10 Dating Lessons I Learned at BYU

With one year of college under my belt, I wouldn’t say I’m a seasoned veteran of BYU dating just yet. However, I have picked up quite a few lessons from my first year as a Cougar. And I’m excited to share!

Recognize His Intentions Early

Some guys want to get married in the next six months. Some just want to have fun and meet new people. Some desperately want a girlfriend, some desperately wants to go to Splash Summit. There’s nothing wrong with any of these scenarios, but ensure that you and your date’s intentions match. If dating for fun, you should ensure that the guy asking about your ring size knows.

Last year I met a guy on Mutual, and after a few dates, I was crazy about him. We saw each other regularly for about a month, and I thought it was building up to a relationship. Soon, I couldn’t take it anymore and finally initiated a DTR conversation. That was when I learned that his missionary girlfriend, whom I did not know of, was returning home in two weeks. Suffice it to say; things didn’t work out between us. If I had brought up the topic sooner, I could have saved myself a lot of wasted time and heartache.

Take a Chance

As I swiped on Mutual one day, I got sent a Note. For those unfamiliar with Mutual, a Note is a message someone can send to increase their chances with you. The Note was cute and witty, and I started looking at his profile. His pictures weren’t great, but his bio was funny. He seemed to check all the right boxes; plus, I have a thing for glasses. I wasn’t attracted to his pictures, but I swiped up anyway because of the Note.

He asked me out, and I figured, “Why not?” Come to find out, I was very attracted to him plus he was kind, funny, and intelligent. He just didn’t like taking pictures of himself. He and I ended up dating for five months! All because I took a chance and risked one afternoon of my life to meet him.

Mutual is Awesome

There are a lot of different opinions out there about Mutual. Some love it, some hate it, some are scared to use it, and some aren’t sure what to think. I, personally, am a huge fan of Mutual.

Technology has become so advanced that you can meet new people, even The One, from your cell phone. There will be some people you don’t get along with and people who use the app for the wrong reasons, but that is the case in any scenario where you meet new people. Overall, there are plenty of excellent, righteous people using Mutual. Every time you start an original conversation with someone, it’s a unique opportunity for some great experiences.

Whether or not a relationship works out, you can add some crazy fun dates to your memories. Without Mutual, I never would have gone ice blocking at Rock Canyon, watched The Emperor’s New Groove twenty times (well, I might have done that anyways), been invited to Lake Powell by total strangers, or laughed till I cried about Provo’s Most Eligible. Even better, people every day find their eternal companion via swiping. Go ahead and try it out. What do you have to lose?

Mutual is Easier for Girls

This is something that I’ve heard so many times from guys, and honestly, it was a hard pill for me to swallow. Why would it be more challenging for guys to use Mutual? But when you think about it, it kind of makes sense. Most girls are taught from a young age how to do hair, and makeup, look pretty and pose for pictures. Guys often have no idea how to look good in a picture, as I’m sure you can tell as you swipe, but, now they must rely wholly on that picture to get dates. Also, there is a lot of pressure on guys to message first – something witty, exciting, non-cliché, and exactly what you want to hear in just a few words. Then they must keep the conversation going and ensure you don’t forget about them.

Another comment I’ve heard from guys is that girls in Utah Valley are all looking for the same thing: the cookie-cutter Peter Priesthood, 6 feet tall, brown hair, plays basketball. But, the problem is, that’s not a realistic expectation of LDS men. Just like women are all different and should be celebrated for their differences, men are awesomely unique. Moral of the story: if you’re a girl who can’t seem to meet the “right person,” try opening your mind up to someone you weren’t expecting. Give that guy with the horrible camera angles a chance.

RM Doesn’t Mean Safety

This was another hard pill for me to swallow. I thought Returned Missionaries were so spiritually strong that they could do no wrong. But they are human, just like the rest of us, and an RM can pressure you to do things that you know you shouldn’t. When I first started dating at BYU, I figured, “He’s a returned missionary. He knows the gospel better than I do. If he thinks this is okay, it must be okay”. Don’t be fooled- just because he served a mission doesn’t mean he will keep you spiritually safe. You know what is right, so don’t let yourself be persuaded otherwise.

Maybe Keep Your Mission Plans to Yourself

I learned the hard way that the day you tell a guy about your future mission plans is almost always the day you’ll never see him again. I’m not saying you should lie, but… you don’t have to bring it up when you’re just getting to know each other. The thing is unless you have your call, and sometimes even then, there is always a possibility that your plans will change. You don’t need to tell him that you might start your mission papers next month, and if you do, it will probably scare him off. He’s not going to want to invest time dating you with the possibility of you leaving soon.

Friends Make Everything Better

Dating at BYU is so fun with friends. My roommates planned several group dates throughout the year, and we had so much fun! Whether I was super interested in my date or not, having my friends there made it a great memory.

My roommate matched with a guy on Mutual who wanted to do a blind date with his roommates and us. We went over to their apartment, made pizzas, and played games. A short time into it, we realized that none of us were particularly smitten with our dates, but we still had a great time!

Another time, we planned a group date where half of us brought dates that we knew, and the other half were set up with their dates “blindly”. We made ice cream from a bag and played spikeball! This time, every one of us liked our dates, even those who didn’t pick their own – and the night was all the better because we could spend time together as friends.

It’s Okay to Live With Your Parents

The summer before my Freshman year at BYU, I was still living with my parents in Utah Valley. I worried that living at home would be a turn-off for guys and hurt my dating prospects. However, that wasn’t the case. If we didn’t feel like hanging out with my parents, we could always use his apartment or go elsewhere. It didn’t end up being as big of a deal as I thought it would, so don’t worry if you decide to live at home.

“Dating to Marry” Hazards

At BYU, many people are dating with one and only one goal in mind: to get married as soon as possible. There’s nothing wrong with this- marriage is so important and a great goal! But, from my experience, dating to marry can have one of two pitfalls:

  • You overlook faults/red flags: Sometimes, dating to marry can set your mindset so long-term that you overlook the relationship’s flaws in the now. You become so invested in them that you are willing to accept any issues. While that kind of love is vital in a marriage, the thinking is reversed. You should have a strong, stable relationship before thinking about marriage, not hope that your relationship will fix itself through marriage.
  • You become too selective: One of my roommates last year was determined to get married in the near future. So, she would go on one date with a guy, and, within those three hours, if she couldn’t see herself marrying him, she would never go out with him again. In the middle of the year, she started seeing this great guy, but she ended things with him after only a few weeks for that reason- she didn’t see marriage. She saw in him no particular fault, but she didn’t hear wedding bells every time they went out. After taking a step back from that mindset, she realized that her unrealistic expectations drove her away from someone she liked. Later, she reached out to him again, and he, luckily, agreed to start things back up. Now they’re together, and she’s very happy 🙂

There are SO Many Guys at BYU

Dating at BYU gives you many options. You could meet a new guy every day for all four years at BYU and never see even half the population of men. And if you feel like BYU guys aren’t for you, there’s a whole other college just a city away! And even more, if you set your Mutual filter to a distance of 30 miles! I’m saying that the guy you’re obsessed with right now is not the only guy for you. If he decides to pack up and leave, it may feel like the end of the world, but it’s soo not! You’re hot, and the other 17,000 men within 6 miles of your location can see that too.

If you’re still looking for BYU dating advice, check out this site – sponsored by BYU itself!

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