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My girlfriend was sexually abused as a child


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I have posted before about an up and down relationship I have had with my girlfriend. We lived together for a year or so. She expected me to propose to her after only 6 months or so. I thought it was too early. She changed after that and we went into 10 months of an on again off again relationship.


At one point, about 3 months ago, we started talking about our pasts. She was very hesitant to talk about hers. She thought I would be upset with her or hate her or something like that (I'm still not sure). She told me the following: That she had a sexually abusive father who was only around for a short time and she partially blames her mother for letting it happen (she has a strained relaionship with her mother right now), She got married right out of high school, moved from Colorado to Chicago to be wiith this person (who she admited she had no prior attraction for), She got divorced after a year and moved in with a 50 + year old guy, She went through a chain of a few boyfriends she would live with that were over 50 and she was only about 21 or so. She admitted to me that she had tried to commit suicide at that time. SHe had a dear friend back then that did commit suicide. SHe moved out west to where we are now. She lived with her brother who was already here. Her mother moved out and she lived with her for a while and attempted to start off college. She broke an arm and had to stop college for a while to pay for medical bills. SHe waited tables and had various jobs like that. She, in the meantime had a lot of boyfriends and was a bit of a party girl. SHe would live with various ones. She got a job part time at a successful financial firm as a secretary/assitant. THe owner of the company took her under her wing and encouraged her to take on more duties there. He is about 50 or so. In a matter of 5 years, she went from her starting position to being vice president of the company and an almost indespensible member of it. SHe has gotten various accredidations and the like. She is very driven in that part of her life. She bought her first house, then just this last year, moved up to a nicer one. She has told me at one time that everyone at work has either hated her or thought she must have been sleeping with the boss to have gotten where she is now.


So, we met. I knew none of this. That discussion a few months ago brought out a few other things that she was nervous to tell me. SHe admitted to having beein with about 28 men in her life. Most of the recent ones had been more her age. She had just broken up with her ex before me about a few months before we met. She told me that she used to be very wild and that I could probably not have been able to put up with her as soon as just a few years ago, she had changed that much. SHe also told me that she thought she may have a veneral disease but she wasn't sure. She was mortified to tell me all of this. What shocked her is that I didn't react badly to any of it. I told her she had no control over her past and her father. I told her that the number of boyfriends she had had no bearing on us now. I told her that the chance that she may have a veneral disease didn't upset me, but we should both get tested to make sure there aren't further medical complications down the road for us.


She was shocked that I didn't hate her immediately.


Anyways, during our on again off again relationship, she always said that she wanted to see a therapist for her issues. I encouraged her but never pushed her to do so. For the last 9 months she has erratic mood swings. She will be heavily depressed at one time (she admitted to me that she almost attempted suicide one weekend when we were alone, I saw the scratch marks of attempts on her arms). Then the next, she is very distant and it is almost like I am not there, she becomes like a robot. Now, about a month and a half ago, she finally started seeing a therapist. I thought that was great. We had a little bit of contact. I told her I love her more than anything and that I am always there for her. I still want to be with her full time sometime in the future. The problem for me was that she wants to have distance from me for a while as she "heals". She has told me that I am a saving grace for her since I almost always show up when she is feeling her worst and make things better. But she wanted separation and to get closure on the relationship we have had that has been so rocky. Now, I know I love her. I know she has love for me (she won't see me face to face much any more because she breaks down and hugs me to death and feel weak that she does that). It was hard for me and still is. However, I am starting to understand just how confused she must be right now. She is trying to figure out what is "wrong" with her. She thinks she has things wrong with her, she thinks it is me, she thinks .... All I can imagine is that she is having one big struggle right now. She has told me that I am the first person she has loved and that I have raised the bar for who she thinks she is entitled to be with.


So, I have been trying to get a little insight into what she is going through. I am keeping my distance from her as she requested (a part of me thinks that she wants the distance so that I as she is going through this, she doesn't ruin our chances). I also think that it is because she is very independent and hates to rely on people.


If anyone has some insight into her situation and what you think is going on for her, I would appreciate hearing about it. I will always be there for her. I am going to give her space and either wait for her to contact me, or give her a little contact in a few months (hopefully that is enough time to be able to at least say hi again, reassure her that I still am there for her). All I know is that I love her more than anything and that she loves me and is forced to be apart from me in order to heal.


Any input is greatly appreciated.

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I think you're doing things EXACTLY right! Yes, she's going through a hard time, with the history she has. I have no doubt that, in the face of finding someone as decent as you, she realizes her past mistakes, and her "indiscretions", as she sees them. What she has to realize is that she's LEARNED from her mistakes, and now has something worth holding onto. It's not her fault she had such a bad father, and, unfortunately, guilt is a major factor in any sexual abuse case. I still don't know why, after having been around it in various forms over the years (not experienced it personally, thank God), but regardless, it's there.


I don't know how much of a cliche it is, but I think she was with all of those older men in order to search for that elusive "father figure" you always hear about. And yes, it makes no sense when you consider that she was dating/sleeping with them, but.....


Regardless, you're on the right track. Just let her know that you love her very much and want the best for her, and want her in your life, while still respecting that she needs her space, which you're doing. That alone will give her the respect I suspect she craves, and prove to her that she's someone worthy, in that she has you waiting for her!



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Hi there,


Sorry to hear about your situation, but I can tell you I've been in a similar situation. Being abused as a child is certainly very traumatizing, but I am particularly happy that you've figured out that you can't help her fix her problems. So many times us guys get trapped in these situations because we as men (perhaps falsely) always try to fix things, even if it is not are job to fix. So I commend you for that.


I know you love her, but at some point you need to do what's best for you. In my situation, which is very similar to yours, I helped my then GF get therapy...but what happened was she somewhere along the way decided I was nothing but a friend helping her out, and she started only thinking of herself. (later cheated on me, then had her big "discovery", but that's another story)


My point is that she's gotta do this herself, figure out herself, and start from a relatively clean slate. She's already told you that you're on the backburner here, and perhaps that's best for her...but I don't think you should stop your life at all for her. What happens if she doesn't get better? What happens if she does get better, but decides she doesn't want you?


I applaud your courage for caring about her needs, but NEVER forget about your own. If I were you I'd just let her go, be there if she needs a friend, but please don't wait for her. Get on with your life! Maybe I'm prejudice because I was in the same situation as you and got screwed over...but I think my advice is still the best....keep an eye on how she's doing, but don't wait!


That's my two cents.



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Thanks for the responses. Bzborow1, I thank you for your insight. I appreciate it. I have learned a lot from this time away from her. I have been seeing a therapist of my own. I have talked to friends. I have read a few really helpful books. What I can see is that what had happened was not completely her fault. I had a lot to do with our cycling relationship. I realized that not only did she change after we had been together, but I also changed, and I don't think that it was because of her changing either. I had some drastic changes in my life and I can see that my behavior had changed enough (I dare think that I made things much worse than they needed to be). I really think that even though the things we have went through were so diffucult, they came about for a reason. A lot of the time, these things that are so difficult, can be the best things for us. We sometimes need the hardest trials in order to see what we really want in live, and what we need to improve in ourselves.


That being said, I have moved on this last month. I am starting to see my weaknesses and I am working on changing those. I can only hope that my ex is healing herself. She deserves it. I know I can't "fix" her. She has to do that on her own. All I can do is fix the things I did that helped sabotage the relationship that I know I truly loved.


I have to accept the possibility that she will never want to be together with me again. That will be, most likely, the biggest regret I will ever have in life. However, I can also improve myself and move on and be happy again. There is no way I can even come close to dating seriously for a while. I may go out with friends from time to time but that is it. I am finding new things to enjoy in life. I am starting to get to the point where I am truly understanding of her. I will leave her alone for a while. In a couple of months I'll see if she wants to have dinner or something like that and see how she is doing. I guess I'll go from there. I do know that if she is still in the same state (I don't see any change), I will easily still be there for her, but I am most likely going to have to get cozy with the idea of not being with her in my future life. I will always be there for her. She is the first real love of my life. I will never forget her. I will always be there for her. Who knows, things may turn for the better and we could start a new relationship and find each other again. In the meantime, I am healing myself and becoming a better person.

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  • 1 month later...

I understand where you are coming from. I have walked in your shoes. My ex-girlfriend whom I truly love has been sexually abused by numerous members of her family. This is a world that I knew nothing about. Over time she confided in me all the things that had happened to her in the past. My heart went out to her and I was determined to study everything that I could about sexual abuse. I encouraged her to go to counselling and deal with the issues of her past. She chose to bury it and forget about it and pretend like it did not affect her. I held her when she was depressed and tried to kiss away her tears. I was her life line and her guardian angel she stated. I tried to show her genuine love and be there for her. I tried to be Prince Charming and slay all the dragons. I too realized that I cannot "fix" someone else. I also made mistakes in relating to her about her issues. My love and compassion for her blinded me to the fact that she was draining the life out of me. I became her lover and her counsellor. A few months ago, I had to let her go. Sometimes when you love someone you have to let them go in order for them to get the help that they need. It is wonderful to hear that your ex is seeking treatment and if she continues there is a possibility that the two of you can start again. Understand that she is going to have to deal with alot of issues and that it is going to be a long road to healing. Please realize that you may have been the only man in her life that has truly loved her. Focusing on your weakness regarding this relationship is ok as long as you also focus on your strengths. We all make mistakes in relationships especially when complicated issues such as abuse have occurred. In my case, my ex decided to jump into another relationship instead of seeking counselling. This will probably be the pattern until she finally addresses her past.

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My ex and I spoke last about a month ago. At that time we were very amiable, but also, things seemed awkward for the both of us. Just before then and just after, I had been seeing a therapist of my own. I felt like I was the worst person in the world and I tended to shoulder all the problems of the relationship. My therapist help me see that I'm not the mean and manipulative person I thought I had become. Actually, I took blame for a lot of our problems when I really shouldn't have.


So, when we talked last, she had said that from counseling that she had found out that she was not as messed up as she thought either. As that is probably true, she also got a little elusive. She was expecting me to shoulder blame. She had become accustomed to that. And, when I wasn't forthcoming in doing that any more, she started, very matter of factly, saying how she didn't love me any longer and how she didn't love me from the beginning. I know differently, but the point is that she started getting defensive. I know she has feelings for me and I know what they have been in the past. But, she has also gotten to the point where she is getting defensive now.


Since, I have felt more normal than I have been in 6 months. I actually feel very goodl. I sent her a Christmas card saying that I think she is a good person and I hope we could reach a time when we could be together again without the awkwardness, but that is up to her. In the meantime, I am dating again and starting to enjoy my life again. She always kept open the possibility of getting back together in some way in 6 months or more and I always wondered where this magical number came from. What is she expecting to happen in 6months that cant happen now? Well, she may be onto something because it has been a couple of months and I am starting to feel good again. I just don't know if I would want to be in a draining relationship with her again in the future unless she had done a little growth as well. If she didn't go through with that, then I feel that I would not want to go through that same draining process again. Who knows what will happen?

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  • 1 year later...


I am in the early stages of what, it seems, most of you have already been through. I am 29 and my gf and I have been together for 4 years now and over the last 2 years she has become increasingly unstable. She has been showing many signs of depression and denial. For some time now, I have suspected that she had been keeping something from me. Just yesterday, we visited a local winery and enjoyed the afternoon. Shortly thereafter, she began to cry histarically and started hitting me. She then started talking about suicide and self-hate. I finally got her calmed down somewhat and demanded that she tell me what had been done to her. As it turned out, my worst fears were correct. She gave in and told me that she and her older sister were raped repeatedly by their family pastor as children. He died in 2001, which is about the time things started changing. I have no experience in situations like this, and am scared that I might make things worse. She wants to act like nothing is wrong and jam it back into her subconscious. I have told her that I will be there to help in any way possible, but that it is important for me that she see a therapist. She claims to agree, but I suspect that she will not deal with these issues. Any advice for me would be greatly appreciated. I love her more than anything in this world and would do anything to see her get better.


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Kurt, the first thing that I would try to think of this as is two completely separate things. The first being your relationship and well being. The second being the issues and well being of your girlfriend. The most important thing you can do for your girlfriend is to be there for her. However, there is not a whole lot of chance you can "fix" anything that is ailing her. That is really up to her and it sounds like something that will take some time to do. Those kinds of scars to not heal very fast. First, she definitley would need to admit that it is bothering her and that she needs to preferably get counseling for it. If she does nothing about it, it will fester and get worse and she will have more tirades like before when certain triggers come along.


Now, the first and most important thing is your well being. You have no control over how she is handling her past and emotions. However, you have control over yours. If you start feeling like you have to "fix" her or make everything better, you are in for a long haul because it most likely won't happen. You can be there for support and guidance when asked but little else. It would probably take someone closer to her (family member) to get her to take steps towards doing something with her past (trying to deal with it in a healthy way). Do not let it drive you crazy in the process though. It is very easy to feel overly obligated to fix her and take on responsibility for something you have no control over. It is hard, but do think of your own emotional health first.


I don't know if this is any help or not, but I have been there. To be brutally honest, it is something that may take a long time for her to be able to come to terms with. It all depends on how readily she is able to admit that it bothers her and that she needs to deal with it in some way.


Let me know how it goes.

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  • 2 years later...

hey, cant read much of your post without getting really emotional.

i was abused. told my then bf. it was bad. didnt get the reply i wanted.

we were on and off again for years. i completely flipped out and thought he was going to rape me. i tried hurting him. i told him what i was going through. he dumped me.

i went through outrageous mood swings. nothing he did could help me feel better.

i think she needs to want to want to go to therapy on her own. thats what i did.

she's not alone in this.

happens to everyone.

it hurt me a lot to think that i wasnt the only person in the entire world to be molested.

i blamed my mom, too.

being molested was very precious to me, as demented as that sounds.

therapy helps. it helps so much.

takes forever, though. i've been seeing mine for four months now and it seems like nothing has changed.

theyre baby steps.

dont be pushy, that might not be what she wants. for me, i wanted my ex to ask me how therapy was after each session.

i didnt think he cared. little by little, i started to let go of that thought. he did care, for a short period of time.

its hard. cant predict what she wants but itll get better with time.

i'm sure what youre doing is great, being there for her as much as you can.

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  • 3 months later...


I just wanted to say that she is very lucky to have found you.

I had the same situation with me

my boyfriend was sexually abused by his dad, and his mum knew but never did anything about it.

He told me later in the relationship. He said he told his ex and she never believed him, and that's why he wasn't sure about telling me. Maybe your girlfriend went through the same situation in the past? He was also scared that I would change my opinion of him. But I never! if anything it made me love him even more.

He had (and still has) issues with intimacy. And anger. He too tried to kill himself a few times, and goes through mood swings, he might seem very happy one moment and then he is completely depressed. He also suffers horrendous nightmares and all kinds.

I have tried to get him to go to therapy, but he is not ready, although he has medication for his depression.

I do have to say, that he is better since we have been living together, and I do believe the best cure, it's lots of love

so all you can do now its just reassure her that you will never treat her badly and that you lover her and you will wait until she is ready, because she really deserves to be with someone who really cares about her


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  • 1 year later...

Relieved to find a site with similiar cases to mine.I,ve been going out with my girlfriend (who is 37) for more than 3 years now and we have only recently moved in together.It,s been a "nightmare" of a relationship and nearly drove us both insane until 6 months ago when she broke down and told me the whole story.How could i have been so blind/stupid to not have questioned this possibility. She was sexually abused between the ages of 5-7 by the housecleaner/babysitters husband. She told her mother and the whole thing stopped and was forgotten or kept quiet as the housecleaners husband was a distant relative of the family.Apparently this peadophile died of natural causes 8 years ago.

Since she told me things have got slightly better though not sexually.This has been and still is the "hard" part for me: i really "enjoy" sex, probably more than the average male but i am also "faithfull" (no prostitutes or double living).Our sex life has been once every 2 months for the last 2 1/2 years and not good on those ocasions.

Finally i went for counselling to calm me down and get some understanding how to deal with all these issues of trust, neurotism and anxiety.This was my savour.She followed me and did 4 months with the Pschologist and left just on the point of mentioning her story. Now i,m trying to convince her to see another Pschologist which seems impossible right now, lets see...

Sometimes i just want to disappear and enjoy life without these complications but i can,t because i must obviously love her.If i can give any advice to persons in the same position as me is that you have to be STRONG, give space (though not too much) and try not to forget yourself & well being.

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  • 3 months later...

My father left me before i was....My mother got remarried and her new husband my stepfather sexually abused me on many accounts. He sexually abused me and physically abused my sister. He beat my sister a nice few time and melested me.

What your girlfriend is going threw it completely normal to what i went threw....what i am going threw...

I was seeing this guy and i do really think i loved...love him and i cant be with him because i litterily ran away from him....he toll me he loved me and hed never leave me or hurt me and i freaked out...My friend slept over at my house and i dont remember any of this but she said i started screeming when i fell to sleep and tried to beat her in my sleep...she got away from me and threw a glass of water and me and still in my sleep and started to calm down but i was still restless....I have seen a councillor and i have put this man in jail but i just dont know what else i can do....

None of my friends know any of this and i will never tell them either...i dont think...

My sister doesnt no any of this either she was too young to remember...she remembers getting hit and such but nothing else...i did try and stop this but i couldnt he was big and i was small and i was scared...

She is probably severely tromatised....i have nightmares every night in different scienarios of my exstepfather coming after me and my family and me not being able to do anything to stop it....

If her time, she might come out of it hopefully...she is probably just trying to get from morning until night...thats what i do, except i try not to sleep....i have never tried suicide but i have thought about...i think about it alot...Im still in school and all these people make jokes about everything and i hold my tungue but i cant hold my tongue forever...or at least i dont think i can....

I dont sleep around...i cant bring myself to have any real sort of relationship with any guys....I dont drink....i dont do drugs or smoke or anything like that....i have nightmares and sometimes ill start rocking back and forth....ill cry myself to sleep...

Ill have brake downs sometimes and i dont know how to calm myself down so i normally just pass out....

If you love her like the way you sound...and if she loves you everything will work itself out or at least i hope so....because if you have a chance maybe i do too



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  • 2 years later...

Me and my girlfriend have only been dating for a few months now and we have been trying to keep no secrets from eachother. Nothing bad has ever really happened to me and i have an honestly decent life besides being poor. She has been reluctant but open about some of the things she has told me and i dont love her any less for any of it. She has been through cancer and her mother has it right now so it is a little rough but she still wants to move into an apartment with me and get married, and i love this woman to death so of course im going to propose to her, but today she told me something else, she told me that when she was younger im not sure when she didnt really want to go into detail about it, the people who lived accross the street from her abducted her and her friend while they were outside. She told me that while they had them they were kept in separate rooms, and she was raped once, but she managed to escape and run accross the street to her dad who went over there and caught one of the men and he got a long jail sentence, but her friend was already gone. When she told me she wasnt extremely open about itbut then she just told me that it was a long time ago and that she was fine, and that me and her father were the only two people who know this, she never told her mother. It seems that i am way more torn up about it than she is and it is definitely taking an emotional toll on me today. I dont know if it is because i am scared that it will take a long time for her to truly open her heart to me, or if its the fact that i couldnt stop it from happening to her. No matter what i lived almost 1250 miles from her when it happened, and i dont blame her because it isnt her fault and no one should ever have to feel like it is, but for some reason i do. Does that make me a good person, or just somebody who is over emotional about uncontrolable things?

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