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#306526 - 10/15/09 04:39 AM why be with a survivor?
jls Offline

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
If someone you were seeing came out and told you that s/he was a survivor how would you react? I am dealing with this question as I consider re-entering the dating world a year after breaking up with my partner. Its a hard question for me since I am very private to begin with, yet I am also trying to be as honest as I can and can't help but feel that by growing closer to someone while not telling her would be a betrayal of trust. On the other hand telling someone too soon may seem like a violation of boundaries, if this makes any sense. Anyways input is welcome as usual. JS

Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

#306529 - 10/15/09 04:50 AM Re: why be with a survivor? [Re: jls]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
I have struggled with this as well as I enter the dating world again. I want to be honest with whoever I am contemplating getting close to. There has to be a moment. If you disclose too soon before they have a chance to know who you really are now, they can be put off by someone with that kind of baggage and history.

If you wait too late they might feel you were hiding something very significant from them and were therefore untrustworthy and dishonest.

There has to be a moment of time when they have gotten to know the person you are now, the integrity, honesty and graat guy you have become and are ready to take the friendship to the next level. I think that is the point whre you to have the sit down and say this is what happened to me, this is how it affected me, this was the behavior that occurred and why. Now this is what I have done to correct all of that and get my self together and become the person you know now. Can I make any promises concerning the future? Will I relaspe? Can I handle a relationship now knowing what I have learned? All good questions that probably should be addressed.

Having had that talk, I think a few days of contemplation would be in order and then a coming together for a decision. Take it to the next level and see what happens, if the chemistry is there? Or keep the friendship where it is at for the time being and see what time does reveal for us.

Just my thoughts

Edited by Freedom49 (10/15/09 04:56 AM)

#306532 - 10/15/09 05:48 AM Re: why be with a survivor? [Re: Freedom49]
rainbow Offline

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 28
Hi jls,

Here are my responses to your questions.

why be with a survivor?

If I love someone then it's not an issue for me. For me, true love is acceptance (with the caveat of not accepting mistreatment) besides, of course it doesn't mean anything bad about that person. I have just been supportive of my ex. However, in my case he's not in recovery so that makes it too hard to stay because of his rage issues.

If someone you were seeing came out and told you that s/he was a survivor how would you react?

My ex has talked around the subject, and I am always supportive. He's at an early stage of disclosure though so I do not ask many questions, I don't want to scare him. If it was someone new I would still be supportive, of course, but I would ask questions to determine how recovered they are and whether they feel ready/able for a committed, monogamous relationship.

Before meeting my ex I didn't know about the effects of CSA on men. So I wasn't prepared for the consequences. That may be another question then - how much information do you give a potential partner about issues that may come up?

If the person is right for you they will love you, accept you, and be there for you.


Edited by rainbow (10/15/09 05:35 PM)
Edit Reason: personalized my reply

#306545 - 10/15/09 01:19 PM Re: why be with a survivor? [Re: rainbow]
LittleMissL Offline
New Here

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 42

Good for you for venturing back out into the dating world!!!

My advice to you pretty much mirrors what was said above. Start dating and let yourself enjoy the experience. When you think you have found that right person that you want to start getting serious with and that they seem to return those feelings, that is when you can start deciding to reveal to them the CSA and what you have been through. If they truly care for you, they are going to be supportive of you and love you for who you are.

I know with my husband, when we were dating, he never came out and told me much, he would just make references to "something that had happened at sunday school". I pretty much read between the lines about what happened to him. To be honest, becuase he was so matter of fact about it I really thought it was something that he had dealt with over the years. It wasn't till 7 years into our marriage that we started having problems, and even then it was another year or so before I realized what was causing the issues and confronted him about it. It turned out, he hadn't told ANYONE about what had happened except for those vague comments to me in the past. When I finally confronted him I told him it was time to deal with th 800 Lb gorilla sitting in the corner of our room. I held him and told him that no matter what I loved him and have been there for him even since even when he's made it difficult becuase I love and care for him.

I guess what I am trying to say in the long round-about way is you don't have to dump everything at once. You can start with a small amount of info, give them time to process it and then after a bit bring it up again and if they are ready then go more indepth about everything.

Again, if that person is the right person for you, they are going to still love and care for you because that is the person that you are...warts and all :-)

I am horrible about giving advice so I hope this helps and make sense for you.

#306591 - 10/15/09 08:06 PM Re: why be with a survivor? [Re: jls]
etat Offline

Registered: 09/10/09
Posts: 15
I say why not be with a survivor. I don't think decent, worthwhile women with level heads and big hearts would see a guy as 'tarnished' or retreat in any way because of CSA or it's after-effects, but would concentrate on the person they like or love. It bothers me to read some posts about how after disclosure people were misunderstood or left by partners. I can see from the person in my life how difficult it would be for him to explain, and likely the fear that I wouldn't understand, driving what has taken place between us. It breaks my heart because I think so much of him, he's the best guy I've ever known, and he might be surprised to know what I've been through. I can see how not letting someone know would lead some partners to be confused later in the relationship when or if issues arise, and that is where at some point disclosure is important- when some trust is there, the relationship is serious enough and the two are emotionally close enough to share information like this so that a partner knows where the other is coming from. But I agree, not necessary to tell someone right away. We fall in love with people because of who they are, and they are not defined by what happened to them.

#306617 - 10/15/09 11:01 PM Re: why be with a survivor? [Re: etat]
bluefairy Offline

Registered: 04/05/09
Posts: 52
Because a survivor is still a person, just like everyone else, with a personality, looks, intelligence etc etc. smile

I suppose it is difficult to tell when to disclose to someone, one way would be to build a friendship, let the person know you want to start by working on developing a friendship and seeing how it goes from there. If you then see that you like who that person is, personally, I think it would be best to let them know at the start of the relationship.

Although even if you don't feel ready to disclose untill much later in the relationship, I think, if she really loves you, she would be supportive. It wouldn't change how she feels about you because it's a commitment she made based on how she feels about you as a person - and that's the way it should be, not based on fear of issuses arising in the future because no one's certain of the future. She would understand you, understand why you didnt want to tell earlier - because it's a huge thing, it's more complex than she could know (like I can't say I know how it must feel for you as a survivor). Commitment comes along with real love, sure sometimes things get very hard, tricky, and you have to re-evaluate your decision of commitment, you base commitment on believing you can work through things together. Women who go like: 'oh I don't know there may be all these issues arising in the future...i don't want to deal with, i dont care to work through' - if she won't even try, and base her decision to not commit on negative possibilities, then she's probably not worth your time anyway.

If my boyfriend told me much later in the relationship, then i may have thought 'Why didn't he feel he could trust me earlier, maybe we didn't have the connection I thought we did, maybe i wasn't a good girlfriend for all that time...' (as an after thought, initially wanting to reverse time and protect him from the past and wanting the bastard who hurt him brought to justice) but would come to the conclusion that, it is a horrible thing that was done to him and probably affected him in ways I won't know, and in the end it's his choice to disclose. I have to respect that choice.

There will always be a place for you in my heart

#306666 - 10/16/09 08:58 AM Re: why be with a survivor? [Re: bluefairy]
An Offline

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 151
Loc: usa
And I've got to add, because a recovering survivor is an amazing amazing man. Of honesty, courage, heightened awareness and sensitivity, strength AND the living fullness of vulnerability others have not even had the opportunity to know they're hollow of.

Because a survivor's a rare man of depth, and of a capacity for empathy and self awareness(that others often haven't a clue how to attain, or even an awareness they're missing!.)

I would agree to the question why date a victim? That'd be an unhealthy choice for me. But a former victim, current evolving Survivor- that's a wealthy man when it comes to Selfhood. I agree that they're usually unaware of much of these strengths and hard earned gifts they possess- but their valuable essence can be seen by woman/other partners who are equally as wise-who are at that same growth level for one reason or another. These boards are profound testament to that process.

Hope and Healing, An

Edited by An (10/16/09 09:02 AM)
Edit Reason: typos

#306681 - 10/16/09 02:17 PM Re: why be with a survivor? [Re: An]
honey girl Offline

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear JLS,

What else are you bringing to the dance?

People in recovery CAN have tremendous capacity: more depth of feeling; more awareness of the world; more willingness to be honest and reluctance to settle for superficialities.

I am sure that my partner was able to exhibit many of these qualities when we first got together, long before he disclosed his CSA to me. I found him extremely attractive and was delighted to be on his radar screen.

Later, things became MUCH more complicated. Only recently have I discovered the full extent of the CSA aftermath for him: a serious and very-long-term sexual addiction. Painfully, I have learned that the very same charm he turned on me, to draw me in, has been part of his standard repertoire. He has used it on other women since we have been together, in fact, which is a very hard reality for me to absorb.

Would I have gotten involved with him knowing from a very early stage that he was a survivor? Probably; I am one myself. Would I have gotten involved with him had I known right away that he was a sexual addict as well? I hope not, or so I like to think. If we achieve more consistent time in sobriety, I may reassess. But this is a helluva fix for us to be in now, and I don't know that I would have signed up for it if I were fully informed. (On the other hand, I also agree completely with what walkingsouth & others have said, regarding the unconscious match-making that we tend to do, seeking partners who might help us work out our own deepest issues. There's an awful lot about the way we conduct our lives that is totally not rational!)

If you are in good psychological shape, in other words--go for it. The right time to disclose will emerge.

If you have some major issues to resolve, though, then do yourself and your prospective partners a great kindness and address them as well as you can while you are still single.

Good luck.


Edited by honey girl (10/16/09 02:19 PM)
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

#306698 - 10/16/09 04:04 PM Re: why be with a survivor? [Re: honey girl]
etat Offline

Registered: 09/10/09
Posts: 15
I agree with An and Honey Girl, the depth and sensitivity is noticeable, and I think something that naturally attracts women. I had a particular counselor (shortly after my parents died in my twenties) who said, the issue isn't people who seek therapy, the issue is all the 'normal' people out there who 'think they don't need therapy'. We all have been through something. Those of us brave enough to move through it and gain insight are truly put in touch with ourselves in ways other people haven't yet learned.

#306824 - 10/17/09 06:40 PM Re: why be with a survivor? [Re: etat]
divadjt Offline

Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 20
Loc: ohio
I am with my partner because of the person he is. I am not with a "survivor" but with a person that something bad happened to. Bad things have happened to me as well, though of a different nature. I'd not like to think that he would hold them against me. Best of luck to you. You are showing great courage in venturing out. My thoughts are with you.


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