I understand making new friends when we are older is difficult but when you are in recovery, you all have a commonality. A shared hell, so to speak. You really can't help but make these deep bonds with people. I don't understand why he doesn't or can't. How can u not trust people who are in the exact same shoes as you, who share your pain?
I've never participated in a recovery group in the real world, only online. I've tried to find real world recovery groups in the past but finding them for male ASA is tricky and the only ones I know exist are in the UK (and that's an 8 hour flight)
But from the people I know who have been in real-life group therapy, the therapists who lead them often recommend that participants do not socialize with each other outside the therapy group. This might be to protect the confidentiality of what is said in therapy, and it might be because some people who need group therapy have difficulties having boundaries with people. So the fact that they are all survivors and in the same therapy group does not guarantee that they are built-in friends automatically.
I was in an outpatient program for people with disabilities not long ago, and when they served lunch, the people who were on feeding tubes were all put at one table together, while everyone who was able to eat could sit wherever they wanted. I am not sure if it had to do with a nurse being assigned to the table but I was on continuous feeding anyway and so the nurse didn't even touch my system the entire time. It bothered me that they assumed we'd all want to sit together simply because we have the shared reality of not being able to eat.
Some things to remember:
- some people are just introverted. Everyone's need for socialization is different. My wife and I have been together for 16 years and I have only been a survivor for 4 of those years. Even before the rape I had more of a tendency to keep to myself than she did. Extraverts receive a lot fulfillment from social contact and usually feel energized. I'm an introvert, and I have always felt more fulfilled by reading books and playing my piano, and I find socializing, especially in a group, to be draining. It doesn't mean I don't desire companionship and a sense of belonging. I used to love going to the pub after work with friends and family gatherings but I never craved it the same way as an extravert would.
- There are always exceptions to this, but in general, women are more inclined toward socialization activities that are centered around talking about their feelings. When men get together, socialization tends to involve doing a shared activity, whether that's playing video games, fishing, sports, building a computer, whatever. Before the rape when I had more of a social life, if I invited a friend over to talk, usually the talking was about a shared intellectual interest or hobby, and less about our personal struggles. It's not to say my friends and I didn't care about each other. The true friends I have always ask about my family, my health and how life is going, and I genuinely care about their lives as well, but it's not the central focus of our time together--we have something to DO. The fulfillment I get from socialization, as an introvert and as a man, comes from the fact that it makes me feel connected with something bigger than just myself.
After the rape, I have told two male friends about it, and my younger brother. Each man responded with support and compassion, but it is not something I talk about with them all the time. It's not easy to just bring it up in conversation "so... I've been having these terrifying body memories..." Sometimes my friend will ask how therapy is going, because he knew I was in therapy for awhile. They care but they don't always know what to say. Honestly, it's enough for me that they don't think any less of me and they still want to be my friend. I always worried people would cut me off because of what happened to me.
So the fact that the man in your life has met some other survivors in the 3D hard copy world doesn't guarantee that they share any other interest or hobby or that talking about these deep, painful things will be something he would want to do outside group therapy.