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#188358 - 10/22/07 04:36 PM Just Found Out
Jem Offline
New Here

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 18
Loc: DC
Today my husband told me he was sexually abused when he was a child. His reason for telling me was to let me know that if he could move on and forgive, so could I.

What am I moving on from? During our nearly 16yrs together, he has has two affairs and crossed the line other times with other women. The most recent affair happened this time last year and I have been triggering badly. He has also been physically abusive, but that stopped in '97 when I made him leave until he was willing to admit there was a problem and never hurt me physically again. He has done it twice since then, both times in the aftermaths of the affairs. This has all brought up my childhood issues of feeling unloved and abandoned (I am an adult child of an alcoholic).

I am ashamed to admit that when my husband told me what happened to him, I railed at him. How could he not tell me during these years that we have been trying to figure out what causes him to cheat? I felt that he was using it to chastise me...he could move on and I couldn't. I apologized and we talked as much as we could with the kids (7yo and 3yo) waking up and Monday morning starting. He maintains he told me this to help me heal.

I feel so badly for the small child he was. It was a male teenage neighbor who molested him over the course of 2 or 3 days. Shortly afterwards a female neighbor, also a teen attempted to have sex with him. I have always known about the female neighbor and thought of it as molestation, my husband acted like it was just sexual experimentation (at 6yo?). He now says he believes the girl was also being molested by the same perpetrator.

My husband kept it secret until he was about 12yo then told his mom. She put him in counseling and my husband believes he has completely healed and moved on. To me, I see so much leaking out. I wonder how much a therapist a single mom in the mid '80's was able to provide in a small town (did that make sense)? My son turned the same age husband was when this happened last year and I wonder, could this have been a trigger to the affair?

It's all so complicated and overwhelming. I am struggling with feeling such pain for the small child he was...yet resenting what he as an adult has put me through for nearly two decades.

How do I help him? He says he needs no help about this, is that possible? He doesn't even want to bring it up in marriage counseling but has given me permission to talk to my therapist about it. He is not in therapy and the marriage counseling has stopped but I have been wanting to start again. What do I do? What do I say? How can can I just be the partner he needs in spite and because of all of this?

Please, any responses...2X4s...advice...insight...anything are welcome. I promise to learn the ropes ASAP and use the abbreviations. I just wanted to get this out.


#188363 - 10/22/07 04:55 PM Re: Just Found Out [Re: Jem]
Agape Girl Offline

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 120
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Dear Jem;

Welcome to MS. I'm so sorry for your pain right now. Please read as much as you feel you can handle here, you've found a great place. There are many people here that can help you navigate and understand a bit more of your feelings. We're all learning here day by day, it's a difficult road to be on. Hold on and don't make any harsh decisions until you read a little here.

take care and be good to yourself.


means selfless love of one person for another
without sexual implications
(especially love that is spiritual in nature)

#188364 - 10/22/07 04:58 PM Re: Just Found Out [Re: Jem]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 7011
Loc: FEMA Region 1

Welcome to the site! Sorry you have to be here, but glad you found it.

Originally Posted By: Jem
...How could he not tell me during these years that we have been trying to figure out what causes him to ...

I can offer only my perspective on this as a survivor who did not tell his wife of 15 years until February 2, 2007.

We (survivors) can't disclose until we are ready. Earlier disclosure would have relieved my wife of TONS of pain. I watched her in pain dealing with a fkd-up husband... yet I could not muster the reality, strength, stomach, etc to disclose the unspeakable truth about my past. To me, the secret was so dark and disgraceful that no one could ever find out. I clearly was a freak on earth and was trying to move-on through life as a "pretend-normal." To disclose would be to admit I had no business being here on earth and was a disgraceful, filthy boy back then.

Again, for now, I can only offer some perspective on his timing.

I strongly suggest you go to our bookstore here at MS and order Victims No Longer, by Mike Lew. The book is a God-send. Both of you will likely find it quite helpful.

#188365 - 10/22/07 05:02 PM Re: Just Found Out [Re: Agape Girl]
Jem Offline
New Here

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 18
Loc: DC
Thank you for the welcome.

There is no way I would leave over this. It's him knowing the pain of betrayal and feeling violated and taking actions that made me feel the same that I struggle with. I have talked with him a/b the infidelity board I post on and how those that have been through both say these things are equally painful. Yet he looked at my pain after his first affair (with a friend of mine) and did it again. When I discovered that affair...he lied to me, told me it stopped and through our sexual rediscovery of each other (they call it hysterical bonding) he was still with her. Coming from her to me in a matter of hours. I know it seems so little compared to what many here have been through, but I do feel so violated...emotionally as well as physically.

Sorry Robbie, X-posted.
Thank you for the welcome and insight. He claims there is no shame involved, just him leaving it all in the past. He compartmentalized this like he did the affairs. He said it was his secret to keep and he only told me to teach me I could move on from my betrayals.

Edited by Jem (10/22/07 05:05 PM)

#188370 - 10/22/07 06:26 PM Re: Just Found Out [Re: Jem]
honey girl Offline

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear Jem,
Hi. Sorry we're meeting like this. Hope you find some good support here; I have.
Something sounds fishy about what you are reporting regarding your H's attitude. If I have this right, in effect he is saying that if he can forgive the perpetrators of CSA on him, that you ought to be able to forgive him for acting out and betraying you.
Is that about right?
Pardon me for saying so, if I am out of line, but that really doesn't seem like his place to say.
It's up to each one of us to decide what is or isn't acceptable behavior, what is or isn't something we can tolerate. Those of us who have been here for a while seem to have found out that setting those boundaries for ourselves (not because of what someone else wants or hopes us to do) is a really, really important step to take.
I don't blame you for feeling very upset by his betrayal, and to me it seems out of line for your H to use his CSA as a rationalization for his behavior. I know, I know, a lot of people do indeed act out, there are compulsion issues, etc. etc. But that past history doesn't give anyone a free pass to do whatever we please to people we claim to love. Nor does it mean that we each have to tolerate whatever someone else will do or say because they've been hurt themselves.
Again, though, I will say welcome, and say that I encourage you to tell your own story, in your own way. That's the true gift we can offer each other here: the interest in listening as we each struggle to find the words we need.

I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

#188391 - 10/23/07 12:02 AM Re: Just Found Out [Re: honey girl]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Hi JEM and welcome, although I'm sorry you find yourself here.

I would echo much of what HG said above. What your husband went through as a child was horrible and not something one would wish on an enemy. It may explain many of his behaviors, but it does not excuse what he has and is putting you through now. Cheating on you is not OK; hitting you is even less OK. You said he stopped hitting you in 1997 but then you said he's done it twice since, after you busted him having an affair. JEM, you can't live in fear of calling him out on behavior that is unacceptable in your lives. It seems quite obvious that he hasn't "gotten over" what happened to him as a child - because you don't "get over it" and he's allowing his pain to cause you pain.

I feel so badly for you. You're trying so hard to find reasons and ways to make a change, but if the csa your husband suffered as a child is the cause of his problems now and he won't acknowledge it as such, then you can't do anything about it. He is the one who has to make the choices to change bad behaviors and the way he treats you.

Telling you that he "got over it" and then telling you that because of that, you should be able to "get over" his affairs is ridiculous. It's apples and oranges, although both cause extreme pain. It's pain that has to be worked through; it doesn't just go away because you will it to.

You are more then welcome here JEM. You'll find support and advice and lots and lots of information, but your husband is the one who has to make the choice to deal with the csa.

ROCK ON..........Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#188392 - 10/23/07 12:02 AM Re: Just Found Out [Re: honey girl]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon
Originally Posted By: Jem
How do I help him?

You help him by not enabling his self destructive behavior and loving him absolutely to death. Other than that, you let him pursue his recovery, listen to and interact with him when he wants to talk about it, participate with him in couples therapy if it is warranted, and most important of all, don't try to engineer his recovery for him.

That's the short version.


"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

#188393 - 10/23/07 12:02 AM Re: Just Found Out [Re: honey girl]
Jem Offline
New Here

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 18
Loc: DC
I think it was more in the vein of trying to give me hope. Given how I am (overly critical of myself) I just took it as a way of hitting me over the head. But I truly don't think that was his intention.

I really wish he was willing to examine more how this has affected him. I read a very good post about 'moving on' and the things survivors tend to get stuck on. I can see some of those in my husband. He may have dealt with it when he was 12yo, but I think he needs a tune-up (if that makes sense) especially as our son is of the age he was when dealing with all of this.


#188398 - 10/23/07 12:25 AM Re: Just Found Out [Re: Jem]
mmac Offline

Registered: 09/21/07
Posts: 107
Loc: PA
Welcome...I know it can be very emotional....Please remember that you need to be thinking of your needs too. Someone once said to me, that I am of no use to my BF if I am an emotional train wreck....Set boundaries for yourself and for what you need from this relationship. Perhaps he does need a tune up, but he must be the one to decide this. All you can do is discuss your boundaries with him, do the couples therapy and you might want to consider therapy for yourself (if you haven't already done so). My fears and baggage became crushing when I pushed them aside in order to try to help my BF with his. Therapy allows me to discuss my issues with someone who is trained and available to hear them and understand them. It allows me to strengthen myself, which in turn allows me to be a better person and (if my BF ever comes back) a better partner.
There is always Hope....but Hope and love and best wishes does not a relationship make.
Please take care of yourself in this time of turmoil.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results."

I cannot take your steps, but I can walk beside you, if you'll let me.

#188430 - 10/23/07 05:59 AM Re: Just Found Out [Re: Jem]
indygal Offline

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
Originally Posted By: Jem
What do I do? What do I say? How can can I just be the partner he needs in spite and because of all of this?

Please, any responses...2X4s...advice...insight...anything are welcome. I promise to learn the ropes ASAP and use the abbreviations.


as a survivor of physical abuse which includes being a battered wife - my heart goes out to you as I know how difficult it can be when physical abuse is in the relationship. I'm wondering if he's also verbally abusive to you?

clearly he has not "moved on" in his life else he wouldn't have had to tell you what happened to him - it sounds like he's staring at something he can't get away from any more and hopes by convincing you it doesn't matter, that it won't.

there are countless stories on this site of men who've tried to get away from the csa in their past and it eventually caught up with them.

read this site, as much as you possibly can tolerate. i say this because again, i understand you are probably quite sensitive to issues of all kinds of abuse. try and read some of the books such as the one recommended above.

Jem, what i'm going to say now you may not want to hear - but it's clear you are still struggling with the need to please and keep things at an even keel so hopefully the abuse won't continue - you are making promises, asking about what his needs are and how to satisfy them -BUT- you have every right to YOUR boundaries, YOUR needs, YOUR desires in YOUR LIFE. until you are able to recognize and acknowledge this, there is going to be a continued cycle of dysfunctionality in your marriage both from his csa and your own lack of self-esteem.

it could very well be your children are triggering your husband. i left home at the tender age of 15 and when my son reached that age it was one hysterical moment after the other for me.

no doubt your children are aware of the stress between you and your husband - i would take the others' suggestion for counseling one step further and suggest family counseling. i say this because children witnessing physical abuse of their mother has been shown to cause trauma for the child even if they were not the direct target of the abuse. even if it's stopped - and you yourself said it has not totally - your children may have issues going on you aren't even close to being aware of.

take care of them, take care of yourself and make it clear to your husband he needs to get his act together once and for all because YOU are worth it and his children need him HEALTHY, ok?

please keep posting, you aren't alone.

all the best,

my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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