LDS Singles

Thriving and Growing as an LDS Single


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Star shaped container, or something less conspicuous?

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Even though I’m in my forties, I find that I still learn from college students when it comes to dating. My cousin’s daughter, Julia, who is a junior at BYU, was explaining the “star-shaped container” theory to me over Christmas break.

Now bear with me. It may sound cheesy to compare dating to Rubbermaid® or Tupperware® containers, but it’s good.

She said that some people find their mate quickly because they’re “star-shaped”and so it doesn’t take as much looking around to find your “lid.” It’s an easy match. The rest of us are, perhaps, rectangles or squares. Some of us are glass containers, some Rubbermaid®, some Tupperware, Ziploc®, or….let’s say Anchor Hocking®. If we’re the plastic or rubber lid, we may go with glass or a plastic container. But we’re slightly different sizes and it’s not easy to sort through that big bin of lids.

I don’t think it’s a difficult analogy. The difficult part comes if you over-analyze it.

Here’s a fun over-analysis: “Maybe I’m a limited edition Sponge Bob Ziploc® lid and the bottom doesn’t have any matching pictures, so that’s making it hard.”

Here’s a useless over-analysis: “But what if I want to marry a rectangular baking dish and I’m a round plastic lid.”

Another over-analysis: “No one wants my type of container.”  Ouch. Don’t do that to yourself!

Fun analysis: “I’m a baking dish and I’m just too hot to handle.”

Bad analysis: “There’s only one person out there for me and I’ll know it when I see it.” You may give up just when you’ve found “it.”

Good analysis: Keep trying lids!

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Who Are the Singles in Your Neighborhood?

Blog FH photosWhen I was growing up, I was well aware of the singles in the church. My Dad had been the “ripe old” age of 31 when he met and married my schoolteacher Mom, who was 25. They were “ancient” by the standards of 1960. My Dad had served an LDS mission to Canada, come home and volunteered for the Air Force for the Korean War (and received a “Dear John” letter in the process), then inexplicably graduated from the University of Utah as a fraternity president without getting married; despite what my aunts and uncles described to me as a healthy social life and even a few dates with a granddaughter of the President of the LDS Church at the time. 1567

When my Mom passed away in 1980, my Dad then married my Step Mom, who was also considered an “older” single at the age of 28. My parents were aware of what it felt like to be single in a church filled with families and talk of families. We had the “older” singles over for Thanksgiving and Sunday dinners on more than one occasion, and my Dad would invite his LDS, BYU grad bachelors from work over for dinner too. They were real people to me who had interests and family in other places and wishes for the future.

So, as an “older” and divorced single, recently when I read this excellent article by blogger Katie Bastian in the Deseret News, I did what every good singles blogger would do and (oh no!!) read the comments section. Some of the comments disturbed me. **This blog post is a gentle reminder that marrieds can sometimes develop a sort of amnesia as to what it was like to be single.** Singles, feel free to send ward members here who may be experiencing said amnesia. Or, perhaps, send a link to this page to some of those  “scary posters.” My attempt is to try to be patient and civil, since after all, we are all still trying to figure this all out. This may be a meager attempt at putting my two cents in, but I felt like I needed to try something.Heawon

The photos here are of friends of mine, all singles, most of them over 40. I also included photos of their parents or grandparents or old photos with friends. They’re good members of the church who serve well in their callings and have been there for me in many a time of need. One of them taught what my teenage son said was “the best Sunday School lesson I’ve ever had.” (My son can be a tough customer. He’s a freshman at an Ivy League school now.) The same friend was my kids’ favorite person to get candy from at the church’s Trunk or Treat, as he served it out of a real hearse with the license plate “LDSGOTH.” Paul Halloween

I kept thinking of family history while contemplating this post. All singles have ancestors, the same as the married folk do. And lest you be tempted to quote Elder Hales from today’s Saturday afternoon session of General Conference and wonder why older singles “played through their 20’s,” remember that that quote was for the singles. Excellent, excellent advice. Elder Hales came and spoke to the “Midsingles” in Los Angeles when I was living there. But, if you’re not single, it’s not your job to try and figure out which singles ended up single “because it’s their fault” and they played too much. Let the Lord make that judgment. Make friends with the singles in your ward today and let the Lord and the individual worry about that. It’s not your stewardship, no matter how well-meaning you may be. 

Tracy and mom

These are the singles in your ward: brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, mechanic, engineer, teacher, student, co-worker, visiting teacher, home teacher, babysitter, piano player, artist, doodler, volunteer Little League Umpire….  And for some, “mother, father” rather than “Single Mom! Single Dad!”

And family history? Do you think our ancestors care only for their progeny who have had children? I highly doubt that. They are on the other side, cheering all of us on.

The photos are from four friends: one works in insurance, one is a librarian at an inner city library, one a mathematician with a famous scientist for a grandfather, and an office services coordinator who loves to take care of ward beach parties. Their favorite hymns are Our Savior’s Love, The Spirit of God, Nearer My God to Thee, and I Stand All Amazed, respectively.

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The 2 best blog entries for LDS singles, ever…

love-letter-241695_640Al Fox Carraway is often called “The Tattooed Mormon” because she does firesides, and has tattoos. Her husband, Ben Carraway, would like you to know why it is that he just doesn’t see her as “the tattooed Mormon” or “that famous girl.”

1) from Ben (full text at this link):

Let pasts go. Allow people to show you that they can change, grow, and become better. My wife was called out for how she looked on her first day in Utah because she was tattooed and holding a church book. That guy told her how foolish she looked. That’s messed up. When my wife and I meet people, a lot of the time I will notice their eyes just starring at her tattoos. To me she is not the ‘Tattood Mormon’ nor will she ever be in my eyes.

Marriage for us, I can firmly say, has not been hard one bit. Sure there have been life difficulties, but we get over them. I love her more and more everyday. I love her more than the day I married her. I find her even more attractive then when we first met. I fall in love with her everyday. Even to this day when I look in her deep blue eyes, I know why I married her. I married her not for her looks, sure that’s a bonus, but I married her for WHO she is.

2) And from Al (full text at the link):

It was a long and incredibly lonely time before I would even be considered for a date, mostly because guys couldn’t get past my appearance. And that was really hard, just barely moving to Utah against my will (but following God’s), being in a new place, not knowing what I was supposed to do there and feeling absolutely and completely alone. (No, not just because of the lack of boys, but in general and in every way you could probably think of). Guys my age were looking for temple worthy girls, however, I didn’t exactly look temple worthy, that they didn’t even speak to me. After my move across the country, it was the first time that it ever occurred to me that, appearance aside, my life before the church could stop guys from wanting to not alone date, but be friends. I would notice the kind of girls that were getting asked out and I began to be afraid that because I didn’t look “perfect,” grow up in a strong gospel centered family, or know how to cook or make my own skirts, I was forever going to be over looked.

A lesson I learned shortly after baptism— when I felt the weight of the world of problems come flooding into my life— I learned that if I continued to put God first, everything else would fall in to place.

You will be blessed with a companion that will help you in the ways you need, even if sometimes you feel like they don’t exist, or that you’re asking for too much or you’re too picky. Don’t let passing time allow doubts and settling to take over. Don’t lose patience and miss out on what He has in store for you. Don’t hold yourself back from learning and growing and experiencing other things. Just hold on and don’t lose confidence.  Heavenly Father knows what’s important to us and what we need.

Those who are single, don’t waste your thoughts comparing yourself and defining yourself by what you aren’tand what others are. Don’t allow yourself to question what is “wrong with you.”  Heavenly Father did not shortchange or screw up on you. Don’t stress. You just worry about you and worry about God.  Because the thing about Heavenly Father is that if we are trying and are patient, we will never be short-changed from the best blessings He has to offer.

Yeah, sure our future can be uncertain at times, but how exciting that is! How exciting it is to know it’s guided by God!

no-mistakes


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True Story: Supposed detours and new blessings

This was a Facebook post from an amazing friend, who also happens to be an amazing writer. Her posts frequently inspire me, but I thought this one in particular needed to be shared with all of you. She graciously gave her assent.

Today would have been my 20th wedding anniversary. Sometimes it still punches me in the gut, the way the worst of life–despite all I wanted and lived for–came in and snatched away all those firsts, those layers of experience and the person I experienced them with. How I lived through those weird but empowering years as a middle-aged single when I came to know and love myself as an individual. And now, a nearly 40 year old newlywed starting from the beginning again–empty bank accounts, rental home, one car, new kids, new family, new last name, new quirks to embrace. It’s not what I expected and I am happy, at peace, in a different way than I expected at this point in my life. But, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Would I counsel my children to plan their lives to divorce somewhere in the middle so they could find someone more “compatible” for the next half? Heck no! But would I counsel them that there can be second chances at happily ever after? Yes. And I can show them. And am.

…Jennifer Sanders Peterson

 

Family clip art


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Envy and Jealousy Among Singles

441px-Olmec_mask_802Everyone struggles with envy and jealousy, but I think that LDS Single Women, especially past a certain age, may struggle with it more. As the ratio of women to men increases as one gets older, it is more frequently a subject of jokes among Church members and also understandably a frustration for the women who are still single who long to get married. Of course, problems arise when anyone (men or women) succumb to the temptation to see this stage of life as more of a “competition” and less a matter of patience and serving one another. Understandable? Yes. But does it mean that we all end up hurting feelings from time to time, on top of dealing with our own hurt feelings, and making things more complicated for ourselves as well as others? Most definitely.

Something I learned today, from Vocabulary.com:

Envy/Jealousy

It’s no fun to feel envy or jealousy because both make you feel inadequate. Envy is when you want what someone else has, but jealousy is when you’re worried someone’s trying to take what you have. If you want your neighbor’s new convertible, you feel envy. If she takes your husband for a ride, you feel jealousy.

 Envy requires two parties, like you and that neighbor, when you want her new car and you wish you were the one riding around with the top down. You feel envy when you want something someone else has.

Jealousy requires three parties, like you, your neighbor, and your husband, when not only do you wish you had that cool car, but you’re worried your husband is going to ride off into the sunset in it without you. Jealousy is exciting because it shows up in lovers’ triangles and Shakespeare’s plays.

You can feel envy about something you don’t have but want, but you feel jealousy over something you already have but are afraid of losing, like that husband who’s always hanging out next door.

When are you envious or jealous?

In a dating context, or as a single, this list from author Carol Tuttle gives us some possible scenarios. Beliefs that limit us:

“I need to be special to a man to be loved.”
“I need a man to love me in order to feel beautiful.”
“I need to be special to a man to be worthy of love.”
“If I’m not with a man, I am not lovable.”

Other issues (It only takes one!!)

Do you often compare yourself to others?
Do you base your value on your outward appearance?
When you are around other attractive women, do you feel inferior?
Do you perceive other women as a threat?
Do you often feel overlooked or that no one really “gets you”?
Do you feel you really deserve something but it seems like others steal your chance for success?
How do you respond when another woman you know gets something you want? (A raise, a promotion, gets engaged, has a baby, etc?)

I think Satan will always tempt us with these, but we don’t need to be discouraged. Instead, when we find that the answer to one of these is “yes,” we can turn to our Savior and our Heavenly Father and those who love us to strengthen our fears and learn to be happy for each other instead of believing that the blessings that others have mean that there is less for us. This excerpt from a 2012 talk from Elder Holland is a great reminder of that:

 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: Avoid Envy. March 31, 2012

Full video and text here

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Want to drink some pickle juice?

 


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Dates as Commodities: the Men’s Stories

Aproned men

*If you missed Part 1 of this, click here.

Now it’s time for the men’s stories: under what circumstances do men feel like commodities rather than friends or potential partners?

You may be able to guess some of them. They’re all real stories from people I talked with, I just changed the names. Unfortunately, I think the women enjoyed talking more than the men did, so I don’t have nearly as much from the men. But, I think the men who did share gave some great, common examples of how men can feel when taken for granted. And, as with the women, these stories represent how these men felt, and are not necessarily indicative of my opinions: the point is to understand where they’re coming from. Here we go…

Steven: More like a commodity than a person? Well, since I was usually the one initiating a date, I was probably more guilty of commoditizing women than the other way around. I guess the worst that I might have felt was as if I was a checklist more than a person–served a mission, check; active church-goer, check; orthodox believer, not-really check; business-major who’d pull a great income, no-way. I suppose those are the sorts of dating pressures I’ve occasional felt, but I’m lucky enough to be in a relationship now where I don’t feel so evaluated.

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Marco: What stands out most for me were my cars. I had two. The first was an ugly, rickety, tin can, orange Kia Rio, (which) was my primary vehicle. Several women whom I asked out turned me down. However! My other car was a sleek, silver, two seater convertible which I seldom drove. Some of the women who turned me down for dates in the Kia sprang to new life upon seeing the convertible. “When are you asking me out again?” “Never.” I had heard of such shallow practices but never believed them to be true. They’re true.OldChevyVan

Spider Convertible*
David: I’m pretty sure some girls made their decision not to date me based on what they perceived my financial situation to be. I have mixed feelings about it because you don’t want to tell a woman, “No, you have to be poor!” But sometimes you’d like them to see that relationships can be built through struggling together, and that her husband might make more and more money as time goes on, and even if he doesn’t it’s still not the only factor.

I do know that shortly after I moved (in with my roommate) Ethan, he got a new job, and I distinctly remember hearing one girl in the mid-single’s ward say that of course she would date him now that he was making $95,000 a year.
It was just weird to hear somebody make such a distinct correlation between a guy’s salary and whether they would date him or not. That’s why a girl shouldn’t look at a guy’s present financial situation as the prime indicator of whether they should date him or not, because his situation could change for better or for worse. The economy took a downturn and he lost that job just three years later, and was mostly out of work for almost six years after that.

commodity

commodity

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Jeff: This is a challenging question to answer. I came from the last generation where men paid for the date and I still feel that way. I felt like commodity in marriage, but never during dating. I worked very hard to support us. I felt like I rarely asked her to do much. Late in the marriage when the Bishop himself began to challenge her to do more to help with the marriage, and she didn’t do anything, I was like, “why am I sacrificing for this marriage like this, when she won’t do anything?” The divorce quickly followed. The first year we had both worked: my money paid the bills, her money she spent on herself. The 2nd year she stopped working and started raiding our checking account, and stopped going to church too. The 3rd year we divorced.
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Abraham: I have never chosen to feel like a commodity, regardless of what anyone has said or done. I don’t manifest my insecurities that way. If I start to feel hopeless, I get offended and swear. If I feel like I’m not in control, I stay up all night. If I feel I can’t get what I want, I eat something. If I want to avoid the truth, I watch TV or play mindless video games. Lastly, more to the point sometimes I feel like a nuisance and a bother around others which isn’t good, practically when you’re trying to impress someone; I guess that’s my insecurity.

*If you missed Part 1 of this, click here.

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5 Ways ‘The Bachelor’ Is Hurting Women—And What We Can Learn From It

photo by Paolo Neo

photo by Paolo Neo

 

from Carol Tuttle: 

“First, let me be clear that I’m not making a judgment about any of the women on the show and certainly not on anyone of you who may enjoy watching it.

This is simply my invitation for us all to be more aware of what this show is telling us—as well as challenge us to examine our own emotions and beliefs about ourselves so we can all become more conscious and compassionate.

Even if Carol’s “Energy Profiling” isn’t your thing, this is a great article: 

Are you a contestant trapped on ‘The Bachelor’ without even realizing it?

How you are you playing out this drama in your own life?

“Take a moment for some self-reflection to examine your own thoughts and emotions about yourself:

  • Do you often compare yourself to others?
  • Do you base your value on your outward appearance?
  • When you are around other attractive women, do you feel inferior?
  • Do you perceive other women as a threat?
  • Do you often feel overlooked or that no one really “gets you”?
  • Do you feel you really deserve something but it seems like others steal your chance for success?
  • How do you respond when another woman you know gets something you want? (A raise, a promotion, gets engaged, has a baby, etc?)”

Read more HERE.