Hi, all. I am a survivor and went through the most intense part of my healing process a few years ago. What a long road! I am now in the thriving stage. Now I am on the other side -- partner of a survivor.
Last year, I became involved w/another survivor. I was the first person he shared his past with, and he was 39 at the time. We had only been seeing each other a few months, but we already loved each other deeply and had such an amazing connection between us. I spent a lot of time over the next few months just listening to him when he felt like talking about it, trying to comfort him based on my experiences. He told me so much, like the details of what happened him and how he was feeling, etc. He was being very open with me and I felt like we had good communication going on between us. I was careful not to pressure him as I remember how I would have reacted to something like that. I encouraged him to seek professional therapy since there was only so much I could do but gave him what support I could. He got to a point where he was overwhelmed and didn't know what to deal with next. He couldn't handle all of his intense emotions. He didn't seek the guidance that a professional can offer. All of a sudden (not necessarily right after I suggested counseling), it was like a door slammed. He stopped talking about what he was going through. He also told me he needed space, and we have been going back and forth between getting closer then backing off since then. He has cited different reasons for this but seems very confused about why becoming intimate (and I don't mean sexually) with me scares him. He has admitted his feelings for me seem scary for him sometimes. He has never had a relationship this close or deep. I know he loves me very much, and when we do see each other, we have such incredible chemistry on every level -- mentally, physically, even spiritually. Presently, though, he is distancing himself from me -- again. It is such a roller coaster for me, and I wouldn't have hung on this long if I didn't love this man immensely. I understand what he is going through, and I try not to take his actions personally. This is getting more and more difficult, though. How can I stop myself from also being a victim of this? I understand how survivors will "run" from intimacy and comfort. Does anyone have any suggestions about how I can encourage him to avoid this coping mechanism? Or, I fear, is he just not ready to confront his past and the ways it has affected his life? I really love this man and if there is something I can do, I want to help.