Interview With a Successful Waiter: IanApril 8th, 2012 by Mike
Check out our interview with longtime WTM.org community mentor Ian, a happily-married man in his forties who talks about what it was like back when he was a young college student waiting till marriage for sex. Ian has been a source of hope and insight to many us in the WTM.org community, and now you can read more about his story and discover great tips on becoming a successful waiter.
- WTM.org: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
- Ian: I go by Ian – and I am (gulp) 49 years old. I’ve been married almost 1/2 my life at this point! I met my wife at the ripe old age of 23, we started dating (eventually not immediately!) and were engaged 2 yrs later…. and I was 26 when we exchanged I Do’s. We have 3 daughters and are very blessed.
- WTM.org: Do you remember when and why you decided to wait?
- Ian: I’m not sure I remember a time when I didn’t expect to wait. This question made me think back – and remember that while I was anxious and nervous and sometimes embarrassed if the conversation with friends went that way… I never really even thought otherwise (maybe until I was very engaged to my wife, and the reality kind of creeps on you a bit).
My parents didn’t talk about it; we were regular churchgoers and I don’t really remember a heavy push on [waiting till marriage] in church; so the truth is, I never remember being coaxed one way or another. It was what I wanted to do, it felt right for me because I just never expected to get all sloppy casual about dating or about sex, so I knew it was right for God and I knew it was right for my eventual wife.
- WTM.org: Were you super-religious as a teenager?
- Ian: This is a great question because the typical cycle seems to be the rebellious years of teenager/college are when people wander a bit from church – or study/question – and they wander a bit on their values trying to figure out where the line is on everything.
I went to church most every Sunday probably until middle school… then maybe every other week. I was in the high school choir at church – which was a blast – and then dropped that as a junior in favor of school activities.
I tried to read the Bible – but found it “challenging” to say the very least… but I did it successfully in college in Religion courses I took and loved. By then I was seeking an even deeper underpinning to what I believed, but all that hold that church takes in you as a kid definitely held me through.
I knew bunches of kids who discovered religion almost as a social thing as a teenager – this is probably a common occurrence across ages – there’s a suddenly very religious group in school that wasn’t there 10mins ago… I never quite connected with that group as it seemed very fanatically put on, as opposed to grounded to values and having grown (in me) over time.
I didn’t really understand until much later – that the reality is… everyone pulls on the mantle of faith and religion when and how they’re ready. For the record, I still consider myself religious, very faith-oriented and grounded as a happily-practicing Christian (Protestant).
Church to me an expression of your belief, and obviously some people attend regularly and some people don’t. I think in the course of our lifetimes we probably each go up and down in our cycle of church attendance.
- WTM.org: Did you date in high school and college?
- Ian: Ha! I often think that in high school I wish someone had “taught” us how to date! It all seems terribly easy on The Brady Bunch and Disney shows and the like!
In high school, I tended to “group date” – at least until senior year. A group went to a dance, a group went to a party, a group went bowling, etc. I very much remember my first kiss (8th grade to be technical) to a girl I liked very much :-).
But I didn’t really “date” until senior year with a girl I really liked, who in the end liked me (but not 1/2 as much I liked her).
My first big lesson in the hazards of reading into relationships more than exists. We made it lightly to 2nd base… I have gobs of awkward dating stories – including awkward dating conversations with my mom who was well-meaning in trying to figure out about my (lack of a) dating life – and I would be happy to share in a side forum for any who need a little commiseration!
College was different, and college is where I learned to date, or more accurately, college was where I learned to have a girlfriend. I dated infrequently over my four years, but had two serious girlfriends.
I didn’t much like the idea of dating just to date or just to go out on a Saturday night – there were dorms of friends to do that – so when I dated it was with the idea of maybe finding someone to really hang onto.
First girlfriend was serious… and she was a waiter, and on more than one occasion said she would have liked losing it to each other (we obviously didn’t).
Second serious girlfriend was less serious, and frankly because I was less serious, we never really got further than 2nd base and I was happy about that.
In truth, not only was I not a casual-sex person, I wasn’t a casual-date person, so I had to learn how to communicate, how to know who wanted to do what, and how to help when a good ear or shoulder was needed.
Dating is hard work! I had 3 more girlfriends in my twenties, with the third one being The One.
Girlfriends in my twenties were more serious about having a relationship and really being with each other… but no one pressured too much on the waiting front. For the record there — and I hadn’t really thought about it until answering this question — none of the 3 (including my wife) were waiters. And none pushed me – especially not my wife.
- WTM.org: Do you remember having any doubts about waiting till marriage?
- Ian: I think like everyone on here I had my doubts along the way. Not so much about whether it was the right thing… but more sort of borne of the dreaded inner fear (that I suspect many of us have)… will I die a virgin? Will I be so old when it happens that it won’t be like if I had it done it when I was young(er)? Will I have ANY IDEA how to do it when it finally happens?
I’m able to laugh about it now – there REALLY is no reason to fear, because, like breathing… you DO figure it out and it does come really wonderfully naturally with the right person.
At the time, yes I suppose in the wee hours of a lonely weekend night, no date in sight, roommates with dates or girlfriends, roommates having sex… oh sigh. It ALL conspires to give everyone doubts doesn’t it?
I never waivered in my decision. Doubts that crept in made me sometimes feel a little isolated or a little lonely… but doubts never begged me to revisit that decision.
But I never waivered in my decision. Doubts that crept in made me sometimes feel a little isolated or a little lonely… but doubts never begged me to revisit that decision.
The other side of those doubts though is when you really do find someone you love… someone you think you might marry all the way up to someone you are engaged to be married to… and then the doubt of waiting can creep in, depending on how far you’ve gone… how long you’re engaged for… or just the natural slippery slope that happens as you begin to really know and understand that this is the person you’re going to spend your life with.
So some of those lines can get reallly reallly blurry as time passes after engagement but before marriage. I never doubted about waiting even during that time, but there were a few occasions where it got a little closer than I intended (just being honest here).
- WTM.org: When and how did you meet your wife?
- Ian: I met her in graduate school. It took us almost a year of getting out of our respective other “entanglements” (meaning other boyfriends/girlfriends) before we felt fully able to date each other.
She was nice, and a little flirty, and teased at me as much as I teased at her… but she also was the first girlfriend I had who really looked after me when I didn’t feel well (sick) and hung out happily with my friends and… well… one day you look up and realize you’re completely and happily entrenched in each other’s lives beyond just that person.
- WTM.org: How did it feel to finally meet “the one” after waiting so long on exactly that? Did you know right away, or did it slowly dawn on you that this was who you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?
- Ian: It was definitely a slow dawning – not because she wasn’t anything less than terrific from the start… but because I was in my twenties and wasn’t really “shopping” for The One.
I just wanted a really good grown-up relationship. I didn’t expect that a good friend would one day (happily) morph into being a great girlfriend without the benefit of formal “dating”. And maybe that’s really The Big Lesson here.
I spent a lot of time with my wife – informally, in groups, at school, away from school, and in a way we never started dating and in a way we never weren’t dating. We grew closer as friends and closer physically (without getting too far).
My best friend knew we would end up together and getting married long before I did. And of course so did my wife. Note to the guys: we’re often the last ones to know. LOL.
I think we just get very practical or we get very romantic (either/or)… we don’t necessarily think like girls do about whether this is the one I’m supposed to marry, until she’s really fully upon us.
I do recall vividly knowing the moment I knew I wanted to marry her. Away on a trip. Up in the middle of the night sort of wrestling with sleep. I got up… washed my face… looked at myself in the mirror… and I knew. A little voice from God. And it was done. I knew we were to be together.
It took 2 more months to figure out asking her, and screwing up the courage to ask her and all that other good stuff. But it was definitely a slow dawn… because there was never a moment I didn’t think about her and there was never a moment I thought of really being without her by my side. Sometimes it just takes you a moment to see what’s there in front of you clearly.
- WTM.org: Was your wife also waiting till marriage?
- Ian: No. She didn’t. She told me early on. She had really only done it within the bounds of two long relationships, one of which she knew was going to lead to marriage (it didn’t obviously).
I admit. It hurt. It bothered me. She said she wished she could take it all back 100 times over, but it was what it was — and she was 1000% with me — but that I needed to figure out how to let it go, or get beyond it, because she couldn’t undo it, but she wouldn’t do it again.
It honestly took me a while — I was just too insecure about would she be disappointed, would I be inept, would there be comparing.
And then she pointed out something very important to me: she asked me if I had deeply kissed and physically been close to anyone. Answer being of course I had. And she asked me if I thought about those when I was with her. Answer being of course NO I hadn’t. And I saw her point.
We were in love with each other. We were WITH each other. The rest of it slides to the background and falls off. And from that question onwards I got better about it and stopped putting it up like it was an obstacle. I know all of that was still a bit like comparing apples and oranges, but it gave me a way to feel more concrete about putting the past aside, listening to her intentions and regrets and commitments in the present, and focusing on us in the future.
- WTM.org: When and how did you bring up the fact that you were waiting till marriage? How did she react to it?
- Ian: We got increasingly physical over time as we really did get closer as a couple. We fell asleep one night on the sofa watching TV, woke up hours later in the middle of the night, she held my hand and said why don’t you just stay over, and I said “to sleep”… and she said yes. And we did.
We woke up in the morning, and I said thank you because I really take that (meaning sex) very seriously. I didn’t fully own up to WTM, but she understood (she later told me, she knew fully that I wasn’t ready, and so she wasn’t ready either).
After that, as we got heated up physically — or as far as we would customarily go — I would pull back at a certain point, and then after a little bit, she would actually pull back at that point, and I knew she was fully supporting me.
It got much more difficult after we were engaged but before we were married. We took weekend trips together; it just got more difficult. But through it all, she was infinitely supportive of the stopping line, until very close to the wedding; I recall her getting very frustrated about it — we weren’t NOT going to get married!
There’s a point where [waiting] moves from commitment to Important Symbol. And that’s where we were maybe 6 months before our wedding. We made it to the bitter end, but I will say it DEFINITELY got more challenging simply because once you really say you’re going to marry somebody, and you’re with that notion for a few months, it becomes so real, that you leap into the future of truly being connected.
That’s not a rationale, but it is probably a tiny bit of a watch-out for everyone about the most difficult part being the final stretch when you’re with somebody for real.
- WTM.org: During the time you dated your wife up until marriage, did your waiting cause any issues? What about the fact that she didn’t wait? How did you get over the hangups?
- Ian: I kind of responded to this above, but I do have a funny story in the middle of this about “issues.”
After dating someone for a long time and then getting engaged, I think the general world just sort of blanketly assumes you’re sleeping together. The oddest moment for me came in taking her to my parents’ home one long weekend for a visit — and we were in the last 6 months before the wedding — and my mom asked if we wanted to sleep in the same bed!
I flinched realllllly quickly saying NO — two rooms please I can’t imagine that in my childhood home! She was meanwhile I think trying to play modern mom… and the funny thing is she said my dad would’ve had a bigger problem if we had slept in the same bed, but that she was fine if that’s what we wanted. Awkward doesn’t BEGIN to describe how I felt that day!
But I laugh about it in retrospect as I wonder how we will tackle that issue when it’s one of OUR daughters somewhere in the future. I answered above about how the question she asked about kissing other people helped me get over some of the hangups about her not having waited, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also say I prayed a lot about it. Could I, should I forgive her? Was it realistic to draw some line in the sand about Virgin-Only?
I had to do a lot of listening on this topic, and I asked a lot of God to help me either put it aside or make it the Single Big Issue. My listening with faith and forgiveness and belief in human free will and choices brought me to the point of putting it aside — and I can honestly say that after that last conversation, we never spoke of it again. Never. And I was happy about that.
- WTM.org: Many non-waiters argue that the wedding night will be akward for those who wait due to lack of experience. Without graphic detail, how was your wedding night and honeymoon?
- Ian: This one’s a snap. It was Fantastic.
So let’s get to the good stuff. We ALL know the mechanics, and while I hadn’t gotten to “practice,” it DOESN’T MATTER. You fumble, you aren’t sure, you touch things you haven’t touched LOL.
And it all goes just fine, as long as you take your time, and remember to truly LOVE each other through it, not just get to The Act. Lots of tenderness, lots of touching, lots of kissing.
Hopefully I’m not being too graphic, but guys, you just want to make sure that she’s properly “ready” (meaning she’s a little excited so that when you really do become one there’s no pain, there’s just ease and feeling very nice).
I am happy to go into more detail if someone wants (I will, I promise, if this is a real question for any of you).
[Mike note: You can reach Ian directly via the forums if you have detailed questions]
Time #1 was phenomenal. Not because it was “amazing” — but because it was our first time, and my first time at all.
Time #2 was phenomenal because it seemed a little more natural, and a little easier. And so on and so on. You don’t do it perfectly, but you do it willingly.
You don’t do it flawlessly and you don’t read her mind fully… but you do it eagerly and with passion and with care. And guys, I promise you, it will be Fantastic. The only awkward moments were or could be two… so I hasten to point these out so that I don’t just sound all glossy about how great it was!
Awkward moment #1 is in actually getting naked. If you’re never done that before with your husband/wife — and many of you I know don’t want that to happen until that night — taking your clothes off fully can be a little agitating! Take it slow and easy… and marvel at it all. Honest.
Awkward moment #2 involves birth control. If you’ve got that taken care of ahead of time, great. The pill is obviously easy and doesn’t stop the moment at any time. Most other birth control may take a pause step for you, and I just encourage you to not treat it as some horrible game-stopper or mood-killer. It’s all part of it. Take it slow, laugh to release any of the embarrassing feelings, and never lose sight of how cool it is to finally be that way with each other.
- WTM.org: Are you glad you waited?
- Ian: Without a doubt. Never a regret. Best choice I ever made that was just about me. And best choice I could have made to wake up every morning with a clear conscience until the morning I woke up next to my wife and had a ecstatic conscience.
- Any advice for all the single waiters out there?
- Ian: Oddly enough… your choice can stress other people out. Some of you have already described some of those situations. Your parents don’t get it. Your friends think you’re being silly. A boyfriend or girlfriend along the way thinks you’re not serious.
A decision that you think is so intimately personal can turn out to make other people feel odd or funny or confused, and that’s probably NOT something you were expecting when you thought it was really just about you and where you wanted to stop!
My advice is to be aware that that might happen — and not be silly about it. It matters to other people that you’re not sounding self-righteous, that instead you’re making a concerted effort to follow your faith, or to follow good judgment, and that all you really want is to give a gift to your future husband/wife that is unmatchable.
My other big piece of advice is in fact about dating non-waiters. I would just really ask you each to consider that everybody figures things out at a different pace and in a different path.
Already on here [the WTM.org forums], I have encountered people who were not previously waiters, and now intend fully to wait; and other people who have been married, and it did not work out, but now intend to wait. And I think everyone on this website deserves our full support of where they stand today — as waiters — no matter how they got here.
This website isn’t For Virgins Only; this site is for those who have made a categorical choice and decision that they don’t want to have sex until it is with their husband or wife. And for that, I am thankful — so I will happily embrace each one of you for the decision that you made that brought you here — regardless of whether you have never kissed, or whether you have literally done everything short of full intercourse. What matters is where you stand at this moment – and how I (or you) can help each other toward the goal.
- WTM.org: How do you think you avoided never finding anyone and dying a lonely virgin?
- Ian: I’m laughing! Two answers – both serious, but they will sound like i’m being flip.
First answer: I never considered that I wouldn’t end up getting married and thus, having sex. Never. I always expected that I would eventually get married! I just believed that I would find someone to spend my life with.
I didn’t believe in Fireworks Going Off In My Head type stuff – but I did believe in finding someone to be side by side with for all the years to come.
So I never really considered that I wouldn’t at some point – young or old – get married.The second answer is about knowing who I was and am. I was and am a loving person. I love my friends — guys and girls.
I have never been afraid to let my friends know they matter to me, and that I adore them even when they piss me off LOL. And because I knew I liked and loved my friends, one day, maybe without me even really fully “trying,” I would meet a friend that would become more than a friend. And the happy ending to my story is that I did.
- WTM.org: Ian is a frequent poster on the WitingTillMarriage.org forums. You can hang out with Ian and lots of other cool waiters by registering for a free account. See you there!
If you’re a successful waiter and want to share your story like Ian did, contact Mike via the forums or send me an email here: mike [at] waitingtillmarriage.org.