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Oprah Special, girlfriend of potential survivor
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caringfriend
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:49 pm    Post subject: Oprah Special, girlfriend of potential survivor Reply with quote

I have been dating a man on and off for 2+ years and we have been exclusive since last year at this time. After watching the Oprah special where a wife explained that her husband had been distant, she always felt that something was off, they had no sex life, etc it hit me that my boyfriend and I have all those same issues. He is extremely distant, we have NO emotional intimacy, he has so many walls towards me I can't even explain it.

So I thought that maybe sexual abuse may have been something he has been through. In fact, even though I was never abused, I have close family who have so I know the damage it causes and I suspected my boyfriend had experienced this even before watching this Oprah special. I had asked him several months ago if he ever experienced abuse and of course he said no. But now I feel like he has even more.

What can/should I do? If he was not abused of course I do not want to accuse him. And if he was, I don't want him to feel like I am accusing him of doing something wrong, BUT I can not continue living/feeling the way I do. I deserve real/true love & intimacy just like anyone else and I can not continue to suffer because someone may have struggles they are not ready/willing to address. I love him with all of my heart and I fantasize about him letting down all his walls and being what I need but like I said I can't keep living like this and expecting a change.

Can anyone give me insight on this issue?

Thank you!
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onetruelove
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caringfriend,

I am a newlywed that recently found out my husband in fact was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Once he told me, so many of our problems made so much sense. Some of the same exact issues you mentioned occurred/occur in our relationship.

If you gave him the outlet to talk and didn't, don't push the matter. He may not have been abused in any way and there is another reason for his actions. He also may not have faced it yet, it took my husband 20 years after the abuse to tell anyone (me). After 2 years I would imagine he has had time to become comfortable enough and trusting to talk to you, but perhaps he's just not ready.

Honestly it's impossible to tell you what is best for your situation. But consider your own happiness, you don't seem happy...can you continue to live the way you are living? You do deserve true love and all the things love should be. Even if his reactions are due to sexual abuse and he does tell you; I can promise you things will not immediately change. Dealing with or recovering from sexual abuse is life long. The affects will continue to impact his life and your relationship. It's a scary thought sometimes to me, but I see someone deep down in him that deserves me to keep loving him; at least until we've tried every avenue for help. You will have to face the possibility that the wall may never be broken down. I feel your pain, honestly I do, but only you can decide what you can take. Leaving the relationship will not make you a bad person, nor giving up on him; you simply have do what is best for you.
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tbear
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
I just joined today hoping to be able to talkt to other wives and girlfriends about living or being married to a man who has been sexually abused. I won't get into my whole story just yet just wondering if you want to chat with me.
TBEAR
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Mae
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been there.

My husband disclosed childhood sexual abuse in our 3rd year of marriage.

Many of the signs I now know as red flags were there at the time, but I had no idea what CSA was about, so had no context to understand the behaviours.

I lasted 17 years and finally left.

What I wish someone had told me then: "No matter where the behaviours come from, you need to decide how you want to be treated, what kind of marriage you want. Once you have decided, ask for it, insist on it...and if you don't get it, move on."

Because our partners suffered so in their childhood years, I think we tend to justify their hurtful/withholding behaviours, and feel guilty about wanting more.

I wish I had taken a harder line much earlier, and insisted he change the behaviours that sucked my soul and ruined our marriage.
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tbear
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess the big question is what is right for me. I think of my life with and without him and it is scarey to leave. Where do you start and how do you tell your husband you can't stay anymore and you cannot support him anymore. I need to be a stronger person maybe that day will come becasue you are so right this nightmare will be with him and with us forever. He will shown how to cope but no one can take the pain of abuse away it stays forever with you until you die.
I am not a very strong person right now and I have to think about my children too. They love their dad and would not want to leave. Since February of this year I feel like I am on a rollar coaster and I am not getting off any time soon. Sometimes there are really big hills and turns on this rollar coaster and then the hills get smaller for awhile.
My husband will actually tell me that I look like I have had it and I do not want to be with him anymore. I do feel like this alot but I just tell him no I'm fine just tired. I guess I am just lying to myself again.
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nowherewoman
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I decided early on what I was willing to take and what I wasn't. My husband knew. No drug abuse and no abusing me and or my children and if any of that occurs there is no recovery. Don't cheat on me. That stuff was easy and I have never had to confront any of those things, but I think I would have easliy left had I had to but it's the other stuff that was hard. When I started feeling alone and unwanted and I started thinking this is my life "my life if I stay with this man is lonelliness" That was were I had a hard time. I had to ask myself can I live with this? I can't and I told him but you know I can wait if I know he is getting better. I also knew that if I got myself help I would be stronger. And I really am getting stronger. And what is interesting is my husband seems to be blossoming seeing how much better I am. I think for him there is less pressure. I think he also use to live in constant fear that I would leave and now he feels that less.
What I am saying is set your own boundries. Yours may be different than others and then tell him what they are. Decide if you can wait for him to get better. Decide if you can be happy with small victories. See what you can do to get stronger. Maybe he wasn't abused but you still have the right to tell him what you need and you still have the right to say "YOu need to work on this or I can't stay" If he was abused all that does is explain things it doesn't fix things. Therapy might help either way. Books might help either way. Whatever it takes tell him he needs to do something or you can't stay. Either that or except him for what he is now if you can't and he isn't willing to atleast look into something and you aren't willing than don't put yourself through the pain.
The best thing I ever did was to stop worrying about whether I would stay married to my husband. I now know that if the steps we are taking don't work I will leave but you know they really seem to be making a difference and no matter what now I have a plan. I don't sit and cry because I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. (I still cry but I remind myself you know he is doing better or I am handling this better) If I can keep seeing those things I know we are making progress and for me that is enough to be with someone I love. I know we are getting closer to the right place. If I couldn't see that I would leave.
May I suggest Therapy for yourself just to clear your own mind and get your own values in order. For me it has made the difference. I have strength I didn't have before.
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Erico
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that was really perfect.... It all sounded very spot on!

My new one is "Let it happen".... stop trying to manage things... if you want to have the conflict... do it! Stop being co-dependant... and start making me happy.

The fulfillment of Managing or fixing.... isn't worth it. And the growth that you make happen by stopping the "Enabling" is amazing.

in fact... the things you are trying to fix... tend to get better... if you just talk about them... and stop enabling the problems to continue, by managing them. The danger is you are about to engage in a "conflict" and things can get heated.... but the conflict needs to happen, and if something violent happens... You need to deal with it... I need to have "Healthy conflict". Avoiding the conflict isn't going to make things better.
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aman_brown_16
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
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Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sit and read all these and just cry because it's so hard and the stories are all so similar. My husband and I just started the process of him opening up about his abuse and it has been sooo difficult. Throughout the day I will just start crying. Everyday I question and doubt our relationship but I also love him dearly. I am reading book after book and trying to find groups to talk to but it is hard, nothing exactly helps and its hard to find groups that exist in my area. I feel helpless. I am just stuck in this rut of decisions I have to make. Tbear I am also new to this forum and this is my first act of reaching out to connect with other partners and i hope it helps me to make the choices I have to make.
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Erico
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hurray.... More people Smile
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Salehope1
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too am crying after reading the recent posts and your question/concerns about your boyfriend. My ex was abused by older boys in his neighborhood when he was 11. He had repressed all memories of these events until attending a men's, spiritual retreat through our parish. He told me about his abuse on the last day of our counseling session stating that this is the reason he had been emotionally distant during our 19 year marriage and never "happy". All I could do was sob. We've been divorced for 6 months now and I've been in therapy for the past 3 years dealing with the fall out of the end of our marriage. My ex is unable/unwilling to seek support in dealing with his childhood abuse. Please save yourself years of pain, lonliness, isolation and therapy....take care of yourself. My ex, our children, and I are all suffering from these childhood events.
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