet (hadn’t learned much English yet), wore all black for convenience, simple hair, and shy of me, but his eyes had this alert, calculating, intense quality to them that I couldn’t help being drawn in by. The reason we started dating in grade 10 was those intense, intelligent eyes, tall frame, deep conversation on a wide range of subjects, and, most importantly, treating me as a friend and conversation partner instead of a piece of meat, as other high-schoolers tend to do. Also, in grade 10 I convinced him to grow his hair out. By graduation it was down to his bum. In the last 5 years his skinny teen frame has become man shaped, and now I realize how much I love broad shoulders and facial hair . Groomed facial hair, mind you. His hair has been tamed to shoulder length too. Roberto’s priority is clothing. Before we dated, his ideal girl would dress tastefully and flattering to her body. Not frumpy, not naked, not a nun. Skirts no longer than the knee, shirts that don’t turn the torso into a box curtain or frilly mess, etc. Today he still has discerning taste in clothes, both for himself and I. I trust his judgement when shopping. If I try on a dress and he pauses, then says “… you know those frilly orange tree fungi?” I’m not buying that dress . 
Claudia:
 I am attracted to tall men: my husband is 6’5, and all the men i dated before him, were of similar height. Before meeting him, though, i liked dark haired, dark skinned men (Latin, preferably of my same ethnicity). Then one day i met him, he’s very white, green eyed, and very handsome and big. Not just tall and gangly legged (if that makes any sense)- he used to be a football player when he was in college, and grew up in a farm. I also have a thing for strong men, i guess (still get weak knees after 8 years, LOL) and fell for him because he’s just amazing (i might be a little biased). He’s a very confident, responsible man, kind, romantic and loves adventure (he’s traveled half the world and he’s only 34). He’s also an amazing cook, and a great dancer. He’s very passionate about what he likes, and you can see that in his eyes when he’s talking about it (and his whole body- he speaks while pacing around and gesticulates quite a bit, which struck me as interesting when we first met, because i had the idea that American men, specially the ones from the Midwest, were all soft spoken.   I am a year older than him, by the way- but everyone thinks it’s the other way around.
Mari:
I had a few rules that I didn’t deviate from. I would only accept men who were taller than me, with broader shoulders than mine. They had to be solidly built, not slender like a marathon runner. I demanded high intelligence. I didn’t go for conventional good looks or popularity. I almost always went for the geeks. I saw them as diamonds in the rough. I saw their potential and desired to assist them in reaching it. My biggest crushes, though, were on older men in their 50’s and 60’s. I ended up marrying a man who ticked all the boxes on my list, except that he was a “youngster” only 4 years my senior. I was his first girlfriend ever, but he didn’t mind that I’d gotten a rather early start and already had a “past”. We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend and got married less than 6 months later. He was just graduating from college and I was fresh out of high school. My family cheered about my “good catch”. His family was horrified, said I was too young and too poor and uneducated.  His PG version is that he was first attracted to my blue eyes. But also he could sense a “wildness” behind my calm, quiet exterior that made him unable to take his mind off of me. I, on the other hand, don’t remember anything in particular that attracted me physically to him. In the beginning I simply thought of him as a good man with good potential. I felt neutral. It was all business to me. I was never infatuated with him. He jokes that I was too busy creating my own “arranged marriage” to worry about infatuation. I knew infatuation would have muddled my objectivity, and my goal was to find a suitable partner and hope infatuation followed. Looking back on it, I think I married him because he passed all my tests and was the only man I couldn’t scare away. He was durable! He keeps me grounded and I keep him jumping. He affectionately calls me his feral cat. Now, 25 years later as he approaches the magical age of 50, there are moments here and there when he looks inexplicably good to me. Its as though I am 14 years old caught up in an “older man” crush all over again. Lucky him! Lucky me! 
Nicole:
The first thing that I noticed when I saw my husband was his smile. I saw him through a doorway as I walked by, and he was laughing. He was so confident and happy, and I knew I wanted to meet him. I still love his laugh.
Faith:
I always had a thing for Josh Groban-esque dark curls. I saw this guy from behind and thought “Dang, I want my kids to have that hair.” Then somebody tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around. I thought, “Sweet, he’s cute, too! That’s the one.” I proceeded to Facebook-stalk him and officially met him a week later. Seven months later, we were married. What can I say? I knew what I wanted  It’s been 4 1/2 years, and sometimes I look at him, when he keeps his hair long enough to be curly, and I remember our whirlwind romance and think, “Dang, I scored.”
Maia:
 I dated a guy in my 20s who was fun, but also very sarcastic, made fun of people, didn’t like my family, and made fun of everything. So, after we broke up, I made a list of what I wanted in a spouse. The top qualities were “considerate of others” and “non-judgemental”. I also wanted someone who liked my family, who I could connect with and feel comfortable talking to, someone who loved animals, and someone my same religion. When I met my husband 8 years later, we met at the mailbox of our apartment complex. I said, “Oh, are you my new neighbor?” and we talked for an hour. After a couple of months, I looked at my list, and noticed he had every single thing I wanted (and more) except he didn’t go to church and didn’t play basketball. After we got more serious, he did go to church with me so that happened after we met. 
I didn’t really have a requirement on looks, I just wanted to be attracted to whoever I married. He liked dating girls he met in bars who were wild and fun, but after awhile, it wasn’t working for him, so he was looking for someone who was loyal and intelligent when we met. We both found that through our experiences of dating a lot of people we were able to figure out and fine tune what we wanted in a partner.
Matt:
I was always partial to red heads and brunettes. I never was very interested in blondes. Blonde girls all look the same to me. Michayla’s a petite little red head with green eyes, and I was always fond of her when we were youth, though we never really dated exclusively until we were engaged (long story there). The other girl I was once interested in was tallish (she was as tall as I in heels) and brunette.So she and Michayla are sort of opposites, though they both have green eyes, so I guess I’ve always had a thing for green eyes.
Olivia:
Appearance wise, I was always attracted to softer-looking, dark haired, tall, musician/artistic type of men (or boys, as it were, since I was 17 when I met my husband). My husband is about 2 inches taller than me, lighter hair, built more like an athlete than a musician. He wasn’t as attractive as many of the others I was interested in but there was something about his personality that stuck with me. He had/has this easy way about him. Strong, deep rooted convictions but he has always had the ability to loosen me up and make me laugh and have fun. I always thought I would marry a musician and that we would make wonderful music together. Instead, I got a tone deaf, hard working, rugged farmer. And he is the perfect man for me because he brings out the best in me 
It also helps that we were raised with similar faiths and both raised as farmers. We got married at 19 and had very little issues adjusting to married life and each other. Pretty much smooth sailing in that dept. We had discussed all of the big ticket issues and agreed on pretty much all of them (there are a couple areas we don’t see eye to eye but they don’t really affect out daily life).  My mom always said that when there are two different faiths laying in bed at night, the devil will sleep on the pillow in between. (Doesn’t translate extremely well but you get the point)