Hi Rachel,

I'm not sure.... And sometimes I forget how hard that first year was, after I started to really push through therapy. I forget where you guys are in the process.... Anyway, I found it really hard early on to be present sometimes, mostly because I was getting vivid memories pushing into the forefront of my mind about truly horrid stuff. And then other times, I'd feel a cloud of terrible depression engulf me. So... bear with your husband and have patience. I've had the benefit of three years of steady therapy and another year of continued work on myself.

And yet... you have the right to tell your husband what you want from your life, from your marriage. It's not about authority, and who has it. It's about open communication and meeting each others' needs. One thing that I have trouble with is admitting what my needs are. My default thing to do is be resentful. It's a crappy habit. My wife happens to be pretty bad at letting me know what her needs are in bed. Otherwise, she communicates really well. Both of us need to remind each other not to take each other for granted, and it's often a struggle for us to find time just for the two of us, for talking as well as intimacy.

My point is that it's hard sometimes to work out the logistics, and it can be hard to communicate around the hang-ups that all of us have, but none of us should be holding back or walking on eggshells because someone doesn't want to communicate.

For instance, say you ask your partner to be supportive of you, to man-up, if you like that phrase. That's a fair thing to ask. And maybe he'll be like, "Honey, I appreciate you asking, but right now, I'm just swamped in self-pity, to be perfectly honest with you." And then you could be a little pissy, but hey he told you the truth, right? Or he could put his own self-involved abuse-thinking aside and say, 'Hey, I want to be there for you, because you're there for me."

But you won't get where you need to go, in my opinion, if that frank discussion can't happen.

And here's something else to keep in mind. When I was in the thick of the early healing, I had a hard time just dropping my troubles and having fun, especially because I had cheated on my wife. I mean, I felt guilty all the time, practically, that I didn't feel the weight and shame of the abuse that happened when I was a kid. (We survivors get very good at proving to ourselves that we're shameful and guilty, no doubt.) But it was really great for me, and for us, when we did stuff that was just flat-out fun. And I'll never forget how my wife insisted that we do fun stuff together, things like playing board games or going for walks or whatever else.

Anyway, I hope that helps. I hope you post about how things progress.

Bob