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#219321 - 04/20/08 03:31 PM Help and advice please!
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2016
Loc: durham, north england
This afternoon, I had a rather confusing phone call and I'm not sure what i should do or feel. the only thing I'm certain I'm feeling is scared!

the phone call was from someone I'll call c. I've known C for two years now and we've been friends, she was in the production of the Sorcerer I was involved with last year, and this year she was on the back stage crew of the Mikado (in fact she was responsable for hanging me while I was playing nanki-poo, Lol!). sinse she's seriously in need of cash at the moment, I've also employed her as a research assistant with my grant (I employ several people), so I know her reasonably well.

Last June, she broke up with her bf (someone else I knew), whome she'd been with for a while.

There's a production of the sorcerer on next wednesday, which she just invited me to see, ---- and to go and have dinner first. Is this a date? heck I don't know, I don't even know how I feel abou her. Are we friends? yes, ---- are we platonic friends, ---- I honestly can't say. usually before I've known when I was in love very deffinately, but now I don't, and usually I've fallen for only girls who had bf's. I'm now wondering if this was, ---- as memory vault suggested, because they were safe.

my self-isteme problem is acting up and insisting that C can't possibly have feelings for me, but my independent logic and recent recovery attempt is getting in the way and presenting evidence.

For one thing, when I explained to C the dificulty I had when I fell in love with **** last november (the aftermath of which caused me to begin my recovery), she became quite irate when i said **** was the first girl I'd ever tried to ask out, and that I wouldn't ask someone out unless I was in love (it was an act of desperation with ****), she said that you (the general you), would ask someone out just if you were interested in them, and as I said was very firm on the point.

At the post-production party we hugged and she kissed me on the cheak, but because I was adrenalined up to the eyeballs from getting off stage this was fine (i hugged a lot of people that night), but she also hugged me two weeks ago, ---- which caused me to utterly freeze, because of my phhsical contact thing. she then tried a brief, one armed shoulder hug last week, which again made me mildly panic.

We've talked a lot about many things, and she's always been frank about stuff that's upsetting her. previously, I saw this as being immotionally upset, and though I always tried my best to be kind and sympathetic, i felt a distance. Sinse I've been dealing with my own problems though, that distance hasn't been there. Otherwise, she's a really compitant person (and a startrek fan), and I've now come to realize she can easily talk about what she's upset about because she's so in touch with herself.

Her last Bf was a very artistic person, ---- in fact a professional composer, and I've got the impression from some things she said, that he was paying more attention to his compositions and creative projects than to her. But it seems to be a fairly amicable separation, ---- i've seen them together sinse then and they've been perfectly okay (even friendly), towards each other, and from what I've seen of C I can't imagine her being at all immotionally unstable, though of course what people are like in public is sometimes different to how they are in private.

she's also a very tallented actress and stage director in her own write, and is auditioning for the royal drama school (sinse she's now finished her degree).

So firstly, there's the problem of me believing that this compitant, strong, highly tallented and most deffinately together girl could possibley be interested in me.

then, there's the problem of communication. my T suggested I just tell her the truth about my Sa, ---- but that just feels wrong and I'm afraid she'd run off sinse it's a pretty major deal, even if I only give her a vague outline such as that I've given my parents and my phd superviser. My parents suggest that if she initiates anything physical, I just tell her i'm really bad at physical contact, ----- which would certainly be the truth, but again, I'm afraid she'd take this the wrong way and assume I'm not interested in her, ---- and I don't know if I am or not at this point, and probably won't know unless I start thinking of her in that way and getting around my self-isteme thing.

if she sits around and waits for me to try something, ---- we're sunk, because of the stupid social convention to do with males initiating things (god I hate! that one), or maybe she's already done as much as she can and it's up to me, ---- that's certainly my parents view, ---- they've met C and deffinately approve of her, though as my mum often says whoever I end up with she'll be happy as long as I am, I'm not sure about this one.

then of course, I really don't want to cause C any trouble. I've read posts in this forum about how much difficulty having a partner dealing with Sa can be, and I really don't want to do that to C, ----- or indeed to anyone, I'd want her to be happy, sinse if she wasn't, I'd be very unhappy myself.

so what do I do? I can't help myself panicking at anything physical, I know we're friends but have a nasty suspicion I might be feeling more for her, I've got one part of me suggesting she might have feelings for me and another not, and I'm really not sure what I should do.

If she'd just verbally say something, ---- the way I did with ****, and the other two times I've fallen for someone, things would be alright, ---- but I don't think she will.

there's also part of me wondering if now is the right time, ---- bbut at the same time the fact that nobody has ever to my knolidge felt anything for me is something that's brought me more pain than I can sy over the passed eight years, and i've always felt that if somebody did it would be fantastic, ---- even if the physical bit would take a lot of work.

Can someone please give me some advice here. I know most of the couples here have been together for ages, ---- but surely there was a point when you first met? how the heck did that work if the bloke had such a physical contact issue? is there anyone else around my age (25), who's got passed this sort of thing and if so how?

I really need some advice here!



Edited by dark empathy (04/20/08 03:37 PM)

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#219330 - 04/20/08 05:07 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: dark empathy]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
Luke,
I am not your age but I can weigh in on a few things. First off I have to say honesty is always best in this particular situation. Obviously she is interested in you and in getting to know you better. I would go to dinner if I were you and just see if you can fathom from her body language and conversation what her intentions are. She may just be lonely from the break up and want some male company. Or she may have had her eye on you for some time.

If she just wants company so be it and the pressure is off. You can get to know her in a relaxed comfortable atmosphere with no pressure. If she is interested in a more committed relationship, then you need to sit down with her and let her know the various obsticals that might be in the way of a deeper relationship. Sort of a this is where I am at. This is what I am dealing with and I am willing to make a go of it if you think you want to.

Second you need to understand you are an attractive, intelligent, talented, and respected person with wonderful friends and family and a lot to offer someone that would see that and be willing to work through a few issues with you to be with you. I know you find that hard to accept but the evidence is clear.

So take the first step and find out all those questions you listed above by having dinner and a show and see where it wants to go. You want this I know you do and you deserve it. The worst that can happen at this point is you make another close friend.

you friend across the pond



Edited by Freedom49 (04/20/08 05:09 PM)

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#219332 - 04/20/08 05:17 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: dark empathy]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Dark empathy,
Breathe...I can actually feel all the anxiety through your post.
You have known C for 2 years and she's invited you to dinner and a show. She obviously likes you and enjoys your company or she wouldn't have extended the invitation. I don't think you have to put too much thought into whether this is a date. It doesn't matter. You also don't have to decide now whether or not you love her. It's way too soon to tell.
If you have alot of issue with touch as a trigger, you should consider telling her. I can tell you that, not knowing anything will automatically lead her to believe it's about her. Everyone has self esteem issues, if they say they don't, it's a lie. No matter how fabulous she is, if she makes any kind of move and you don't respond in some way, she'll take it as disinterest in her. You can decide what and how much to tell her, but in all fairness to her, you should tell her something. Communication is always best. If you read through the posts in F&F, I'm sure you're aware that for most of us, it's the lack of communication that screws everything up.
Take it slow, you don't have to decide immediately if you love her. Go out, relax,(Yes, when I tell him that, he laughs, shakes his head and looks at me like I have 3 eyes!)
Take it slow and enjoy yourself. But for what it's worth, tell her something about the touch issue. In our case, he waited a long time and I went through alot of sadness over it.
Best of luck!
Liv


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#219362 - 04/20/08 06:51 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: Liv2124]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2016
Loc: durham, north england
Thanks people, ---- really thanks! this one is driving me up the wall I didn't plan to, but I'll be taking a nightol tonight, sinse otherwise I doubt I'll sleep.

I'm really sorry about the age thing Roger. A feeling I've had for quite a while, ---- admittedly quite probably a really false one, is that there must be something wrong with me even compared to other male survivers, sinse all the people here seem to have, ---- or at least have had, partners of some de>

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#219377 - 04/20/08 08:13 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: dark empathy]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Dark empathy,
I just want to share some thoughts that occurred to me while I was reading your most recent post.
Again, I believe that she obviously likes you and enjoys your company. She asked you to the production. You mentioned that she broke up with her last boyfriend last June, almost a year ago, she'd most likely be back in that relationship by now had she experienced any regret over it.
You mentioned that in the past you have always known quickly if you were going to fall in love with a particular person, maybe the fact that you're not sure this time is a positive thing. Falling in love is the easy part, staying in love takes patience and work. This is a new beginning for you and an opportunity to try out a different approach. Taking time to talk and get to know each other. Doing it this way might prevent some anxiety trying to determine what her intentions are. In your favor is the fact that you described her as being open and comfortable with herself and her emotions. If you invest too much thought on all the possible scenarios that might happen, you'll get yourself to a point of being SO anxious that you won't be able to enjoy yourself or focus on what's actually going on.
Your de>

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#219429 - 04/21/08 04:50 AM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: Liv2124]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2016
Loc: durham, north england
Thanks Live.

I don't know about love being quick. it's always been with girls I've been friends with first, always taken quite a long time, and always been very obvious to me. Getting to stage one has previously taken me betwene 8 or twelve hours in someone's company, ----- either alone together, or in a relatively small group. Stage 2 has previously taken about 20 -30 hours, stage three even longer, ----- yes, I have worked out the exact mechanics of this process very precisely.

sinse I was 17 and actually started to considder things (with my abuse stopping at 15), I've been at stage three three times, stage 1 8 times, and stage 2 about five times, ----- usually once a year, and always with someone I've been friends with first.

After the first two stage 3 occasions, ---- both of which were with girls who had bf's, I learnt to cut things off as early as I could to avoid some very major pain. I'm really sorry if this sounds utterly strange and bizarre, it's just the way I work, and obviously it's a process I've studdied and analyzed in detail sinse it's something that's caused me so many problems.

I do know C fairly well, we've spent quite a bit of time together, and up until now I've just thought we were friends and not much more. It's only sinse I've started my recovery work sinse last november that I've been begining to entertain other possibilities, which as you say is probably a good thing, though it's really terrifying me!

Your deffinately right about me not second guessing. One thing my blunt spoken friend said about me was that I'm very intraspective, ----- in her opinion sometimes rather too much so, though she's fairly certain if I ever do actually end up in a relationship, that will stop this.

I've also realized that because of my abuse, my problem with physical contact and with anything to do with the S word is very much more in evidence with girls around my age and younger, ----- in fact one reason I think things went so wrong with **** last november was that I found out she was 30, and thus she felt a lot safer. C on the other hand is 24, and fairly young looking, so problematic.

I really appreciate the help with this one. My friends have been great, but while they understand that I have hang ups, I don't know if their quite as familiar with the cause, ---- and discussing this sort of thing with my parents isn't that easy, sinse they spend so much time (as they did previously), assuring me that all the physical stuff is fine and guilt free and nothing I have to worry about, ---- without actually getting the fact that because of my abuse I am! bloody worried about it irrespecitive of what they say.

About the work at the relationship, I'm reminded of the George gurshwin song, ----- "nice work if you can get it, and if you can get it tell me how" ;D.

sorry, I do actually take your point that it does require time and commitment, ---- but that's something I really! feel I want to try working on, and feel I could if I could just get things started with the right person.

I've often said to my best male friend, if one of us was female, or if I was gay, we'd probably be together, or very heavily desire to be, and he absolutely agrees.


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#219585 - 04/21/08 10:17 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: dark empathy]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
dark empathy,
I can assure that 29 years into a relationship with a survivor, NOTHING sounds utterly strange or bizarre to me. Our relationship for the 29 years has been and still is, a work in progress. There are steps forward and steps back. At times, I'll admit, it's difficult to remain optimistic. He issues often result in his shutting me out, and although he has always come back, it leaves alot of lonely time in between. He also isn't addressing "recovery" persay, he's more "in denial" and truth be told, if I were not a firm believer in hope, I'd have walked out a long time ago. He's 43, you're in your 20's. You'r alot further than he is, and he was 7 when this occured. I have mentioned this site to him, but he's afraid of it. I give you ALOT of credit for achieving what you have.
I can tell how badly you want this, and you deserve it. I can also tell how much anxiety you have. I can feel it. You have to ...BREATHE... Sounds stupid, I know, but as I've been trying to teach him, you have to be able to "ground" yourself. You have to get to a point where you can maintain focus on what actually is happening, free of your fears of what MIGHT happen, or what COULD happen... It isn't easy, I know, but it's essential if you want something to work.
From your post, I get a positive feeling about C. She's known you awhile. She's inviting you. This is good. (A woman's opinion, of course)
I am going to tell you this though, and this is coming from someone involved with a survivor for 29 years. I WISH I'd known the root cause of the touch issue long before I did. This is why I've been so insistent that you come up with something to tell her. He didn't disclose anything about the abuse until after we'd been together for 14 years. Whenever I touched him, his response was as if I were dipped in sh-t. It left me feeling as though I wasn't good enough, pretty enough...it was awful. When he finally disclosed, it explained alot. But it also brought to mind things that I, myself, said or did, that I would've done differently, had I known.
We are still, to this day, working on the "touch" thing. There are unspoken "rules" we live by, most that we've come up with together. I'm not a perfect person by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes I'll touch him on the arm and he'll jump 10 feet in the air. He gets mad at me for making it happen, I get mad because I shouldn't have done it, etc. etc. etc.
You can certainly bring up the touch issue without bringing up the csa, if you're more comfortable doing it that way. Your main focus is to let her know that it's an issue that isn't about HER. And when you feel comfortable enough to disclose, you'll have already set the stage.
I can understand to a degree, your anxiety about this. But what I've come to realize is that MOST of his fears, most of his anxieties are about things that would NEVER happen, and in some instances, about things that have happened in the past that will NEVER happen again. Because he's not 7 anymore, because he's an adult now, etc. etc. I know his fears are based on very REAL things, but he's unable, at this point, to put them in the perspective of his life now that he's 43.
Your closing statement brought tears to my eyes, because he once told me that if I were a man, his life would be complete.

Don't ever underestimate how far you've come already.
Liv


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#219611 - 04/22/08 02:54 AM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: Liv2124]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2016
Loc: durham, north england
Hello Live.

Thanks again. i really appreciate your opinion as someone who's so commited to a surviver without being a surviver themselves, it's really helpful to me to get that perspective. Reading your posts here and in the realizations thread, I can't really comment on what's going on with your partner sinse it's just totally outside my experience or knolidge, ---- but one thing I really feel is your frustration with not being able to make a difference to him, ---- but I can say you've made a difference to me.

Part of my problem with just relaxing and trying to just let things flow, is that that's what I've been doing for 8 years now, and it just hadn't worked. One thing my best male friend was saying last night, is that because I literally trreat everyone of either genda the same way, it would be easy for someone to interpret this as not being interested. I'm fairly certain i can spend a nice evening with C on wednesday, have generally interesting chats about stuff, ----- but that's as far as it'll go, because I physically don't know how to show that I'm interested, or to understand that she might be, even if she is. I love my friends, their wonderful people, ---- but for so long I've wanted something closer with someone, wanted something more.

to me, the fact that I'm male is about as significant as the fact that I'm five foot nine. i don't even really think of myself as a man particularly, I'm just me. If I were to pick a sterriotypical view that sutes me better, I'd probably pick female. I'm not saying I'd want a sex change opperation or anything like that, I just know that in most things, I tend to react and feel in a much more sterriotypically feminine way than masculine. Admittedly I do lift weights, am a perfectionist (particularly about my singing voice, my writing or other creative projects), tend to be violently individualistic, and quite opinionated, so it's certainly not total. I'm absolutely happy with this, and occasionally have had rather weerd conversations when blokes accuse me of behaving like a woman, to which my usual response is "yes, and the problem is?"

Ironically, in a very similar way, my very close blunt spoken female friend would say she's probably closer to the sterriotypical male view, does viking reenactment and clobbers people with broard swords in her spare time, hates to appear weak (I've cried in front of her but not the other way round), and doesn't care about other's feelings if she feels she's in the right, and doesn't give a dam about her appearance (she used to wander around colidge in a dressing gown, including going to breakfast). Saying that, she's a lot more compassionate than the usual larga lout as well, which is probably why we get on.

While ethically of course this is all fine, one thing that's started to occur to me in my recovery is that's not the way other people work, particularly in terms of having relationships. I've realized that there's something, some way of showing interest, some form of communication which people who are interested in each other show that I just can't understand, pick up on, or do anything about myself.

I know your supposed to learn this sort of stuff as a teenager, --- but that's when my abuse was all happening, so in this hole area of communication I'm probably stil about eleven years old.

My best male friend is similar as far as genda sterriotypes go, but he says himself he can know fairly certainly when someone's interested in him, ---- he's been living with his fourth gf for the last five years, and will be getting married next year. sometimes, I almost feel that he's the way I would be if I hadn't had the abuse.

On the three occasions I've reached stage three and things have got drastic, I've ended up in a real mess, blurting everything out to stop my head exploding, even though I was certain on those three occasions that the girls in question had very perminant bf's. The last occasion on November the eleventh with ****, I ended up literally crying all over her, and I knew she felt a lot of sympathy towards me , she just didn't share my feelings towards her.

that's part of the reason I posted this thread in friends and family rather than in the Male survivers forum, sinse I want to know about that sort of communication, particularly when one person is a surviver of abuse and has trouble in that area, ---- though I fully understand from reading other people's stories, that reactions to this sort of thing can be very different.

I'm really sorry about being generally weerd, it's just the way I am. I don't know if it's a consequence of the abuse or something else, but one thing I've understood is it's now causing me problems interacting with people I might be interested in. Thanks again for reading all this, and I'm really sorry about sticking all this down here.



Edited by dark empathy (04/22/08 03:21 AM)

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#219971 - 04/23/08 05:53 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2016
Loc: durham, north england
well, I thought I'd give a report sinse I've just got back, sorry about the double post. C turned up at my flat early and we watched the production of the Mikado on Dvd. sinse she was in the back stage crew, she never got to see all of it.

there's one seen where nanki-poo, aka me is in the>

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#219975 - 04/23/08 06:01 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: dark empathy]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
DE, I am glad you had a good time. That is the way things are supposed to start out. Just friends with maybe feeling something more. Give it time to grow slowly at your pace. Become good friends first, able to talk about anything, then see what developes. She sounds very nice.


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#219979 - 04/23/08 06:19 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: dark empathy]
Denniss Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 25
Loc: California
Luke,

Surgeon General's Warning: I'm no expert \:\)

It's clear there is a unique friendship and bond between you two.... and it's also clear that you are experiencing stronger than normal feelings for her. You can analyze this to death or simply let the dance (however mild or wild) continue at the pace you are comfortable.

One thought is to simply set aside some "chat" time with her and conduct an honest dialogue exchange between the two of you. Obviously it takes a level of mutual trust and respect but could go a long way if you both were willing to have such a conversation. In the spirit of remaining candid and respectful, you could explore each other's interest and feeling.... not just about each other but about a broad range of topics.

It feels like the SA piece should wait until you feel safe enough within the relationship.

Breathe and enjoy the dance.... one step at a time....

_________________________
Always,
Dennis

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#219981 - 04/23/08 06:27 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: Denniss]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
DE,

I'm so happy to hear that you had a good time but even more importantly, you sound so much more relaxed than in your first post. I may be reading you wrong, but it's what I see. You don't have to be in love and she doesn't have to be in love to enjoy each other's company and friendship. Could it turn into that? maybe. Could it not? sure. But would it be awful either way? It sounds to me like you've got a good friend who will respect you and your boundaries, letting you ease into your comfort zone as you find it. Whether she stays a good friend or develops into a girlfriend, she sounds like a keeper to me.

ROCK ON......Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#220032 - 04/23/08 09:08 PM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: dark empathy]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
dark empathy,
I have to admit, I was elated to find that you'd posted the outcome of your evening, (and from where I'm standing, I'd say it went just the way it was supposed to!)
I do have to tell you, there really isn't ANYTHING I'd say was "generally weird" about you. You strike me as similar to just about everyone else I know. In the end, we all wish and want for similar things. We all recall and block out parts of our life that we wish never happened or that we wished we could do over again. And bad things happen to us that we have, or had, no control over.
She definitely likes you. She has now invited you to lunch. And you found a great means of introducing the touch issue. Perfect. It's not about her.
You do not have to be any more certain of her feelings than you are of your own. Take it slow. Like they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day." It takes time to get to know someone. You don't have to be in love with her today either. It could be, (and I'm just playing devil's advocate here) that the last few times you thought you were in love, it wasn't love at all. You certainly wouldn't be the first one to make that mistake. I, myself, believed I loved the man I went on and married. It was 8 years and 3 kids later when I started to notice the neon sign over his head, blinking "Mistake". The way you describe your evening does sound promising. You're attracted to her. You had a good time with her. These are GOOD things!
Always,
Liv





Edited by Liv2124 (04/24/08 05:28 PM)

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#220395 - 04/25/08 11:16 AM Re: Help and advice please! [Re: Liv2124]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2016
Loc: durham, north england
thanks people. It's funny, we can talk about a lot of things, but I'd be afraid if we discussed feeling with each other. in fact, one thing I'm wondering now is that all the people I've had really deep conversations about myself and my feelings with are people with whome there was no possibility of things going further. I always come across as the very open person, people say so quite often, but what I'm now starting to think is that maybe there are parts of myself that I really don't want to share with others, ---- and I don't just mean the abuse. I can't even imagine how I'd get into that sort of conversation with her though.

As to the times I've been in love before, well as I said, I've managed to cut it off at stage one or two myself. But the three people I've got to stage three with, I'm stil certain there was something genuine going on there. All three were close friends I'd known for quite a while. two years in the first case (which was only a year after my abuse), and about three months in the other two cases.

In fact I saw **** last night and there was stil a reaction in me. We stood around and had a fairly in depth chat and a good laugh, and yes, despite all my feelings for her caused me, there's stil something there within me, ---- and something more than I feel for C at the moment, even though I've known C for quite a bit longer than I've known ****. In fact one difficult thing which is going to come up soon is that in our next production, my character is married to ****'s. I'd request a change of parts, accept that time is very short at the moment, and anyway a good performer should be able to leave personal feelings off stage, ---- heck, in The Mikado, I actually had to be both terrified of, and largely beaten up by a girl, which is dangerously close to my abuse, but as it was in the>

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