"Barring polygamy, you will break up with every person you date minus one." - Yellow
Question #91000 posted on 02/28/2018 5:24 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

So I"m a 28 single female and sometimes I wonder about the "what if". Like what if I never get married. Sometimes I do wonder if marrying outside of the Temple would be an option for me. If I would take it or even if I would seriously date a nonmember. I also understand completely how important temple marriage is. Any thoughts or feelings about this subject would help.

-My name here

A:

Dear you,

The thing I like to keep in mind in my "what if" moments is that God and I have the same ultimate goal: happiness. God doesn't want me to be lonely or sad, and God doesn't want me to miss out on the manifold joys of life. That doesn't mean he's going to shower me with blessings all the time, but it means that he does have the very best intentions in shaping a plan for my life.

Dating outside the church doesn't necessarily mean marriage outside the church. If you aren't having much luck dating LDS men, there can be a lot of excitement in exploring other options. You don't have to go out with anyone you don't feel comfortable around, but there are innumerable wonderful, caring men out there who don't happen to be LDS. Whether or not you do end up marrying one of these men, there are important lessons you learn by dating and getting to know a variety of people. I think dating outside the LDS faith sounds like a good idea for you, since you seem to be frustrated about dating in general.

Other than that, I totally agree with guppy's advice below about following the Spirit. I never would have predicted where I've ended up, but thus far the Spirit hasn't prompted me to do anything differently, therefore I have to believe that this situation and these experiences are what God wants for me right now. That includes dating nonmembers, not being the most active in church, and not having a clearly defined path. It can be hard at times, not knowing what the future holds, and not knowing all the intimate details of God's plan for me. But when I pray sincerely and ask for his guidance, I feel a sense of peace, and I know that he's watching out for me, even if I can't always sense it.

I'm sorry that you aren't particularly happy about the situation you're in, but don't give up hope. You could meet your future husband tomorrow, and he may or may not be a member of the church. But trust in the Spirit, and trust in God's plan, and everything will work out.

Love,

Luciana

A:

Dear nameless,

First and foremost, follow the Spirit. Whether that leads you to never get married, or to get a civil marriage, the Spirit will never lead you wrong. Even if you make a decision based on the Spirit that others might disagree with, if it's God leading you, don't back down from what you know is right for you.

With that, I have family friends who married nonmembers outside of the temple. Sometimes their spouses got baptized and they got sealed. Sometimes they didn't. But in nearly all cases, they had an incredible family, with love and respect for all members. I think that temple marriage is important, but it's not so essential in this life that God will never let any of His children marry nonmembers who would otherwise be perfect for them. Wonderful and loving mixed faith families are examples of that. Does this mean you should give up on your dream of temple marriage? Of course not! But if the Spirit tells you that yes, you should start dating nonmembers seriously and yes, that nonmember there is who you should marry, then follow those promptings.

To look at it from the statistical side: there are roughly 2 men for every 3 women in the Church today. I don't think God intends for 33% of the women in His Church to be single. In addition, the average age of marriage is increasing in the U.S., and the average age for women to get married in 2013 was 27. I remember when I was 22 and had no possibility of marriage on the horizon, looking at our mission Facebook page of all the people from my mission getting married, realizing all the sisters I had gone out and returned with were engaged or married, remembering that my mother had married when she was 21, and lamenting to God, "It's hopeless, I'm never getting married." God's response? "Look at you, a self-confirmed spinster at age 22." I realized in that moment just how ridiculous I was being. Just because we're not following the general trends of the Church doesn't mean we're not following God's plan for us. And God's plan for us is so much better than what we may think we need.

What if you never get married? You'll still have an incredible, amazing life, full of happiness and service. Sheri Dew has never married, yet has done astounding things and has changed lives. And all faithful individuals will have a chance at all blessings, including marriage, in the next life. (And to lay any rumors to rest, that does not mean polygamy.) 

Regardless of what happens, if you keep following God and co-creating your life with Him, you will have an amazing, happy life.

-guppy of doom

Question #90999 posted on 02/28/2018 4:54 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

So there is this guy who I thought was flirting with me but it turns out that he has a girlfriend. Maybe he is one of those guys who is just nice to everyone an is naturally charming. I have met people like that before so I don't want to rule it out for him and I don't know this guy well I have only talked to him twice.

So I may have flirted back( is it possible to flirt back if he wasn't flirting?) or I may have been extra nice because I though he was cute.

The point is looking back now I kind of feel stupid. Has this ever happened to you? How can I prevent it in the future? Now I don't want to flirt with anyone until I know their personality well.

-Thanks!

A:

Dear You're Welcome,

As it turns out, a fair number of my guy friends are married/in relationships. And one of these friends in particular says one of the best things about being married is the fact he can be nice without people thinking he's flirting (people can just see the ring on his finger and realize he really is just being nice). 

I bring this up because it highlights how for YSA's, if we run into someone of the opposite sex and they're particularly nice to us, we assume that person must be flirting. After all, it's part of the social game of trying to date more andin Provo at leastgetting married. This social construct makes it difficult to see when someone else is playing the game, or whether they're being genuinely nice (of course there are total tools who really do flirt with everyone regardless of being in a relationship, but I'm not going to go into that). I'm not sure that I have any good pointers for how to see through this, but I do have one piece of advice: be nice. Though you can't control how people will interpret your actions, be genuinely kind to others. And if you find out for sure that someone isn't in a relationship... feel free to start flirting beyond general niceness.

~Anathema

A:

Dear Thanks,

Girl, I feel you. This is an ongoing situation for me and it’s confusing and difficult, so maybe discussing it would help us both.

I’m currently in training for a new role with Disney, and there is one particular man in my training class who flirts casually with me. It was never anything big or overt, but he would tell me that I looked pretty that day, or be especially braggy in front of me. I knew he had a girlfriend, but he didn’t really do anything to cross the line into definite flirting, so I wasn’t thinking too much of it.

Then one week we all needed to blow off steam, so we agreed to go out for drinks after work. He had been paying particular attention to me that week, and I had recently realized I was attracted to him, so I discussed it with my friend Emerald and we were curious to see how he acted outside of a work environment.

And he was definitely flirting with me. He sat by me specifically and joked with me. And he spent most of the night messaging Emerald and talking about how amazing I was. Towards the end of the night, he even messaged me about how I “came out of nowhere” and he “didn’t know how to process it.” The flirting was more defined from that point on, and despite knowing about his relationship, I couldn't help developing feelings for him. It was difficult to balance the desire to flirt back with him with the knowledge that he was dating someone, because I didn't want to mess with an existing relationship.

After a couple of weeks and many discussions with Emerald about me, he finally figured out his priorities and sent me a long message about how much he enjoyed my company and "would be lying if I said I didn't have genuine interest" but that he needed to keep his commitment to his girlfriend. Which is what he needed to do, even if it did sting a little bit.

However, that hasn't stopped the flirting.

It's not quite as obvious or specific, but he'll lean over while I'm in the middle of a work call and just whisper "You're so pretty" or he'll mention that I'm the greatest and that he appreciates me. It's all flattering stuff, and he's not wrong, because I am pretty awesome, but it's still confusing and mildly frustrating and I'm not sure what the appropriate thing to do is.

So, being in the middle of this same situation myself, I can say that I definitely do feel a little bit stupid, but it's totally possible to prevent it in the future. The simple solution? Don't flirt back. Don't flirt back unless it's someone you know well enough to know you're interested in them and know for sure that they're single. You can't control anyone else's behavior, but you can control yourself. Likewise, you can't always correctly interpret whether someone is flirting with you, but you know how you act when you're flirting, so just don't do it.

That may be easier said than done, if you're sincerely attracted to someone, but if it makes you feel any better, I'm going through it too and I believe in you.

Love,

Luciana