Dear 100 Hour Board,
So....here's a relationship question (I know, I know), but the announcement in General Conference regarding missionary ages has changed everything, and there's just no answer in the archives that fits this situation.
I'm a freshman girl who is now eligible to go on a mission, and I just started my mission papers this week. I'm dating a preemie, and by the looks of it, we will both be going at the end of Winter semester.
We've been dating since summer, and it's been great. We both really like each other and were open to dating after his mission if it was a possibility before the general conference announcement even happened. But since we're both going on missions at basically the same time now, I really need advice. I really want this to work out eventually (if it's supposed to) or at least end on as good terms as possible (if it's supposed to).
How do you think we should approach Winter semester together? We'll both be in the same Honrs 240 and Mission prep classes, and I'm really good friends with some girls in his ward as well as his roommates.
Do you think we should break up? I know it's good for missionaries not to be "dating" a girl back home because it's a distraction, and they'll be heartbroken if they get Dear John'd/worry about her dating other guys. But this isn't really a problem for us since we'll be on missions at the same time. Will I be distracted? I figure it'll just be like I'm writing my brother or something, and we'll swap stories and stuff. Of course I'll still like him, but I can't imagine it being such a distraction that I'd go home (he wouldn't even be there anyway if I did.)
If we do break up, when should it be done? We're really nothing super duper serious right now, but he's my best friend and has been for a while, so I don't want him to just drop off the face of the planet.
-Princess of China
Dear Princess of China,
So my freshman year, I dated a preemie, starting at the beginning of winter semester. We dated for a little less than two months, and I suddenly felt impressed that we needed to break up. It was without a doubt the most difficult impression I've ever had to follow, but we did. We continued to be friends until he left on his mission that summer, and looking back, it was definitely the right choice for us. Of course, our situation was a little different because I was staying home, but it prepared both of us for the separation. In fact, working through the challenge of doing that together made our relationship deeper and stronger than it would have been otherwise if we had dated the entire time.
On the other hand, breaking up and trying to be friends is really hard. If it hadn't been something I had to do, I would never have done it. Ever. We did a great job of it, and we worked through it, but it was difficult for both of us at the same time.
If I were you, I'd pray about it. The Lord wants you to both be happy, and he'll know what you should do better than you or I do. If you date until the mission, know that lots of people do this and manage to make it work. If you decide to break up, know that it's possible to just be friends until the mission, and retain your interest in each other. Whatever you decide, it sounds like you're both trying to make a good decision, and I know the Lord will help you out with it.
Good luck on your mission!
(who will be unofficially waiting for 622 more days as of writing this)