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33 comments

  1. What are some good date ideas for couples who have kids?

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    1. Find another couple with kids with whom you can switch baby sitting the kids for every other week. That way you can have one week of free babysitting in return for babysitting for free for the other week.

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    2. That's a great idea! Someone should create an app that can facilitate this.

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    3. I think it is fine to find some things that you can do at home (e.g., games, conversation, dessert, etc.), but as often as you can, it is important to get out of the house together. Sometimes a change in scenery can do a lot for a couple, especially if it happens on a regular basis.

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  2. I'm just wondering about how to have those important conversations before marriage, like talking about what their goals are, how they handle money, where they stand on intimacy (or maybe that'd be better during engagement, I don't know). I feel like these are awkward conversations to have because I and most people aren't used to having such deep conversations on such topics that are so close to home. Any tips on how to start those conversations?

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    1. You need to start with where you are in the relationship. What I mean by that is don’t have deeply personal conversations if your relationship is not yet deeply meaningful. Don’t share things all at once and too much too soon. You have to take a measured approach. One way to start is to talk about things at a factual level (“my parents divorced”) and move more deeply into your opinions (“All of my siblings handled the divorce differently”) and emotions (“my parent’s divorce was the most difficult time in my life…”). Dr. John Van Epp uses this approach, which he calls OPEN (Observation and facts, Perspectives and opinions, Experiences and emotions, Needs and relationship responses; for more on this, see his book How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk), and it can be really helpful.

      Even though you are being careful to not share too much too soon, there may still be times when some conversations are awkward. At that point you may just have to go for it. Some conversations don't get easier until you start talking about them.

      Regards to talking about sexual intimacy: The reality is, for most single people, talking about sexual intimacy with someone whom they are sexually attracted to is going to provoke more sexual feelings (and make it more difficult to maintain sexual boundaries). There is wisdom in refraining from these conversations until your relationship is sufficiently matured (and for some conversations on this topic, it may just be best to wait until marriage). I recommend following the counsel given in the For Strength of Youth (see the section on Sexual Purity on lds.org) in making decisions on what you should talk about pertaining to sexual intimacy.

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  3. What should we do if we feel like we are being blamed for everything or when anything goes wrong, we feel like it's our fault when it's both of our faults?

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    1. There are two parts here: the blaming of others and the blaming of self. First, if others are literally blaming you for EVERYTHING, they probably have some issues. Chances are, they don’t blame you for everything but do blame you for more than you would like. The first thing I would recommend is to see if you can identify any truths related to their accusations. If there is, make steps to improve yourself. After you’ve done that, move on with your life and stop worrying about their blame (blaming others is one of just many ways that people shrink from personal responsibility).

      For the self blame: Follow the same path. Identify honestly things you could do better, work to improve them, then let it go. Holding on to it won’t be helpful.

      You may also read the Common Cold of Marriage #3 article and study the boxes. Whatever you do, stay out of the wrong boxes!

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  4. How does the way you view the guys who are interested in the girls you like affect dating? Many times I see it as a bit of a competition, and other guys as competitors for the girl's attention, and therefore tend to think very negatively of them . Obviously there's lots of latitude for this question, but how can I improve my view of "my fellow man", even when they're interested in the same girls I am?

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    1. Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it. I would catch myself when I started dwelling on it and would certainly never act out in frustration or anger. The fact that you feel a little rift is because you feel threatened. That’s normal. Try to stop worrying about things you can’t control (you can’t control whether or not a particular girl will choose you) and focus on what you can: be kind, improve your attractiveness, act lovingly to your neighbor (even if you like the same girl).

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  5. How can I tell if I should change my dating approach? Honestly girls never give feedback on why they aren't interested in me, many times they never say they're disinterested, they just fade away and ghost out.

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    1. That stinks man. My recommendation would be to find a girl you trust (and trust will tell you the truth) and ask her what she thinks you could do to improve your approach, appearance, demeanor, etc.
      For the record: girls who "ghost out" and "just fade away" are often acting like cowards. It would be better for them to directly (and kindly) tell you that they are not interested. They often think that this is the kind approach, but it's not.

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  6. I get a lot of dates from guys who are just...off. They try to cuddle on the first date or try to force me to hold their hand. I go to service activities, I go to places where the spirit can be felt. I'm not a loose girl and I surround myself with good people, but I only seem to be asked by people I'm not attracted to/or are looking for trouble. I'm friendly, sociable, and kind... So why don't I get asked out by good guys? Guys tell me I'm pretty/cute/beautiful but never ask me out. Should I

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    1. A few things. First, you obviously have an approachable persona about you, and I wouldn’t change that. That is a good thing. It means that you are, like you said, friendly, sociable, and kind.

      Second, don’t be too quick to judge. Someone who may appear “off” early in a dating situation may be very much “on.” If there is ZERO physical attraction that is one thing, but if someone is less attractive or appears to be “looking for trouble”, there may be some wisdom is reserving judgement. Early in a relationship, what we believe about someone is made up more from our own stereotypes and perceptions than what they actually say or do. So reserve judgement and give some of these guys a second chance.

      Lastly, (and now I am just guessing on what was supposed to follow “Should I…”) it’s okay to ask a guy out, you just have to be thoughtful about it. Here is the principle: it’s a good thing to send the subtle message to a guy that you are interested. This can help facilitate feelings that he could have for you. But you don’t want to appear desperately interested. You might try causally suggesting that “Hey, we should go ______. Do you want to do that next week?” If you’ve done that, you have sent the message that you are at least interested in getting to know him. Afterwards, I would scale back your forward-ness so as not to be perceived as desperate. There is more I could say on this, but I will probably just have to put it all together in a blog post :)

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    2. I think this an INCREDIBLY COMMON issue sadly. I'm the same. I haven't received anything different at BYU-Idaho. I think our generation is looking for instant gratification rather than a true relationship. My plan is to move back to Utah after I graduate where the men are actual gentlemen. I also think I'm a good catch. When I lived in Salt Lake or Provo I had 2-3 dates a week when I put myself out there. I had a few relationships that just didn't work out but they weren't bad. I've been here a year and I've been asked on a date 3 times. Once was a set up and once was loud and awkward while I was trying to study in the library.

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  7. Hey! There's a guy I like but we don't know each other very well. I want to go on a date but he hasn't asked me. Because of this I'm afraid that he doesn't return the feelings, so if I were to ask him, he'd say no. Should girls ask guys out?

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    1. It's okay for girls to ask guys out, but there is some caution with it (see above). I would start by initiating conversations with him. Orchestrate situations where you can be around him and talk with him a little bit. After that, find out something he likes to do and then ask him if he wants to go do it. Afterwards, lay off a bit and see if he reciprocates any interest. That's just one approach to take.

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  8. How would you decide if it is time to start dating a particular individual exclusively? What questions should you ask yourself? (Assume both individuals are of an age that dating exclusively would be appropriate.)

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  9. This is a great question. Honestly, in my opinion, the timing of becoming exclusive is not as important as the timing of when you start thinking about marriage, talking about marriage, and getting engaged. I think couples should date exclusively for a long enough period that chemistry levels come down to a normative level so that they have a more realistic perspective of who this person is. The problem with thinking and talking about marriage is that chemistry levels are likely to increase as soon as you do. So, most important is to date long enough to understand who they are as a romantic partner when chemistry isn't dominating the relationship.
    Now, to directly answer your question. When to become exclusive? When you have spent enough time observing them in a variety of situations to feel that you can increase your level of trust and commitment in the relationship. That's pretty vague, but what do you know about how they treat strangers? Roommates? Others? If you are pretty ignorant of these things, you probably ought to date them non-exclusively a bit longer. However, if you get to a point where you are not "officially" dating exclusively, but pretty much acting like you are, just be sure you are not pushing the relationship to the next level too fast.

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  10. I will start attending BYU-I in the winter 2019 track and in the spring. I won’t have any friends that I know at BYU-I because they are all going to BYU Provo. My stake president recommended dating girls with the intent of getting to know them( #justadate). I am most definitely not interested in romantically dating anyone before my mission which I am planning to go on This next summer. What should I do to meet new people and make new friends? Should I date girls and how should I explain to them that I’m only interested in getting to know them as a friend, not romantically. BTW everything I have read on this blog has made sense. Thanks for the advice.

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    1. Welcome to Rexburg! I hope you've enjoyed your first semester up here. Yes, you should go on dates. Take girls out not for the purpose of finding one to marry, but for the many other purposes of dating: learn about self and others, have fun, to treat women the way they should be treated, etc. I wouldn't worry about saying anything about not wanting to be romantic at this time. Just enjoy the dates and be kind and respectful. There are a lot of woman who would love to be treated like a queen for a couple hours on the weekend.

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  11. The dating class contains a large number of rooms to met. Is the class split up to accommodate to the number of students or does the class rotate as the weeks go by? If they do rotate how can we know where to be on what date?

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    1. The same topic is covered in each classroom on a particular week. For example, each class will be covering the same topic next week. Hopefully that helps!

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  12. Hi, I'm a nice girl involved in good things. I've been a temple worker, RS President, Service Committee Chairperson, return missionary, college graduate (back in school for another degree) met lots of nice guys but nothing has stuck. I started online dating to try to find someone compatible. Dating turned into a nightmare for me. It led to guys pushing my physical boundaries and I'm one of those people that freeze up or don't know how to say "no." Because I suffered sexual abuse when I was a child, I think this triggered something in me. Even though I hated how I was being treated and it made me sick, I started seeking it out. It's been almost a year of this off and on behavior. I don't want to do this kind of stuff. Sometimes I go a month or two healing and working with professionals and bishops and then I fall back. I feel like if I could just meet a righteous man who wants to treat me right and truly love me that I could escape this cycle - but now I feel I'm not worthy of that. For 25 years I didn't even experience french-kissing. In just a year I lost all of that integrity and I don't know who I am anymore. I guess this is some weird cry for help because I know there's not a simple solution to what I've put myself through. Do you have any resources I can look into?

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    1. First of all, you are not alone with the "dating turned into a nightmare" with your online experience. Unfortunately this is more common than people realize. Here are just a few things to consider:
      -Go back to establishing your self-worth based on what God thinks about you rather than what guys think about you. A great talk for that can be found here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/approaching-the-throne-of-god-with-confidence?lang=eng
      -Don't define yourself by what you've done. Your mistakes don't define you and thinking they do will kill your confidence. If you lack confidence, the pull to seek acceptance in inappropriate ways will likely intensify. Again, the talk referenced above can help.
      -You will also want to re-establish your relationship boundaries. Commit to a path of minimal touch before marriage. Be open about those boundaries and refuse to give in to the "I am a hypocrite for saying these are my boundaries because I've broke them in the past."

      You are right that there is no easy answer, I just hope you stop beating yourself up. You've made mistakes, but they cannot define who you really are.

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  13. How do you manage technology use in a relationship so that it doesn't interfere? Perhaps it applies more to marriage, but patterns start somewhere, right?

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    1. Yes, patterns do start somewhere. In short, be where you ought to be (physically and psychologically) when you ought to be there. If you are on a date, put your device away. If you are trying to have a conversations, put your device away. At church, please control yourself. If you are in class, put it way. If you need to call your mom, by all means take it out and call your mom. Texting your girlfriend? Do it, as long as you are no supposed to be present somewhere else.
      So, just be where you ought to be when you ought to be there.

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  14. How does mental health affect dating? How can I talk about my mental health problems with a significant other? How can awareness and understanding help things go more smoothly? Sorry, lots of questions.

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    1. No worries! The answer to your first question depends on the mental health and the people involved, so I won't go into that. How to talk about it? Don't divulge too much too soon. Also, as your relationship progresses, be open enough with your partner to help them have realistic expectations about you. There may be times when you can't be as present with your partner because you are in a low-spot.
      There is a lot more that could be said, but I agree that awareness and understanding can help smooth out some concerns. However, you also don't want to overshare too much too soon.

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  15. I've heard so many times people saying that "communication is everything" in dating and marriage...but I have gotten the idea from different classes that it is far from the only thing we should work on...what else is important in a relationship??

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    1. There are so many different things that are important. I've tired to highlight some of those things on this blog. Here are some of those things: intentional decision-making, goals, understanding, the presence of any number of Christ-like attributes, etc.
      Communication is important, but it is not more important than the choices we make and the character we develop.

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  16. Tips on how to find the balance between independence and commitment? I desire to be in a committed relationship yet when he reaches out to do boyfriend things (i.e. calls me at the end of the day or asks to do mundane things with me like homework) I completely shut it down in the name of independence.

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    1. Thanks for asking a great question! I don’t think there are really any easy answers to this, but here is a place to start: stop making emotionally (or comfort)-based decisions. Sometimes when we fear we are losing independence, it triggers uncomfortable emotional feelings. These might manifest themselves in feeling annoyed, controlled, etc. However, if we take a step back and examine the person we are dating, find them to be a kind, attractive, and good person, then we probably need to push back on our discomfort a little bit. What does that look like?
      First, push ourselves to spend time with our significant other when we don’t initially feel like it. We don’t need to do this all the time, but doing so on occasion can help.
      Next, let your boyfriend know that if you come across as distant that it is because you are working through your own stuff and it doesn’t have anything to do with him. Maybe you explain to him that there are simply times when you need some space (there is nothing wrong with this).
      Lastly, realize that you are normal. A lot of people feel this way. The way to push through this is to make more rational choices and less emotional ones.
      Hope that helps a little bit.

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