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Age gap, rape victim, impending breakup

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She's in her early 20s, I'm early 30s. We've gotten along great, for over a year...until her libido started diminishing and I got increasingly more frustrated. One day I just got really mad about it and we argued. We didn't talk much for a couple days. Then she said she thinks she needs to leave and find herself.


Is there anything I can do to salvage this?


It's our only real major disagreement we've ever had.


We live together and have many shared accounts, etc. She was all about us getting in deep together.


This happened once before. She is very sensitive. Last time she just bailed without a word, no explanation.


She has been raped, 3 different occasions from what she's told me. That's how she lost her virginity.


I have always been sympathetic and tried to help, but I lost my cool at seeing our sex life degrade over time.


Part of me thinks it's her birth control, or at least it's compounding problems that are already there. Mood swings, decreased libido, even stomach pains...she gets all of that. I think it's her pill contributing to that, but she says it's just who she is now.


Anyway, got any advice? Accept my fate?


We are still doing the daily routines together, but I can tell there's a wall up with her. The subtleties of the end are bleeding through her behavior.

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I have been a victim of rape as well. I know for me if someone adds anger in the same context as sex, even in an argument about sex, it is enough to set off alarm bells. It causes flash backs to when you were victimized. I am not saying that you victimized her or that you do not have a right to the sex life you would like, only to be aware that is a really vile crime and it affects almost all aspects of a person's life. It could be that she had flash backs and just does not want to deal with it, so she is avoiding her relationship with you. I am not really sure how to advise you other than to maybe apologize for bringing anger and sex into the same context and explain you will try to be more sensitive about it.


How a rape survivor feels about sex is immensely complex.

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I'm sorry that you had to deal with that.


SHe explained to me in some detail what happened. It torments my thoughts as well. Sometimes, in the beginning of our relationship, she would cry during sex and we'd stop.


I understood and I still do. It seemed like we were moving forward though, but now regressing again.


It was wrong for me to argue over it but it's hard to see that triggering a break up since we get along great and never argue like we did this one time.


I don't know what to do. I've apologized and tried to talk it out.

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There will be times of regression. It is not something one ever "gets over" and one day you are ok. But you do get better over time especially with therapy and help and understanding. I have no idea where she is in her healing but it sounds where I was about 22 years ago. I used to sob and sob and sob too, for about a year. I slowly got better with it over time. But even now I can not have sex and anger in the same context. It just puts me in a black out where my brain does not function. Where it feels like you can not see or hear and you can not even control your limbs. I would say to be patient and give it time. You have apologized and maybe with a little patience it will get better. Sex is very threatening for a great number of rape survivors, even the emotions with it good or bad. Just try not to add anger into the mix in the same context. That is a horror because of rapists use anger and violence as a means of control and sadism.

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You're welcome. Yes, I know it is hard. These feelings she has are not about you, but about her experience. Unfortunately these feelings become intertwined with every day life and affect every day life. Some times too they are hard to separate from things happening in the present. Kind of get what I mean?


I am glad you feel more positive about your future together! I know it is very hard but have patience and really try to see this is not about you, but about herself and what she had experienced. As she heals more and more and she sees your patience and love she will recover more and more.

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It does help some people and some people do not like it. It is hard to know unless she tries. But processing what happened to her on her own is not usually good. I am of the opinion therapy does help but you have to find a therapist who can help and who you trust and who works with you specifically. Don't just go with the first person unless you mesh with them well. Don't go to one and not have a good experience and assume therapy is of no use. See what I mean?


I can see why she would be afraid though because no one wants to relive horrific things.

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It's difficult not to take it personally but you have to remember it isn't about you - she has issues she needs to deal with.


She should probably try to get professional help. If she doesn't then I don't think the relationship is going to be good for either of you. You shouldn't have to put up with less than you deserve in a relationship, including a fulfilling sex life, and she shouldn't have to feel guilty or upset over her lack of libido or trauma. Perhaps it would be better if she healed on her own.

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I think she needs to seek the help of a therapist who perhaps can help her through her ordeal. Because if she was really raped three times within a six month period, that's a very traumatic experience to endure first of all, but three times in six months by three different strangers and circumstances, wow. It could be that she needs to work on some of the issues that are bothering her before the relationship can go any further. I think for right now, you need to forget about sex and do whatever you can to help her deal with some of the problems she's having. Mainly through support, be supportive. So no sex for a while, or you'll just have to bite the bullet and break things off if this really bothers you that much.

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But doesn't going away pretty much do that?


I'm trying to provide a situation where she can do what she needs to do, without leaving. Why couldn't it work that way? We all have things to work on; why can't we do that with our significant others? It seems that it's over once she goes.


She leaves --> I cry and grieve and long for her, my mind invents scenarios of her being blissful with someone else --> I reach a point of hitting bottom, getting angry for her leaving me --> My brain's defense turns her into a faint memory


I don't want it to be this way, but that seems to be what happens.


Is she going to fix her problems in a month? Probably not, especially without therapy. It's probably going to take her years. I just don't want to let her go. I'm going to be so sad. I already am. I don't know if I'm perpetuating the end, but it's been hard to be happy since she suggested bailing.


She's still saying she's confused. But it offers me no reassurance. My gut is saying that she's leaving and it's over.

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The thing is she is not going to fix her problems in a month or even a few years. She may have problems FOREVER. I was sexually assaulted at 6,11,13, and 19. When I was a child these were over months at a time. I am 45 now and I STILL have problems. Therapy is not to cure all her ills , it gives her tools on how to cope and it gives her her voice that was taken away.This is a LIFETIME process. Are you ready for it? Maybe she is trying to save you from that.

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