Dear Patricia: I'm still a virgin at 26 and keep pushing guys away
Published 06/03/2011 | 05:00
I AM a 26-year-old girl and am still a virgin. It never really bothered me until recently, but now it's seriously bugging me.
I have never had a proper relationship with a guy. When I do start up a friendship with a guy, it all goes well until I feel that he's getting too close. I then start to feel claustrophobic and push him away. Surely this isn't normal? What's wrong with me?
I think it might help if we rephrased your problem. The issue is not your virginity. Or put another way, it's broader than that. What you need to explore is your obvious anxiety about physical and emotional closeness.
I mean, there's nothing wrong with remaining a virgin until the right guy comes along. On the contrary, it seems to make sense. This notion that floats around these days of ditching virginity as if it were a burden is bananas anyway. No, I'm not saying that's how you feel or think. But I don't believe it's a coincidence either that you talk in terms of still being a virgin, rather than saying that you're lonely without love.
I don't know why you push a man away once he tries to get close. Maybe it's never the right guy. Women don't fancy every man who crosses their path. Or maybe it happens in the wrong context. A few drinks in a disco or pub -- if that is where you meet the men -- don't count as a great start to emotional or sexual intimacy, even though countless couples do it.
What I'm trying to say is that perhaps you don't fit into the current careless mode of getting together. And that is by no means a bad thing. Whether you are just shy, or actually choosy, I believe it makes sense to wait until you feel comfortable. In another day and age we might have talked about putting a value on yourself.
It is, of course, also possible that you have a real problem with intimacy because of bad past experiences. This doesn't have to be about sexual abuse -- although that invariably springs to mind. Psychological or emotional abuse can be just as damaging -- maybe even more so. You may have been left with a legacy of real anger at men, or real fear, or real disgust. Or, you may have grown up in an environment where being a woman didn't look like much of a deal. Mothers can sometimes lead lives which leave their daughters very wary about the whole female role. They can even make their daughters scared of love, and the vulnerability that it brings, and hand on to them a sense of helplessness.
The point is, you need to examine what's happening in your head and heart. Maybe the problem is a lifestyle issue, and you need to meet men in a different social environment. Or maybe your past has left a lot of emotional stumbling blocks in your way. Think about it. And go to a counsellor or therapist if you think there are issues you need to untangle.
Sunday Indo Living