Marriage Missions International

When Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Marriage Intimacy

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Image by: Photostock, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A person who has been sexually abused as a child often thinks that once the abuse stops, he or she can “just get on with life” and everything will be “just fine.” After-all, the past is the past, right? Wrong.

I’ve been there and have done that and fell for the same lie. I thought that the pain was behind me and I’d be fine. But I wasn’t. And neither was our marriage, because my “past” affected it, or I should say it “infected” it greatly.

I thought that marrying a man who was gentle and kind would lead to a healthy sex life together and my past would be “my past.” But again I was wrong. It’s not that my husband Steve did everything right to help me deal with things properly. He said and did things in his frustration that sometimes complicated matters all the more. But that was not his intent to hurt me further, it just happened and I didn’t handle matters very well at all, and made matters all the worse because of my inability to know how to best work through my issues.

Like many others who have suffered sexual trauma at the hands of someone who took advantage of a child, I found that eventually the past had to be dealt with. I couldn’t just put it on a “shelf” away from the forefront of my mind and count on it staying there any longer. Eventually memories came out to haunt me when I least expected it —especially during intimate times with my husband.

And even though my husband was and is nothing like either of my abusers, somehow I ended up punishing him for the original pain that he did not afflict upon me. As the memories kept poisoning my mind and our love-making experiences, eventually my husband also became a victim of my past sexual abuse, as I kept pushing him away more and more until I couldn’t even be intimate with him at all.

Yes, Steve understood why I acted as I did (at least he said he did, and I believe him), but it didn’t erase the fact that he wanted to be close to me and yet I couldn’t handle any type of sexual closeness. It was just too painful of a reminder of the hurt I had experienced in my past. So, in essence, my past abuse continued haunting me, as well as my husband.

Something that Dr Archibald Hart said in a past Focus on the Family broadcast rang true in my life and is probably applicable to most people who need to deal with childhood sexual abuse. He said,

“It is understandable that you would continue to struggle with the abuse you went through as a child. Our emotions are so intense when we are young that our wounds and injuries often stay with us for a lifetime. The pain is immeasurably worse when the one who wronged us was a parent or a parent surrogate. Nevertheless, the bitterness you feel today is hurting you. It will continue to haunt you unless you can come to terms with it.”

And that is what I eventually knew I needed to do. It wasn’t until a number of years into our marriage that the Lord started to impress upon me that I had “unfinished business” to work on, in dealing with what had happened to me. That’s when I first started the painful process of praying and reaching out to find the help I needed to settle what had happened to me and begin the process of healing not only my mind, but my love life with my dear husband.

God helped me to come to the same conclusion as a statement that Dr Hart made:

“Your [abuser] has stolen your childhood. Don’t let him rob your peace of mind as an adult.”

It had for me. And if you’re experiencing this as well, I plead with you to please, please, please reach out for the help you need to properly deal with all that happened to you —whether you were a young child or an older one when you were originally victimized.

I eventually got to the point where I pleaded with God to either help me stop the nightmares and flashbacks I was experiencing or help me to die. I couldn’t take it any longer. God spoke to me in a way that made Himself real to me and let me know that if I was serious, the road would be tough and it would be long, but that I would get to the point of reaching the healing I desperately needed, if I was willing. I was and I’m so glad I said, “yes” to God in this.

I won’t lie and say that it was an easy journey. It was very, very painful. And it took a number of years to get through. Yet, even when I was reaching out for help, I never truly thought I would be able to get to the place where I would be completely healthy and whole in dealing with the sexual part of my life and the memories that haunted me for so many years. I was willing for any relief that I could get.

And yet, I can honestly give testimony that God has helped me to do an amazing work, and my past is no longer being dragged around in my life. I am healed and I am whole. And my husband and I have an amazing connection in every way in or lives together.

I encourage you that if you are being haunted by your past, DEAL WITH IT. Make it your mission NOT to allow your own mind and your marriage carry the burden of this horrible emotional baggage. Persevere and be tenacious in opening every door you need to, in order to get to a place where your past no longer steals joy and peace from your present and future life.

You will probably need help. Your spouse will eventually need to be a part of the healing process. But most husbands and wives do not know how to unpack such delicate and yet powerful emotions without professional help. Some do, but not many.

If you reach out for help though, be careful. Don’t trust just anyone to help you deal with this type of problem. Not all friends, family members and counselors are “marriage-friendly” and many can actually hurt you and your marriage in the process more than help it. That’s what recent studies are showing.

I’m all for good counsel, but make sure it’s truly the type of counsel and counseling you need. We have several articles posted within the “Marriage Counseling” Topic that I recommend you read so you have a better grasp on this whole thing. And if you need help finding a “Marriage-friendly” counselor, you can look into the “Links” part of that topic to see if you can locate the one who can best help you.

Also, I found a few articles posted on the Internet that might help you in your journey to healing.

The first article is written by Mary DeMuth, who was a past victim herself. What she wrote is posted on the Todayschristianwoman.com web site, along with a testimony that her husband Patrick wrote as well, telling his perspective on what had happened. You can learn from what they wrote by clicking on the link below to read:

OPENING THE DOOR TO HEALING

And here is an article written by Paul Byerly, posted on The-generous-husband.com web site where he explains how he not only tried to help his wife Lori heal from her past abuse, which she was willing to do, but he owned up to his own “stuff.” In other words, he saw that he had some things from his past that contributed to the problem, as well. So they BOTH made it their mission to work on their own issues. As a result, they have a very passionate, loving, and forgiving marital sex life together. I encourage you to read:

IT’S NOT ALL HER —OR ALL YOU

— ALSO —

Below is a link to the Preachitteachit.org web site where, Pastor Roger Barrier answers the following question:

HOW DO I COPE IF I’VE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED?

This article was written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International

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140 Responses to “When Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Marriage Intimacy”
  1. Tom says:

    (USA) I have been with my wife for 4 years. We lived together for 2 and a half and have been married for the last year and 2 months. I found out she was sexually molested by her father just after we married and a little over a year later she left me.

    We still talk everyday but she said she didn’t want to hurt me any more by living a false marriage. She said all the past feelings of the abuse surfaced as soon as we got married. I love her and want to help her. I’m researching the symptoms of others who have been abused and they all fit. I don’t know if she’ll ever come back to me, but I pray she does. I just don’t know what I can do to help.

    • Sabrina says:

      (USA)  Has she ever been to a doctor to talk about it? I know a lot of times, people do not get the help or support they need to get through something like that. I’m not sure when I was first molested, but I have memories from age 6 up to age 13 (he got caught). He went to a shrink to help him (didn’t work, he did it again when I was 15).

      My point is, his father and his wife were more worried about him than they were me. They made sure he got help for his problem, but I was just supposed to forget about all those years and act like everything was great. I have been dealing with it myself for so long. I do okay most of the time, however, I think it causes a lot of problems in my marriage. I have trouble trusting my husband. I can’t be what he wants in bed, because it makes me feel dirty (brings back awful memories from what this man had me do or say to him). I know that is was not my fault. I didn’t do anything to make this happen. I would like to talk to a shrink myself, but I guess I’m scared. What if it doesn’t do any good? It did happen all those years ago.

      Anyway, if she still loves you, but just doesn’t feel comfortable enough to stay with you, she needs help from someone. Maybe that someone is a shrink. I do not know if I helped any, but it is a touchy situation for most people who’ve been there.

      • Jill says:

        (USA)  How does what happened to you affect your relationships with friends and people you care about?

    • Distraught says:

      (AFRICA) The same thing happened to me when I was a child. The worst of all is my husband knew about it when he got to know me when we were just friends. He assured me that he supports me, accepts me as I am. He knew I was broken and I tried all forms of ministry, counselling, professional help.

      He even said before we got married (all of a sudden one week before our wedding), that he will not marry me if I don’t go to a specific ministry’s counselling. I did go through it because I believed that I can get healing and he made it very clear that that is the ground rule. He changes the goal post whenever he wants and feels like it. He is not predictable. One moment he loves and support me and the next moment he blames me for everything and even tells me I schemed to make him marry me (this is not true –he proposed fully knowing of my past and my willingness to get victory –but still, I get the blame for everything).

      However, even though I went through it, I did get some healing and did grow in many other areas. It wasn’t enough for him. Where he knew from the beginning of my past and issues in the intimacy department, his over sex expectations and lust only surfaced after the wedding.

      I’m at a stage now, where I feel I cannot go through this anymore. He pushes me to get my past sorted out but in the same breath he doesn’t have patience for the road of healing and hurts me even more because all he needs and WANTS is sex. My whole being feels like I can’t take this anymore.

      At the moment I am getting professional help, while I am working through a situation and getting healing in that department (really grasping that it was not my fault that I was molested and sexually abused by my grandfather), though I do communicate to him what it is I am going through, he “supports” me to a degree and only to what he is feeling like that day.

      I do not know to do anymore. On the one side I feel I’m going through this journey of getting healing of what happened to me BUT at the exact time I need to deal with my husband that constantly reminds me how selfish I am, how I am not obedient to God –that my body does not belong to me, that I don’t serve my husband as the Bible instructs me. Thus, it feels like I’m in this tormented place where I need to deal with my past and in my present I am being reminded of bad I am and selfish I am.

      I’m all for getting healing and being the best God created me, but how do I go about it if my husband doesn’t really support me or calls me names because my healing process is not quick enough and not feeding what he wants? I don’t feel I can trust him anymore because he changes how he feels about me the whole time. I’m starting to believe that I am selfish and can’t get victory. Please give guidance, I feel at the end of it…

      • Cindy Wright says:

        Dear Distraught, It’s no wonder you are confused and distraught with all you have been through and what you are going through now. I find myself frustrated and confused just reading the situations you have written about in your comments. My heart truly goes out to you. Having gone through these problems as a child from relative(s) myself, I understand how difficult it is to get to a place of healing. I can testify though, that you CAN get to that place. But when you have someone pushing at you that doesn’t understand, and has his own issues, it’s difficult.

        You said that you are “at the moment” getting “professional help.” I hope this “professional” can help you to sort out the abusive behavior your husband is putting you through right now, as well. He may mean well (I’m not sure of that, though), but he is complicating matters all the more by yanking you back and forth emotionally playing blame-games and being supportive one minute an acting out in the opposite way the next.

        You may need to separate for at least a time (if possible) so you can get to a better place emotionally, clearer in your thinking so his controlling ways don’t push you backwards before you even have the opportunity to gain solid ground and are more sure of yourself and who you are. You sound like a wonderful woman who is trying her hardest to stand up and no longer suffer as a victim of your past. I SO admire you for reaching out for help. Keep doing so. I hope you will.

        I’m all for marriages working out and rarely recommend couples separating, but in your case I recommend you pray about it and go the way God shows you. I’m thinking that you need a time to work on your issues without someone controlling you and yanking you back and forth while you’re getting the help you need. But again, pray about it and prayerfully talk to your counselor to see if this would be wise. Sometimes when we are trying to heal from an injury (yours is emotional injury), it works out best to take a “time out” to let the injury properly heal. If you can’t do this for some reason, then keep your eyes upon the Lord and ask Him to help you heal even with this added pressure. It will be more difficult, but it’s possible. Work with this “professional” in the way you can and don’t stop leaning towards healing. I hope for you and pray for God to help you to get to a better place emotionally and sexually. I pray the Lord helps you, and guides you, and comforts you, and speaks to you, and works in and through you in this situation. I also pray God infuses hope into your heart that you will eventually experience better days –ones that will bring a smile to your heart.

      • Samantha from Pakistan says:

        Dear Distraught, I have been in a similar situation where I was abused at an early age by one of my parents. My wedding is in 10 days and I just called it off. Want to know why? My fiancee is someone I have been with off and on for the past 4 years. His father was extremely controlling and abusive towards him as a child. He became intensely mistrustful and controlling as an adult.

        After undergoing counselling, I realized that my own defectiveness and submissiveness was feeding his narcissism. In psychological terms, I had become a codependent, a magnet for narcissists. I empathized with his pain and sacrificed myself in unhealthy ways as a result.

        I hope this response sheds some light on the matter. I too have gone to two counselors, though I do not think they helped very much. Their advice was generic and it seemed they were more interested in getting through the hour so that they could get paid.

        I feel terrible for my fiancee as I know his coping mechanism taught him to externalize his pain by learning how to dominate and manipulate, which he has become an expert at. He refuses to accept blame for anything and isolates me from family and friends. He is unable to separate my identity from his own and expects me to behave, act and speak in a prescribed manner, or he blows a fuse.

        I knew this going into the engagement. Unfortunately, he contacted me after months of separation and promised to go to counseling himself. Later, he blamed me of calling him crazy when I reminded him of this promise. He is frequently abusive and I would never have taken this treatment from anyone. He fluctuates between overly generous and terribly abusive. He becomes immensely apologetic when I leave. When I threaten to leave, he says “its because you are interested in other boys.” I wish I could help him because we have consoled each other in the past. However, being with him is detrimental to my own recovery process.

  2. Hope says:

    (JAMAICA)  I just read an article titled in the mind of the abused. It was truly a blessing to me and explained things that I couldn’t otherwise explain to my husband. I made a copy for him hoping that he will read it.

  3. Kimberley says:

    (CANADA/COLOMBIA)  We too are facing something similar to Tom. My husband was abused as a young child and I fear that it is taking a toll on our marriage. He doesn´t share too much with me but I do know that it is hard for him to be intimate with me because his abuser and I are both overweight.

    I am at a loss but am am willing to be patient, I will wait for him but I don´t want him to leave. He says he wants to leave so that I don´t suffer anymore. How do I help him recognize that his lack of LOVE for me is because of this and not necesarily because of who I am. We are a Christian couple working full time in ministry and we know that separating isn´t what is right, but we don´t know where to go from here.

    • KMR says:

      (USA)  You are not alone. Check out mysarahsdaughters.com. It is a group of women standing in the gap for marriages, loving, strong, transparent and encouraging.

    • KMR says:

      (USA)  YOU’RE NOT ALONE. Check out: mysarahsdaughters.com, a woman’s ministry for standing in the gap for marriages.

  4. Kelly says:

    (U.S.)  I don’t know if anyone will read this, but I am 19 years old, and have been in a relationship for almost 2 years. I love my boyfriend with all of my heart, but as everyone has been saying in this blog, I feel almost empty after we are intimate. I was touched when I was little. I only remember two times that it happened, but I can’t tell if the feelings I feel after intimacy are because of this. I don’t think about what happened in the past during intimacy. I was just wondering, is it possible that it is because of my past that I feel empty and dirty? Does it matter that it was only two times? I’ve been debating on whether or not I should see a therapist, but I’m scared they won’t take me as seriously. Help?

    • Sun Day says:

      (USA)  Even if you just remember being touched 2 times… that is 2 times too many! I was sexually abused throughout my childhood sporadically. I have been seeing a counselor to just talk through the incidents and my counselor is a Christian. I don’t know what you think about God, but having that Christian perspective of your worth being in Christ is amazing. I have to remember that even though man has stripped me of something that is supposed to be beautiful in marriage, I can find that freedom again in Christ.

      I kept all this bottled up for 19 years before I told anyone for the first time. That first time of sharing is such a burst of freedom-a weight is truly lifted. I get a little more freedom as time passes and I have talked to my counselor. I am now in a master’s program for professional counseling. it has been 10 years in the making, but that is where God is leading me. I want to help others, mainly women, to deal with all the garbage before entering marriage. I’ve been married for 12 years and it hasn’t been easy. But, my husband is supportive of me. I pray for you and hope you find someone to talk to, whether that be a friend you can trust, a counselor, etc.

    • Lydia says:

      (USA)  Wow – I am in the same boat as you. But mine has always been that when I first date someone, it’s all sexual for me -I make them desire me. Then when it turns into a relationship, I lose all that sexuality and prefer to not have sex at all.

      Once I met my husband, it was similar, but the feelings lasted for a long time, so I thought it was me and the guys that I had dated in the past were all jerks and maybe that is why every relationship turned out the same.

      After marriage, once again, I lost the feeling of being intimate. I feel terrible because I do not enjoy sex at all. I am feeling violated all over again when I have sex… and it is terrible because he didn’t marry me knowing this was how I would turn out. I feel like crying every night because I can’t give him what he wants. So, I think I am on the same boat as you. I don’t know how to get past this. I have tried therapy, but hasn’t worked so far.

      • Andree says:

        (USA)  I have been through the same thing. Instead I drank a lot and had sex all the time when I was drinking. I married my husband who I had only slept with while intoxicated. Then I quit drinking and cannot be intimate with him. He is unable to understand enough to go through the process with me. And I am afraid this will ruin us!!

      • Samantha says:

        (USA)  I am exactly the same. It is ruining my marriage. My husband married me without knowing this would happen. I didn’t even know it would happen. I don’t know what to do. I want to fix myself. He thinks I am not in love with him anymore. I want my butterflies back. Instead I feel like he is going to hurt me or maybe my children. Help!

    • Becky says:

      (USA)  Kelly, I have been debating the same question for some time. Like you, as a child I was touched a few times and saw things that a 6 year old should not have. Now I have been married for 14 yrs and my marriage is falling apart. I feel I don’t love my husband and when we have personal time I will say I don’t feel anything. I’m numb.

      When my daughter was young I always watched when anyone in the family would hold her. I never yet have received any help with these problems. I wish I had. However, I didn’t really remember any of this until I was in my 20’s. That’s when I started wondering, why is all this coming back to me? Did I block all that out? I now want to get help. I hope it works out for you. Good luck.

      • Shane says:

        (USA)  Becky, you just explained how my wife feels. I was one of the first that she had told about the abuse to when we were dating. She said she felt comfortable and trusted me. Our relationship was great and grew. But over the past year she couldn’t be intimate with me at all. She said I don’t want you or anybody to touch me. She couldn’t even kiss me eventually.

        This drove me into a deep depresion and I couldn’t function. This lead to resentment for us both. I knew what it was as we had gone through this when our first son was born 7 years ago. We had been married 6 months at that time. It wasn’t that bad and she gotten some help. Things got better (nothing as good as when we were dating).

        A little over a year after our second child was born say March 2011, is when it started over a thousand times worse. She said she felt numb, which lead to her saying she didn’t know if she was in love w/me. I told her she needed counseling and she went. I went a couple times but the counsler realized that my wife needed the help (not saying I didn’t either) and I needed not to come back. She had said for a while she needed her space.

        Eventually things happened and she moved in w/her mom and stepdad. We seperated 2/2/12 and my heart is broken. She is 42 & I’m 34. I keep the kids half the time and she the other. She says that she should miss me more than she does and doesn’t have feelings for me. I know that it is over but I cry every day knowing it is not right to give up on our marriage but there is nothing I can do except pray for His will to be done. She is a beautiful woman and I trust and love her very much, though I know she is very confused.

        She doesn’t think it will affect the boys but I know better. I look at them as they sleep and whisper to them, I’m sorry; Im so sorry with tears running down my face. So please get help from a Christian counsler and marriage counselor, as well, if you need to. Keep praying!

        • Vicky says:

          (U.S.A) Hello Everyone, Here I go. I was molested by my uncle when I was 11 all the way up til I was 14 and he died. To everyone else he seemed like the perfect person and he called me his favorite niece. He would tell me that he loved me and if I told anyone they wouldn’t believe me or they would be mad at me for causing problems in the family. At that age I was totally into God. He had three small little girls and I thought God let that happen to me so it would not happen to them so it was like I was making a sacrifice to save others as Jesus did.

          I told my husband all this when we first started dating and getting intimate because I wanted to be totally honest with him in the beginning of our relationship. I was very sexual active with him and was able to hide my feelings of feeling dirty and empty afterward from him for a long time. I would just push the bad memories that kept popping up to the back of my mind, paint on a smile and go on. But when we got married and we had our first set of girls it became too much. I was always on the look out thinking everyone wanted to molest them, checking them when we had to leave them with family his or mine, or to go to work.

          In the bedroom I would become a robot just watching the clock and praying for it to be over soon. He wanted me to see a counselor but we live in a small town. I am afraid someone will know me, see me going in there or something, and tell my family. So he tells me to pray, which is a sore subject being that I recently lost both my parents. I don’t see how God can help me unless he is going to bring them back…

          This became the routine, I would watch porn while he was at work, not for pleasure but to study how the women made facial expressions and sounds so I could become a great pretender and fake it enough to save our marriage. It worked for a real long time unil the memories got worse. I would cringe at his touch. Eventually he stopped asking for sex and had an affair with my cousin. Yes, the same one I called a sister who I thought I was making this great sacrafice for, by protecting her from her father. So she sleeps with my husband. Wow! I guess I deserved that.

          Eventually after a year I forgave both of them and took my husband back even though everyone else said I should have divorced him and physically harmed them, as well. I just didn’t feel like fighting anymore and I knew the real me was this really nice person and I didn’t want to give them the pleasure of changing that about me. My husband claims he hasn’t cheated with anyone since. I don’t know about that but I feel if I am going to forgive him I have to make an effort. So how do I stop my past from controling my present or what’s left of it? Anyway, I want to really enjoy being sexual with my husband without feelimg like a dirty whore afterwards. Help, please.

  5. Anon says:

    (CANADA)  Hi Kelly, I have three sets of memories – I don’t know how many times it really happened… but it’s affected my marriage, especially sexually. I’m seeing a really awesome Christian counselor who is walking me through healing. I’ve felt the same things to the point that I simply can’t/won’t be intimate with my husband. The number of times it happened definitely doesn’t change how traumatic it is – I really hope you can find someone wise and understanding to talk to you. I’ve prayed for you and your healing in this area! Peace.

  6. Kelly says:

    (U.S.)  Anon, thank you so much for replying back. It really means a lot to know that someone is listening and praying for me. I’ve been thinking about seeing a counselor for a long time and I think I will. I just need that confidence to open up. I hope your counseling is going well too, and thank you again for support. -Kelly

  7. Christina says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA)  I need some answers. 6 and a half years ago I went through a divorce, my husband left me for some younger girl. I’d not yet been over this, when the pastor and some church members talked me into getting married with my second husband but I didn’t want to get married again. Now after 6 years they still deny that they talked me into getting married to this man. We have a huge age difference of 18 years. I’d also been raped and molested as a small child and I don’t know if this has an effect on my marriage now. I know that there must be a clean sexual relationship between a man and wife. This is fine with me, but there is this something that is not feeling right, It doen’t matter what I’m doing, ex: doing dishes cooking then he comes past and always want to touch my private parts in a way that makes me very uncomfortable. Is this feeling a thing that comes from my childhood abuse or is it stilll abuse even though I’m married? I’m now 37 years old. Please, I’m very confused at this point.

    • Bernadine says:

      (ENGLAND)  I think this comes from your childhood abuse. I think childhood abuse for me meant that I lost control of the deicsion making. The abuser decided to enagage in sex without my consent. From then on anyone who takes away this right from me makes me feel the abuse again.

      I think you have to gain your self respect yourself if others won’t give you that. You have to say I don’t like that approach and I don’t want it. When you respect yourself maybe then others will respect your decisions too if not that is not right on you

  8. Lesley says:

    (US)  I was in an incestous relationship for a big part of my childhood. It has impacted every relationship I’ve ever been in including my marriage. My husband is always telling me I stay angry for no reason. My marriage is failing. I stay so tired but I don’t want to sleep. Nightmares and flashbacks haunt me almost every day. There is a 20 year gap between me and my husband and sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have married at all. I catch myself hating my husband and that’s not fair to him. It’s not his fault. I just feel so alone all the time. I wonder will if it ever be different.

    • Bernadine says:

      (UK)  I sympathise with you. It is difficult to be in a marriage when you have had a history of child sexual abuse I think. I think myself included are very sensitive to how others treat us – especially our mates. I find intimacy more difficult as I grow older and especially as my husband also comes from a background where his father violently abused his mother. So the respect for women was not evident.

      I think my husband has learned his fathers attitude though he is not physically violent he uses coercian and other means to intimidate if I don’t give him sex. I am not saying he is a evil husband or not supportive but with my experiencing sexual abuse as a young child it makes life more difficult. We talk out our problems and try to understand how our lives effect us.

  9. MO says:

    (CANADA)  Dear Dr. Stoppard, after 25 yrs of marriage my wife informed me that her father sexually abused her from 10 to 14 yrs during family holidays in the countryside. Due to lack of space she used to sleep with her parents, with her dad in the middle. He would fondle & massage her breasts & make her touch his genitals by placing her hands inside his sleepwear. Sometimes she slept with her mother between her dad & herself. He would still move over next to her & molest her thru’out the night. He acted very normal in the mornings, as if nothing had ever happened.

    Her dad is a Doctor of medecine & is regarded with respect by the family, relatives & community that they live in. He is 78 yrs old now. Over the past 2 yrs my wife & I have had personal problems with each other. My daughter was engaged to a guy who was paying a lot of attention to my wife & she was affectionate towards him… like massaging his shoulders in public. I objected to this behaviour. She, my daughter & her family claimed that I was insecure.

    Eventually, my daughter’s engagement was called ‘off’ by the boy, after two yrs of dating. This made my wife & daughter very angry with me. I work overseas & visit my family every 3 to 4 months for the past 8 yrs. We call, text & skype regularly. Our relationship is now strained.

    She is always angry & irritated with anything I do or say & my daughter & her family are exacerbating the situation. She is also undermining my relationship with our 15 yr old son who lives with her. She is very cordial towards me at the end of every month as it is time for her monthly expense check. At other times she is bitter & angry towards me. We have seen a couple of marriage counsellors to no avail. I don’t know how to deal with all this. No one in the family knows that her father sexually abused her except our daughter. Should we confront him? Should we inform her brothers & mother about the abuse? What can I do to help her? We had a loving relationship before. How can I have it back? Doctor, plz help me. I’m sad, depressed & confused.

    • Angela says:

      (USA)  MO, Although your wife may not have told you or may not want to say it outloud, but her mother already knows what her father was doing. The same thing happened to me but it was with my grandparents. I have always known what my step-grandfather had done but it was just a few years ago that I started having flashbacks of my grandmother being in the bed with us and knowing that she was doing nothing to protect me. I can honestly say that I’m mad at myself for being so small but still wanting love from my grandmother and not remembering until I was much older that she was allowing my pain. Now I have nothing to do with her, she can’t figure out why, and I have no desire to confront her.

      The worst part about it is that my mother later claimed that this very same man raped her which is why she ran off with my father at the age of 17. Not only is my step-grandfather and grandmother at fault but my mother left me with her rapist. Her only excuse is that she had no one else to care for me. My parent’s marriage only lasted about a year but my mother did remarry. My step-father’s brother also saw me as opportunity for his sick mind. This abuse went on for several years until I woke up to him in my bed. My parents were at the hospital with my little brother and my aunt went into labor that same night. Without waking me they left me with him. I got up and ran down the street to another family member’s house but just said that I had a bad dream. A few days later I told a friend what had happened. My mother cried and spent that day acting as though she was going to take care of the situation but I ended up living next door to my second abuser for another 3 years.

      I did my best of stay a virgin, then my senior year I had a very aggresive boyfriend. I’m not going to say I was raped but I did not stay around for the afterglow of sex and the word “No” came out of my mouth enough that he should have gotten the picture.

      Trusting men has not been easy and I can’t say that I truly trust anyone for that matter but what I do know is that I want to always feel safe when I’m with my husband. My husband loves me as much as you seem to love your wife and always wants to be around and also wants to touch me. The problem is that I don’t always want to be touched. I have control issues and yes, I want my husband to want me but what is important is that he understands my desire for security. What I know he doesn’t understand is the uncomfortable feeling of random grabbing for my body, mostly while we are in bed. I love my husband but scared that I was not cut out for marriage b/c I’m not doing a very good job at it so far. What if he never opens his mind to what I’m feeling and refuses to try and understand? My biggest desire is, to want my husband sexually all the time but I can’t force myself to feel this. What has happened to me as a child has put some major thoughts/fear in my head that I’m not sure will ever be fixed without his love and support.

      Mo, I think your wife looked at this young man as someone she was possibly in control of. I’m not saying that the flirting is ok, b/c it is very much wrong. She is hurting really bad and although you may tell her you love and support her, she may not be ready to deal with it herself so flirting and ignoring it is the best way she knows how to make herself feel better while not excepting her reality. Keep doing what you are doing and never stop telling her that you love her!

      Sorry that I got off of your subject and shared a little too much of my own pain but this is the first time that I have visited or talked about my situation on-line. When I read about your wife’s abuse it was also the first time that I heard of another family member that was so close yet did nothing. I still have a lot of anger that I can’t seem to let go and understand that ignoring the problem sometimes makes you feel better even if you are only pretending. God Bless! Angela

  10. Barry says:

    (CANADA)  My girlfriend was sexually abused as a child too. We are having intimacy problems, but I don’t mean sex [we put that on the back burner for at least several more months, if ever]. It is more like I cannot get close to her mentally. She just doesn’t seem to be willing to embrace the idea of “partnership”, like maybe she is afraid to be emotionally close to anyone anymore. I guess that is it, right?

    At first I had hoped to help her, but maybe that is pretentious – what do I know? Still, there has to be some hope… Is it reasonable to say that she “keeps the abuse alive by letting herself think about it all the time”, and that by reducing the amount of life she gives those memories she might start living in the present a bit more? That is the “meditation” way, I just wonder if it can apply to the childhood sexually abused people. Has anyone found it helps to focus thoughts on the present, and to reduce the time engaged with the horrible memories?

    • Bernadine says:

      (UK)  If I am right here. I think once the sexual abuse is recognised by a “victim/survivor” I think it is not about remembering the abuse for the sake of reliving the horror. It is that you can’t forget the abuse because it keeps impacting your life in so many different ways. I think everyone wants to heal its just that to what extent we heal and at what speed we do so is relative to perhaps how we are treated and how we allow others to treat us.

  11. Sammie says:

    (CANADA)  Hi Barry- I am sorry about your wife. I am also a wife with a history of abuse and also have intimacy issues. I am very engaged mentally with my spouse and love him a lot. But physical intimacy is a challenge.

    You asked about what your wife thinking about it– many of us would trade those thoughts for early onset dementia!! I know that I cannot stop though I have had extensive therapy and tried many, many forms of more aggressive treatment such as meds and EMDR (awful!) and exposure/extinction where you talk about it for up to three hours… (WORSE!) Nothing has helped. I would like very much never to think of it again and would welcome dementia because it is veritable torture. So I would assume that even though I do not know you wife, she may be tormented, too. But we are all different, so I don’t want to make assumptions.

    Sometimes onlookers who have not been abused think we indulge in those thoughts but that is not true. Often when you think we are having fun and engaged with others, we are still thinking about it. We are fighting so hard 24/7. Because it LOOKS like we are not thinking about it, we may still be.

    My spouse is very patient and knows how hard abuse is on some. I know there are some who are recovered, but we are all different with different genes, different blood types, different neurological makeups. Some can handle huge abuses and still go on and others have minds that analyze and feel it for decades.

    I just wanted to put in my two cents. I hope that you can continue to try- I know it’s hard, but let her know you love her, even in little ways. The spouses of those who are still struggling deserve medals.

  12. Mike says:

    (US)  I was just recently told (in-depth) of my wife’s abuse from a cousin early in her life. It went on for several years, and her mother only found out a couple of years later.

    We have been struggling many times with intimacy and sex (months on end between encounters), and I just thought it was me being pushed away for whatever reason. I felt angry, hurt, undesirable, unwanted, etc… and thought my wife was just becoming selfish in her wants to be on the go all of the time, with friends, excluding me.

    With the recent revelations, I now feel like I was the one being selfish. I hurt for the scars my wife has had to carry for 22+ yrs, want to help, but now she wants me to leave, let her tackle it alone, and clearly states that after she comes to terms with this on her own, she seriously doubts there will be a “us” afterwards.

    We have 4 children 22yrs to 6yrs old. We are in the process of letting them know of my wife’s “demon” that has been haunting her.

    My problem is I feel I am being “locked” out of my wife’s and my family’s lives. I want to be there for her for support. I realize there really is nothing else for me to do, but she now has surrounded herself with a younger crowd, partying, clubbing out, etc… and I am always excluded.

    I don’t know what to do. I am beginning to feel depressed, recently been demoted for performance issues at work, and basically feel lost in life. All this while my wife seems to be happy-go-lucky, and even told me she is afraid to confront herself with her issues. She has gone to therapy, but is again afraid to continue for what might be ahead for her in facing and confronting that horrible thing in her past.

    We have been together 15 years (the two oldest daughters are from my first marriage – I received custody). She has helped me in so many ways during that time (until recently), and I feel I have her. It all just seems to be thrown away, with me being kicked to the curb, with no effort to concore herself, and our marriage after that. HELP!!!!!!

  13. Neil says:

    (UK)  I’ve been with my partner 14 years, due to get married soon. She was abused when she was very young by a relative. She’s never told her parents, even when her brother had his first child (a girl), which I thought he needed to know about, who the abuser was etc. Our sex life is non existent. She’s never enjoyed it. It makes me feel empty inside, like I’m crying inside. I sometimes wonder what it would be like with another woman. I do love her but I’ve felt dead sexually for years. She won’t get help and cries if I ever mention anything. Help.

    • Evelyn says:

      (USA)  I feel very much for you and your partner. My advice to you is to encourage her to seek therapy with someone who will understand her abuse. It sounds like she’s nervous to seek help and her defense is to make an emotional appeal to you and get upset, to dissuade you from making her go.

      Seeking treatment is the only way victims can get over their trauma. I am a victim of abuse and the only way I finally got passed my deeply rooted fears was to go to therapy and get help from someone who understands how sexual abuse affects people as they grow up. I still fall sometimes and I don’t doubt that I will need additional counseling in the future.

      It is a neverending process, but she needs to understand that she doesn’t have to go through this terrible ordeal on her own! It’s understandable that your gaze has been wandering because she is too uncomfortable to give you the intimacy you crave. You have to understand that she can’t help feeling the way she feels, until she gets help. My advice to you is get that help for her asap, so you can work together towards a common goal of having a normal degree of intimacy. Have patience and keep encouraging her!

  14. Tracy says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA)  I have been married for 3 years and know my husband for 11 years. I knew about the abuse before we got married and supported him. I didn’t know that things would change. He does not want to be intimate with me, we don’t kiss. We have sex every 3 months. He fakes orgasms; he is addicted to porn. He fantasizes about girls I know that have done dirty things with men. He makes excuses for not wanting to be intimate with me.

    I so much want to have kids and I suffer with policystic ovaries which makes it difficult to fall pregnant. I have supported my husband, gone for counseling. He was with a support group but his work keeps him so he doesn’t go but chooses to work. He has become cold towards me and does not show me he cares. I feel that maybe he does not want to be married to me as he shows very little interest in me. Our dogs and other people get more attention than me.

    I have tried communicating with him but I guess it ends in me talking to myself and him not saying a word. I try not to pressure him or make him feel forced to make love to his own wife. I am starting to think very little of myself as a woman. I cry in the quiet and I have no one to speak to. I love my husband and want to continue supporting him but sometimes feel his killing my spirit. I read about peoples experiences of abused spouses cheating, having sex with men and it scares me.

    • Katherine says:

      (USA)  I totally understand, my husband used to be interested in being intimate with me when we were dating, but as soon as we got married that all changed. He stopped initiating sex with me and then started to reject me when I would initiate.

      We’ve been married for five years and in those five years we’ve always had this problem. I would ask him what was wrong, what could I do to change things, and he would always say there was nothing wrong that everything would be okay.

      Just last year he told me that the reason why he was that way towards me was because I had gained weight. He revealed to me several years ago that he was molested but he didn’t go into any details and I’m the only person he’s told. He doesn’t think that that has anything to do with the lack of intimacy in our marriage. I’m at the point now where I need that love and passion and desire from my husband but I feel that he is not capable of providing those things to me.

      I want to be patient and be what he needs me to be but at this point he doesn’t feel that there is anything wrong with how he’s perceiving the situation. He thinks it’s just my weight. So what do I do? Do I leave or wait it out to see if he acknowledges his part and find the help he needs.

  15. Mac says:

    (UK)  Has anyone experienced the fall out from their partner’s childhood sexual abuse, affecting their sex life?

  16. Eunice says:

    (USA)  Hi. I was sexually abused by my Uncle when I was three, just fondling. And then it happened again by my cousin when I was 8-12 years young. I just thought it was normal to have boys touch you. I started cutting myself from 13-15 years young and my parents saw my scars and took me to a therapist.

    Well, once I told my therapist I was sexually abused she had to report it and as my mother so eloquently put it, that’s when “the —- hit the fan”! My mom was so concerned about her image than me. She didn’t even believe me. That’s the day I learned to keep my mouth shut.

    Now I’m married with kids and I’m not happy at all. My husband hates me because I don’t give him enough sex, nor quality sex either. I used to have sex with him daily when we were dating. I did whatever he wanted even if I didn’t like it. I didn’t have an orgasim for years. Now I just fake them most of the time. I feel ashamed of my body and I don’t like sex at all. It makes me feel like an object and I hate when my husband gropes me. I feel like a piece of meat. He is just showing his affection but I’m not digging it. I’m finally going to start sex therapy hopefully, to save my marriage. I hope it can be fixed.

  17. Valerie says:

    (USA)  I was sexually abused by my father as a young child. Flashbacks and panic attacks began a little over a year ago. Once I understood that I was not yet “better”, and that it wasn’t just “In the past.” I have been able to realize the many areas of my marriage which have been affected over the years (12). One, is that I had undo fear of my husband changing our daughter’s diapers as a baby. I also, over the years, have had a fear of them talking alone in a room even though I could hear them. Lastly, I’ve had anxiety whenever he comes up the stairs to come to bed at night (briefly-like a jumpy feeling, that goes away once he’s in bed).

    I am really afraid that I am hurting him and he is no longer going to want to be with me for all that I have admitted feeling about HIM. He is a sweet, gentle man and is nothing like my father, but he’s a MAN and I think that is enough cause for my mind to be fearful. I should also mention that we have a son and I have never felt ANY fear in reference to their relationship or interactions.

    Our sex life has suffered over time as more things have come out and I feel really guilty about that. I want to be intimate with him (and we are on occasion), but most of the time I feel nervous and anxious and uncomfortable about the idea. He likes to talk about it during the day (you know, looking forward to it) but it just fills me with a certain amount of dread.

    How do you tell your HUSBAND that you love them but you are “dreading” being with them sexually?!? I still feel like that doesn’t make sense. I don’t think about the abuse when we’re doing things, and I do almost always enjoy it, but the leading up to it part is scary for me.

    I am a Christian and I feel a tremendous amount of guilt that I haven’t overcome this with the Lord’s help. It makes me feel like a failure as a Christian and as a wife. I want to be submissive and pleasing to my husband, and I just can’t.

    Oh, yeah -and my Dad was a Christian too. Ha ha!

  18. Ed says:

    (USA)  Hi this message is for Cindy Wright or anyone who cares to answer. Are there any good Christian books, websites or resources on this website for spouses of men or women who were physically and verbally abused as children (but not sexually abused). This would be the case with my wife who was physically and verbally abused by her father from childhood all the way up to age 20 (believe it or not)?

    • Cindy Wright says:

      (USA) Hi Ed, Let me pray and think about that one. A few books immediately come to mind, but I know there are more. I want to also confer with a counselor who might know of more as well. The “Boundaries” books come to mind. They are written by Henry Cloud (with John Townsend helping on some of them. I’m thinking of the book, Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life and also Boundaries in Marriage. They won’t exactly apply to your situation, but I believe you can glean through them to see what you can and can’t use in the insights and information they give. They may be able to help you to figure out how to best help your wife in ways that are a bit more structured (which may be needed).

      It’s probable that your wife is all over the place emotionally because of the onslaughts of emotions she’s being bombarded with & the protective and coping “skills” she had to put up to survive what she went through. Marriage breaks through some of those structures, by its nature, so it brings up a lot of suppressed junk that she’s been able to stuff until now. She would most likely have walls that she’s put up emotionally that need to be deconstructed, if anyone –even a safe person, is going to truly get close to her. But it’s a complicated situation. I applaud you for wanting to find help, rather than just running in the other direction, which so many spouses do. It can become over-whelming at times to stand with someone who has been abused. The spouse becomes another victim of the original abuser because he or she deals with the “after-effects.” My heart goes out to you and your wife, concerning this journey.

      If your wife’s father is still alive, you BOTH need to figure out reasonable boundaries (thus, the “Boundaries” type of books), to protect her from further damage from her father, but also from other “well-meaning” and/or clueless relatives. She needs a hero here, because her father, who should have been a protector for her while growing up, assaulted her instead. This really plays with the mind and emotions. It’s mind-boggling! If she will allow you to be the “hero” and if you have the strength to do so, it will be really, really tough, but is SO needed!

      A few ministries that come to mind that you could contact would be Focus Ministries, which you can find at: http://www.focusministries1.org (because they deal with abuse of every kind and in contacting them, they may be able to give you a lead on the resources you are seeking. I’d also call the Focus on the Family resource center at 1-800-A FAMILY, because they may know of a resource you can obtain. They are SO well connected that they may know of resources that we don’t. Another one is http://www.HiddenHurt.co.uk (because again, they deal with abuse situations and they may know what resources to direct you to). I’m not sure if they are a Christian ministry, but from what I’ve read, I haven’t seen anything YET that I object to that would cause me to hesitate to recommend them.

      Again, I’ll try to find other resources for you in the future. And if you find any, please let us know. We’d like to let others know about them as well. One book I recommend a lot is by Paul Hegstrom titled Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them: Breaking the Cycle of Physical and Emotional Abuse. It would give you and your wife, if she would read it, insights behind the “why” of her father doing such controlling and horrible things to her. It wasn’t about her… it was about her Dad. He’s broken. And until he gets the proper help, he will always be a threat to your wife, if in no other way, the control and denial issues that would come up. I’m so sorry that your wife and you are having to deal with this. I’ll see if I can come up with any additional help for you.

      • Ed says:

        (USA)  Thank you for your insightful, understanding comments Cindy. Wow, so much I could say: My wife is 58 years and I am 11 years younger and we have one son, 14 years old; neither of us have been married before. Her father passed away back in 1985 but she is still carrying the scars. I’ve always known that she has had post-traumatic reactions from the abuse from her father — because she told me that from day one. But I married her when I was 29 and she was 40 and I wasn’t very knowledgeable about relationships; in fact, she was on the only Christian woman I had ever dated and then, of course, I married her.

        Since she is strong-willed by nature, it was hard for me to discern what part of her aggressiveness stemmed from the abuse and what part was her natural personality. I just know that in her 20’s, she was seething with anger especially after her father tried to whip her one last time when she was 20. She got counseling during that time and she was told, after a battery of psychological tests, that she was capable of doing violence (which she never acted on). Anyways, she dealt with the worst of it so she could at least function as an adult survivor; started her own business and was self-supporting — but terribly wounded. She didn’t trust or like men very much even though she wanted to be married badly.

        Since I am a more easy-going type “B” personality, I adapted to her personality more easily than some men who were put off by her hard, outer shell. In fact, I was the first man that she liked and accepted her for who she was. Later, that turned to full-fledged Christian marital love and in many respects, we have an excellent relationship. But I look back on the 17 years that we have been married and now I see the many instances of angry, over-the-top reactions and outbursts from her that came from her abuse (I didn’t “get it” until just recently).

        How did I finally get it? She is now having ferocious power struggles and fights with our 14 year old. He is a big 14 year old and looks actually like a 17 year old man. Temperamentally, he is much like her: emotional, type A personality — but without the personal wounding (he’s had a stable, loving childhood). However, when they fight, it is like two volcanos erupting and they say terrible things to each other that they don’t really mean. The worst part is that when our son gets emotionally overwhelmed, his aggressive physical posturing (like acting as though he is slightly lunging in her direction) and his sometimes cutting words causes her to “transform” him into her father. Once in a while, I have to get my body in the middle of them to prevent further escalation. Then she massively freaks outs and wants to “send him away” from our household. (Sorry, we can’t get rid of our flesh and blood; our only child).

        But this emotional explosion lasts for a while until I’ve helped reconcile both of them to each other and then their relationship recovers. But I’m left in emotional knots. Our son has some anger issues that he needs some help in dealing with — but in my estimation, the wounds of my wife are incalculably deeper and more crippling.

        She is tired of years of counseling and really doesn’t want to approach it any more. She says that as long as no one hurts or offends her then she’ll forget about the abuse. I’m just trying to get help myself so I can understand her better and prevent hatred and hostility from developing between her and our son. Whatever other resources you can dig up, I will be grateful. And if I find anything, I’ll let you know.

        • Cindy Wright says:

          (USA) Hi Ed, I don’t know if this book will help, but it came highly recommended. It’s titled, The Healing Path, written by Dan Allender. We’re thinking it will help you as you read through it and glean the message God gives you. He can personalize it for you as you ask for it. You may even share insights you read from the book here and there, when and if you feel impressed to share them with her, if you perceive it will help. She may take it in this way, rather than a counselor, if she’s bent on not continuing on with one. Pray about it. See how God leads.

          I still stand by the other books I recommended as well because of the “emotional knots” you describe. Plus, somehow, your son needs help. You have a HUGE mission field that you stepped into when you married. I pray for the strength and help and hope you need as you reach out beyond yourself to do that which God shows you to do. I’ll keep looking for other resources and will tell you of them, if and when I find them. God bless!

  19. Ed says:

    (USA)  Hi Cindy — I’ve ordered the Healing Path; I’ve also reserved several books from the library dealing with childhood abuse (though I am trying to steer away books that merely have a humanistic perspective).

    It has helped me to vent a little and feel that I am not imagining things. As an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I greatly appreciate your perspective. I agree with you that our son needs some help. In fact, we have him scheduled to go to counseling next week. I have made it clear to him that the struggles between him and his mother aren’t “all about him”. However, he needs some toolbox strategies to control his temper and emotional nature when he’s gets exasperated with his mother (which will serve him in all relationships that he will encounter in his life).

    Basically, he’s in the same boat as I am. He has to learn to live with a woman who’s had abuse scars: red welts that were inflicted on her body, demeaning verbal harassment and being made to feel that she had no value in life (which has even affected her ability to feel God’s love). To this day, she still has trouble trusting men that she feels are pushing her too far or too hard.

    Anyways again, thanks for understanding and thank you for your wonderful website!

    • Cindy Wright says:

      (USA) Hi Ed, I’m SO glad to read that you are doing better and that you have an appointment for your son. That’s outstanding that you’re trying to help him learn some “toolbox strategies” to help control his temper and emotional nature. That’s SO needed. I’m sure it will help him in many ways in the future. Also, we have several articles within the “Communication and Conflict” Topic of this web site that also give some strategies for anger control. If you haven’t already, you might want to read them and see if there is anything you can pass onto your son and/or your wife.

      I understand about the trust issues that your wife is dealing with. I had the same thing going for years and years because of abuse I suffered from men in my past. Building trust, when you have been so deeply hurt, is a difficult battle to get beyond. Unfortunately, even the innocent become suspect, and it almost becomes instinctive to default into mistrust. My prayers are with your wife, you and your son. May God continually minister and bind up the hurts. May your wife’s scars eventually become reminders of victory she is able to experience, despite her past –that she doesn’t have to continue being victimized all her life. May she experience peace and find ways to enjoy the future in a safer family environment than she had in the past.

  20. Bleeding says:

    (USA)  Hi, I was sexually abused when I was 3 or 4 by my dad’s real brother. He kept on doing that till I hit the age of 10. He never penetrated me hard, he was just putting his penis inside me and doing that kind of nasty stuff, or asked me to masturbate him. One day he left the country which was a big relief. At the age of 13, I was badly touched by my 2 cousins while we were watching a movie. At the age of 15 another cousin (foster brother –mother fed him her breast milk) tried to kiss me and grabbed my boobs. I was shocked, completely paralyzed, another betrayal from real family member.

    I had a nervous breakdown. My mom took me to the doctor and the doctor molested me in front of my mom. He grabbed my boobs… then I chose a path to hurt myself, cut myself… destroy myself. I also experienced a couple of molestation episodes by street strangers, then finally I moved to the USA. Life was good. I thought the USA was a molester free country but was then molested by my family doctor.

    Now I’m 30 yrs old, not married… and never have sex in my life. My family wants me to get married …since I’m a Muslim we usually do arranged marriages… They have found a guy for me, who is 33 yrs old. I’m going to meet him.

    I have tried therapy in the past. due to depression and anxiety I’ve got endometriosis and fibroids; my eggs are dying, (confirmed by anti-mullerian blood work), had laproscopy 5 yrs back… was recently diagnosed with Chrohn’s disease, bad arhritis in the knees… I’m falling apart.

    My biggest problem is the guy… I’m going to meet him, i have heard he has a beard, (my first molester had a beard… so it’s a big trigger).

    My Gyn doc told me not to tell your husband about your abuse, try to use tranquilizer during your first intercourse. He thinks it might ruin our relationship. In our culture virginity is a big thing… we all stay virgins till our marriage. I don’t know how to deal this situation. Whenever I get touch down there I started shivering, and pass out. Once my Gyn doc tried to examine me by putting in his 2 fingers. I passed out… I had twitches for weeks.

    I’m very emotional… how can I hide such a big thing? I don’t want to suffer again. I cannot pretend to be normal, especially in the bed. I can’t even take the men’s cologne, it makes me puke. Should I drug myself on the first night? Should I tell him on my first meeting about my abuse? I’m going to see him in few days.

    I’m sick of my life. If I tell him, he will think that he got used stuff. He stayed virgin. He never kissed anyone. I was forcefully kissed by my cousin. I can feel molester’s hands, body smells, and dirt all over on me… I feel dirty, nasty. I thought I would die before this marriage thing, but I will have to face my first real sexual episode. I don’t know; I’m freaking out.

    • Carmen says:

      (USA) Please don’t kill yourself. If you feel like committing suicide, the number to call is 1-800-273-8255. The domestic violence hotline is: 1-800-799-7233. I think that you need to get counseling from a psychologist before you consider marriage. If you call the domestic violence hotline they can help you find someone in your area of the USA. It’s not your fault that you were hurt and raped by the people in your family. You have to take care of you. Go see a counselor to help you get through the pain. Get a different gynecologist who cares about your whole body (your body, your mind and your feelings). Go to a lawyer and a legal advocate to report the crimes people did (your doctor, your family). You will feel stronger and more couageous if you report their crimes.

      Don’t sign up for an arranged marriage. Spend about 3 years getting to know the man you want to marry. Take him to counseling with you. He needs to support you, but you are the one who has to heal yourself. If you already married by now, take your husband to counseling with you. Do everything else too, if you are already married. I will pray for you. (I’m a Baha’i.)

  21. Tex says:

    (USA)  Bleeding, regardless of your cultural customs and laws, your Gyn is in violation (it seems) of the one oath a doctor takes, which is: “First, do No Harm.” To suggest that you “tough it out” by taking a drug of any kind, especially one to ‘forget’ a sexual experience, is unfathomable. He is suggesting that you essentially re-live your abuse and avoiding it in order to uphold a cutlural norm.

    What happened to you, to me and so many others here stripped us of our childhoods, our dignity, our faith in those we trust, our faith in ourselves as humans, and sometimes of our faith in God. I encourage you, even now that time has passed and you’re likely married, to see another doctor and a therapist. many Domestic Violence shelters either offer services to childhood sex abuse survivors or out-source it to appropriate therapists, often for free. If ANY religious therapist/counsel says to ‘tough it out’, ‘don’t tell’, or otherwise minimizes your experiences, consider how true that therapist is to the religion/faith. Nowhere in the Bible (or any Abraminic faith that I can recall) is sex with children acceptable. It is illegal. It was not our fault. Ever.

    However, the recovery is on our shoulders. Do we want to eventually be whole, or do we want to carry this pain, shame and anger with us forever? I know God wants me to be happy, sane, peaceful in my heart, compassionate, caring, kind, love myself and love others. I cannot do that when I carry the feelings from my chidlhood with me constantly. Now that I’ve had years of therapy, I see that I still get waves of the feelings, that I do still have triggers…but I also see that I am a woman who endured abuse. I am not Less Than. I am not Sub-Human. I did not deserve it then, and I and the people around me do not deserve to endure that misery now. I have an obligation to continue in my healing: no other human can heal for me. They can walk next to me, share with me and encourage me, but they cannot heal for me. It’s an incredible amount of work, and it’s a little at a time.

    It’s my job to be honest with mysef and my husband about my feelings, where I am at in therapy/recovery from day-to-day, and to alert him when things are ‘off’ within me. It’s my job to continue prayer, continue to have faith and to act on my faith. I have no right to subject the people currently in my life to the anger I have at those from my childhood. I do not have the privilege of punishing the current for events of the past. If I choose to live in the pain, then I am choosing denial and defeat. I then am choosing to be a victim of ME and to not give God a chance to be God. I don’t know better than God, so why think that if I control the people around me or my circumstances, it will all just go away? That’s not fair to me or to anyone.

    I am now walking beside my husband as he begins therapy for his own childhood abuse which surfaced as I traveled my path in recovery. It’s difficult and I now know how he felt, trying to find the right words, actions and prayers. It’s painful. It’s also driving me to dig deep and find more compassion than I ever thought I had, along with remembering that he must be just as accountable in his recovery as I was in mine; there are no excuses for abusing others emotionally, physically or sexually.

    Finally, within marriage and outside of it, NO MEANS NO. No unwanted touching, ever, regardless of life experience. Sex is to be from desire, not obligation. Anyone who thinks otherwise should re-read Paul’s words. It works both ways.

  22. David says:

    (USA)  Hello my name is David and I have been married to my wife for 5 months now and she was sexually abused as a child. In her case it was a close family relative and her stepfather. It has been very difficult in our matrimony so far because there are cases where I see this family relative of hers and I feel much anger towards him. She tells me to not become upset and begs of me to never mention anything about it but it is very difficult.

    Not too long ago this particular man needed a loan of money due to some emergency. So this man called my wife to see if she could loan him the money, so she mentioned it to me and I was furious and of course said absolutely no. As the days passed I found out that she did indeed gave him the money. So I confronted her about that and of course, we got into a really big argument. My question to you all is why would she continue to want to help this man? I understand they are family but I just don’t understand her sometimes. I need help please.

  23. Ramses says:

    (USA)  I was sexually abused at 6 years old many times during the first grade. I’m not sure exactly all of what happened, some flashbacks start with getting pushed into a bathroom and then everything goes black. Anyhow, I found the most amazing and loving woman –everything a man could ask for, beautiful, strong, sexy, smart and most important, a huge loving heart. I love her with every cell of my body, but in our 16 years together I constantly pushed her away from me over and over. I never showed her how much I loved her on a constant basis. Sure we had lots of good times, but many more bad ones.

    The harder she tried loving me, the more I pushed her away. Most everytime we were having a good time, my self hatred sabotaged the good times. Her health finally declined to the point of her feeling she needed to check herself into a hospital. We separated a month ago and she wants nothing to do with me romantically anymore. She’s willing to be friends, but has expressed that I am far too damaged to be in a healthy loving relationship. “I tried and tried to make you happy for 16 years without sucess, and I can’t do it anymore, and I don’t have the time to wait around for you to get healthy because it’s going to take too long.” These were her words to me.

    I feel so sad, hurt and angry to be in this situation. I feel so angry at everyone, him for abusing me and ruining my marriage, at myself for letting her get to this point, and at her for not sticking with me. At the same time I feel so guilty for not being stronger and dealing with this sooner so I could show my wife the love she deserved. I feel so guilty for emptying the love in her heart and running her health to the ground.

  24. Rebecca says:

    (USA)  I was sexual abused by my old brother when I was a child. I was 8 or 9 and he was 16. This happend on 3 different occasions. The last time it happend my parents found out and they told me that it was not my fault and that I did nothing wrong and that was all they said and for my brother they would handcuff him to something when they were not there, my brother never got into any trouble for that and that hurts me the most. I feel like he got away scott free and I got punished for the rest of my life.

    I have releastly gotten married. We got married June 9, 2011 and my husband is a wonderful man. When we have a problem with intimacy, it is always very painful to me, which is why we don’t do it very often. I want to get help for this problem and I want to get over this and move on. Please pray for me that I can get this all worked out! Thank you so very much for listening!

  25. Marina says:

    (MOZAMBIQUE)  Please help me. I’m 27, I am I have two beautiful girls. I have been married for 6 years. I have no sex desire compatible with my partner. I can have one week without sex and not miss it. Many times I have to make an effort just to satisfy him. I do not know how or what to do to change that.

    I have stories of sexual abuse, first at home with my father at age 11. There were several attempts, and then I suffered an assault 7 years ago in which I was also abused by more than 5 men.

    I tend to depressive states. I have already done several treatments. Right now I’m stable, but still no great sexual desire. My husband doesn’t accept going to psychotherapy. I do not know why. This has brought us many problems in the past. We have been separated several times, and now I see that he’s not happy and he complains. WHAT CAN I DO? IS THERE ANYONE HERE WHO FEELS THE SAME? HELP ME, PLEASE.

  26. Jarod says:

    (USA)  I’ve been married for 16 years, my wife was sexually abused as a child by a brother and a neighbor. I didn’t know about this until she had an affair 6 years into our marriage. I stayed and worked it out cuz we have 3 kids together.

    The last 10 years have been up and down. When I get tired and want to live she doesn’t want me to go but when I’m ok she goes back into a shell. I’m tired and I don’t have the strength to really want to help anymore. She’s in counseling but there’s no guarantee on our marriage. She says she’s loves me but not in love but she can fall in love with other people easy. I told her it’s because they don’t know everything about her. So what should I do?

  27. Jessica says:

    (USA)  I am 22 and married for 3 years, with 2 children. My abuse started when I was 8. I was playing hide n seek in my childhood neighborhood with my brother, cousin, and a few of the neighborhood kids. I hid behind a dumpster in the parking lot of a scientology church on the same street I grew up. I just remember a man that lived on our street coming up to me and started touching parts. My cousin who is 4 years older came up behind me and yanked me by my arm because I was frozen and we ran home and she told my mom.

    I come from a very Catholic family that doesn’t talk about sex or anything having to do with it. It’s very taboo stuff, and things get swept under the rug, and ignored or forgotten like they never happened. My mother confronted the man but the police were never involved, and that was that. I had actually, I guess, blocked it out of mind, until my mom accidentally brought it up when day and it all came back like a horrible nightmare.

    The thing is, had my cousin not told my mom, I know I wouldn’t have told anyone because that’s just how our family has dealt with things.

    When I was 12 years old I was raped sporadically by my brother in law ,who was 37 at the time, until I was 16 and my sister found out. Needless to say she shut me out of her life and told my siblings that I wanted it. She’s still with him. My parents know… but again, it was swept under the rug.

    I’ve always felt guilty as if it was my fault and that I did deserve it. I heard recently that he was sick and in the hospital, and the first thing that came to my mind, is I hope he dies. I’ve been praying so that I don’t have those thoughts. I know it wasn’t my fault and I shouldn’t feel guilty but those feelings are hard to shake.

    I feel that my relationship with my husband is suffering because of this. He still doesn’t know about the incident that happened when i was 8, and I can’t bring myself to tell him for fear that it might strain our marriage more.

  28. SeeVoun says:

    (USA)  Hello, I’ve been married for a little over a year to someone whom I thought was my soulmate. I have since learned that he has suffered some form of abuse during either his childhood or adolescent years. He hasn’t been realy detailed. He blames me for lack of communication.

    My husband is not affectionate and doesn’t like to be intamate (although he says he does, his actions have proven diffrent). A prime example is my birthady which was on November 19th. When I woke up he was sitting at the kitchen table. I went and sat at the table also. We were in one anothers presence for 15-20 minutes before he went out (mind you never acknowledging my birthday).

    In the meantime I had an errand to run. Upon my return, he had gone out and purchased a cake, card and a balloon. After returning home, I walked in and looked at the cake, went to say a few words to my mother who was visiting and then opened his card. I told him that the card was very nice and thanked him (verbally) for the cake. I placed the cake on the counter because I knew I needed to go back out to attend a class.

    He became mad because at around 7/8 pm no I had not cut the cake. When I asked hime what was wrong he began yelling at me, and telling me all of the things that I wasn’t (I don’t connect, communicate and that we have nothing in common).

    Please help. As his wife I’m tired and worn out. I’m fighting to keep this marriage alive. Is it worth it???????? Waht have I done to deserve this type of treatment.

  29. Dennis says:

    (USA)  My wife and I met when we were 13. We began dating just a couple of months later when I finally gathered the courage to ask her out. She and I began to be intimate about a week after our first date, and this was my first relationship, and has been my only relationship over the last 17 years.

    I thought maybe this was normal. She first told me about the fact that she had been abused about 2 years after we met when we were 15, because she had seen her abuser in her neighborhood that day, and it really scared her. Of course being a brash young football playing 15 yr old I asked why she didn’t just come get me right away, and point me in the direction of the jerk so I could clobber him. But she told me she was afraid he’d hurt me, because he told her that if she ever told anyone he’d kill her, and her family. She asked me to just leave what happened to her in the past alone. We really didn’t discuss it again until recently, and that’s almost been like pulling teeth. All she would tell me is that he was her baby sitter, and her father’s best friend, and that he started abusing her at 6 until her mother moved in with her grandmother at 9.

    Now it hasn’t totally stalled our intimacy, but for the most part, we are like 2 trees that were planted just a little too close to each other, so close that they began to actually grow into each other. It feels like we were planted on opposite sides of a fence, and that fence still divides us from growing our roots into each other. We have 4 children. Our oldest son is 14, and we had him at 16, and our daughter is 12, and we had her at 18, and our younger two sons are 3 yrs, and 18 months. It was after she had our daughter that she just kind of shut down emotionally. Intimacy seemed more like a chore to her than the joyous, and intimate love making that it had been up until then. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago that she started opening back up emotionally, but even now she is some what withdrawn.

    About a week ago she was looking on a web site and saw the mug shot of her abuser. It was for a traffic violation, but that began her looking into other crimes that he had been brought up on charges for. Unfortunately he has never served any time for what he did to her or any other young child. She’s always liked looking at Police blotters, and watching COPS, and AMW, but it wasn’t until this that I really understood why. Since seeing his mug shot she has kind of broken the fence open a little bit telling me about what he had made her do, and told me that he never penetrated her that she can remember, but I find the timing of her first menstrual cycle, and his last time having access to her to be much too close together to be mere coincidence. Since certain stimulation can cause early menstruation.

    Trying to help her work through her pain I ask her questions to try to get her to open up about it so that she can finally uncork the pain and allow it to bubble out, and maybe get her closure. I realized the other day that even w/ all that I do know about her past she had never told me when she first had actually had sex. She told me she didn’t remember at first, and then that I was the first guy who she ever actually had sex with, even though she had allowed me to read one of her diaries about 10 years ago, and she had written about having sex with a guy about a month or so before our first time while playing truth or dare.

    She asked me why I keep bringing up the past, and though it took me a few days to articulate my answer I finally gave her my answer last night. “It seems that even though we keep growing closer as we get older you still have a wall up, and there is just this one painful part of your life that you won’t let me into.” She said “that wall has always been there, and I just don’t like talking about what happened to me.” I can completely understand that the pain of reliving those memories as she describes what he made her do to him, and what he undoubtedly did to her that she won’t allow herself to admit even to herself is far more excruciating than any other that exists, but I know that she needs to vocalize what happened in order to start healing.

    The site actually even had his mailing address listed (even though it was only a PO Box). So I told her that maybe typing him an anonymous letter about how badly he hurt her might help to give her some closure. She said that she was afraid he’d find some way to check the finger prints, but I told her that I’d handle the paper, and envelope with rubber gloves so there was no chance of that, but she still hasn’t, and probably isn’t going to.

    She is, and always has been the only woman that I have ever loved. So I suppose that my question to you ladies who have dealt with this, and found even a minute amount of healing is: What more can I do to help her? I don’t like asking her these questions, and bringing it up over, and over so is there any way you can think of that I can start a conversation with her that will help her to completely pour her pain into me so that I can at least take the half of the burden from her that I should as her husband.

    She doesn’t seem to want to let me help her shoulder this burden, but I feel it is not only my job as her husband, and friend, but also my responsibility. If I could I would take it all, but unfortunately I know that it is impossible. It’s just that when I try to talk to her about this, I seem to just keep tripping over my own tongue, and never seem to be able to hit that wall in quite the right spot to finally knock it down once, and for all.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Dennis, I love your heart –your love and commitment to your wife. Oh, how I wish we had more husbands that were willing to help their wives put their past hurts behind them (and visa versa). With that said though, you can’t MAKE your wife open up. You can be there for her, continually showing you are willing, praying for her and giving her the grace she needs, but the hard work has to be done by her. She has to recognize that it HAS to be done to achieve freedom.

      Prayerfully, she will eventually realize that if she does open up, work through the pain, she will be released from being tied to this man for the rest of her life. She may think she wants to let it rest, thinking it will go away. But it won’t. It will find ways to pop up here and there to haunt her until she deals with it properly, once and for all. IF she does the work, I can tell you (and her) it’s amazing the freedom she will experience and the boost it will be to your marriage relationship. I can’t begin to tell you the freedom I experienced when I finally came to the end of it all and did what needed to be done.

      There are several articles posted on this web site, which can help you. If you go to the end of this article, you will find something that says, “See related articles.” If you go into the “Sexual Abuse” part of it, you will find listed there, several articles to help you and your wife. It may be good for you to read through them first and then pray about how to approach your wife, if she will allow herself to be approachable on this. I hope she will.

      I can tell you that as long as she delays this, she will be tied to this past abuser. She is giving him power to keep abusing her, even today and in the future if she doesn’t do what it takes to properly work through it. The memories will haunt her until she does. Trying to hold memories back from popping up is like trying to hold a beach ball under water. In the long run, it just doesn’t work. You can only suppress it for so long and eventually it will find a way to pop up (or explode up) –especially at times when she’s most tired and lets go. If she does what is needed, she will definitely go through a painful time, but it will be in the short-term (just as surgery is very painful in the short term) and then will find herself not serving a life sentence with memories popping up, concerning what he did to her.

      I truly hope and pray the best for you and your wife. You sound like a wonderful couple. I hope she is able to experience freedom from her past and you are able to experience a more abundant married life together, as a result.

  30. Dennis says:

    (USA)  Thank you Cindy I will look into those articles. It’s interesting that you chose that beach ball analogy because as I was thinking about how to try to bring the subject up next time. While I was at work last night the exact same analogy came to my mind. Definitely God’s hand guiding my path. Very fitting since I believe that she was the answer to my prayer for God to send me the woman I was meant to marry.

    You see, I’ve always been a very heavy guy (right now 388 lb) even in my youth. When I was 13 I weighed about 250 lbs, and had never had a girlfriend, or even a single date even though I had asked out several young ladies. So when my pastor preached about how if you ask God for what you want if it’s His will for you to have it He’ll give it to you. So I thought about my prayer long, and hard, and knew that God wouldn’t just send me a girlfriend. So I asked him to send me the woman He wanted me to marry, and 2 weeks later I met my wife. I wish I had had the courage to ask her out right away, but unfortunately it took me 2 months. Ah the things we’d change if we had the chance. Thank you again.

  31. Angela says:

    (US)  These comments are so helpful to me. Thank you for everyone who has shared! I’m 29 and have been married for about 7 months. My husband and I constantly fight, and a lot of it has to do with sex. I was molested by my step-grandfather from the time I was 10 to 13. It really messed me up. The older I get, the more I see just how much it has affected me. I never had a problem with sex until I got married. I’m not sure why it’s happening now.

    I love my husband and he is a good guy. I have no sexual desire or interest at all. He, on the other hand, wants to have sex daily or even more. He asks me every time we see each other. About ten times a day. I dread it. I even try to avoid him in our own home. When he touches me, especially my breasts, I feel disgusting, dirty, empty, ashamed, etc. I don’t know why, but he reminds me of my abuser. When he breathes on me or kisses me, it makes me want to vomit. I try to avoid having sex at all costs, but he basically harasses me until I just give in to get it over with for the day. I hate it so much! I feel like a piece of meat, like I’m worthless. The way he is so aggressive about getting sex, following me around the house, asking me over and over again for it. It drives me crazy!

    I feel anxious all the time when he’s home. I feel like I can’t ever relax. I feel like I’m that young girl again, trying my best to avoid my abuser so I don’t have to be touched. I even avoid wearing tight or revealing clothing in front of my husband. I find him gross because he makes me have sex and I don’t want to. I’d be satisfied to never have sex at all. Of course, that won’t work for him. I feel bad for him. But I’ve explained all of this to him, and he isn’t understanding at all. He says “well, what am I supposed to do?” I just end up giving in, but the whole time I am totally disgusted. I feel like I’m being molested all over again. He won’t even go for 3 days without bothering me about sex, even after I specifically tell him I’m having a hard time with it. And even if I do give in to make him happy, I ask him not to touch my breasts and he’ll still do it.

    Many times, I have woken up in the morning to him trying to put his penis in me, or rubbing my vagina. Even after I tell him no, he will try it again 2 minutes later. I feel like I’m being raped by my own husband? Is this wrong of him? Is that considered rape? He disregards me saying no and continues to try to have sex with me. This has happened so many times. Him doing those things makes me really angry. He doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Can anyone give me an opinion here please? Thank you!

    • Dennis says:

      (USA)  Angela, I in no way can speak from the point of view of a person who’s been abused, but rather as the husband of a wife who was abused as a very young girl. (See the previous 3 posts.)

      My wife, and I are 30, and have been together, and intimate since we were 13. She first told me about the fact that she had been abused at 15 the evening after she saw her abuser in her neighborhood, and though that day she had opened the door a little bit in that wall she had put up when she had first been abused at 6 years old it took us until earlier this evening to finally demolish that wall. However we’ll get back to that in just a few minutes first let us tackle what you are dealing with in the here, and now.

      It sounds like you’ve told him about your abuse so really he should at the very least try to not bother you as often. Some would say not at all, but men see intimacy as a means to showing how much they love their wife. So if you don’t want it then he feels as though he’s failed you as your husband. I will admit that my wife has told me on a few occasions that I am guilty of the very thing your husband is doing. However, since telling me that her abuse is the reason why she doesn’t want it as often as she once did, and I began looking into ways to help her conquer her past, I haven’t, and I have sworn not to do that EVER again. From now on stop means STOP, an no means NO!

      Is it rape? I’m not really sure. Legally speaking it depends on the laws in your state (believe it or not there are some states that if a man forces his wife to have sex with him it is perfectly legal under the “submission clause” of marriage), but spiritually speaking, yes, it probably is now that I sit here confronted with, and am thinking about it. Coming back to that “submission clause” If I remember correctly God said in the Bible that the husband and wife should submit themselves (echo THEMSELVES *BOTH*) one to the other. Not just the wife to him, or husband to her, but both to each other.

      Here is how my wife, and I finally broke through the wall my wife had put up 24 years ago at 6 years old, and she finally allowed me completely into her heart after 17 years together, and 14 years of marriage. For the last 2 days I spent hours typing a letter to my wife about our life together, and things I had picked up about how her abuse had actually affected our relationship over the last 17 years. I left it open on the screen for her to read this morning with the screen itself off so when she turned the monitor on there it would be hoping that she would check her emails, or something, see it, and then read it, but she didn’t.

      So this evening when we headed out of state to a store about 45 minutes away from us where she had put a lay away on hold about a month ago I decided this was the best possible time to attack the wall head on since we were alone having left our younger 2 sons home with our 14 year old son, and 12 year old daughter. I started by talking to her about when we first met, and then about OUR first time. Then moving slowly through my prayer for God to send me the woman I should marry, and us running into each other on our bikes, and then her slipping on a concrete pad in the creak, and me catching her, and knowing as I held her, and looked into her eyes that she was the answer to that prayer.

      Then our first time, and the fact that even though I did love her even at that time, my reasons for asking her permission to touch her, and have sex with her at 13 simply weren’t good enough looking back now. I wish I could have known about her abuse at the time, and how that would have at the very least, changed my timing. From what I had read in one of the articles that is linked to in this article, even though I had asked her permission for every step of the process of our first 20 or 30 times she probably didn’t think that she had a choice, and that the reason she had tensed up wasn’t just because it was her first time, but also because she probably felt helpless.

      As the conversation progressed, and we started getting into the details of her sexual abuse by her baby sitter (her father’s best friend), and physical, and verbal abuse by her family. I began to explain to her that though originally I didn’t understand why she had cheated on me during the spring before she told me about her abuse, that after she told me about it I kind of was able to understand better that she didn’t feel she had a choice once. She was alone with those guys, and that even in our first time she probably felt like she was just that helpless little 6 year old girl again every time. This part of the conversation was my healing letting her know how what happened to her affected me as well.

      As she described her pain, and torment at his hands in excruciating detail she finally opened up to me so completely that it seems that we have finally, totally merged like 2 trees that had been planted so close together they grew into one tree. We finally have everything out in the open, and though love making between us is not unheard of by any means (in fact we usually make love at least twice a week) when we got home, and we made love without that emotional wall between us. It was the best we had ever had, and I mean EVER.

      Only time will tell for certain if she, by completely opening up to me, has found that closure she needs. But the look in her eyes has changed so drastically, and she finally seems to understand that the reason why I have been trying to get her to open up about it was because it was making her feel worthless or as you put it, like a piece of meat. However, I wanted her to know that in my eyes she was special, and worth more than ANYTHING I could ever attain.

      I think perhaps it might be helpful to your husband to communicate with another man who has been on the journey he is going to have to start with you with his own wife for many years. If he wants to contact me here, I’d be open to talking. It needs to be in this format, at this time (but he and you can change names and details that would offer the safety you may need for this to be more private, even though this format is public).

      He might be mad at me, and maybe you for suggesting this, or hesitant at first, but if he truly loves you then this boulder is just as much his to bear as it is yours. This is something you’ll need to realize as well, and let him into your heart completely. This means telling him everything so that he knows exactly what you went through, and can truly share your pain. Until you do you’ll have that wall up like my wife did, and it will stop you, and him from finding the peace, and joy that marriage should be.

      I know that we just tore her wall down, but for the most part she has done a very good job trying to keep the wall short to where she’d let me in, but only so far. Like I could see over the wall, and almost reach her heart, but it was until tonight always just out of reach. From what I’ve read in the other comments our connection even before tonight was better than most couples dealing with this. Probably due to how old we were when we got together, and how we’ve grown together.

      One other suggestion I just thought of is that instead of thinking of it as just sex, it might help if you try to retrain your mind to think of it as making love. After all animals have SEX, and what happened to you was SEXual abuse, and you immediately associate SEX, and SEXual abuse, but the word SEX isn’t found ANY WHERE in the words MAKING LOVE. I know that it might sound odd, but often simple little things like word association can play a huge part in how we view things.

      It’s like the vehicle I drive at work, and my fear of heights. I drive a piece of material handling equipment called a stock picker, and it lifts the pallet, and driver up to 30 feet in the air. Now I’m hooked to the truck by a harness, and lanyard, but it took me a while to overcome my fear of the heights I experienced when trying to take product off of the pallets in the storage location racks, and stacking it on the pallet on my truck. It wasn’t until I had trained my mind to view the floor of the truck, and the pallet on the forks of the truck as MY floor that I was able to really improve my driving skills.

      Ask him to do the same. Instead of coming at you saying hey hon, lets go have sex. Maybe he could try asking if you want to make love. That simple change in approach might make all the difference in the world. After all making love is exactly what it really is, since that is what children are, love.

      As I said earlier though, IF he’d like to reach out to me, and commiserate with another man who has gone through this for a long while he can reach me here. I’d be more than happy to “talk” to him. Either way I hope this post has helped you, and him. Sincerely, Dennis

  32. Angela says:

    (US)  Dennis- Thank you so much for reading and responding to my post. You gave some great suggestions. It sounds like you have a lot of experience dealing with this situation. I never imagined it would affect my life so deeply. I’m going to show this to my husband and let him read everything. I’m going to ask him if he would like to communicate with you on here. I think it would help him a lot. I appreciate your offer to do that.

    Also, I’m happy to hear about your recent success with your wife. I hope it continues to go well for the two of you. Again thank you, and we’ll be in touch soon! Have a good day!

  33. Dennis says:

    (USA)  Angela, I’m glad to help in any way I can.

    I’m so glad my wife, and I had that talk last week. I really don’t know how to describe just how greatly things have changed. It’s like that sparkle she had in her eyes when we were younger has finally returned. I think another thing that had added to the wall was that for the last 14 yrs since we had our oldest son, our lives have just been kids and work. We kind of stopped being romantic. So since we work in the same department at work now, and we get off earlier on Fridays that is going to be like our weekly date night. Now we can’t go anywhere since we get off at midnight or so on Fridays, but we can go home, and talk, and be together.

    This Sunday is our 14 year wedding anniversary, so I surprised her this morning with some dancing to some of the love songs that the DJs used to play at the school dances when we were kids. Starting with “On Bended Knee” by Boys II Men. I chose that song not only because we had danced to it when we were younger, but also because it asks “how does a perfect love go wrong”, and “how do we put things back the way they used to be”. It is a very thought provoking song.

    Next was “I swear” also by Boys II Men, and this was just kind of a renewing of our vows, and my commitment to being there for her no matter what. Then I played “I’ll make Love to You” also by Boys II Men. I chose this one because it was THE VERY FIRST song we ever danced to. It has always been our song. So I figured it was best to save it for last.

    Now R&B isn’t usually my thing, but sometimes thinking outside the box really pays off. My wife loved the surprise, and though she kind of laughed, and cried at first it was more from shock than anything else.

    My only problem now, is how am I gonna top this? Hehehe Ah well I’ll cross that bridge later down the road.

  34. Nib says:

    (USA)  This is such a hard topic to discuss in our home. My husband of 26 plus years was sexually assaulted when he was young. He informed me of this after our 25th wedding anniversary. I have been madley in love with him almost since the first time I looked him in the eyes! He rocks my world and always has, but we have been 12 years with NO sex and I am struggling more and more with this, as I have began to really realize how this has affected me, us, and our four teenage sons.

    I am in therapy, but he refuses. It is not about living in a sexless relationship. It is about living in a relationship with no validation as to who I am or that I have suffered much pain over the years of not being in on why I am demanded to go without. I am not asking for sex or for sex play, but maybe comments on how nice I look or a thanks for going out of my way. I would love to have him just rub my shoulders or comb my hair. (That is all besides the fact.)

    He is blaming himself for his abuser’s suicide almost 28 years ago, and for the wife of the abuser who later passed away with a great secret she could not tell anyone. (My husband and abusers were closly related).

    I feel for all of these posts; each one is in extreme pain. If you were abused or are the spouse of one who was abused, the pain is real and almost beyond measure!! The tears are so big and painful that only God has a bucket big enough to hold them.

    I do not know what my future holds or how to help him after 26 years but I do know I love him and I am fighting for a way to help him see how bad he needs help. ???

    • Dennis says:

      (UNITED STATES)  Nib, I know how hard it can be to get through that wall that an abused spouse puts up to protect themselves. My wife had mostly let me in, and everything seemed to be going good until 12 years ago when our daughter was born. After that for the next 7 or 8 years I was lucky if we made love once a month or two, and then only maybe 2 or 3 times a month for the last 4 years or so. That is until almost 2 weeks ago when we left our youngest 2 sons with our older 2 children so we could go get some last minute Christmas presents off layaway, and had our conversation about our past, and her past (my past is really rather boring before meeting her though we did touch on it a little bit due to her asking me questions).

      What I did to prepare for the conversation was I wrote her a letter, that started with us meeting, and then getting into the subject of our intimacy, and I curved the conversation into her abuse so that she would open up, and tell me everything that had happened to her. Now did I really want to know all the disgusting details of what that creep did to her? No, only a sick sadistic creep would. But I knew that for her to open up to me with that information would help her face the pain, and share it with me so that I could take at least some of it off of her shoulders.

      As we continued talking I got into how the abuse’s effects during our teen years. When she went out with other guys, mainly during the spring before she first told me about the abuse at 15. During that time I was in track, and field trying to lose weight for her, and my parents rushed her out of the house as soon as I got home so I could do my home work. After a while she began to feel she was little more than my little brothers’ baby sitter so she began to hang out with other guys, and when she was hanging out with them she felt obligated since she was alone with them to do what ever they wanted her to do. This was my chance for healing as I opened up to her about my feelings, and how her abuse had already affected me long before she put that thicker wall up.

      After that conversation our love life has taken a HUGE up tick especially this past weekend which was our 14th wedding anniversary. Where as we had only been making love for the last year or so once a week or every week, and a half or so, we’ve made love about 9 times since December 23rd when we had our talk. We’ve made a resolution together to KEEP the walls down between us, because as good as our love making was before somehow since we had our talk, and she finally let me through those walls completely it is almost as though we’ve really become one, and in so doing our love making has become almost magical.

      The main things you REALLY need to do is first write the letter to him, and then make a time when you are alone together, and ease him into it. He wants to entrust you with all that happened to him, but like my wife it has become so much of his identity that he feels that if he lets you in, and shares it with you then he loses some of himself.

  35. Ilhaam says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA)  I am a 31 years old. A year ago I was in a taxi accident that turned my whole life upside down. It triggered childhood memories of sexual abuse that I had no knowledge of. I was in denial and could no longer deny what had happened to me. This triggered severe depression and I ended up in a clinic to help me deal with the memories that surfaced.

    I have been married for almost 13 years and am at such a point that my husband cannot come close to me. I can’t deal with the anger and the pain I feel and it’s taken over my life. I had a relapse 7 months ago and ended up in a clinic again. This time the depression was much worse and I had to go for a electroconvulsion therapy. This method is used as a last resort when your body resists the medication.

    The stress has been overwhelming and as also triggered Bipolar disorder. There are times when I don’t eat for days, can’t stop crying and my only escape is sleeping so I don’t have to face the world. I feel like I have robbed my husband and kids of a happy life and sometimes wish I would die so that they don’t have to be dragged through this mess and in the hope that they could start fresh without me.

    • Dennis says:

      (USA)  Ilhaam, have you told your husband about what happened to you? You are only 31, and as such you are probably only months older than myself, and my wife since we’ll be 31 in April. Like us you have practically your whole life ahead of you. Don’t let your abuser continue to take you away from your family.

      I know that I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but in all honesty the best therapy for you will be to sit down with your husband alone with out your kids around, and tell him. It will be painful, but in the end you’ll have shared the burden of this weight you’ve been carrying around with him.

      As you’ll see if you go look through my posts on the last page or so you’ll see that my wife, and I have been dealing with this together for years. It was only by really being completely open and honest about what happened to her, and how it had affected our lives together that we were able to defeat her past, and she finally seems to have peace about it. There were parts of what her abuser had done to her that she still hadn’t admitted to her self, but by talking to me, and telling me all about it she was finally able to come to terms with it.

      Please think of your husband, and your kids’ love for you, and put those thoughts of death out of your head, and work through this with your husband. I’m sure he’ll be there for you, and help you through it.

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