Friday, February 28, 2014

Sour Lemons

Why Mormon Dating Is So Screwed Up
I am about to give an honest account of how I feel about Mormon dating. I recently read the article "Why College Dating is so Screwed Up" and I absolutely loved it. So I thought I would say a few words of my own. I go to school at BYU-Idaho and let’s just say that my experience with dating has been little less than pleasant. So here I am, trying to put all my thoughts into coherent sentences. These thoughts have been bubbling to the surface for years… but as we learned in science (I really didn’t learn much in my sciences classes… alas, I learned one thing), if there is too much pressure and no release, there will be explosions. Well, my friends, let’s just say my cap has been blown to hell and here are the words I’ve been wanting to say for a very long time.
Mormon dating SUCKS. And before you roll your eyes and think “oh here we go again with some angsty young single adult giving us a sob story about being single,” you should know that this is not just some on-the-spot decision, but I have real evidence to back up my thesis. Think of this as my real senior project. As my years at BYU-Idaho come to a close, I am ready to present my thesis. Here are my reasons:
One reason why Mormon dating sucks is pressure. We as young single adults are under ENORMOUS pressure to get married—and get married quickly. For as long as I can remember, the Brethren have been giving us the instructions to not wait to get married and to make finding an eternal companion one of our top priorities. Ok, before you stop reading, I want to just say that I believe in our Prophet and everything the Brethren teach. However, I do think we take what they say with so much intensity, and we tend to skew what the Brethren say to fit where we are and what we are doing. Rexburg has taken this call to action with so much enthusiasm that we have been dubbed “BYU-I-DO,” and “Ring-Before-Spring.” People are getting married left and right. I should know, I process the marriage/name change forms in the Records Office. And let me just say, there is definitely something in the water. I think it’s arsenic.
What I am trying to say, there has been so much pressure placed upon us to find someone, that we try to rush the process. It’s a fact—kids are getting married WAY TOO FAST. Young couples just don’t take the time to get to know each other, and this leads to divorce later on. Speaking with a counselor at the school, I learn that there are more marital problems than we would expect here. The counselor (who will remain unnamed) has said she has heard this before: “He is just not the person I married.” Well, I guess you didn’t know who you married.
One day at work, I processed a marriage into our system. This girl was 21 and getting married (totally fine—she was my age) and then I realized that she just came out of a divorce. Wait a second—you have been married, got divorced, and are getting married AGAIN? Before the age of 22? Am I the only one who finds a problem here?
With all this said, I understand how important it is to find someone that we are going to live FOREVER with. That itself is a lot of pressure. And then, when you see all your friends get married and start having babies by the time they are in their 20’s, you start to get flustered. Am I doing this wrong? Why haven’t I found someone?
I feel like these guys can feel my eggs dying. I’m 22 and I’m considered an old maid here. This leads me to my next piece of evidence….
Guys, we live in a bubble. Here at BYU-Idaho, and I’m sure BYU has a similar problem, we live in a highly concentrated bubble of Mormanism. I’m pretty sure we are the most concentrated areas for Mormons in the world. So, with so many Mormons trying to find their ET (Eternal Companion), you forget that this is actually insanity. If you were in the real world (anywhere but here) and you were married by 20, you would be looked down upon. Now, before anger arises in my readers, I would like to say that I think it’s wonderful if you are that young and are happily married. If this is the case, you probably did it right and that’s just how your story was supposed to pan out. However, I want to help everyone empathize with the people who have not met the criteria of being married young. Here, we are seen as defected if we aren’t engaged by 21 or seriously dating. Guess what, we are YOUNG. I’m 22 and unmarried? That is normal. Completely normal. But here it’s not. I feel like if I tell people I am leaving BYU-I without a husband, they want to ask if I was an online student. Did you attend class? Were you actually on campus? Why aren’t you married? And  (my personal favorite) “Well, boys are just dumb!” Guys, I’m not sick… I’m just single. And this is Rexburg, not the world. Step out of this bubble and realize that you have so much time. Don’t rush because you feel like you have to be married by 20. Breathe. We’ll be fine.
THE CHECKLIST (or the RM method)
This one is a personal favorite. I like to call this the RM method. So, guys get off their mission and think “well, it’s time to get married now.” So we have these boys who are 3 months off their mission entering this dating world where they are determined to find a wife by the end of their first semester back. Woah tiger, let’s slow down.
In my dating experiences, the recently returned missionaries are the ABSOLUTE WORST. All I have ever been was an item on their checklist (I would have said “to-do list” but I think that would give you the wrong idea). On the top of their list, they title it “ETERNAL COMPANION” and they are bent on dating as many girls as they can until they check them all off the list and find their true soul mate. This is all well and good for you boys, but guess what… you are going on a million first dates. How can you possibly get to know girls if you are treating them like something you just need to check off of a list? Oh, well I just got the eggs, the milk, and the flour. I’m one step closer to making a cake! Well, thanks to you, all I am is some dairy product in your recipe for the perfect woman. What happened to the days where dating meant getting to know someone? Now, if there are no fireworks behind your date’s halo, you move on to the next girl. Just for once in my life, I would like to be the goal, not the step you need to take to meet it.
This is a real problem. Many people are using faith as a crutch. After a week, I had a guy going to the temple to pray and see if he should date me. Well guess what answer he got? He didn’t get an answer… so he broke up with me. Ummm did I miss something? “I’ve prayed and I didn’t get a solid answer about you.” Oh, well, that wouldn’t be because God wants you to make your own decisions, would it? Of course God isn’t going to tell you after a week that you shouldn’t date me. You hardly know me! Stop praying for answers and use your agency. If you want to date me, date me. If you don’t, then don’t. Stop hiding behind your faith and make decisions for yourself. There are no red flags going up. You are just afraid of commitment. Speaking of being afraid of commitment, many people use their faith as a crutch to hide their fear. They don’t want to settle if there is someone prettier, holier, and more humble around the corner. So, for entertainment sake’s, here are some great lines I’ve been given on my dates.
“I’ve been praying, and God hasn’t told me if I should date you or not.” So obviously, let’s break up.
“I’ve been praying, and I just don’t feel right about pursuing you anymore.” Oh did God tell you that?
“I am still interested in you… but I don’t like you… it has never grown out of the interest stage” Umm… what?
“I’m just not ready to commit.” Well, at least you’re honest.
“Well, I just think we should be friends.”
“I just can’t see us going anywhere.”
“You’re going to find someone really special someday.”
“You’re prince will find you soon.” Umm… seriously?
“You’re just too good for me.”
“You deserve better.” Well duh.
“There is something really special about you… I don’t want to mess this up by going too fast…” 2 days later… “It’s over.”

Oh and did I mention one guy put me in the hospital? Yeah. This dude literally tore my ACL and meniscus and hasn’t talked to me since.
Well, I hope there is hope. Though I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel now, I do have enough faith to hope that there is some guy out there that isn’t a complete tool. But seriously, Mormon dating sucks. At least it does here at BYU. I know there are girls and guys out there that probably feel exactly like I do. For you, I just want to tell you that you are not alone. I believe we will receive clarity one day. One day we will be able to look back and thank the heavens for these knuckleheads that broke our hearts. I believe it gives us tough skin. And for those who have escaped the hell-hole relatively unscathed, hold your loved ones tight. Not many make it out alive.
For you fabulous single people, let’s do fun things. Let’s go dancing… let those boys look but not touch. Let’s listen to Ke$ha and imagine getting revenge on our offenders. Let’s stop playing the victim and own our independence. Let’s sing along to Taylor Swift cause she is the only one who truly knows how we feel (heh). Let’s go get Taco Bell at midnight and drink energy drinks until we are completely sick. Let’s write angry letters to ex-boyfriends. Let’s travel because we have the money and the time. Let’s get degrees and let’s get careers. Let’s work out. Let’s put our make up on and make those boys want us. Let’s buck up and stop crying. Let’s make goals and let’s make them happen.
Let’s just live.