Invincible

Is this an unrealistic preference?

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Hey guys,

Something's been bothering me a lot and I would appreciate your thoughts on this. I'm not really sure if this will make sense to any of you, but here goes.

Lately, I've been hearing a lot of stories of married couples who were each other's first and only love. I just think that's really romantic that they get to experience a happy and fulfilling marriage free from past baggage. Because of that, I really, really want to find a girl who also has a completely clean slate, that includes never being in love with previous exes.

But here's the problem. As of this writing, I am 31 and never been been in a relationship. That means I have a 100% clean slate. Never had sex, never kissed, never held hands and never given my heart to any girl. Is that an unrealistic expectation at my age to hold out for a girl who's never even been in a relationship before? I mean it's already hard enough to find someone who is waiting at my age, let alone someone who has never kissed or even never had a serious relationship. Keep in mind this isn't a dealbreaker by any means, but the hopeless romantic in me is wanting to hold out for someone whom I can share all of our "firsts" with. Yet, I also feel like that ship has sailed since almost everyone has had at least one or more serious relationships by the time they are in their 30's.

Here are my reasons why:

Let's say I find someone great she shared a deep, passionate love with one or more ex bf who were amazing guys. Now I'm not blaming her or anything because she has a right to her past, but it would sting really bad knowing she gave a big piece of her heart that will always be with each of them. They say you never fully get over your first love and I just don't like the thought that her heart can never fully be mine. I would feel a constant pressure to try to be better than the last guy because I'm so afraid I will fall short of the high bar that was set by her exes. Then she will be frustrated that I couldn't make her feel the way her ex did. The whole dating thing would be totally new to me at that point, I wouldn't know what I am doing.

On the flip side, maybe I find someone great who has been hurt and betrayed by horrible exes in the past. Chances are, she will have built up a lot of walls, has a completely jaded view on love, and has trouble trusting men. Needless to say, dating a heartbroken person requires much more work and patience than someone who is new to relationships. It just doesn't seem right that the first guy, who was responsible for her state, got to experience all the fun, naivete and romantic bliss with her right from the very beginning.  All the while I must be the one to deal with her tears, baggage and emotional coldness just to get her to open up. 

I know all this may sound completely irrational and I'm probably not making any sense. I know it's probably just my inexperience and insecurities speaking, but this has been gnawing at the back of my mind for a long time. If you notice, everything I'd said so far is only related to the emotional part of relationships. Things would be much harder to deal with if she happened to not be a virgin as well. I know every relationship has their challenges. But in the end, if she is the right one then I will endure the storms with her to the best of my ability.

Still though, I want your guys' thoughts on this. Am I just holding on to false hope that I can find a girl with a 100% clean slate at my age? Thanks in advance guys.

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Hey Vince,     

I don't think what you are asking for is irrational at all. I do think it is normal to ask it. As a guy who is also 31, I know I often wonder the same thing. For me, ideally, I would like to be a woman who I can experience many firsts with and she is also my one and only and vice versa.  Why? Well, maybe those feelings have to do with the fact that I am a hopeless romantic or I have read marriage stories where the wife and husband meet each other for the first time and it feels like it was destined from above or something. These are feelings that I am comfortable with given my own life experiences, belief, and value system. 

    However, the reality that I have learned in my life is that everybody has baggage. You have baggage and I have baggage. It is not something that is always disgusting but it can be normal. When I meet the right person for me,  we will work well together given our own experiences, and I think we will have only eyes for each other. 

   Let me give you an example from my own life: when my parents were first married, I am sure they thought about the ideal for them: have and raise children, live comfortably in a home etc.. But, life does not always work well for anybody. They did struggle at times yet they are still together and are married happily. The secret of their marriage may be in part that they still love each other, but I also think they complement each other well. 

   I guess what I am saying is that is good to have ideal, but I also think it is good to it have rooted in reality. I know sometimes I wonder when it will be my turn to go on a date with a good woman, get married, have children etc.. However, I realize that it may not be in God's timing. Maybe I am not meant to have all those things right now; instead maybe I am meant to work on my single life. I know it is hard when I see a couple on Valentine's Day or I see people who have been married for a long time and they appear happy. I know I want those experiences but sometimes, I think I need to sometimes trust in God. 

I will pray for you that you meet the ideal that is right for you and it may be what you need.

-Chris

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There's an unfair cultural expectation out there that a man should have the same or more romantic/sexual experience than a woman in a relationship, which can cause men to feel insecure about "too little" experience and women to feel ashamed about "too much" experience. I wonder if you're feeling the effects of this expectation.

As waiter in my 30's, I know what it is to look at hopes I had as a younger woman and realize that they may not be realistic anymore. There is a certain grief that comes with that realization, and I won't pretend otherwise. I think it's important to call it grief and handle it in an honest and healthy way.

That said, I want to paint a more hopeful portrait of mature love and romance that the scenarios and worries that you've described. Heartbreak can produce compassion and empathy. Waiting can develop contentment and maturity. "Firsts" matter less than "bests" and "mosts." Life experiences (romantic and otherwise) can produce wiser and more confident people. People can love deeply, be hurt deeply, and love again more deeply still. Past relationships are past for good reasons. And how beautiful it would be for two mature and wise people to say to each other: "Of all the love stories in the world, ours is my favorite."

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6 hours ago, Skylark said:

There's an unfair cultural expectation out there that a man should have the same or more romantic/sexual experience than a woman in a relationship, which can cause men to feel insecure about "too little" experience and women to feel ashamed about "too much" experience. I wonder if you're feeling the effects of this expectation.

Hm, maybe on a subconscious level that is somewhat true. For me, it's not that I want more experience than a girl. I think it's more of a fear of being with a girl who does have that cultural expectation that a guy should be more experienced. When I don't, then she will get frustrated or impatient because of my inexperience. Because I've heard most women want a guy who knows what he's doing and won't stand for having to show a guy the ropes. What I really hope for is another inexperienced person whom I can experience our first of everything together. But even if she isn't, I would like a girl who saw my inexperience as a good thing rather than a bad thing.

 

6 hours ago, Skylark said:

As waiter in my 30's, I know what it is to look at hopes I had as a younger woman and realize that they may not be realistic anymore. There is a certain grief that comes with that realization, and I won't pretend otherwise. I think it's important to call it grief and handle it in an honest and healthy way.

Yeah it's just a fact of life that the older we get, the less opportunities we have compared to when we were younger. I think for lots of women, a big issue is child bearing. I really feel for older women who are in their 40s or older who are childless and have given up hope on ever having any. But I do agree that the sooner we come to terms with the reality, the sooner we can move on with ourselves.

 

6 hours ago, Skylark said:

That said, I want to paint a more hopeful portrait of mature love and romance that the scenarios and worries that you've described. Heartbreak can produce compassion and empathy. Waiting can develop contentment and maturity. "Firsts" matter less than "bests" and "mosts." Life experiences (romantic and otherwise) can produce wiser and more confident people. People can love deeply, be hurt deeply, and love again more deeply still. Past relationships are past for good reasons. And how beautiful it would be for two mature and wise people to say to each other: "Of all the love stories in the world, ours is my favorite."

I think I just heard way too many stories of people who became more jaded and cold as a result of their heartbreaks. I've heard too many stories of people who have sexually bonded with many others that it stunted their ability to bond with the one they eventually marry. But I appreciate you saying that and this is exactly what I needed to hear. I think this is a portrait that I will cling to whenever the future looks bleak. I can only hope for the kind of person you described who has become more mature and stronger from their past experiences rather than the other way around.

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Is your desire irrational? No. You've never had those experiences, and you want those firsts to be just as new and significant for the other person as they are for you. You want her to be wholly yours. Part of my desire to marry a virgin is for a similar reason. Knowing that she has shared herself with someone else in the most intimate way possible is unbearable for me.

But is your desire realistic? At your age probably not. Finding a virgin is already like finding a needle in a haystack. Finding someone with absolutely zero experience would be even harder. I'm 24, and I only know one person around my age who hasn't been in a relationship or been kissed. I think it's fine for you to shoot for that, but if you get too hung up on it you may pass up on some great potential relationships. And I think that would be the greater tragedy. Similar to what Slayerofdragon said, you need to balance your ideals with reality.

Like Skylark said, relationship experience brings maturity. I've had three relationships, and I have learned so much from those experiences. I learned how to treat a woman. I learned to get advice. I learned which qualities I'm looking for in a woman, and which ones are deal-breakers. And I learned so much about myself that I wouldn't have otherwise. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I will be all the more mature and loving for it in my next relationship. None of that will keep me from loving my future wife with all of my heart. If anything, I may love her more after some of the negative experiences I've had. I'm not jaded after those experiences.

Also, the entire point of dating is to find your spouse. Some people get lucky the first time, but most take a few tries, and that's okay. Unless you're waiting for an arranged marriage, you're not going to find your spouse if you never date anyone.

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7 hours ago, 4800 Years said:

Is your desire irrational? No. You've never had those experiences, and you want those firsts to be just as new and significant for the other person as they are for you. You want her to be wholly yours. Part of my desire to marry a virgin is for a similar reason. Knowing that she has shared herself with someone else in the most intimate way possible is unbearable for me.

You pretty much summed up how I feel about my situation a lot more eloquently and in much fewer words than I could possibly have done. I know I tend to be a bit long winded. lol. Most days I am at peace with the likelihood my hypothetical wife would have at least some intimate experience whether emotional or sexual. But once in a long while, the irrational jealousy in me creeps up and thinks it isn't a fair trade that I can give her all of my "firsts and onlys" while she can't give me the same. I really hate this feeling and I don't want to think of her or anyone as not whole because of past experiences. I know love isn't supposed to be about how I can benefit, but rather it's about giving myself selflessly.

7 hours ago, 4800 Years said:

But is your desire realistic? At your age probably not. Finding a virgin is already like finding a needle in a haystack. Finding someone with absolutely zero experience would be even harder. I'm 24, and I only know one person around my age who hasn't been in a relationship or been kissed. I think it's fine for you to shoot for that, but if you get too hung up on it you may pass up on some great potential relationships. And I think that would be the greater tragedy. Similar to what Slayerofdragon said, you need to balance your ideals with reality.

Like Skylark said, relationship experience brings maturity. I've had three relationships, and I have learned so much from those experiences. I learned how to treat a woman. I learned to get advice. I learned which qualities I'm looking for in a woman, and which ones are deal-breakers. And I learned so much about myself that I wouldn't have otherwise. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I will be all the more mature and loving for it in my next relationship. None of that will keep me from loving my future wife with all of my heart. If anything, I may love her more after some of the negative experiences I've had. I'm not jaded after those experiences.

Yes, you're right. However I have to reiterate that ultimately these things I get hung up on don't really matter in the end, even if she turns out to not be a virgin. While wanting zero previous experience is something I want more than most others, I am also not foolish enough to allow that to stop me from being with someone who is otherwise amazing. Nothing in this world is ever ideal. While I sometimes mourn in that realization, I just need to let this dream of mine die. I have slowly come to accept that it is an unrealistic thing to hope for now. If I ever find someone, I know there will be a grieving process over the pain of knowing there were others before me who were intimate with her. But in the end, that's okay. As long as she truly loves me and wants a future with me, then I will accept her completely with open arms.

Thank you for your perspective.

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On 9/6/2016 at 10:17 PM, Skylark said:

Heartbreak can produce compassion and empathy. Waiting can develop contentment and maturity. "Firsts" matter less than "bests" and "mosts." Life experiences (romantic and otherwise) can produce wiser and more confident people. People can love deeply, be hurt deeply, and love again more deeply still. Past relationships are past for good reasons.

On 9/10/2016 at 11:27 PM, 4800 Years said:

Like Skylark said, relationship experience brings maturity. I've had three relationships, and I have learned so much from those experiences. I learned how to treat a woman. I learned to get advice. I learned which qualities I'm looking for in a woman, and which ones are deal-breakers. And I learned so much about myself that I wouldn't have otherwise. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I will be all the more mature and loving for it in my next relationship. None of that will keep me from loving my future wife with all of my heart. If anything, I may love her more after some of the negative experiences I've had. I'm not jaded after those experiences.

Also, the entire point of dating is to find your spouse. Some people get lucky the first time, but most take a few tries, and that's okay. Unless you're waiting for an arranged marriage, you're not going to find your spouse if you never date anyone.

I just wanted to chime in to confirm what Skylark and 4800 Years were saying about loving more deeply despite being "in love" before. This has been my experience. I truly feel more capable of love and intimacy than I ever imagined possible. My heart is OPEN.

I don't feel like anyone from my past has any claim to me emotionally, physically, or otherwise. If I talk about my ex it's because the topic came up, because my ex was my best friend for almost a decade, we grew up together, and because we shared many memories. I now only love them as a human being, not in a romantic sense at all, and have re-framed all the memories as such. I don't reflect on romantic memories of them nor do I want to. They are, as Skylark said, in my past for a reason.

I completely agree with 4800 Years that the point of dating is to find your spouse. If it doesn't work out, there is always at least emotional baggage even if you were never physically involved.. Yet one needs to risk said entanglement in order to find their life partner.

Knowing what I know now, I would never approach love from a place of fear or insecurity. This applies to their history too.

Vince, I think you'll know when someone looks at you a certain way- they're only thinking about you.

 

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7 hours ago, redgrapes said:

Knowing what I know now, I would never approach love from a place of fear or insecurity.

Yes. You said just what was on my mind as I continued to think about this thread. Fear poisons love. I hope we all can strive to bravely reject fear and insecurity.

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I'm approaching this from you wanting someone who hasn't been emotionally tangled in a relationship before marrying you (as opposed to sexual). Would it be the best scenario? Potentially. My first thought was sure! But I think that would only apply if the person had a certain degree of relational maturity and is capable of seeing the value in what you are offering. An immature person might need the practical experiences and challenges of past failures to push them into learning/developing relational skills. As wtm-ers we are probably more likely to be pro-active in developing our relationship building capabilities than non-waiters. Heck, I've probably read more books on the subject than many married people have. As a simple example, who would value you giving her anniversary flowers more: the girl who always got them from her ex-boyfriends and may get offended if you didn't (as she has developed an experiential expectation) or the girl who never got any. Who is going to value your emotional availability more, the girl who has no standard of comparison or the one who has tried in vain to change to have her exes meet her emotional needs? Certainly, these are all negative comparisons and it is certainly possible that there will be some qualities that we lack in comparison to exes be those changeable or not changeable. I look at those aspects as room for improvement (and there always will be whether nor not you are comparing it to someone). As someone said, there's a reason they are in the past and its presumable that since she is with you that you are offering her a net benefit. Furthermore, I think this issue of putting value on different things, comparing with previous exes etc is, if it's going to be a problem, only early in the relationship or when it is struggling. No matter what the previous initial subjective experience may be, better or worse, if you develop a great relationship it will trump 'em all. If your marriage is struggling then you don't need exes in her life for her to throw up comparisons in her mind, plenty of other things to do that - other wives' husbands, novels, movies, fantasy, the guy at work who listens better than you, the happy couple (who may be tearing eachother apart behind closed doors) etc etc etc 

Secondly, disregarding what others have pointed out in that we don't need to have been in romantic relationships to have baggage (parental programing offers plenty on its own - and come to think of it some of that may have been worked through in previous relationships...), let's imagine clean slate you meets clean slate girl. How much longer are you both going to have clean slates? Could you consider yourselves as sufficiently invested in the relationship if you are trying to maintain your clean slates up to the point of marriage? Imagine trying to evaluate someone for marriage who is maintaining such a guarded heart that there will be no entanglement, no baggage, no heartbreak if it doesn't work out!! The capability and willingness to be vulnerable in the face of past or potential hurts is relationally essential if you want genuine intimacy and as long as it is not executed recklessly or immaturely (aka opening the floodgates of infatuation/vulnerability before its time or to the wrong person) it's a good, healthy trait. 

That being said, I can relate a bit where you're coming from. I'm less concerned with being a relational first than the person being too relationally jaded as in the natural bonding mechanisms have deteriorated from serial relationships similarly to how many previous sexual experiences with different people can lessen the natural bonding power of sex. But I like to believe that if we are both committed to developing our relationship and pursuing the amazing intimacy that only marriage can offer we will gradually be able to overcome such impediments. That and don't forget the awesome power of God to change and heal hearts and minds :D:excl:

oh and thirdly. Have you thought that it might be in God's will that you marry someone "messed up" for lack of a different term? Maybe that will be your ministry. Consider how much crap Joyce Meyer's husband had to go through for her to get where she is know. We tend to think that the person "most perfect" at the moment will be the "most perfect" person down the line. But there are so many present and future variables and contingencies we have no way of knowing let alone controlling. The perfect partner can lead to a miserable marriage and with God's help the most unlikely partner can become truly magnificent. 

well, ah, hmm hope I didn't make it worse....

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On 9/14/2016 at 7:07 AM, 'tis the Bearded One said:

I'm approaching this from you wanting someone who hasn't been emotionally tangled in a relationship before marrying you (as opposed to sexual). Would it be the best scenario? Potentially. My first thought was sure! But I think that would only apply if the person had a certain degree of relational maturity and is capable of seeing the value in what you are offering. An immature person might need the practical experiences and challenges of past failures to push them into learning/developing relational skills.

I second most of what 'tis the Bearded One said – especially this. She might come with no romantic baggage, but frankly, I might be wary of dating someone my age (or older) who has never been in a relationship before. One would have to wonder why she's never had a relationship. Plus, I'd be concerned about her level of relational maturity. Personally, I've gained a lot of valuable wisdom and maturity through my past relationship experiences and failures that I don't think I would have otherwise.

On 9/14/2016 at 7:07 AM, 'tis the Bearded One said:

oh and thirdly. Have you thought that it might be in God's will that you marry someone "messed up" for lack of a different term? Maybe that will be your ministry. Consider how much crap Joyce Meyer's husband had to go through for her to get where she is know. We tend to think that the person "most perfect" at the moment will be the "most perfect" person down the line. But there are so many present and future variables and contingencies we have no way of knowing let alone controlling. The perfect partner can lead to a miserable marriage and with God's help the most unlikely partner can become truly magnificent.

This is the one point I have to disagree on. This may sound a bit harsh, but a romantic relationship isn't charity. It's not meant to fix someone. Sure, neither of you will be perfect (I mean, who is?), and you both ought to help each other learn and grow, but a romantic relationship isn't a "ministry." Find someone who already has her head on straight.

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On 9/13/2016 at 10:27 AM, redgrapes said:

I just wanted to chime in to confirm what Skylark and 4800 Years were saying about loving more deeply despite being "in love" before. This has been my experience. I truly feel more capable of love and intimacy than I ever imagined possible. My heart is OPEN.

I don't feel like anyone from my past has any claim to me emotionally, physically, or otherwise. If I talk about my ex it's because the topic came up, because my ex was my best friend for almost a decade, we grew up together, and because we shared many memories. I now only love them as a human being, not in a romantic sense at all, and have re-framed all the memories as such. I don't reflect on romantic memories of them nor do I want to. They are, as Skylark said, in my past for a reason.

I completely agree with 4800 Years that the point of dating is to find your spouse. If it doesn't work out, there is always at least emotional baggage even if you were never physically involved.. Yet one needs to risk said entanglement in order to find their life partner.

Knowing what I know now, I would never approach love from a place of fear or insecurity. This applies to their history too.

Vince, I think you'll know when someone looks at you a certain way- they're only thinking about you.

This is all encouraging to hear. What particularly gives me hope is that you were in love with your ex for almost 10 years and yet you don't look back and think of the past fondly. I guess some people choose to see their past relationships as learning experiences while others let them harden their hearts. Because I know people who are still hung up on their ex even years down the line and they were together for much less. The key is to differentiate the ones who have moved on and those who have not.  Because I would not want to be with a girl who wasn't ready to start anew and put the past behind her. That is something I will not budge on. As I said, I can even accept a girl who isn't a virgin. But I will never accept anything less than 100% of her heart. I will not be some girl's rebound or be a placeholder to fill a void until she finds another person she truly loves. This is where part of my fear comes from because I have been used like that in the past.

As you say, one can tell when the person they are with is all in with them. Having observed many couples who are deeply in love, I can definitely notice an intense connection just by the way they look at each other. I know that if she looked at me in any other way than that, then she has either not moved on or doesn't truly love me. With how much I fear being settled for or being compared to, I will definitely be able to tell the difference in her behavior. Thanks for your thoughts.

 

On 9/14/2016 at 4:07 AM, 'tis the Bearded One said:

I'm approaching this from you wanting someone who hasn't been emotionally tangled in a relationship before marrying you (as opposed to sexual). Would it be the best scenario? Potentially. My first thought was sure! But I think that would only apply if the person had a certain degree of relational maturity and is capable of seeing the value in what you are offering. An immature person might need the practical experiences and challenges of past failures to push them into learning/developing relational skills. As wtm-ers we are probably more likely to be pro-active in developing our relationship building capabilities than non-waiters. Heck, I've probably read more books on the subject than many married people have. As a simple example, who would value you giving her anniversary flowers more: the girl who always got them from her ex-boyfriends and may get offended if you didn't (as she has developed an experiential expectation) or the girl who never got any. Who is going to value your emotional availability more, the girl who has no standard of comparison or the one who has tried in vain to change to have her exes meet her emotional needs? Certainly, these are all negative comparisons and it is certainly possible that there will be some qualities that we lack in comparison to exes be those changeable or not changeable. I look at those aspects as room for improvement (and there always will be whether nor not you are comparing it to someone). As someone said, there's a reason they are in the past and its presumable that since she is with you that you are offering her a net benefit. Furthermore, I think this issue of putting value on different things, comparing with previous exes etc is, if it's going to be a problem, only early in the relationship or when it is struggling. No matter what the previous initial subjective experience may be, better or worse, if you develop a great relationship it will trump 'em all. If your marriage is struggling then you don't need exes in her life for her to throw up comparisons in her mind, plenty of other things to do that - other wives' husbands, novels, movies, fantasy, the guy at work who listens better than you, the happy couple (who may be tearing eachother apart behind closed doors) etc etc etc 

I totally agree that WTM folks are more likely to be proactive in preparing ourselves to be the best significant other we could possibly be. Even though I have never dated, I have observed many couples over the years. I began to see what kind of things are healthy and what is not healthy in relationships. All these observations have helped me figure out what I want in a girl and how to treat one right. But even so, none of that can fully prepare me until I am actually in a real relationship. I would like to think that I have the relational maturity to have a healthy relationship my first time around. But in reality, I wouldn't know unless I am in it. I know for a fact that I would take things slow and stress communication. I would not treat it frivolously. The fact is that after longing to be in one after so long, I know I will not take her for granted. I would go out of my way to make sure I appreciate her in my life.

I suppose you are right about those other comparisons such as other husbands, coworkers and the like. But I think in those cases, it is a serious problem either on her end or a serious problem with the marriage itself. But when it comes to relationships. it's really the fear that despite giving the best I could offer, I would still fall short to what the girl is used to compared to her exes. But then again, I know that she would probably not be the right one anyways. I guess it really comes down to what is important to her and whether I have what she is looking for and vice versa like you said.

On 9/14/2016 at 4:07 AM, 'tis the Bearded One said:

Secondly, disregarding what others have pointed out in that we don't need to have been in romantic relationships to have baggage (parental programing offers plenty on its own - and come to think of it some of that may have been worked through in previous relationships...), let's imagine clean slate you meets clean slate girl. How much longer are you both going to have clean slates? Could you consider yourselves as sufficiently invested in the relationship if you are trying to maintain your clean slates up to the point of marriage? Imagine trying to evaluate someone for marriage who is maintaining such a guarded heart that there will be no entanglement, no baggage, no heartbreak if it doesn't work out!! The capability and willingness to be vulnerable in the face of past or potential hurts is relationally essential if you want genuine intimacy and as long as it is not executed recklessly or immaturely (aka opening the floodgates of infatuation/vulnerability before its time or to the wrong person) it's a good, healthy trait. 

You know, if I'm really honest with myself I have to admit that I have my own baggage too. I think the fact I haven't been in a relationship before in itself is it's own baggage. Because it comes with it's own fears and insecurities that could affect my first relationship. I might be confused, or not know what I'm doing or may make mistakes as a result. So in a way, I feel like I don't have a right to talk about baggage of other people when I have some of my own. I have been hurt before emotionally in many ways and that will probably come up in a future relationship as well. I think the more I realize that I am not so different, the sooner I can come to terms with this issue.

18 hours ago, 4800 Years said:

I second most of what 'tis the Bearded One said – especially this. She might come with no romantic baggage, but frankly, I might be wary of dating someone my age (or older) who has never been in a relationship before. One would have to wonder why she's never had a relationship. Plus, I'd be concerned about her level of relational maturity. Personally, I've gained a lot of valuable wisdom and maturity through my past relationship experiences and failures that I don't think I would have otherwise.

You know, that is something that bothers me too. I know that many women will judge me for not having any experience and they will wonder if there is something wrong with me. Because if they were to ask why I've never had a relationship, I honestly wouldn't know how to answer. It's mostly because I haven't found a girl who will give me a chance. But I couldn't tell you why they don't. It isn't because of a lack of trying. I ask others in my life all the time but they all tell me I'm a great guy and there's nothing wrong with me. You see how this becomes a "chicken or the egg" situation? It's like applying for an entry level job but it demands 3 years of experience. Which begs the question, how do you get experience in the first place when it's an entry level job. So I feel like I'm screwed :( 

18 hours ago, 4800 Years said:

This is the one point I have to disagree on. This may sound a bit harsh, but a romantic relationship isn't charity. It's not meant to fix someone. Sure, neither of you will be perfect (I mean, who is?), and you both ought to help each other learn and grow, but a romantic relationship isn't a "ministry." Find someone who already has her head on straight.

Maybe Tis the Bearded One could answer for himself. I would say I mostly disagree with him on that point as well. I do think everyone's own issues are their responsibility while in a relationship. That being said, I don't think it's wrong to help encourage the other person in supportive ways to help them through their issues faster. Especially in a marriage when you become one. Your struggles become their struggles and vice versa. I think there is also something to be said about also being someone that gives a broken-hearted person hope in love again.

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17 hours ago, 4800 Years said:

This is the one point I have to disagree on. This may sound a bit harsh, but a romantic relationship isn't charity. It's not meant to fix someone. Sure, neither of you will be perfect (I mean, who is?), and you both ought to help each other learn and grow, but a romantic relationship isn't a "ministry." Find someone who already has her head on straight.

Respectfully disagree. Whether you marry someone who does or does not need "fixing", marriage will be a ministry much like parenting is a ministry. As a spouse you have enormous influence over the growth and development of your spouse in all matters including spiritual. Arguably you will (potentially, in a healthy marriage) become the most influential person in your partner's life. Do you mean to tell me that responsibility cannot be likened to a ministry? The Bible itself uses the relationship between God and the church as an illustration of what should be between the husband and wife (without the rebellion and backsliding of course). I think developing a healthy bible-based marriage will develop a person's understanding of God's relationship with the church as illustrated by the (negative) example of Hosea and Gomer. I'm not saying "Go out there and look for someone messed up to marry and fix" (aka extreme helper syndrome) such an attitude (outside of God's will) will quite likely end in disaster. What I am saying is that while we can have preferences, concerns, pre-selections, and deal breakers we shouldn't allow those to trump a clear revelation of God's will for our spouse. What we think we know about our potential spouse and about selecting the "right" spouse is nothingness in comparison to what God knows. If God were to offer me two choices for a spouse: the one, meets all my preferences and dreams, we'll be happy, we'll go through the normal marriage struggles but we'll be content; the other, "messed up", will be heavenly for the first 6 months until the infatuation wears off, a living hell for years, maybe a decade, and maybe it will eventually be heavenly with immense personal growth and intimacy in all facets of life, or maybe not, maybe it will be miserable till the day I die but having a loving, faithful husband is the only thing that will get this person into heaven. I'd hope to God I'd make the right choice. 

Edit: I've considered the issue mostly from our WTM-er "high horse" position but what if it was the other way around? What if the "messed up" spouse will be the one bringing the greater blessing to our life? What if only they will push us to the level of growth we need?

I like this quote from one of my favourite authors and it illustrates the influence of a spouse:

If those who are contemplating marriage would not have miserable, unhappy reflections after marriage, they must make it a subject of serious, earnest reflection now. This step taken unwisely is one of the most effective means of ruining the usefulness of young men and women. Life becomes a burden, a curse. No one can so effectually ruin a woman’s happiness and usefulness, and make life a heartsickening burden, as her own husband; and no one can do one hundredth part as much to chill the hopes and aspirations of a man, to paralyze his energies and ruin his influence and prospects, as his own wife. It is from the marriage hour that many men and women date their success or failure in this life, and their hopes of the future life.

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So you want to meet and marry someone who has never had a relationship ever in the past or at least not one in which she was in love. I don't know if I'd say or use the word "unrealistic" but I'd say the probabilities of you finding someone like that would be very, very rare. I envision that happening between high school sweethearts who start dating as sophomores or juniors in high school and then marrying after out of school. The girls in your age bracket would be mid to late twenties so that would be hard to find.

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I haven't read the other comments yet, so I apologize if I'm repeating what anyone else already said. I just want to give my initial thoughts.

 

I don't think that your desires are at all irrational. I think MANY of us feel the same way. The idea of knowing that you and your spouse have only ever loved each other is a very emotionally intimate thing, and something you'd be lucky to have.

However, I think you should look at it as a bonus, rather than a quality to search for. If you spend your efforts looking for that girl who has zero baggage, you may pass by someone else who has been in love before, but has SO MUCH more love and compatibility to give to you. More than the girl who hasn't been in love yet. There are so many other aspects to a relationship that will contribute even more to a wonderful life together. 

 

If you meet someone who has loved before, yes, they will have those memories, but that does not mean that they cannot fully commit to you and love you even more than they loved before. They are no longer with that other person for a reason. If you and she are truly compatible, you'll view your love for each other as magical. 

On the other hand, you could pass up opportunities to girls who have a history, and instead meet someone who has never loved before, have a decent relationship, but never feel fully appreciated. You could hold onto that relationship, clinging to the sweet fact that you are each other's "only loves" and feel like its enough, but never really know the magic you had the potential to experience.

I have a bit of experience with this. My first relationship was with someone who had never been in love, kissed, been sexually intimate, held hands, etc. I was 21 and he was 24. It was wonderful for us to experience some of those firsts together. It felt like we really had a bond and connection because of that. For awhile, it did feel amazing. Eventually, we questioned some of our compatibility. I struggled with those feelings, because I felt so connected to him with our firsts, and probably would have stayed in the relationship because of that, but he pushed just slightly harder for a breakup, so we did.  I mourned the loss of that connection we had as firsts. I knew that I would never be able to have that connection with someone else since I would never have another first relationship. But then I met my current boyfriend. 

 

He was 27 and I was 23 when we started our relationship. He'd been in love before. He even had a small sexual history. But he also has more love to give me than probably anyone could. He cares and loves so, and I mean SO SO much more than my first relationship. We don't have the bond of being each other's first loves and relationships, but we are a million times more compatible in other areas, and that means so much more. And we both view our relationship as much healthier than the other's we've had. So we are definitely each other's first in that. We've been together for over 2 years and it honestly feels like we complete each other. It really feels magical. We look at our pasts and realize that they have shaped who we are and brought us together. I look back at my first relationship and realize I wouldn't be nearly as happy if I'd stayed with him. Things just feel "right" now. We may not be each other's first in some areas, but we are confident we will be each other's ONLY from now, until eternity, and you might realize that thats even more special :)

So what I'm saying is that, yes it is special to be with your first love, but don't list it as a prerequisite, but rather a bonus if you happen to find it. You could miss out on something truly amazing if you hold onto that dream that could lead to something just "good" but not really "great."

You'll find her. She's out there looking for you too. :)

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