DEAR ABBY: I am a 28-year-old woman and have been dating a 26-year-old man I'll call "Chris" for four months. We have become good friends. On our last date, the topic of sex came up, and Chris told me that he was a virgin and that it was very important for him to find a girl who had "never been with anyone" either.
Well, Abby, that bridge was burned when I was a teenager. I was honest with Chris about it, which was not easy because I now regret some of the poor choices I made at that time of my life. I am a completely different person now due to a religious conversion and am waiting until I am married to have sex again.
I told Chris this, and asked if he wanted to continue the relationship. His answer was he'd "have to think about it." We are still friends. He says he likes me and still wants us to date.
However, although I care deeply for him, I now feel devalued. I'm afraid this issue is going to cause problems in the future. I believe that purity is an issue more of the heart than the body. If I had known that virginity was so important to Chris, I would never have dated him in the first place. I can't change the past, and I have strong opinions about men who sing "Amazing Grace" in church while insisting on marrying virgins. What should I do? -- DEFLOWERED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR "DEE": Cross Chris off your list as husband material. Your friend may be self-conscious about his lack of experience or his old-fashioned values. It's the old double standard, and even some men who have sown acres of wild oats feel this way.
While most men today have more sophisticated thinking about sex, the one you are dating has his heart set on a "sweet old-fashioned girl." If that's what he wants, it's his privilege -- provided he can find one. As for you, it was your bad luck to get involved with someone whose values are different from your own, but that's the luck of the draw. Please don't take it personally. It's time to move on.