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#246446 - 08/25/08 03:41 AM New
2kidsmom Offline

Registered: 08/25/08
Posts: 5

I just started dating someone recently who told me tonight he is a survivor of childhood assault. My college roommate was a rape counselor but for women so I tried to react in a calm way and positively but know there has to be a different way of handling this with men. Even though we have not dated long, we have talked a lot so I understand why he may have told me. I just need to know the best way I can help from here on out..he said he wanted to tell me in person but something in our phone converstaion triggered him telling me now...any suggestions?


#246456 - 08/25/08 08:13 AM Re: New [Re: 2kidsmom]
KeithR Offline

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 363
Loc: Georgia
It's likely he trusts you a lot if he told you. I never told anyone for 18 years and never told anyone else for another 18. Most guys never reveal that something like this has happened to them. I would suggest you don't push him, but only bring it up to let him know that if he needs or wants to talk more about it, that you are there. I have a long way to go in my recovery, but one of the things that I finally understood was that I did nothing to cause what happened. My abuser has all the power. I had none. I understood this on in an intellectual way, long before I felt it on an emotional level. Often I think it's important for survivors to hear this, because they may have never heard it in their lives. There are so many good people here and good advice. I hope this little bit helps some.

#246461 - 08/25/08 01:50 PM Re: New [Re: KeithR]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 2615
Loc: Central PA
I agree with Keith. LOTS of trust on his part. That's a good thing if you're hoping this turns out to be a longer term thing.

I was married a good 3/4 years before I said anything about it at all and then another 3/4 years since then since I really crashed and started getting help.

#246464 - 08/25/08 02:53 PM Re: New [Re: KeithR]
dgoods Offline

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Hi 2kidsmom,
It's always nice for me read a post like yours; the care and concern is evident. KeithR said what i would've, too- i just wanted to add something; i've recently gotten close to a woman i've known casually online (not MS) for some months; we ended up talking, and now we're like "new best friends" (nothing romantic).

We'd spent hours over the past week just talking about everything and nothing, and i surprised myself by ending up telling her what happened to me. She was wonderful about it, and hasn't given me the slightest reason to regret telling her, but old programming can be buried deep, and very stubborn; i noticed my feelings since then have darted around from shame, embarrassment, anxiety, self-doubt, fear of rejection, etc. when i've spoken to her.

When you've spent years not even being able to think about it, let alone talk about it, you can feel happy to find someone that's safe to trust- and yet still things get stirred up, and it's like an emotional "hangover" that's got nothing to do with the other person. I don't have a stellar track record of successfully predicting my emotional state from day to day, or perceiving how that state is affecting my behavior (until after the fact), but i am getting better at it.

If your guy seems to shut down, or flare up for no reason, act differently toward you, etc. it may just be those old bad tapes surfacing, and he might not even understand why he feels or acts like that. As long as you stay calm and positive, and he doesn't self-sabotage, any inner turmoil from telling should eventually relent in the face of a good relationship. Sorry for rambling on, but the thread's helped remind me that living in the present is far preferable to living in my head. I hope there was something useful for you... but again like KeithR said, there's a lot of great people and info here, so don't be afraid to surf around the site!

Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

#246528 - 08/25/08 11:22 PM Re: New [Re: dgoods]
Logan Offline

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 1368
Loc: NY
Unfortunately, I don't posses much advice for the subject, but it is really inspiring to me that a female partner wants to understand and help!!!

I am 27 and have not had a LTR with anyone. I am scared of it.

I feel so much comfort for the fact that you posted here and want to be sensitive to Him and his needs.

Thank you for the post. It has instilled further hope in my dream that one day I can have a family of my own and my wife may want to understand.


"Terrible thing to live in Fear"-Shawshank Redemption
WOR Alumnus Hope Springs 2009
"Quite a thing to live in fear, this is what is means to be a slave"
-Blade Runner

#246530 - 08/25/08 11:47 PM Re: New [Re: Logan]
king tut Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 2488
Loc: UK
i don't know why he told you. i think it may be so that you can be more understanding, so that you can give him the understanding that he needs, have you had sexual relations with him yet, that can be a big deal, it may be that he is asking for concessions in that area

it may be that he may feel like he is holding something back from you so feels the need to tell you, because he doesn't want to feel like he is lying to you

it may be so that you can relate to him better


#246544 - 08/26/08 01:22 AM Re: New [Re: king tut]
2kidsmom Offline

Registered: 08/25/08
Posts: 5
Hi guys, thank you all! He is in therapy and on meds for depression and very seldomly for anxiety. We are doing great physically, no worries there except I know the meds can affect things sometimes and I don't mind that either. Comes with the medicine. Things for us have jumped forward quickly; we have only dated a few times but speak during the day, at night etc on the phone and also email a bit as well during each day. I just want to make sure I handle this right - he told me his ex wife literally got up and walked across the room AWAY from him when he told her. How COULD she!? I haven't seen him since he told me last night but will see him tomorrow. I want him not just to hear it in my voice but see me and my eyes to know that this changes nothing in how I view him except to admire him for being strong. But it does change how sad I am that someone would do that to him. He seems to be okay with telling me and moving on to a new topic but I am so upset that someone hurt him it is upsetting me a lot. And I want to talk to him about it but I don't want to upset him. I just do not want him to doubt for one minute how I feel and how much I want to support him.


#246575 - 08/26/08 07:24 AM Re: New [Re: 2kidsmom]
jggab Offline

Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 53
Loc: California
Wow Rachael! I'm sorry your experience was so bad. . . but I don't think everyone fit into the same mold. My wife and I have been happily married for 9 years. Just because someone is having issuses with their past doesn't mean that they are a lost cause. In some cases you have to know when to cut bait or fish. . . in your case it seems that you decided to cut bait. . . and good for you. But not everyone fit into that mold. 2kidsmom will make her own decisions based on her own situation. . . but I am glad she is here and trying to understand and help this relationship. He needs support and understanding. . . but at the same time you have to take care of yourself!


#246759 - 08/27/08 04:02 PM Re: New [Re: jggab]
Born to Resist Offline

Registered: 09/30/05
Posts: 269
Loc: Southern California, USA
Being on this website will provide a lot of insight. You may want to check out Victims No Longer by Mike Lew to gain an understanding about a man's perspective. The book has a chapter for significant others/friends/family members.

Most survivors disclose to people they have a high degree of trust with, however I have seen a small percentage of survivors who disclose during early dates/getting to know people as a way to drive people away, buts more like if they tell people everything that's wrong with them and that person chooses to continue the relationship then trust and the relationship can speed up. In either case the survivor is reaching out to someone.



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