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#353181 - 02/09/11 10:03 AM Any thoughts?
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
My bf told me about his abuse early in our relationship and I have been as supportive as I can be. As we got nearer to the point of settling down and thinking about our future his issues with abuse grew stronger (it seems this has been a pattern in the past). He began therapy and has had to go to 'dark places' as he describes it. He now says he must deal with this alone before he can move forward, he does not want to use me as a crutch.
I suppose I'm wondering if this has happened to anyone? I've read alot of posts about partners supporting each other and how they couldn't have made it through without them, so I'm just wondering if it has. I worry about him daily and the things he has to face and just want to help as best I can. And if I'm honest I worry about me too and being left behind.


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#353190 - 02/09/11 01:13 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
Awake at Last Offline


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 77
Loc: Chicago Land
worldscentre,
The fact that he got more upset about abuse issues as the relationship got more serious is something I can identify with. It doesn't mean he is backing off. It means that he has serious issues with intimacy and that thinking about settling down and making commitments brings it on. If he has begun therapy that is good. Going to the dark places means he is starting to deal with memories and feelings that he has pushed away for a long time, but he now needs to go there in order to make progress.

I can understand that you feel shut out and that you want to be supportive and that his apparent withdrawal is troubling. But your support may now feel like pressure. He has to deal with this at his own pace. If he continues with therapy and exploring his issues he is on a path. I would recommend giving him space an time, for now. He will turn to you for support when he wants and needs it. So I would try to be patient. But stay in touch here. You can get some support and insight in the meantime.

Hope this helps a bit.
Jim


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#353243 - 02/09/11 09:28 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: Awake at Last]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
From personal experience, the more space you give him, generally the better. Honestly, the fact that he is doing any kind of therapy is HUGE. That is very brave of him and he obviously wants to learn to stand on his own two feet. Give him time to do that. It is very wise of him to work through that as much as possible before getting in a relationship. Be there to talk when he wants to (about casual things or the more serious issues). Take care of yourself in the meantime and use this time to learn more about yourself. We are here to support each other so please reach out as you feel necessary. MS is a lifesaver, as I've said many times before. :-)

-Hope


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#353257 - 02/10/11 03:19 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: hopeandtry]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Thank you very much for your comments and advice. I have friends looking at the situation and just see the backing off part, not the issues that led to it and they dont understand and obviously I will not tell them, so its good to be able to discuss with people who understand.
He has gone to therapy before but it was very sporadic and this time he is seeing the therapist regularly so I suppose that is why issues are being brought to the surface that may not have been realised before. Some of the issues are very scarey for me so I can only imagine how they feel for him. But you are right I have to respect his wishes and needs and step back.


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#353260 - 02/10/11 05:31 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
head&heart Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 17
Loc: Chose the hard place--left the...
I have not posted on this board in a long time, although I read daily. I have read many, many posts from partners that describe the painful distancing so common in relationships with survivors. I have 27 years of experience as the partner of a survivor and I have to admit that the consistent message has always been the same ... Back Off! This has been true under all circumstances, at all stages of life, whether he is pursuing healing or running in the other direction. For a partner this behavior can be very hurtful and isolating. Give him time to heal, just as the above posts have suggested, but remember that the "come here...go away" relationship cannot go on forever or it will become entrenched. Love is a two way street. Continue to love but with the just expectation that you will be loved in return.
While you wait for your love to be returned, read and learn from this site and all its contributors. Just remember that a lifetime of waiting will do neither of you any good.
Hang in there.
H&H


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#353266 - 02/10/11 08:17 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: head&heart]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Thanks for your post. I dont want to turn this into something all about me, but I have to realise I'm just as important in the relationship as him.
I get so angry at what happened and how someone could do that to him, and I feel helpless. So I am keeping my distance but as I said I worry about him every day. I'll keep checking in here as its a great support.


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#353268 - 02/10/11 08:54 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
SunnyGirl Offline


Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 79
Worldscenter,
In addition to coming here, I would suggest two other things: (1) buy some books about sexual abuse ("Victims No Longer", "Beyond Betrayal" and "Allies in Healing" were helpful to me) -- learning as much as you can can help provide you comfort and make you feel less alone; and (2) consider seeing a therapist regularly for yourself. I did not do this right away and having the feelings you have starts to get too difficult to bear alone. Your bf's abuse doesn't just impact him. It impacts you, too, causing you to become a secondary victim. You cannot tell your friends about the abuse so you find yourself saying half truths to explain what is happening and why. Suddenly you have a secret like your bf does. It can be overwhelming to deal with and figure out how to cope. You need a safe person to talk to about these things. While I find MS to be very helpful, it has been through the help of a therapist specifically trained in trauma and abuse that I have made the most progress. Having someone to talk to open and honestly makes a huge difference. I don't feel nearly as alone and misunderstood.

SunnyGirl

_________________________
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

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#353307 - 02/10/11 02:43 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: SunnyGirl]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Therapy is something I will look into, again thanks for the advice.


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#353308 - 02/10/11 02:46 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
I used to feel guilty for getting angry with him, knowing it's not his fault but having no-one else to turn to. So maybe learning and understanding as much as I can will benefit me and him.


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#353447 - 02/12/11 02:54 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
Friend2help Offline


Registered: 12/25/10
Posts: 39
>>>>>>>You cannot tell your friends about the abuse so you find yourself saying half truths to explain what is happening and why. Suddenly you have a secret like your bf does. It can be overwhelming to deal with and figure out how to cope>>>>

Man..can I relate to this!! My guy friend and I are having a major "need to back off" time. Neither one of us wants to let go...but we are saying hostile things. Even though he said he needed us to JUST BE FRIENDS and I was just fine with it..I KNOW there were feelings on both of our parts...he has said MANY things implying so....he has shut done and says he is "fucked up". He says my friends must think he is a jerk and an asshole....I , of course won't tell them anything about the CSA....but he is going thru a tough divorce..so I blame it on that...which IS A LARGE part of it..but I KNOW it all stems from CSA.....and I know he is in a LOT of pain, but he won't let me in to help...because he says..I just want to rescue him and make it better. WELL YEAH..I do.....he has had extensive therapy..for the CSA..but not for the divorce..which he NEEDS....it's tearing us apart and I read here about BACKING off..and I know that is what I must do and HAVE done....I just wonder when and IF he'll come around. AHHH this is a tough road, full of such sadness.

I agree the books mentioned are helpful..I read 2 of them and have read a lot here...which has helped!


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#353448 - 02/12/11 07:00 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: Friend2help]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Friend2help, I feel your frustration. I often wonder if this awful thing hadn't happened to him would we be in this situation, would we be the happy loving couple we were until now? And I believe we would be.

My anger at the person who did this to him is not only due to the effect on my bf but for taking away my happy relationship. And for feeling that the guilt eats me up because I know I'm not the victim but maybe I'm the victim of the lasting effects. But I truly feel that if we come through this it's a relationship that we'll cherish and respect.


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#353507 - 02/12/11 07:27 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
SunnyGirl Offline


Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 79
Worldcentre,
You are a victim here. All of us who are supporters are secondary victims. Don't feel ashamed that you are impacted. That is why it is so important that we get help for ourselves -- here and through professional therapists. I cannot speak for others, but I often feel that same anger that someone stole my happiness from me when he did this to my ex long before I ever met him. My ex has admitted to me that if it were not for the CSA, we would not have broken up. I am not angry with him that he is not ready to face his past. I cannot ask him to do something he is not ready to do. He has to face this in his own time. That is the importance of backing off -- we need to support these men we love and if they need space, we need to abide.

Friend2help,
Issues like CSA are centered on control. Trying to tell them what to do and when is merely taking control from them again, as happened during the abuse. As women, we often behave like care-givers. We want to fix the problems in our man's life, but we need to realize we cannot do the hard work for them. They have to do it themselves. It's hard to accept, but backing off and giving them space is the right thing to do. To constantly remind them "we're here for them, we get it, we love them, we understand and want to help, but they need to go to therapy and talk about it," is basically stripping them of their armor. They have coped all these years by numbing and hiding the pain behind a wall that shields their emotions. Trying to have these conversations with them when they are not ready leaves them defenseless, bare and exposed without anything to shield the pain they have been hiding for years. The only defense they have left is to run. There is no negotiating with them about when they should face their pasts. Rather than traumatizing them by pushing them to do something they cannot do yet, we need to give them space so they can decide on their own that they are ready. It's hard to deal with the push and pull dynamic we often feel with survivors, but ultimately, giving him that space may be what shows him you do love him -- you're giving him what he needs.

SunnyGirl

_________________________
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

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#353603 - 02/14/11 03:27 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: SunnyGirl]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Maybe my bf could feel my anger at what happened and the effect on us and couldn't deal with that extra pressure, and that may be one of the reasons he needed space.
I just pray he finds peace and we both find each other again.


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#354581 - 02/23/11 02:48 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
Logan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 1205
Loc: NY
I just want to say that I find that your understanding of our situations very encouraging.

I am a male CSA survivor and would like to one day have a long term relationship with a Woman and hopefully get married and start a family together with her.

I just wanted to share that with all of you and say thank you for sticking it out and being compassionate to us and your BF's or SO's for the plight that we find our selfs.

Logan

PS I hope that I will be able to find a Girl that will be as respectful and as understanding as all of you have been so far!



Edited by Logan (02/23/11 02:50 PM)
_________________________
"Terrible thing to live in Fear"-Shawshank Redemption
WOR Alumnus Hope Springs 2009
"Quite a thing to live in fear, this is what is means to be a slave"
-Blade Runner

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#354603 - 02/23/11 08:24 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: Logan]
TwoStep Offline


Registered: 01/02/11
Posts: 31
SunnyGirl, thank you for that reminder. Well said.



Edited by TwoStep (02/23/11 08:25 PM)

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#354609 - 02/23/11 09:14 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: TwoStep]
timetoheal Offline


Registered: 02/13/11
Posts: 27
Loc: USA
So sweet and needed to hear Logan, thank you.
TTH smile


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#354656 - 02/24/11 06:14 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: timetoheal]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Logan,
Thanks for your comments and for taking time to read the thread. Its good to hear a positive response. Sometimes I feel I cant explain my fears to my bf because he has enough to deal with himself (and we are apart at the moment), so this is a good outlet for me.


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#354676 - 02/24/11 11:00 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
michael Joseph Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 2719
Loc: Virginia
Logan I hope you meet someone sweet and who will be understanding
and caring. We all need that. And to the SO and Spouces I know it is hard but hang in there. We need you too.

Love and Peace Michael Joseph

_________________________
Standing together is so much better than hiding in the dark.
***I am a three time WoR Retreat Alumni***
The Round Table, Men's CSA Group, Monday 7:30pm CST, MaleSurvivor Chat

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#355092 - 02/28/11 10:50 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: michael Joseph]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
I spoke with my bf (still cant bring myself to say ex) about his progress and T. I was told that the T said people come into our lives for many reasons and maybe that why I came into my bf's life, to make him address properly what happened to him. I am glad he is addressing these issues but is that all I am/was? A catalyist? So my duty is done and now I should gracefully bow out? I put all my love and understanding into the relationship for him but also for me, so is this where it ends?


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#355138 - 02/28/11 06:32 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
Julia Offline


Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 59
Once again, this is where patience is needed. I don't mean to make light of what your going through.... been there and I really do understand. It took me a long time but I am comfortable calling my exboyfriend an, "ex".

He couldn't have given you a healthy relationship without being healthy himself. When he gets in a better place it will benefit the both of you. The fact that he is in therapy (in my opinion) shows how serious he is about being healthy and happy.

My survivor friend and I have been on quite the journey. And I too believe that people enter our lives with lessons to learn and to teach. It is ironic that the man who claims to have trouble loving and receiving love has taught me more about love than anyone else I have ever known. That has been his gift to me.

I stopped worrying so much about his issues and looked at my own insecurities. And in doing that, he comes back around. He has been a part of my life for over 26 years.

If it is true that a wise man can learn from a fools mistakes than perhaps a woman can do the same and learn from mine. Take care of yourself. Let go of expecting what you may think is the perfect outcome. If he continues getting help, he will become more confident and healthy and make healthier choices. He will see how supportive and loving you have been. But only if you are. Continue to live, work, play. Focus on being your most healthy. And when he is out of his dark place he will seek you out.

Good luck.
Love, Julia.




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#355179 - 02/28/11 10:52 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: Julia]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
Don't be afraid to feel hurt. You have been impacted and while you don't want to dwell on that, you don't want to bury your feelings either. What Julia said is so true. There is no guarantee our exes will come back around, but they DEFINITELY won't if we don't give them space and take space for US to work on our own issues. The CSA issues do not make us crazy. Our exes don't make us crazy. We are impacted, but we only get as "crazy" as we let ourselves get. Is the journey hard as heck? You bet. But it's worth it to learn so much about yourself and in the end be a good and respectful supporter. These men deserve our love as any other human being. Sometimes that means distance or letting go. And you know what? YOU deserve self-love and self-respect...which also may mean distance or letting go. Hang in there. Be yourself. That's the only thing no one can take away from you unless you let them.


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#355196 - 03/01/11 04:36 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: hopeandtry]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
hope4him and Julia,

Thank you for your responses. I suppose I am now in a very angry place, angry with him and myself. As I've said in other posts I did not put in all the effort and understanding for him, it was for me and for the relationship I want and deserve. And if after his healing has begun and he's in a better place and I'm used goods I will find little solace in what I have learned. Because at the moment I have learned that I gave and got nothing in return.
I can see your points that I will heal and see some good in this experience. But I suppose right now I'm angry and need to vent. But who knows maybe next week or month I'll be in a better place.


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#355201 - 03/01/11 06:22 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
That is partly why you need time for yourself. I totally understand the feeling of being used just for support. I'm not saying that is their intention, but if you feel that way, you feel that way. However, IF you allow yourself to stick around and the same thing keeps happening, you have yourself to blame (which I'm sure you already realize). Also, focusing on him and yourself (separately) will ultimately make things better if you do come together.


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#355208 - 03/01/11 08:46 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
SunnyGirl Offline


Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 79
Worldscentre,
Let yourself be angry. Let yourself be disappointed or hurt or whatever else you feel. The path to healing is not a straight one and the passage of time is not going to heal anything. Don't let anyone ever tell you that is the case. (If it were, MS would not exist because the mere passage time would then "magically" heal all survivors). So don't expect that in a week or in a month, you'll suddenly be past these feelings. But definitely allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Write a journal to vent your frustrations and use that to get out your feelings. Play angry songs. Play sad songs. Paint a painting. But let yourself grieve. That is all part of the process.

I don't think any of the supporters mean to imply it is easy. It is not. Giving the survivor in your life space and focusing on yourself is an extremely difficult thing to do. We see them hurting and want to help. We are hurting and we want them to comfort us. We want to be part of the process. We love them and want them to still be with us. But right now, he needs to focus on himself and learn some of the things that may be so inherent to you already -- like self-love.

It sounds like you guys may be talking still if he's giving you these updates from his T appointments. It's completely your call, but that's not really giving him space to work on him if he's still updating you. And it sounds like what he's sharing with you is just hurting you anyway. You may want to think about what boundaries you need to establish in order to be able to protect and focus on yourself right now. For me, that means no contact. It's not to punish my ex, but to give myself the space I need to heal, get past the anger, the hurt, the disappointment and try to find joy in life again.

People typically need to be happy with themselves before things work as a couple. Don't rush him or yourself.

SunnyGirl



Edited by SunnyGirl (03/01/11 11:08 PM)
Edit Reason: clarification
_________________________
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

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#355212 - 03/01/11 09:11 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: SunnyGirl]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Thanks SunnyGirl, we are in no contact but happened to bump into one another and all this information came rushing out of him, I did say it wasnt the time or place. There is so much love still there and we both miss one another so I suppose he wanted to say what he could. But we know time apart is what is needed, so we're doing that. I dont even call to check on our cat! (I beleive she is ok).
I appreciate what you are saying and I suppose for a while I wasnt anything but sad but now the anger is coming to the surface. It is difficult but as you said I need to allow myself to feel what I feel. No quick fixes in life, I've learned that by now.


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#355256 - 03/01/11 02:23 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: Julia]
surflife2007 Offline


Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 43
How do I stop worrying about his issues and start looking more at my own insecurities? I'm struggling a lot with that...

frown


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#355301 - 03/01/11 11:22 PM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: surflife2007]
SunnyGirl Offline


Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 79
It's hard to do, but focusing on yourself something that is necessary to move yourself to a better place. I'd suggest first trying to journal and write out your feelings. Focus on what YOU are feeling and be 100% honest with yourself. Find things that you enjoy and make time to incorporate them into your life (e.g., reading light-hearted chick-literature, working out, learning to dance, painting, singing songs, watching Glee, playing with your dog, volunteering). You need to have things in your life that are not about him. I'd also suggest finding a good T, if you don't have one already. Having someone to talk to openly and honestly about how your fiance's abuse impacts you is a complete game-changer in your own healing. Use those solo therapy sessions to not only to talk about how to be supportive of him, but about anything that is bothering you or that you need to work on about yourself. This is hard stuff and it's easy to feel very alone, misunderstood, and scared. If therapy is an option, don't force yourself to suffer through it alone. Find a skilled professional to help guide you as you figure out how to set boundaries and figure out what you need to cope and heal.

SunnyGirl

_________________________
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

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#355403 - 03/03/11 02:43 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: surflife2007]
Julia Offline


Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 59
Surflife,

You'll stop when you've had your fill... probably not until then. Just like the survivor, you will get serious about getting help for yourself when you are tired of staying stuck. I know that sounds harsh but it's the truth. "It takes two to tango"...."fox smells his own hole".... "takes one to know one".... and even, "No I'm not, you are!"...all these apply.

When I finally gave up my occupation as an enema up my ex's butt, life became much more tollerable for the both of us, but most and first...for me! Life is more enjoyable and stable when your not spinning.

I know it is so hard... especially in the begining. But if he's told you about the abuse and your on this website you have a good idea what your in for. You have some serious decisions you will need to make.

Love,
Julia


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#359299 - 04/11/11 04:26 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: Julia]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Just an update:
So we met last week and he said he cant offer me more than friendship. My heart is broken. I got angry and forced him to say some stuff that he didnt want to, I'm so angry with him and myself. We met right after a T session and it was like he was using the exact words from that, without considering our situation. All I hear is he wants what best for me, but he never asks me what I want or feel. This conversation took place in the front of my car, he didnt even have the good grace to allow us a private place and some time. Thanks for all your advice. I just feel empty and angry that I am mixed with his abuse issues. I cant explain but thats how it feels, he never stood back and looked at it seperately. Well, I have to step away. Maybe he'll come back but maybe not. Right now I just feel sick.
But what does he do the very next day? Calls me when he has a cirsis in work.


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#359300 - 04/11/11 04:30 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Just a question:
We have been together around 5 years and I moved in with him over 2 years ago. Around that time he was going to propose but didnt, he doesnt know why. We were very happy at that time, there were some sexual issues but otherwise very happy. His T keeps asking if you were going to you would have married her by now. Is this the case? Or is it possible that abuse issues have prevented him taking that step? I'm aware it could just be me but I'm just wondering.


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#359305 - 04/11/11 08:21 AM Re: Any thoughts? [Re: worldscentre]
SunnyGirl Offline


Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 79
Worldscentre,
Of course it is possible that the abuse prevented him from asking him to marry you. From my own experience, I know that the abuse caused my ex to hold back in the relationship. He said he had to refrain from loving me 100% because he needed to protect himself. There were definitely times when we talked about getting married but he was scared. Not only scared of loving me 100%, but also scared of hurting me and scared of what my reaction would be if I really knew him as he sees himself. I do not speculate about these fears - he has told me these things over time. It was that need to protect me (and himself) that eventually caused him to push me away.

It hurts being where you are right now and it's very confusing. What is happening seems illogical. It seems like if you just ask the right question or research more on the internet, things will suddenly make sense and maybe you can fix it. That's not how it works. There is no answer out there that explains it all. Eventually you will get past the need to know "why" because you knowing the "why" isn't going to change the outcome. Only he can do that.

It is hard to accept that space is what he needs right now, but he has to come to a point where he's happy with himself and sees himself as worthy in order to be in a relationship (any relationship) that is going to work.

Take your time and when you are ready, return the focus on healing yourself. Figure out who you are. It's scary but can also be enlightening. Try new things. Meet new people. (To be clear, I'm not talking about dating -- the focus should be on you and not trying to find someone else to distract you from the pain. There's no point in dragging someone else into this situation when you need to be healing). Think about what you enjoy and do that.

SunnyGirl

_________________________
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

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