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#59362 - 04/26/04 03:12 PM New to the Group and Very Sad
womynist420 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 1
Loc: NH
Hello everyone. I'm new to this group. What brought me here is that my boyfriend is a survivor of a sexual assault that occurred when he was 19. I have been with him for 2 years and I'm the first one he ever disclosed this to. He told me about a year ago and I didn't even know how to react, I mean, I never even had a female tell me she was raped, let alone a man. Anyhow, you can probably imagine my frustration. This happened before I ever knew him but I'm so ANGRY!!! Because this is causing all kinds of problems in our intimate life. Basically his libido is non existent but when he is aroused it has to be on his terms. He recently told me that it sometimes makes him uncomfortable when I try to make out with him or whatever, and I know it's not his fault, but it's messing with all my emotions too. What good am I if I can't even arouse my boyfriend? We recently spoke about him getting counseling, and I am getting counseling now for my own issues (so hopefully I can work this in), but there are days when I just can't stop thinking about it, like today. Then there are other days when I forget, because he seems to have his whole life together so well. Then I will have this moment of clarity and remember that he is a survivor. I just wanted to see if there are any other women out there struggling in their relationships with victimized men. I am so upset ....at work and feel like I'm having an anxiety attack. I think he has this idea in his head that he'll never be able to have a normal sex life again, and that scares me. I mean, there's no way I would ever leave him because I know he is my soul mate, but it sure is going to be frustrating if it's like this for the rest of our lives. Please, if anyone has any advice I really would appreciate it. I am so hurt and confused and so angry at the perpetrators because I don't even know who they are and they have messed up my life. ::sobbing::


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#59363 - 04/26/04 05:41 PM Re: New to the Group and Very Sad
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Womynist420,

Hello and welcome. I've been in your situation, and so have many of the other posters here, and you should know that you are right, it isn't his fault, and it isn't your fault either. Neither of you are to blame for any of this.

If you haven't already, take a look around the forum and at the articles on the site, you'll see that you and your boyfriend are not alone. And the support and understanding here go a long way.

Both of you are probably feeling pretty terrible about your situation and in my experience, the best medicine for it is a little bit of mutual understanding. The fact that he's not aroused by the woman who loves and wants him probably isn't doing wonders for his self-esteem either. Intimacy is about feeling safe, loved, and understood--you'll probably both feel less frustrated if you can connect emotionally even when it's triggering him to be physical with you.

Take care,
SAR


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#59364 - 04/27/04 12:17 AM Re: New to the Group and Very Sad
gryffindor Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 131
Loc: St. Charles, Illinois
Womynist420,

Welcome. I'm glad you found this site. There is a lot of support and encouragement given here. You aren't alone in feeling frustrated over you and your b/f's sexual relationship. It seems to be pretty typical. However, it can and does improve with a lot of patience and counseling. I hope your b/f will get therapy and visit this site too.

Mary

_________________________
"Where there's a will, there's a way." American Folk Saying

"Had I not fallen, I could not have arisen; had I not sat in darkness, I would not have recognized the light." Midrash Tehillim Ch. 22

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#59365 - 04/27/04 12:46 PM Re: New to the Group and Very Sad
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
>>>This happened before I ever knew him but I'm so ANGRY!!!

Unfortunately I think all the partners feel this way. I feel this way about my partner's molester -if I saw him on the street it would take all I had to control myself from mowing him down. I wish him every friggin disease and every scourge known to man. I hope when he dies he rots in HELL.

>>>Because this is causing all kinds of problems in our intimate life. Basically his libido is non existent but when he is aroused it has to be on his terms. He recently told me that it sometimes makes him uncomfortable when I try to make out with him or whatever, and I know it's not his fault, but it's messing with all my emotions too. What good am I if I can't even arouse my boyfriend?

This is also very common and something that I've encountered too. It is hard, I have been around the block with the whole arousal/abuse/destruction of our intimate life. However, my fiance has been in therapy for the better part of a year, which has included a few pretty intensive weekend retreats/courses as well as a weekly group therapy session for male SA survivors. Things are really turning around for him, and for us. What really sucked was the whole issue blew open right when we got engaged in Sept so I had visions of a sexless marriage... things still have not rebounded to where they used to be but I have confidence that they are back on track... moving in the right direction at least. Now I'm the one with the problem - I've been conditioned for so long to figure that I'd trigger him or be turned down that I have lost some of my own "enthusiasm" for that part of the relationship. I have some work to do myself.


>>>We recently spoke about him getting counseling, and I am getting counseling now for my own issues (so hopefully I can work this in), but there are days when I just can't stop thinking about it, like today. Then there are other days when I forget, because he seems to have his whole life together so well. Then I will have this moment of clarity and remember that he is a survivor. I just wanted to see if there are any other women out there struggling in their relationships with victimized men.

I think all the partners on here are all struggling from time to time. Its good that you are getting counselling - the best thing you can learn is all about "boundaries" - unfortunately when you are forging a relationship with a survivor his boundaries are all messed up because of the abuse that he suffered. He has not had a chance to learn appropriate boundaries and sometimes, well in our case, often they continue to be violated, which does not make for a very good or equitable or healthy relationship. I have had to learn how to handle him when he goes overboard, how to be more stable in my own self, how to manage those issues in myself that are triggered when he gets triggered, etc.

>>>I am so upset ....at work and feel like I'm having an anxiety attack. I think he has this idea in his head that he'll never be able to have a normal sex life again, and that scares me.

Just to reassure you - it IS possible to forge a relationship with a survivor.. but you BOTH do have to be prepared to do some work. I expressed that exact same fear to a couples therapist about 2 years ago. He said to us: "yes you will never be able to say sexual abuse has never happened, it will always be a factor in ___'s life and in the relationship, but over time, you learn to wear the issue like an old comfortable shirt, you can take it off, look at it, mend it, wash it, care for it, and put it back on, but over time, and with work, it will NOT be the same strait jacket over your lives and your relationship that it is at this moment".

And he was right. For the most part, we can now talk about it, its effects, how it is affecting him/the relationship from time to time like we are discussing anything reasonably unpleasant, like going to the dentist, etc., but it is not the major choking horrible dark beast it once was. We talk things through, one day at a time, he's learned to be more open, I've learned to be more patient and more stable in myself for those times when he just can't be there. Its working out for us.

So, if this gives you any comfort, from someone in the exact same shoes as you, I can guarantee that it WONT be like this forever, BUT and a big BUT, you BOTH have to do some work, you BOTH need individual therapy to manage both sides of the issue, you may need couples therapy in addition, but with work, it DOES get better. We have been battling this for our whole relationship (2.5 years) The first year was hell and we just about broke up a million times, we fought like cats and dogs, but this year things are getting better. WE are actually getting married in Sept. and just bought a house. If we can work through this with our fights and our traumas (I am a psychological/verbal abuse survivor who grew up in an addicted/mentally ill home), anyone can!

Its no walk in the park, and you do have to be committed and ready to roll up your sleeves and do the work, but it IS possible.

>>>I mean, there's no way I would ever leave him because I know he is my soul mate, but it sure is going to be frustrating if it's like this for the rest of our lives. Please, if anyone has any advice I really would appreciate it. I am so hurt and confused and so angry at the perpetrators because I don't even know who they are and they have messed up my life. ::sobbing::

*** hugs****

I so have totally been where you are right now and I know it is NOT much fun. I was so angry that I used to literally be sent into a total diarrhea attack (literally I would have to dash for the bathroom), and feel like I was passing out whenever I thought of what happened to my partner, and the effects that it has happened on his life and on our relationship. And if I think about what happened too much I still feel that way.

I had a hard time not only with the anger about what happened to him, but also with the anger I had over having to do so much work just to get over my own abuse issues, and just when I thought things were going ok for me, I met my fiance, fell in love, and realized I had a lot more work in front of me.

I was SO angry and resentful that I had to do so much work because of the sins of others, and so did my partner. It was so hard.... thats another part of the whole anger battle.

I dont know how I let that go maybe I likened it as my own cross to bear and ___"s cross to bear just like Jesus' cross (and I am no evangelical Christian either) but I have had to turn to spirituality too to make sense of all this tragedy. Spirituality of some kind - Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism - any of the faiths that talk about suffering and loss and "one's purpose" on earth are really helpful when trying to make sense of the tragedy of abuse. My fiance has actually been really helpful with all of this - he discovered Buddhism a few years ago and has been really helpful about how to put "suffering" into perspective. He always says to me when I start to get angry about my past, about his past, that "there is a lot of suffering in this life, there's a lot of suffering attached to human existence". The whole concept of anger is also up for a lot of analysis and examination within Buddhist philosophy. Learning more about the Buddhist point of view, as well as forging a deeper bond with God has been a real life saver for him, and for us. We're not evangelical Christians by any means, nor would we/I ever proclaim any one faith over another, but with our mutual abuse histories, we have found a lot of comfort in spirituality. I dont think we would have made it otherwise.


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