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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:38 pm    Post subject: Not sure what to do... Reply with quote

Hello all. This is my first post on this website; I've read it off and on for the past few years, and am recently discovering I've hit a brick wall. So my thoughts are that I'll start asking some questions and see what comes of it.

My story:
I'm a 24 year old teacher and grad student. My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly 4 years. We had been long distance up until about 8 months ago. About 9 months into our relationship, she revealed to me that her step father had been raping and molesting her since she was 11, starting exactly 1 month after he married my girlfriend's mother. Our relationship obviously changed. We were very fortunate; we discovered that he had held on to videotapes of the abuse, we locked them all in a safe-deposit box, and when she was ready to turned them into the police. A little over a year of many frustrating legal battles, he was sentenced to 20 years in jail. We're lucky - not many people have the satisfaction of seeing their abuser appear before a judge.

The problem:
Our sex life is virtually non-existent. I knew from my readings that it would diminish dramatically after she started dealing with the abuse. After a year of waiting, she finally turned in her step-father, and started going to therapy. Roughly six months later, we finally talked about restarting our sex life. She and her therapist talked about strategies, and for a while it seemed like things were heading in the right direction - we were intimate again! But, that lasted maybe a month, and we were back to nothing. Again, after waiting a few months, I re approached the topic, and things started to improve. But then, back to nothing. I again, waiting a few months, brought it up again. We were able to have sex 3 times* this past July, but now we're back to nothing.

*Please note, I'm not one of those jackasses that counts the number of times I have sex with my partner - it's just that when it's three it's not hard to remember specific instances.

It's not just the lack of physical sex that is frustrating. It's also her attitude towards it. For example, in a matter of 3 hours she thanked me for not pressuring her, then said it was my fault we don't have sex because I don't pressure her, then said it was obvious I didn't want her or find her attractive because I never "make a move." Needless to say I'm frustrated. She's also said some things that have really stung - like "I don't feel comfortable with you because you know, but I wouldn't have a problem sleeping with someone else."

Here's my dilemma - I don't want to pressure her into a sex life, but I also don't want a constantly spotty sex life after we get married, and I hate that what started as a mutually enjoyable sex life has changed into a "sexless relationship" that's frankly, boring.

I've always had to be the one that approaches the subject, which naturally makes me wonder if she's just sleeping with me to keep me happy for a short period of time, and then hoping it'll be a while before I bring it up again (which really seems to be what's happening). I don't want that at all.

What do I do?
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Suzanne
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see that you have not had a single reply, so I will give it a go!

You seem a little like my husband, the only difference is that my issue was there from the beginning of our marriage!

I can certainly feel your frustration with your girlfriend. What you must try and get across to her is that you are not the abuser! My husband has had to tell me this on an number of occasions. You see, it is so easy to see our loved ones as the one who abused us. The only difference is the circumstances, but it is both wanting sex! Obviously, the difference is that now we are the adult and can say no and that can feel good, you know!

The bad news is that your troubles are not going to stop; if anything, they are going to get worse! My husband and me have been married for 18 years and still have troubles with my past!

If you love your girlfriend and want to stay in a relationship with her, then I am sorry to say, but you have to take on what happened to her as it is a part of who she is now! Our pasts mold us - whether for the good or bad!

If you love her, but cannot cope, then you have to get out of the relationship.

I know that I am talking from a survivors point but having been with a non-survivor for so long, I can see both sides.

You did make me chuckle with you saying that you have had sex 3 times! My husband says the same and when I bring him up about it, he says that if he can count how many times, then we have not been intimate that often!

If you want to stay with your young woman, then what you could do is to get to know about sexual abuse and the mark it leaves, then you are on better grounding with her.

It is not a wonder that she is going through such extreme emotions! You have to ride those out with her. So each time she accuses you of not fancying her, just say, actually I fancy you like mad, but can't do anything about it and LEAVE THE ROOM, so that she has to make the next move!

There have been many times when I feel just like a cold fish! Yet, my husband is feeling the opposite! When he starts moaning at me for not being intimate, I feel like yawning and certainly do not feel sexy! However, when he sees this and changes his tactics and starts talking about how sexy he finds me, I start to feel good!

What your girlfriend says about finding it hard to be with you because you know so much, sadly is true, but you can say to her that does not this mean I know how to be with you? When she says something nasty like: I could do it with another person. You should say that it is cruel of her to say such a thing and if she really feels that way, why on earth are you together?

If this relationship is going to work, then it calls for more than the usual effort on YOUR part. Later on: she will have to take HER part.

I rreally hope that I have not caused you to feel more down?

Suzanne
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William
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:01 pm    Post subject: Be Thankful Reply with quote

All I can say is be thankful that your girlfriend has made clear what your future married life will be like before you two have gotten married. That allows you to make an informed choice.

William
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oddgrlout
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey William

I know that this reply is really delayed, but I haven't been on in a while. I have had a similar experience as your girlfriend, so I will do my best to shed some light.

I have been with my boyfriend for about 4 years, and we are very close. We trust and respect one another immensely, and everything about our relationship seems too good to be true, except our sex life. At first we had sex often, we were in a long distance relationship for the first few months. Now I have trouble instigating sex (trying to make myself initiate the experience feels like trying to push a mountain out of my way). He gets discouraged, understandably, being the one who has to instigate every sexual experience. He feels undesirable and as if I don't want him - that couldn't be further from the truth.

What I think is happening is that he has become as close as family, and my family was abusive. Now that our relationship is so familial (we are what we considered married, and are building our lives together) I think I subconsciously associate him with the people who abused me; subsequently, instigating sex makes me feel ashamed, but mostly terrified. Having sex with a new partner is not difficult for me because we are not family, and I am allowed to enjoy it a little. It's unfair and misleading for my partners.

My boyfriend is patient and loving, but no one person should have to provide all the patience that a survivor NEEDS (it's astronomical). For that matter, no one should ever have to suffer abuse in the first place. The whole thing is unfair. This is really verbose, but I think that only you know if you are able to handle her issues, and not sacrifice yourself and your happiness in the process. If you want to make it work, you will need help. These forums are a great place to start. I am in therapy, and hope that one day soon I will be brave enough to deal with the intimacy issues in couple's therapy. I have found some books for survivors and partners of survivors for my boyfriend to read, so that maybe he will have a better understanding how #$$% up and confusing and inconsistent the effects of sexual abuse are.

If you are not already in it, I suggest going to therapy. She needs to for sure. I hope everything works out for the both of you.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all--

I know it's been well over a year since I first posted. I apologize for the lag time and am appreciative of the comments that I've gotten.

A bit of an update...
In December 2009 through February 2010, things got much better. My girlfriend and I were able to make love about once a week to once every two weeks. A vast improvement and we really felt we were on the right track.

Not sure what happened, but after the first weekend in March, she hasn't been able to experience any physical intimacy. Sadly, it's the last week of the 2010 year, and I can't even kiss her without it feeling awkward.

Up until the last two weeks, she has also blatently ignored any conversation about the subject. I'm not sure how this happen (frustration on my part, her part, or both), but she's usually very angry and the time spent together is usually of me listening to her complain about relatively trivial matters of her day (she spent over an hour on Thanksgiving yelling about the person that cut us off in a parking lot - I'm not making this up).

Sadly, it took me explaining that I can not marry her if we can't have a full relationship - one that is emotionally and physically fulfilling for us both. The good news: a conversation started! She admitted that she has absolutely no sexual impulse whatsoever, that the complaining was because she was frustrated with me not taking enough of an interest in her, and that she feels that I'm disinterested in continuing the relationship.

I explained that I no longer have a drive for her -- she's basically become like a sister to me -- a boundary has been set up to prevent physical intimacy and I feel extremely uncomfortable crossing it.

Now, in the midst of the holiday season, we're having almost daily conversations of whether or not we'll be able to ever do anything about this. She's understandably very upset. She is convinced that we can get better. I'm not so optimistic - we've been sexually 'dead' for 4 in a half years (we've been together for five). Frankly, I'm tired of trying to make things better - as I've had to be the one that initiates every conversation about us.

My dilemma - I feel like a failure to her if I end this relationship. Like I'm letting her down after everything that's happened. Is there anyone out there, both survivors and their partners, who can offer some insight? I don't want to hurt her, but I really doubt things are going to get any better.

Thank you all so much!
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aman_brown_16
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly if you don't think things are going to get better then they probably won't. It sounds like you have kinda made up your mind and already decided what you want to do but just don't want to do it. If she feels like a sister to you thats not really how you want to start your marriage. I think you really need to sit down and think about whats going to make "you" happy. Don't worry about her or anything else. What can you do to make you happy. I know this is basic advice but i hope you figure it out. good luck.
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Erico
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I have learned over the past months is that .... My guilt about quitting, more has to do with all the things I'm repressing.

all the things I'm doing to "Rescue" her.... things I don't say to not hurt her feelings.

what I'm learning.... is that if I let it out.... I'm super surprised at the outcome. it's sometimes even healthy.... even very healthy.

I say stuff like "Stop Lying to me, this is ridiculous. You don't even lie well."
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erico, could you elaborate a bit? I feel that you may be speaking a major truth that I haven't come to realize, but want to clarify.

Honestly, I'm about ready to call the relationship quits. But I feel this intense guilt every time I come close. Not just in breaking her heart, but seprating myself from her family after they spend every holiday reminding me how thankful they are that I never walked away when times were so bad.

i'm smart enough to know that marriage right now is out of the question. I'm not trying to sound shallow - but I just can't see myself marrying someone who does want me and can not feel comfortable being sexual around. It can't work, and it really doesn't seem like she's taking any initiative to make it better (she's avoided calling her counselor for over a week now).

Every single one of my friends is encouraging me to walk away, but I feel that I have a certain moral obligation to stay with her and be supportive. And walking away from that just raises all of this guilt -- so I'm trying to think about what it is that I'm repressing.

And I've started letting out my frustrations -- she only cries and gets mad more.

Thank you for your comments and advice - Happy New Year!
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aman_brown_16
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can tell you are a great person but your first moral obligation is to yourself! It has been great what you have done so far but if you are trully not happy and are sacrficing some of yourself, that is not a way to live. I hope that you are able to sort things out, amking lists and talking to a non biased party can help.
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shaddowcaster
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

-s.

Last edited by shaddowcaster on Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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