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#387761 - 02/29/12 11:48 AM Worried for my boyfriend. Please help.
Valerie511 Offline


Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 5
Hello there everyone. I'm new here so I do apologise if I unwittingly break any rules/cause any offence. Please also excuse me if I ramble.

I'm looking for some advice with regards to my boyfriend of 10months. We are both in our early 20s. Be warned this story may start out with him sounding like a perp, but he is a victim and I really want to help him. 

Last night i was waiting for my boyfriend to return home and i went into his computer's download folder-  as we often download tv programmes and films to watch together - to find something to watch to pass the time. I was not expecting what i found. There were 2 film clips - that I did not watch - that were described as naturist films of families, including 14yr old girls. I do not believe there to be any sexual content to the films but it was enough to get me worried. There was also a folder of pictures featuring a pubescent girl dressed in lingerie (downloaded, not taken by him) This really distressed me. 

When he returned I confronted him about what I had found. He appeared very ashamed, remorseful and embarrassed but assured me that they were downloaded as a one-evening curiosity and it was the 'taboo' nature of the material that attracted him, it wasn't as on-going obsession and there was no actual abuse featured in the pictures or films. Be said he Had no desire to look at such images again or to harm  young girls, as he had been on the receiving end of abuse. (he didn't put everything as succinctly as I am here. There was a lot of mumbling and crying, apologies and fear and I had to coax out of him any information I gained)

He told me that he had been abused on one occasion as a child by an unknown man/men. He did not want to give me details and I did not press him. He did however mention being locked up in a small box which completely broke my heart. He has never spoken to anybody else about it, not even his parents or any of his numerous counsellors he's seen over the years for his depression. He has suffered with depression , self harmed and consider suicide since a young age and I now assume that it started after his ordeal (although I do not know how old he was) He says he has never told anyone because he does not want it to define who he is and that he has blocked most of the abuse out. I worry for him though as I'm sure his depression must be linked to the abuse and wouldn't it be best to talk to someone about it? Should I encourage him to talk? I don't want to press him or cause him pain in remembering these awful memories but would it be better in the long run? 

Since we have been together he has not had any severe bouts of depression, he even coped well with the death of his grandma. Should I leave these issues alone until I can see the depression creeping back over him? I don't want to be his only reason to be happy, he needs to do that for himself. But I've told him I'm here for him and always ready to listen if he wants to talk. He very rarely wants to open up about difficult things though. He keeps a lot of stuff bottled up and I do have to coax information out of him if I can tell something is bothering him. 

How do I keep an eye on him regarding his curiosity in teen girls? I don't want to snoop on him but how can I be sure he is telling me the truth? Should I be worried? Am I under/over-reacting? 

We are an open-minded couple sexually and I have no problem with taboo fantasies. As long as it stays a fantasy and he does not view morally questionable/illegal material. 

Please help me. I need your advice and please don't judge him too harshly. 

Thankyou. 
Val


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#387768 - 02/29/12 01:03 PM Re: Worried for my boyfriend. Please help. [Re: Valerie511]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3599
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi Valerie,
it is very sad story that your boyfriend was abused. At least you'll find some support here and some resources which could help you.
It is great thing that he has reveled part of his story to you. That means that you are very special person to him.
Now as you've mentioned that he has had depression, has been suicidal and has self harmed those are issues that are worrying me. We don't know has he been sexually abused but no matter, if he has had some huge traumatic experience that should be properly dealt off and no way that he could recover completely by himself.
You are not over-reacting and please stop worrying in that direction. Don't go over such important thing just like that, this is too important to forget it.
There is no way that you could do anything to prevent him of going on problematic sites and watching such stuff. But you should care and force him to tell you more about his experience. Your mutual honesty and support could give you good base to be more relaxed in that sense. But that is difficult thing to achieve and you have many examples and stories here as evidence.
No matter if he seems to be fine at surface; he might buried all bad emotions and memories inside him. And in moment he'll open that box he could show very fragile side.
You also could be stuck and faced to something very disturbing and difficult to swallow. Think sometimes on all that and yourself.
Please read this thread and answers/comments - it is not connected completely to your situation but it could give you some picture in case that you'll both find something difficult to cope with, you could learn something from this thread:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=384534&page=1
I hope that this will be helpful...
Be Well,
Pero


_________________________
My story

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#387774 - 02/29/12 01:32 PM Re: Worried for my boyfriend. Please help. [Re: peroperic2009]
GoodHope Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 413
Hi Valerie, the cutting, depression, are all common among survivors. Therapy, this board and books can help him if he is open to being helped.

The pictures bother me. I have mixed feelings about snooping--can you ask him for access? I snooped after my husband cheated but it made me feel terrible. This seems different to me. I'd ask, if he says no, then you have to consider that.

_________________________
Wife of a survivor

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#387780 - 02/29/12 01:58 PM Re: Worried for my boyfriend. Please help. [Re: GoodHope]
Valerie511 Offline


Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 5
Thanks for your thoughts guys.
Pero, that link was useful and thoughtful reading. Thankyou.

The problem with asking him for access I think is that he could so easily hide/delete anything he wouldn't want me to see. I drove myself crazy snooping after a betrayal in a previous relationship (incidentally, with a man who had also been abused - I seem to attract them?) but I do believe he is being honest with me, he said that he was glad I found what I did as he doesn't want to have any secrets between us.

So I think for the moment I should trust him, keep encouraging him to talk, to go back to counselling and keep an eye on him with the occasional surprise search and lots of Frank conversation?

Should I try and get him to talk about the abuse? Or just his feelings surrounding it? I'm scared of plunging him back into depression but I know he has to deal with it. He's currently trying to avoid talking about it and behaving in a very childlike, needy manner.


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#387784 - 02/29/12 02:16 PM Re: Worried for my boyfriend. Please help. [Re: Valerie511]
Sad in the Midwe Offline


Registered: 12/23/09
Posts: 19
Realize where you are putting yourself: Do you ask for access? Do you snoop? Do you support/encourage while he may or may not go to counseling? Do you look over your shoulder, under rocks? You carry the burden of wondering if questions/comments will plunge him into depression. He's behaving in a childlike, needy manner.
Be careful. I'm assuming, right now, that you have no children support. They are a great gift, but also great consumers of time and energy.
I didn't know about my husband's abuse when I married him. There are times where I wish I had someone who could contribute more. I envy f/f who have spouses who are leaders/decision makers/contributors. The load can be heavy. You have choices now... and any consequences are only yours to bear.... Think carefully.


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#387785 - 02/29/12 02:17 PM Re: Worried for my boyfriend. Please help. [Re: Valerie511]
Country Offline


Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 642
Loc: Alabama
Well the fact that you are here are seeking help for your relationship is commendable to you. It is hard to stay and help and easier to leave. In regards to his issue, it seems that he is being honest about being abused. These are traits of someone who has been abused. I was , so I know. My wife is helping me thru my issues now. He needs to seek help and openly discuss his fears and issues with a therapist or preacher or you. Or all of the before mentioned. Alot of survivors of sexual abuse don't seek help until there mid 30's or later. Maybe it is a blessing that this was discovered early enough to help him and he hasn't ruined his life for good. Stay strong and thanks to people like you for trying to help. I will pray for y'all. I hope what I said makes sense. Best of luck



Edited by Country (02/29/12 02:40 PM)
_________________________
Ephesians 6:13

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

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#387786 - 02/29/12 02:21 PM Re: Worried for my boyfriend. Please help. [Re: Country]
Country Offline


Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 642
Loc: Alabama
To any survivor of this abuse I would recommend to stay completely away from any kind of illicit or seductive videos.
Just my own opinion, snooping is ok in a relationship. I have the most wonderful woman in the world as my wife and my life changed because she did snoop. Because she snooped I came clean with my present and my past issues. Our future has never been brighter and I have never felt so connected or close to anyone else in my life. I am glad now that she cared enough to snoop.



Edited by Country (02/29/12 02:41 PM)
_________________________
Ephesians 6:13

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Top
#387787 - 02/29/12 02:32 PM Re: Worried for my boyfriend. Please help. [Re: Country]
Valerie511 Offline


Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 5
When I say childlike and needy, I mean he is acting cheerful and innocent as a happy child, not sullen. And needy in that he is anxious to know that I still love him.

I do not mean to imply that he is hard work to be with, he is a delight. A truly lovely man who is attentive, affectionate and treats me like the most beautiful woman in the world. I do not tip-toe around him for fear of his depression, I just know that this is a sensitive issue and I wanted advice on how best to approach him about it.

I knew he had issues when I met him, and even had an inkling at some trauma in his childhood and I decided then that he was worth whatever hardship we might face, so I won't desert him now.

I will encourage him to seek help. Should I offer to go with him or is this something he should do alone?

Thanks again, I am truly touched by the bravery of all these people here.


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#387791 - 02/29/12 02:45 PM Re: Worried for my boyfriend. Please help. [Re: Valerie511]
Country Offline


Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 642
Loc: Alabama
Yes. Offer to go. Please. My wife offered and it meant the world to me. Plus I need her to know and help me. That is just my opinion though. Hope it works out for y'all. This may make yalls relationship even stronger and better than ever. That was the case in my marriage.



Edited by Country (02/29/12 02:46 PM)
_________________________
Ephesians 6:13

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Top
#387792 - 02/29/12 02:46 PM Re: Worried for my boyfriend. Please help. [Re: Valerie511]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
His secret has been shared so a HUGE weight has been lifted that he has carried for a long long time. Many feel the same way (cheerful, giddy, etc) after sharing...

Yes, he is seeking to know that you still love him. Many of his emotional states etc have likely gotten stuck at the age he was when the abuse occurred (normal thing actually).

He needs to begin working through things and I can just about guarantee that his depression will return. Think of it like a bouncing ball. While it's bouncing it has high highs and low lows... as he begins to deal with the abuse and it's effects the oscillation (ups/downs) will begin to mellow. The highs won't be so high and conversely the lows won't be so low. Literally his emotional states will become more and more stable.

You going along or not should be up to to him but I think offering is ok. This is his journey and while encouragement to take it is a good thing, there are some things you just will not be able to help him on.


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