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#62410 - 10/12/01 01:10 AM Will our marriage ever be the same?

This is my first post to this site, though I have been reading other posts and info the site provides for a few months now. 4 months ago, my husband of 5 years confided in me that he had been sexually abused by his sister's fiance and then husband as an adolescent. I was so shocked and surprised by the information--my response was not supportive, and I felt like if he could hold something this important back from me, what other secrets was he keeping? I questioned his sexuality, and his committment to our family (we're pregnant with our second child). As I got used to the knowledge, and began to cope on a daily basis, I realized that I would need counseling on my own to find out how to be supportive and deal with my questions about the abuse and his sexuality. I went to 2 counseling sessions, and invited him to come, which he has. Even after counseling, I feel like our marriage isn't the same. One of the problems we had before he told me about the sa was that my desire for sex seemed to be greater than his. I just thought it was our different sex drives, but now I'm not sure. In counseling, he said that sex with me as the iniator makes him feel again those feelings of powerlessness. The counselor advised me to just let go of the sex part of our marriage, and focus on being close in other ways. I have totally done this. For several months now, we haven't had any sexual contact at all. We have been loving and kind to each other, but I still feel cheated out of our intimacy. He seems so happy with no sex or sexual expectations, and I feel like he won't EVER iniate sex. I'm not truly happy in a sexless marriage. I don't feel appreciated as a woman, or desirable, rather, I feel like his roommate. I miss the intimacy and closeness I thought we had before when we were sexual. Should I just let it be? Talk to him about it? How long do I wait for my husband to want me? I've mentioned my concern to the counselor, and he says to just focus on the positives. Thanks for listening.

#62411 - 10/12/01 11:10 AM Re: Will our marriage ever be the same?
sas Offline

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Hi Jorden, I'm glad you've reached out. When I read your post I saw things that I have experienced too (though I know each person's experience is uniquely their own and your path through this is unique too.).

You can peel through the postings to see my story... (going back to Feb '01) but what stands out for me is what your counselor is telling you.

I can appreciate how tough it might be for your husband to be sexually intimate with you... but to tell you to, essentially, 'suck it up' doesn't sound really appropriate either. I would hope that the intimacy you desire with your husband can find expression in a manner that gets closer to being balanced for both individuals.

I personally know what it is like to not want to be intimate with anyone when you're sorting through your past, and all the pain and shame. So definitely honoring your husband's 'space' is critical...but I would hope that your husband and you could find a way to honor your 'space' as well. It might not be the 'usual' but finding a way that you can be sexual with him, and feel that closeness with him, is important too. I hope your husband is open to finding a new path with you....

Perhaps I am misreading your counselor, but I don't get the feeling that both your needs are being considered equally... perhaps I'm wrong...I guess I might explore another counselor - and I know what a huge pain that is...but it is worth it when you find someone who fits with you.

Take care of yourself - you've got a lot on your plate with the second baby coming and all, I can imagine how scary that can feel at times. Trust that many of us sending you energy to support you and your family, as Jeremy says... "we're all in this together."

I don't know if any of this makes sense....

- Stephanie

#62412 - 10/12/01 03:04 PM Re: Will our marriage ever be the same?
lovemyhusband Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/19/01
Posts: 23
Hello Jordan,
Sorry to see you at this site, this means that you have suddenly through no fault of your own (just like our husbands) become a victim of male childhood sexual abuse. My heart goes out to you and I truly do understand your pain. I have known about my husbands SA for many years and we have talked about it extensively, but it is still something that he struggles with on a daily basis. Although he says he is fine with it now, I see too many issues that creep into his everyday life that he still needs to deal with. I too have the sexual appetite in our marriage while my husband is less proactive. I dont know what answer to give you there. I guess I just wanted to write and let you know that there are those of us out here that feel the same way and are facing the same issues. Hopefully through our sharing we will be able to help one another to somehow keep going. These men have had a LIFETIME of pain and confusion, and while we cannot heal them we CAN give them a safe place where certain fears can finally end. Love him unconditionally, God looks favorably on us when we care for those less fortunate. Write anytime, LMH

#62413 - 10/12/01 04:22 PM Re: Will our marriage ever be the same?
Just Call me J Offline

Registered: 07/14/01
Posts: 204
Loc: Inland Empire, California

You have me deepest condolences for the position you find yourself in. I read your post last night, but I couldn't articulate what was on my mind.

Stephanie hit the main point that was on my mind, however. Maybe we're just getting your therapist's suggestions out of context, but I agree with Stephanie that your counselor seems lacking in support for you. It is clear that you are there for YOU, and your therapist needs to focus on YOU. Joint counseling should focus on bridging the gap between the separate needs of both participants, not about appeasing one side only. Only by becoming whole and strong yourself, will you be able to continue to be there for your husband unconditionally (as LMH points out).

Good luck to you and your husband.

Stephanie stole my line... :p


We're in this together. - Nine Inch Nails

#62414 - 10/12/01 07:13 PM Re: Will our marriage ever be the same?

Thanks so much for your responses and support. It is sad that there are many of us in this position. I get so angry with my husband's abuser--did he even think as he violated my husband--that he was violating his future wife? His future kids? Because it does have an everyday impact on us all.

I guess I was a little concerned by our counselor's attitude too. Perhaps I didn't express my concern clearly enough. But just giving up sex indefinitely and hoping that tht part of our relationship will come back somehow on it's own doesn't seem like the answer to me either. I feel that it takes any pressure off of my husband to truly face what his problems with intimacy are, because now he just doesn't have to deal with it, period. Perhaps he should see a different counselor on his own to work through this. I know that the counselor should be there for me too, I just feel selfish for my concerns, when I should be concentrating on supporting my husband.
Thanks you for letting me vent, and for letting me know that this can be worked through, just one long day at a time. I really appreciate this forum and your replies!

#62415 - 10/13/01 03:03 AM Re: Will our marriage ever be the same?


There's a lot going on here...and it isn't simple (of course!). But I would like to contribute my two cents' worth.

As I read your initial post, you went to see a counselor for yourself....and, given the source of your own distress, you invited him to come along, which was decent of you....and maybe even a good idea.

It would be my suggestion that your husband find a therapist who deals with sexual abuse issues... He deserves to have someone with whom he can process all of this "stuff" that has affected him for years (even if he didn't know it at a conscious many of us don't initially). I think that this needs to be separate from your sessions with your own counselor.

This doesn't mean that he might not be invited to return to a conjoint session or two with your therapist, but he needs to be working on his own heal himself.

I'm sure that it is very distressing to have the sexual intimacy dissipate in your marriage. I have a feeling that this is temporary. Once he can identify the demons, talk them out with his therapist, etc., my belief is that he will be in a better place to communicate his love sexually.

I know that my words will sound hollow and clichéd, but this is really scary stuff for your husband. Trust me, I know. When one is in a position of questioning his whole identity--particularly one's sexual identity--it is confusing, anxiety producing, and sometimes brings one to a place of immobility for a short time. With love and patience, my guess is that your sexual intimacy will return. As you may know (and/or recall) many women are disinterested in sex in the weeks before and/or after childbirth. But intimacy returns once the child has been born, mom is getting more sleep, etc. I'd not hit the panic button just yet.

It is my belief that your husband is so fortunate to have you in his life (and, of course, this is no accident!). I can tell from what you have written that you love him and, as a betting man, I'd wager that he loves you, too. He is probably hurting at a level proportionate to your own level of concern....but is trying to remain strong and present has having it all together.

As someone who has done this fire walk, please be assured that it will get better.


#62416 - 10/17/01 01:32 AM Re: Will our marriage ever be the same?
babs Offline

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 59
Loc: Cub Hill, MD
Jordan --

Your husband definitely needs to be seeing a therapist by himself.

My SA husband sees his weekly, I see mine biweekly and we see his as a couple triweekly.

There are several books around on sexual healing for survivors. I only started reading (1) The Sexual Healing Journey - A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Wendy Maltz and (2)The Survivor's Guide to Sex - How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Abuse by Staci Haines. There are also several web sites that address the same issues. See '' is Wendy Maltz's website which even has 2 videos on relearning to touch. Just arrived so I haven't seen all. Any positive affect on our sex life will easily pay for the $95 cost (for set of 2 tapes).

Find YOURSELF a new therapist cause this one sucks. Telling someone to forget about sex is absurd. I find that I need the sense of renewal and closeness that sex supplies now more than ever. The walls of isolation seem to grow like 'KUDZU along the highway' if the space (real or virtual) between us is left empty. You may have to find a non-threatening was to explain to him how you feel. You might possibly work out a way that you can clearly signal that you are interested in sex so that he can be the actual initiator.

Good luck on this *** roller coaster ride from hell *** that living with a survivor can be!!



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