Sunday, February 13

Falling in Love With You

I can tell when it's happening. Her eyes begin to sparkle and her lips curl upwards in an honest smile. The whole world disappears as her gaze focuses, reaching into the depths of eternity. She laughs as she speaks, and moves closer, if only to listen more intently. She tries to turn everything she says into a compliment or a flattering question. And she stands there, never moving, never looking at the door or checking the time. 

I'm not sure if it's falling in love, or having the feeling that someone might be a good fit, or something else. But, at least from the outside, it looks pretty amazing. I guess it must be an amazing thing to fall in love.

A few times in the past two weeks I've been in the middle of a conversation with a girl and realized, from the above described sudden preponderance of body language and verbal cues, that she really wanted me to ask her out. Part of me is more than willing in each case - I'm not dating anyone right now, and I love spending time with them - but it's never really that simple. Yes, one of them might end up being the girl I fall in love with... but even a semi-romantic relationship with a guy who is (as one reader tried to negatively put it) obsessed with the gospel and also not attracted to girls is much more complicated than your normal schoolboy crush. To complicate matters further, in each case, there is another guy... who is unsuccessfully trying to get the girl's attention. Unsuccessfully because as he asks her out, and she courteously says yes, she looks at me as if wanting to be rescued.

Most of the time I find girls to date based on their interest in me. I think girls are much better judges of character and match anyway. Other times, occasionally, the Lord will tell me exactly who I should ask out, and then sometimes I play point-and-call with the ward directory. 

If I figure out that a girl is interested in me, I try to help her realize that I'm an intense person before asking her out. We have a handful of conversations and I openly share my difficulty in developing relationships. Then, if she is still obviously interested, I give it a try.

In the past, whenever there was a guy involved, I've always ducked out. I've never been in love with or felt anything romantic towards a girl... and if there are no sparks by the time real competition arises, then I really have no right competing. But those guys were more seriously involved in their relationships than the ones I know now; I was the one challenging what was already a functional relationship,
not the favored suitor before the first date. So what about in the early stages? What about the time when neither I nor she is really sure if it will work out, but we want to try anyway? If there were no other guys involved, the answer would be simple. But when guys I count as friends are on the other side, I find myself wondering if I should even try courting the girl they want.

But you know what? The only way I'm going to find my future love is to actively search for her, and I have a right and responsibility to date as much as the next guy. I enjoy dating. And just because I date a girl doesn't mean she can't date another guy - I've never been an exclusive dater by any means. It also doesn't need to stress our (the guys') relationship.

So there's my answer. I'll ask them out. And maybe the miracle will come and I'll finally know what it's like to be falling in love with a girl who is falling in love with me.


  1. You are awesome. SOOOO "in tune".

  2. Just wanted to say your sentiments are well-written & fascinating. My heart goes out to you for the difficult challenges you have been given. I'm impressed with the way you are handling it.

    Warmly, Michelle

  3. I think I'm usually the "other guy" in this scenario. From that perspective I can respect your choice. It's awesome when a group of people can develop a dating culture where competition is downplayed. I don't really think love is something to be "won" since that idea neglects the fact that there's another party involved.

    That being said, it can be deeply discouraging when somebody you're interested in seems to vainly hold out hope for another, putting blinders on to any other possibilities. I see that happen far too often. For my part, I've began trying to encourage girls I've taken on dates toward other guys. I developed a slogan of our Elders Quorum: Every Man A Wingman.

    We should all be helping each-other to find that relationship that works without jealousy and pride gumming up the works.

  4. Gdub:

    Amen! We're all brothers here; the goal is to help everyone return to God, which means helping everyone find their eternal companion. I'm through with the whole thinking of other people as competition to achieving salvation (though I definitely used to...) and I'm willing to do anything for them. I love the guys I know, and I set them up with the very best people I know... sometimes it doesn't work out (mostly when the guy isn't interested in dating in the first place), but sometimes I hit it right on the head and they're married a year or two later. I think that it takes having a good relationship with the other guy to make it work really well, though. I had a conversation last night with one of the guys who wants to date a girl who is really interested in me. We're good friends, and I get the feeling that he really admires me and would step out if I returned interest in the girl. But I don't want him to bow out just because of me. They don't have a ton in common, but I think that being good friends would help them grow... and maybe it would be the right solution if it doesn't work out with me. Who knows. Some of the other guys would definitely see me as rivals, which would be a bit of a thorn in my relationship with them. But in some cases it can't really get a lot worse anyway.

    Hopefully I can help the people around me develop a culture like you described - a culture of caring such that we really care about each other in the long run.

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. You're welcome for the comment. I too am pretty good at setting folks up. 've lost track of the friends I've gotten together who're now happily married.

    The obvious solution is that we hire ourselves out as match-makers.

  6. Obvious question here, but... have you tried or Eharmony? Where they match you on compatability...

  7. Autumn:

    I got rejected from eHarmony. I spent all that time filling out the questions, was totally and completely honest, and got rejected. Apparently about 20% of the people who apply don't fit their standards of people... and I'm one of those.

  8. I say go for it! You have no need to apologize for your desire to date who you want and eventually find "the one". Especially when there's a girl that is obviously very interested in you. Speaking from a female's perspective, when I knew a friend was interested in someone, he was off-limits. So, in your case, the other guy should be fine in recognizing that. Don't downplay the qualities you have that make you marriage-worthy. Yes, you may have this little "issue" that will have to be discussed at some point, but for now, I think you owe nothing as far as warning girls that you're "intense". Beginning dating is all about first impressions and physical attraction, so don't scare them away! Just be yourself! All that other stuff will come later after the friendship is allowed to grow and flourish.

  9. the rest of what I wanted to say:

    I am a straight woman married to a straight man, so who am I to say anything? But, I have known straight women who are sealed in the temple to a man who struggles with SSA. And that kind of woman is out there! Isn't that what marriage is about? Loving and caring for someone for WHO THEY ARE, no matter what! So, you'll find her! I admire you for being so concerned about your fellow brethren, but I don't think you need to worry so much about them. Worry about that beautiful girl with that sparkle in her eye. She's not worried about them...she's thinking about you. My husband had to kind of "fight for me" and it made me realize that if someone was willing to work that hard to be able to date me, he must be a pretty great guy. Things weren't perfect for us right away, but he told me, "When you find a good thing, you've got to hold on to it." I think that's what you need to do...just follow your heart! Best of luck in your dating adventures! Just have fun and don't put pressure on yourself!


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