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#192870 - 11/28/07 02:56 AM level with me please
hopenlove Offline
New Here

Registered: 11/28/07
Posts: 3
I'm a partner to a survivor and I really would like someone to level with me. Is it possible for a survivor to have a healthy committed relationship? My husband has been in therapy for 4 years and hasn't made much progress. He's now seeking out groups and a new therapist that specializes in survivors of incest, plus he bought the book "Victims No Longer" and something about "mountains". I feel like he's now committed to getting better (although he's said that before), but sometimes I question if I'm just a distraction to his healing. Is he better off working on things alone? Also, since he has so much guilt related to pain he has caused me over the years (the inability to be intimate with me but not with other women he had affairs with), will it always be a wedge between us? Does anyone here have a success story to tell or is the reality pretty bleak at this point? Thanks for your honesty. H&L

#192876 - 11/28/07 04:01 AM Re: level with me please [Re: hopenlove]
onlyakid Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 1577
Loc: New Jersey
I am a survivor of incest and abuse, I too have been in therapy for close to 4 years now and I do have to say unfortunately recovery from CSA/incest is not quick or easy. Having a good therapist helps for sure but still isn't a fast track to recovery. The one thing when it comes to being abused by a family member is the denial that comes with it because you can't accept that, in my case, my brother would hurt me like that. I sometimes wish it was a priest or a soccer coach or someone that I didn't really have a lifelong relationship with. I think that this can make it especially difficult. I can't really talk to you about relationships because I really don't have any experience (due to my isolation brought on by the abuse) but I wish you the best of luck hopefully someone else can comment on that.

"Being with people that understand you...Priceless"

"and i don't want the world to see me, cause i don't think that they'd understand"

"You don't know what love just do as your told"

"My life has changed. What you take as a simple thing, is not so simple for me anymore"

#192900 - 11/28/07 07:05 AM Re: level with me please [Re: onlyakid]
scotia1 Offline

Registered: 05/27/07
Posts: 81
Hey there Hopenlove;

I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. The person was a close family friend. It has caused me much pain and grief over the years. Broken and lost relationships of many kinds. Lost jobs and other opportunities. The reality is , it will probably always cause me problems in my life.
However, I can honestly say that my life today is the happiest Iíve been and seems to be getting better and better. I have a wonderful wife and children. I returned to school and now have a promising career. I wouldnít lie, itís been a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but itís all worth it. If you try hard enough you can get there. It all depends though on how much work you are willing to put into it.

#192910 - 11/28/07 10:41 AM Re: level with me please [Re: scotia1]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

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

I would certainly not give myself as an example of a healed survivor, but I have made huge progress in the past several years and things are a lot better between my wife and me than they were in, say, 2004. It does take awhile, though. Remember that your husband was abused many years ago and all the broken ways of thinking and relating are by now deeply engrained into him. That doesn't mean he can't recover; it just means it takes time.

As Scotia says, there is also the factor of commitment to the work. The survivor has to admit some rough things and deal with them before he can move forward. Someone who is stuck in grieving over his lost childhood has every right to his grief, of course, but there is only so much that can do to help him recover. After that point it's all wasted time and disspiated emotional resources.

I don't think anyone can tell a partner how long she can or should wait for things to improve. Those are tough questions only you can address. I'll just say that no one should risk losing herself for the sake of results she fears she may never see. I would raise all this in the Friends and Family Forum and see what the gals there have to offer you.

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)

#193187 - 11/30/07 12:18 AM Re: level with me please [Re: roadrunner]
Lazarus Offline

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA

I agree with Larry, and have one thing to add if I may. I was married for 21 years and have 3 kids, and now I'm in a LTR with another man.

Whether your relationship will survive depends on many things, but here are a couple that I think are especially important;

First, is your communication. If your husband wants to stay, if YOU want to stay, and why, is something you should discuss in a way that fosters honesty. Not argumentatively, but in a 'Let's figure this out together' kind of environment.

Secondly, you and your husband have to decide what a 'healthy' relationship means to you, and see if you have enough common ground to build on. The reason my ex and I stayed together for so long is that we wanted to make it work and we tried a lot of options to meet each other's needs. In the end though, I was the one who had to let it go.

Also, the issue of sex always comes up. I think what you meant to say was, "Can I ever have a committed, intimate relationship with my CSA husband?" The answer is Yes, but it's not always easy. In fact, it is easier to have one or the other (either 'committed' or 'sexual') with CSA survivors, but achieving both has it's challenges.

You see, with CSA survivors, our whole perspective on what sex means has been skewed from the norm to some degree. Simply the fact that for so many of us it happened at far too young an age for sexual activity to be appropriate changes a person's attitudes and mores. If the abuse included pain, torture or betrayal, it gets worse. And in some cases CSA victims never really survive, even if they live through the experience. It kills something inside of them.

Your husband is somewhere inside that spectrum and whether he can or will participate in a 'healthy' relationship is something you will have to figure out for yourselves. All I can say is that it IS possible. The key to the whole thing is absolute, heart-felt and gut-renching honesty, on both your parts. He has to trust you for him to ever commit to you. You have to trust him if you want to build your future together.

Just some thoughts from below the radar. Good luck!


"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

#193200 - 11/30/07 02:30 AM Re: level with me please [Re: Lazarus]
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1799
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.

I think your husband is on the right track. The books you mention are the 'bibles' of recovery.

I remember working on my recovery and my wife saying, "You've been working on this for over a year now! Why aren't you better yet?!" We joke about it now because we've learned so much since then.

As for the other women... well many times when we don't like ourselves, we don't feel as though we deserve the ones who really love us. What he did isn't right, but maybe it helps to know this.

The good news is if you stick it out you will have an even better guy then the one you fell in love with in the first place!

I'm one of the happiest people I know and if I can find happiness I think anyone can, but if you asked me six years ago if I thought I could ever be happy I would never have believed it possible.

Good luck!!

#193265 - 12/01/07 02:56 AM Re: level with me please [Re: Curtis St. John]
Lazarus Offline

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA

Congratulations on being our newly-elected Fearless Leader. I have to admire your attitude.

Your insight is right on, but too brief in my opinion. You are a great counterpart to those of us who like to 'elaborate'... Your statement, "many times when we don't like ourselves, we don't feel as though we deserve the ones who really love us," was exactly what my reply to Hopenlove would have been, but it would have taken me at least 500 words to express it.

I'm not inferring that is bad. A lot of people want the details. But it is not only refressing but important to state ideas clearly and consisely once in awhile, just to be precise.

See, I've taken 500 words of your time and attention to say what I could have said with the following;

"Well said!"



"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

#193293 - 12/01/07 09:22 AM Re: level with me please [Re: Lazarus]
indygal Offline

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439

i would just add that life in general has to be by your timetable, no one elses. then especially when dealing with survivors, that timetable can become really skewed. you can't, absolutely must not try and compare your relationship with those of nonsurvivors even as difficult as that might sound. it's an entirely different way of relating to someone.

in my own instance, as long as i see progress and hope, i'll stay. i stopped measuring the time a while back - but every now and then glance at it and think if i'd known it would take this long, would i still be here? the answer is the same, as long as i see progress and hope, i'll stay.

find your own goal, what you need to measure in the relationship, and go by that. maybe there's more you need than just hope and progress. i'm not living with my bf so it's a bit easier for me to pursue my own life. you are no doubt different, as all individuals are. again, find what you need and make sure your partner knows you are concerned for that as well.

all the best,

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

#193305 - 12/01/07 01:26 PM Re: level with me please [Re: indygal]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey

I could have written your post - still could actually. My b/f and I have been together for over 6 years. I found out 2 years ago that he'd been having dangerous sex with women he found on the internet for the first 4 years of our relationship. I couldn't understand it for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that we had a very active and fun sex life. To say that I was shattered is an understatement. He's been in therapy now for 2 years, putting himself through hell to try to heal from the hell that was his childhood. Will he get better - I believe so. He's trying so hard. The steps are small, sometimes imperceptible, he's suffering terribly and I believe he's depressed, but won't take medication. Lot's of issues here, BUT he continues to try to fight his way through. As Indy said, as long as there is progress and hope, I stay. I won't walk away from the man I love when I see how hard he's working. There are many times he doesn't believe things will ever get better for him, but still he tries therefore, I believe. The men and women here have given me that hope, so I do my best to hold on to it and to share it with him. He is a good man, kind and loving and giving to me and my daughter. He works hard and supports himself with his own business. He is a success story by anyone's standards.

It's a hard road my friend. My b/f and I are no where near the end of it, but we're on it, as are you and your husband. That can only be a good thing.

I'm sorry you've had to go through the pains you describe; I've been there and know how hard it is to work through. You don't "get over it." Betrayal of trust and the love you believe you shared is destructive. All I can hope for is that you can talk to one another and work through all of it so that it becomes a horrible memory, one that will be pushed farther and farther back as it is replaced by happy memories. But it is a memory that does not disappear, any more than the memory of what happened to your husband will disappear. It needs to be dealt with.

ROCK ON........Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.


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