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Hello,

 

I've been with my partner for 2+ years now and it has been one of the best relationships I've ever been in - he's kind, respectful and working towards a future with me. On my end, this has now been my longest, most functional relationship and I'm quite happy normally.

 

We had an incident a few nights ago that seems to have affected us both a lot and we're not quite sure how to get past it (besides maybe therapy). We had gone to our couple friends' home to have some drinks with them after dinner and decided to sleep over. We weren't particularly drunk, although we had had a few drinks each over the course of the night. I had told him earlier that day that I was on the last day of my cycle and so we could start having intercourse soon. Some backstory: I have been assaulted in the past (never by a partner), so I can feel triggered sometimes. My partner knows about this trauma vaguely and has never pushed any of my boundaries.

 

Anyway, at bedtime we started fooling around a little (no intercourse). I was okay with it, although i said I felt uncomfortable doing anything more than that in our friend's guest bed. He was fine with that until a few minutes later when he went ahead anyway. I froze up and i think he sensed something was off so he stopped 2 minutes into it. He apologized and we cleaned up and went to bed.

 

We were fine together the rest of the weekend, up until last night when I told him I had felt uncomfortable with what happened. He immediately drove over so we could talk it out and now feels terribly ashamed. I also feel a little off.

 

We discussed that we still want to be together but he thinks he's a monster now. I'm worried I will start looking at him differently, or feel less emotionally safe with him. What can we do?

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It's not what "we" can do it's what you need to do...go seek therapy with an expert and discuss this with them. Your BF is in no position to handle this, nor is it fair. If he needs to get involved with your therapy that would be under the advisement of a professional. I feel your avoidance of seeking therapy is the starting point of why you find yourself in this position. We are not doctors, we are just strangers on the net, and not the best idea for this type of trauma you've had. I understand it costs money, etc. BUT even with a few sessions can help you go in the right direction in dealing with your emotions.

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Oh I've already been to therapy for my own issues 10 years ago, and found it really helped. I had stopped going five years ago as I felt I was getting better but perhaps I should revisit that again.

 

Should see what advise they could give you in how to approach things with your BF. Poor guy sounds really confused.

 

He seems to be a caring person, you two will get through this.

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It doesn't seem like a big deal. You both got a little carried away, but then cleaned up your friends place. Doesn't seem like a game changer. Try not to drag your past into what is otherwise a decent relationship. It's up to you. You can beat him up over it or decide that it was a mistake getting carried away and move forward.

we started fooling around a little (no intercourse). He apologized and we cleaned up and went to bed.
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You seem to have a lot of anxiety in general. This may or may not be related to the bedroom. Things will be ok if you want them to be. He sounds very committed to you but continuing to behave like you're broken will continue to also guilt him into treating you differently. Fix your brokenness or how you see yourself as a whole. This doesn't just have to be about what happened particularly.

 

You're with a very caring person and you also seem the same. Don't overshare all your issues in the relationship. Good communication is key but if you do have past trauma you will need to help yourself or request for help. My hats off to you for going to therapy and finding what works for you.

 

I also have to say I'm glad that you spoke out and are finding your voice. Find ways to communicate and voice what you like and don't like. Maybe surprises aren't your thing. What else do you like with sex? Talk about things you like doing together.

 

Continue showering each other with lots of love and affirmation. Create positive spaces. These will turn into safe spaces also.

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This is a tough thing because you both have this thing hanging in the air and don't really know how serious it is.

 

If you both have openly talked about what happened then perhaps you need to try and get past it and then see how you both feel then. Don't pretend it didn't happen but see if normalcy helps alleviate some of he unknown. Have you been intimate since that night?

 

I don't want to lesson what you went through all those years ago but sometimes we build things in our heads much larger than they actually are. He feels terrible and you feel somewhat off from all this but he has not blown your feelings off like you are overacting and drove straight over to talk in person so that is good right? He also stopped as soon as he realized you were uncomfortable.

 

I am sure feels horrible and is looking to you for some clue that you do not hate him. I hope this all works out you and you both become even closer because of this.

 

Lost

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I agree with Smackie, this is not your boyfriends issue, this is yours.

 

If you're feeling triggered, then it's time you go back to therapy and stop all intimacy until you can get back to a good place. On top of it, don't make you boyfriend feel guilty, he didn't do anything wrong.

 

This is unhealed trauma that you need to fix.

 

I hope you explain this to him as well, that he did nothing wrong and that you only just realized that you're not fully healed from the past and need more therapy with it.

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Going to go a bit against the grain here.

 

It sounds to me like you were very clear about what you are and aren't willing to do that night and why. Unfortunately, your bf decided to disregard your clearly expressed boundaries and wish not to have sex in your friend's bed. That was completely obnoxious, disrespectful, and utterly selfish on his part.

 

Acting all guilty and making himself out to be the victim you feel sorry for over this....that's more bs on his part. If he was more sincere and simply apologized and owned his behavior without the histrionics that he is a "monster" now, then I don't think you'd eve be here seeking advice because you would be able to forgive him and move on. I rather suspect that your gut is ringing alarm bells about his lack of sincerity and so.....here you are, talking to us and talking therapy for the both of you. As much as you mention how great he is and how this relationship is so functional, I very much doubt this is the first time he's shown to be selfish and disrespectful to you. Now if this truly is the first time ever, then you do need to have a very serious conversation with him about this and no bs letting him off the hook just because "I'm such a monster" lines. That's him being manipulative and evasive and it's not cool and shouldn't be acceptable to you.

 

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how long you've dated, how things have been in the past - when someone shows you their colors, you have some hard decisions to make. In this situation, I think it's the other way around - your past trauma is making you doubt your judgment that what he tried is indeed totally wrong. Well he was wrong and that kind of a wrong is a bit of a tip of the ice berg type stuff. If he is selfish this way, he is selfish about other things too.

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His reaction does seem to take center stage here and leaves you to comfort him. I don't know that his intention is to be manipulative but I would definitley leave him to sort out his own feelings about this and not try to make it all better for him.

In the meantime you spend some time sorting yours out.

You seem more concerned about his feelings about this and you need to remember even though you two are a couple try to not emesh the two and you are both seperately responsible for your part in this and the reactions to it.

Leave him to sort his out and this will likely just run it's course and both of you will have learned from it.

You did title this an 'accident' after all

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He is really torn! I think we both will work towards moving on from this as you're right, it was a mistake and I dont want it to come between us.

 

Thank you all!

What do you mean he is torn?

 

I am not sure if I misunderstand you, but it does seem like you are putting his guilt or feeling bad above you're own feelings.

 

It is a big deal to ignore a partner's boundary. And where you'll really get into trouble is by placating him. If you make him feel like its no big deal, what if he does it again? And you say this is a deal breaker. He could push back on you. like, it was no big deal last time.

 

People learn how to treat us... I know I was always raised forgive, forget, don't hold grudges.... but not everyone appreciates that. Not everyone learns to be better in the future when we are too quick to forgive or justify for them.

 

I would maybe really think about, how he acted and how it all came about that night. You know in your gut. And if you're not sure, it's time to go bank to therapy.

 

You don't want this to be the giant red flag you excused away....

 

Take care of yourself, ahead of him.

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Thank you all for your advice, especially the ones that went against the grain. The different perspectives help.

I think in my gut I know he doesn't mean to be manipulative with those words, but he was just trying to convey how he felt when I asked him. He knows its a big deal and hasnt made any excuses about it (and even told me not to make excuses for him). I'm definitely a little wary of letting it go like no big deal because as mentioned above, I dont want it to happen again.

 

I'm taking some time this week to deal with my own emotions, although they are confusing.

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I see this as different then the first posts. I think he violated you by ignoring your boundary and you saying no. If this feels unsettling in your gut there’s a good reason, this may not be a good guy for you. I could see this not being the last time he pulls this again.

 

I was sexually assaulted when I was 20 by someone I was in a relationship with at the time. Like you I kept making excuses for his bad behavior. I was also in a compromising position but no means no!

 

No matter what you told him no and he proceeded anyway.

 

It’s good you think this over. Just listen closely to your gut.

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Oh dear, well. You can tell he really likes you if he drove over to discuss everything. Personally, I find the situation minor (like it it was me, I probably wouldn’t have gotten really nervous or anything) - BUT, I have never had something abusive happen to me to cause any triggers that way 😭 So, your reaction is completely understandable and I think that’s why he was in such a rush to talk about it. You guys will move past it in no time, I bet. See, I feel like I’m so insecure sometimes that I push people out of my life and then when I have anxiety, they are in no rush to chase me ever. It’s hurtful to know when I need them the most they aren’t there. So, I think the fact that he rushed over is a FANTASTIC thing you should cherish! Sounds like a good guy in my eyes ❤️

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Thank you again for your thoughts, everyone. Yes - that's the same man.

I wont try to excuse his behaviour, although he really has evolved emotionally from then to now.

I dont think it was date rape, I think he just crossed a boundary and it triggered me, and he knows the seriousness of the matter. As do I.

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It sounds to me like you were very clear about what you are and aren't willing to do that night and why. Unfortunately, your bf decided to disregard your clearly expressed boundaries and wish not to have sex in your friend's bed. That was completely obnoxious, disrespectful, and utterly selfish on his part.

 

Acting all guilty and making himself out to be the victim you feel sorry for over this....that's more bs on his part. If he was more sincere and simply apologized and owned his behavior without the histrionics that he is a "monster" now, then I don't think you'd eve be here seeking advice because you would be able to forgive him and move on. I rather suspect that your gut is ringing alarm bells about his lack of sincerity and so.....here you are, talking to us and talking therapy for the both of you.

 

His reaction does seem to take center stage here and leaves you to comfort him. I don't know that his intention is to be manipulative but I would definitley leave him to sort out his own feelings about this and not try to make it all better for him.

In the meantime you spend some time sorting yours out.

You seem more concerned about his feelings about this and you need to remember even though you two are a couple try to not emesh the two and you are both seperately responsible for your part in this and the reactions to it.

Leave him to sort his out and this will likely just run it's course and both of you will have learned from it.

You did title this an 'accident' after all

 

Just listen closely to your gut.

 

I am thinking along these lines, as well. In any case, even if you hadn't been sexually assaulted in the past, this sort of behavior is something to watch out for. Disrespectful of others, histrionic when assuming blame, etc. I can't say for sure whether he consciously intends to be manipulative or not, but it really doesn't matter. Stay in your lane with regard to his 'guilt,' and pay close attention to your gut feelings.

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OP, what concerns me is that this relationship has never been particularly good or functional, yet you say that this is the most functional relationship ever. If anything, your glue in all this is that you've invested a great deal of personal time and effort forcing it to work and hoping he will change, grow, be better, etc, etc, etc. This is a false investment and I can't help but wonder if your judgment and standards are too skewed in the wrong direction in that you are willing to work too hard, overlook too much because of past trauma. Too dismissive of your own instincts telling you this is all wrong.

 

I will just say this again - there are some very big red flags smacking you in the face and for whatever reason you are ignoring them and fixating on making this thing work with this guy no matter what. That is not healthy on your end.

 

I can only echo Jibralta - any trauma aside, if a guy acted like that with me, he'd be gone. That for me would be the straw that broke the camel's back. This is coming from someone who tends to be more sympathetic toward a guy when things are more in the grey area and he tries for more. The problem is that I just don't see any grey area here. You were so so clear about your limits and what you are and aren't up for. He simply opted to disregard and go for more and apologize later if he needs to. This guy has demonstrated previously a rather cold, uncaring personality - he hasn't changed even if he has learned to act a bit better here and there in order to keep you around. Unfortunately, the cold and selfish will continue to surface. I hope that you give this some serious thought.

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Reading more about it all, I do chime in now with the side that really does question how he goes from being told that you don't feel comfortable enough with having sex right then, to being inside of you.

 

Were you fooling around and he assumed that's what it was leading up to? Were you both naked and close to sex?

 

I am in no way trying to justify what he did. But it is a long jump from telling him no, to him suddenly having sex with you.

 

Either way, no means no. And I hope you've realized now that you still have a long ways to go with needing more counselling to heal further with the trauma you've experienced.

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Would I end things with him? Honestly, it would depend on the situation. (at least in my mind).

 

If I had taken my underwear off and was pressing up against him and he got the idea that I was leading him into sex, (even if I wasn't) I might forgive him as he is only human and I did give him a lot of indications that sex was on the table.

 

However, if we were in bed together and underwear was still on and I had only wanted to cuddle and he all of a sudden decides to have sex, then that is (in my mind) classified as rape and he would be out of my life immediately. There is no way I would forgive that.

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Then it it up to you if you decide to forgive him and work things out together. After all, you know him better than all of us do.

 

But please get more help. You're still suffering and it's not good. You deserve to be healed and to not have to experience further trauma.

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