Although the tongue weighs very little, very few people are able to hold it. -Anonymous
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My freshman year, I dated this amazing guy. We had a wonderful time, got really close, but neither of us really knew how to be in a relationship at that point, and things fell apart. Within a few days, we were back to hanging out all the time, basically dating but without any real physical contact. Months later, he left on a mission.

We wrote off an on throughout his mission. Neither of us has expressed any interest in dating again in our letter exchanges. (This is as it should be--he needs to focus.) I've dated many other guys, one that I even considered marrying. The thing is, dating all of these guys has helped me realize that the boy I dated freshman year was absolutely perfect for me. Of course, the freshman version of him would not be perfect for me now, but I think that (from what I've gathered in his letters) he's also grown into a man that I would love to marry at some point.

Now to my actual question: He'll be coming home in a couple weeks, and won't be back in Provo for at least a month after that. I intend to give him as much space as he needs to readjust, but how much space is too much? How do I show him that I've grown and changed as well?

Also, do any of you writers have stories of coming home to a girl, or of being a girl who waited for a missionary?

Thanks so much!

-Somewhat Nervous

A:

Nervous,

Instead of telling my story in prose, I'm going to give you an easy-to-read list of bullet points (in chronological order):

  • Meet Freckles* during New-Student Orientation.
  • Meet Freckles' friend Stargate* and become friends.
  • Date Freckles.
  • Break up with Freckles.
  • Date Stargate.
  • Listen to Freckles cry and whine that Stargate and I betrayed Freckles.
  • Break up with Stargate so I can focus on my mission.
  • Go on a Mission.
  • Write Stargate occasionally.
  • Freckles gets married.
  • Return home.
  • Go on a date with Stargate on my first Friday home.
  • Watch Episode III: Revenge of the Sith while sitting next to Stargate.
  • Place a "chastity pillow" between us to avoid any physical contact.
  • Freckles invites me to go sledding with her and her husband.
  • No thanks.
  • Go on one or two more dates with Stargate.
  • DTR: just friends.
  • 6 months.
  • DTR 2.0: we can't be friends because she's still in love with me.
  • 8 months.
  • Get an email from Stargate's mother explaining that she (the mom) had revelations indicating that I needed to marry her daughter.
  • No thanks.
  • 1 year.
  • Stargate gets married (not to me) .

Wow, this really reads like a set of instructions, just in case you ever need to replicate my life. 

Now, lest you become more nervous upon hearing my story, let me say that I think Stargate and I went about the whole process in the best way. And it sounds like you and Elder so-and-so have acted wisely as well. The fact that you aren't "committed" to each other is good because there won't be as much pressure when he returns. He'll get to know the new-and-improved you by spending time with you; just be yourself around him. 

I think the amount of space a recent RM needs varies from person to person--you're just going to have to feel it out. With that said, I wouldn't be scared to make the initial contact, perhaps by giving him a call. And don't be too nervous to give him a direct invitation to do something specific once he is back in Provo. After that, you could let him take the lead so that things go at his pace. Or, if he seems willing but timid, take the lead by throwing him up against the fridge and kissing him. I can't really give you a universal "this is what you should do" answer because you are going to have to make judgement calls on your relationship and move at an appropriate pace. 

Take luck,

--Pilgrim

*Names have been changed (duh).