I Can’t Make You Love Me

Dates (Photo credit: DBduo Photography)

Today’s title: Bonnie Raitt.

Dating. Maybe my biggest stumbling block in LDS life. And while I know I am not alone in the menace to society category, Ive also never dated. I’d like to think its not because I am the worst person in the world – non-Mormon Black and Hispanic guys have asked me out over the years, but when it comes to Mormons there was one guy, white, and he was on a mission in my mom’s area at 26. So he clearly wasnt the traditional Mormon. I wrote him once, but I lived literally across the country, so that never went anywhere, not that I thought it would.

I grew up liking white Mormon men. We were the only black family in most of my wards growing up and there were never any black Mormon guys near my age. This did not seem to be an issue until I got near the typical Mormon dating age, at which point it seemed like a big issue.  I liked the same blond-haired blue eyed guy for like 6 years. There were other guys in there, but none of them mormon and for various reasons were not reciprocated. My mother, who never keeps things to herself, once told his mother that I had a crush on her son. His mother was shocked. She had never even thought about me potentially liking him.

I currently live in Utah. Yes, I know – terrible life choice, but in a long-term perspective the state has been good to me. I met my best friend here and have made some friends that I know I will have forever and Im really grateful. And its also given me my new future job in NYC, which Thank God. But dating? Yeah not so much. I liked one guy a year for the first five years I lived here. And each one of them knew it. I helped two get married. Another is my aforementioned best friend. The others all call me regularly when they need help getting their life together or just want advice. So while I clearly have value in their lives, dating has never been in the cards. The closest I came was someone offering to make out when I first moved here. Really should’ve taken them up on the offer.

Recently Ive just given up. I refuse to feel like crap about myself everyday because I dont look like everyone else around me. Im not a size 2. At my skinniest I was a size 12, and believe me I was stick. I will never be blond, or have straight hair. I finally gave up on straightening a few years ago, when the cost and time (3 hours!) was killing me. And my hair laughed the one time in 7th grade I tried to relax it. I look best in super bright colors. I do not blend in well, although I did so want to as a teenager. With all my education, I will probably have more earning power than 95% of men in general, much less Mormon men. I will want to voice my 2 cents everyday to what my husband is doing so I can help and improve it, because I know I can. In my mind, these dont seem like bad traits for an awesome wife. But so far, no takers.

Even at this point in my life, Im not sure how far to stray from dating within the fold. So much of my life revolves around this way of living – will someone outside of it understand? I would still want to raise my children in the LDS church, despite my current difficulties, because that foundation led me to a God that saves and guides my life everyday. But at the same time, being constantly ignored as a female is slowly killing my soul. I lived in NYC this summer and I forgot what it felt like to be noticed. People there dont look at me weird for my crazy curly hair or darker skin or how I talk. No one asks me, even in the nicest way, what are you doing here? No one asks me where Im really from (still California). No tells me about their friend from Ghana. No one mentions the one black guy they know when they finally consider my dating life when we have girl talk. I will maybe want to stop punching people in the face when they complain about not having options. Hello? People! Still standing right here! Dateless!

So, what am I to do? Id rather not spend my adult life crying. So I keep doing the things I like and want to do – like acquiring more degrees, moving internationally as soon as possible with my new company, volunteering for crazy adventures and earning a shit ton of money to pay back all those student loans. Basically things that will make me even less dateable. Its a vicious cycle. Feel free to weigh in on my pain.


3 thoughts on “I Can’t Make You Love Me

  1. “Menace to society!” I love it.

    I hope you don’t mind if I read and follow your blog (as a white Mormon female). So far, I have enjoyed your two posts and “about” page and expect to read great things from you.

    As far as weighing in on your pain, I hope you don’t mind if I do that too. The reason I say I hope you don’t mind is because, though I am single, I am divorced, and, it should be easier for me. What I am trying to say is, I cringe every time a married woman says she was a single parent for a certain period of time because her husband worked an odd shift or traveled or coached. That is not the same thing as being a single mother. If there is an emergency, those women have someone who is tied to that family and can help when the push comes to shove. A single mother has no one to fall back on ever (other than the kindness of others)–she has to make it work herself, and she knows it.

    But, I don’t say anything. Clearly, they don’t mean anything bad by it.

    So, I recognize that I have dated, I have been married, and there are fewer social barriers (I guess that is what you would call it) for me. I hope I don’t make you cringe by sharing with you. I have been divorced for about 13 years, and I am 43. Soon, I won’t even qualify as a “mid-single” anymore!

    Anyway, I only have one bit of thought. I married a non-member. I made a conscious choice to date non-members because of my life experiences. I fell in love. He was a good man. We are now divorced (not saying this has any predictive value). I thought I loved him as much as I had capacity to love when I married him. I was surprised to find that my love for him increased over time. With that, the pain of not having the same outlook on life, eternity, goals, and the best ways to achieve them became proportionally more intense with the increase in my love for him.

    I have told my teenage daughter that I will only date and marry a Mormon. I tell her it is not because non-Mormon men are not as good. You and I both know that many non-Mormon men have better characters thany many Mormon men (and the same holds true for women). The result is I don’t date. It kills her. I also don’t try to impose my will on her as far as her dating choices. I just tell her my story and it’s impact on my choice. I tell her I don’t want that separation of souls again. I want to be completely one with a future spouse. Instead of being one with someone, I am alone. But, I stand by choice. It was born of pain.

    I am sure you have heard this same thing before and that I am telling you nothing new. I just wanted to share my experience. I will not think any less of you if I read in your blog someday that you are dating some terrific non-Mormon guy. I will rejoice with you and hope for the best for you. May you have wisdom and guidance as you make your decisions.

    Hugs for the heartache.

    Oh, and congratulations on the upcoming move to NYC! Sounds exciting.

    (Sorry so long. I promise any future comments will be more concise.)

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I definitely dont expect to only be talking to people who meet my particular three criteria (that would leave like 10 as an audience size), but I am excited that you found what I said to be of some universal relevance, which is really what I hope will happen. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, and please keep reading! You can easily follow me by entering your email address on my home page. Thanks again.

  2. I would like to weigh in here. You are not alone in your thoughts and feelings! I have felt many of the same emotions you’ve mentioned, maybe in slightly different ways but similar nonetheless. I’ve had my own reasons for not being able to mesh or blend in with the crowd here in Provo. Let’s be honest, being single at 31 at BYU eventually wears on you. Similar to what you mentioned, I’ve never been on a date here in Provo and I’ve more or less given up on the idea. It used to bother me (a lot) but I’ve finally gotten over it. I used to try and figure it all out in my head and come up with new ways to change and fit-in, etc. Finally (which should be in all CAPS), I came to the realization that trying to figure out why or how I got into my predicament is pointless and trying to figure out how to get out of it was even more pointless, even detrimental. I’m happy now with knowing that whatever happens will happen and meanwhile I’ll just keep living my life, focusing on what I have rather than worrying about that elusive person I don’t. In the end, I’m the one who is responsible for making myself happy, not someone else 🙂

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