Dating someone who was sexually abused as a child

Dating a Woman who was Sexually Abused as a Child | Futurescopes

dating someone who was sexually abused as a child

Involvement with a survivor of child sexual abuse is an opportunity to explore your own I ask them: 'Do you want to make love with someone who isn't there?. “Lindsey, have you ever been sexually assaulted? she told me that she had been sexually assaulted as a child and used food to about six months into dating someone new—the man who eventually became my husband. Experiencing sexual abuse or assault as a child is a lasting trauma to me is there's many different directions somebody who gets molested.

Annie didn't sleep well any more and she was having nightmares.

When Your Partner Was Sexually Abused as a Child: A Guide for Partners -

After a while she seemed to resist going to bed so I went to bed alone. She'd stay up and read. Sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night alone and she'd be in the living room with all the lights on, wrapped up in a blanket.

Memories of the events might come in bits and pieces that may not make sense to her. As she struggles with these memories she might doubt the abuse happened and worry that she's going crazy. Her mind is letting information in little by little so she won't be overwhelmed. The crisis stage is easier to go through if you understand what's happening. If your partner has always known about the abuse but has had little or no feeling about it, she could experience a crisis when she starts to feel the emotional pain connected to the abuse.

These feelings may seem overwhelming at first. She might find herself crying without knowing why. She might suddenly be afraid to be alone or withdraw from people.

A counsellor can be helpful at this stage to help her learn skills to manage these thoughts and feelings. One way to find out is to call a sexual assault centre and talk to a counsellor. They can explain more about what your partner is going through and will give you some ideas on how to handle it. The Middle Stage "She kept digging into her past. I thought it would never stop. It was as if she had to go back to all the important times and people in her life and look at them again and again.

dating someone who was sexually abused as a child

She had to see what her childhood was really like; what her family was really like. She will struggle with details of the abuse, struggle to express her feelings about it, and to integrate the memories.

This means she has to acknowledge how deeply she has been affected by the abuse. She'll experience emotional upheaval which may include grief and anger. However, she'll probably be relieved, too, when some of her feelings and behaviours start to make sense to her.

Although you might wish your partner would hurry and get on with recovery, she can do it only when she's ready. If she's worried about whether she can do it, encourage her to talk to a counsellor, or do some reading.

If your partner is anxious about how it will affect your relationship, you could talk to a counsellor together about concerns and about what you might do to help.

dating someone who was sexually abused as a child

Don't pressure your partner. The decisions along the way aren't easy and your partner must make them for her own reasons, not to please you. If you feel impatient or frustrated, talk to a counsellor or find a support group for yourself. Resolution "We've had quite a time, but it's easier now. The abuse still comes up but it's not the centre of her life or mine. And what a relief that is! This doesn't mean she'll never think about the abuse again, nor does it mean everything is sorted out.

However, it does mean she'll be free to concentrate on what's happening in her life now. When problems related to the abuse do come up, she'll feel more confident about handling them.

As a partner you'll be involved and affected by every stage of the recovery process. Knowing how recovery works can help you support your partner without feeling overwhelmed. Do other partners react the way I am reacting? I've played football with him.

Childhood Trauma-Abandonment, Sexual Abuse, and Blame--Narcissistic Abuse

I've drunk beer with him, and we've swapped jokes. To me he just seems like a regular guy. Maybe somebody else did it, and she just imagines it was her brother.

dating someone who was sexually abused as a child

And What a relief that is! It's hard to accept that the abuser might be someone you know or even like. Recent studies show that one out of four women and one out of six men experienced child sexual abuse. You may feel repelled by the thought that your partner has been sexually abused, and you may want to deny it. Your belief will support her first step towards healing. Your denial, on the other hand, could increase her sense of shame and further lower her feelings of self-worth.

If she would just put it aside, and get on with her life, we'd both be better off. You can't undo the past, and crying over spilled milk only makes things worse.

We can both go ahead from here and have a wonderful life together. Remembering the abuse and telling you about it is only the first step towards recovery for your partner. Now she needs to experience and make sense of her conflicting thoughts and feelings. To do this she'll probably need help from a trained trauma counsellor. She'll need patience, understanding and love from you. Her father has wrecked her life, and now he's wrecking mine. I want to kill him. She needs to decide her own course of action.

While she was being abused she was powerless, and if you try to control the situation now, her power is being taken away again. With the help of a counsellor you can find constructive ways for you to channel your anger.

She wasn't even thinking about sexual abuse until she saw all those other women talking about it. Now she won't leave the subject alone.

Sometimes she didn't want sex, and sometimes she did. She was always upset and it seemed like we couldn't just relax and enjoy ourselves. Then she started accusing me of having affairs if I even talked to another woman. And then she kept telling me I'd probably walk out on her. It was driving me crazy. Thank god she started to deal with the abuse. All that behaviour is starting to make sense to me now. You might feel relief after your partner starts talking about the sexual abuse.

It helps you understand behaviours that may have baffled you for years. Problems with sexuality, intimacy, and trust can be the result of childhood sexual abuse. I don't have a degree in psychology, and I'm afraid something I do or say could make things worse for her. And what if I touch her or do something in bed that really upsets her? Remind yourself that you are not the cause of these changes, and you shouldn't take it personally when she is angry or doesn't want to be touched.

She looks like the same person, and I'm still in love with her, but she seems so different. It's like living with a stranger, and I really miss the old person.

I know she's getting better, but where does that leave me? Remind yourself that she is the same person. Experiencing personal changes can be as exciting and stressful for you as it is for her. You have to trust and be patient with her healing process. As the partner, what can I do to help? Any loving relationship needs the ongoing support and understanding of both partners. However, to be the partner of someone who is dealing with child sexual abuse takes extra understanding and patience.

Here's what you can do to help: Believe your partner and resist the temptation to minimize the abuse. Listen to your partner.

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  • When Your Partner Was Sexually Abused as a Child: A Guide for Partners

If the abuser was a close relative, she may have positive feelings for her as well as angry feelings. She needs to be able to form her own opinions without your attempts to influence them.

Support your partner's plans to deal with the abuse, but don't try to control what she does. Your partner has to decide such things as whether to go into counselling, whether to join a support group, and whether to take some kind of action against the abuser.

Your task is to support these important decisions whatever they might be. If you try to interfere, she'll feel that once again someone is trying to control her life.

If her family tries to influence what she does, you can help by supporting her decisions. Maintain a separate identity. You'll help your partner if you focus on your own needs as well as hers. In any healthy relationship both partners make sure that their own needs are met.

Whether one or both partners experienced sexual abuse, this basic principle still applies. Be a trusted friend. This means being there for your partner when she wants to talk, providing company when she wants it, and respecting her privacy when she wants it. It means being patient, especially when she wants to talk about the abuse or retell the story of her abuse. Cooperate with your partner's requests around sexual activity.

Dating a Woman who was Sexually Abused as a Child

She may want to avoid sexual activity or even ask for temporary sexual abstinence. If she makes this request, it's probably because sexual activity is triggering painful memories of sexual abuse. Temporary abstinence may seem difficult, but you can treat it as an opportunity to express your loving feelings with affectionate touching and non-sexual intimacy.

How can I look after my own needs? To be the partner of someone who is dealing with childhood sexual abuse takes extra understanding and patience. Being the partner of someone who experienced sexual abuse can be both an ordeal and a rewarding experience. Greg's story illustrates some of the things that can happen to you as your partner recovers: Greg's story When Greg met his wife, Linda, she was in counselling because of sexual abuse by her grandfather.

When they began a sexual relationship, Greg noticed that she resisted intimacy. She would always wear pyjamas to bed and never let him see her naked. Greg thought this meant that she was modest. Linda owned a successful computer software business and Greg worked as a journeyman welder. He was flattered that a "professional" woman was interested in a "working-class" man like himself, and was even more flattered when she agreed to marry him.

Linda told Greg about her grandfather after they were married. Greg supported her counselling and made a lot of aggressive comments about her grandfather. He saw himself as a "white knight" who had rescued her from an evil family. As Linda's counselling progressed, the relationship deteriorated. Instead of becoming more comfortable with her body, she still wore pyjamas to bed, and frequently resisted Greg's sexual overtures.

When he persisted, she told him that he was "a sex fiend". Then Linda accused Greg of attempting to control her, of being a chauvinist, and of flirting with other women. Eventually Greg lost patience. He told her to get on with her counselling so they could have a normal sex life. She accused him of emotional violence. In desperation Greg made an appointment to see a counsellor himself. The counsellor asked Greg to look at some of the assumptions he had made about Linda.

Greg found that Linda's "modesty" was, in fact, a reaction to being sexually abused by her grandfather. The counsellor also helped Greg separate what was true about Linda's accusations, from her perceptions of him that were distorted by the abuse. He had to acknowledge, for example, that his aggressive "white knight" approach was chauvinistic and controlling, and that Linda's perception of him as a "sex fiend" wasn't valid. The counsellor also helped Greg see that he had idealized Linda as a middle-class achiever who had done him a favour by marrying him, and that this was quite unrealistic.

This in turn led Greg to see how his self-esteem had been impacted by his own upbringing. In the end, he was able to be more supportive of Linda because he had a better sense of his own self-worth. Respect your own boundaries and set limits if your partner's behaviour becomes abusive. He learned not to assume that he was automatically wrong when Linda attacked him.

As Greg became more realistic about her, he gave up playing the "white knight". When Linda felt more in control of her recovery, she stopped her verbal attacks. Greg also learned how to build greater non-sexual intimacy into their relationship. They both benefited in many ways from counselling.

Greg's story contains several important principles for a healthy relationship. Recognize and assert your own needs. If you frequently place your partner's needs ahead of your own, it is not healthy and may stand in the way of her recovery and your own emotional well-being. Look at the role you played in your own family. If you were the one who "took care of everything" in your family, you run the risk of carrying that role into your relationship.

It may feel good but it isn't healthy. The memory of the physical trauma that she went through as a child, a teen or a young woman is often enough to make any thoughts of intimacy abhorrent or scary to the abused person, even as an adult. Under such circumstances, you need to check your sexual advances and wait for your partner to heal herself before she can be comfortable with you in an intimate setting.

Let the other person know that even though you find her attractive and are deeply in love, you are willing to wait till the time she feels she can open up to you. When your partner realizes there is no pressure on her to engage in intimacy, she will be able to better sort out her feelings with regard to her unhappy past and the present relationship.

Offer support Yet another far-reaching consequence of sexual abuse is a lack of self-worth or even a latent sense of guilt in the victim. Thus your girlfriend may at times suffer from a lack of self-confidence or even a crippling form of self-doubt.

This could be because subconsciously the person feels that she was in some way responsible for the abuse in the past, that she may have encouraged or invited, so to speak, the heinous act. What you can do to in such a situation is to regularly appreciate her achievements and attributes — no matter how small they seem. So you could compliment your girlfriend on the new hairdo that she has got or praise the new Italian recipe that she has tried out.

The essential thing is to keep reminding your partner that she is much more than a product of her painful past, that she has incredible potential and active possibilities to live a happy, meaningful life. Help her to trust again Women who have suffered sexual abuse as a child are particularly prone to having trust issues later in their adult relationships.

Apart from the physical pain, what hurts most when abused as a child is the realization that no one, not even an adult from the circle of family or friends, is worthy of trust. The memory of this abuse of trust makes it difficult for the victim to have faith in others, ever again. So you may find your girlfriend at times suspicious, jealous and highly emotionally insecure.

Taken to an extreme, the inability to trust a partner may also result in commitment issues where despite finding herself compatible with you, she is unable to commit to the relationship.