We could talk about everything from intersectional feminism to Disney films. Or we could be quiet and enjoy being together. I’d stumble home at three in the morning from yet another six-hour date and be unable to sleep, marveling at how easy it was just to be with you.
I knew that I needed to tell you soon that I am a virgin. I’ve not made a conscious decision to hang onto my v-card: for various reasons, I’ve never dated any man for longer than a month, and I invest too much emotionally in people to be good at hook ups. I did not believe myself obligated to tell you, but I wanted you to understand why I was becoming more anxious as we became more physical: that my anxiety had nothing to do with my not liking you enough and everything to do with my fear of disappointing you.
Although I was nervous about telling you, because of course it’s unusual to meet people who are virgins in their twenties, I was fairly confident that you would not judge me. You had told me that you lived with your parents until your late twenties, and that you spent those years unable to decide what you wanted from life, dropping in and out of various colleges and jobs. I respected you for not following a predetermined path, for having the courage to self-reflect and then actively pursue a lifestyle you were passionate about. I believed that you were open-minded enough to not buy into the theory that we all had to reach certain milestones, whether career-related or personal or otherwise, by set ages or in particular ways.
But when I told you that I was a virgin, your arm around my shoulders turned stiff. This was a bigger deal to you than I’d anticipated. A barrier grew between us that I could not break.
When you dumped me several days later, you explained that you were not looking for a commitment, that you wanted a no strings attached situation. You said that it sounded as if I’d been protecting my virginity, and that sex really changes you as a person, so we were just not going to work.
I spent weeks trying to understand why my sexual inexperience was reason enough to end our relationship. Are you one of those self-labelled feminists who will happy talk about Mary Wollstonecraft or bell hooks, but is unable to put his knowledge into practice? You do not have the right to judge the decisions that any woman makes about her body. Whether I’d had more sexual partners than you, or none at all, it wasn’t relevant to our relationship.
It’s been two months and you continue to shun me, even though circumstances force us to see each other almost daily. If you weren’t hurt in some way by the break up, then you would be able to act civil. Is this why you told me that you wanted “no strings” after we spent so many hours opening up to one another? Did you become scared of your own potential for emotional vulnerability?
None of these reasons made complete sense to me, so I spent weeks waiting for you to recognize your mistake and apologize. To have us fall back together into our beautiful easiness.
Then I realized that the reasons are irrelevant, because whatever they are, you chose to make this wall in our relationship.
I have in the past stopped dating other boys because they were ableist, or disrespectful, or had different expectations for our relationship. Those are real deal breakers, facts about one or both partners that either cannot or will not be changed. That you consider my virginity a deal breaker is reason enough for us to be over. I am going to stop waiting for someone who would create a problem between us where no problem existed. I’m still grieving the person that I thought you were, but I’m learning to move on from who you actually are.