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#459524 - 01/27/14 03:38 PM Full Disclosure with spouse
5thmonster Offline


Registered: 01/24/14
Posts: 6
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to participate in this forum. This is my first post. I am in my mid- 50s and was sexually abused as a boy for about four years by my stepbrothers. I kept the family secret inside until early last year when I went to a therapist and told all but I still have not told my wife or any other family members. I think the reason that I have not come forward to my wife of 20 years Is because I question my sexual orientation. I do not believe that I am gay or bisexual but sometimes the monster inside make me act out. What are the chances a spouse could understand something like this ?

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#459530 - 01/27/14 05:23 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
Truart Offline


Registered: 01/25/14
Posts: 14
Welcome to the forums.

I don't think anyone can give a good percentage of what the chances are. Couldn't you dance around the subject and gauge her reaction by telling about someone you know who you found out to be sexually abused.

Questioning ones sexuality is something I think a lot of male survivors do. I do it myself as well because of the wierd feelings and I am certain I am straight. There is a subforum dedicated to sexual orientation confusion. Maybe you can find some answers there.

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#459550 - 01/27/14 08:05 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3351
Loc: O Kanada
i have decided to always tell the truth as best as i can,
and let the chips fall where they may.
all my relationships are build on firm solid foundations of brutal honesty.
i could not live any other way.

this might not work for others,
but it is perfect for me.

i have no more secrets.
nothing left to disclose.
freedom.


_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#459561 - 01/27/14 10:35 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
Rustam Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 470
Loc: UK
Welcome to the forum glad you found us.

I don't know what to say about when, what or how much to disclose to your wife. I would think that the more you understand and forgive yourself for acting out the better. I think a good understanding of your behaviour and a good level of self-acceptance would help you in explaining the issues to her. If you can accept the acting out for what it was; a reaction to abuse then she would have a better chance of accepting it too. I suppose I am trying to say that if you come to her looking for forgiveness while carrying exaggerated guilt she would pick up on that and might feel that it was a lot worse than it was. I guess it also depends on the strength of your relationship, her personal morality and understanding. The acting out or same sex attraction is not well understood by most people so she would need some education before she would be able to see the acting out for what it is.

I agree with Victor that honesty is the best policy long term but I think I would disclose at a time that I am fully prepared. Yes freedom from secrets is very liberating and healing but there is no timetable that has to be followed.

I always think this stuff is best first dealt with in therapy and when I have sorted through stuff I can then share the parts I need to share with loved ones.

Welcome again.
P

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#459563 - 01/27/14 11:05 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
gettingstronger Offline


Registered: 09/24/13
Posts: 170
Loc: Virginia
Hi 5thmonster,

What you're describing is actually extremely common, according to my therapist, all the reading I've done, and talking with others who've been through what you (and I, and the others here at MS) have been through.

Every situation is of course very different and I'm not a therapist, but I've seen how straight guys can find themselves tempted in this way. For instance, male bonding can get improperly sexualized by csa. Low self-esteem and self-image can translate into envy over men you run into who are in really good shape. (This envy can become sexual attraction thanks to csa, when in fact it's just envy.) Acting out also fulfills a number of other needs, just in a way that generally doesn't deliver what it promises.

The short answer is, before you decide you must be gay, talk with a therapist. Just because you have times when you're attracted to men, (or at least to sex with men, if not the men themselves,) that doesn't mean you're automatically gay or bi. I thought that myself for close to forty years, and my therapist set me straight (no pun intended) right off the bat.

As for disclosure, perhaps some limited disclosure would be best. I told my wife of almost twenty years that I was abused by an older neighborhood boy for several years, and that before that, I was very badly sexually scarred by some friends of my parents at about age seven. Would you feel comfortable telling her that you were sexually abused, and that it has left you hung up about sex? She probably wouldn't want to know all the details.

Same-sex attraction is an extremely tricky thing, and I often wonder how many guys are wandering around out there, drifting from one unsatisfying gay relationship to another, when in fact the csa just has them confused.

Anyway, this is just my take on it. Don't be alarmed. Keep talking with your therapist, and even if it's tough, grill him or her about this issue. I did, and we sorted it out relatively quickly. Thanks for posting and heal well.

Bob


Edited by gettingstronger (01/27/14 11:07 PM)
_________________________
Never worry about "three steps forward and two steps back." Thirty steps forward and twenty back are still ten steps in the right direction.

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#459568 - 01/28/14 12:49 AM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
justplainme Offline


Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 305
5thmonster, what you are experiencing is the initial reality both emotionally, relationally and physically due to the rape,all these appear when initiating a healing process of Child sexual abuse or at the very least the end of denial.

It is good for you to be here, and hear all the amount of personal experiences that we survivors provide.

Our sexual identity , our sexual orientation can be immensely warped,twisted,confused,deformed,covered up,emotionally destroyed, even robbed to the point where you actually feel that you do not have a personal sexuality because of the rape.
In my opinion most of us who are straight and do not work out the homosexual subconscious materials that are involved with the fact that it was a "male" who raped you suffer from this confusion.,That in the actual society we live in,men do not suffer of or are allowed to have sexual doubts in any form not to mention if the identity issue is caused by sexual rape. It is easy for us to fall prey to the stereotype that is socialized: "That all men who were raped must be homosexual,because real men are never victims, it is worst if you were groomed by the pedophile and pseudo mutuality occurred because this creates intense guilt and shame over ones sexual beliefs and preferences, and i use the term here homosexual in a very weird manner because that is patriarchal society talking, i myself am a straight man who has dealt with this issue as well,we all have! What the message is throughout society is that if you are weak or sexualized by another man, you will immediately become gay or made gay. Sometimes we the victims were so deprived of a personal sexual identity that the only way we experienced our own sexuality was with a adult of the same sex never with a consenting loving woman or man,it is natural for us humans to have sexuality,it is part of the beauty of being human, and it is an instinctual drive that needs be fulfilled and enjoyed, otherwise if denied or repressed it will show up in regressed manners AKA "acting out".
Seek help, specially with a therapist who is versed in sexual abuse problems, if you do plan to disclose to your wife i suggest you have the therapist before hand, that way you can reassure her of your true commitment to the relationship if you wish to pursue it, recovery is a bumpy ride and i have found that having a person who loves you can make all the difference.... Stay courageous while under FIRE.


Edited by justplainme (01/28/14 05:12 PM)
_________________________

"Survivors need an opportunity to define their own sexuality in their own terms, rather than in reaction to the abuse, so that they stop allowing their offenders to have power over them sexually."

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#459603 - 01/28/14 03:00 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
1lifenow Offline


Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 407
Loc: west coast
Welcome 5th

Great strides were made when you talked to your T, that's a huge step.

The 1st T I had was a "slut shamer" who loved to use the term "act out", my 2nd T helped me realize like others have eluded to here that sexuality is complex and revealing your desires is not easy.

I agree with VV that the closer you get to revealing truths, the more authentic your relationship can be.

I agree there are men out there having sex with other men who identify as str8, but I don't think str8 men have relationships with other gay men. That takes more than just sex. But yes gay relationships can be unfulfilling if again you are not truly honest with yourself and therefore not capable of being honest with your partner, but that goes for str8 guys as well.

I like what margaret chow the comedian said about her marriage. It is open but at the same time she wants EMOTIONAL MONOGAMY. I think that's the key. For women their sexuality is more fluid and likely for some men too. It doesn't really matter, what matters is can you feel safe and trust enough to express your hearts desire without judgement from you and when you come to understand your sexuality more, your spouse as well.

I agree with others you have to be comfortable expressing your sexuality without labels or shame. Calling it the monster is giving it a lot of power.

Get educated, read some of dan savages stuff on monogamish. ms groups help hugely when you find out your way of thinking and your sexual conundrums are very normal for survivors str8 or gay.

Some spouses are also very open, some understanding but not flexible and some are rigid and unyielding. The first step is to ask yourself what you really want in this life, what the cost is personally and emotionally and decide if it is worth it. That is a lot of work. Good luck, be kind to yourself, you are not alone or that unique( tho the names may be different - I used to call "my monster" my "dark soul") and trust yourself. Then you can begin to trust her more. Where it goes from there is not knowable, but it is only with the truth that it can go someplace real. Otherwise the pattern of carrying the burdensome weight of all those secrets just goes on. And by just being here, I think you are ready for change.

Lose the fear, change your life.
_________________________
The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. Dalai Lama

WoR Barrie 2011

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#459609 - 01/28/14 03:53 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
johndoe Offline


Registered: 11/15/13
Posts: 10
Loc: california
Thanks for the great replies guys. I may not have been the one who asked the question, but all of these answers were helpful to me.

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#459634 - 01/28/14 09:34 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Welcome to MS, 5th.

You will indeed find this to be a place where you continue to heal your spirit and heart in a safe environment. I am just going to echo what johndoe has said… thanks for the great replies. Each is filled with the wisdom of experience. I am also going to suggest as 1life has done….rename the fear of your sexuality from the "monster" to something that you can begin to deal with. Something that will help you feel not so much shame with.

You are well on your way to gaining a new you. Congratulations on the T and on beginning to share with us.

b
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#459638 - 01/28/14 10:05 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1666
Approach with caution. I told people who were supposedly there for me but I was treated as though I was my abuser. The way I was treated made me believe they knew everything about abuse, trauma and the effects--wrong. It nearly killed me. They listened to inept so called medical professionals--and I use professionals quite loosely because they know squat about CSA and trauma. I believe these people should not be practicing in areas that are not their expertise or giving incompetent advise because they destroy people.

Your feelings about who you are, is the effects of CSA. Healing and exploring the pain will allow you to find who you truly are. For me I would dissociate and loss time and place. What my buried part sought was love and compassion. Maybe the love that part identified with the abuser, which is common for some victims. But I will never know what truly happened. But as I healed, I have been at healing for over 2 and half years with competent professionals and support groups. With them and having found myself with people who give love and compassion I am healing and enjoying life.

I caution you on telling your wife, if she is a compassionate and understanding woman, she may be able to understand but if she is lost in herself your life could become quite difficult. How she uses the information can affect your life. I have heard many things said by others third hand about me but the CSA, trauma, triggers and hospitalizations have been lost in what has been told. How your wife handles maybe positive and supportive, only you can make that decision.

If you tell please make sure your wife gets competent support from a professional with expertise in CSA and trauma.

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