While some people get lucky and are in a relationship after they leave the church, most people are single. Exmormon dating, especially at first, can be scary. The church has an incredibly long and complex culture surrounding dating, marriage, and culture. Leaving the knowable and predictable template of Mormon dating feels like skydiving off a cliff but leaving your parachute behind.
As a fresh exmormon, you will have to set your own boundaries and expectations. When you go on a date with a Mormon, you know they wont try to sleep with you and the guy will always pay. You know the girl will be polite and most likely always say yes to a first date. By the third date, you'll likely discuss pairing off and the word marriage will casually get thrown around.
Did I miss a hot tip? Email me with advice and feedback here: email@example.com
These tips were also inspired by this article on dating, by Zelph on the Shelf.
Below is advice from podcasters, the exmormon subreddit, and other sources to mull over and research further.
"I think that growing up in the church can make one a bit sexually retarded, it certainly did for me. The first time is always awkward, but that's a lot easier to understand when your 15 or 18. It's a lot harder (more embarrassing?) when you're a 30-something. My 2 cents:
"Look at it this way. You don't want to marry the first girl you sleep with because years into the marriage you'll likely wish you had the experience of other partners. You don't want to sleep with the first girl that offers because now you've placed so much value on your virginity you're afraid to give it to the first girl who wants it. So the answer is keep dating, maybe be more selective in who you go out with and look for the more conservative personalities. But most of all stop being scared, accept your sexuality, experiment gradually."
"Get tested for STD's before any sexual encounter - both of you. A real guy will understand and be happy that you want a good relationship with him. Take it easy - most good people want to get to know you before the physical experiences happen. Don't be pressured into doing something that you aren't comfortable with and you should be fine."
"If you have time or status restrictions about sex, you need to make them clear upfront. If you're someone who doesn't want to have sex until 6 months from your first date, or until relationship milestone X, you need to state that unambiguously ahead of time. Saying something like "I just want to make sure it's right" when you actually mean "I'm waiting for X to happen" is unfair to the people you're dating."
"Listen, it’s really fine if you’re not sexually experienced in your early adulthood. What DOES matter is that you become comfortable with your sexual self, and learn to recognize that your sexual impulses are a normal part of being human. They are not shameful.
Your journey as a sexual human is not a race. Take your time. Figure out what you like. Learn to talk about it openly. Ask your partner how he or she likes to be touched. Does it feel good? What would you like? Can you show me?
So much of one’s comfort and confidence in the bedroom come from being comfortable and confident with yourself. Accept that there will be some awkward moments, some things that don’t work out, but that you’ll find someone who is a good fit for you."
"Keep in mind, something i eventually learned, dating is about like, getting to know a person, them getting to know you, seeing what you have in common, maybe it works out, maybe it doesn't. It's a learning experience, not a race to the finish line to find THE ONE in every single person you're remotely attracted to."
"One of the biggest revelations to me dating post-Mormonism was that just because I might fall in love with someone, it doesn't mean I have to marry them, or that they are 'the one', or that my eternal salvation rests on my relationship status. This may sound incredibly obvious, but as a TBM RM BYU-grad that had never even had a boyfriend, it never occurred to me that falling in love didn't mean I'd found my eternal companion.
Since then, I've learned that I had a tendency to 'fall in love' easily, regularly, and often indiscriminately. Since leaving the church, I've learned (in this and many other things), that making decisions based primarily on strong emotions and in the face of generally accepted common sense is a choice we can make or not make...it isn't an obligation due to religious beliefs. It takes time."
"This goes deeper than just "recovering from mormonism" and you won't get better just by talking it out with other exmos. Mormonism literally stunts your emotional growth in ways that make it extremely hard to relate to nevermo "normal" people. You have experienced this.
My personal hypothesis is mormonism trains us to put others needs ahead of our own in a very unhealthy way. this learned behavious is mitigated inside the safety of the lds herd, but outside the church it makes us extremely weird."
"If you are looking for the ideal exmormon then you have only flipped the Mormon narrative. Let go of ideals and embrace everyone's right to walk their path at their own pace. We are all trying to survive in our own way that makes sense to us. It's hard enough coming out as gay and then living a truth that is widely unaccepted in Utah. I didn't admit to myself that I was gay until I was 40, and resigning from the church had to come later in order to dampen the trauma. You can't control anyone, so let go and enjoy that freedom you found for yourself at such a young age. Wishing you the best, and keep dating--even if it is difficult where you are at."
"Put a note on your apps that you are looking only for people who are OUT and proud. Self-accepting. It is not fair for them to being their burden of shame into your life. We are all dealing with the trauma of internalized homophobia but I would never date someone closeted now."
"As an exmormon lesbian that also used to say homophobic shit as a teenager and is now in a happy relationship, I officially give you permission to date. You were brainwashed into thinking a certain way, but you were strong enough to find your way out and change your way of thinking. That’s no small thing.
If every gay person didn’t date because they’d said homophobic shit growing up, probably next to no gay people could ever date anyone else… I doubt this is a phenomenon unique to Mormons. You may want to make friends in LGBT groups before jumping right into dating if you’re afraid of your internalized homophobia shining through… get more comfortable with the whole idea before jumping in to actual dating. I didn’t do that purposefully, but I did end up doing it, and I think it was helpful.
It’s a hard space to navigate, but you can do it. Wishing you all the very best. Once you get past these hurdles, it’s so worth it to be your authentic self."
"Bisexual exmo here. You were indoctrinated in a homophobic religion and that did you a lot of harm. You don’t need to punish yourself for that. You deserve happiness and love in your life"
"The only things that I can think would be very different are alcohol and sex. If you’re like me, you’ll want to educate yourself on what enthusiastic consent looks like and means, because mormonism is terrible at teaching anything about consent. Also safe sex - do your homework if you never got proper sex ed.
I don’t think there’s any big advantage to dating exmo’s vs nevermo’s, personally. Both are just people, other things are so much more important. Don’t stress about it too much tbh, it’s something you gotta figure out as you go, like learning to date in the first place."
"Learn about consent, and take some time unpacking what you really believe about women and what their place in the world is. Too many exmo men go from seeing women as taboo/tempting sex objects to available sex objects and never make the full leap into seeing us as fully human equals."
"My cardinal rule for beginning to date for myself was this: I must feel like no matter what, I'm not leaning on another person to provide me with a vision, or to solve my problems. It should only add to/improve my life.
Seriously, though, take your time. The men I know who rush right back in to get basic needs met ALWAYS wind up terrifically regretting it. I watched my ex-husband careen through two rapid romances and engagements, breaking them both times after my kids were seriously invested in the new person."
"Honestly, don't do it. The long and short of it is that your children (should you have them) will be told that you are less than and they will be pitied for not having a "priesthood holder" in the family. This will be used as emotional blackmail. I walked away as soon as I was able and married a never-mo, that did not however stop my family from trying to convert my kids nor did it stop them from trying to convert my husband.
There were things said about how my marriage was "for time only" and that it was "sad" that we weren't "really happy". The wedge the church puts between family members is intense and your children will be recruited to attempt to convert you and your finances will be expected to be donated to this 100 billion dollar org to prevent your family from being ostracized further but they will never be seen as "worthy"."
"Personally, mormonism is a non-starter for me. I've seen how a jack mormon can go all in out of nowhere. Which means any relationship with a Mormon is one churchy whim away from collapsing. Even when they promise with all their heart that you're more important. That's not what was drilled into her head over and over again from childhood."