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#359828 - 04/16/11 02:50 AM My BF told me about his abuse, i need answers
Solweig Offline

Registered: 04/16/11
Posts: 3
About eight months into our relationship my boyfriend became very withdrawn. He stopped touching me, barely talked with me, and would get very angry or depressed all of a sudden. I was very hurt and confused. Finally he wrote me a very long letter in which he said he had been molested as a child and had suffered from an internet porn addiction. He also said he had never told anyone but me. His letter ended with, 'he would understand if i left, but please don't tell anyone'.

I didn't leave. I told him i would stick by him, i said we would figure it out. He is the most amazing man i have ever met.

But i'm still struggling, and i feel so bad about it. We're catholic and don't believe in sex before marriage, but he isn't affectionate in the other ways. We rarely kiss, and every time i see him and he doesnt want to kiss me it hurts so bad. It makes me feel so selfish, but at the same time rejected.

I know he isn't doing it on purpose, but as a woman, youre always told men love sex and the only time they dont want it is if the girl is ugly or horrible or if they dont like them, and its so hard for me to ignore all of that.

I just don't know how to cope, and its so hard because I have no one to talk about this with. I can't tell anyone because i could never break that trust, and its so hard when i hear my friends make jokes or talk about their sex lives because they have NO idea.

I guess I'm just wondering how i deal with this. We fight sometimes, about his not being affectionate, and afterwards i always feel so full of guilt because i know its bigger than both of us, and that it's useless to get mad. I wonder if I'm not good enough for him. He is so amazing and maybe another girl could just completely look past the affection.

He used to be so very passionately affectionate. We made out every night. He was creative and spontaneous. Now I'm lucky to get a one minute kiss every three months.

He has low self esteem, and every time I try and tell him how talented he is, how handsome he is, what a great boyfriend he is to me he'll brushes it off or says things like 'i don't even know why youre with me'.

I don't know what to do. How do I show love to this man? How do I curb this feeling of rejection?

Edited by Solweig (04/16/11 02:51 AM)

#359830 - 04/16/11 03:11 AM Re: My BF told me about his abuse, i need answers [Re: Solweig]
hopeandtry Offline

Registered: 07/29/10
Posts: 476
Hang in there. You'll find lots of support here on MS. What you are going through is very similar to other situations of ladies on here so just know we identify. The best advice I can give you right now is 1) take care of yourself no matter what 2) suppport him but don't try to push him or try to "fix" him and 3) be patient and understand that the way he is acting isn't "you" nor personal. PM me anytime.

#359836 - 04/16/11 04:32 AM Re: My BF told me about his abuse, i need answers [Re: hopeandtry]
Solweig Offline

Registered: 04/16/11
Posts: 3
Thank you so much. Just knowing there are women who understand, and that i have somewhere to turn, makes me feel better

#359850 - 04/16/11 11:34 AM Re: My BF told me about his abuse, i need answers [Re: Solweig]
SunnyGirl Offline

Registered: 07/14/10
Posts: 79
Read Allies in Healing (this is a link to a digital copy on Google books). Fighting with him about affection isn't going to make him more affectionate. It is going to feel like you are taking control away from him, which is exactly what happened to him as a child. He needs to feel safe and in control and sometimes the more intimate the relationship becomes, the scarier it is for him. It's not about you, how pretty you are or how much he loves you. What you are describing is one of the effects of abuse. The way he is controlling the situation is to withdraw. Often times survivors have been abused by people that told them that they loved them. Love can be a scary thing because sometimes those people hurt him.

Has he ever spoken to you about what he's feeling? Or did he just give you the letter?


"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

#360013 - 04/17/11 09:00 PM Re: My BF told me about his abuse, i need answers [Re: SunnyGirl]
Solweig Offline

Registered: 04/16/11
Posts: 3
We never REALLY talked about it. Whenever I express that he hasnt been very affectionate, he usually just says something like "you know I don't do that".

I don't know how to keep in mind that it isn't personal, logically i know, and i can go for months without every saying anything, but then one day it just gets to be so heavy and then i just start crying and i feel so bad afterwards because its always after i've had a breakdown that i remember that it isnt personal.

do you have any tips for keeping this in mind (the idea that it isnt personal)?

#360033 - 04/17/11 11:51 PM Re: My BF told me about his abuse, i need answers [Re: Solweig]
freddie Offline

Registered: 03/28/11
Posts: 42
Loc: California
My suggestion, without trully knowing you guys, is to take a break from each other. The relationship at this point sounds smothering, when under more ideal conditions it wouldn't. You stated that you argue a lot about it but you also stated that in the beginning months he was showing more affection. The fact that he initiated anything early on tells me this may have more to do with issues outside of the early childhood assault. Perhaps, as well, he trully wants to get past the abstinence thing and get on with sex. The issue of feeling whole, in his shoes, does exist probably......................


#360038 - 04/18/11 02:28 AM Re: My BF told me about his abuse, i need answers [Re: freddie]
sally123 Offline

Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 54
I've been where you are. I have had to define my own boundaries, and focus on me: this is not easy. For me, he had to go to therapy, and had to stop porn addiction... He has finally stopped porn, and along with therapy, this has made a huge difference in his ability to connect/be present...
I'm sorry for your pain, as hope said, we understand here, you r not alone smile

#360040 - 04/18/11 02:49 AM Re: My BF told me about his abuse, i need answers [Re: freddie]
SunnyGirl Offline

Registered: 07/14/10
Posts: 79
I'm not a survivor, but I don't think that the fact that he initiated things early on has anything to do with knowing whether his recent lack of affection was caused by his CSA. We, as spectators who do not know you or him, do not know whether something happened to him recently to trigger him. There could have been an incident, a smell, or anything like that that triggered a memory in him from the abuse which has led him to retreat behind his "wall" and protect himself. A lot of men here on MS and also their supporters have described moments when they need to retreat and pull back. As a result of these triggering events, the intimacy suffers.

That being said, I think if you want to be in this relationship and he does, too, you need to figure out how to make it work. Part of not taking it personally means letting him have space and knowing and anticipating that he may pull away at times. During those times, you need to take care of yourself by finding things do do during your life that bring you joy. Personally, I think people need alone time and that's healthy to do. Paint, dance, sing songs, go to a movie with your friends, garden, walk your dog, go to a museum. Life doesn't have to be all about him and his issues. If he needs his space, make the most of your time doing things you enjoy.

I'm also an advocate for therapy for supporters. This is hard stuff to deal with if you had a very different childhood and can't relate to the trauma your bf endured. There is no shame in talking to a counselor, but it can be such a weight off your shoulders to talk to someone who won't be judgmental (or at least a good one shouldn't be) and say that your bf did X and it bothered you. You can get great advice about establishing boundaries in your relationship and talk through ideas to help improve things.

While you cannot force your bf to get help before he is ready (remember, control is the main issue at play here), you can try to gently open the dialogue with him. Obviously, do NOT do this during a fight. And how you do that would depend on your relationship and what feels comfortable. Maybe it's just to acknowledge the letter for once -- saying that you know you hadn't spoken about the letter but you wanted to let him know that you appreciate how he trusts you enough to open up to you and to let him know you love him and that you support him and when he's ready, you are willing to talk about it. Or maybe it's more indirect, by asking him to watch the movie Where the Wild Things Are with you and then afterward asking him how the movie made him feel, etc. When he's ready, he may start to open up more.

Finally, I would educate yourself as much as possible. I wish I had done that when my ex and I were still together. Read books about CSA, such as Beyond Betrayal, and Victims No Longer. They will help you understand what he's going through and will help you understand what to avoid doing. It's definitely not intuitive -- your intuition will say to try to fix things, but that's for him to do, not you. You have to get to a point where you understand he will not get past his past until he is ready. It will not be easy for him. The question is whether you can deal with that or not.

There are no right answers and there is no manual explaining what to do.


"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

#361083 - 04/30/11 04:20 AM Re: My BF told me about his abuse, i need answers [Re: Solweig]
pbert53 Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 10/26/09
Posts: 576
Loc: Washington, USA

i want to thank you all for the honesty, support and love that you seem to exude. i wish that i had had one of you as a mate when i was going through the same scenario as Solweig told about.

that was me. i didnt know why, but that was the only way i knew. Isolation is a big part of a man's survival and it is the 'fight or flight' phenomenon. (if i only knew then what i've learned now)

your men are very lucky and blessed to have you as significant others. your advice is wise and compassionate.

thank you!

take care



If you cannot control what happens to you, you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

~ adapted from: Sri Ram


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