DEAR ABBY: I'm a 29-year-old female and still a virgin. This decision is mostly based on my religious beliefs, but also because I haven't met the right guy. I have been struggling with this for several years because it seems my religious views and that of society are at odds. Rather than feel proud of my virginity, I feel ashamed.
At this point, I'm worried that if I tell a guy I'm a virgin, I'll be rejected. Throughout my teens and 20s, I believed that waiting for Mr. Right was the best route for me. Now that I'm older, it has become a constant weight on my shoulders. Our society places so much emphasis on sex. At 29, it seems I have failed in some way.
I met a guy recently and we both expressed that we had feelings for each other. I later found out that he had a girlfriend and two small children. I haven't seen him again, but I can't stop thinking about him. I thought he was a nice guy, but I feel so disappointed.
I'm concerned about my future. I'm afraid I won't meet the right guy and that I'll make a bad decision with the wrong guy. Any advice or words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated. -- WAITING IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR WAITING: All single people face the dilemma you are facing at one point or another. Too often, they make painful mistakes that they later regret. You, however, dodged a bullet. Virginity is a gift that can be given only once. Rather than feel disappointed, be glad you didn't waste it on a man who is already in a relationship and has two children to support.
You say you are religious. If that's true, have enough faith to believe you will meet the "right guy" at the right time. You might benefit by talking to your spiritual adviser about how to find a life partner whose values mirror your own. If that's not possible, some sessions with a psychologist may help you to regain confidence in your judgment.