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#147320 - 03/27/07 11:36 PM I think my bf may have been abused--please advise
Ami Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 3
Hi all,
I'm new to this group and would appreciate anyone's help I can get. I've been dating my bf for almost 6 months now and I'm afraid that he may have been sexually abused as a child--though this is only my gut feeling, he has never told me so. His reactions seem eerily similar to those I have read online and on this site. He is very inhibited sexually, and even refuses to kiss me. I have tried to talk to him about his feelings on intimacy--very gently--he gets quiet and diverts the question. I know something is deeply wrong, but he's oviously not ready to tell me what it is. I believe he thinks if he told me, he'd lose me. I suppose there are other things which could cause his lack of physical intimacy, but do you think it's possible he was abused, and if so, how can I deal with the situation with the most sensitivity? I don't want to hurt or push him. I don't think I want to come right out and ask...I'm not sure he'd even tell me. I'd rather he tell me willingly. I feel like, since we're both a part of the relationship, I have a stake in whatever pain he's dealing with as well. He's a wonderful, caring, funny, gentle person. He has a heart for others. I think the relationship is worthwhile. If he has been traumatized, I am willing to be patient and work with him...if he'd only share with me. If he won't tell me, I don't know what to do. With no physical and little emotional intimacy the relationship doesn't feel like it's progressing. I don't know what he wants? I don't know what he expects from me? I can't stop thinking about this, and I don't have anyone to talk to...all my friends know him and I don't want to embarass him by talking to people he knows. I'd be really grateful if anyone has any advice to share. I want to do the right thing. What can I do to gain his trust? Thanks so much in advance, and sorry for rambling a bit.

Edited by Ami (03/27/07 11:39 PM)

#147430 - 03/28/07 04:41 PM Re: I think my bf may have been abused--please advise [Re: Ami]
lostandfound Offline

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 148
Loc: Singularity
Hello Ami and welcome,

I am glad you found us but sorry for the reasons that you are here.

I am a survivor and I can tell you this, you cannot force disclosure or recovery on him. when I disclosed to my wife more than ten years ago (still dating) I never spoke to her about again until we where in marriage counseling last September.

My therapist said that ten years ago I wasn't ready to talk about and perhaps it didn't feel safe. I feel safe with my we now and I feel like I can talk to her about it.

I don't really know what suggestions I can make to help you talk to him, but you might start reading about it in order for you to gain more insight into what he might be going through. "Victims No Longer" by Mike Lew was recommended to me and I really think that could help you too.

If you don't mind me asking, how old is your boyfriend? How long have you dated or known each other? Are there any specifics regarding his behavior other than intimacy that leads you to believe that he was SA?

I don't know how helpful this is but there are definately a lot of good people here who can offer you support. Please come back and post more if you need to.


"I'm not suppose to be like this, but it's okay!" -REM

#147434 - 03/28/07 05:13 PM Re: I think my bf may have been abused--please advise [Re: lostandfound]
tartugas Offline

Registered: 02/12/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC

Welcome to the site. I hope that your find some help and understanding here.

I do not in any way want to discourage you from your concerns, but I want to stress that it's very important not to place the label of survivor on anyone without specific evidence to support it. I know that you are huting and fearful for both your realtionship and your bf's wellbeing. And those are commendable feelings, but I think it's important to understand that there could be a lot of things going on here.

The most important thing for you to do is to remember that you are not your bf's therapist, you are not, not, not, not, not, NOT, NOT in any way allowed to take on the responsibility for his health and well being before your own. His abuse, if indeed he was abused, is his issue, not yours. The things that you need from a healthy and normal relationship do not in any way change if you are dating a survivor, the only thing that changes ins the strategies for adjusting your expectations to his reality.

At this point, the best thing I can offer to you by way of advice is do not push him, ever. Be there for him. Offer your suppport and comfort, but don't push for more intimacy than he is willing to freely offer. But, at the same time (and this is where is gets very hard for you) do not scarifice your desires and yoru legitimate needs for comapnionship and intimacy upon the altar of his pain.

You may want to look at the following thread (full disclosure: I started it) as it has some important information for friends and family.

This is a relatively new relationship. As such, it is not appropraite, or healthy, for you to move heaven and earth to try and fix this man. Love him with your whole heart. But know that, when we love someone we must accept them wholly as they are. Tragically, sometimes this means we must accept that they are not ready to confront their demons and share with you what you need.

I wish you both the best.

"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

#147438 - 03/28/07 05:23 PM Re: I think my bf may have been abused--please advise [Re: tartugas]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hello, Ami, and welcome to MS. It could well be that your boyfriend was abused as a child, from your de>

#147479 - 03/28/07 08:34 PM Re: I think my bf may have been abused--please advise [Re: EGL]
stride Offline

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

Thanks for the link & that great post! It couldn't have been more timely for me to be reminded of these things.



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

#147553 - 03/29/07 06:03 AM Re: I think my bf may have been abused--please advise [Re: tartugas]
Ami Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 3
Thank you so very much for taking the time to reply. It means so much to me that you were willing to consider and think about the situation. No, I would never label him as anything without him specifically telling me so, nor would I try to force him to tell me anything he wasn't comfortable in sharing. I just know something is troubling him in this area...though I hope I'm wrong. The link is so helpful. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. No, I am in no way qualified to be anyone's therapist...I know there's nothing I can really do to help him, other than stand by him, which I'm willing to do if he'll let me...

#147556 - 03/29/07 06:07 AM Re: I think my bf may have been abused--please advise [Re: Ami]
Ami Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 3
Thanks to everyone who responded. I could be totally wrong, and I want to be wrong—for his sake I would rather the trouble was something else. It makes me sick and angry to think of someone hurting him. I appreciate everyone's comments and advice so much. I cannot imagine what the people on this site have had to overcome. It is so unfair that a child should suffer, and the survivors in this group have so much grace, dignity, and courage---it is amazing. I am truly in awe of all of you. And my prayers are with you. Thanks so much.

#147629 - 03/29/07 06:27 PM Re: I think my bf may have been abused--please advise [Re: Ami]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

Just to add a few words to what's already been said. I have been married for 26 years and I love my wife dearly, but if she had said anything to let me know she suspected I had been abused as a child I would have freaked out. There is no way I could have handled it: too much fear, too much confusion, too much guilt, shame, whatever.

In fact, she knew a long time before I was ready to tell her, and she very wisely just waited for me to find the right moment. One day I sat her down and told her I had something to tell her; I was already very upset, and she took my hand and said, Larry I know you were abused, let's just talk about it. Amazing. But the point is that I was ready and it was me who initiated the discussion. In any other scenario it would not have worked.

Certainly you should avoid doing things like buying a survivor book and giving it to him or leaving it sitting around, or directly hinting at what you think you know. But what you CAN do is find ways to let him know how you feel about him. Try to give him the idea that you love him for who he is and are strong enough to listen to and accept things from his past. I think you can even go so far as to ask what's wrong. If your relationship is at a stage where further intimacy might be expected, and you don't comment on the lack of that intimacy, that might send the signal to him that you don't care or have given up on him.

The important thing to remember here, Ami, is that you can't fix this and that's not what he needs from you. Most of all what he needs is someone he can trust who will listen to him and accept whatever bad news he might produce. If you can somehow let him know that you are this kind of listening and accepting woman, right there is the most powerful gift you can give him.

A final thing to remember: If your bf was abused, recovery is something that's going to take years and a lot of commitment from him, but also tremendous understanding and love from you. The outcome can be very positive, but in no way is that guaranteed.

Always remember that your feelings and needs count too, Ami. You may be facing a big decision as to how much anguish and risk you are willing and able to take into your life.

It's rough to say this, but dealing with the legacy of CSA involves hard choices for both the survivor and his partner.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#147696 - 03/30/07 01:36 AM Re: I think my bf may have been abused--please advise [Re: roadrunner]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon
Good advise from all above.

Welcome Ami,

I hope you find the kind of help here you're needing. Hang around and get to know us. There's a bunch of great folk here who can help ease the burden.

Lots of love,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson


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