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#67339 - 08/13/03 12:31 PM Why stay?
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Partners,

Why do you stay with a survivor? My wife is not happy about me working on recovery. She was not happy that I hid the abuse from her for so long. She was not happy with the emotional handicaps I brought into our marriage.

So, why do you stay? From what I see, there's no reason why she will stay. What motivates you to stick it out after all the crap that led up to the disclosure, the crisis, the whatever?

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#67340 - 08/13/03 03:40 PM Re: Why stay?
Ivanhoe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
Oh, God, Joe, my heart goes out to you.

Maybe you don't want to hear from me or other survivors here because, after all, you did post this for spouses.

I can't imagine that she's carried the entire responsibility of the family without any help from you.
Besides, she can't be without problems of her own that I'm certain that you're sensitive to.

Listen, this is the stuff of great marriages.

In just the short time that I've known you, I find you to be a loving, compassionate man and father.

What's going on with you two is called transition.

Geez, I mean, thank God that you're addressing these issues and history in your life. If she thinks that the next guy will not have any problems, is she in for a surprise.

But more than that, it's times like these, when people stick with each other, that the real rewards of life can be found.

Does she need a weekend alone with you? Would that help?

I know that you've talked about other issues and I hope that we will be able to talk about some of that.

But, for now, here, you've got my support for what has to be a scary and maybe disappointing time for you.

I've probably got the one in a zillion for a partner and she's certainly been that. But don't think that we didn't need that counseling this past year.

Maybe I'll try to get her to post something, here, in this thread about spouses, partners staying with us.
Hang in, my good friend, help is on the way in the form of this site and your brothers here.

Strength and Courage to you, I'm praying for you as I sign off. I'm also going to suggest to my prayer chain that they remember a good friend of mine who needs their prayers for an understanding spouse and a strong marriage; no names, Joe, the Guy up there will know.

Your humbled friend,

David

_________________________
"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

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#67341 - 08/13/03 06:20 PM Re: Why stay?
LovingPartner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/08/03
Posts: 26
Joe-
Great thread! I bet many survivors ask themselves that question. I can answer your question simply by using one word: LOVE. (I can also name a few lesser reasons like we wouldn't want to start over, but such is not my case.) We love you. We didn't fall in love with our partners because they were abused, we fell in love with them for who they are. We put up with all the "crap" because you put up with our crap. Always makes me think of something Jeff Foxworthy said. "Moms will clean up stuff that would gag the Roto-Rooter man." ;\) (Nobody's perfect, we all have crap of some sort.) We love you so we want our lives to be better. So we stay, and work through the things that make life unenjoyable. And by working through those things together, we become closer and grow to love you even more.
Don't get me wrong, I was pissed when I found out that my hubby hadn't told me about it at the very beginning of our relationship. (at least he told me before we got married, right?) But then he explained that he didn't want to tell me because he was afraid that I would leave. I stifled my anger and looked at it from his point of view. I'll never completely understand what he (or any of you guys) went through, but I do everything I can to help. I know nobody can do it alone. I see the strength you all show by posting your stories here, and I admire that strength. (Hope that didn't come out wrong.) I hope I answered your question. Feel free to ask anything, anytime. Best of luck to you.
Loving Partner


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#67342 - 08/14/03 01:57 AM Re: Why stay?
Ivanhoe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
This is Ranata. I'm David's wife.

I'm very thankful for this site. It has given stength and peace to my husband, David, and in so doing, to me. I knew when we married that he had suffered childhood sexual abuse. I was naive, I didn't know what impact it would have on our life together. I didn't know that it would prevent him from obtaining satisfying work. I didn't know that it would sometimes stimulate anger and distrust of me and our daughters. I didn't know that he was constantly stuggling to feel worthy of living this life, after what he had suffered at the hands of a perverted middle school teacher. All I knew is that he was an interesting, volitile, loving person and that I wanted to live my life with him.

Over the years, I have to confess that I often felt like a martyr, that I was the only one holding the family together, emotionally and financially (that's my hangup). But through his pain and doubt, eventually David would always make me feel like I was the most important person in the world, that I was exciting, beautiful, competent and all that was needed.

I suffered with (what I considered) undeserved anger and sarcasm from time to time. But I "stayed" for several reasons. I stayed because I felt it was my responsibility to provide stability to our daughters' lives. I stayed because of my marriage vows. But more importantly, I stayed because I was married to a very intersting, spiritual, sexy person, one whom I loved. In the heat of anger or pain, I have often had to remind him, "I'm not the enemy, I'm the one who loves you."

Although I'm stuggling with my own spirituality, I sincerely believe that God is watching over us. He will make all things good for us and for our family. I'm sure he has that in mind for you and your family as well.

Ranata

_________________________
"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

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#67343 - 08/14/03 02:42 AM Re: Why stay?
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
I have to answer this from the point of view of one who is probably not staying. But I'd like to. As lovingpartner pointed out, I love my bf, I love him for who he is, which is not in spite of the abuse, but including the abuse. I wish we could have a relationship together and get past the issues that the abuse puts between us. The only reason I'm not doing that is because he doesn't want me to. He isn't committed to working things through with me, so I have to move forward for myself. I would gladly work things out & deal with this aspect of our relationship if he wanted to. My willingness or desire is based on a good understanding of the issues SA brings to a relationship, so I have to say that it really isn't related to my decision to stay or to move on. I do believe it is related to his level of commitment, however. So in a sense it is the cause of the failure of this relationship, but not the basis for my decision.

I think that work on the relationship often ends up being the woman's responsibility because of traditional roles we are taught. That leads to women having the tendency to feel the need to address the problems we see & try to 'fix' them. That leads to women sounding like they are continually complaining or seeing bad stuff, which can make it seem like they are really unhappy in a relationship. Often, in reality they are working on it because it is so important to them that they want it to last. It is kind of like preventative maintenence. This is a overgeneralization of how the situation can play out, but you get the idea. I just got off the phone with a friend who is just starting to date someone & she is already looking for potential problems to fix -- not because she hopes to avoid a future with the wrong guy, but because she wants to be sure to work on it so that it WILL have a future. These days women don't view their relationships as 'jobs' so much, but I think that some of those roles still affect the way we interact.

I don't try that hard myself -- I've come to a point in my life that I think we'll both notice if something is not right between us. Some things need discussion & some things don't. What is hard for me is when I simply state something that I feel & my bf takes it as a directive instead of showing understanding. (sort of the opposite of the scenario above) I recently told him some of the things that were making me feel unimportant & he said "I guess I'm in trouble". NO! He isn't in trouble, I am expressing MY emotions. ME, ME, ME!!! So much of our time relating is about his issues, his problems, his mood changes, his progress, his physical ailments, his thoughts about whether to work or retire, etc, etc. I think he forgets I have feelings of my own. So I bring it up & he thinks it is about him! All I really want is a listening ear & the understanding that my feelings are valid.

I guess what I am saying is that I think lovingpartner's statement is the underlying reason anyone would give for staying with someone. There are so many different dynamics that affect how that works. You BOTH bring issues that will affect how you react to the stuff that comes up day to day. I don't know if what I've written about here relates in any way to your relationship, it is just what I know lately.

-BB.


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#67344 - 08/14/03 09:32 AM Re: Why stay?
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Thank you all for your help. Each of you has made important points, things I can apply in my life now and in the future.

Susie and I talked a lot last night. Some of this is probably just insecurity on my part. I needed some reassurance that her disgust with the abuse (she hates the perp) and the strain on her patience (I spent a long time hiding this and hiding from it) weren't going to drive her away. I want to be healthy and whole, for myself, sure, but also so I can share all that I am with her.

It seems that having all the "crap" build to the point it did, battering our relationship as it grew, really wasn't the best way to prepare us for me to start the healing. I wish I had enough sense to work on this years ago. "If wishes were horses, beggars might ride." I need to play the cards in my hand today.

I have some hope this morning. Thanks for your kindness. Best wishes, and prayers, to each of you and your own partners.

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#67345 - 08/14/03 11:15 AM Re: Why stay?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Joe: for me there are several reasons why I stay:

I love my BF. He is my best friend. He was my best friend from 1974-1979 and he has been my best friend again since 2001. We've been through so much togehter - both before and after the abuse. He's the first boy I ever kissed! No SA can ever erase how much I love him or how sweet he *really* is!

I am also a survivor of abuse - not sexual but emotional and verbal and psychological. My BF's SA experience has made him one of the few people who is able to see the "real me" through the "reactionary me" and put up with my crap (and call me on my shit) as well. We both have the ability to see through each others' pain and try to understand each other. He has real advice for me based on his own experience rather than just going "Duuh I dont know what is up your ass" like the rest of my previous boyfriends. My BF KNOWS what is wrong.

Things are not perfect but my BF is working on things. I live with the hope that if he continues on the path he is on that things will only get better for us.

My BF recognizes and reassures me that things won't "always be this way" that over time, we'll heal and be better able to live happier and easier lives. Over the past two years things are already heading that way. Also we are both committed to our healing and to getting professional help when we need it. We dont try to deal with this shit alone. And knowing that my BF is not only open to therapy but has actively sought it for both him and me makes me feel that this cannot but help "working out" in the long run.

I realize that not everyone has gone through SA, but EVERYONE has some crap or baggage to carry. There is NOT ONE PERSON on earth that doesn't have their tough sides, their challenges and their weaknesses. Just "leaving" and finding someone else to be with is not that easy (it seems easy but it is NOT). I've been in enough relationships to know that even with the SA my BF has great qualities and really is a great guy. What's important is that my BF is working on things and working ot make things better, which is a hell of a lot better than a lot of people out there are doing with their lives.

My BF's SA has made him much more aware of suffering in life - and particularly what we women suffer when we are treated like "just a sex object". Most or all women out there have been treated that way at one time or another in our lives. As my BF was molested by a man he is one of the select few men on earth who knows EXACTLY what it feels like to go through that. And that is a powerful bonding experience.

My BF's recovery has caused him to discover all kinds of great things about life - instead of focussing on making a great living, making lots of money and doing all the thigns that piss women off ("he's never home, all he cares about is his job!!") , he focusses on inner peace, meditation, natural healing, spirituality, and just the power of spending quality time together with someone he loves. Its like his abuse has made him really understand just what's important in life.

I'm also a pretty tough and independent person. When my BF is able to share then that is great. We share. When he is hurting, I can and do find other ways to feel good about myself and spend my time, until such time he's feeling better. I also dont give him an INCH when he is dealing crap at me - and I'm not shy to tell him when he's dealing crap and being a jerk!

I also have a strong faith in God. I believe that God has put my BF and I together for a reason - to help each other heal and finally create a loving healthy relationship for each other. The night we re-met after 21 years by accident in the local grocery store we both felt the presence of a higher power. I dont think that we should spite what God wants for us - which I firmly believe is for him to help me through my crap and for me to help me through his SA!!!!


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#67346 - 08/14/03 11:35 AM Re: Why stay?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by outis:
Susie and I talked a lot last night. Some of this is probably just insecurity on my part. I needed some reassurance that her disgust with the abuse (she hates the perp) and the strain on her patience (I spent a long time hiding this and hiding from it) weren't going to drive her away. I want to be healthy and whole, for myself, sure, but also so I can share all that I am with her.



Outis: I think most sane people recognize that nobody can be there for someone 24/7. And that when someone is going through stuff it is even harder to be there most of the time. But as long as someone is trying then that is the main thing.

Also as far as "disgust" at the abuse - I feel nothing but love and empathy for my BF. I am disgusted and horrified by the PERP and what he did to my BF who was a sweet, innocent teenager seeking advice about love and girls, and this fucking disgusting man took advantage of that. But in NO WAY does what happened to my BF make him who he is! He was totally innocent in what happened - someone took advantage of him and in NO way is a victim ever responsible for the crime! Perhaps that is clearer for those of us who have not suffered SA - that we can see that there is absolutely NO responsibility on the victim's part for what happened. it is 100% the fault and responsibility of the perp.

In fact when I was told of what happened to my BF early on in our relationship, I just held him and let him cry on my shoulder - I felt nothing but love and empathy. Not a shred of disgust.

Quote:

It seems that having all the "crap" build to the point it did, battering our relationship as it grew, really wasn't the best way to prepare us for me to start the healing. I wish I had enough sense to work on this years ago. "If wishes were horses, beggars might ride." I need to play the cards in my hand today.



Outis - but you are at a beautiful point in your relaitonship - now that you have all these realizations, and if you are committed to working through them, I firmly believe you will be closer to your wife than ever before, and that you will no doubt soon turn a page to a wonderfully loving phase with your wife.

Every time my BF and I get close to the "breaking point" and we get help and get through it, we are closer than ever before and I love him so much more. It is truly amazing.

I am glad that what was shared has helped. Peace to you this weekend!


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#67347 - 08/14/03 11:56 AM Re: Why stay?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by outis:
Susie and I talked a lot last night. Some of this is probably just insecurity on my part. I needed some reassurance that her disgust with the abuse (she hates the perp) and the strain on her patience (I spent a long time hiding this and hiding from it) weren't going to drive her away. I want to be healthy and whole, for myself, sure, but also so I can share all that I am with her.



Outis: I think most sane people recognize that nobody can be there for someone 24/7. And that when someone is going through stuff it is even harder to be there most of the time. But as long as someone is trying then that is the main thing.

Also as far as "disgust" at the abuse - I feel nothing but love and empathy for my BF. I am disgusted and horrified by the PERP and what he did to my BF who was a sweet, innocent teenager seeking advice about love and girls, and this fucking disgusting man took advantage of that. But in NO WAY does what happened to my BF make him who he is! He was totally innocent in what happened - someone took advantage of him and in NO way is a victim ever responsible for the crime! Perhaps that is clearer for those of us who have not suffered SA - that we can see that there is absolutely NO responsibility on the victim's part for what happened. it is 100% the fault and responsibility of the perp.

I do on occasion get very tired and angry and depressed and frustrated dealing with the effects of my BF's SA in our lives (and my own abuse on our lives), but that has NOTHING to do with who my partner is. He is a loving and wonderful person who I love with my whole heart. And in ANY relationship - SA or not there are definitely times when we all wonder if our partner will be sticking around tomorrow or he or she will be gone - I think thats a normal, yet unpleasant part of relationships - there is always risk and from time to time, that twinge of insecurity in our hearts.


Quote:

It seems that having all the "crap" build to the point it did, battering our relationship as it grew, really wasn't the best way to prepare us for me to start the healing. I wish I had enough sense to work on this years ago. "If wishes were horses, beggars might ride." I need to play the cards in my hand today.



Outis - but you are at a beautiful point in your relaitonship - now that you have all these realizations, and if you are committed to working through them, I firmly believe you will be closer to your wife than ever before, and that you will no doubt soon turn a page to a wonderfully loving phase with your wife.

Every time my BF and I get close to the "breaking point" and we get through it, we are closer than ever before and I love him so much more. It is truly amazing.

I am glad that what was shared has helped. Peace to you this weekend!


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#67348 - 08/14/03 06:33 PM Re: Why stay?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
What is hard for me is when I simply state something that I feel & my bf takes it as a directive instead of showing understanding. (sort of the opposite of the scenario above) I recently told him some of the things that were making me feel unimportant & he said "I guess I'm in trouble". NO! He isn't in trouble, I am expressing MY emotions. ME, ME, ME!!! So much of our time relating is about his issues, his problems, his mood changes, his progress, his physical ailments, his thoughts about whether to work or retire, etc, etc. I think he forgets I have feelings of my own. So I bring it up & he thinks it is about him! All I really want is a listening ear & the understanding that my feelings are valid.
Oh I'm guilty of doing that ! All too often I'm so wound up in my own loop of problems I miss what's happening all around me.
And I know how much it pisses Linda off. So I feel guilty, which makes me worse, and on it goes.
Linda sees it as well, and hides her 'pissed off' mood from me so I don't get upset. But eventually it breaks out.

Quote:
I'm also a pretty tough and independent person. When my BF is able to share then that is great. We share. When he is hurting, I can and do find other ways to feel good about myself and spend my time, until such time he's feeling better. I also dont give him an INCH when he is dealing crap at me - and I'm not shy to tell him when he's dealing crap and being a jerk!
And this IS the way to deal with it, it is for me.
I just need to be told when I'm a jerk, I won't be offended because now I understand pretty well well why I'm being a jerk at that time. I just won't admit to it and give US the chance to sort it out.
I'm still a bit stuck in going it alone, or not wanting to unload more crap on Linda.

I often say here that we share everything, and we do. But it's often after the event. And it's a patch up job then, and also I don't seem to learn that quick. So when the same things happen a few weeks down the line, she has every right to be pissed off with me.

I know I have to make the big step of saying that I need some support WHEN I need it, some of that "preventitive maintainance" - not "firefighting maintainance"
That would go a long way to a better relationship.

We've survived this far because we love each other, always have. And we feel that our relationship is worth making an effort to improve. And at one point - save.

Another factor I think is important in this discussion is that we as Survivors can, and do, change quite dramatically as we go through our recoveries.
We regain ourself esteem and pride, hell - I even started to shower daily :rolleyes: - so we do become different people to the one our partners first met. I know I've changed a lot, and people I haven't met for years have commented on it.

So there's a chance that our partners might not like the 'new' man in their lives.
Perhaps we've become more assertive, changed interests ( I have ) and these are big changes for some people to accept.

David - Outis - says his wife Ranata is one in a zillion, and so is Linda.
But it doesn't mean that we don't wind them up, frustrate and neglect them.
I don't do it intentionally, I used to ( but that's another story, old problem, picking fights to make myself feel bad ) but I "know" I do it.

Sometimes I'm confused...........

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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