Why Is There Shame Around Being a ‘Relationship Virgin’ by B. DePaulo
I was engaged in my early 30s, so this isn’t wholly applicable to me.
I did have an internet friend who, when I was around my late 30s, she was in her early 30s, and she confided in me that she felt bad about herself because she had never had a boyfriend or been on a date or anything.
I don’t know if this would mean anything or not to the person who wants a significant other but can’t seem to get one, and who’s never had one, but – it’s not what it’s cracked up to be if you’re with the wrong person. I was engaged to a few years to a guy, but he was so self-absorbed and had so many other flaws, the relationship brought me misery.
In my view, it’s better to be single, or to be of a “never was in a relationship” status, than to have been in a lousy, non-satisfying relationship. The only thing I can say about my ex is “hey, I was engaged once.”
And that’s about it.
My ex used me, he was awful. I didn’t gain anything good out of our relationship, except experience and a resolve to never allow myself to be mis-treated by a guy ever again.
by B. DePaulo
I knew something was up when I got five emails in one day from people I didn’t know, all telling me they were “relationship virgins.” The impetus, I soon learned, was an (Link): essay in the Guardian about a woman who “managed to get to 54 without ever having had a boyfriend.”
…At the heart of this story were this woman’s attempts to answer the question: “What’s the matter with me?” Was she too awkward? Too desperate? Too insecure? Some of the people who wrote to me were grappling with the same question. My best guess is that nothing was wrong with them.
… I want to declare my solidarity with other relationship virgins. I want to shrug off any sense that I should feel shame.
…I want to redefine what it means, emotionally, to be a relationship virgin. The woman in the Guardian described her anguish at going to multiple weddings, or in other contexts where she’s the sole single person among couples. Weddings have never made me feel badly about myself. And I love walking into holiday parties as a single person…
…Our [Wendy Morris and DePaulo’s] experiments included a variation [in their relationship study] in which the persons profiled either had romantic relationships in the past or had no previous romantic relationship experience. (That is, they were relationship virgins.)
Again, participants were judgmental about the relationship virgins. They saw them as more poorly adjusted and less mature than the people who did have romantic relationship experience.
You can read the rest of that article on The Washington Post
A few comments below that editorial include these:
I so appreciate this essay. At 46, I wish I could say that I’ve always been as at peace with my relationship virgin status as the author. I have not.
I can’t claim to want to be single forever but having now been witness to the many ways that relationships can be…well… horrible, I’m inclined to be rigorously honest with myself regarding what a romantic relationship can and cannot give me.
I went on a solo vacation where a pair of obnoxious Australians felt it was appropriate to suppose (and take bets) to my face why I was alone (one bet was widow).
In truth, Expedia had a fare sale (and other than these horrible people, I had an excellent time alone!).
I sometimes wonder whether intentionally single people shouldn’t have our own sexual designation, like a sexual persuasion. (I propose agamus – latin for unmarried. Thanks Google).
I have never met anyone I liked so much to let them permanently in my permanent space, and I have no desire to exhaust myself searching. It’s OK to be alone. It’s not OK to be a jerk to agamus who are just trying to live their lives.