How can a virgin get over the disappointment that her boyfriend isn't a virgin?
I am female in her mid-twenties and a virgin. A childhood friend of mine moved back to the city we grew up in, and we became friends again, attending church and Bible study together. Over several months we became attracted to each other, and he indicted that he was interested in me. I told him we should not make it official until we both prayed about it. I had surgery and was laid up for over a month; he visited me every day, and we both prayed about it throughout my recovery. Near the end of the recovery he texted me that he made a mistake "a while back" and wasn't a virgin. It broke my heart because I never suspected that he would have had premarital sex and assumed it happened years ago. I talked to him about it later that day, and he said it was when he returned to the city we live in and there was temptation surrounding him at the college he attended. He said he was at a low point in his life because his ex had dumped him, and he didn't have the funds to finish college where he'd been attending out-of-town, which forced him to move back to the city where we live now. It hurt and shocked me to know it had happened after he met me, and we were friends at the time. He said he felt nauseous afterward and made a promise to God to only have sex with the woman who has his wedding ring on her finger. He asked me out the next day and I agreed to be in a relationship with him despite being in pain over what he shared. I care about him very much; yet, knowledge of what he confessed to me has dampened my joy of being with him and made me feel insecure. He tells me "you are the only one that I want" and I love him, yet feel that the relationship cannot progress to marriage unless I can truly forgive him and heal from the hurt it caused me.
I have more than one question: How do I know if I forgave him? I have prayed to forgive yet I still feel hurt. How can I tell if I'm grieving what could have been (both of us marrying as virgins) or harboring bitterness? I don't know how to process what he told me. It feels like it is eating me alive inside. It is hard to imagine ever being "over" it.
Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision to release the person from any obligations to you and to not hold what he did against him. Feelings come and go. They change. But the decision to forgive someone of a sin they committed against you and have repented of doing isn't an option. "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15). God never said to forgive only if you feel like it.
If you can bear with me, I want to point a few more things out that you need to see. This man did not sin against you, he damaged himself. "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (I Corinthians 6:18). When he did it, he knew you, but he had made no commitment to you. What he did was wrong, but it wasn't a slap at you. You are disappointed because your expectations were not met and your pride has been wounded. Neither of those are good motivations. You set a goal of perfection, at least in one area, and now you realize that you can't always get perfection.
God wants us not to sin. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2). But sin still happens. Does God abandon us for sinning? No. What God looks for are people who will not stay in their sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:8-2:1).
I think you should treat your boyfriend in the same way. Don't look at the mistakes he has made, but rather at the man he is and is committed to be. He regretted his sin and he has turned from it. He didn't have to tell you about what had happened. It is to his credit that he did, seeing that you put such strong emphasis on sexual purity. He knew it was important to you, and he didn't want to deceive you even indirectly. He risked losing you because he respects you.
Don't take this as encouragement to put blinders on. You are aware of a potential weakness in his character, so plan on dating him for about a year and see how he does. If he tries to get you to have sex with him or if he strays from his commitment, then I would strongly suggest finding someone else. But if in that dating period he stays firm, then you know it was a momentary weakness that he has addressed. Don't remind him of his past mistake -- you both know it happened. Instead, I want you to be observant and make an impartial judgment.
Thank you for your prompt and thorough response. I appreciate that you pointed me to Scripture. I am going to write those verses on flashcards and look at them every time negative feelings arise.