Hi Misscrespo. So much of your post I can relate to. For 7 years it had been glaringly apparent that he was not "over" his CSA. He wouldn't seek therapy, he doesn't go to the doctors and stopped taking medication for high cholesterol, he didn't drink all the time but would occasionally drink so much that he would literally pass out, he was angry and irritable, selfish with his time, disconnected emotionally and disinterested in any intimacy with me. I was depressed and suffering anxiety, felt like I was managing EVERYTHING in our lives and the kids' lives myself, but felt guilty for complaining because he always went to work, was an involved Dad and he never had a complaint about me. I wondered so many nights if I was the problem... But after a lot of work getting my self back, dealing with my depression and anxiety, joining a gym and getting healthy, I finally realized that I was still unhappy. I knew I loved him more than anything and could not imagine my life without him. I even asked him your question, "If you really love me as deeply as you say, why don't you want to do everything in your power to make this relationship work??"

When boxed in like this he would start changing a few things, but never the big thing (healing and recovery from his CSA). He would do only the bare minimum to keep things going for a while longer, but then I would realize he was just going through the motions and not putting in the real work. I would try to remain positive, but time and again things would slip back to the way they were.

When I joined Male Survivor and started to learn from other partners and survivors, I slowly came to realize that I was still part of the problem. I begged, cried, yelled, demanded, manipulated and waited for him to change things, but I never really drew the line in the sand. I never actually set a boundary of respect about what I needed, expected and was not willing to accept from our relationship and what the eventual consequences would be if my needs were not met. I realized that my needs were valid and fair and "normal" and I had every right to set boundaries around them because they defined what it was that would ultimately allow our marriage to bring me joy. I learned that I could not actively change him, control him or force him... all I could do was ask for what I needed and move on if he was unwilling to attempt to provide for those needs. I learned that I could still love him immensely and want him in my life while simultaneously saying I could not live with this or that and be prepared to let go of the outcome.

I am a strong, confident, articulate and assertive woman. I know this about myself so the idea that I was allowing this to happen to myself and had never actually learned how to have boundaries in our relationship seemed bizarre and just impossible to me. Yet, the more I learned about boundaries, the more I realized I really had no idea how to set them. With boundaries now in place, I no longer feel guilty for having wants and needs. I am also more patient, loving and accepting to actually wait while he attempts to learn how to meet those wants and needs. See, when I calmly, lovingly and firmly set my boundaries, he realized that we were at a turning point. He realized that I was prepared to let go of the outcome if he chose not to make any changes so that he could start respecting my boundaries. My happiness and joy was worthwhile enough to risk losing him... but I didn't lose him. Instead I got my husband back! He is far from healed and still stumbles a lot, but he is finally working hard in therapy. He is more connected, more loving, more self-aware, less angry AND we are intimate again. Not as regular as I would like to see us and we have made some accommodations while he works through his past, but after going for almost a year at a time between any sort of sexual encounter, this is awesome.

He always loved me enough, but as long as I had not set this boundary, his fear, pain and conditioning was just too strong a competitor. Sometimes a survivor has to realize that they are letting everything that is truly important to them slip away before they have the courage to take meaningful steps towards recovery. At the end of the day, it is still their choice. He is in control of his choices and the direction of his recovery, I no longer say "you should" to him, but he is responsible to me for my needs and boundaries. Of course, this goes both ways.

It is such a terrible, disheartening, confusing and lonely place to be where you are right now. I hope you can find the clarity to start making little changes in your life just for yourself. With each new change, you may find the momentum to make more changes until one day, you feel really positive about yourself. It seems counter-intuitive, but when we separate ourselves from our partner, we find we are free to be closer to them. There was absolutely nothing I could do, ever, that would have had any impact on his pain and self-loathing, so I had to disconnect from any responsibility to it and start simply loving him while respecting my needs and setting my boundaries.

Good luck to you and I wish you two the very best.
I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky
- Audioslave