The results of the latest young adult fertility survey (YAFS) are out, and it’s no surprise: a little more than one in five teenagers are no longer virgins.Senator de Castro called it “a sad truth,” and “contrary to established conventions on Filipino sexuality,” but I beg to differ. We’ve been sweeping the issue under the rug for years.
When I was in high school, a rumor went around that a classmate’s younger brother got a Povedan pregnant. Since the so-called “Goldilocks girl” was still in grade school, her parents made her go to the United States to deliver her baby there. The classmate’s younger brother denied any relationship with the girl, and so the girl’s family sued him in court.
Or so the legend goes, and the legend is twelve years old today.
The other day, A, the daughter of an old friend of my mother came to visit. She was in the area and thought it best to stop by.
As we talked about life’s twists and turns, she told me of her soured marriage, her impossible husband, and her mother who was more in love with her husband than she was.
She also told me of how she felt pressured by her mother to marry her husband because she had just given birth to her husband’s first offspring. A’s mother, on the other hand, was more than willing to go along with the whole procession, I think not only because the husband’s family was willing to shoulder the burden of the wedding, but also because she was afraid that her daughter would never be able to attract a decent man once she gives birth to a child out of wedlock.
With her marriage, A resolved that she wouldn’t end up separated from her husband or as a single mother, unlike all her friends who entered into marriage before they were ready. She also resolved that her baby grow up in a complete family, one composed of a father AND mother.
Sadly, it took all of one month for A to realize that she made a mistake in getting married. Her husband’s promises of support and stability were just that – promises. Marriage and his offspring were not enough to change his priorities as he kept his fast lifestyle, never mind that the money he spent came from the efforts of his wife.
That marriage happened in June, 2001. Since July of that year, A has been trying to find a way to have that marriage dissolved. She left her husband that month, together with her baby. She hasn’t heard from him since.
Although she considers her leaving him the best decision she’s ever made in her life, she regrets ever having married, saying that she missed out on so many opportunities just because her husband was such a controlling individual.
A is just two years out of college and is still legally married to her husband, even though they live across town.
I talked to B, a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in three years, recently overYahoo! Messenger(TM). Her long-time boyfriend had just called it quits, mostly because of my friend’s colorful past. He said that he couldn’t accept her as she was, and was probably better off with someone who could be comfortable with her libertarian ways.
Of course, this is in blatant disregard of how my friend has changed over the last three years. Since that time, she’s cut almost all ties with her past. When he asked her to choose between her friends and him, B chose him. Eventually, she had to delete all the names of people her boyfriend was insecure about, including yours truly. She made her world revolve around him, never mind that they were intellectually, geographically, and philosophically poles apart (she’s from Manila, he’s from Davao; she’s a liberal-minded person, he’s a macho conservative who thinks that women ought to stay at home and make babies — at least that’s what I think he thinks).
The reason he gave for finally leaving was that although he could forgive her for sleeping around before they met each other, he couldn’t forget.
Now, in Thailand for training, she feels lost and alone. She feels bad about herself for having such a past that the man she loves can’t put it past himself. She lives in self-loathing and despair. She’s also lost all her self respect. According to her, “I’d do anything to hear him tell me he loves me again.”
The worst part is that she blames herself. “Perhaps I didn’t love him enough. If only I didn’t do those things when I was younger, maybe he’d still be with me, but I know I wouldn’t love him as much as I do if we didn’t meet when we did,” she muses. “I don’t know why I should feel bad about myself, but I do. I won’t give up until he tells me it’s over.”
Funny thing is, he said so already.
Since I’m one of the people who tend to make their relationship rocky (he’s insecure about me for some odd reason), B’s asked me to refrain from contacting her until she gets him back.
As I write this column, B’s ex is cruising the streets of Davao, trying to forget that he ever had a girlfriend, drinking himself silly and, according to B, flirting with every single woman he can find.
It’s driving her insane in Bangkok.