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What if You Successfully Waited Until Marriage but Then Divorce/Become Widowed?

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I know this might be a bit of a sad subject, but bear with me if you can because I feel like it is important.

I'm curious how those that successfully waited until marriage (anyone else can chime in as well) would feel if they ever entered the dating world again? Maybe the two of you unfortunately grew apart and you got divorced or, much worse, your significant other passed away. After the recovery period ended, what would be your thoughts about dating? You obviously would no longer be a virgin, but would you still prefer your future spouse to be a virgin themselves? Would this make you question your entire approach of looking for a virgin?

I ask because I've thought about this myself. Even if I get through all of the struggles and find myself a wife that is also a virgin and we get married, who is to say that we won't eventually break up or something awful happens and we no longer can be together? It would all feel like a waste to me because I would have lost my virginity to someone I am no longer with.

How would you get past this? I'm not sure, but I'm hopeful that some of the responses can help ease my concerns about the person I eventually end up with being a virgin like me.

EDIT: Also, my parents got divorced and my mom is currently dating a widower, so I've wondered how they deal with it (I don't think either waited until marriage though). Either way, I feel very uncomfortable asking them of course.

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Hi, thank you for the response! Wow is that a lot to unpack lol.

I guess it would be helpful if I explained myself a little as well. I am religious, although that's only about half of my reasoning for WTM. I just feel very strongly about remaining loyal to my future wife and I view sex as a very serious commitment that should only be done between people that truly love each other. I really want my future wife to also be a virgin because the thoughts of her being with someone else would absolutely torment me as well. The situation I described in my original post bothers me because I really want to be with someone where we are mutually each other's one and only forever. Anything else is just bothersome to me.

I completely get what you're saying about the emotional attachment possibly freaking you out. I've obviously never had sex but when I do get involved with someone, most of the time I tend to get very attached to them and it is very hard for me to get over them when it ends. It's actually been the source of the two very bad depressive stages I've had in my life. I can't imagine how hard that would be if I ever got physical with them!

It was really interesting to hear your perspective on the whole thing. I think in some ways it would be easier for you because you don't really mind if the other person is a virgin, however I also think that (based on your response should your husband die) it might be harder for you in some ways. As I said, I've (naively) fallen way too hard for a few of those I've gotten involved with. It's just something that happens with me for whatever reason. I don't open up to a lot of people, but when I do and vice-versa it can really cause me to have some strong emotions. It seems like it can happen really suddenly as well. Like one day I'll be completely fine and the next my emotions are just completely taking over my brain lol. But anyway, despite falling hard and going through a down time, I've always been able to eventually pick myself up and feel as good as new. It does make me wary of getting involved with anyone for awhile though. In fact, I actually never DO go looking for someone, it always just happens when I'm not looking.

You have a different disposition than me definitely. While I am very strong in so many ways, breakups hit me very hard and I believe death would hit me even harder. I'm actually very concerned about how I will react the first time someone close to me dies.

Why do I feel uncomfortable asking them? Lol well for one, I have never talked to my mother about sex and I really don't want to. She knows nothing about my feelings toward sex and for all she knows I don't have any toward it. This also means she has no idea about my decision to WTM. I don't even know how I would bring that up. It's all just a very uncomfortable thing for me to talk about with family. I try very hard to avoid anything awkward with them, as they have not been the most helpful and easy to talk to in the past. I think the answer is pretty simple though, they don't care as much. The fact that they have each had former partner(s) doesn't bother them.

That is good advice though to try to get comfortable with being in uncomfortable situations. I can be pretty shy, so I've had to work at this and I have gotten better at it. This, I'd rather just avoid however because I highly doubt the ends justify the means. Not to mention, a lot of other people might be able to give me just as good of an answer or maybe even better.

Anyway, thank you very much for the reply! It was very insightful and is much appreciated!

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1. Waiting isn't a waste if you don't waste it.  Are you waiting because it's the right thing to do?  Because premarital sex wrecks your life and makes you have a disordered view of things?  So that you can have time to work on yourself and be as emotionally healthy as possible?  If you answered yes to any of those, it's not a waste.

2.  If you wait for marriage, have healthy dating relationships, do all the work necessary during the part where you discern marriage with someone, and can really trust the person, you are much less likely to get divorced.  Divorce isn't like brain cancer that just strikes people seemingly at random. It's more like lung cancer...you CAN have it happen out of the blue, but if you smoke two packs a day for 30 years, it won't be a huge surprise when you get lung cancer.  Alternately, if you set yourself up for success by doing the aforementioned things, you are much more likely to succeed at marriage.

3. The death isn't something to be ashamed of.  Love is never a waste, and if your spouse dies it isn't a waste.  You didn't waste your love on them, nor did you waste your waiting for marriage. 

4. Virginity isn't the prize.  It's commitment, love, and purity. If virginity were the prize, we'd lose our value after having sex (this is a set of thoughts I struggle with mightily, having come out of purity culture)  My fiance isn't a virgin.  He was raped his first time having sex.  He continued to have sex because he thought "why not?" after that.  This hurts me, but the prize is HIM.  His purity is intense, because after a time doing these things, he realized that it lead to death and destruction and he wanted no part of that.  He turned his life around.  He now stops ME from getting grabby with him, even though I'm a virgin and he's not. 

5.  If he died or went off the deep end and left our marriage, all my waiting and fidelity wouldn't be a waste.  I don't just wait for HIM.  I wait for God, and for self-respect.  If he died and I  dated again, I would look for someone who shares my beliefs and views.  

 

Again, the trophy on the shelf isn't waiting till marriage.  It is WHY you are doing it in the first place.  It is not a waste if you are doing it for healthy reasons.  No matter what anyone else does, you make your own decisions.  Be proud of yourself and don't give up hope. 

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Thank you for the response! That's a really good perspective to put on it! I'm so sorry for what happened to your fiance. That is absolutely terrible and I can't even imagine having to go through something like that. I'm so happy that he was able to recover and become a much better man because of it!

I'll be the first to admit, I'm struggling right now. I'm not struggling because I don't think I'll be able to wait until marriage. I know for a fact that I can and will get there. I'm just struggling with what I can deal with regarding my future wife and also worrying about the possible "what ifs" involved. I'll explain more of my thoughts in detail as I go along.

 

1. That's a very good point! I hadn't really thought about all of those potential benefits leading up to marriage. My reasons for waiting have to do with being pure and loyal to my future wife, well before I even meet her. I want her to know that she was and is the only one for me and the only one I've ever shared this experience with. I also want to honor God and do what is right in his eyes. I know deep down that premarital sex is wrong and sinful. I don't take it lightly and I don't want anyone that doesn't deserve to have that control over me have that control over me. I also am very wary of STDs, which I view as a clear sign that having loveless sex is the wrong thing to do.

2. That's a good point as well. I just know that it is very hard to control other people and over time people change. I've seen it happen, and it has ended up in divorce. To me it would feel like a waste should it happen because it seems just like having a regular unmarried sexual relationship with someone and then eventually splitting up. At the end of the day, in both scenarios, you gave it away to the wrong person and you can never share that pure experience with the correct person down the line.

3. Certainly not. I would never try to say that you should feel shame for your spouse dying. In fact, in this scenario, you likely waited for the right person but God just had other plans for them much earlier than you would have hoped. I just look at it similarly to number 2, in terms of an end result kind of way. If you do end up finding someone else down the line, you can never share that pure experience with them and know that both of you only gave yourselves to one another.

4. You are absolutely right and I know this as well! If virginity were the prize, then it wouldn't matter who we married, so long as they are a virgin. It is definitely the person as a whole that is the prize. While I certainly do not feel as though ANYONE loses their value as a person based on those actions alone, in terms of me being able to eventually date and/or end up with them, it feels to me like they become off limits. Like it ends right there in my mind both because I feel strongly about having that pureness together and because I don't think I could get past it (it just bothers me way too much).

5. You are certainly right. It all would have not been a waste for those reasons. However, it would just seem very disappointing of course and such a scenario would really upset me because of all of the reason I mentioned before.

 

I think my biggest issue is that I have a really big phobia of having sex with someone that is not a virgin. I just find it very unsettling to think that certain things happened. This bothers me from both an emotional and physical standpoint (germs, knowing what happened, etc.). It really doesn't even matter what the case is to me. I don't know what it is. I don't know if maybe it goes way back to middle school when they tried to sell to us that when you have sex with someone you are having sex with anyone they ever had sex with as well (that one hit home hard). It's really difficult, and I'm just trying to work through it.

Thank you once again for the very nice reply.

EDIT: I’m starting to feel like I may need to seek help. I don’t know anyone that thinks the way I do, and I’m feeling a ton of anxiety about everything.

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On 12/16/2017 at 8:13 PM, aj05 said:

 

EDIT: I’m starting to feel like I may need to seek help. I don’t know anyone that thinks the way I do, and I’m feeling a ton of anxiety about everything.

I have anxiety.  Diagnosed, medicated, etc.  There is no shame in getting help.  It is very responsible.  I get help from the doctor, my counselor, my fiance, and God.  
You can change your thoughts.  It is possible!  Sometimes we get stuck and need nudging.  

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I'm not married (yet) so I can only give my input from the perspective of marrying a divorcee/widow. 

I know this sounds harsh, but in almost every conceivable instance, I will not marry a divorcee. I say "almost" because I am open to the tiny chance of an extraordinary situation that may make me reconsider. More importantly, the only reason for the divorce I could accept in this extraordinary situation is if the woman was cheated on and she did not have kids. Even then, I would have to judge on a case by case basis. Because when it comes to the end of a marriage, whether divorce or death, always come with much more profound emotional baggage than a relationship breakup. In the case of divorce, it is pretty common for people to have a suspicious view of the opposite sex. While I can sympathize and understand having that view, I am not keen on having to climb mountains just to prove my innocence for something that I wasn't my fault. Now in regards to the virginity issue, my fear is that she will have negative associations to sex due to her ex-husband. Which could lead to not want to engage because it brings back bad memories.

On the other hand, I am much more open to being with a widow. Because it is more likely to have had a positive feelings associated with marriage, but was cut short due to an untimely death. Though it still has it's unique challenges. As weird as it may sound, the positive associations are also a big fear of mine. When a spouse dies, it is common for the living to immortalize him or her. At times, I would feel inadequate because I would feel like I'm competing with a dead man and I would never live up to the standard he set when he left this world. When it comes to sex, I can see how those positive feelings could be even more consequential than if she had premarital sex. I know this sounds strange, but here's my line of thinking: because she was blissfully married to her late husband, the sex was an even more powerful experience because it has the foundation of marital love. So that intense bond may be etched into her mind much more strongly. Therefore, she is much more likely to compare her next husband to an astronomically high standard that was set to by her late husband. This is bound to cause a lot of intimacy issues because I heard of many widows who struggle with guilt during sex because they feel like they are cheating on their late spouses (even though they are not). This means that her mind and heart is with the late husband and not with the current husband during sex. That would be extremely hurtful for all parties involved.

I know this all sounds pessimistic, but it's how I really feel. I would never hold them not being a virgin against them because they lost it the right way. But that also doesn't mean that the consequences of being a non-virgin are still there and are very real. I know the answer is clear for most people, but there are times I wonder which is potentially potentially worse: The baggage of premarital sex or baggage of marital sex built on pure marital love.

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On 12/17/2017 at 11:33 PM, Lovelyish said:

I have anxiety.  Diagnosed, medicated, etc.  There is no shame in getting help.  It is very responsible.  I get help from the doctor, my counselor, my fiance, and God.  
You can change your thoughts.  It is possible!  Sometimes we get stuck and need nudging.  

Anxiety is tough. I've had a couple of times in my life where it was really bad. It's been fine outside of those couple times but now it is picking up again (even typing and thinking about the stuff I wrote below causes the anxiety to ratchet up again).

I hope I can. I've talked to a counselor a couple times about it. I feel like he is helpful in some ways but also unhelpful. He's tried to minimize the importance of sex by comparing it to the most trivial of things but it's just not realistic. It is very important and will probably always worry me. I just can't take it lightly.

I am just so lost and unsure about what to do about anything. I don't know what I should do, if I'm doing the right things, etc. It's all so confusing and difficult and it's freaking me out. I just figured it would all work itself out but life is crazy. I never even put much thought into waiting for marriage until recently. I always planned to do it, but now I'm just so concerned that things aren't going to go right. I mean all of this on a broader scale than what I'm about to say as well (sorry if I seem like I'm just talking in circles, but this is really messing with me).

I'm not sure if you are aware of my situation, but I've fallen for a girl recently. I've never met someone that seems so right for me and is so much like me than her. Granted we have not yet met in person because she lives a couple hours away, but the connection is strong and she feels it too and wants to meet eventually.

The problem that she doesn't even know yet is that I have a very hard time seeing myself ever being with her because of my problem, despite how badly I want to. Up until a little before we started talking, she was a complete virgin and never had any form of sexual contact. Well, that isn't the case anymore and for some reason she spoke with me about it, describing it without describing it exactly. She apparently met up with a guy a few times and "experimented" despite "not liking him at all". She began telling me about this not long after we started talking (it didn't bother me then because I didn't have feelings) and recently now that we've connected more, she brought it up again (after we professed our feelings). I really don't know why she brought it up again, but it just made things worse.

We all make mistakes, but this just torments me and I can't get these thoughts out of my mind. I know it's way too early but it just seems like my mind could never get past it and seriously date her no matter how much I like her and how much I want to. Like no matter how hard my heart might want her in the future, my brain will likely have a really tough time cooperating... And if I can't be with her, then it will probably do the same thing with the next girl because what are the odds that she is completely a virgin? It just seems like I could never end up happy barring some huge miraculous stroke of luck.

Sorry for rambling on and on. You just seem very empathetic and helpful and it's just been a huge struggle for me lately.

18 hours ago, Invincible said:

I'm not married (yet) so I can only give my input from the perspective of marrying a divorcee/widow. 

I know this sounds harsh, but in almost every conceivable instance, I will not marry a divorcee. I say "almost" because I am open to the tiny chance of an extraordinary situation that may make me reconsider. More importantly, the only reason for the divorce I could accept in this extraordinary situation is if the woman was cheated on and she did not have kids. Even then, I would have to judge on a case by case basis. Because when it comes to the end of a marriage, whether divorce or death, always come with much more profound emotional baggage than a relationship breakup. In the case of divorce, it is pretty common for people to have a suspicious view of the opposite sex. While I can sympathize and understand having that view, I am not keen on having to climb mountains just to prove my innocence for something that I wasn't my fault. Now in regards to the virginity issue, my fear is that she will have negative associations to sex due to her ex-husband. Which could lead to not want to engage because it brings back bad memories.

On the other hand, I am much more open to being with a widow. Because it is more likely to have had a positive feelings associated with marriage, but was cut short due to an untimely death. Though it still has it's unique challenges. As weird as it may sound, the positive associations are also a big fear of mine. When a spouse dies, it is common for the living to immortalize him or her. At times, I would feel inadequate because I would feel like I'm competing with a dead man and I would never live up to the standard he set when he left this world. When it comes to sex, I can see how those positive feelings could be even more consequential than if she had premarital sex. I know this sounds strange, but here's my line of thinking: because she was blissfully married to her late husband, the sex was an even more powerful experience because it has the foundation of marital love. So that intense bond may be etched into her mind much more strongly. Therefore, she is much more likely to compare her next husband to an astronomically high standard that was set to by her late husband. This is bound to cause a lot of intimacy issues because I heard of many widows who struggle with guilt during sex because they feel like they are cheating on their late spouses (even though they are not). This means that her mind and heart is with the late husband and not with the current husband during sex. That would be extremely hurtful for all parties involved.

I know this all sounds pessimistic, but it's how I really feel. I would never hold them not being a virgin against them because they lost it the right way. But that also doesn't mean that the consequences of being a non-virgin are still there and are very real. I know the answer is clear for most people, but there are times I wonder which is potentially potentially worse: The baggage of premarital sex or baggage of marital sex built on pure marital love.

You make very good points. Those are very real concerns, some of which I hadn't even considered. Ugh the more I think about it, the more it feels like I'm gonna die alone though lol.

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What do you mean "completely a virgin"?  If she hasn't had sex, she is in a higher category than 99% of girls out there.  For reals. 

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On 12/20/2017 at 10:18 AM, Lovelyish said:

What do you mean "completely a virgin"?  If she hasn't had sex, she is in a higher category than 99% of girls out there.  For reals. 

There are people, including on this forum I believe, who hold the position that not all sexual acts extinguish an individual's virginity. Some people hold that virginity can only be "lost" through PIV and anything else is a-ok. It is a position that makes no sense to me but it is out there unfortunately.

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On 12/17/2017 at 1:13 PM, aj05 said:

To me it would feel like a waste should it happen because it seems just like having a regular unmarried sexual relationship with someone and then eventually splitting up. At the end of the day, in both scenarios, you gave it away to the wrong person and you can never share that pure experience with the correct person down the line.

It doesn't seem a waste to me if you did the best you could to have a successful marriage. WTM is statistically significant to a marriage duration.  Not sure if you are a Christian but you might want to check out Romans 8:28. I wouldn't say that simply because a marriage ended you weren't supposed to marry that person and thus the idea of waste. In a way it is a different take on the soul-mate fallacy: oops the marriage didn't work out - it must be because I married the incorrect person/not my soul-mate. When this kind of thinking takes hold within a marriage it can be disastrous. While single, we want to do our best to marry the "right" person but when we are married that person should become the "right" person (barring legitimate divorce issues such as cheating and legitimate separation issues such as abuse). I can't remember where I read/heard it but it was in the some marriage course/material - Addressing the question of "Did I marry the right person? (Because I'm not happy/not as happy as I expected/wanted to be in this marriage)" to which their reply was: "If you are married to them they are the right person". Fundamentally it comes down to what you believe marriage is for as it relates to you personally - is it more to provide hedonistic happiness or is it more to grow your character? You might like to check out Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.

I realise you take strong issue with a partner being sexual with others in the past, however, sexual purity does not mean only having sex with one person (after you married them) for the rest of your life it may be the ideal (who knows, it may be in God's plan for you to be married to more than 1 person in your lifetime). If a WTM spouse dies/just divorce and they remarry a fellow WTM widow (or just divorcee) (and they WTM) that sexual experience between them is "pure". That is if you define purity as an absence of sin. Neither party is breaking any moral law. Will it be as exclusive as two virgins coming together? No. Generally, we view exclusivity as a key part of purity while WTMing and while in a relationship/marriage but when it comes to (just) remarriage the fact that someone has had healthy, moral sex with someone else should not, indeed cannot negate the purity of that union. Otherwise we have moral action (marital sex) causing moral impurity!  

I think it is good that you are addressing these concerns of yours and while I am loath to add to your burden in doing so a different angle may help process through it: Remarriage isn't the only possible instance of you potentially having sex with someone who has also had "sex" with someone else even if all the parties successfully WTMed.  What if you wife (or you) were raped after the wedding? 

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They are more vulnerable. The subreddit called red pills has some threads in which men were boasting about using divorced people just for sex. Another time I read a thread on a different forum in which single moms were talking about how it was difficult to find a relationship. Apparently, the men they were trying to date wanted only sex. 

Quote

What if you wife (or you) were raped after the wedding? 

As a healthcare person, I would say the rape trauma is same for both the married and unmarried. 

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