My story begins a couple years ago. In fact it was right about this time, just after the holidays. Being a young single woman who was very busy with school I had delved into the realm of online dating albeit with some doubts as to whether or not I would actually meet anyone that way. Then along came A. He sent me a message and we hit it off pretty quickly. We had a lot in common, both studying to be doctors and coming from a similar faith background. We compared our experiences in school, talked about family, and some of our dreams for the future. I looked forward to our online chats. He seemed like exactly the kind of guy that I would want to be with. The only problem was the 600+ miles between us.

We were both busy with school so there wasn't really a lot of time for us to travel and meet each other. It was several months before I started to notice some red flags. Despite the fact that we had been chatting online for several months, he seemed reluctant to move past that. I wanted to talk on the phone or video chat, but he seemed to always have an excuse not to. So we stuck to texting.

About 5 months after we had first started chatting we both had some time off approaching and I had hoped that perhaps we could meet each other. Unfortunately, things didn't work out and it was about that time that he opened up to me about some of his past. He didn't go into detail, but he told me that he still had nightmares. He said he had trouble attaching to people normally. He told me how he went through cycles of depression and periods that he felt completely numb. He said it was easier to feel nothing than to deal with the pain. He told me how he had started cutting as a teenager to deal with it all.

I was shocked and my emotions ran wild. I didn't know who it was that had done this to him, but it made my blood boil to think that someone could mistreat a child that way. Although I had never met him, I cared about him deeply and thought he was an amazing man. I was angry that someone could hurt him in this way. I would have given anything to take it all away. I started reading about CSA; I wanted to soak up as much information as possible. I knew I could never understand exactly what he had been through, but I wanted to understand to the best of my ability. I wanted to be able to support him.

He told me that girls he had dated in the past had pretty much lost interest as soon as he told them about his past. He said that they told him if they were to have kids they wouldn't be able to trust him alone with the kids because he would hurt them. He said hearing that hurt a lot. I know that he wants to have kids someday, but he also has said that he is a little afraid that if he has a son it will trigger memories.

For the past year and a half, there have been a lot of ups and downs with us. We still haven't met and, in fact, I've yet to even hear his voice. We both have pretty strong feelings for each other and he says he's afraid to meet in person because he's almost certain he will make a move on me. He's afraid of hurting me. He's told me that he thinks I deserve better. He goes through periods where he doesn't really feel anything and he doesn't think he can love the way I love. He often tells me that he thinks he is just supposed to be alone.

The thing is, I know he doesn't want to be single for the rest of his life. He tells me how lonely he feels sometimes and I know he desires to have a family someday. Sometimes I feel like he is punishing himself for things that are not his fault, things he had no control over. I know that I may not be the right person for him and perhaps we will never meet, but I do think that there is someone out there for him. I have really tried to be there for him, but I'm not sure it always comes across well in short text messages. I like it when he opens up to me about his past, but I never bring it up myself because I don't want to trigger memories. I just like to understand.

I don't think that he has ever had any sort of therapy. In fact, I don't think he has really told many people at all about his past. I really think that it would be good for him to see a therapist of some sort, and I have mentioned this to him. But ultimately, it has to be his choice and I would never try to force him or let it change my opinion of him. I think part of his fear of seeking therapy is that he is afraid it might impact his ability to get into a good residency training program if it goes on record that he has had psychiatric treatment. I don't really think that is true and have told him as much, but again, I haven't wanted to force the issue.

He recently told me that he started talking to another woman. He said he's felt lately that I don't really understand what he is going through and that she has a past similar to his own. She also lives local to him so that does make things a lot easier. She is an intern at the hospital where he is doing his medical school rotations. He told me a little about how they met and how she had told him that she was doing psychiatry because her psychiatrist helped her so much. If nothing else, I hope that maybe talking to her will be an avenue of support for him and maybe open his mind a little more to the idea of therapy. Maybe she is better for him than I would be and if they end up together and he's happy, then I'll be very happy for him.

He really is an incredible man. I know that what he went through as a child was horrific and unthinkable. But he has still accomplished so much with his life. I just hate to see him depressed. I think he deserves to be happy.