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Ask Angela: My LDS singles ward is like a reality show episode and I can't handle it

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  • JohnDoe Chicago, IL
    April 4, 2013 12:40 a.m.

    Bomar22 is exactly right, and it is not in the least bit shallow, to be as attractive as you yourself are able. What does it say to potential suitors, both men and women, if you are not willing to keep yourself in good physical shape. I spent ten years as a personal trainer and for every overweight 3 that hired me and was determined not to live their lives that way, I turned out an in shape 8. It is amazing what a difference getting in shape will make for anyone, and eventually you will understand that you will get more out of it than just being more appealing to men, it will change your life forever. Those that get offended by such honesty are those who have given up and choose to live their lives out of shape, and that is sad. Aunt Sue... um, not so much, sorry. Men want to feel wanted, as in wanted by their women, no different than women want to feel wanted by their men. That doesn't mean we want to get "courted" by being asked to move furniture, lol! That was great, really, but not the best advice I've ever heard.

  • Waltz # 2 ,
    March 12, 2013 3:00 p.m.

    Fair enough, bebot. However, please don't act like women are the only ones with this problem. I've come across many guys during my time dating who spend all their time eating junk food in front of the television and show up to church looking like they slept in their clothes expecting a physically fit, well-dressed super model to marry them.

    While girls are not perfect, I feel like men in the church would greatly benefit from learning to watch their weight, take care of their physical appearance, practice good hygiene, and dress well. You men cannot expect to have physically fit, well-dressed, successful women give you the time of day while you sit back on the couch in your rattieset sweats stuffing your faces with Nacho Cheese Doritos. I've come across so many guys in the church who have this attitude and their entitlement complex - that they deserve the best without have to work for it despite their own flaws - is a HUGE turn-off.

  • abtrumpet Provo, UT
    March 8, 2013 11:43 p.m.

    I'm going to add my 2 cents. I am a 23 year-old man in the BYU dating scene and it has really worn me down. All these issues that the OP wrote are exactly what I deal with! How ironic is that? I just constantly feel that girls treat me like "the grass is always greener on the other side, and I found someone better than you." I think I'm worth getting to know, but you can't really convince anyone else of that.
    Also, my mom keeps giving me the same advice as everyone else here: forget trying to find someone and focus on your school/life. My question to them is: do you know what it's like to be a single, early/mid-20s man? I just have a hard time taking advice like this because it feels like they're saying, "give up, forget about your dreams and wait 40 years and then we'll see what happens." I know it's not true! ;) Really, I do. But, in my heart, I feel completely misunderstood.

  • ShmittyWitty Maple Valley, WA
    March 6, 2013 11:40 p.m.

    LDS women are every bit as guilty if not worse then the men. I've never been around a group of women who have felt so entitled to Mr. Perfect.

  • funinutah Lehi, UT
    March 6, 2013 3:55 p.m.

    As an over 40 single in the LDS church, I have been through many experiences in both single and family wards. I have learned that it is important to serve others and become the best person you can be. I went through times when I tried everything and went to everything I could with the intention of meeting someone to marry. It didn't bring me happiness, just discouragement and frustration. I learned to get involved in things I enjoyed doing and that made me feel happy. I really just accepted that being single was how I would spend my life. I didn't even go on dates for years at a time and the ones I did go on were not all that great. I didn't give up but I did live life to the fullest I could. I am getting married soon but it didn't happen because of anything I did or didn't do from what I can see. It is the right time and he is the right person for me. Just be happy with who you are and what you are doing whether you are single or married. Stop being obsessed with getting married.

  • SISTASinZION Zion, UT
    March 6, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    Amen AskAngela! Yes put down the cookies WitsEnd, save the baking for committed relationships. And maybe Bomar22's delivery could have been more tactful, but not all women innately know to pump up the volume in the looks department when dating, but let's not front like it's just the women either. Men could use the same advice minus the makeup.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    March 6, 2013 6:10 a.m.

    Angela's advice is perfe
    ct, and how it worked for me. Before having a change of heart regarding how to find my Savior in a single's ward, I saw the ward as being a big meat market. I felt like the girls only paid attention to the EQ Presidents and those with "important" callings. It felt like there was a competition to get their attention, but no sort of attention was ever directed my way. I started to get really jaded about the whole experience and even debated going at all. Then one day, I realized I needed to repent and go to church to have the Savior in my life. The very next week, for me, the experience was different--so positive! Nobody there had changed, but my outlook had changed, and it made all the difference.

    Eventually, an appartment of girls invited me to join a dinner group with some other guys in the ward. I got to courage to ask one of those lovely angels out on a date. And the rest is my family history. I didn't marry straight out of my mission, but I am happy I waited for the right one.

  • JamesT77 Orlando, FL
    March 5, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    "However, I do know that women tend to make an Extra effort to impress...Now I don't want to hurt your feelings, but if no one around is you trying to impress, you might need to look within." Ironically this attitude identifies the problem Bomar22 was referring to. Guys can see right through someone who is trying to impress. It's just a facade that hides the real person.

    IMO who wouldn't want someone that always takes good care of themselves, and not just on special occasions to impress. If you have self confidence and believe in your own self worth, it will show. Being honest and genuine works a lot better than trying to overly impress. Set goals, progress in life, take care of yourself (economically, physically etc.). Show others that you are the complete package, not just someone who can bake cookies. When you improve your own standing, good things will happen.

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    Her advice is spot on about stop trying to get married. I once decided to stop dating for awhile and focus on my career. That was when I met my husband.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    March 5, 2013 7:48 a.m.

    Dear WitsEnd,

    Have you heard of the Internet?

  • AskAngela SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 4, 2013 7:13 p.m.

    Thanks @bountifulmomofsix! These comments are amazing, by the way. Be sure to check the Ask Angela facebook page for even more conversation on the article. I think and hope WitsEnd has found some great tips here for how to proceed in her ward. I know I have!

  • bebot SHAWNEE MISSION, KS
    March 4, 2013 6:15 p.m.

    Attractive people don't have the problems listed above. Guys like girls that they are physically attracted to. If you're 80 lbs overweight at 22 years old how will you be when you're 35? 40? After having 5 kids. Weight problems indicate a lack of discipline and that's a big turn off. Girls that work out, eat healthy, and dress fashionable always get the attention of guys. Girls need to try to look their best. Before everyone calls me shallow, realize its all true.

  • TeeMo Logan, UT
    March 4, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    I think there's some good wisdom in this article about singles wards. I'm 27, still single, and have been attending singles wards since I got home from my mission 6 1/2 years ago. I'd be lying if I said I've always been able to see the positive, and that I've always had a perfect hope and faith for marriage when the time is right. Quite honestly when you see all of your friends, family, and even your younger siblings get married before you, you sometimes feel discouraged and wonder what you're doing wrong. Of all the different emotions I've gone through, one of the wisest counsels I've received was from one of my YSA bishops, "sometimes I feel we need to spend more of our time working towards becoming the right person rather than finding the right person; as we do this I feel the Lord will help put the right people in our paths." My bishop wasn't removing our responsibility to date and seek companionship, especially us brethren, but his words have helped me remember that becoming more christ-like is more vital to dating than always being on the "hunt".

  • debmiester RIVERTON, UT
    March 4, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    Lots of great advice on here. What I would like to add is, make sure you are happy with you. Remember that no "one" can "make" you happy. Do what you need to do for yourself. 1-Strengthen your relationship with your Heavenly Father, Savior and Holy Ghost. 2-Make friends and DO things! Movies, road trips, dinners and service projects.
    Basically, make your life fulfilling now and be happy on your own. You never know when someone that is your match (and I don't think there's just one out there) will come along. Be happy until that happens.
    I have noticed that both men AND women are more attracted to those that are happy and relaxed and not on the "hunt".
    Be the best that you can be for you, before anything else. Bloom where you are.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    March 4, 2013 1:58 p.m.

    The main problem is that the youth of the church are expected to get married as soon as they turn 20 or 21. The men are expected to get married as soon as they get back from their missions. I can't count the number of times I was asked when I was getting married within the first 3 months of returning home. It is alot of pressure. Marriage happens when it happens, their is no timetable and a person who is LDS and single at age 27 should not be looked at negatively. Everybody is different. Don't get married due to family and religious pressure, as that is a recipe for a failed marriage.

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    March 4, 2013 11:27 a.m.

    I should have added that I had no intentions of remarrying only 2 years later, a man who was a good friend, but 10 years younger and never married before! But love is strange and we had found Jesus together. We were so excited about our discovery that it consumed all our study and volunteer time. We were true 'Jesus freaks' and because that consumed our lives, we became kindred souls.

    We both worked at a retail store and never considered a future together. We just attended mutual Bible studies together, and treasured our friendship. The love came later and today my children have benefitted from having the best step-dad in the world; he is 17 years younger than their dad.

    My message to Christian singles is to be true to your God and He will bless you in ways you have not imagined. 25 years ago I was a divorced mother of 5. My "good friend" was 10 years younger, I encouraged him who to date, and he had just graduated from college.

    Today he is a "rocket scientist" with 2 Masters, writing his doctorate thesis. God is faithful!

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    March 4, 2013 11:14 a.m.

    I see excellent advice in all comments here. They mirror the ones we give our Baptist singles in our Sunday School class. My husband and I have been teaching in our Singles Division for 11 years and this is a universal problem for religious singles throughout the world. We hear the same laments from Muslim, Jewish, JW, 7th-Day, Bahaii and other single adults! Many of our secular single friends are tiring of the bar scene and sneaking into our Christian events.

    I was impressed with Angela's wisdom: Be true to who God calls you to be, be true to yourself, serve Him and trust in Him. That includes presenting yourself with the best He has adorned you, but not to obsessiveness. Yes, your desperateness can be sensed by your actions and demeanor.

    Take heart from those true experiences that give you the positive ending for those who waited.

    We will be celebrating our 25th anniversary this summer and it will be glorious! I can tell you that I felt lost and unloved 27 years ago, a divorced mother of 5, after 14 years of an unhappy marriage, where I had followed all the rules.

  • Aunt Sue SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 3, 2013 10:10 p.m.

    Men need to feel needed. Ask one to help with a project, or teach you a skill, or jump your car, or move furniture. Then give the cookies in thanks.

  • Jemezblue Albuquerque, NM
    March 3, 2013 9:07 p.m.

    For all those suffering singles, I am one too, and I have given up of meeting someone in this lifetime, especially in the "most romantic church on earth." (my feelings whenever I walk into a church bookstore) However, I choose not to get overworked about it. Church is for worship and learning how to become more like Christ. Singles dances and other activities are to help us fellowship each other.
    My advice: Have fun during this time, enjoy your friends and learn more about the church.
    The best thing you can do during this time is to find you lifetime "calling" and go for it! After a company I worked for went bankrupt, I went back to school and I am working on my Master's degree. The work I am planning on doing and that I am doing right now is my life's passion. And I know that I am following Heavenly Father's plan for me. Is marriage still in my future? Probably, but I have left that up to Heavenly Father and I work the best way I know for Him.

  • AkMama ANCHORAGE, AK
    March 3, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    Wits End, you are trying waaay too hard. Stop making free cookies. Quit inviting them over to dinner. Get a hobby, other than husband hunting. Find someplace to volunteer your time and talents. Learn to make friends with people, male AND female. Magnify your ward calling. Quit obsessing about marriage, you'll make yourself mentally ill. Read John Bytheway's "What I Wish I'd Known When I Was Single". Learn to be happy as you are right now. Also, listen to Blessed's advice (see above).

    And for those hating on Bomar22, he (yes, I'm making an assumption here) has a valid point. If you have two packages with identical contents, the fancy one always gets chosen first. Fair, no. Reality, yes. I've seen a lot of younger women with very high standards for their future mate, whose standards for themselves wasn't nearly as high. Maybe a reality check with the mirror (and a professional counselor or very trusted fried) is in order.

    Angela is right, church is for worship. We often meet our spouses there, but not always. So go to church to worship, and accept God's plan for you, whatever it is.

  • bountifulmomofsix BOUNTIFUL, UT
    March 3, 2013 2:49 p.m.

    Angela, I don't know how you do it! I have LOVED all of your advice and this last piece was awesome! You are awesome!

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 3, 2013 2:28 p.m.

    Maybe one could broaden the field. There are lots of good guys who don't go to single ward, or any other wards for that matter.

    Just sayin.....

  • utah cornhusker NORFOLK, NE
    March 3, 2013 12:01 p.m.

    I lived in Utah for 16 years. I had dated so many jerks that I had totally given up on finding the right one. I had a very severe injury to my foot and was in cast and crutches for 2.5 years. I was on disability for a while and my parents sent me a plane ticket to come back home to Nebraska to visit. Needless to say the clothes I brought home were the comfy ones that were loose fitting due to my casts. My sister worked at the nursing home and there was a gentleman there that wanted to ask me for a date so he called. Went on the first date and we were married civilly 8 months later. At the time I met him he was not a member. But the lord told me he was the right one and he joined 3'months after meeting me. We were old by standards I was 35 and he was 39. We were sealed in the Denver temple a year after our civil marriage. We will now be celebrating our 19th wedding in a few weeks. I always went to singles wards because I felt more at home.

  • B1essed Lehi, Ut
    March 3, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    Bomar22, I do not know your exact experience. However, I do know that women tend to make an Extra effort to impress (which can be subjective as every person tries to impress in different ways, you seem to term the effort to "get attractive") when they are trying to catch someones eye, or feel they are around someone worth the extra effort. Now I don't want to hurt your feelings, but if no one around is you trying to impress, you might need to look within.

    The most useful advice I ever received, was Be the person your ideal mate would want to meet. If you are looking for someone to be sealed to in the Temple, make sure you are worthy yourself. If you are looking for someone strong in the Church, who attends their meetings and honors their callings, make sure you attend All meetings etc. as well. If you want to meet someone who could look past any faults you might have (or baggage/history), make sure you practice that same unconditional love. When you are striving to be charitable, loving, happy, etc., you will attract the same. Good Luck out there! :)

  • Fern RL LAYTON, UT
    March 3, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    I was a frumpy, but thin, 33-year old girl who didn't know how to fix herself up when I met the man I eventually married. I did happen to smile at him simultaneously to when he smiled at me in a class we were taking, though. Fortunately, he was able to be my friend until we got to know each other well enough to decide to date. He helped me shop for some clothes that made me look better; and he brought out my personality. We hugged near the beginning of our first date--an office Christmas party. I had been in several singles wards before that time, but he was 23, living at home, and attending his home ward. In short, he became my best friend.

    I agree with Angela: Don't go to church only for the purpose of meeting men. Develop your relationship with our loving Father in Heaven and let Him guide you to the place where you might meet someone who is more compatible with you. Smile.

    I have a nearly 30 year old son and a 26 year old daughter who go to singles wards, as did my married daughters. It is a struggle.

  • JTO Centerville, UT
    March 3, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    Excellent advice. Church is for worship and strength. Making friends is a plus, meeting your spouse is a bonus. Look beyond your ward boundaries as well. Try online dating sites (and note: the bigger sites allow you to filter by religion). As always, beware imposters and date with caution.

  • Bomar22 Roberts, ID
    March 2, 2013 10:16 p.m.

    Well, well Blessed Lehi, you have not paid attention to the frumpy single women, who do not care how they look or don't know how to fix themselves up.

  • B1essed Lehi, Ut
    March 2, 2013 7:06 p.m.

    I felt for the writer "WitsEnd". I got married at 29 and had years of experience in Singles Wards. The most frustrating thing for a girl in a singles ward is the attitude of the brethren. Most made sure that any woman in the ward knew that they were not interested in dating WITHIN the ward. They said it would be too awkward to attend church if it didn't work out. So the concept of a singles ward was obviously lost on them. Now this was years ago, so hopefully it has changed...

    The other frustration was the girls "graduating" at 30, while guys hung around preying on 18 year olds for years to come. Their pool continued to grow whiles ours dried up. That's fun...

    Sorry for the less than glowing remarks on singles wards, they do have their time and place and I really did love my time there. Like Raeann said, don't chase so hard. Just have fun and you will be amazed at the time and place you meet that special someone. (Mine was not in a singles ward, and eight years and three kids later, I am happier than I could ever have believed).

  • B1essed Lehi, Ut
    March 2, 2013 6:57 p.m.

    I came to leave a comment and almost fell out of my chair reading Bomar22's comment. Wow! I will give the benefit of the doubt that Bomar22 was going for a big laugh, but come on- time and place... (Because obviously no one is oblivious to the laws of attraction and needs to be told to get attractive. Only someone who married straight out of high school and never tread the singles ward waters, or is stuck on looks only and not on an eternal relationship, would make a comment like that.)

  • Raeann Peck Salt Lake City, UT
    March 2, 2013 6:37 p.m.

    Don't wait. Choose happiness now. Don't court guys who may never marry anyway. You might find a companion in a most unexpected way. Love might sneek up and embrace you when you're least expecting it.

  • Bomar22 Roberts, ID
    March 2, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    I would add one thing to Angela's suggestions. Make yourself as attractive as possible. If you're overweight, lose the extra pounds. Learn the basics of good makeup, take pride in fixing your hair and learn to dress well. None of these need be expensive, in fact they can all be accomplished with little or no additional expense.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    March 2, 2013 7:51 a.m.

    Let go and let God. Every game has rules and boundaries. Every one has to play fair.