Is it normal for a man to have never had a relationship with a woman, and is it okay being a virgin?
I feel a bit abnormal about the whole thing and I was recently diagnosed with social anxiety. I’m 29. I’m on a dating site and find it hard to talk and attract females who are attractive.
Is there something wrong with me? I feel I’m missing out on the intimacy part of life.
Remaining a virgin is a choice, and it’s one a significant number of people make… it’s also “okay.” Usually there’s a goal that you’ll wait till marriage, or only until you have an understanding or like-minded partner for sex.
Social anxiety is a different matter, and you’re wise to have sought a diagnosis of whatever symptoms you felt. Now, pursue professional therapy to probe the roots of this anxiety and learn practical ways to work on dealing with it, and building comfort with social situations.
Dating sites may not be the best way for you to meet people, since the selection process can be disappointing and make you feel rejected when it’s not a true reflection of personal meetings with people you’ve gotten to know a little.
Once you’ve had some therapy sessions and feel ready to test your confidence socially, look to people you’re already comfortable with, at work, among old friends, etc. Ask for their help meeting new people, too.
Also, consider finding groups - perhaps through your church, or a specific website - in which virginity is a value.
With increased socializing, you’ll find Nature tends to take its course.
I'm 50, my wife’s 45. We enjoy being socially active within a fairly large group of people. However, lately we’ve noticed that these "friendships" aren’t as rewarding as they once were and seem "one-sided.”
Our values have become quite different and our invitations aren’t reciprocated at the same level as before. My wife and I can accept that friendships change and it may be time for us to find new friends. But how?
Do you have any suggestions how, in mid-life, and both with demanding careers, we can foster new friendships? It's not that we don't constantly meet new people, it just seems we have great conversations and then move on never to hear from them again.
Recently this happened with a couple sitting next to us at a local restaurant. The female struck up a conversation with my wife when she overheard which wine we’d ordered. This resulted in an engaging conversation between us throughout our meals.
Afterwards, we went our separate ways, with my wife commenting to me it would’ve have been nice to see them again.
Mid-life has many transitions. People are busy - just like you - and some find their teenage/young adult children or work take priority of involvement.
“Entertaining” as a task often seems too time-consuming or expensive. And yes, values change. Some people love political and cultural chat, others prefer discussing movies and restaurants.
So it’s not unusual that the former round of reciprocal “dates” with other couples sometimes fall off.
But don’t give up on too many past friendships. They have a way of being the most important ones when more serious life changes need to be faced.
Meanwhile, assess the things you two now enjoy a lot and join an activity group or course that draws others with similar tastes – a theatre support group, book club, wine-lovers society, students of a new language, etc.
FEEDBACK Regarding the singer, 21, having an affair with the guitar player, 45, on his relationship “break” (April 13):
Reader – “The operative word is PLAYER... he’s done this number since he first picked up a guitar and realized the power it gave him.
“If this woman’s truly talented, she should run as fast as she can, in the other direction.
“She needs to realize you never need another person (especially someone like that) to attain your full potential. Whatever he’s said and done to her, it's been worse for his longtime girlfriend.
“Let her have him, he’ll never be worth the singer’s effort.”
Ellie – This Reader’s likely correct that he’s taken advantage of the youth and vulnerability of a striving musician. The assumption that he’s a serial “player” can’t be verified, but is worth her considering, so she’s warier in future.
She must have confidence that she can thrive professionally on her own talent.
Tip of the day:
Choosing virginity should be based on personal values, not overwhelming fears.