Craigslist Confessional: I’m in My 40s, Never Married, and a Virgin—but I’m Happy by Abigail

Craigslist confessional: I’m in my 40s, never married, and a virgin—but I’m happy by Abigail

(Link): Craigslist confessional: I’m in my 40s, never married, and a virgin—but I’m happy by Abigail


Abigail, 40s

I come from what’s considered a pretty small family in my community. My parents are both Holocaust survivors, but growing up, our neighborhood wasn’t just Orthodox Jewish families like mine.

A lot of my friends were Italian, so it was really easy to see the difference between how other kids were raised, and how we were being raised. I went to an all-girls school that had a double curriculum: morning classes were religious, and the afternoon classes were secular.

By the time I was 19, three quarters of my high school class was engaged. The typical age for marriage was in the early twenties, so I didn’t really feel too much pressure at the time. But in our community, you don’t have “boyfriends.” You look for husbands.

I decided to go to college instead, which is not unheard of, but not exactly very common, either. It’s part of tradition that men get married first, so I waited for my younger brother to get married. And then time just went on, and by my late twenties, and certainly into my thirties, I was considered leftover. And now I’m in my 40s, I’ve never been married, and I am still a virgin.

The men in my age group become strange. Either they’re religious bachelors who aren’t supposed to have had sex before marriage, and you can imagine what a 40-something year old virgin is like — they’re the mama’s boys, village idiots, criminals, or social misfits. Or they’re having sex behind the scenes, which is also problematic because then this person just doesn’t want to commit to marriage.

So the ideal, really, is men who are divorced and are looking for women who were also married before. There used to be a stigma to divorce because it was much less common then, but it’s become more accepted now. Even so, divorce is pretty taboo. The question always arises: what could have been so bad that this person sought a divorce? And whose fault was it?

…. At this point, I feel like I’ve failed. I’ve put so much energy, time, and effort into finding myself a partner. I don’t know why this is happening to me. I feel like a pathetic, nerdy loser with no social skills. And I’ve heard people say as much about me—they assume I’m gay, maladjusted, or picky.

I don’t see a realistic solution that would make me less lonely and depressed. I’ve been in love a number of times, but it’s never turned into a marriage. And I don’t have unrealistic expectations: I just want someone who’s my friend, someone I can have a normal conversation with and who shares my values. And it wouldn’t be awful if I were somewhat attracted to him.

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