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Romantic relationship with someone who was sexually abused as a child

Mr Man

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Hi there,


I was just wondering what people think about how an individual who was sexually abused as a child views romantic relationships as an adult?


Do you these individuals have a different perspective/ emotional reaction to sex and physical attraction as an adult, in a 'healthy' relationship?


What are the differences in their romantic interactions as adults compared to individuals who haven't suffered such a trauma?

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I attempted to date someone who was abused in that way as a child. She was too sexual[which is often the result of that]. Sexual enough that while I thought I was falling for her she was sleeping with other guys. Anyways, I think asking someone who that happened to is the best way to [that is if the ever reveal to you that happened of course]. I'd think like anyone else, they'd have the same views and well as different opinions. Them being abused doesn't "separate" them much.

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Unfortunately that's going to vary quite a lot, so we can't tell you exactly how your partner will be.


Some people go on to be completely terrified of intimate/sexual relationships, they find it difficult to get close to people, they're afraid of people the same gender as those who abused them. Sometimes people can experience painful and debilitating flashbacks during sex, sometimes things you consider ordinary can be harmful triggers.


On the other hand, some people don't experience those issues - some become very promiscuous and view sex as their only way to be valuable. Some subconsciously seek out abusive partners, and then again some find very meaningful relationships.


Everyone reacts differently to abuse. I know in my case, I was able to find a partner who made me feel safe and secure, and I felt comfortable opening up to him. Our relationship was happy and "normal" for the most part, although sometimes during sex things would upset me. But that was rare, and we enjoyed a relatively healthy sexual relationship. So, it depends.


Can you offer us any more info on her? What the nature of the abuse was, how long ago, has she been in therapy, etc? What's her personality like? It could be helpful to know how far along in her healing she is.


The best advice I could give you, regardless of whether she is "fully healed" or just starting out - be patient and understanding. And look out for yourself, being the partner of someone who is dealing with prior abuse can be very draining on you personally, and that's nothing to be ashamed of either. Make sure you get what you need from the relationship and give her what she needs. Communicate, etc.

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I agree, it is all different. I know for me I never dated at all before I met my husband because men terrified me. It took me some time to feel safe and secure and actually enjoy being with someone. It took I guess about a year.


I guess it is how severe are her issues. I know for me I have PTSD so my reactions might have been a bit strong.

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I think it really depends on the individual. I have heard of some becoming very promiscous and using sex as a way to make them feel important and valuable (like Philliesfan001 mentioned). I dated someone who had been sexually abused as a child, and she was very scared to be physically and emotionally attached. It was like a push and pull thing with her; one day she would be really sweet and open with me, but then she would just turn aloof as a way to protect herself. The first few times we were together, she used to tell me she would feel bad and guilty afterwards, because it triggered her memories of being abused. As time went by, she started to feel more comfortable and trusting towards my intentions.

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well, unfortunately, she broke up with me just over a month ago. For the record, yes I'm still hurting a bit, but I'm not deceiving myself about the brightness of my own future and I'm not having difficulty moving on with my life. My intuition tells me she'll definitely be back at some point, but I'm not holding my breath for it and I'm definitely ok with us being apart, I have a lot of other exciting things happening so I'm ok and everything is in perspective - but I'm not going to lie to myself, I am still in pain and I care about her incredibly.


She was abused for many years as a child (I'm the only one she has ever told), she wouldn't tell me who abused her, but I suspect a family-member. As an adult, she was arranged to marry her cousin, who abused her and even raped her while she was a virgin. We're from completely different cultures, I'm a white panthiest, she's an Iranian Muslim.


We had an incredibly good relationship, for the most part. Absolutely comfortable, trusting, respectful, loving, fun, playful and lustful. She counted the first time we made love as her losing her virginity.


her personality - very caring, very fun and energetic, intelligent, moral and compassionate; but definitely a tendency to run away from things and 'trying not to think'. I am the only one in the world who knows about the abuse as a child and what happened with her cousin. She has never recieved therapy. She is clearly stilll traumatised. At times, while we were being physically intimate, she would ask if we could stop which I obviously absolutely respected. At times, she would call me up in the middle of the night and just want me to be on the phone with her for hours at a time - she wouldn't say anything, she would be completely depressed, but she just wanted to feel like I was there - I did this for her most of the time, but the last two times before she left I got frustrated and couldn't stay on the phone not saying anything for hours ( I was never rude). I deeply regret being frustrated about that - even if she wasn't my lover, and just a friend I should have pushed through it and been there for her - I feel terrible knowing she suffered more than she had to.


I'm just curious about how people feel about relationships after suffering sexual abuse.

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It really depends on the person as to how they feel like it has been said. No two abused people have the same perspective. I enjoy a romantic relationship now, but was never able too when I was younger.I knew not all men were bad and do not ever remember ever thinking all men were bad and certainly do not believe that now, but I simply could not even stand people touching even my arm let alone anywhere else. I would almost black out if people did. It was worse if the person was male. I was utterly physically terrified. I got better and better over time.

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