Ever since B. (my girlfriend from high shcool) friend-requested me on Facebook last Fall I have felt the need to talk to her about what was going on with me back when we were dating when I was 17 (I am 45 now). She was aware that I was going through emotional anguish at that time. I was unable to speak to her about what Tim (my 2nd perp) was doing to me. B. and I worked at the same place and Tim was our boss. She was worried and asked what was going on with me. As I recall, all I told her is that I can't talk about it. I eventually broke up with her. Although we never had sex, to this day, B. is the only true intimate relationship I have had and I have harbored guilt for many years over hurting her by breaking up.
Since B. has come back into my life, I have been conflicted over talking about the abuse with her because I didn't want to risk opening old wounds in her life. I was relieved enough to know that she has been happily married for over 20 years and has a 17 year old daughter. So I placed my desire to disclose to her on indefinite hold unless she opened the door for us to have this conversation.
Well, last week, I receiced an email from B. which essentially opened the door. It took me a few days to reply to her. Here is what I said:
Thanks for checking in with me and I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.
As you know, I was back in _ for a two week vacation that I just got back from on Saturday. It was a pretty good trip overall but it was stressful too. I donít like going back [there] and only go back when I have to. Mom wanted to attend my nieceís high school graduation which we did. While I was there I did get to visit with R. and L. and one other person I used to work with (A.). It was good meeting with them. R. and I have remained good friends and have kept in contact with each other over the years but A. I hadnít seen in 25 years! Wow, how the years have flown by.
Thanks for reconnecting with me B. I have often thought of you over the years. The timing of your Facebook friend request was impeccable for reasons that Iíd like to share with you if you are interested, although itís a bit challenging for me because it deals with some of the personal things I was going through at the time we were dating. Many years have passed since then but only now, well actually two years ago, have I finally been able to begin working through these and other things from when I was even younger. I remember you asking what was going on with me back then and I couldnít say. I didnít know how to say it. Iím finally finding that voice now. Itís been a very long time coming! Up until now I have refrained from mentioning any of this to you because its pretty weighty stuff and I did not feel right bringing this stuff up with you. Even now I feel jittery about it but I am open to talking to you about it if you are. No pressure at all though. It is OK either way. If you are open to talking about it I prefer to discuss it over the phone though.
B.'s reply was warm and accepting and she does want to talk over the phone with me. It looks like we will talk this evening. I am very, very nervous about this. Its not like disclosing to a friend. I am sharing with someone who meant a great deal to me and who was indirectly affected by the abuse while it was occurring. She was actually a casualty of it. I hope our conversation is helpful for both of us. Perhaps some closure can be realized.
I could use some suggestions on how to go about this with her. While my disclosure to others usually never goes into details, I sense my conversation with B. will need to be a bit more specific without being graphic. I need renewed strength and courage to do this.
Thanks for reading. I welcome your comments.