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#320250 - 01/26/10 02:02 PM Relationship with a survivor
JPhopeful Offline


Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Tampa Bay Florida
Hello,
I am a 47 year old gay man, and I have been developing a relationship with the most wonderful man in the world for the past seven (7) months, and we have been friends for just over a year. We are very compatible in many ways, with common interests, and our personalities mesh well. Bottom line is: I worship the ground that he walks on, and I hope that our relationship grows, and we are together forever. I saw that sex was clearly an issue for him right from the start, which honestly was a disappointment, but he is that great of a human being to get hung up on something like sex. After a while, with sex about once a month, and obviously not satisfying to him, I became concerned that he just wasn't attracted to me. I had lightly brought up the topic of sex a number of times, but it was clear that he was uncomfortable talking about it, and I didn't press it.

Last Saturday night, after we both drank too much, he asked if the lack of sex was bothering me, and we ventured into a discussion about our relationship and sex. He then told me that he had been sexually abused at a very young age by a family friend that had babysat him and by his older brother. Also, his father was physically abusive with sexual overtones. He also said that he has never told another person about this, not even his ex-partner of 17 years, nor has he ever gotten any professional help. We've seen each other every day since then (which he initiated), and has commented that he wished that he could "erase everything that was said on Saturday". I've not pressed the topic at all. He is pretty clearly uncomfortable with me, but has not avoided me at all, but has initiated having us spend more time together than usual.

For about two weeks prior to this, he had been giving me some signals that the relationship was moving too fast, and basically said that there was little chance that we would have a permanent relationship. At the same time, he makes sure that we see each other every day, acts as if we are in a serious long-term relationship: Wants us to start a business together, introduced me to his mother and other relatives,involved me in his Church, etc.

He is very closed to talking about most feelings issues, so I can't imagine bringing up the topic of his trauma with him.

At this moment, I feel like I need advice in these areas:

1. How do I be supportive of him while letting him know that I will give him as much personal space that he needs ?

2. How do I know that it may be the right time to bring up the topic of getting professional help ?

3. How do I try to keep things as "normal" as possible (before he disclosed the sexual abuse), when things aren't normal?

4. How do deal with my own panic that he will never be able to develop a relationship with me - now that he disclosed his secret?

5. Any books, articles or other learning material that might help me to help him ?

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and any advice or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

John


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#320255 - 01/26/10 02:33 PM Re: Relationship with a survivor [Re: JPhopeful]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
john, welcome to malesurvivor and kudos to you for wanting to be so helpful to this special person. looking at the way you describe the situation, your relationship seems to have all the classic signs, and they're mostly mixed signals.

he wants to be close you, but he pushes you away. [this is most likely a need for emotional closeness, and probably his deepest unmet need]. pushing sex will feel invasive to him [actually even the thought that you require sex from him will be enough to remind him of being forced into sex acts in the past], and merely trigger old stress around his abuse experiences. because that is the nature of abuse, that we were forced or manipulated into complicity, and it is almost impossible, unless with a lot of recovery work, to see sexual advance as anything other an attempt to overpower and revictimize.

1. How do I be supportive of him while letting him know that I will give him as much personal space that he needs ? have no expectations

2. How do I know that it may be the right time to bring up the topic of getting professional help ? the process cannot be forced. you can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink....cliche, i know, but so apropos for the situation, unfortuantely

3. How do I try to keep things as "normal" as possible (before he disclosed the sexual abuse), when things aren't normal? there is, and will never be 'normal' for the survivor

4. How do deal with my own panic that he will never be able to develop a relationship with me - now that he disclosed his secret? you may do better to ask this question in the family and friends forum where others with spouses and partners can give advice on this question alone

5. Any books, articles or other learning material that might help me to help him ? tons of them

if he asks for information, tell him about this website, and recommend he read and lurk a while. perhaps that may inspire him to begin working on dealing with the legacy of abuse.

there is a recommended reading list in our library.

also a must: 'victim's no longer, by mike lew' and 'abused boys' by mic hunter. also, soon to be hot off the press is next newest publication 'evicting the perpetrator' by our own ken singer lcsw.

also, there may the question of whether he is truly homosexual, or rather confused because of his abuse experiences. the best thing you can do, is be a friend, on his terms, and only interested in his mental emotional and spiritual health and well being.

take your cues from him as far how to proceed.

i commend you for coming here on his behalf to see if he is ready for the solutions that are to be found in the recovery process. but go easy on him, and yourself, because once the recovery gong has been rung, there's no turning back, and you must be ready for anything to happen.

hoping for all the best for you both,

ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#320286 - 01/26/10 10:55 PM Re: Relationship with a survivor [Re: Sans Logos]
JPhopeful Offline


Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Tampa Bay Florida
Thank you very much for the feedback and direction. It is very helpful.


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#320752 - 01/30/10 06:18 PM Re: Relationship with a survivor [Re: JPhopeful]
Aberrant30 Offline


Registered: 01/29/10
Posts: 139
Loc: I live on the Emerald Coast, F...
oh john, boy do I know. My lover M and i have been togther for six year's, and I knew about his sexual abues right off the bat. We borke up, we made up, we made out, and fought over sex like you wouldn't belive. This was befor i started dealing with my own abues, i would say things like "why can't you just get over it." (YEAH YEAH I KNOW GUYS duh..but i was younger and stupider)"why does sex always have to be a battel." I said someting even worest, maybe some day i'll talk about this fight in more detail. What it came down to is this, M was hurt, prorfoundly so..your lover has been her profoundly so. You should try to comfort and love, curess and touch, give him control and let him know, that sex isn't a violent and ugly act. Sex is a act of love, fun, excitment, it's like..a Roller Coaster. "Don't you wanna fall, don't you wanna fly, don't you want be dangeled over the edge, of this acheing romance.." Thanks Matt Albert

_________________________
"The beginning of eternity
The end of time and space
The beginning of every end,
And the end of every place."
Hint: It's in front of you right now.
(Formerly known as Aberrant30

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#321096 - 02/03/10 03:07 PM Re: Relationship with a survivor [Re: Aberrant30]
JPhopeful Offline


Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Tampa Bay Florida
Thank you very much for your comments. It's interesting that you suggest to gentle and caress him, since that seems to be what he enjoys most - sitting on the couch and me stroking his arm and head. He could do it for hours (and so could I). A couple of days after telling me about the abuse, I told him that I just had to tell him 2 things: I love him very much. I don't NEED sex from him, nor do I ever feel entitled to it. He said that he appreciated it, loves me too, and said he NEVER, EVER wants to talk about the subject again.

I know that I have to go very, very slowly with things, but any suggestions on where I go from here would be appreciated.

Thanks,
John


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