Date Me, Not My Uterus

r-LDS-SINGLES-large570The other night, over dinner with friends, we got to talking about dating in the LDS world. The demographics at the table: two married (not to each other), and three  never-married or divorced. Since my divorce over three years ago, I’ve written here and there on my adventures in the dating scene, or what I like to think of as the Pool of Perpetual Enforced Adolescence, which some LDS websites non-ironically and with a straight face, call “Celestial Dating”. 

Whether you’re LDS or not, dating past a certain age is just a slog. I do think there is a certain special level of hell to dating as an LDS single that one largely escapes when dating in the secular world. For LDS people, getting married is generally the  benchmark in achieving the social status of adulthood; far more than in the secular world. For those of us who find ourselves unmarried— even if you were previously married— no matter how impressive your resume, career achievement or college degrees, in very manifest ways, we are still treated as adolescents. This applies to men and to women, incidentally.

In my own pool of LDS dating experience (I was married when I joined  the church, so I have a fair amount of real experience in both worlds), I have two distinct impressions: the age imbalance is waaaay out of balance in LDS 31+ dating, and generally, we’re all nuts. Yes, I know it’s typical (just like height- see sidebar) for women to be slightly younger than their husbands. I’ll let someone else look up the stats, I’m too lazy. But by slightly, I imagine somewhere inside of 5 years to be average. What I found in the LDS dating as an over 30 divorced woman was that the men in my demographic, almost without fail, were fishing in the 20-year old pond. The men fishing in my pond? Well, with over 25 men contacting me from one LDS dating site, only one was within 5 years of my age. ONE. And three of the 25 were older than my father. I was very clear and honest about my age, my divorce, and that status of young children in my home.

On the converse side, a male dinner companion from the other night was telling about his dating site experience. He put up a nice photo of himself, with a sincere and honest profile. He got nothing. Nada. So in the spirit of sociological experimentation, he created a bombastic, misogynistic ***hole of an imaginary RM, with a picture of a super Mormon looking dude he cribbed from a google search, tossed in every buzzword he could imagine, and the hits started rolling. He sat back, agog. Some imaginary jerkwad who told women he would “preside over them in righteousness” while they “fulfilled their roll in the kitchen and bedroom” was getting all sorts of emails from cute girls with Utah hair and Shade t-shirts, while a real, genuine, nice guy was watching dust collect and listening to crickets chirp.

Back to the one guy who was in my demographic, age-wise: I agreed to go out on a date. We met for dinner at a local restaurant, and had sat down and were making small talk, but before the salads arrived, he jumped right into telling me how he was searching for his Eternal Companion, and wanted to begin his Eternal Family right away. Whoa, cowboy! I was clear in my profile that I already have three children. Aloud, I diplomatically try and remind him that if he’s in a rush to create an Eternal Family, I might not be the right woman for him to be dating. He looks at me, pleasant enough, and says “Well, what’s wrong with your uterus?” It’s a good thing the salad hadn’t arrived, I’d have choked. He continued, “It’s clear that it works, you have three kids, why would you not want to bring more of Heavenly Father’s sprits into the world?”

I never got my salad.

And this doesn’t even touch of the dates who asked me to go on a scavenger hunt, or to place ideas in a hat and pull them out for a fun date night. This baffles me. I’m not a child, I don’t need to be entertained, and at nearly 40, I certainly am not going to be giggly and effervescent about looking for clues to get to know someone. Lets sit down like adults and have a conversation, over a nice meal, and share our world-views and opinions, and maybe a funny story. Can we do that without distractions, gimmicks and discussing my reproductive parts on the first date? Can you ask for a second date without a little cute card tied to my windshield wiper or a balloon tied to my doorknob? I would find that darling for my daughter, at sixteen, being asked to the prom. For me? It’s scary.

It seems as though the extra pressure on LDS folks to marry, and thus achieve adulthood, has distorted us in some very important ways. My observation is that we are looking for cultural markers within the world of mormonism, sometimes (often?) more than we are looking at the actual human-being sitting across from us. This is evidenced in not only the messed up dynamic of dating I mention through my (admittedly particular) examples, but also in the formulaic expression of pairing off we see in LDS engagement photos, wedding announcements and in how weddings events are created (modest is hottest!) and celebrated. (If you want the template, look at the LDS wedding boards on Pinterest) Outward markers become so incredibly prevalent that I fear we are losing the very essence of our individuality in the quest to meet cultural expectation and out-mormon the next guy. That doesn’t bode well for marriages lasting through this world, let alone into the eternities.

Comments

  1. Jeremiah Stone says:

    Come on Tracy! It’s uter-US, not uter-You! (j/k!)

    I agree wholeheartedly with this:

    “For LDS people, getting married is generally the benchmark in achieving the social status of adulthood; far more than in the secular world. For those of us who find ourselves unmarried— even if you were previously married— no matter how impressive your resume, career achievement or college degrees, in very manifest ways, we are still treated as adolescents. This applies to men and to women, incidentally.”

    I struggle with this at times. Though, I wonder how much of it is our own buy-in to the LDS cultural definitions of adulthood.

  2. “in the quest to meet cultural expectation and out-mormon the next guy.”

    This is really the source of a rather large amount of our problems including what you are describing. In our fallen state status is written into our genetics and so we our constantly comparing ourselves to others to see where in the heirarchy we fit and how to climb higher. The only answer is to become new creatures through the atonement of Christ in the which we all can become one rather than creatures who are clamboring over each other to become the king of the hill.

  3. Amen! Though I think from the male point of view, it’s less an LDS problem than a general cultural problem. I, like your friend, saw very little attention as the nice, genuine, honest man searching for a wife. I hated dating in the church; it was the same as outside the church. Many, if not most, women were only attracted to the bad guys. Like my companion in the mission, who wore only boxer shorts to play volleyball, and had the sisters drooling over him. Drives me nuts.

  4. I’m curious, since the first three commenters are men- would you see my rejection of the cutesy dating tactics (ballon, scavenger hunt…) as a rejection of the Nice Guy? I didn’t intend it that way, either in practice or in writing it, but I wonder if it’s a genuine miscommunication between men and women.

    I did have better success dating before I was a Mormon, but how much of that is because of personality, and how much is attributable to being Mormon? I certainly saw more adult behavior (good and bad, but the maturity was for the good) outside the church.

  5. “On the converse side, a male dinner companion from the other night was telling about his dating site experience. He put up a nice photo of himself, with a sincere and honest profile. He got nothing. Nada. So in the spirit of sociological experimentation, he created a bombastic, misogynistic ***hole of an imaginary RM, with a picture of a super Mormon looking dude he cribbed from a google search, tossed in every buzzword he could imagine, and the hits started rolling. He sat back, agog. Some imaginary jerkwad who told women he would “preside over them in righteousness” while they “fulfilled their roll in the kitchen and bedroom” was getting all sorts of emails from cute girls with Utah hair and Shade t-shirts, while a real, genuine, nice guy was watching dust collect and listening to crickets chirp.”

    Holy. Crap.

  6. Oh my. Your story about that date. The uterus comment. I just…. Oh my.

    I have never glimpsed the inside of the adult LDS dating world like this. I am aghast.

  7. ““fulfilled their roll in the kitchen and bedroom”

    PLEASE say he really spelled it “roll”!

  8. You know it, K. ;)

  9. I haven’t dated much since I got divorced, so I don’t have many good stories (thank heavens!). Just one PSA: Never ask “does your patriarchal blessing say anything about a metallurgist?” on a first date.

  10. Had I not lived in Utah, I would probably think your stories are made up. But I know how the LDS dating circus works and I hear you. My comment is simple: open your mind to dating outside the LDS world. Don’t get stuck with
    ‘I have to do everything the LDS way” or you may miss a lot of wonderful experiences yet to be lived. Let the LDS experience enrich your life, but where it begins to hinder it, reach outside. There are wonderful people to meet and wonderful experiences to have beyond the LDS dictated life frame we are supposed to stick to.

  11. Tracy you are so right! Here’s my story – after my divorce from Mr. Righteous Mormon Man, I was eager to date as I married at barely nineteen. X had told me so many times that I was fat, ignorant, and had nine kids so nobody would want me and I was out to prove him wrong. I was 48, decent looking, dressed nice, am intelligent, humorous when I want to be, etc. At first, I dated a single LDS man in my ward who was a little socially awkward – a nerd, nice when you got to know him kind of guy, but still weird. He was the only single guy who asked me out. Then I simultaneously went on an LDS dating site and began attending LDS single events in the Denver/Colorado Springs area. Most of the attendees were much younger and seemed to be in cliques. I felt uncomfortable and it was almost impossible to meet/talk to anyone. I did attend several older single dances. I’m a good dancer and had no shortage of partners BUT during the small talk, as soon as the subject of children came up, and I mentioned I had nine children, three still at home, those guys couldn’t run away fast enough – seriously!!! It was comical…..My take away from the LDS singles activities was the guys were looking for younger women and they wanted a playmate, not to be raising children,. Fair enough…The LDS dating sites were similar. I “met” many nice men but the pool was smaller in my age group. Most of them wanted a younger woman as well. The “good” ones usually had several women they were interested in at a time and soon they told me they were in a serious relationship, but they enjoyed getting to know me. I really did find it great fun as I never met any of them and it was a way for me to harmlessly build my confidence, and honestly, it fed my ego to think someone might like me. After six months I went to a non LDS dating site and actually had more fun. I met three men from my area face to face at restaurants and had a pleasant time but it was evident they wanted a sexual relationship, even tho I stated very clearly I didn’t do drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. I then dropped the dating sites because I spent too much time on them. Looking back, I felt that I needed to marry, that I wasn’t good enough if I wasn’t married. It was self-imposed pressure from church teachings. I enjoyed being single tho, paying my bills, working and going to school, being with my kids. It was such a relief after 29 years with X. After being divorced over a year I met the coolest NOMO ever! Older than I, never married, never had kids, intelligent, professional, an anomaly, but so respectful of me. His brother’s family is LDS so he knew enough about our quirks. We talked about kids, garments, money, etc. Then I asked him to take a compatibility test thru BYU. Turned out we were extremely compatible, which I already suspected. I was thoroughly confused tho because he wasn’t LDS, but the Spirit told me he was the man for me! We married almost ten years ago. He has no intention of joining the church, which is fine, My home is 100% happier than when I was married to X and I can’t stand hearing ward members say we are “less than” because we don’t have the p-hood in our home! There’s so much more I could tell about that. Bottom line – meeting/dating LDS men was awful, they are so full of pre-conceived ideas about what a woman should be. I count myself very blessed to have an intelligent, respectful man at my side, who is proud of my intelligence and accomplishments. I’ll also say that he has no vices; no drinking, smoking, swearing, porn use, which is what attracted me to him in the first place. He’s clean and neat, funny and hard-working. To all appearances, he could be a model Mormon. I take great comfort in knowing we share the same values and he’s my best friend. I am ever so grateful I looked outside the “box” to find him. We met at the local library, I checked him out and never took him back – true story!!!!!

  12. Christian J says:

    Tracy, for context, can you tell us which region of the US you live in? Your observation that 30+ single Mormon men are looking at the -30 pool is probably not isolated, unfortunately.

  13. Sherry, I appreciate your story and am happy you had a good happy ending- but I do think we need to be careful about making blanket statements about LDS men. I know many fantastic, wonderful and brilliant LDS men. One size doesn’t fit all, and while I understand (see above) the stereotype, I do feel the need to defend my admirable brothers.

    Christian J, at the time, I was living in the Mormon Corridor out west.

  14. Truly a peculiar people. That’s all.

  15. A total stranger asked you about your gynecological issues. I am stunned.

  16. “Tracy, for context, can you tell us which region of the US you live in? Your observation that 30+ single Mormon men are looking at the -30 pool is probably not isolated, unfortunately.”

    No, this is probably how it works world wide and in my experience as a man, it is linked to the children issue. Single men 30+ divorced and with children don’t focus much less in the 30- pool. Single men 30+ who have never been married and/or do not have children will try to get someone 30-. Then, there is that huge pool of 40+ men who begin their mid life crises and want to feel like they are still in their 20s, they go after twenty-something year olds to prove themselves or something. The catch, the twenty-something year old ladies tend to give in when enough green is on the table.. Sigh.

  17. PS – I had known new DH for years as we were on a board together but I couldn’t have told anyone what color his eyes were – I was married! We also talked about sex and decided we would wait til we were married, which melted my heart that he respected my beliefs. As to children, we laughed at the thought of me having more! No way! Such a contrast to my X who wanted me to keep having children, which was a huge part of our divorce – marital rape, abuse, etc. I still find it refreshing to be married to a mature kind man who loves me for who I am and cheers me on everyday. I do believe there ARE good men and women in the world, so the dating pool of LDS singles needs to be expanded. The most important part is to LISTEN to the SPIRIT! I don’t believe I’ve lost any chance at Celestial Glory by marrying a NOMO. Why would our loving Mother and Father punish my new DH for being a better man than my LDS X? My heart has been opened to many new thoughts and understandings. I could never go back to such a narrow existence!

  18. Jeremiah Stone says:

    I think it’s probably accurate that many 30+ LDS men are searching in the 20+ pool.

    Adult dating without alcohol and sex–how is it done? I think some of the “good” LDS guys only have adolescent ideas to fall back on.

  19. Kevin Barney says:

    Tracy, the dating “cutesiness” you experienced is probably a relic from attendance at church schools such as BYU or BYUI, where such things as a puzzle ina a ballloon are widely practiced and considered de rigueur

  20. I know, Kev- and that’s part of what I believe is the continued enforced adolescence on people who are otherwise adults- in their careers, in their education, in their lives- but not in their church.

  21. To add to Jeremiah Stone (1), “There is no ‘me’ in uterus!”

  22. My experience in the post-divorce LDS dating scene was similar to many shared here. I was living in the Mormon corridor at the time and joined a couple of online LDS dating sites for a time. I was surprised at how many of the “singles” I interacted with on that site turned out to be married. It was very disheartening.

    And as for the ‘actual’ singles, for most of them it was painfully obvious why they were still single. I ended up marrying a non-member I met through work, and have been very happy.

  23. I married at 19, divorced at 24, remarries at 25. Mormon dating sites are horrific. I had a couple of 50-60yo men asking me out. I was 24.

    If I were to ever find myself in the dating world again, I’m pretty certain I would be open to NOMOs and might consider never remarrying. (My husband is darling and I’ll keep him.) If I were a young widow I don’t know that I would want to marry another Mormon because of the doctrinal implications.

  24. 16 “Single men 30+ who have never been married and/or do not have children will try to get someone 30-. Then, there is that huge pool of 40+ men who begin their mid life crises and want to feel like they are still in their 20s, they go after twenty-something year olds to prove themselves or something. The catch, the twenty-something year old ladies tend to give in when enough green is on the table.. Sigh.”

    Well the other part of the problem is that in our fallen state, or you can call it evolutionary psychology, whatever, we have very primitive triggers as to what is attractive or what isn’t (I thought that link in the sidebar about the height of men and women interesting). Much of those triggers are counterproductive to finding someone who will bring happiness to the table.

    I think that much in modern culture encourages us to be shallow and mormon culture is often caught up in the flow so that the mixture of modern culture with mormon culture produces some very undesirable results.

  25. ErinAnn, the oldest man to contact me and ask about seeing me was 72. I was 38 at the time.

  26. liz johnson says:

    I was utterly baffled by all of the “creative dating” when I showed up at BYU – can people really not ask each other out face to face anymore? We really have to do it with a bucket of flour/water and/or a plunger?! I found it a little weird for teenagers, straight creepy for college students, but to know that this is happening outside of BYU campus?! This has made me despondent over the future of society. And the thing about the fake a**-hole RM is just icing on this very sad cake.

  27. In my experience, the height thing is strictly enforced by women. In my perspective, a great majority of women (like 99.9999 %) have decided men have to be tall and they must be taller than them, and that’s the end of that. Many of them state it clearly in their dating profiles and many of them tell it to your face: shorter than 6′ need not apply, at all, ever (even if she is 5’2″).

  28. I almost think you need trigger warnings on this post because it brought back some awful memories from my post-divorce dating life a few years ago when I was in my late 30s. The 20-something-year-old man who kept trying to convince me through a dating site’s private messages that I would be willing to have more children than my own three, “once I found the right man”. I blocked him. The 40-something that took me to walk through Walmart instead of dinner like we had planned, because he had gotten hung up at work and ate something on his way to pick me up. Then wanted to go build a snowman in the moonlight (and 20-degree temperatures). I decided the date was over. The man who didn’t want to waste his time dating, he just wanted me to take his personality profile test to see if we were compatible and get married right away because “he wasn’t meant to be single”. Unfortunately, I could go on and on. I met quite a few really wonderful men in the process but I sure had to wade through a lot of strange ones too.

  29. I have quite a few friends in the “single and 30+” pool and their complaints, male and female, are the same as yours, Tracy.
    My father served as a singles’ ward bishop in California 10-13 years ago. He never shared many specifics but he had some incredible tales of the idiocy involved in dating from both men and women. (Expectations on what a perfect spouse would be like, for one.) I don’t think he realized at the time he’d be in the dating pool again but that’s where he found himself last spring after Mom passed away. His best friend was gone and I knew he’d search for a new one.
    His thoughts after a couple of months: Dating in your 50s is every bit as awful as he’d expected! He told me after one particularly bad date, “I threw her back in the crazy pool” which I thought was hilarious. Honest to goodness she thought her role in life was to do nothing–and I mean nothing–other than make her spouse happy. (gag!)
    He has found someone who has brought his smile back (he was text-flirting with her all Christmas! It was SO WEIRD and awesome at the same time!) He’ll have gone from widower to married in 13 months’ time. Maybe 33 years of a good marriage taught him a few things about courting?? I don’t know.
    And for Tracy’s sake: His wife-to-be is 5 1/2 years his junior–but they’re in their 50s, so I guess that’s okay, right?? *wink*

  30. I tried dating on LDS internet sites while living in the Salt Lake area, it was way too weird! The women I met had little life experience beyond LDS motherhood and their worldview showed it. The law of chastity and sealing rules makes finding a fun person to date a lot of work. It ranged from women who fell instantly in love to four dinner dates with a very nice woman with five children that yielded a quick hug and a single fish kiss and she though we were growing very close! Secular dating as you call it returned my sanity and renewed my interest in women, many secular women actually have something interesting to say! If they are healthy and active age is just a number guys! Get over it and you will meet some wonderful women with depth.

  31. Tracy M – You are right that we shouldn’t paint all LDS men with the same brush, but the LDS men willing to marry a feminist or Democrat or someone who may not want kids or someone who works because they like to or someone otherwise “non-traditional” are very few and far between, especially in areas where there isn’t a big pool to begin with. I knew fairly early on that if I was going to get married, I’d have to find someone willing to convert. Honestly, I didn’t think I would get married until I met DH. The LDS men I dated or was interested in (admittedly a small pool since I’ve lived outside CA/the mountain west) were looking for something else. In one case, the words “barefoot and pregnant” were used unironically.

    My youngest sister is now 21 and largely in the same boat that I was at her age. She wants to work as an architect and isn’t interested in having children. She is starting to realize that she may need to expand her pool a bit or move to California.

  32. #27 – I dated a guy at BYU and when he broke up with me he gave me some reasons. And then clenched it with “and the fact that you are taller than me helped make the decision [to break up] easier.” Let’s just say that I wasn’t that sad about the break-up after I heard that comment. I was 5’11, I think he was 5’8 or something – I didn’t have a problem with it.

  33. Kristine – LOL

    My (never married) experience on LDS dating sites has been that the vast majority of men who contact me are significantly older (15+ years). A friend of mine went on a date with someone (this was in UT). She was 30, both were never married and had no children. Rather than simply tell her he wasn’t interested in dating her further, he actually told her she should move on because “you only have 7 years until you start having Down Syndrome babies.” (Cross him off the Special Olympics volunteer list). I suppose it’s open for debate whether this statement reflected or came from his Mormonhood. My own experience has been relatively mild, although I have had a couple men ask me – in the middle of the first date – if I would be interested in going out again. Dating outside the Church doesn’t seem to be quite so forced in the direction of the end goal.

  34. My favorite date with an LDS guy was spent making out in a car in Findlay Ohio when it was 4 below outside. I was 37 at the time. Sometimes it’s FUN flashing back to late adolescence.

    The rule of thumb for dating ickyness I have heard, is if the person is half your age plus seven, it’s not icky. So if you are 39, then 64 is supposed to be OK. (Eww.) The older you get, the less well that rule works, I think.

  35. Hannah and Amanda – LOL! (but in a sad way). Dating is so beneath us all sometimes! Hannah, I also went out with one man who was obsessed with the love languages test. He had no interest in even going out until I took that test and confirmed that we were compatable. I felt like a lot of men wanted to date the paper me (I guess I fit the LDS mold?), but very few seemed interested in actually getting to know me.

  36. I will admit to having a height bias that I can’t seem to shake. I’m 5’9″ and I’ve dated women up to 2″ taller. I really love the look of tall women in heels but it just doesn’t feel right to me when we get close. I was at a party and met a couple she was 6’4″ and he was about my height and they appeared to be doing fine with it. But I did find it beneficial to expand the envelope of what I think of as “my type” in other parameters and I have met some great people as a result!

  37. Well, as a single, never married 29 year old, I understand the frustration. I live in the Mormon corridor, and is very difficult to find someone. I am on the short side, nerdy, and a little socially awkward, thank you autism spectrum disorder. I recently asked a girl out, a frien of mine, and she just got angry. She told me that I was too short, look too young, an I don’t know my level, and I had no business asking out physically attractive girls. I was also told that I was too nice. That was rather brutal. Guys and Girls both stink, and can be rather rude. BTW, I have no problem dating women who are older than me, or taller, or younger, or shorter. Previous marital status isn’t important to me.
    Anyway, I guess my point is thank you Tracy, and I understand. We all need to be more mellow and accepting. I agree that single people are considered adolescents. It is a crying shame.

  38. Ann, that’s too big a differential for me. I cannot date a man older than my father. I just can’t. It’s not right. Maybe it works for someone else, but for me… no. At 37-38 I drew the line at 50, but even then most of the men were looking younger than me.

    I should add, one man I ended up dating and really enjoying his company was two years younger than me, and he kept insisting he was comfortable with it. He was also not a Mormon.

    Brain F, that girl is an ass. I don’t care what she thinks, there is no excuse for cruelty.

  39. I wish I was surprised by your date. I had a similar experience, except he wanted to make sure I would take care of his 4 kids and be friends with his three ex wives before he would consider going on a second date. I didn’t get my salad either.

    There is very little actual dating going on anymore. It all reeks of desperation to fit into a mold of what a good Mormon is.

  40. Just as a data point before we throw all Mormon guys over 30 under the bus, I’ve met quite a few smart and interesting men, and gone on perfectly pleasant and grownup dates. The perfectly-pleasant-evening:catastrophic-but-hilarious-story ratio has been pretty good, in my experience. Then again, I live in the real Zion (Boston) :)

    And the only person older than my dad who has ever asked me out was not Mormon–so there’s that.

  41. Lamplighter says:

    For what is is worth, 3 of my four sons (in their twenties) married women older than themselves, one by 4 years. My daughter (1st marriage at 30) is marrying a man a year younger than she is. Sorry for your experiences, it sounds awful.

  42. My sister was told by a date that he asked her out due to her “child-bearing hips”. Can’t believe she let him get away! My sister-in-law was told by her date he asked her out because she looked like she came from “good pioneer stock”. Thanks for reinforcing the meat market mentality by using cattle references, guys.

    After these Super Creeps, calling someone a “sweet spirit” really does sound like a compliment. You can’t ogle my testimony!

  43. Kevin Barney says:

    Like Ann, I was going to mention the creepiness dating formula. But yeah, the older you get the less applicable it seems to be. That 72 year old shouldn’t have asked Tracy out, but according to the formula a 43 year od woman would have made the cut, and that seems llike a pretty extreme age differential–almost 30 years!

  44. The creepiness formula works up until your early 30s, I think. Once you get past early middle age it breaks down. If I was in the dating market then 92 is supposed to be OK (I’m 53). My DAD is only 74. Nononononononono.

  45. I’ve had a long term relationship with a woman 14 years my junior and I’m now dating a very intelligent alive and alert women 6 years my senior. If you’re physically and mentally healthy and active the most significant age issue is what music was playing at your prom. If you’re a dull couch potato age can be a big deal.

  46. I met my NOMO husband during my exodus out of the church, but got in some interesting Mormon dating as a 20-30 year old single woman prior to that. The oldest man that actually asked me out: mid-50s (I was 26 and politely declined to the sorrow of all the women in the ward that thought we’d be a perfect match). The oldest man that creeped me out: late 60s. He was the YSA SS teacher (I was 23ish at the time) and confessed to me that one day, in the eternities, we would be together thanks to polygamy, and made several inferences to how awesome the sex would be. I think I still have PTSD from that one.

    I don’t want to pin too much of my dissatisfaction with the church on my “dating” experiences, but they did have a lot to do with me not feeling like I was valued as a human, or respected as a woman.

  47. You are all good people for maintaining a sense of humor. I hated the dating game, but that may have been partially because my view of it was framed by how my parents met. (He was 20 years her senior, a widower with north of 10 kids, the two were set up on a blind date by one of said kids, he proposed on said blind date, and here we are. It’s not possible to be normal with that background.) Thank goodness my wife saw through that baggage; it “helped” that her own view of courtship and marriage were malformed in their own way from childhood. As an uninvited response to Tracy’s question in 4, I think a good portion of it is fear. I had been taught to fear women – their bodies, their ideas, etc. – that I had no idea how to manage the natural feelings: desire, curiosity, excitement, happiness et al. that came from interaction with them. As such, my attempts (and I suspect the same for some of the “men” you referenced), were often ham-handed and juvenile. I wish I could have been better, more mature, less unbalanced, probably less creepy, but those things were simply beyond my capacity while I struggled with monstrously conflicting messages.

  48. When I was about 30, I took a Mormon woman of about the same age out to dinner. As I dropped her off, she fended off a minor smooth move with a two page questionnaire, asking about my testimony, dating history, goals and even sexual history. She said she had gotten the questions from EFY when she was 16 and had used them ever since. I needed to answer the questions before a second date. And so, dear reader, I never saw her again.

  49. ^^^^ perfect evidence for the infantilization of singles. The rules for a 16 year old, while perhaps totally appropriate (though even then I would caution giving anyone a draconian questionnaire, and instead encourage getting to know them organically) do NOT translate to a 30 year old woman. Except in Mormon circles, too often, they are made to.

  50. Chris Kimball says:

    Being >35 years still happily married, I have no personal stories. As a former bishop in an older single adult ward (everyone was over 25 by definition) I have some stories of others that I will not tell.
    But one generalization is probably worth throwing into the mix. I used to observe and tell people who were not (still or ever) married-with-children by 27 that the Mormon life story that they grew up expecting was not.going.to.happen. Get over it. That story is not going to be your story, not ever, and you have to move on. Make a new story, paint your own picture.

  51. Wow, Norbert, that is insane that someone of that age would use a questionnaire like that. I wonder how much of this is just in the Mormon corridor, or if it is endemic throughout the North American Church. I highly doubt this happens much outside of North America. There needs to be cultural changes, and some policy changes as well. I’ve been an ordinance worker for a few years, and I will be released on my 30th birthday unless I get married. It is not just a rule at my temple, but a Church wide rule, that single men, over 30 cannot serve in the temple, except as a patron. That is unfair, and further marginalizes singles.
    I tried online dating a few times, and I had experiences like your acquaintance. Girls will not give good guys a chance.

  52. Chris, It’s ludicrous that to a Mormon, 25 is considered “older single”. In human males the brain doesn’t even fully mature until just before then. It’s damn near cruel that a bishop would tell you, at 27, that your hopes and dreams were never going to happen. Maybe you were trying to illustrate a point, but I wonder how many of those folks you told to burry their dreams are still active or feel welcome in what should be Christ’s church?

    Brian F, is that true? To what reasoning? I’m floored. I’m also so sorry.

  53. Yep, I’m almost 35 and have been divorced for 18 months and have made no progress on even trying to date. I attend a family ward because I have kids, but the ward and the stake “single’s groups” are all made up of people at least 15-20 years older than me. I tried going to a multi-stake dance and left after 5 minutes because everyone was at least 50 or older. I’ve tried online dating for almost a year with no success, both through an LDS site and a general one. And I live in Utah where there are quite a few Mormons and plenty of single men. I’m willing to date a bit younger than myself too, but guys my age or younger who haven’t been married don’t want someone with kids (I’ve had a few specifically tell me that) and they’re all looking at the 20-year-olds. I’ve gotten a bit of attention from the 40+ crowd, but many of them have been married before and I’m uncomfortable dating anyone 10 years or more older than me. I’m not conventionally attractive necessarily, but I’m educated, have a good job, own my house, and feel like I’m generally a pretty cool person. The problem is that guys my age seem to want someone they can create a life with, not someone who already has their own life.

  54. MikeInWeHo says:

    Such a fascinating conversation, Tracy. The elephant in the room here is that the demographics make things difficult for single women over 30 in the U.S. I know that the statistics are somewhat in dispute, but it’s clear that the numbers favor single men. My cousin and his wife divorced in their early 30s. It’s just stunning how many more solid dating opportunities he has had compared to his ex-wife. He’s an artsy nerd and she’s a drop-dead-gorgeous corporate executive, but she still struggles. Ditto my divorced brother, who’s out of shape in his mid 40s and about to marry a 25 year old.

    Add the Mormon filter on top of that reality, and all the cynicism on display here is easy to understand. I like the idea of you dating NOMOs. Or maybe we could import our way out of this problem! : )

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/china/2011/05/13/chinas-growing-problem-of-too-many-single-men/

    ps) Remember our backup plan, Tracy!

  55. Tracy, yes, it is very true. I asked the temple president what the reasoning was, and he told me he honestly does not know. He did say that it has nothing to do with worthiness, and that if he had his druthers, that rule would not exist because of all of the worthy men who would serve.

  56. I’ve got dibs on ya, Mike!

    Brian, this seems like something we should bring to the attention of higher-ups, kind of like was done with young women and baptisms last year, in order to get a clear answer. That just seems counter-intuitive and unnecessary. We can’t cut off worthy members from the blessings of service.

  57. Chris Kimball says:

    Re #52 “It’s damn near cruel that a bishop would tell you, at 27, that your hopes and dreams were never going to happen. ”
    The truth hurts sometimes. The problem is that the standard pattern hopes and dreams are built on marriage in the 18-23 range, children in 23-27-30, and life everlasting from then on. When it doesn’t work like that, there’s only pain in trying to recapture or recreate. We have to make a new story.

  58. B***S***, Chris. I got married at 27 and had my first child at 29. Then another at 31 and 34. You don’t get to smash the dreams of people just because your paradigm worked out perfectly. What we need to do is rewrite the acceptable pattern, not cast people and their desires out on their ears.

  59. Tracy, thanks. What was the issue with young women and baptisms? I admit I am somewhat cut off from many of the normal programs.

  60. Tracy, I think Chris meant that if they were 27 and not married yet, then they probably wouldn’t become an example of the EFY type ideal that is universally taught to the kids: married young with a bunch of kids before they’re 30. To me Chris’s comment sounded like a reassurance that great things were still going to happen for them; many of them will still end up getting married when the time is right, but they should free themselves up to see more future possibilities than just marriage. Painting their own picture could mean taking their focus off of marriage for the sake of marriage alone for the time being and contemplating what can they can make happen in their lives.

  61. “What we need to do is rewrite the acceptable pattern, not cast people and their desires out on their ears.”

    I read Chris’s comments as doing just that. Telling people that they can paint their own future and don’t need to feel like failures because they don’t already have three kids.

  62. Brian, the young women were being banned from performing baptism in some (but not all) of the temples if they were menstruating. A grassroots effort was made to contact each temple and find out what their policy was, and when a multitude of answers were gathered, showing no actual policy, the information was given to church headquarters, and a statement was issues that YW should be allowed to preform ordinance work regardless of their personal details. It was huge, because now YW don’t have to worry about the stress or embarrassment of being singled out, and their service is welcomed, and their private matters stay private, as they should.

  63. I disagree with the rule of 27. I got married at 27, kid at 28, another kid at 31. My wife was 26 when we got married. And I have several friends my age who married at 28 or 29. We’re all having normal Mormon lifes, with normal hopes and dreams. And we’re in the Mormon corridor–I imagine in California the numbers can be even higher and still be pretty normal. An old EQP of mine, now living in Cali, just got married for the first time–at age 40. I have no idea how old his wife is, but I don’t see anything stopping them from having a fairly normal married life. I’m guessing she’s in her early 30’s–still time to have a few kids if they want, and nothing to stop them from having a perfectly normal Mormon married life.

    If you’re single, I do think that the more removed from 30 you get, the more you have to change your idea of what life will bring you. If you’re single in your early 30’s, it’s probably a good idea to widen your dating options a little bit, and to move some of your focus away from dating and towards other goals.

  64. john f, perhaps my ire was up, but the harsh manner in which he talked about telling people to give up their hopes and dreams was offensive to me. Perhaps he and I are saying similar things, just in different ways. Thank you for pointing that out.

  65. MikeInWeHo says:

    I think you and Chris K actually agree, Tracy.

    It’s going to be hard for Mormons to write a new story, though. I am not surprised that most singles go inactive. I’d never attempt it myself.

  66. Tracy, I can also confirm the rule that single men over 30 are excluded from temple service. When bishops recommend temple workers they must check off a list of requirements in addition to temple worthiness. One of these is that single men cannot serve once they turn 30. It’s not expressly a “worthiness” issue – any more than prohibitions on beards for temple workers is about “worthiness” – but it is part of the heightened standards for temple workers. FWIW, a similar rule applies to recommendations for senior missionaries. Senior sisters can serve missions, but senior brothers cannot. I have never heard an official explanation for these rules, but they seem to suggest a view that single men are single by choice, but single sisters are not.

    In case you are not aware, there is another gender discrimination that applies only to sisters; namely, sisters with children at home cannot serve in the temple, but brothers can. My wife and I served in the Provo temple until our first child was born. She was then required to resign. I chose to do so with her. Those were the best “date nights” we’ve ever had. I understand this rule to stem from a desire to protect mother’s time with their children, but it’s always bothered me that similar protections are not afforded father’s time with their children. A father who is kept from his children all week due to work, and kept from his children on weekends due to church callings, can still be asked to serve as a temple worker. It’s happened to me and others I know.

  67. It will be informative to revisit this post in 5 or 10 years to see the measurable effect of the 18-month double-dating missionary service policy which was put in place last October.

  68. I’m kind of surprised at the couple of comments about a lack of interest in “nice guys” and that women are interested in “bad boys”. Sure, I went through a rebellious phase where I dated guys specifically because I knew they would set my dad off, but I was 15 and grew up. Is this another symptom of the perpetual adolescence for single mormon adults? I married a very nice guy, and don’t know a single straight woman that isn’t interested in a nice guy when looking for a relationship instead of a hookup. Is this really a thing?

    Also, this may be patronizing, but I wonder if there’s a business idea in here – a consultant company that reviews your online dating profile and tells you why you might be unwittingly turning people off before getting a chance to know them.

  69. These asinine ‘temple service’ rules need to change… So 30+ single men can’t serve… Younger folks with kids can’t serve as I understand… Is it possible to over-regulate and exclude folks from what should be a voluntary offering of time and service for completely arbitrary reasons? Good grief.. this is nauseating.

  70. Yeah, I think 27 is a bit young to be saying that. But if you’re in the mid-singles group, which is now officially 30-45 you may want to reconsider some of your ideas about dating and marriage. I’ve talked to a few single guys my age and several have said they ‘don’t want to be a dad to someone else’s kids’. Well, my kids already have a dad. I’m just looking for someone to date and maybe possibly marry. Maybe I’ll keep my job. Maybe we’ll adopt more kids. Who knows. That kind of stuff doesn’t need to be figured out or talked about on a first date or even the second one. Some of my slightly older guy friends have told me that they still date the 20 years olds because they don’t think of themselves as being ‘that old’. When I pointed out to a 32-year-old friend that he was asking people out who were more than 10 years younger than him, that gave him pause. He hadn’t realized consciously that he was now over 30, partly because as a ‘single adult’ in the church everyone still treated him as an adolescent of sorts. That’s one thing I hate about ‘singles’ activities, talks, etc is that they totally disregard differences between single members of the church. There’s a vast difference between a 22-year-old college student, a 35-year-old divorced person, and a 65-year old widow, but the fact that we’re all unmarried is supposed to mean we have something in common?

  71. Re: 48. That’s not infantile. It’s stupid. And beyond social ineptitude. Who on earth thinks that you begin a relationship by giving your date a questionnaire. I’d tear it up, tell her that her money’s good at the bar, and if she complains tell her she’s lucky that’s open to her.

    If she understands the allusion, give her a second chance. Otherwise, kiss her goodbye. Or whatever, since it appears that a kiss is out of the question.

  72. it's a series of tubes says:

    And jeffc swoops in with #67, hitting a certain nail right on the head. Your institution has a demographic challenge? Head it off at the pass with mission-based socializing! I suspect the number of LDS spouses who first meet on their missions will increase dramatically

  73. I don’t see how that is part of the “heightened standards” for temple workers. It makes no sense. I think that if i am worthy, and willing to serve and sacrifice, because temple service is a sacrifice of time, that I should be able to do so.
    @Enna, I was generalizing slightly, I only have anecdotal evidence. I was told that most girls will err on the side of “does the boy exude confidence” because it hearkens back to the hunter-gatherer mind set. i.e. a confident man will be able to provide and protect me better than someone else. I think that that argument is full of hooey, refering to the previous part of this paragraph. Your point is valid, and I wish that more girls thought that way.
    Maybe that is my problem. All of the girls I’ve gone out with, even if they were my age, were emotionally immature girls, rather than women.

  74. I’m a 33 y.o, never married single guy with a PhD (and a tenure track position in a university). I’m relatively active–I’ve started taking kickboxing classes. Joined the church in college, been active (including vaguely responsible callings like EQP, Exec Sec, now work with YM, not that that’s all that important)–all east of the Mississippi. Trying to date people my age. Most often, I find 30-ish women to be uninteresting, unambitious, and frankly crazy. Some of them have had uncomfortably creative interpretations of the law of chastity, too. 3 of the last 4 have told me that they’d fulfilled all of their life’s ambitions by the time they were 30 (except the family part). During the relationships with me, an engineer quit that, decided to become a florist while we were dating. Two others with MA’s decided that they just hated their jobs and were investigating things like being an optician’s assistant. Which is a fine sort of job, jut not one requiring a masters’ degree.

    I’d like to get married. My foremost criterion (aside from church membership–I’m a child of a part member family and that’s non-negotiable) is an ability to have an interesting conversation without either of us feeling run over by the other. I’d really like to have a family. (But the men in my family have all gotten by having kids after 40, so, time isn’t yet critical.) But for the life of me I can’t find anyone…seriously I haven’t met a realistic prospect in like 8 months, since my last relationship ended.

  75. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    One of my recurring nightmares is that I am still single. Thank goodness it is just a nightmare. I searched for dates through church activites, friends and the internet. I had varied experiences with internet dating in the 90s..not all bad. I dated a divorced woman living in the Salt Lake area who on the first date told me that she was looking for a man like Henry B. Eyring (gee…I guess few can meet that standard). She also launched into a peeve about how her LDS friends remove their garments to workout and then wear their workout clothes for hours afterward without putting their garments back on. Now, I tended to agree more than disagree with her peeve, but felt that such a discussion was out of place for a ‘getting acquainted’ outing. She also told me a story related to her ex-husband returning home from a surgical case appearing at the door in scrubs still stained with blood. That’s a real mid-dinner conversation topic. Premature quesitons assessing righteousness levels or premature discussions related to ex-husbands or other recent male dates were turn-offs to me.

  76. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    I am bothered by knowing of a brother who served as a temple worker who was also collecting disability for not being able to be employed. Seems like if you have the ability to work a shift in the temple, but cannot work a shift of similar length and demands in a field where you get paid, you are not being honest in your dealings with your fellowmen. Of course his wife, who was not disabled and could work to augment financial support for the family (but not too much so they wouldn’t lose their disability) was not allowed to work in the temple because of the kids still being at home.

  77. Part of the crazy, I’ve found, incidentally is that for the first month or so, they’re not dating me, they’re dating this guy named “hope’.

  78. Brian F., I do sympathize. The ratio of emotionally immature individuals (men and women) to emotionally mature individuals is probably frighteningly high. We all have baggage, right? Good luck on your search :)

  79. I have only ever dated one LDS guy and it was post-divorce. He told me he loved me after less than a handful of dates. Goodbye.

  80. I did sign up at an LDS dating site a while back, and I can confirm Tracy’s post that as a 30 yr old (at the time) I was routinely getting messages from people in their 50’s 60’s and 70’s. No no no no no.

  81. Kevin Barney says:

    This thread has made me ponder how I would go about trying to date were I in that position (which I’m not). I would prefer to be with a Mormon woman, because I’d hate to have to explain all of my Mormon weirdnesses to someone uninitiated. But the typical Mormon woman would not find me appealing. I’m not the clean shaven, white shirt wearing, Peter Priesthood leadership ladder ascending type, but rather the laid back, egalitarian, intellectual and liberal minded type. So that would be a problem. Probably my best chance for success would be to find someone through my Bloggernacle friends. It’s like the Kevin Bacon game; probably every available, liberal-minded Mormon woman in the universe is no more than two degrees of separation removed from someone who participates on the blogs. So I’d probably start by asking my BCC blog mates if they had any ideas, since they know me so well. And if I were advernturous enough and willing to put up with all the ribbing, maybe I’d post a Bloggernacle personall ad, maybe at FMH or something (if Lisa would let me).

    Assuming none of that worked, I guess next would be to try the regional single adult activities, which would at least remove the variable of geographic distance from the equation. And perhaps I’d give a Mormon singles dating site a try.

    But at that point, if nothing worked, I’d open the possibilities to non-LDS women, both set ups from my friends and a secular dating site or two. When I was young I never would have considered pursuing a non-LDS woman for a relationship, but now in my old age I would definitely be open to that, even if it meant having to explain the peculiarities of the religion and practice. There’s no guaranty I’d be successful in the sphere of trying to date Mormon women. But I feel highly confident that once I opened things up to the non-LDS world, I would do just fine.

  82. So it would be fine if he were just disabled and not working but the problem is that he was collecting disability while working a shift in the temple?

  83. #76 – that’s brilliant considering that the workers comp folks wouldn’t be able to catch him on hidden camera ‘working’ at the temple and litigate his claim.

    I understand your concern, however there are lots of variables I’d imagine. But then again there are some folks that just come across as trying to game the system.. just for the sake of gaming the system. Maybe your acquaintance falls into that group.

  84. TMD (74)–“I’m a 33 y.o, never married single guy with a PhD (and a tenure track position in a university)”

    Well, there ya go–you already won the lottery. What makes you think you should get to get married, too? :)

  85. A blanket statement was made about single men and temple service: I know a man in his 50s (no children at home) who is a temple worker. He is single–a widower. So perhaps clarify “single” as “never been married” for the 30+ temple worker statement.

  86. Chris Kimball says:

    Re. #58 Tracy, you misread me, at least in tone. My point is that if one’s dream is to be married by 23 (and for a lot of grown-up-in-the-fold Mormons that is the dream), then at 27 you need a new dream. There are lots of really good ones.
    And that some of the problems you describe can be attributed to the 27 (or 30 or 40) year-old trying to create the 23-year-old dream.
    “What we need to do is rewrite the acceptable pattern, not cast people and their desires out on their ears.” is your words, but I agree, and might have said it myself (in a different mood on a different day).

  87. @85, yes, I should have been more precise. In context I thought it clear that I was refering to single, never been married, men.

  88. There are four or five commenters on this thread whom I would love to date, based on their “nice guy” and “educated” and “sane” presentations here … if I were 20 years younger. Where were you all when I was your age?

  89. Kevin Barney says:

    Kristine no. 84 FTW. That would be like winning PowerBall and MegaMillions on the same day or something.

  90. Elsie Kleeman says:

    I was married at 24, so I don’t know much about dating as an older single. However, I can see how being single in the church contributes to being perceived as an adolescent. Not having children does the same thing.

    I was unable to get pregnant and for years I was treated like a child, until in my thirties when I finally had a baby. It was an overnight change. Suddenly, I was worth talking to, my opinion mattered, others could “relate” to me – things they couldn’t do before, because not having a child made me somehow different.

    The unfortunate thing is, most of the women in my ward who are my age, have teenagers, while I have a toddler. This still creates a barrier. I have had women speak patronizingly to me because they still think I am 20 years old. I’ve been told that I’m lucky to have children young because childbirth is so much harder in your thirties than your twenties. Um, okay. I wouldn’t know. In an RS presidency meeting I was asked how “the people in my age group, the 20 year olds” felt about a certain activity. I told them I had no idea. (Don’t misunderstand me, I’m flattered they think I’m in my early twenties, I just don’t appreciate the patronizing tone.)

    I don’t feel this differentiation outside of the church. When I meet someone at a non-church social event, I’m not asked how old I am or if I have kids – we have other things to talk about and other things that make us who we are. At symphony practice I’m a musician, at writer’s group I’m a writer, and at gardening club, I’m a gardener. My marital and parental status doesn’t matter to anyone.

    I think it is unfortunate that we can’t simply see each other as people. Regardless of whether we’re married, single, with children or childless, we’re all interesting and unique individuals that deserve to be known and not classified with a church-appropriate label.

  91. Thomas Parkin says:

    I recently read a paper with this as its central idea: laughter is the substance of our deepest being, and when we laugh at horrifying things it is because the horror has exposed our deepest being to nature. In any case, this post and thread have me wiping away tears. Just too hilarious.

  92. P.S. I am a divorcee who is single and ready to mingle. Like Kevin Barney my preference is first for an LDS person, but if that route proves fruitless (literally) then I would be open to dating/marrying a non-member again.

  93. Ardis: 20 years ago, I was in grade school.

  94. I was in grade school too.

  95. I went through a process very similar to the one described by Kevin (in #81). I’m not as intellectual as him, but for various reasons I am not the “Peter Priesthood leadership ladder ascending type” either. Several Mormon women were willing to seriously date me, but they were often very desperate. I didn’t know whether they really loved me or just wanted to get married so bad that it didn’t matter who I was. However, most Mormon women wanted something else. My most serious relationship ended because I just didn’t have the devotion to her version of Mormonism that she wanted in a future husband.

    I finally plunged into the non-Mormon dating world at 34. I was stunned by how similar it was. Oh sure, the drinking and chastity expectations were different, but every woman I dated was willing to respect my beliefs (if only for one date in some cases). Explaining the peculiarities of Mormonism always seemed to be a bigger deal to me than to my date. But I still met the desperate types, the ones still looking for the perfect man according to some checklist, etc. Anyway, I am now engaged to an intelligent, accomplished, beautiful, and Christ-like Catholic woman.

    I don’t know that I can draw any huge distinctions between Mormon women and non-Mormon women based on my experiences. I think I just benefited by expanding my dating pool.

  96. …And my poor view of Mormons just hit the bottom of the ocean…

  97. Sarah Dailey says:

    #73, Brian: Definitely! I think emotional maturity is a big one when it comes to fostering any kind of successful relationship. I spent 8 years in a Midwest YSA branch and saw 20+ marriages come out of that unit under a variety of circumstances, but the emotional and spiritual maturity of both parties seemed to be strong indicator for the success or failure of the relationship.
    And, brother, I am so sorry for what you are experiencing right now. This is the first time that I’d heard of the “no single men over 30″ temple service guideline and that seriously grinds my gears. I just did a quick search of Handbook 2 and actually can’t find anything about temple workers–is it in the first part, Dave K?
    And just to balance out all the terrible stories of online dating, while I did experience a good share of weirdos and age-inappropriate men trying to contact me, I also met my husband online. FWIW though, I’ve chalked almost the entirety of our meeting up to borderline miraculous circumstances, so I think we’re more of an exception.

  98. marginalizedmormon says:

    good article–

  99. Incidentally, I can also confirm the temple rule, having before been an ordinance worker in two temples. However, there are still some options available: one can still be what my temple calls a “veil worker”. In at least some temples you can also be a “temple volunteer.” My understanding is that mostly you can’t do inititiatories.

  100. After reading back through some of the comments, I have realized that I am guilty. Like the man willing to use Tracy for her uterus, I am willing to get married for the sperm. My ex husband couldn’t have children, and so I find myself at 32 with no children and a biological clock that is a ticking time bomb. I want children more than I want to get married but I am not willing to break the law of chastity for it. I am not wholly against marriage, but I am okay being single and never thought it would be something I would need to do again. Single adoption is possible, but not on the salary I am expecting to receive as University Staff. I reckon that makes me just as bad as him.

  101. I’m sure it is just a matter of time before we see the temple service restriction “revelation” in context…

  102. EOR – there are ‘banks’ that can help you with your biological clock needs

  103. ” uncomfortably creative interpretations of the law of chastity”

    Oh, do tell.

  104. Chris Kimball, thanks- and I’m sorry if I overreacted- on rereading (and talking to Kristine) it seems we were saying similar things, just with different emphasis. My apologies.

  105. Capozaino says:

    I wonder if the temple service restriction has anything to do with the apocryphal Brigham Young “menace to society” quote.

  106. Me again. I did the LDS paradigm – marry young (19) had lots of children (9) and thought I was living the Mormon dream, altho abuse was always in the background. So when I finally divorced, I thought my paradigm would stay basically the same – marry a Mormon man and life would continue. Except i married a NOMO who is the delight of my life. And I’m shunned by my ward, most of whom believe I chose wrongly and some have told me so. After raising 8 of the kids with X, I am now raising my 15 y/o DD with a NOMO. I’ve had to re-shift and re-define my paradigm to fit my life experiences, mainly that the EFY model is not realistic, at all. I lived it for almost three decades. The church’s teachings on women, temple, etc. contributed deeply to me staying in an awful temple marriage. I believe we all “write our own story” based on what life hands us and the choices we make. Many times that shift/change forces us to re-think and really listen to the Spirit. FWIW, out of my 8 adult children, three divorced from temple marriages. Out of those three, one is still single (she has 4 kids, educated, nice-looking, home-owner, etc and VERY picky!) one married an LDS man from LDS dating site, active LDS and happy, last one, a RM BTW, left his wife and 4 kids for another women (bad choice). Fourth child left an abusive druggie, has 10 y/o son, left the church, going to school. Fifth child married young, they were pregnant, she was not quite 16 – 13 years and three kids later they’re happy temple married. Nobody thought it would last! Sixth child married a RM in the temple, still together, both left the church. Seventh child married young, pregnant, divorced, now engaged, also left the church. Eighth child married at 22, both less-active, happy. Each of my kids has their own set of experiences dating, marrying, church involvement. Even though they were taught the “right” way to live, each one has turned out to be productive and happy, married or not, LDS or not. My point is, we each have our path and it’s up to us to find it. Being married is wonderful BUT I would rather NOT be married to someone who does not share my values and goal in life. There ARE worse things than being single.

  107. So interested in your comment #50. So my sister has been part of all the older SA groups and says it’s so terrible that they had their bishop counsel her and her two roommates to find a nice non-member religious man and make a life for themselves. I was taken aback that an LDS bishop counseled church members to marry outside the temple. My sister told me he saw what they were dealing with and was just being real. One of her roomies married a guy studying to be a Lutheran minister, one of her roomies met an LDS guy online who was too busy pursuing his education that he didn’t have time to date, and my sister, 50+, has never married.

  108. Chris Kimball, I appreciated your comments. If we had more people like you to say the comments you’ve shared, a lot of these problematic experiences would resolve themselves.

  109. Also, Tracy M., I agree that smashing dreams is not a good way to do things, though I also like Chris’s encouragment for people to make the best of their lives regardless of marital status.

  110. This: “My observation is that we are looking for cultural markers within the world of mormonism, sometimes (often?) more than we are looking at the actual human-being sitting across from us.”

    This is not limited to us as Mormons, but my experience is that we are addicted to judging everything (not just dating) according to cultural markers, both officially proscribed and “unspoken,” and think that it absolves us from laziness about actually getting to know another person before we judge, act, and speak.

  111. Chris Kimball says:

    Just to be clear (defensive are we?) counsel to three women that they all “find a nice non-member religious man” sounds awfully simplistic and therefore probably wrong. I wouldn’t presume to give any such advice to anyone today, but at the time when I was so presumptuous, my only general advice was “the married-by-23-three-kids-by-27-together-forever dream that you absorbed in your teens isn’t happening, so find another dream.” And then to the gay man with a really great partner, and the thrice-engaged-but-never-married 32-year-old woman with an interesting professional job, and the 27-year-old woman with a nice, compatible non-Mormon man (whom I liked) asking her out at the same time that a fairly-creepy-too-old-for-her (again my subjective opinion) Mormon man was asking her out, my advice was different.
    (Let me note that I’m more than a little troubled about having given advice at all, but this particular reply is meant to be descriptive rather than normative.)

  112. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 81, 88

    Oh. My. Gosh. This is how to return BCC to its glory days and rightful place as the unassailable ruler of the Bloggernacle: Matchmaking posts.

    Why can’t WE collectively find Tracy M, Ardis, and TMD, PhD their perfect eternal companions!

  113. MDearest, thanks for reposting that. I must have glossed over that, Tracy M.], excellent observation FTW.

  114. MikeInWeHo says:

  115. Chris, I’m not sure you saw my apology above. Comment #104.

  116. I’m newly divorced at 46. (I remember my mom at this age and she seemed so old…) This great post and lively comments have helped me decide that now is the time to finish writing my crime novel – not date. Probably not ever again.

  117. Chris Kimball says:

    Saw your apology, Tracy. Thank you (but not necessary). My guess is that the way I wrote at first assumed a 100% culturally Mormon reader. That’s not bad or good, but it is distinctive. My wife, who is an adult convert but now with 40 years experience in the Church (and reasonably well known and published and a blogger so she tells her own stories), is not 100% culturally Mormon (which is wonderful!) She likes to say that she is fluent but not native. I know the difference and should have applied it.

  118. #111 I meant interested in a good way….I wasn’t trying to be defensive at all. As many people have mentioned, it’s challenging to read tone in blogs, email, etc. I was relating that a bishop who was in a single’s ward, like yourself, saw similar issues but had a slightly different take on it. Sorry if I wasn’t clear….

  119. Mike in WeHo (112)–don’t forget me!! :)

  120. Nor me. I want my turn on BCC:The Matchmaking Edition

  121. I’ll take a turn too. ;)

  122. Chris Kimball says:

    #118 it’s me who was feeling defensive. But I do disagree with a blanket “find a non-member” advice.
    However, for what it’s worth, I’d probably disagree with any broad statement. There are so many and varied paths to happiness (which I suppose is the goal for this post’s purpose), saying to any sort of group that there is one way for all seems sure to be wrong for some and maybe for all.
    And before someone else says it, I will acknowledge that within Mormon culture “there is one way for all” is something we do hear (sometimes?), and for me to say otherwise will sound like heresy to some.

  123. I’m so glad I’m not the only one being approached by men my father’s age. I’ve also found that when I try to initiate conversations with men my own age, plus or minus 5 years, (mostly online since I live in the middle of nowhere), I get zero response in return. No idea why, though I wonder if part of it is because at my age, my uterus might be inhospitable to tadpoles.

    At this point, I’m just biding my time until I can re-enact the Taco Bell Super Bowl commercial.

  124. Living in the middle of nowhere might be why you’re getting zero response unless you’re approaching men who also live in the middle of nowhere.

  125. I’d compete in BCC Matchmaking Edition! I like nice guys and I find graduate degrees sexy.

  126. Re: 32

    Oh, Amanda I am so sorry the other side of the coin had to show its ugly face to you. You know, I met a girl in my singles ward in Provo who was taller than me. I am 5’10”, so she must have been 5’11” to 6″ and she was absolutely wonderful! She had the best personality, the best disposition, the best attitude, really a wonderful person. At some point I thought she could like me; but, being shorter than her, having been rejected so many times and often told the reason was I was not tall enough (by girls usually at least 5 inches shorter than me, who also gave among other reasons that I am Hispanic and that my last name sounds ugly as valid points to reject me), I thought to myself, what’s the use. She came along when I was ready (almost bags packed) to get the hell out of Utah and when I had made my mind I would not ask any other LDS woman out ever again. I hope that Amanda found someone who loves her deeply.

    Today, I know it was for the best. I love my other half now, I think I am the luckiest person in the world. She is not LDS and I would never want to change that. My views and my attitudes regarding the church have evolved quite a bit, and I do not know many rank and file Mormons who share my objectivity regarding many of the cultural and doctrinal elements. I actually don’t think I could be functional around the average LDS woman. And I dislike what women in general have to face when they are LDS. She doesn’t need any of that, I don’t need any of that, we are better off without the whole LDS thing.

  127. I am sure they must exist, but honestly I have never met a woman who was not looking for a nice guy. Nice is such a limp qualifier also. A lot of people are nice, I am nice, but that doesn’t tell anyone anything about me. The best that can be inferred from that is that maybe I haven’t killed someone…unless I did so in a polite fashion.

  128. I just want to put this out there: All single people here should watch Baggage on GSN at Midnight (Eastern). It is a train wreck of people telling the most horrible things about themselves and seeing if someone still wants to date them.

  129. Anon for this says:

    East coast here. I can assure you the pickings are slim.

  130. KerBearRN says:

    I feel like a fraud posting here (bc I have been happily married for many years), but I have made some observations over the years of the dating scene in and out of the church. To me it boils down to that it is really difficult for men and women to simply have an un encumbered, enjoyable time together. Outside the church, I think bc there is such a focus on sex and an fairly prevalent attitude that if you like being with someone, then sex is the next logical step. And once the sex starts, it complicates the relationship, expectations, etc.

    In the Church, there is unfortunately way too much of the view that ALL dating is simply a prelude to marriage and can have no function otherwise. I see this springing from two things: First, a culture that sadly puts no value on the single state and people’s ability to be happy thus (and seems to view singles only as “people we need to marry off”); and second, that old premise that “you should only date someone you would marry”– therefore, in many circles, all dates are simply “marriage auditions”.

    As a single at BYU, I cringed every time a guy (usually on a first date) asked if I could cook or how many kids I wanted. By the same token, I cringed at the girls who “advertised” their “wife-worthiness” by baking cookies for every male within spitting distance, proudly proclaiming themselves “Elementary Ed” majors because “it will help me be a better mom”, and reading scriptures with guys on dates. I just found the whole thing creepy.

    And I couldn’t help but wonder about when the fun of it all wore off– the luster of “getting married” (and wedding planning), the novelty of sex (let’s face it, a lot of the frantic LDS dating scene is precisely that way bc singles tend to be a horny bunch, and so sex becomes a motivator), the honeymoon baby, playing house– what were they going to be left with? And sadly, I’ve seen some of those marriages, that were entered into more as duty/expectation and a way of conforming, break down once the couple really has to rely on their actual relationship.

    I think we should do a MUCH better job of preparing engaged couples for marriage and a healthy relationship. I really think that the marriage recommend interview also ought to include insistence on attendance at classes teaching some basic relationship and communications skills. With a rising divorce rate–it sure couldn’t hurt. If we really value marriages as the most “eternal” of relationships, why do we allow so many so young to enter into them so lightly?

    Sorry for the long post, but obviously I have strong feelings here. :)

  131. Anon, I beg to differ. DC is crawling with YSA – so is Manhattan.

  132. It is a matter of probability. If you add up all the ways you are different you will find that you are very rare. The example of the worst RM faux profile is a case in point. He was a person not far from the average Mormon man. There were lots of average Mormon women who felt comfortable there.

    If you are liberal, well read, older, and Mormon with an advanced degree, you have just moved yourself into a six sigma category. Six sigma is a few in a millions. You will have a very hard time meeting someone similar to you or whom you will like and who will like you, where you both will feel comfortable. I think those average Mormon women were wise in rejecting the six sigma CV in favor of the average. No one could be happy with that much mismatch.

    I found myself in the 8 or 9 sigma category and dating, a few in billions. God was my matchmaker and lined me up with a 10 sigma woman. We are comfortable. (I wonder what people think of us.)

  133. Rechabite says:

    Sign me up for up BCC dating service, hypothetical or otherwise.

  134. I only live about 70mi from Manhattan, but I am an Old Single Adult

  135. EOR, I used “YSA” carelessly in my last comment. I really meant – singles of all kind.

  136. Here’s a bonus for SA dances vs. the bar scene. At least they include the catchy phrase “All divorces MUST be finalized before attending” on their posters and flyers for church events. Although I’ve always wondered how anyone knows. Do they ask for documentation or is it on the honor system? If the latter, I guess there really is no difference between the two.

  137. Capozaino says:

    Is a 10 sigma woman the new 8 cow wife?

  138. Uter-US = best joke ever

  139. Gah! My future is so bleak. I’m 34, recently divorced, and contemplating dating again. I have left the church though, so dating non-Mormons is definitely an option. Actually, it is the only option because presumably most LDS men would find my lack of a testimony a deal-breaker. LDS dating site users, is there any kind of exmormon or NOM presence on there?

  140. 23 black dogs says:

    The Wall Street Journal had a piece on dating online and what words and phrases are most effective: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324039504578262680716799140.html I’ve also heard that about the ideal profile is 70% about you, 30% about what you’re looking for. Good luck all!

  141. 23 black dogs says:
  142. I love your point of view style of writing sooooo freaking much on this topic.
    Try being a mormon girl who works fulltime, goes to school part time, is 24, doesnt attend YSA and has NO plans of ever getting married and especially no plans of ever having kids.

  143. Sorry to be late in the game. I have two questions.

    #1 What does this mean?: “…with a bucket of flour/water and/or a plunger?!”
    #2 What SAT score do you need to get into BYU?

  144. Sharee Hughes says:

    I am a 70-year-old divorcee who hasn’t had a date in over 30 years. I just hope the brethren are right when they say worthy single sisters will still have a chance in the next life because I doubt I’ll marry again in this one. The older you get, the harder it is. But, hey, if it’s not icky to date someone half your age plus 7, then I guess I could be dating 42-year-old men! Now that sounds like fun!

  145. Sharee Hughes says:

    #141, you have to subscribe to read that article.

  146. What the heck – can I toss my mother into the imaginary BCC dating pool? She’s 62, widowed four years now after an extremely happy 40-year marriage, educated and sassy and full of love. Southern California.

    My single LDS friends have many a tale of terror to tell. Triple-timers, kid-phobics, no boundaries, blatant insults… Like MikeinWeHo said, I’m not sure I could do it.

  147. I’ve also heard that recently bishops have started counseling the “older” young women in their singles wards to
    look for a good non- LDS man if the LDS ones aren’t asking them out;. This was down in AZ.

  148. #131: “…DC is crawling with YSA…”

    The D.C. YSA crowd is a microcosm of Utah. The overwhelming majority of the people who live there were BYU students and (unfortunately) bring that set of “happy valley” expectations with them.

  149. I grew up and lived in two large cities on the “East coast” (Atlanta/Philadelphia). As a YSA, my potential dating pool was always very tiny. To put it in perspective, the metro Atlanta area has the same population as the entire state of Utah… and has only 1 singles ward. I had a couple of serious relationships but it never worked out. My singles ward bishops encouraged us to “date people with high standards” …even if they weren’t members of the church.

    As I approached my late 20’s I made the strategic decision to put my career on hold and head West (where all the mormons are). I quit my management position at a Fortune 100 company, went to BYU, completed an MBA, and found a job in Arizona. My new job was a serious step backwards (I make less now, my work is less fulfilling, and I have fewer advancement opportunities). I made this sacrifice because getting married is a real priority for me.

    My experiences dating in Utah and Arizona have been very frustrating. Both the women (and the men!) have unbelievably high expectations. I remember listening to a male acquaintance at BYU complain about a woman whose second toe was longer than than her big toe (this was evidently a deal breaker for him). I’ve been snubbed or ignored by women I’ve approached (at mormon parties or church events) more times than I can count. It’s completely bizarre. In the non-mormon world, you approach a woman, tell a funny joke (she laughs), and conversation just flows! Ask for her number, call her, and go get dinner. First dates aren’t “marriage interviews”; it’s just two people getting to know each other.

    I wouldn’t have believed half the dating horror stories described on this thread if I hadn’t had similar experiences myself.

    It’s now over 3 years since I made the decision to “head West”. I turn 31 in a few months. I’m very worried that I’ve seriously derailed my long term career goals (and future earning potential) with the decision to move here. Will I make enough money to care for a wife/children in a world that will become increasingly brutal and competitive? I don’t have the “magic formula” for dating/marriage but I’m still out in the trenches trying.

  150. If you think finding someone single, liberal and thinking is hard, try finding someone moderate, thinking and single. It’s a razor’s edge.

    I’m looking for a good guy. But I find most of the good guys are non-opinionated to the point of pain, or looking for someone without kids who can mold herself to his life.

    In order to not be infantilized, I simply rejected the working model, and the possibility of marrying again. Having married a convert, I’m not going that route again. Maybe it works for some, but I’ll rather be single than marry someone whose goals are so different from mine. My family ward was happy to have me back full time.

    I’m happy to date men who ask me out, but they won’t now that I’m under the radar. And it’s better that way.

  151. SilverRain, I actually thought of you while I was writing this post. I know we don’t necessarily see eye to eye on some things, but your series of posts about the singles ward and dating were spot-on. If you’d like to link to them here, I would welcome it.

    To everyone who has half-jestingly declared interest in a BCC dating thing, we’re brainstorming amongst the permas on just how (or if) this is possible to pull off. We know we have a lot of really great people reading and interacting with the community, and probably even more who lurk or are not always comfortable jumping in, but who also might be interested. Clearly we’re not going to become a dating site, but if there’s a feasible way for us to facilitate bright, interesting singles meeting each other, I’m frankly intrigued.

  152. Kevin Barney says:

    David 149, my second toes are longer than my big toes. I count it a miracle that any Mormon woman was willing to marry me.

  153. @Sharee, I understand your point about single sisters being blessed in the world to come, and that you are referring to yourself. However, I submit that that statement also applies to men, who for whatever reason, are unable to get married. I thin that God will be merciful to all, regardless of gender. I unfortunately have had experiences with Church leaders say that single men would go to h***. I’m pretty sure that they were just having opinions and talking from another orifice.

  154. Sharee Hughes,
    I’m involved in a lot of non-Mormon philanthropy related socializing, as a result I know many women in their late 60s, several in their 70s and one who is 94 who are happily online dating often younger men since fewer men at that age want to date than women. Age seems to pose no barrier if you have health and mobility.

  155. I suspect few what to hear this but wouldn’t a social norm of polygamy practiced by both genders (Joseph was sealed to women with living husbands) solve this supply/demand problem?

  156. Apparently, The sensible “you marry who you date” advice has been turned into – “you marry who say two kind words to”.

    Seriously, Can we all admit that the long list of problems with Mormon single-hood is in large part to our very 19th C. theology concerning the role of marriage in the eternities?

    IT sounds nice right? “Families can be to-GEther-forever….” Until you realize that eternal marriage is simply not going to happen for so many of our brothers and sisters in this life. The so-called “crown jewel” of what Mormonism has to offer – has a dark side.

    “You over here: you all get to fall in love and share eternity with an adored partner. The rest of you will paired off of with a suitable mate in the after-life (who may or may not already have been sealed to someone of course).”

  157. Howard, it appears that Joseph really thought this thing through and knew that a bigamist eternity awaited us all.

  158. John C.,
    Yes, that’s the way it looks to me. I’m a descendant of polygamy and right or wrong I was raised with the idea that monogamy and polygamy are both fine forms of marriage. As a result I am largely without bias in viewing the question. So one of the questions I have tried to answer as an adult is; why would God command it? This is one of the answers. Another more compelling answer (to me, at least) is that in order to happily live polygamy and share a mate with others one must transcend insecurity, selfishness, possessiveness and jealousy. Since our example Christ exhibited none of these immature emotions or behaviors it seems to me that bi-gender polygamy practiced over several generations would produce a much more Christlike people.

  159. 156 – bingo. That’s why that other commentors remarks about ‘making your own story’ are so critical. In the church, youth advisers teach the ‘pattern’, but what is unfortunately missing in that curriculum is all of the beautiful individual adjustments to that ‘pattern’. All snowflakes are unique, just as there are literally BILLIONS of ‘plans of salvation’ .. each tailored for ourselves… All IMO of course, but this perspective gives me more peace and comfort as I journey through life than I find reading some of the manuals word for word.

  160. it's a series of tubes says:

    The rest of you will paired off of with a suitable mate in the after-life (who may or may not already have been sealed to someone of course

    Of course, one could take the slightly different view that it may be easier to find an adored partner in the after-life, when you have as long to date and evaluate as you might want, and when communication and “knowing as we are known” might be significantly better.

  161. This is just a note to note that the other John C. on this thread is not my, John C. perma. Not that I necessarily object to what John C. has written in my name (I haven’t read it all), but for clarity’s sake, I think he should change his handle to HP.

  162. Sharee Hughes says:

    “You over here: you all get to fall in love and share eternity with an adored partner. The rest of you will paired off of with a suitable mate in the after-life (who may or may not already have been sealed to someone of course).”

    I have to say I agree with “it’s a series of tubes” on this. I don’t think Heavenly Father is going to greet single sisters after their death, saying something like, “Okay, Sister A, you’ve been a worthy woman, so we’re going to match you up with Brother B over here, who needs a wife.” I believe we will have the opportunity to select our mate, even on the other side. Who would want to spend eternity with someone we were just randomly matched with? And I do agree, Brian F, that men will have the same opportunity in the next life if they have been unable to find a mate in this one.

  163. Tracy, I feel the same way. We don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but that would be kind of boring, wouldn’t it? At any rate, we went through our divorces about the same time, and we have plenty of other similarities beyond merely our social and marital circumstances. :) I’d be happy to link, but I’m not sure which ones you’re referring to. I tend to write as I feel/think, and didn’t realize any of it was consistent enough to be a series! *L*

    As far as “the pattern” goes, maybe it’s because I’m a creative, but what is the point of making your own things if you aren’t going to adjust them and add your own touches? I’ve never sewn or made something exactly the way it was written unless I’m learning a technique of some kind. That doesn’t mean you don’t need a pattern. Patterns give framework to adjust within, they can also give inspiration for creativity and the best patterns give tips as to why things are done the way they are.

    If you want something exactly by the pattern, it’s cheaper and easier to buy it at the store….but maybe that’s where the analogy breaks down.

  164. JA Benson says:

    Excellent post Tracy. I know of one YSA Branch that has linked your post to their FB for discussion. As a kinda young widow, and the mother of two YSAs, I find this conversation relevant to all unmarried adults in the church.

    Howard, and all who espouse the notion of polygamy/polyandry in regards to Joseph Smith; question for you all: how does your mental gymnastics work in light of this evidence:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Polygamy/Children_of_polygamous_marriages

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700150651/DNA-solves-a-Joseph-Smith-mystery.html?pg=2 ??

  165. #160 and #162 – Yes. There wouldn’t be much sense in struggling to find mates in this life if we were to be automatically put in prearranged marriages in the next life. Can’t add much to the LDS Dating Scene problem. Side note – don’t you think, when a surviving spouse remarries in mortality, that predeceased spouse isn’t doing the same kind of thing in the spirit world? What’s good for the goose is always good for the gander.

  166. JA Benson,
    “Mental gymnastics” is discounting because it is pejorative, implying a convoluted logic trail and that is not at all what I presented here. I’m aware that there is no evidence of children outside of Joseph’s marriage to Emma. I don’t think this changes much in my view, Joseph was in the early stages of launching plural marriage and died before the concept was fully fleshed out. So I’m logically speculating but it doesn’t require any mental gymnastics to understand.

  167. Re: 149
    David,

    Of all the comments I have read in this thread, yours really concerns me. I went to Utah for the same reasons. I wanted to have a family like those pictured in LDS posters or the Ensign. The great difference was that for me, having been in Utah propelled my career significantly. I am a medical device engineer and having earned an engineering degree from BYU and I worked for the leading manufacturer of cardiovascular surgery devices, which makes my resume look very good in my area of expertise. I left Utah with the tools to be successful, and a new world has literally opened before me, where dating is the way you describe it, not some creepy protocol created by elderly people with 18th century views.

    I don’t know if you have already tested the waters of what you will experience after you turn 31 either in Utah or Arizona. I am not going to give you too many details, but if there is any possibility that you can go back to the east coast and re-route your career as you had previously accomplished there, you should strongly consider doing so.

    I can say this firmly: if you are frustrated with the dating situation in your 20’s in the Mormon corridor, it gets significantly uglier after 31. Like, abysmally uglier.

    There are lots of very educated, well read, progressive, open minded, healthy, interesting people in the east coast that don’t have the cultish hangups of the Mormon crowd.

    It pains me to hear your story. Don’t let the LDS media fairy tale destroy your future and maim your potential (including the potential of finding someone amazing outside the LDS bizarre world). Don’t settle for something less than you deserve and that you have earned simply because the current misguided LDS dogma implies you won’t have eternal blessings if you don’t marry in the Temple.

    Best wishes. Hope you can return to the success path you had created for yourself prior to moving from the east coast and hope you will find someone amazing that values you for you. I am not sure you realize what big of a crossroad you are at. Don’t let Mormonism destroy your potential to be truly happy.

  168. Pretty terrible date!

    One thing that I think might be a tad unfair is to point out the crass, tactless, even idiotic behavior of others, which for conciseness we’ll call “imperfections”. You can be certain foolish behavior occurs outside of LDS culture and LDS culture is not the cause of it. But rather certain people are imperfect and they use whatever foundation they have to magnify their imperfections to others — be that foundation LDS culture, traditional Samoan culture, secular British culture, etc.

    What’s unfair about revealing the imperfections of others in this one sided manner, is it doesn’t take into account our own imperfections and all the terrible sounding things we have done or said in our own day. It feels somewhat voyeuristic and it’s uncomfortable to me to imagine something I may have said or done (and regret) being paraded around on the internet as “another case of… that demonstrates…”.

    It’s a high standard that’s not really fair. And no, that guy’s not me. I emphasize with any man or woman who is in an awkward situation trying to make the most of it (as they see fit), while not being aware they are fully immersed in a type of “false conciseness” with regard to their own culture, existence, philosophies, etc. Imperfection, human condition, we’re all in the same boat, as much as we’d like to laugh at the uterus guy for saying something that none of us could imagine saying.

  169. Great post, Tracy.
    As a 37 year old single dad of two, Ivy League educated, Mormon, and black… Sounds like 4 strikes to me. The odds are against me and it’s pretty frustrating.

    Love our beliefs, but HATE our culture.

  170. I’m good with everything but the Ivy League education. What a bunch of snobs. ;)

    Seriously, if we look to the masses to decide what our flaws are, we’re kind of setting ourselves up. Looking to the masses is like looking at a pie, and thinking all there is is crust when the best parts take a little more effort than a casual glance, or playing the numbers. But any of the “flaws” the masses tell us we have can be positive attributes for the right people. I haven’t heard of one “flaw” that isn’t also in someone I know who is married.

    I find that often when people complain of the flaws that keep others from going for them, it’s because they’re only looking at the people who float to the top, the loud, obvious, ones. (Including me.) Also, they often have mutually exclusive ideals on THEIR list. I can’t tell you how many guys want a “beautiful” and “down-to-earth” woman. Guess what? Beauty like the kind on fashion pages takes WORK and MONEY, and you’re not going to find that girls who put in that kind of effort are excited about taking their expensive nail job out camping without showers for a week.

    One experience that made me roll my eyes was a slightly shorter, intelligent, compelling, passionate guy who I was interested in getting to know better and possibly pursuing a relationship with. He only talked about how everyone looks for the biggest “number score” they could get. He insisted that all women go for tall, strong-jawed types over intellectuals. When I tried to point out that only the shallow, beauty-obsessed girls do that, he refused to believe me and said to my face I was lying. His proof? The supermodel types in his ward were rude when his decidedly average “friends” tried to ask them out. Talk about reflective delusions.

    Guess what, I wasn’t all that interested after that, and for none of the reasons he believed girls lost interest in him.

    So if the masses tell you some detail or other doesn’t meet their desires, look in places other than the masses. Get yourself involved in things you enjoy, so you can meet people who enjoy the same things. Then, even if you don’t meet anyone you can marry, at least you’ll have a lot of friends.

  171. I admit that I am hesitant to date people who already have children because as far as men I have come across they always figure they are done having children, and I want my own children. Being a step-parent, is nice and fine, but those children already have a mother (even if she has passed away).

  172. John BC (not John C perma) says:

    series of tubes –

    I don’t fault anyone for having an idealized view of the after life -esp. when it comes to finding a partner. We don’t really know anything though. And it breaks my heart to so my brothers and sister in the church pass up opportunities to be happy NOW – in exchange for some future maybe.

    Other people of faith have a high place for family and marriage in their theology of course. But we take it to a dangerous level – basing the eternal potential of God’s children upon it. Its troubling to me – that’s all.

  173. SingleintheCity says:

    I’m a six sigma woman seeking a six sigma man. Count me in for the BBC dating game! Our YSA ward/midsingles group on the west coast is filled with some lovely men, but a majority are non/low achievers (not to mention a good percentage are in the closet). I find myself trying to downplay my achievements with LDS men because I’ve seen the glossed-over look in their eyes when I mention that I have a master’s degree and a career. Add being liberal and tall and sometimes I think I have a bat’s chance in hell of finding an LDS match. I still have faith there’s a diamond in-the-rough waiting to be discovered. So…matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match: outdoorsy, moderate/liberal NICE guy for a 31 year old girl!

  174. SilverRain, excellent perceptions. Your comment reminds me of the old adage, 90 percent of the guys are asking out 10 percent of the girls, and when they are rejected, they complain about “no one will go out with them”.

    I think everyone needs to take a good long realistic look in the mirror and seek to be yoked equally with their partner, i.e. spirtually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically.

  175. Oh, before I forget, Howard et all, Joseph was reported to have been sealed to numerous spritual wives between 1833-1843. So in ten years time, Joseph could not produce one polygamous marriage descendant, while he has 9 children with Emma? Sounds fishy to me ;)

  176. Thanks, JA. Your summation is much better than my rambling.

  177. Tracy, as you know, if you don’t laugh you cry – and sometimes you cry and laugh. Thanks for making me laugh even as I wanted to cry. The comment about single adult infanticide is especially insightful.

    We talk about how horrible it is for Catholic priests to be single and celibate (and the consequences sometimes of those expectations), but we find it harder to reflect on our own cultural expectations and see similar issues in our own “system”.

    If this life really is all that, and if marriage and family really are the best training ground for godhood (to put it firmly in orthodox Mormon terms), and if we believe couples who are able to seal themselves together in practical terms through a lifetime of bonding will accept the sealing ordinance in the next life and be sealed in the eyes of God at that time, I have a hard time encouraging someone to remain single rather than marry a good person of another faith. I would never preach or encourage that as the default, and I certainly understand the risks involved in such a stance, but, given those two options, I will land on the side of marriage as the better option for most people – while honoring completely those who remain single

    I can’t imagine God punishing anyone in any way for living according to the dictates of his or her own conscience when it comes to marriage.

  178. JA Benson,
    Well as I recall Brigham had little problem making babies with multiple wives.

  179. From Handbook of Instructions 1:
    3.10.2 Requirements
    To be considered for a calling as a temple ordinance worker, a member must:
    3. If male and 30 years old or older, be married (widowers excepted). Unmarried brethren who are younger than 30 may serve as ordinance workers.

  180. thanks Mark – I’d be curious to learn and understand what possible hint of gospel principle that requirement rests upon

  181. My guess at the reasoning behind that rule is the idea that single men have more control over being married or not and that a weekly night of temple work may be better used on a date. Maybe? I have single sisters over (NYC and DC and Boston) who work temple shifts–lots of interaction with people our parent’s age, but not a great venue to meet a mate, maybe. Although many temple workers seem to like to set them up. I’d throw them in your dating pool, but they are not bloggernaccle readers. Good eggs, though, all. My 31 year old single doctor brother has tried to play the numbers, much like David, and live and attend school in high-density Mormon areas, currently in AZ. So far, no luck. I feel for them with a different intensity than I feel for my fellow divorces.

    Another hurdle for single people with children in the Church is geography. While I have not dated since my divorce (how does a single working mother have time?), if I were looking online, I could only really marry people in my region or willing to move here as I, like many (most, I hope) people who co-parent with an ex, need my kids to have access to their other parent. And I suppose I am already aware of most of my prospects in my stake, or could be, if I could stomach the idea of attending any of those activities designed for single people.

  182. I should have proofread my comment (#177) more closely. There is a significant difference between “infantilization” and “infanticide”. Obviously, I meant to type the first and not the second.

  183. Also! I had a friend who grew up in a messed up family that was also a blended family. She told me that she didn’t think ANYONE who valued their children should create a blended family. I now tease her that she has banned me from dating and marrying and while I take her opinion with a grain of salt, I really do think the notion of blending a family is a scary one for many people. So when people preference the childless in dating over people who have children, I understand that somewhat irrational generalization.

  184. it's a series of tubes says:

    I don’t fault anyone for having an idealized view of the after life -esp. when it comes to finding a partner. We don’t really know anything though. And it breaks my heart to so my brothers and sister in the church pass up opportunities to be happy NOW – in exchange for some future maybe.

    A fair point. I wouldn’t recommend that someone pass up an opportunity to be happy now, either. As to the future “maybe”, though, I personally find great hope in the oft-quoted statement of Joseph Smith from the sermon at the Nauvoo temple on April 16, 1843:

    “Those who have died in Jesus Christ may expect to enter into all that fruition of joy when they come forth, which they possessed or anticipated here. … All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it.”

  185. ESO – you may be right, but doesn’t it come across as ‘commanding in all things’? Why not trust that 30+ single men can choose for themselves how to best balance their priorities instead of arbitrarily applying a requirement. It’s even worse when you consider a 31 year old widower with kids. Is not the reasoning prohibiting a non-widower single even more heightened in his situation? With kids to care for and such, seems he should be out finding them a mom instead of dedicating a few hours to temple service weekly.

    That reasoning may be it, but it’s nails on chalkboard to me.

  186. @181-I fully agree with you. I am active in the Church and a guy. I live in a stake here in Canada, the only one in my province. I couldn’t even consider dating unless someone were to move here or date a non member. Alberta is where all the action is but I don’t live there and am divorced with a kid in tow. In theory I want to marry again but the simple reality is it probably won’t ever happen. I have no idea if God is playing matchmaker with us or what is going on, I threw away my patriarchal blessing the other day just because I couldn’t even bear to read it anymore. When it comes to marriage it says when i choose a companion to share my life with choose one who and then a list of qualities. Well, it sounds like I was or am to be living in an area with options, actual options but I didn;t when I got it and don’t now because I can’t move because of my child. So, I don’t even know how to think about marriage anymore and what God saw happening or not happening plus the spiritual monkeywrench of a divorce

  187. Given a certain prevailing frame of mind, and all the complicated expectations that seem to go along with this, I have not the slightest interest in dating any of the Mormon women represented in this forum, either for matrimonial pursuits, or any other purpose. :-))

  188. In fact, I suspect I might just find more enjoyment and personal fulfillment in the company of an honest, self-professing non-active gay. And I’m not homosexual, by any measure. :-))

    As far as I am concerned, the matter-of-fact of having a uterus is biological. Who cares, otherwise? It is nothing to be happy about, nor deplored. It just is.

    In my admittedly myopic view, there are much more important considerations to be regarded in life than your particular set of generative organs. Certainly none of us merits any personal credit for such.

  189. Regarding the restrictions for temple workers:

    I know that the Church Education System used to restrict women with children at home from being paid seminary/institute teachers. That was about 15 years ago — does anyone know if that restriction still exists today? Does CES have any restrictions for single men over age 30 as well?

  190. Jim – I think a lot of credit is warranted for the serious emotional and physical struggling of bringing a life into the world and the subsequent raising of it. I also think a woman and a man should be happy and completely in awe at the reproductive purposes and potential. Reproduction is a pretty big part of humanity, not to mention all living things.

  191. JA Benson says:

    #178 Howard
    I know. Exactly. Crazy, huh!

  192. CE, yes. You cannot teach Seminary, as a paid instructor, if you are 30 and single, and a guy. You will be fired if you work for CES and reach that milestone. There is no restriction on women.

  193. Two thoughts floated through my head reading some of these comments.

    I would be pretty turned off by someone who was dating outside of their faith pool in the expectation that if we loved each other enough, I’d make covenants in THEIR faith in the next life. More than a little objectifying.

    Also, the assumption that someone should find someone to “be happy with now” seems to indicate that happiness is only found in the arms of someone. I fully intend to continue to be happy, even if I don’t find someone I want to build a life with.

    Jim, sounds like you’re have fallen victim to a classic blunder: never judge someone’s quality purely by what they say on the internet. Especially on a venting thread. I’d much rather date someone willing to express frustration with a difficult situation, than someone who is mentally dull enough to NOT feel frustrated or predatory enough to hide their feelings.

  194. jeffc–not saying I AGREE with the rationale, that is just my best guess at why it was made. Of course it is arbitrary and bound to really sting someone; as are many other rules in the Church and elsewhere. Why can’t a single man serve in a bishopric? Why can’t women be endowed unless they have an engagement or a mission call? Why can’t a mom hold her baby during a blessing? etc. Someone somewhere still thinks it is a good enough idea to keep around.

  195. Also, the assumption that someone should find someone to “be happy with now” seems to indicate that happiness is only found in the arms of someone.

    SR, of course! But people being content out of marriage is not the topic at hand.

  196. “90 percent of the guys are asking out 10 percent of the girls, and when they are rejected, they complain about “no one will go out with them”.

    I bet there are more variation of this equation going on everywhere. And I am sure there are people being completely left out of the dating game. My roomates and I back in my Provo ward were curious as to how this equation played in our ward. So we started asking casually and asking a lot. We asked the members of the bishopric, we asked the girls we home taught, we asked the guys, and we shared ourselves how we were limiting dating and who we would simply never ask out no matter what. That was not only entertaining but educating. Here is the low down of what I learned: people lie a lot about these things. Guys do limit who they ask, and they do claim nobody wanted to go out with them. Girls do it a little different, if the guy they want to be asked by hasn’t done it, then “nobody” has done it. “Nobody” has asked them out.

    So, we decided to casually start asking out every single girl in our ward (save those who already were in a relationship, and one cool girl that unfortunately had a mental disability). We divided the whole Relief Society in three (there were three of us) then we assigned them as we wished. We asked the girls, only once, we did not try asking anyone again who had made an excuse not to go out in the reasonably and foreseeable future. Two of us got ZERO dates out of the activity. One of my roommates got TWO dates (WOW that is TWO).

    It is a fact, not every single adult out there will ask every single adult of the opposite gender they have access to. I think we all must just accept that fact, everyone will pose limits as to who they will be willing to date. The question is, what are those limits based on? and Are those limits realistic, healthy, productive?

    I had the personal experience of listening to a girl complain to one of our bishopric counselors; “I don’t know what to do, nobody asks me out!” I had happened to be rejected by that same girl two weeks prior. Therefore, SilverRain, Hi! I am nobody! Nice to meet you! And by the way… girls in my ward were not remotely like “models.” At least not models of the last four decades.

    LOL! So glad to be outta there.

  197. 194 – I hear ya! I disagree with the rationale – seems sometimes ‘the brethren’s’ preferences are left to some COB do-gooders interpretation for enforcement and that is where the wheels fall off. One small correction is that women most certainly can be endowed without an engagement or a mission call – there are still some old-school types who ‘counsel’ them away from it, but it is common – I think there is a written or unwritten guideline about 25 year old, but not sure.

  198. John . . . it is the topic at hand if people are telling others to run out and marry someone who isn’t equally yoked over trying to learn to be content with where one is. I mean, if a non-member reflects your lifestyle, then fine. But I’ve been married to someone who took religion far more casually than I, and it isn’t something I’d ever suggest. Kudos to those who have enough else in common to still build a relationship.

    Manuel, I’m confused as to why you’re directing that to me. I didn’t claim to never be asked out. I got asked out fairly regularly, actually. I just got tired of being an object.

  199. jeffc–because age 25 is the official give-up-hope of youthful marriage age. I have found that particular “rule” still holds up for the most part. I agree that it is somewhat dependent on the personalities of those involved, but I think “worthy” and “adult” should be the end of it–if someone wants to covenant with the Lord in the temple, by golly, who are we to tell them they should wait? I really thought the new missionary ages would be the end of this, but it isn’t!

  200. Sorry, Kaphor, my background is in biology. My observation is that all forms of life reproduce, with monotonous boring consistency and regularity. They respond to the biological imperative. No big deal. Why should something I happen to have in common with dogs and monkeys and all other mammalian species be venerated or revered?

    Anyway, I know I will never have a uterus, to revere or reproduce or hysterectomy or anything else. And those that have one seem to have little enough use for the likes of me. With our own high expectations and self-centered demands, we have struck the perfect balance, effectively excluding each other from any foreseeable future consideration. All seems perfectly fine. :-)

  201. I used to tease my sister (who has given up on the dating scene) that she’s just saving herself for Alvin Smith–Joseph’s older brother who died in his 20s. She said, “Oh we’ll have so much to talk about! What was on your Ipod playlist, Alvin? Are you a Democrat or Republican? How about them Cubs?” I told her that he could show her how to leg wrestle and they could discuss gospel principles all day long. Besides, they’re at least in the same dispensation! That’s where I draw the line….

  202. kc – aren’t all the Smith’s Cubs fans? ;) I think I take more pride in being a multi-generational Cubs fan than some do in being multi-generational Mormon.

  203. Chris Kimball says:

    #179, 181, 189, 192 and others: I don’t know why the over 30 rule for men, and no explanation I have heard or imagine makes sense to me. In and out of the Church, I have seen rules of that sort promulgated on the back of a bad experience or two. Somebody, somewhere, took advantage, got in trouble, made a mess, and the powers-that-be made a rule–generalizing from the specific, or creating a safety margin, or speaking to the specific but being heard in the general. It happens often enough that it has become my base-line or default assumption, always subject to additional information and/or rationale.
    Doesn’t make it fair or reasonable or right . . . or inspired . . . but does reflect how organizations work in the real world.

  204. “it is the topic at hand if people are telling others to run out and marry someone who isn’t equally yoked over trying to learn to be content with where one is.”

    SR, I haven’t read that message in any of the comments in this thread – but maybe I missed it somewhere. Mine might be the easiest to interpret that way, but it’s nowhere close to what I actually said.

  205. What’s wrong with your uterus? Really?!? The good news is that with all the 19 year old women running off to serve missions maybe it will force Mormon men to take a look at women their own age. However, the 72 year old men determined to snag a 20 year old will probably be willing to wait for their missionary to come home.

  206. #205 – an example of why the Sistas won an award not involved in the great scandal

  207. Jim Cobabe (200) what high expectations and self-centered demands are you referring to? I got the impression from the OP that Tracy’s dates ranged from immature/incompatible to downright insulting. It is high expectations to expect more than that from grown men you wish to spend even a small amount of time with?

  208. EOR, from my perspective I would characterize it as much more than just high expectation. In myself, such an attitude would simply be narcissism. What I mean is one so in love with their own perfection, as to make it impossible to ever even provisionally regard another person as acceptable or compatible, either as a marriage partner, a friend, or even as a reproductive organ. The only solution would be to marry yourself, I suppose.

    The term narcissim supposedly derives from the fascinating Greek figure Narcissis, who rejected the amourous overtures of the beautiful nymph Echo, and languished forever pining for someone equal to his own superlative beauty, as he regarded his reflection in a pool of water. He was eventually transformed into a lovely flower. :-)

  209. Trying to give Uterus Man a break. Some other possibilities of what he was trying to do on your ‘date’ Tracy:

    He was trying not to be superficial and was trying to look on the inside….literally

    He wanted you to comment on his reproductive parts as well

    Nope, I realized that there is NO justification. Any way you slice it, it’s creep-fest!

  210. JA Benson says:

    #196 Manuel, Sorry that was my quote. I should add, I agree with you. In my efforts to keep my comment pithy, I neglected to include women, who do the very same thing. Many women have a very specific list, and will not deviate from it.
    For example, one of my adult sons helped organize with a Regional YSA dance. Because he is a gentleman, he took notice who was getting asked to dance and who was not. He asked one particular woman to dance, even though he was not personally attracted to her. I kid you not, in mid-dance she grilled him on his choice of majors. When he told her he was majoring in Engineering, she turned on her heels and left him standing in the middle of the dance floor. As she departed she said, “This is not going to work out. I am going to marry a doctor.”

  211. Kevin Barney says:

    No. 210 JA Benson, oh my heck, what a story!

  212. #135 John C.: Crawling with singles or not, Manhattan is tough for midsingles at least. There is just no easy way to socialize and actually meet someone you don’t already know. The few midsingles activities there are involve sitting passively listening to a speaker for an hour and a half–interesting sometimes, but usually boring–and then not nearly enough time to catch up with the people you know who you never talk to, which leads to, at least in my experience, very little actually meeting *new* people. Especially new people with similar interests. But then, my interests are pretty eclectic. But hey, open invitation for any Manhattan singles who love board games: let’s have a game night, meet new friends, and maybe some matches will come out of it. If not, at least we’d have a great game of Settlers or Carcassonne in the meantime!

  213. Ray, you missed it somewhere. But I hope you don’t hold it against me if I don’t go back through 200+ comments to find the pertinent ones.

  214. Just to point out the obvious, this overall issue isn’t a Mormon thing – even though the specific examples of creepiness and the extent to which infantilization of adult singles occurs are uniquely Mormon. The general issue of someone with children having a difficult time finding someone to remarry is pervasive enough that there have been hugely popular songs written about it.

    Brad Paisley’s “He Didn’t Have to Be” is my favorite example of this.

  215. #213 – Fair enough, SR – and I don’t. *grin*

  216. “This is not going to work out. I am going to marry a doctor.”
    LOL! Yeah, I remember that hunger for money. I wonder if they realize engineers can also make very good money plus they don’t end up with the daunting school debt and dealing for life with lawsuits and having to pay lawsuit insurance. Oh well, to each their own! And she was one of those who hadn’t been asked… probably not one of those “model” types. That’s funny.

  217. melodynew says:

    Mormon adult divorced/singles = island of the misfit toys. Good luck out there, brothers and sisters. I’m staying home and blogging.

  218. OK, I heart Tracy’s uterus and all her other organs that make her such a great poster. What a great conversation.

    As a 30+ single, female temple worker, I’m stunned at #179. I have accused in my heart men who are blatantly absent in needed temple shifts in a growing sea of non-elderly, single women temple workers. I repent. I didn’t know. Please forgive.

    AND BTW… Why isn’t this fact part of the public argument that we value females because they a) speak in sacrament b) hold leadership callings ……c) are paid to work seminary callings that we DON”T allow single men to be paid to hold d) allow them to hold temple service positions we DON’T allow single men to hold.

    And why aren’t men organizing a “wear pants to the temple movement”? Oh wait, I know why…..

    A little snark there but this thing gets pretty complex very quickly.
    Why do we “prefer” single females in these particular situations?

  219. DisgruntledActiveSingleMormon says:

    Thank you for this…as one of the sincere/honest profile guys I am tired of LDS women glancing me over so I have expanded my dating pool to all denominations. The last paragraph was by far my favorite. Again, thank you for this!!

  220. Thanks, Laura.

    Honestly, I think we should be encouraging mid-singles to work in the temple. What a nice way to meet someone, get to know them over time, and be sure they believe close to what you do. We should be herding mid-singles into temple shifts!

    The other BCC permas and I have been discussing the interest in this thread, and we would like to find a way to help our readers connect with each other- particularly all the singles who have commented (or who are lurking). We’re unsure yet how exactly to proceed, whether it be via a BCC facebook group, or whether I should do a series of posts.

    If you’re interested, email me at { dandelion.mama AT gmail DOT com } Let me know if you have any ideas, or if you’d like to be included in a series of posts. Please put “BCC Singles” in your subject line.

    Closing comments now- email me if you’re interested. Thanks everyone!

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