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#64928 - 03/11/03 09:56 AM Success???
SandyW Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/03
Posts: 86
Loc: NJ
Just curious, do any wives and significant others feel that have successful intimate relationships with SA survivors, mutually meeting needs on all three levels (physical, emotional and psychological)? Do any survivors feel that they have successful intimate relationships with their partners? Even though my husband has confronted his SA and is trying to overcome it, I can't help but see how quickly he is triggered into withdrawl. We had an upsetting incident last night that led to withdrawl. Even though he can understand this on an intellectual level, once he is triggered that's it. I can say we made some improvement in the way we handled it as we were able to talk for about an hour after the incident and he did realize that he was triggered and subsequently withdrawn. After we talked he seemed to be reconnected and even wanted to try again. Are my expectations too high, or is this the best that I hope for and I just have to accept it?

Sandy


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#64929 - 03/11/03 10:24 AM Re: Success???
zadok1 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Ohio
I have been struggling with this for three years. when you are used to avoiding conflict and hiding within yourself, it is very hard to retrain that. i am trying very hard to be open and honest about my feelings, but it is still hard. it takes work, and a whole lot of determination to overcome. to an extent i becomes so engrained that it is who i am. we have had to accept that, and work around it, as you may have to. changing physical behaviors is hard enough, changing the way your mind works is almost impossible. i say almost because i have managed to move that imovable object to a degree.

jeff

_________________________
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those that are evil, but because of those who do nothing about them- Albert Einstein

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#64930 - 03/11/03 01:24 PM Re: Success???
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Sandy: Jeff is right in his post. It can be overcome but it is a hell of a lot of work. Just the thought of sex kindles in me that winner loser syndrome no matter how hard I try to ignore it. It is crazy but it is as if we are permanently hotwired. In my case I have difficulty with intimacy at almost amy level

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#64931 - 03/11/03 02:08 PM Re: Success???
SandyW Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/03
Posts: 86
Loc: NJ
Thanks guys! This is really wierd. About an hour after putting up this post, my husband calls and tells me sorry about arguing last night about it again. I was waiting for his call so I could suggest we postpone all contact until we get a better grip on this. So, after I apologized to because I realized I said something he took as hurtful (I didn't mean it to be that way, but he took it out of context...the last encounter he was able to not disconnect and we enjoyed what was meant to be, and I said that it left me wanting more. He took that to mean that I was not satisfied, but what I meant was that it was intimate and special and I missed that and therefore wanted more.) So anyway, I suggest to him postponing, and he tells me that last night, after we went to bed he had a different idea. He suggested that we have planned two nights per week for intimate contact. So that confused me because sex is something he wants to avoid altogether.

Sandy


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#64932 - 03/11/03 04:51 PM Re: Success???
moo2 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/31/03
Posts: 82
Loc: pottsboro,texas
Sandy,
he needs to rewire his brain from a lifetime of crossed wires in his brain. Everybody here needs to remember how to be intimate. Having 2 planned nights is a great step. ;\)
My hubby right now can not even think about sex. \:\( But that is ok right now.
I hope + pray that everything will be great in a few months. \:\)
WITH MUCH LOVE,
Kim


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#64933 - 03/11/03 07:41 PM Re: Success???
nacren Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1
Loc: sonoma county, california
My partner is still in the beginning stages (I think) of recovery. However, I have 'known' about his abuse for over two years now. With this in mind, our sexual relationship has always been powerful and very fulfilling for both of us. I feel lucky in the fact (especially after reading other posts) that his abuse has not parlayed over into our sexual relationship. Sometimes I even question this. Why hasn't there been problems/dysfunction/etc etc? I would like to think I am very honest on a conscious level about our relatioship and know in my heart if something truly were wrong. But there isn't. Then I think to myself I just don't know anymore.
I feel like I search this website endlessly trying to make connections and identify with others stories. Maybe to validate ours, maybe just so I don't feel alone. Now I am just rambling.


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#64934 - 03/12/03 12:21 PM Re: Success???
stride Offline
Member

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 202
Loc: B.C. Canada
Sandy,

A very pointed question--one I have been afraid to articulate, lest it be viewed (by myself, nevermind anyone else) as counter-productive or failure-oriented thinking. It is a question that I find I'm asking myself a lot these days, and my partner has never sought help for his SA experiences. (Actually, he has just agreed to go for couples counselling with me, which has done much to renew my sense of hope, though he has made it clear that he is NOT going regarding his SA stuff and doesn't want that to be the focus of our counselling sessions. The longest journey...)

Anyway, I believe that if two people are firmly committed to each other, the process of healing, and growth, all things are possible. It sounds to me from your posts and PMs that your husband has taken some big and positive steps already and that you have been a strong and supportive partner. I know how hard it can be, but that's what the rest of us are here for, right? Keep the faith!

The triggers are so hard, aren't they? The better I get to know my partner, the more I become aware of the myriad of ways he can be triggered. I could never understand before why so many things that I do or say quite innocently tend to evoke such an aversive response from him. And I still find myself triggering him all the time it seems, no matter how hard I try not to.

For example, he was somewhat triggered last night by my invitation that he feel my hair (I'd just washed it this afternoon with a new conditioner and it feels exceptionally silky). I didn't have any sexual agenda, but the spoken invitation to touch me at all was enough to evoke an uncomfortable, palpable withdrawal on his part. (He managed a very stiff, barely-there pat, then quickly withdrew his hand.) Prior to that we'd actually been having quite a nice time just sitting together sharing a touch or hug now and then. After the hair faux-pas, the warm atmosphere returned somewhat, but not to the same level of comfort there'd been before that.

It can be exhausting to have to be so careful with the things we do and say 24/7--certainly makes it hard to relax, and to feel comfortable being natural with our partners. Spontaneous gestures seems to be particularly dangerous areas for my guy to be on the receiving end of. For me, it makes it doubly wearing/discouraging sometimes to be constantly having to give myself "self-talks" about how it's not *me* that he's feeling the aversion to, ya know?

Anyway, I do not believe that there is no hope for better relations and greater, more relaxed intimacy for you with your hubby, so long as he's still working on the issues. I know that you've been where I am and from what you've written to date, it has gotten better for you two already. Small steps, right?

Your candour and sharing are very much appreciated, Sandy. Remember, one day at a time.

Stride

_________________________
In the right formation,
the lifting power of many wings can
achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.

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#64935 - 03/15/03 06:33 PM Re: Success???
moo2 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/31/03
Posts: 82
Loc: pottsboro,texas
Sandy,
I know intamacy + sex is extremely hard for any survivor. Mr Edd + I haven't had sex for 3 weeks. Until 1 day out of the blue we did a quicky. Mr Edd usually does not want any intamant touches. We went 1 week total without any touching at all from me his wife because of his really bad flashbacks. I can't discribe the flashbacks here. GROSS!!!!! I can understand why Ed could not touch for a while. I guess I told you about our sex problems to tell you that you are not by yourself with your sexual problem + to give you some hope that your sex problem is not really as critical as it first seemed. :p I really want to help you + not be a stumbling block. Talk to you soon.
WITH MUCH LOVE,
Kim


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#64936 - 03/17/03 03:08 PM Re: Success???
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
This is my first time posting after many months of hovering. In November I was at my wits end and wrote a very long note to my husband whom I referred to in the letter as "The Stanger", maybe I'll post it here and see if any one else feels like I did then. My husband and I are extremely close in all our aspects of marriage, but there are times, like yesterday, when he completely goes away mentally and I don't even know what happened to bring it on. We have been married since last fall, however I have known him for 25 years, even danced with him once in Jr. High. I have learned by reading the many posts here, that each person (victim of senseless abuse) is different and handles their own pain in a different, but similar way? How my husband can be so close to me considering what he went through is beyond my comprehension. I am thankful for every day and hour I have with him, and love and acccept him for what he can and does allow me to share, some days it is limited, but most days it is beautiful. I hope this made some sense, but I am just glad to see there are other wives/significant others/family members here who will take the time and share. I could go on and on, but I am nervous so I'll just sign off for now. Sincerely - wifenneed


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#64937 - 03/17/03 08:07 PM Re: Success???
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Wifenneed
There's no need to be nervous about posting here, we come here to support each other and get some back.

What you're experiening sounds all to common in relationships with survivors, I know it's the problem I'm facing right now, and I've had about 4 years of therapy ( 1 to 1 and now group ) and I've put in a lot of work myself.
I don't think there's an answer to our abuse problems without proper therapy from someone who specialises in abuse survivors.

But it's probably no use dragging someone into therapy kicking and screaming, I think it's a decision we have to feel right about. But don't let that stop you from talking about it with him.
With love and support it's an easier decision.

A good source of advice is Mike Lew's book "Victims no Longer" that you can order from Amazon online by following the link on the M.S. homepage ( that way we get some commission as well ;\) )
There's an excellent chapter for survivors partners in there, but the book is excellent throughout.
Click this link to the Bookstore.
http://www.malesurvivor.org/bookstore.htm

You can also ask him to come here, we'll make him welcome and let him know he's not alone.

I've been married for 28 years, and spent many of those years as a 'stranger' - I hate it, but now I recognise it I can do something about it.

Quote:
but I am just glad to see there are other wives/significant others/family members here who will take the time and share.
If it wasn't for my wife taking the time and sharing I dread to think where I'd be now. Those of that have supportive partners are so lucky. I know it can't be easy for any of you living with 'strangers' like us and sometimes we don't show our appreciation as much as we should. But we DO care.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#64938 - 03/18/03 12:22 PM Re: Success???
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
Thank you Dave for that...I bought that book a few months back after you suggested it to someone else (I think), and it did help. From what my husband has shared, he was abused 28 times, from the ages of 7 to 10. I think it was 2 boys, neighborhood creeps, and I don't know much more than that. They did harm his puppy he had at that time too, to prove they (or he) would do harm, I suppose if he chose to not keep quiet. I do not know what, where, when, etc., other than what he told me, which he has only told me as far as I know, in this detail. He sought counseling years ago and it did him a world of good. He manages very, very well, and from what we have talked about he is a totally different person than he was prior to couseling. It must be a monumental effort for persons to just survive sometimes. He attempted ending his life twice, over a decade ago. I am so thankful he did not succeed. I have never been SA, nor ever spoken to someone who had been, prior to meeting him. We are both in our late 30's. I have two children girls, ages 3 and 5, and he is wonderful with them, and any children for that matter. He has two daughters also, teenagers though.

All I want to do is love and support him, however sometimes I feel bad about being shut out or shut off. Guess that's only natural. I consider myself very fortunate in that we have a solid communication system most of the time, and intamcy is usually never a problem...I leave that up to his comfort level. He is attentive to me, and does not seem to have a problem intimacy. He does say that he still has trust issues, but I don't know about what? He has told me more than seems necessary about the SA, and I don't care if he ever tells me more.

Well I've rambled on. Thank you again for your reply......I wish I knew what happens when he just clams up and goes away. Only nods his head and usually gives one word answers to things. It is hard to know how to balance what he needs and what I need, which are opposite in these situations.....I need communication and open-ness and comfort, he needs to be left alone, but it's important to him that "I am there". Conundrum indeed.

Thank you-wifenneed


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#64939 - 03/18/03 03:39 PM Re: Success???
SandyW Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/03
Posts: 86
Loc: NJ
Thanks! I did just get the book (from the MS bookstore). I'll probably have better luck reading it myself and paraphrasing for my husband. He's not much on reading.


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#64940 - 03/19/03 08:06 PM Re: Success???
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Wifenneed
Thanks, your husband is a lucky man to have your support. I know how much it means and I'm very guilty of not telling my wife just how much.
Sometimes we're like that though, we just go quiet and nod a lot.

Dave \:\)

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#64941 - 03/27/03 05:03 PM Re: Success???
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Hi - I am a partner of a SA and my relationship has many more ups and downs than I'd like, but on the whole I'd say our relationship is pretty workable.

The realtionship is difficult because I can never be 100% for certain the mood he may be in at any one time, or if he's having a flashback/stuck in the past day/week or has been recently triggered, but he is at least getting much better at telling me about these events when they happen rather than shutting me out. Doesnt stop him from being really weird at times though.

Our sex life is not as complicated as perhaps others as my BF's abuse was molestation (no more than two incidences) He admits that he probably would be suffering more if it had gone on longer, if he was younger (he was an older teen - 16 or 17 when it happened) and if there was significant violence (there was coercion but not violence). There was no violence and no penetration. HOWEVER this is not to imply that molestation/fondling is not traumatic on its own. He does suffer and has for a long time. The fact that he could never tell anyone and that he came from an ultra-conservative catholic family was the biggest problem for him - he has struggled so much because he's stuffed it all inside himself for half his life.

He certainly still does exhibit a behavioural response to this molestation though - he exhibits through hypersexual behaviour more than anything. (His sexual past right after his molestation is quite scary). However, since we've been together he's never gone beyond the bounds of our relationship or himself to get "satisfied" (nor has he ever cheated - one of his great traits is that he is very loyal) so I"m not too worried. He says that he does get very calmed and feels very protected when I put my hands "around him" - like I'm protecting him from harm or something - I have no doubt that this is definitely related to his molestation. HOWEVER there have been times when he has been too afraid to have sex - which is OK with me - I try to be compassionate and give him a shoulder to cry on and let his needs be the most important at that time. I need to make him feel safe and OK during those times.

What is important to keep in mind with our relatioship is that despite our being in a relationship, we are also long-time childhood friends (long before the SA), which has put me in a unique position of trust. I think with others he has not been so trusting or felt so safe.

With respect to emotional intimacy, he does sometimes become emotionally unavailable, but he usually comes around after a few days.

He DOES put in a lot of work on his recovery though. He has been in counselling off and on for about 5 years, he practices meditation/reiki, we have an active spitual life, he does journalling, and he is also launching a case against his perp. so he is well into his recovery.

I DO know that his past was not so rosy however. He has a very poor relationship track record, has had serious problems with intimacy, and has well over a decade of alcohol and drug abuse (pot, LSD, etc) under his belt. It would be safe to say that if I had met him ten years ago we certainly would not have had a workable relationship.

I suppose with respect to a relationship with a SA, I think it all depends on where in the recovery process you come in. Early on it must be tough. Well into the recovery phase it certainly is workable - you have to accept some pretty unpleasant realities, but it *can* work.

I guess with a lot of things, timing is everything.

- Soc


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#64942 - 03/27/03 05:29 PM Re: Success???
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Soc
what you say in your post is absolutly right, we ARE difficult people. But we don't want to be, and hopefully we're fighting our way through it.
And support like yours makes our fight that much easier.

Another point you make is certainly true, and it's been made many times before here. But you've said it so well it's worth highlighting for those that come and look at the site and think "what happened to me was nothing compared to these guys"

Quote:
my BF's abuse was molestation (no more than two incidences) He admits that he probably would be suffering more if it had gone on longer, if he was younger (he was an older teen - 16 or 17 when it happened) and if there was significant violence (there was coercion but not violence). There was no violence and no penetration. HOWEVER this is not to imply that molestation/fondling is not traumatic on its own. He does suffer and has for a long time.
There is no league table for abuse, the 'worse' the abuse doesn't mean that the effects are worse.
Just being touched, even being exposed to to porn and flashers, can have a devastating effect.

I would hate it if someone left this site because they felt that what happened to them wasn't 'bad enough'.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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