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#234568 - 06/30/08 07:44 AM don't know what to do
luckygirl22 Offline

Registered: 06/30/08
Posts: 3
My boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year now. We have a perfect relationship except for the intimacy issues. After a few fights about this, he recently told me what had happened to him when he was younger and he said he has a hard time getting close to people he cares about.

I was utterly shocked when he told me this. I was so upset. Not at him- but to whoever did this to him. We havent talked about it again, as it has been a few days, but I don't know what to do to help him. I can see he is pained and it is taking a toll on our relationship. He doesn't seem to want to talk about it, and I can't make him, but I would like to see him get help, and to improve this failing aspect of our relationship.

If anyone has any suggestions or helpful advice I would greatly appreciate them! Thanks so much!

#234570 - 06/30/08 08:02 AM Re: don't know what to do [Re: luckygirl22]
Brian Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 05/03/01
Posts: 1563
Loc: Upstate NY
Hi Lucky,

Male survivors sometimes find it very difficult to discuss these issues with their significant others. We only get help when we are ready to get help. The guilt, shame and embarrassment hold many of us hostage for decades. As to "improve this failing aspect of our relationship", you may have to put that on hold for a while. First, he has to improve his failing relationship with himself and to come to accept that he needs help dealing with these issues.

The best advice I can give you is to be supportive, be willing to listen if/when he is ready to talk, do not pressure him to talk (you will lose - he will pull away), gently suggest that he may want to discuss these issues with a therapist that specializes in these issues (when he is ready).

You may want to post this question in the Friends and Family Forum. There are many people there who are in the same position that you are in.

Good Luck,


Recovery is Possible!

#234589 - 06/30/08 11:58 AM Re: don't know what to do [Re: Brian]
hogan_dawg Offline

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
Brian is right - this can't be rushed. It's exactly like 'readiness'.

Just a finer point - I get that you're upset. It's an emotional shock. You might have to lead the way in talking about emotions. Put a finer point on it, specific emotions, and he'll be sure you get it, like, say, "I'm shocked, and I'm very angry this happened to you - angry that an adult would treat a young boy this way." He'll think you dropped from Heaven. Why? Because sometimes people who've been sexually abused really fear being dumped when they disclose their history. You don't want him thinking your 'upset' is with 'him'.

His not wanting to talk about it has little to do with you. It has a lot to do with perhaps needing other men with similar experiences, because he can pretty much trust that they know the full scope of his feelings. I disclose to my wife more and more as I get more and more of a handle on it. It'll probably happen.

Also, he might have problems with intimacy, but you have your needs too, as a person and as a mate. Keep your needs in mind in discussions and negotiations about your relationship issues. It's easy sometimes for mates to be so understanding they forget their own needs and standards for relationship quality.



Edited by hogan_dawg (06/30/08 12:05 PM)
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003


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