Life in the Singles Ward

“The Young Singles Adult Ward”….That really makes it sound like a group mental institution for those too insane to marry. Perhaps in the Mormon tradition that’s pretty accurate, especially as you edge closer and closer to the age at which you’re considered “too old” (31) to be in the “young singles” category.

(Now, before I lose too many people, let me explain a couple Mormon terms for you. Congregations are divided geographically based on the number of members in the area, primarily the number of priesthood holders. These are called wards. A few wards together are a stake.)

When you reach 18, you can start going to the Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward. Because you’re supposed to stay within the Church when marrying, they put us all together for Sunday services. Then there’s other activities throughout the week just for the young single adults, all in an effort by the Church for those who just reached adulthood to hit it off with someone and get married before any sort of “evil temptations” can be succumbed to.

I attended the YSA Ward, when I was attending at all, that is, and only dated two guys from there. These encounters were enough for me to refuse to ever again date within the Church as they both showed immense amounts of hypocrisy and altogether horrible tendencies in general.

The first one was always nice at church, on that I would talk to a lot and even sit beside during Sunday School on occasion. He was also in the military so there was a common ground and understanding that a lot of civilians, even in a military town, don’t really understand. We went out to dinner that was a unit function that was a going away for someone in his company if I recall right. I think there was another activity (movie? Mini golf? That part I really don’t remember any more, but then, I don’t really care either).

As the date was coming to a close, he kissed me. I was fine with that, but I wasn’t okay with what he did next. He grabbed my chest. I’m not talking over-the-shirt gropage. I’m talking he used my ticklishness against me and stuck his hand inside my bra kind of thing. I was crushed that this guy, who seemed so nice at church was the level of creep that would do this on the first date when I told him no. I may have been laughing (again, he was tickling me, which I hate) but I said no more than once. I never spoke to him again.

That incident impacted me profoundly. I even wrote briefly about it in my journal. I wrote:

“I went on a date Monday with a “nice Mormon boy.” I hate to say it but I was keenly disappointed. I thought nice Mormon boys wouldn’t have to be pushed away and forced to behave. How am I supposed to be good when he isn’t? Do I just attract that kind of guy? Can men sense I’m not a virgin and think that I’m loose? I mean, I didn’t think Mormon boys had to be reminded to be good.”

That was a couple years before I met my ex-fiancĂ©. After I broke up with him, I thought I would try to date within the Church again, as I was trying to be “good” again. There was a guy I knew from before, who I met after he had just started coming back to Church after his own spiritual struggles (drugs and sex among them, as he blamed god for his mother’s death). As I felt that I was tarnished by my past, I thought that of anyone, he would understand and wouldn’t judge me for the things I’d done.

Initially it seemed to work out. We talked a lot, attended church together, and there was talk of us both serving missions (this was the time I was considering it as I mentioned in my last post). But then the problems started coming up. He would go through my phone, reading my text messages. He read my journal. If I was upset about something and didn’t want to talk, he wouldn’t leave it alone and would pester until I broke. But in typical hypocrite fashion, he would utterly refuse to talk when something was bugging him.

I lost all trust in him. Him going through my phone and especially my journal were horrifying to me. He made excuses and said things about there shouldn’t be secrets, but said he wouldn’t do it again. But he did. During one of our fights, I knew he wouldn’t talk, so I was texting a friend to vent my frustrations, which made him even angrier. The final straw was when he said something about the fact that I’d had sex before and yet wouldn’t sleep with him too. While not using the actual word, he in essence called me a whore.

The breakup was ugly. He came to my apartment and would stand on the porch knocking for hours. He followed me to work, all the while trying to call me and signaling me to pick up my phone. It got to the point I was going to call the cops on him. I don’t remember what made him finally quit, but I know I didn’t feel better until I bought my house and moved to the other side of town with his number blocked from my phone.

I’ve never shared these details with my family, except that one guy was grabby and the other had too many issues still. These are why I swore off dating another Mormon guy ever again. I know there will always be apologists out there saying that they’re not all like that, and I know that. But, life is too short for me to spend all my time trying to find the one that isn’t a hypocritical jackass.

And now that I’ve married my heathen, I won’t have to.

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2 thoughts on “Life in the Singles Ward

  1. I found this post very sad and also quite funny. Most boys I know are dogs – I mean, we are. This is something females learn, like you did with the grabby guy and the passive-aggressive guy. I don’t believe these types are solely Mormon. Please, I’m not trying to make excuses for them, only saying these experiences, I believe, are typical. I can’t imagine you are alone in this. And, yes, I loved and laughted that you called your husband a heathen. That we (men) are. For those reading this, it’s not only straight men who are this way – I know tons of gay men who fit these and other sterotypes of dogs/heathens. But we love them anyway….

    Liked by 1 person

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