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Steve_Potato

Steady Dating

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I'm 18 and preparing to serve a mission. I knew I didn't want to get in a serious relationship because I wanted my focus to be entirely on serving the Lord. I had a friend though that also had plans to serve a mission, and a rule about not dating seriously before then. I thought, "where's the harm in going on a date or two with her?". Eventuality I grew to really like her, and she found out and told me she likes me back. Neither of us are willing to break our rules that prohibit exclusive dating, but we don't know what to do.

This is a place to post all opinions about steady relationships before a mission (or college for those that won't go on one), but I'd appreciate any advice on my specific situation.

Edited by Steve_Potato

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Take it from me: the counsel to avoid steady dating isn't only to keep you safe from messing up, but it's to keep you safe from unnecessary heartache. Protect your heart. Not that she isn't a great girl, I'm sure she is; but youth and circumstances set a possible relationship up to fail. Keep an emotional distance, go out with other girls, and by all means stay friends with her. But protect your heart. Give it to the Lord for now. 

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 Neither of us are willing to break our rules that prohibit exclusive dating...

 

Sounds like you do know what to do. 

 

There are a lot of people who prepare faithfully to go on a mission, only to stumble shortly before they are age eligible to go on a mission. Don't place yourself in a situation that you will regret. 

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There is no "rule", only guidance. You would be wise to accept the guidance but nothing about datind exclusively excludes you from serving. Eowyn probably said it best. Give you heart to the gospel for now and your girlfriend should be acting in a supportive role. Your dates shouldn't (need not) be about "love" and "loving" each other. They should be "learning" about each other and supporting each other. Doing this does not conflict with your preparation for a mission.

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Take it from me: the counsel to avoid steady dating isn't only to keep you safe from messing up, but it's to keep you safe from unnecessary heartache.

It's a little late to protect the heart completely.

I'm not worried about immorality, I'm not that kind of guy, she's not that kind of girl (I realize most people say stuff like that, but it's just not an issue). When I promised myself I'd wait until after my mission to get involved with girls, it was to avoid distractions, and that's what she's becoming.

The real question is: is it enough to just not act like you're in a relationship, or have you already crossed the line once you start feeling like you are? The Lord comes first, but I really don't want to mess things up with my best friend.

Edited by Steve_Potato

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Having just finished a mission a few months ago, let me fill you in on what I saw. Elders who had steady dated up until their missions, with a few exceptions ('few' meaning one or two), were distracted by that relationship. Some actually went home over it, most stuck it out but never really committed themselves to serving, some had to end the relationship before they were able to focus, and the one or two managed to adjust quickly. Why the difficulty? Their hearts were still at home with their girlfriends, so they weren't available to give to the Lord. Whether or not anything was inherently wrong with the relationships themselves, they had slowly and quietly become more important than the Lord's will for most pre-mission steady daters. And that's a problem.

 

My 2 cents: Keep doing what you're doing. Date others, but by all means go on one together occasionally. Spend some time together as friends. Don't worry that you like each other - that's good! Enjoy it for what it already is, and don't try to build on that foundation before it's stable. Write each other when you're on your missions, but offer support rather than distraction. And last but not least, try to arrange it so that she leaves on her mission within six months of the time you leave for yours.  ;)  :lol:

Edited by Josiah

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I set the rule for myself because I didn't want any distractions on my mission. I'm concerned though because even though we're not officiant dating, she's one of the first things I think about in the morning, usually the last thing I think about at night, and in between I'm usually trying to come up with excuses to talk to her. We've openly said that once we're back from our missions, we'll give things a real try, and I'm worried that might be a bad idea to say that

Can it be just as bad to want to be in a relationship as to actually be in it. Matthew 5 says to look upon a woman and lust after her is the same as committing adultery in your heart, and since the issue with relationships (in regards to distracting on a mission) is the heart, could this relationship I have with this girl be a distraction?

Just to be clear, there is no lusting or anything like that going on, I'm not that kind of guy, she's not that kind of girl, but I'm still slightly torn between risking not giving 100% to the Lord, and risking messing things up with my best friend

Edited by Steve_Potato

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The Holy Ghost will be your best guide. The Lord knows your situation and your heart, and we don't. Pray about it! But honestly, I'm not too worried. Unless you are given specific promptings, the Lord's will for your relationships at this stage of your life is outlined in For the Strength of Youth and other teachings from the prophets and the scriptures - not the missionary handbook. Therefore, short of a prompting to the contrary, I wouldn't do anything drastic to your friendship. But I also wouldn't break the rules you've set.

 

Bottom line: If you're committed with all your heart to keep the commandments, counsel, and promptings you have been given for this time in your life, you're probably already giving 100% to the Lord. If you're giving 100% to the Lord by doing His will now, you'll be able to do it on your mission too. If you do need to change something about this, the Spirit will tell you if you ask. Meanwhile, date mostly other people. Enjoy your friendship. Learn what you want in an eternal companion. Have fun.  :cool:

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You are still very, very young. Enjoy being single for awhile and find out who YOU are. Than, once you do that (or at least get a grasp, it's a lifelong journey) start dating. 

 

Look, I'm different from the rest of the world because I think marriage is a wonderful blessing and the greatest thing in the world, aside from salvation. So I'm hardly anti-marriage. 

 

But I did love being single. It was fun to date around, hang out with my friends and take my dog on long road trips and not have someone to check in with. 

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Steve, I think you should keep dating her, but date other girls too. Ask her to keep dating other guys.

Did you know that Pres. Benson was in a serious relationship with his future wife before his mission? He went on his mission and she waited for him. Then when he came home they were going to get married BUT the Spirit told her that if she married him now he would not reach his full potential.

So she went on a mission too, and he went to school. When she came home, they got married. He later became the Secretary of Agriculture and you know the rest.

I think the counsel not to steady date before your mission is not only for chastity purposes, but so that you don't think "I can't leave her" and decide not to go on a mission at all. With the age changes you could both be out at almost the same time...so she will receive the growth a mission brings as you do....

Best of luck.

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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A benefit of steady dating that is often not talked about-you get to learn how to interact with the opposite sex. In the real world you better be able to talk to women (or men, whatever) you aren't dating. You need to be taught how.  

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Why?

 

So they're both on a mission together and come home at about the same time.

 

Presumably so that the chances of her finding another guy before he gets back from his mission is slim to none.

Edited by anatess

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So they're both on a mission together and come home at about the same time.

 

Presumably so that the chances of her finding another guy before he gets back from his mission is slim to none.

 

Spoken like someone who has never attended BYU.

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Spoken like someone who has never attended BYU.

 

LOL.  Yeah.  Never been to BYU.  The most recent young woman who went on to attend BYU while waiting to turn 19 from our ward, ended up getting married a few months after her 19th birthday.  Hah hah.

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