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I am struggling with dating since leaving a conservative religion

I was expected to remain a virgin until I married a boy from church. At 23, I have rejected this lifestyle, but my attempts to meet a potential partner have failed.


‘I am worried that my nerves are showing.’ Photo: Guardian Design Team.

I am a 23-year-old woman who is having trouble navigating the secular dating world. I grew up in a religious family where the expectation was that I would marry a boy from church, in a no-sex-before-marriage setup. This was complicated by my not liking any of the few guys on offer – and by my occasional attracted to men.

The upshot is that I have never been on a date, not even a Christian one. Since leaving religion recently to find a love and mend my soul, I have been attracted to and tried to show interest in some guys, but it has not been reciprocated.

I am worried that my nerves are showing. My atheism has created conflict with my parents, which I know will worsen if I date a non-Christian. My mother is obsessed with me remaining a virgin. I think I have complexes about sex myself. I am starting to despair. Any advice?

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