I have been reading posts for awhile now; I very much appreciate everyone's insight. I am finding myself in a real bind now, and I would like advice from anyone willing to offer me insight.
My back story is a little long, but I think it helps to explain the emotional bind in which I find myself. I have known my partner and best friend since we were young teenagers (we are both in our late 40s now). We were intimate in high school both emotionally and physically, left each other, married others (me once, him twice). We found ourselves interested once again in sharing our lives about three years ago. We currently live in different states and hope to come together permanently in about a year.
My partner suffered repeated abuse as a young boy at the hands of a brother six years his senior. In addition, my partner found himself doing the same to a younger boy after that time. He did so a few times (he was about 12 years old), but has never done so again. We started dating when he was 14 years old, and were together for about three years. When we broke up, my partner immediately began having sexual relationships with other girls. He continued to do so for years with many young women. He married at 26, was faithful for a time, then decided to divorce. At that time, he sparked a few more relationships, finally marrying one of his girlfriends six months after meeting her. That relationship was disastrous for him (and his two daughters) emotionally and financially. He'll likely be trying to move past the financial challenges for the next three or four years.
I was married for almost 24 years, very monogamous, and I am quite old-fashioned. When I met my partner again, we connected on a deep emotional level, and it was at that time that he told me the details of his childhood abuse (I did not know anything when we were teenagers). I have tried to be very supportive and nurturing since this time, but I am recently finding myself feeling angry about his past sexual history (even though he says it meant nothing to him -- and I am sure in some ways it did not). I am seeing him as a man who has not suffered abuse, and I know that is wrong. I need some help to readjust my attitude and my approach toward him -- especially during stressful times (which we often have because we live so far apart).
He does suffer from anxiety, works at a job he despises (but is very obedient and continues to do what others -- including his abusive brother -- have told him is the right thing for him). He takes Abilify because of suspected bipolar disorder or depression, but all medications he has taken seem to affect him negatively. He acts helpless to turn things around; I know some of this is due to his abuse history; is this helplessness a normal response to abuse? He saw a counselor for a very short time, but that was not comfortable for him as the fellow seemed to not understand my partner's needs.
I tend toward babbling on and on, so I'll close now. I guess I need some guidance on what is "normal-ish" for his situation and what I can do to be a better friend. I do love him madly, and I all I want for him is his happiness. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. I am very grateful.