DEAR ABBY: I am a former junior high and high school teacher. I do not agree with your advice to "Deflowered in Pennsylvania" (May 2), the 28-year-old who made some "poor choices" as a teenager and is no longer a virgin. She is dating "Chris," a 26-year-old man who is saving himself for marriage and wants to marry a virgin. You told her that because Chris needs time to think about this discrepancy, she should move on.
Abby, the young woman explained that after a religious conversion, she is now saving future sexual activity for marriage. She should not feel devalued. Chris' response was honest. She needs to allow him to grow and reassess how he treats the value they both agree on -- that sex is for marriage.
Remember, Chris said he still likes her and wants to continue dating her. That makes him the one who has opted for no change in the relationship. "Deflowered" should stress to him that she has become that "sweet old-fashioned girl" who upholds traditional values, and that her conversion has helped her to understand the consequences of uncommitted sex. If Chris can broaden his thinking, they might make a great couple. -- SWEET OLD GIRL
DEAR SWEET OLD GIRL: Passions raged in the responses I received about that letter. Many readers felt as you do, that the couple has more in common than they realize and should stay together.
Others thought the issue would irrevocably tarnish the relationship. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Virginity is not an easy commitment to keep, and it's not surprising that Chris needs time to think about what "Deflowered" has told him. No doubt he has consoled himself in difficult times with the thought of giving his beloved the gift of his virginity and having her give him the same gift. Finding himself in love with someone who doesn't exactly fit that ideal would be a big adjustment.
They should seek the advice of a pastor or counselor who shares their faith. Chris may be able to see that, today, "Deflowered" is the woman of his dreams, even if she isn't the personification of his boyhood dreams of years ago. -- KATHY IN COLORADO
DEAR ABBY: People don't make a fuss if someone says they want a partner with the same education or background, so why take Chris to task for having standards? It is not his fault that while he chose to save himself, she did not make the same choice.
Everyone has a right to their own principles in a relationship. That young man should be applauded for holding himself to the same standard he expects from a future wife. If more people were similarly committed to their future relationships, we'd have fewer divorces and know more about our spouses before marriage. -- HOLDING OUT FOR MISS RIGHT
DEAR ABBY: I don't agree that the values of the two young people are so different. Perhaps "Deflowered" made a one-time mistake on her prom night or on a high school drinking binge. She was young and made a mistake. Cut her some slack! If Chris truly is marriage material, he will too.
I lost my virginity when I was 14. Twenty years later, I married a 33-year-old virgin. We couldn't be happier. -- G.B. IN MINNESOTA
DEAR ABBY: I am also 28, and until recently I was like Chris. I wanted my first time to be on my wedding night. That's a beautiful ideal, and I applaud anyone who continues to keep it. But I also think we have to allow ourselves to be human and to change.
People are not "devalued" because they have lost their virginity. On the contrary, I feel enriched and blessed. I waited until I knew I was ready, and it felt right. My partner has taken excellent emotional care of me in all my "firsts" with him, and I will never, for one instant, regret a moment of the time we have had together. -- LISA IN THE MIDWEST