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Old 12-06-2012, 09:35 PM   #26
LadyVer
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I haven't read all the comments. But what I will say is just wait til an opportune time. It's not a subject to discuss with someone you don't know well, usually. Besides, a large number of women have been sexually assaulted in some way. It's a difficult subject to approach with a male partner.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:17 AM   #27
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You might be facing more then most women have been raped if it happened when you were 12, the effects are worse on a child for a lot of reasons (among other things, the loss of safety coming from a caregiver doing that is major, it adds to it).

I suspect there are some guys out there who would see someone who has been raped as damaged and so forth, but speaking from someone who has had to deal with it, the hard part is trying know what to do or not to do. The first instinct is to think about what is going to happen when you get intimate and worse, there is idea that anything the women does is because they have had this happen. Don't want to have sex? Must be because of what happened, don't want to be touched a certain way? Must be because of what happened, and that can color the relationship, too.

I think since you have been in therapy for so long you probably know by now what your reactions are, what could be a problem, and if/when the relationship gets to the point where it might be an issue, one thing might to to let him know what happened (or her), and the kinds of things that might affect your relationship. If you tell him it may take you longer to get intimate, or commit, or that certain things might not work right, it gives him/her something to judge things by or understand what is and isn't part of what happened to you. In some ways I look back and realize how pathetic my response was at times, where i would assume every little thing must have been 'what happened' to my SO, when in reality it was just ordinary things happening; if my spouse wanted to cuddle instead of having sex, if sex didn't work out right, it was all 'because of what happened' in my mind, it took a long time to realize that everything that happened wasn't caused by the past issue......but it , at least for me, seemed like a natural assumption. Obviously it was different in my case, this was in an already long established relationship, but I suspect it would be the same for someone going into it and finding out.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:36 AM   #28
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The main thing is being open and honest about it.
I am sure there will be questions as to how you are dealing with it. The most important thing is that you ARE dealing with it instead of trying to bury it.

I have seen first hand how many problems are created when people don't deal with it and just bury it. It is amazing how it will manifest itself in all kinds of ways.

The important thing is being open and honest about what triggers bad memories. If he truly cares he will be understanding and work with you on the issues.
If you suppress the feelings he will sense it and feel you pulling away from HIM. When actually it is the memory that was triggered that you are pulling away from. Only through OPEN and honest communication will you break that vicious cycle. It will require a LOT of understanding and acceptance from both of you.

I must commend you for taking it on and not just trying to bury the issues. I have seen it way to many times in various past relationships where I brought up that I thought they had been abused / raped. Every time I was correct and some had never disclosed it to anyone before.

It is amazing how abuse / rape after effects show up in all kinds of ways in all aspects of their life. The important thing is to realize what those triggers are and then you have the choice on how to respond to them.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:32 AM   #29
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Thanks, these are all very good, constructive comments! As another point of clarification, there is always a sexual component to the relationship before it gets to this point, and I don't think I tend to manifest aberrant behavior during sex (kinky, sometimes, but I don't just shut down or start fighting my partner off).

The focus of the issues always falls on the commitment part of the relationship, which is why I think waiting until we are considering moving in together is the best time to bring it up.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:54 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kikoro View Post
Thanks, these are all very good, constructive comments! As another point of clarification, there is always a sexual component to the relationship before it gets to this point, and I don't think I tend to manifest aberrant behavior during sex (kinky, sometimes, but I don't just shut down or start fighting my partner off).

The focus of the issues always falls on the commitment part of the relationship, which is why I think waiting until we are considering moving in together is the best time to bring it up.
Based upon your above response the idea of living together is a MAJOR trigger for you. I would strongly suggest bringing it up a little before you are getting to that point in the relationship. This way he can be aware that for whatever reason you get negative energies about the commitment level NOT negative energies towards him.
If he is at all in tune with your feelings he is going to be sensing SOMETHING and could well be thinking it is directed towards him.

This is great that you have become this aware of your patterns and how they have been created.
The next step is to choose to pick a different response when those feeling arise. They will still rear their ugly head but how you respond to them is always your choice. Acknowledge them when they arise but say to yourself I am choosing differently this time.
Whatever that different choice / response is will again be up to you.

Communication during this point in time will be especially important so he does not feel it is something that he did or is doing that is generating your negative feelings. ( Unless there is something he REALLY did do. )

Trust your gut feelings always meanwhile.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:58 AM   #31
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be honest and upfront about it right away. Much harm can be done by keeping secrets early on.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:51 AM   #32
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[quote=Kikoro;42687943If you had a partner with this kind of baggage, how would you prefer they bring it up, and would it lead to a break-up, a relationship, or an obligation to you? How do others handle it? I feel like I am doomed to a life of sex without romance now. That used to be okay with me, but as I get older, I wonder if I can keep going like this.[/QUOTE]

As someone with this kind of baggage as well and who has brought it up, I can tell you to take your time.

This is not something you should feel obligated to share right away, because it is a very tender and hard part of your life. No, it is not something you should feel like you must hide. However you should be choosey with whom you share it with. Because as you seem to know, not everyone can handle it. Which perhaps makes them inconsiderate or just ignorant. But knowing that not everyone will react in a supportive way. Wait until you can be more certain of a person before you choose to reveal such a deep wound. Wounds should not be always out in the open air, they have to be protected to heal. Don't be ashamed of what happened to you. But be careful of whom you give the opportunity to wound you further by not making careful judgments.

Romance and healing will find you.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:26 PM   #33
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kikoro, i'm sorry to learn that this happened to you.

Quote:
kikoro quoth:
i don't want a partner to "do something" when i tell him or her my problems.
i'd venture to say that this is the biggest stumbling block right there. as others have noted, the difference you're seeing is almost certainly because the men with whom you share this are unclear what the most helpful response is, and therefore default to protectiveness mode. it may also in part relate to whether someone in their lives also was raped.

Quote:
kikoro quoth:
the problem (more often) with men is, they seem to always want to "fix" problems. maybe it scares them because its not a problem they know how to fix. or maybe it really is just a matter of them personifying me as this needy and helpless glass doll that has to be constantly cared for or the beauty will fade away.
i don't think it's a function of objectification, which is what i'm taking from the second option you mention. i do however agree that as i said above a lot of guys are fuzzy on what is actually helpful re: their response.

perhaps if when you choose to share something you explain that you need them to understand why your reactions to some things may seem surprising and not that you need protecting or their outrage, that would be helpful.

several women i know and care deeply for have also been raped, and yes, i've certainly been guilty of "righteous testosterone-borne need-to-avenge fury". and i saw just how unhelpful that was too late.

i also agree that the individual dynamic with a given person will likely be your best guide re: how/when to broach the subject.

however, what i think i'm missing here is what kinds of men specifically you're having these kinds of conversations with. if for example you gravitate more towards alpha males, i can certainly see how you'd see more of the "desire to fix it" response, whereas if you're more interested in men who deviate from that type, you'd probably see it less often.

ed
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:48 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kikoro View Post
All I really want is for them to be understanding if I act differently than they expect. Committing is difficult and has presented...challenges to me that don't seem to be all that common for women my age. I don't want them to think I am shutting them out, but rather I like taking a little extra time to adjust when things change between us.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kikoro View Post
I don't want a partner to "do something" when I tell him or her my problems.
In these two comments, I think you have largely answered your own questions.

If I was in a relationship with you, and you explained what had happened to you, how the experience has affected you and that what you needed from me was for me to be understanding, then I'd think that you had handled a difficult situation really well!

The only other comment I'd make is that I think you should tell your SO about being raped well before you consider moving in with them. I think I'd want to know (at the latest) when the relationship gets serious. Otherwise, when you did tell me, I'd wonder why you had waited so long.
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