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#61428 - 03/22/01 04:23 PM How Can I Best Help My Husband?
marie Offline

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 3
Please help.

My husband and I have been married for 12 years. Last spring I found lots of pornographic material on his computer and asked him about it (some of it involved children). He broke down and told me he had been sexually abused by his grandfather and father. He promised he would never download or look at that stuff again but it happened 2 more times. Since then I have been urging him to seek professional help, but he absolutely refuses and becomes very angry and is now asking for a divorce. I desperately want to save our marriage. I love my husband very much but don't know what to do. This is tearing me apart. I've been talking to a counselor about this and she suggested I go to a counselor who specializes in treating men who have been sexually abused. I met with him this week and he suggested I ask my husband call him for an assessment since he doesn't think there is anything wrong (he is in denial and is not ready to talk to someone). Well I did that last night and he became extremely angry and said he is calling an attorney to serve me papers for a divorce. He doesn't know why I can't just let things be. I told him I am not happy and I believe his abuse as a child is the reason we've been having problems sexually in our marriage. He feels I am blaming him for all our problems. I'm at my wits end. I don't know what to do. Please help. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

#61429 - 04/04/01 05:59 PM Re: How Can I Best Help My Husband?
jasmine Offline

Registered: 04/04/01
Posts: 3
Loc: Canada
Dear Marie,

It sounds like you are in a really difficult situation. Your husband seems to be denying the issues and it must be really hard for you. I am not sure what I would do in the situation except that I might tell him how much I love him and how much he means to me. I would tell him that for me a divorce would not be the answer and that I want to work at our relationship. I would ask him how he perceives the situation and why he thinks his actions are acceptable. I know it would be hard but I would try not to be judgemental. Hopefully he would feel understood and then i might talk about my feelings and how it's been effecting me.
Please keep us posted on how its going.


#61430 - 04/05/01 07:53 PM Re: How Can I Best Help My Husband?
sas Offline

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Hello Marie, I truly echo Jasmine's comments. I think that trying to approach him from a different angle might help.... My husband and I were locking horns for awhile about problems in our relationship, until I told him that I wanted to really listen, to understand where he was at, because I loved him and wanted to make things better. I told him that I wouldn't advocate my position/beliefs, I would just listen. That seemed to really shift the energy. I got us out of the house to talk (got us a hotel room for the night)- it really helped being on neutral territory.

It was so weird at first, but after a glass of wine :-), and some room-service dinner, he started talking, and I bit my tongue-which can be hard! All kinds of stuff poured out. I heard things that I never knew, even after 12 years of knowing him.

I agree that you should keep telling him that you love him and want to make the marriage work (if that is how you feel).

Sometimes I think that they almost test us to see if we'll turn our backs and leave - it's hard to explain what I mean.... It's almost like they will create a situation that confirms what they already think about themselves (e.g., "people really don't love me for being me") and they are just waiting (hoping) that you confirm their beliefs. My husband threw everything at me (metaphorically speaking), including the kitchen sink. Then when we don't leave, they have to face the facts... I think that really scares them. We then remind them of what has 'come out' and they can't pretend it didn't happen.

Our sexual relationship had also been on a slow decline over the past years. When I'd say something he'd tell me that he hadn't realized that so much time had gone by since we were 'together' and, actually, that he was quite satisfied with how things were (boy, I wasn't).

I'm not sure if any of this helps, but if you believe in your relationship, try to find a way to hang in there. Let us know how things are going... my thoughts are with you.

#61431 - 04/06/01 06:17 PM Re: How Can I Best Help My Husband?
Siscer Offline

Registered: 04/06/01
Posts: 1
Loc: Santa Rosa Bch, FL

I am new to this site, having found it only and hour ago. I am relieved to know that there is someone i can communicate with. I am a survivor myself, havign made my way out with many years of therapy and introspection. My husband and i have been together for 18 years. the first five years of our relationship was spent have sexual escapades. During the sixth year we entered therapy, and went on and off for 10 years. It was very helpful to me. But since the sexual escapades stopped our sex life has been a downhill slide. There have been times where it was good, but this is very few and shortlived. He says he has no desire, but when i push a little further he says that he does have some desire, just not so much for me and it is in the AM when i am not turned on ( he never asked me so how would he know). I think all of this smacks of fear of intimacy. He says that couples that have been together as long as we have dont do it very much and that this is normal. I do not have these beliefs and am not prepared to live this way. He is only 45 and I am 35. When i apporached him about our lack of sex and intimacy he was very offended and even more uncomfortable discussing it. I know i am rambling, but i am at aloss inside. Realizing that his unresolved abuse issues are probably affecting us bring up someof my own stuff. I would like some advice about how to approach him again. The last time i did it was from the view point that we need to become closer. But the more i read the more i know i need to bring up the abuse. This is destroying my love for him. The longer this goes unresolved the more distant i feel to him, and unfortunately i think this is just fine with him. Not that he would want me to leave, but that he is most comfortable when we are not close. Anyhow, I hope we all continue to write and i hope we can be of some support to one another.

#61432 - 04/09/01 07:12 PM Re: How Can I Best Help My Husband?
sas Offline

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Siscer, thanks so much for your posting, I think you will find the posts here helpful - I have learned so much! My heart goes out to you, I think I have a sense for what you may be going through. One idea for approaching the topic of sex/intimacy, that may offer a new angle, is to talk about sex as really a sacred expression of what is between the two of you - it's about you and your love for each other, your partnership in life. This may be a bit 'spiritual' but I have found my own sense of spirituality through my own healing and now the situation with my husband.... (I really encourage every woman/partner to read Joseph Campbell's stuff on marriage, as well as the Dalai Lama's writings - Art of Happiness was so helpful to me as we first started to sort stuff out).

I think that when I talk about sex (and the pure fun/joy of it) in a more 'sacred' way, my husband can 'hear' me. It seems to help talking about it from a soul-level, rather than talk about it from a physical level (i.e., I don't talk about my physical longing, etc.). I don't know... it is so hard and guys/our husbands can have such barriers to talking about what they are feeling (do you ever hear them say they are anything other thank "ok?") - let alone talking about sex in the relationship? I used to joke to him that I felt like Mrs. Roper from the 70's TV show 3s Company (I can't believe I watched it) - and that feeling this way made me feel bad (demeaned). That didn't help much, but this new outlook feels different and seems to be okay for him. It helps if your spiritual approach recognizes sex as sacred and fun - not a shameful chore/act. But I realize that each person has her/his own path.

So now, in my own therapy and learning about myself through all this, I'm working hard to find/nurture a spiritual belief in myself. I talk with my husband when I need to - I'm trying not to over-analyze him. I can't encourage you enough to find someone you can talk to about all this. Even after 8 years of my own counseling to heal from my sexual abuse, I've found new 'bits' to work through, plus it's great to have someone to talk to!!

I hope there is a nugget of value in all this. I think your instincts are right on target - this is complex stuff, don't give up the ship! Stay in touch.


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