Marriage Missions International

When Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Marriage Intimacy

Image by: Photostock, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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Comments

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

    (USA)  Thank you so much for your reply! I want so much for my life with my high school sweetheart to make it. I will be praying for a solution and asking God to help me write the letter.

    I am very pleased you and your wife have been making it work out!

  2. Julie says:

    (ENGLAND)  I am nearly 40 years old. My dad passed away. It was not long after that I went to see a bereavement counselor only to discover I was abused when i was 5 years old. This turned my life upside down. All these images came out. I am in a relationship where I am going to marry. This has tested us to the limit.

    I was brave enough to go to the police as I was hurting so much I felt all the emotions you could possibly feel. It had ruined my life and in parts it still is. I was so shocked I just could not ever accept it. Even now it hurts. I was told it was suppressed for years. I was told that it was triggered through my father’s death.

    It feels at times, like there is an intruder between me and my partner. I went to counseling for a whole year to work it out but now there are certain things that could be improved. I love my partner. We’re getting married in August but I am starting to realise what has happened to me. Some of it cannot be fixed. I want it to get better than this. I need help. I want my partner back. Can any one help?

  3. Rachel says:

    (USA)  I feel the pain of everyone who’s posted under this topic. I was sexually abused by a relative when I was 4, until I was 8. I am married today with 2 young children, and absolutely paranoid that someone will abuse them too. I don’t get exactly paralyzed by fear to the point of hiding my kids away, but I am always insisting they stay where I can see them, if we happen to be away from home. At church, I don’t let them out of my sight, there are young boys and young adult men and older men; it doesn’t matter, I can’t help myself, I simply don’t know how I will survive it if my child falls prey to a pervert, and I find out when they are an adult.

    My 2 kids are between the ages I was when I was abused, and I could not formulate what was happening to either my father or my mother. I survived by suppressing what had happened to me between the ages of 8 and 24. The memory of the abuse was triggered back when I saw an old picture of me at 4 years old. I used to see that picture, and I would be extremely sad. Then wham, one day, I saw that picture and it all came rushing back. I am doing OK now, 35 years after I was abused; by God’s grace and only His grace, I was able to forgive my relative.

    However, I would not trust my kids to anyone male. Even though I’ve read that some abusers are women, I just can’t stand my kids playing with a boy or man, where I can’t see them. My husband thinks this is not healthy, that this is paranoia and that I have a big problem. But the truth of the matter is, I would rather live with this paranoia and deliver my kids safe into adulthood, than ever, ever, ever have one of them (especially my sweet little daughter –I have a son and a daughter) tell me when they are in their mid twenties (or whenever) that so and so whom we know very well (because they are members of our church, or because they are relatives) sexually abused them!

    When I was battling the intense hatred and depression from my own abuse, unable to connect with my husband for years (still struggling actually, but doing much much better), I absolutely resented my parents for failing to see that I was being abused; I was so disappointed in them, that they would not know that their little girl was being done these unspeakable things; that this man got away with this for 4 years, without them knowing! I couldn’t tell them, because I was too little, and I don’t know why else; but how could they not see? Not know?

    So, in my current ‘paranoid’ state, I realize that if my parents were absolutely clueless, what makes me think I will know? So, because I suffered from this, I feel that I am going to keep a good eye on my kids. The scariest part is that from when my daughter was a few months old till about a year ago, I obsessed about my husband abusing her. I never said anything to him, but I would not want him to change her diapers, or be alone with her. He did change a few diapers and was alone with both kids (since I wouldn’t express to him that I had this phobia) because I just couldn’t avoid it. The fear that he would be an abuser stemmed from reading stories of daughters sexually abused by their own fathers (when I was going to counseling and was suggested some survivors books to read)!

    That just freaked me out, and suddenly, my husband was no longer this innocent man, in my eyes. I started talking to my kids about inappropriate touch, and impressed on them to tell mommy if anybody, even daddy, or pop, or their uncles, or cousins, touched them in their private parts, or asked them to touch their private parts. I was also fishing to see if my husband was ever inappropriate with my daughter, but she never said anything, and short of asking her point blank if her father had abused her, I had to just let it go at that.

    My husband is a very loving father, but I just don’t know anymore, since reading about fathers abusing their own daughters! My abuser was an uncle, and in a way, that doesn’t seem as loathable as being sexually abused by your own father. I also became very concerned because I know my husband likes to masturbate, and he’s confessed to watching some porn websites before. These things were mostly because of my inability to be intimate, and they didn’t help because I was extremely disappointed in him, plus, the message those practices of his sent me was “I am a sex addict, and if you can’t give it to me, I am going to get it whatever way I can”. So my mind wouldn’t let me be at peace, and it fueled my worry that he could turn to my helpless baby girl just because I couldn’t be intimate with him.

    To this day (we’ve been married 12 years and the kids are under 8 years old) I pray that he never gets perverted that way, and I feel like just coming out and asking him if he’s ever touched our daughter inappropriately, for my peace of mind. But even though the need to know for sure is extremely strong, another part of me is petrified that if it had never crossed his mind, that I would be giving him ideas then, opening a door for Satan to pervert my husband! May God help me resolve this, and find peace and the absolute conviction that He is protecting my children from predators and perverts. May God bless you all, and heal you from this heartbreaking past.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Rachel, I too, feel your pain. I know the fear you are experiencing first hand. I too, was a victim of two relatives who took advantage of me when I was young. No one deserves to have this happen to them. What I’ve learned though is that everyone is a victim in this life in some way or another. Ours is sexual victimization… you and me, and also our husbands. They didn’t do anything (that we know of) to warrant our suspicions or to suffer from the repercussions of what happened to us or the rejection of them at certain times because of past memories and such.

      I’ve learned that even though I never meant to, when I didn’t trust my husband in ways he had shown himself trustworthy and when I didn’t get the help I needed to get to a healthier place emotionally, I gave the abuser more power to ruin my life further in my adult life and hurt my marriage. I finally realized I had to do what it took so I didn’t mistrust all men –especially my husband, who had been long-suffering. I forgave my abusers but would never trust them again. I was eventually able to trust men again and trust and enjoy my husband in ways I hadn’t been able to before I did the hard work of working through my past assaults.

      Rachel, while I understand the importance of protecting our children, sometimes in the process, we can cause more harm than good to them and to those around us. Be wise, be vigilant, but beware of being so protective that you go to extremes. When you allow fear to rule in your life, you make everyone’s life more difficult, including your own. You give the victimization more power.

      And your children can sometimes grow to resent the restrictions you put upon them and can rebel. You can tell them all you want about protecting them, but because they don’t hold your experiences in their own memory banks and emotions (it didn’t happen to them personally) they will just think it’s a “mom thing” and could test their limits all the more because of their maturity level. I’ve seen this happen over and over again.

      I tell you this to help you to see that your fears and cautions could ultimately cause more problems than you had realized. Please, “don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.” (I don’t know who wrote this –I’m thinking God Himself sure initiated it, though.) Please work on your fears. If you have reasons to judge your husband and be suspicious –that’s one thing. But if not, you’re allowing him to be victimized, as well. Not all dads abuse; not all relatives abuse; not all men abuse. Those who are innocent should not be sentenced, as such.

      The Bible says “perfect love casts out fears.” Work with God on your fears and on not being so protective of your children that they may rebel from the restrictiveness they will probably feel. Again, I’m so sorry that you are still suffering the effects of what was done to you. I hope you are able to break free from that which is restricting you in so many ways. You deserve it. May God show you favor and help you and bless you.

  4. Shan says:

    (US)  Hey, I don’t know what to do. I recently started having flashbacks after getting married.

    Have been married going on two years now and my husband is still unable to get it in. I don’t know what is happening. I always wonder, is something wrong with me. Since we got married, I have been afraid for my husband to go any further than kissing and caressing. However when it came to getting sexual I would start to tremble uncontrollably and breathe hard. I felt like I was being suffocated by my husband. This went on for two months thus making it difficult for us to have sex or relate to each other.

    We spoke to our pastor and his wife about it and they were good about talking and helping us through it, even though they couldn’t understand why my husband still can’t get it (penis) in. Then three months afterwards I started having the flashbacks and remembered that my brother had molested me during my teens years (6 years exactly). Understanding it now, he is the same size of my husband and whenever my husband would touch me in ways that I remember my brother touching me, a deep fear and tension would come over me.

    I know that it is the plan of the enemy to make me feel like God has left me and that I should leave my husband because I am not pleasing him. After six months of going through this, we sought a professional counsellor who helped me to get rid of the fear to some extent (when it comes to my husband touching me and trying to make love); but now the penis is simply not going in, it reaches a certain point and then seems like it is hitting a wall that is causing excruciating pain.

    My Pastor and his wife are the only friends that we had and trusted with telling them what was happening. But what hurts the most is that now my Pastor is telling my husband to leave me because I am not performing my wifely duties -and God knows that I am, but it is just not going in. I have prayed continuously, we have tried over and over again and the same result happens. I feel alone and that I can’t trust anyone. I am not sure if it still has to do with the molestation when i was younger or not; but like I said, I am no longer afraid for him to touch me. Even though I am trying to stay positive with this it hurts. I am a leader at the church and hearing that makes me want to resign. The Pastor doesn’t understand, but God does. God help me!

    • Dennis says:

      (USA)  Shan, Your problem now is probably more along the lines of you not being “ready” enough for him to enter. Try some intimate lubricants, or ask your husband to “eat from your garden” (I think that’s how it was written in Song of Solomon). Unless your husband is one REALLY BIG dude that should help your problem.

      • Shan says:

        (US)  Thanks for replying, however he has been ‘eating from the garden’ and we have been using the lubrication but it is still not working. Thanks anyway!

    • Carmen says:

      (USA) This disorder is a physical one; it is called vaginismus and you need to see a gynecologist who will give you physical therapy for it. You could also get Botox injections there for your vaginismus. Go to vaginismus md dot com. You are not in control of those muscles creating the wall; it is an involuntary response, just like your heart beating.

  5. Kevin says:

    (USA)  My wife just separated from me at a time when we were already being tested. 1 year ago, she attempted to take her life after a heated argument. There was drinking involved, and we had both come from rough upbringings. I was an only child from a broken family, with an alcoholic mother who grew up in a boarding school in Canada, and a father who never knew his dad, and his mother was murdered when he was only 8 years old. To say the least, they had no idea how to raise me. I grew up with my Dad mostly. Although he was physically abusive, he was the less of two evils as my step father would punish me by squeezing my testicles, or aggressively bathing me. In the future I would figure out this was sexual abuse.

    I met her while working at a mortgage company in San Diego, and became best friends quickly. Her troubled past, failed relationships, disconnect with general population, eating disorder, and her lack of understanding of addiction made me feel that I could fix her since I was recently sober and just got off the streets. We had a passionate beginning that was quickly clouded by control and insecurity. Less then 1 year after we started out, we had already had one separation where she slept with her ex lover. I had no idea for at least 2 years after this happened. She did not want to chance losing me, after all, we just had our son Keith, and she needed me to be a dad.

    Things were never okay. Life was a dance on eggshells that never would stop. Alcohol had fueled the flames, and quickly she became physically abusive. I lied to my co-workers saying that I got into a fight or jumped. Never did I let on that this was happening at home.

    I took long breaks to try to calm her down during postpartum. I had no idea she was taking shots of whiskey all day. I was reprimanded at my job for these calls, yet I was too afraid to turn my phone off. What kind of man would I be to ignore her or have my fiancé prosecuted for domestic violence? Where would I go with my 8 month old son? We were living with her mother who was stricken with grief by the very same person who did this damage to my wife! We were there to help her through the struggle of burying her husband… but at what cost? We finally got out after I found another steady job with Wells Fargo as a Jr Underwriter.

    Things were okay for a minute, but the cycle of need cost me my job again. After so many physical situations, it only takes so many knocks before someone knocks back… I was arrested for Domestic Violence this time. Since she had a record, the charges were dropped. And CPS entered our life. We never finished the therapy they suggested and went on with life. The collapse of the mortgage and real estate markets destroyed my career. I was not in sales, I was a paper pusher who worked his way up from $8 /hr to + $20 /hr. I had no income and nothing to do with my time. I found various PC repair jobs or Graphics gigs to get us a few bucks, but soon we would turn to her Mom (perp #2) to help keep us afloat. Helen (Mom/Perp #2) never liked me, I’m not Filipino or anything close; I’m white. From the beginning she has tried to separate us, but we would always persevere any test.

    This time she has gone off with the same person who failed to protect her. Recently she told me that her mom had a ‘feeling’ something happened when she was brought to her kitchen by my wife’s screams while perp#1 (dad) was there. I’m told she needs to do this to find out if she really loves me or if it’s just her codependency.

    But after 7 years of being inseparable, and 1 year of matrimony, why now? I’m not perfect, but I feel she’s perfect for me. I can understand her where others have failed, and tolerate the lashing outs, when no one else would understand. Is this doomed from the start, or is there a chance 2 people who can heal together?

  6. Dennis says:

    (USA)  Kevin, If I am reading your next to last paragraph correctly then your wife was also sexually abused. So both of you are victims of abuse. Then you can understand her needs even better than I was able to when I started my journey to help my wife deal with her sexual abuse by her babysitter, and one of her mom’s boy friends, and the physical abuse at the hands of her father. I can tell you however, from my own experience, that in your co-recovery it is togetherness rather than separation that the 2 of you that you need now more than ever.

    Call her, and tell her that you want to go out, and talk. Nothing more than just talk. It is very important that you not try to force any other part of your relationship with her until you fix this part together.

    To guide your conversation with her write her a letter. Whether she reads it, or not isn’t the point. My wife never read the one I wrote for her, at least not as far as I know anyway. As you’re writing the letter it allows you to get your thoughts together in a coherent train of thought.

    Start from the beginning even though it means going over painful past events. Go over your relationship with her pointing out the events where the abuse had affected your relationship. Include the infidelity you mentioned in your post, which was probably at least partly caused by the abuse she suffered as a child, just as my wife’s infidelity was when we were teens. Be sure to let her know that especially since you’ve made that connection, you forgive her for it.

    Now as for her physical abuse to you. I must say that it also more likely than not, is connected to her child abuse. However, it cannot be allowed to remain a part of your marriage, if it is to survive, nor can the alcohol. That poisonous concoction should never have been created in any form. It, as Shakespeare wrote, increases the desire yet decreases the performance, and also removes the internal moral compasses we possess.

    When my wife, and I were 21 she brought that crap into our home, and it was only when our then 5 year old son opened a bottle of it thinking it was fruit juice that she realized that it had to stop right then, and there.

    I can see that your love for your wife is like my own for my wife, a deep love that cannot even begin to be explained. So if you are willing to do the hard work, then you and your wife will be able to work through this. However, she’ll need to want it as well. If you read over my past posts starting around the middle of page 3 you’ll see what I did to help my wife, and hopefully it’ll help you with your wife.

    Two other things I can suggest are– A: if you, and your wife get back together then you need to go out on a date once in a while. Just because you’re married it doesn’t mean that the courtship should be over. If anything, you need to keep the courtship going even stronger to keep in touch.

    And B: which I’m sure will be more difficult, make peace with her mother. She might not like that you aren’t Philippino, but you need to make it clear to her that you love her daughter with all your heart, and won’t let anyone, or anything hurt her ever again. Let her know that you think of her as family as well, and that if she needs any help around her house you’d be more than happy to help her.

    My wife’s grandmother didn’t like me when we were 15, and understandably so, since I got her 15 yr old granddaughter pregnant. But after a few years of her seeing that A: I wasn’t going anywhere, and B: that I was willing to help her even after the cold shoulder she gave me she came around, things got better.

    Just remember to pray about how to word your conversation with your wife, and be ready to block, just in case she throws a punch when you suggest getting rid of the alcohol. However, when she punches, or slaps don’t hit back, but rather catch her arms gently as she tries to hit you, and kiss her. Tell her that you love her, and that you aren’t her father, and won’t hurt her.

  7. Star says:

    (ARUBA)  My case is so unique because I am a woman that was raped by a woman- that happens to be my own cousin! It’s hard to find others that have been raped by the same gender! I am married and there is NOT a day that goes by that I don’t think about what happened to me 12 years ago. It has really affected my marriage because even though my husband is a guy, certain positions remind me of her.

    I’m so sick and tired of thinking about it everyday. It has been haunting me for years and I don’t know how to get help. I feel like a worthless piece of crap. I don’t know why God has cursed me with this torment.

  8. Liya says:

    (INDIA)  I had a close friend who was mentally disturbed. One day I asked her what happened. She told me everything with tears. When she was a child her brother intimidated her into having sex. She was not able to tell to her parents. Then her cousin, then one old man. And the age of 15, her lover. He cheated on her. Then she married another person. But she was feeling guilty too while seeing her husband because he was a very nice person.

    Day by day, her past years started killing her so that she started cheating on her husband. As a friend I can just compromise her. She used to think, let me tell my husband. But she was afraid for her life. She doesn’t want to live without her husband. She loves him a lot. But a lost she dead. But her stories are still in my heart. I am really upset when I think about that.

  9. Lisa says:

    (MEX)  Hi. This is very painful for everybody. I am with a survivor. He is so depressed and bitter that it doesn’t matter how much I try he will never understand I love him. He is beginning to be verbally mean. I take care of every aspect not to hurt him. Sexually, he is dysfunctional. I think it is ME now who I must take care of. I’m worn out and have been getting depressed. I told him to go to therapy. He say yes, but does nothing. I think it is time to let him go. Can you give me some advice? Thanks.

    • Dennis says:

      (U.S.A.)  Lisa, Probably the worst thing you can do is leave him. He needs someone to help share this burden with, even if he doesn’t know it. What I did to help my wife is that we talked in great length about our relationship, and the affects that her abuse had on our relationship. To prepare for the talk I wrote her a letter, which allowed me to gather my thoughts.

      If you’d like more detail check back on page 4, and you’ll see how I handled this same kind of situation w/ my wife, and how that talk has led into the happiest, and most loving we’ve been in years, maybe ever. Seriously we have never been as close as we are right now, not even when we were dating as teenagers. When she notices me checking her out at work she smiles, and blushes like a school girl. The look in her eyes have changed she used to have a really distant look, and now I see the love in her eyes.

      • AJ says:

        (U.S.A.)  Hey Dennis, You give some really positive hope, my friend. I’d like to commend you on your hard work, and never giving up. I wish you two a lifetime of love. God bless, AJ

    • AJ says:

      (U.S.A.)  Choose what is best for both of you in the long run. If you are a patient woman, pursuade him to seek therapy, insist on it, or it is the last of your marriage. He needs to know that you’ve still got his back, even though it’s exhausting, and there will still be obstacles. He’ll thank you for it in the end.

      If you truly love him, than it’ll be worth it. You sound like a good woman, please don’t ruin that by cheating on him, two wrongs don’t make it right. He’ll respect you more it you have the guts to tell it to him in his face that you two are done. Explain that you’ve asked him to seek help, not just for the sake of your marriage, but for his own sake. This isn’t about you, it’s totally about him. Let him know that if he needs a friend, you will be there if he needs you to be. I wish you the best of luck, and may God be by your side.

  10. AJ says:

    (USA)  My wife has asked me to divorce her. I still love her. We never took the time to seek therapy for her childhood sexual abuse/rapes. She doesn’t want to be with me, so I’ve asked her to respect my last wishes, and seek true professional help. She self sabotaged her last marriage, and all this is a pattern I recognized, just way too late. I am really sad that weren’t going to be with each other, but I still care for her dearly. So I’m trying to be one of her best friends, and supportive of her journey to healing her pain. As a man I feel if something is broke you fix it.

    In this case I know she needs me more than ever. We have kids, and this divorce will never leave them the same. I promise to treat her gently, and with kindness forever. This is how love sacrifices for another’s joy. No matter how long it takes, I plan to be a true friend until the end.

    I really wish she gains true self worth, and liberates herself from these chains of pain. If you’re out there baby, I’ll always love you.

    • Anthony says:

      (U.S.A.)  Sorry about this brother, I’m going through a similiar situation, where my wife has been tormented by a monster for her last 20 years. The S.O.B. has made her such a mess, I’m left with unfair pieces, like our kids lives, a divorce, and issues that will continue to the next generation.

      I’m so sad for her, but her PTSD has allowed her to simply cut me off, and I’m left to fend for myself. I truly love her, but like unlike you, I feel it’s so unfair, if I’m here waiting, and willing to help you out in any way. She gives me some bull like “I need to do this on my own”. How’s that working out for you? It’s been six years, and I thought we were doing awesome. Her decision came out of no where like a ton of bricks. What really hurts is that she didn’t even ask me to support her, or try couples counseling. This is so unlike her, because she is the most selfless person I know. I pray for the both of you, and my wife.

  11. Chris says:

    (US)  About 2 months before I got married my wife told me that she had been molested as a child. At first I felt betrayed because she and her father seemed to have a close relationship. I couldn’t understand how she could still be close to him when he hurt her in that way. She told me she just learned to deal with it and forgave him because he went to jail and served his time. I asked had she ever recieved any counceling for the matter and she replied no because she just learned to deal with it on her own.

    Now we are married and we have no problems except when it comes to sex. I honestly see pain in her eyes when we finally have sex. Her body is so tense that I can tell her mind is in another place. Just recently we began to have sex and she just freaked out and started slapping me in my face. I was not trying to hurt her but in her eyes I was. I want her to seek help about the problem because I love her so much but she refuses. I’m affraid that this situation is gonna end our marriage. I need help in anyway about this matter. Thank you.

    • Jen says:

      (AUSTRALIA)  Chris – You don’t mention how long you have been married for? Ideally it would be great if she were willing to get some counseling over this matter. Even if this doesn’t happen, this doesn’t have to mean the end of your marriage. It may be hard for you to cope with this and possibly feel rejected as a man (as most men not only benefit from sex physically but bond emotionally through sex also), but hang in there.

      You have the opportunity to love her through this. To treat her tenderly and gently. Don’t lose it when the sex is really bad, and not satisfactory for you. Support her by allowing her to talk about why sex is difficult for her, but also help her understand why sex a vital part of marriage for you as a man.

      Having been married nearly 12 years, I can honestly say that sex started off not all that great for the first few years for me. Two kids and about five years later it got good and then even better. I think often men are ready to fire on all cylinders sexually as soon as they are married, but women (probably even those who have been sexually active before marriage) take some time to adjust to sex and their own sexuality. They can take a while to tune into this part of themselves –even in the absense of any abuse. So be patient!!

  12. Grace says:

    (USA)  I’m glad to have found this website. I can relate to almost every post. I’ve been married for 17 years but never dealt with the childhood sexual abuse I endured. I’ve never felt emotionally connected to anyone including my husband. We have always gotten along and enjoy each others company. But I’m not physically attracted to him and have never felt safe and love enough I guess, to really let him in.

    For years I just endured sex like a chore… then began to drink to make less traumatic for me. I always just thought I wasn’t an emotional person… That’s it and probably because of what happened to me. My husband also suffered childhood abuse, physical not sexual, and his dad abused his mom in front of him.

    Last year I met a man while volunteering and the instant we met I felt connected to him and I was totally surprised (he felt the exact same way). Our friendship was so different for me cause I actually felt at peace with him and would catch myself opening up to him. I realized this is how normal people feel when they say things like “I really missed you” or I feel so incomplete without you.” In the past I would think people were mushy and weak making those statements.

    Anyway our friendship after 8 months turned into an affair and has turned my life upside down. I’ve cut off contact (after being caught) but it’s killing me. We are trying to work on marriage but turns out we both have a lot of issues. My husband confessed to using pornography for years of marriage and I just don’t trust him emotionally. I’m in counseling now, which is helping but being cut off from the one person that I felt safe with and loved is taking a toll on me.

    Even though I believe I need to keep my distance and work on myself it hurts terribly to be without him. After doing lots of research online I’m not sure if my marriage will survive or not but I am sure I have to press on and continue getting professional help regardless…

  13. Jess says:

    (US)  I’m so glad that I found this website, but I don’t even know where to begin. My parents had a horrible marriage, and divorced when I was 5 or 6 I think. They constantly fought, and my dad drank all the time. We were left with a family friend a lot (my dad worked with the lady’s husband) and they had a daughter and a son. I can’t remember exactly how much older their daughter was than me, but she had to be at least 4-5 years older than me. Her brother was just a baby.

    Anyway, I never really thought about them much, until this past year when I saw that their dad (the one my father worked with). This friend requested both my mom and my dad on Facebook (who are now divorced). Up until that point, my relationship with my boyfriend was great. I knew from the minute I met him that I was going to marry him. But ever since I saw that man on my mom and dad’s Facebook pages, things have gone downhill pretty quickly for us. I keep remembering bits and pieces of being at that girl’s house when I was younger, where she molested me. It happened almost everytime I saw her. I wasn’t able to process it when I was little because with my parents in the process of splitting up, I just wanted an older female to be close with.

    I looked up to that girl, and she molested me all the time. I didn’t even remember it until I saw her dad on Facebook. Now I keep thinking about everything she did to me and I have nightmares all the time. She would touch me everywhere and get on top of me and hump me until she orgasmed. She would tell me about all the moves that she had seen that she wanted to try on me.

    I remember one time my mom came to pick me up, and I guess I was showing symptoms of a UTI so my mom asked me what happened. I told her that we were running around outside and I fell on a stick (which is a lame excuse, but I was 5 or 6 and couldn’t think of what to say). My mom asked me to show her where I had fallen outside and I took her all over their yard, but there weren’t any sticks to blame it on. I don’t remember what my mom did after that, but she was obviously suspicious of the situation. When I would have sleepovers with the girl she would also lay behind me in the spooning position, and she would proceed to hump my butt. She made it sound like a game- she called it “the bobber.”

    Ever since all of those memories were triggered, I have been avoiding being intimate with my boyfriend like he has the bubonic plague. We live together, and are planning to get married as soon as we can afford to. I feel awful because he keeps asking me why I don’t want him to touch me or cuddle or anything. He would blame himself for the reason why I never want to have sex anymore, and we fight about it constantly. I’ve made up all sorts of excuses for my behavior, but two nights ago I finally broke down and told him the truth. He was asking me if I wasn’t attracted to him anymore, and asked why I have such a problem with him masturbating to porn if I’m not going to have sex with him. I finally broke down and told him that I was molested by an older girl when I was little, and it happened for a prolonged period of time. That was all I said though.

    He told me not to cry, and said that maybe I should go see a therapist. I just want him to understand that even though it was a girl that abused me, I can’t stand when he is constantly groping me and bugging me about sex. It makes me so mad because he does it ALL THE TIME. I wish that he could stop being so selfish and realize that my body is MY body, and that he isn’t entitled to free grabs whenever he feels like it. He obviously doesn’t think about it like that– he just thinks he’s showing me affection. It used to not bother me until all of these memories popped up, and now it really makes me mad. I have such a problem with porn because that girl would re-enact things on me, she had seen from watching porn. I don’t want to cuddle, especially not in the spooning position, because she did that to me and would hump me. I have a feeling that she did much worse things to me, but thankfully, I don’t remember most of it.

    I don’t know if my mom really KNOWS what happened. She’s never said anything to me about it. I’m not sure if she was just hoping that I wouldn’t remember, or if she really didn’t know for sure what was going on. It makes me sad because I literally talk to my mom every day (she lives 5 states away from me). I’m almost 25 years old now, and I’m not sure if it’s unnatural for me to talk to my mom every single day, but we have a close relationship. I’ve always felt like I can tell her anything, but this has proven to be an exception. I haven’t said a word to her, but I really want to know if she knows what happened to me. I only briefly mentioned the experience to my boyfriend, and until now, he was the only person on the planet that I’ve told.

    I really need advice and don’t know who I can turn to at this point. I don’t want my past to ruin my relationship with my boyfriend, but as the days pass, I find myself more and more withdrawn from everyone. I feel like I’m sinking fast, and don’t know what to do. It’s really weird that my abuser was female, yet I’m absolutely terrified of older men and being left alone with an older guy. Any advice would be much appreciated because I feel so lost right now.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Dear Jess, I don’t usually answer comments dealing with those living together, for many reasons (especially since this is a Christian web site with the mission of revealing the heart of Christ within MARRIAGE). We’re really not looking to help those who aren’t married resolve their sexual problems. You can read through the “Sex Before Marriage” topic, which will explain more on this issue. But even so, I have to tell you that I feel compelled to reach out to you as one woman who was sexually abused before marriage to another who is now facing what has happened to her in the past. I sense the love and compassion God has for you very deeply.

      First, please let me express my deepest sorrow for you. This is one of the most devastating things that could ever happen to anyone –to have someone take advantage of you sexually –whether it’s a man or a woman, it’s wrong in every way imaginable. As I read your comment I instantly felt your pain and have been mourning and praying for you, since. It’s so very wrong, what happened to you. You were going through such a hurtful, confusing time as it was, and then to have someone do this to you, just multiplies the pain! I’m so sorry you were subjected to that.

      What compounds the confusion even more is that when you are young, you are trying to figure out so many things. Life can get confusing, even for adults, and especially when there is family conflict going on! When you take the adult-level matters you had heaped upon you with your parents marriage issues, and all the confusion that came with it, and then you have someone older abusively approach you like she did (time after time), it’s no wonder that you suppressed your memories. This is more than even adults could work through –let alone a child. She took total advantage of you when you were most vulnerable and it stinks in every way possible.

      Sadly, you are now discovering that suppressed memories have a way of working themselves back up to the surface eventually. They’re something like a beach balls you try to keep under water. You can manage to keep them submerged for a while –even a long while, but eventually, they find their way back up to the surface one by one, and won’t go away.

      No matter who you ARE with… no matter who you WILL BE with, or WON’T BE with, this is a matter that will find a way to haunt and menace you until (unless) you get the proper help to deal with it. Some try to rationalize it and push it away by various methods –thinking that all is and will be fine, but it won’t stop it. It will only delay matters. It HAS to be properly dealt with or it will keep popping up and haunting and victimizing you and whoever you are with now and in the future.

      When you marry, your husband will become a victim of your abuser, as well. He will do things that will uncover memories and you will not be able to handle. Even innocent gestures and/or words will trigger thoughts and feelings that will cause problems. They will get twisted around. That’s what past abuse can do to us. And then that will make him another victim of your abuser. It will not be your fault, but it isn’t his either.

      THAT is why you need to get help from a good therapist to uncover and then deal with each memory so they don’t keep invading your thoughts and everyday life.

      I wish I could shout it from the housetops for victims to do what it takes so their lives aren’t ruined by past abuse. I can tell you from personal experience that when you DO get help, you can eventually stop the victimization from continuing. It will not be easy to work through the whole matter. But as a former victim, I can tell you that there is freedom on the other side. I’m no longer plagued by my past. I’m no longer a victim and neither is my husband. We have a great marriage and a lovely life together.

      There was a time when I never would have believed it would be possible to escape the memories. The nightmares, the memories that were continually triggered here and there were more than I could take. Eventually I prayed, asking the Lord to help me. I told Him I would do ANYTHING to stop the memories from ambushing me (and our marriage) continually. When I was willing to do anything, and I seriously took it to the Lord to help me, I started a journey to healing. It was a tough road, but I’m SO glad I took it. The freedom and release –no longer being a hostage to past abuse, is better than I could ever describe. There is joy beyond abuse. I hope and pray that for you. I hope you will do whatever it will take to stop the victimization from continuing in your life. I sense that you are a very special person who deserves more than what you had happen to you in your past. May you find that freedom as you reach for it!

  14. Scott says:

    (USA)  My wife of 30 years was sexually abused as a child. Before starting therapy, she thought that we were growing apart and mentioned a possible divorce. Then she said she felt she was “more attracted to women than men”. Now she is no longer sure she wants to stay married, no matter where the therapy leads, no matter how much healing occurs or what conclusion she reaches about her sexuality. I am trying not to push, but I am devastated.

    We are sleeping in different rooms because of abuse issues 55 years ago (we are both about 60). I can live with that temporarily and won’t push for immediate return to intimacy. I will support her in all she does, but feel like a fool that she is no longer “sure” if marriage is right.

    I love her and feel she is not yet telling the truth. There is no yelling or abuse in our very cordial lives, but this is driving me crazy. I don’t want a therapist for myself, I simply want my wife back. What am I to do? These last 3 months have removed all self-dignity and confidence from me.

    • Dennis says:

      (UNITED STATES)  Scott, I know that you are about twice my age so you might not want to take advice from a man half your age on marital issues. However for the last 15 almost 16 years I’ve known of my wife’s child abuse, but knowing about it, and facing it with her are 2 completely different things. I’ve posted in this blog a few times, and my message to both the abuse victim, and their spouse is the same. Communicate with each other. Here is what happened between me, and my wife on Dec. 23rd of 2011, and it has thoroughly turned our marriage around:

      (quoted from my Dec. 23rd post) 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 creek, 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 father. 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. (end quote)

      It sounds to me like you need to do what I did. Plan out the conversation, and talk to her about your lives, and how the abuse she suffered so long ago had affected every aspect of your relationship. Let her know how much you love her, and that no matter what she decides you will always love her, and be her strong shoulder to cry on. Is it hard? Yes, it was without a doubt the most painful conversation of my life. Just hearing the details of what she went through made my blood boil with rage wishing I could snap that pervert’s neck. However I can’t, mainly because I don’t know his address. Though even if I did that isn’t the answer.

      The conversation we had has healed our relationship to an extent I didn’t think was possible, and that is what she needed. If I were a betting man I’d say that’s what your wife probably needs as well. She needs to know that you are willing to reach down, and take hold of that burden she’s been carrying all of these years, and help her carry it.

  15. Lulu says:

    (USA)  I was molested starting at age 4 by my grandfather; from then on, by both my older brothers. Then at 12/13, by my step-father. I hate men. I think they are all pigs. Even Christian men lust after woman. I constantly see my husband (a Christian) lusting and it breaks my heart thinking God made men this way. I can’t even trust my husband.

    I have forgiven my abusers. I thought I was freed, until these trust issues surfaced in my marriage -which my husband blames on the abuse. I still think even if I wasn’t abused, his wandering eye and lust problems STILL validate my thoughts on men. If a man says he doesn’t lust after woman, he’s a liar. I thought men were made to protect women? Yet, they watch porn, which degrades women. They look at us like we are objects of pleasure; that our only purpose is to satisfy their ‘needs’. I just have a very bad view of men and I hate that I can’t trust them.

    • Dennis says:

      (UNITED STATES)  Lulu, You need to talk to your husband about all of this, and if he won’t listen tell him to post on here what his thoughts are.

      I wish I could say you’re wrong, but I can’t. Most men do lust after all women. I however, only lust after my wife whom I love very much. It’s to the point that I try not to look at other women. Do I admire the beauty of other women? Sure, I can see a woman other than my wife, and think she’s beautiful, but I have no desire for any kind of sexual relationship with other women. Of course it probably helps that we’ve been together since we were 13 years old, and have spent most of our lives together.

      I really think that your husband would greatly benefit from reading the messages on this site from other abuse victims like you, and the spouses of other abuse victims like myself.

  16. Saima says:

    (PAKISTAN)  I was sexually abused when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old. When I get married, does this childhood sexual abuse effect maritial life? Please tell me.

    • Dennis says:

      (UNITED STATES)  Saima, Sadly the answer to this question is yes. However, it is not the end of your life, and doesn’t mean that you can’t have a happy marriage. Just be open, and honest about it with your husband, and if he truly loves you then he’ll understand, and he’ll be there for you, like I am for my wife.

  17. Rosa says:

    (PHOENIX)  I was touched and raped since I was just 8. I have always been very sexual because I belive that’s the only way I can feel loved. But each time I have sex I start having flashbacks. I keep it to myself and nobody knows. Now I’m married and everything was okay till I had my daughter. I can’t trust him. I’m very over protective and I’m terrified for my daughter sake. Now I’m always in a terrible mood and my spouse hates me for it.

    • Dennis says:

      (UNITED STATES)  Rosa, Your story reminds me very much of my wife. (Our story is on the last couple of pages in my other posts.) She was molested by her baby sitter from the time she was 5 till she was about 7 or 8. As she got older she was promiscuous, and after she had our daughter she thickened the wall she had put up to protect herself when she was little to the point that we hardly talked, and she didn’t really trust me alone w/ our daughter. It took her until our daughter was 8 years old before she started opening back up to me any at all, emotionally, and sexually.

      You need to do a few things. First you need to stop comparing your husband to your abuser. The only thing they have in common is that they’re men. Then you need to talk to your husband, and let him know what’s the matter. I guarantee that he is very confused by your cold shoulder especially if things had been going good between you. Remember this is the man that you chose to be there for you for better or worse, in sickness, and health, so allow him to help you carry this burden with you. The moment you two said I do your past became his past, and vise verse. Don’t let your abuser steal years from your marriage because you won’t share your pain with your husband.

      Drop your daughter off at your parent’s house or his parent’s house, and find the time to sit down with him alone uninterrupted, and tell him everything. It’ll be painful but well worth it in the end if it saves your marriage. I was the one who did the work of opening the line of communication between me and my wife back in December, and ever since we had that talk our relationship has been better than it ever was before.

  18. Anastasia says:

    (UAE) I had been sexually abused by my father when I was 4. My mom get divorce, then he passed away when I was 8. My mom remarried and my step father did not have sexual contact with me but he touched me in all sorts of places till I get 12. I was really afraid to talk to someone about that especially with my mom. Anyway when everything came up she divorced him too.

    I continued to hold the guilt and dirtiness till I came to know Christ as Lord and my Savior. That happened when I was 16. Then I went for college, met a guy and we had sex. I met another guy we had sex… and so on. Quite the college experience… Somehow I woke up working as a prostitute; wanted to quit with my life. In this hell I remembered God. I started praying and asking Him to help me, and He did!

    Shortly after I start praying I got married, fallen in love for the first time. He is an amazing men. He loves me and my past does not bother him. Now we are married for 7 years. I love him more than life itself. He doesn’t know that I struggle in the bed. I cannot get an orgasm or even pleasure. I don’t want to start saying all my feelings and pains.

    Getting to the point- I know watching porn is sin! I hate sin! I am not addicted. I watched it a few times, and it’s the only way I get an orgasm. I am pregnant 21 weeks. I feel stuck! I need help. I cannot share my story with a real person. I am trying to share it to God. He seems silent and I don’t wonder why.

    • Carmen says:

      (USA) You do need to talk to a real person, and that person would be a counselor. A marriage friendly counselor. Is there a human services department in your city that has counselors you can see? Go make an appointment so you can work out your issues.

  19. Jason says:

    (USA) Hello! I need help, please! I’m a fighter and want to save our marriage but she wants to be separated because I’m too clingy and want sex all the time. The past few days my eyes are opening up and getting the point across that she doesn’t want to have sex because she was sexually abused as a child. The only time we have sex is when she’s drunk. What does that mean? Why? When she is sober she doesn’t want to be touched. It is so hard, because I work 14 hours out of the day and get to see her maybe an hour. I dont think that is too clingy. I miss her, and love her so much. How do I confront her that she needs help and needs to tell her mom that her mom’s brother was involved with the sexual abuse? It is so frustrating and depressing that she doesn’t love me back, but I want to help her so this doesn’t happen in her next relationship if she decides to move on without me. Please help. And why does she dress so sexy when she goes out to the bar like she’s single? I don’t say anything but that she looks gorgeous.

  20. Amanda says:

    (USA) I have seen a few comments about Marriages where the husband was abused, but I still don’t know what to do. My husband was given up for adoption by his teenage mother when he was 4. This alone was traumatizing for him, since he had been living under the impression that his mother was his sister and her parents were his mom and dad. So not only does he find out that no one is who he thinks they are, but he also gets told that they no longer want him at all.

    He was placed in foster care for the next 5 years, until he was adopted at age 9. In the second or third foster home he had, (so he was probably 6 or 7) the couple had 2 boys of their own, one a teenager. This boy repeatedly molested my husband until he was eventually moved to another home. He never told anyone. Part of his adoption process was counseling, and his mother says he hinted at what happened, but never came out and said it.

    We have been together for 5 years, married for 1, and I have always felt that this affects our lives, and not just intimately. My husband had been told all through high school that he would make an excellent teacher, and he did have a strong desire to teach. He gave up this dream though, because he says he knows that men who were sexually abused as children are much more likely to abuse others and he couldn’t handle that thought. He would NEVER hurt a child!

    I feel angry at his abuser that this has caused him to give up his dream and go on a different career path. I also feel hurt that he never seems to want to be intimate. I always have asked a day or two ahead of time. I don’t know if this allows him to wrap his head around it all or what, I just know that when I try to be spontaneous, he always turns me down, which makes me feel very unattractive and unwanted. I know that what happened to him is not about me, I just can’t help feeling hurt by his rejection. We are now trying to make a family, and while I have always wanted children, I am afraid that I am experiencing such a strong desire for one right now so that I will have someone around who shows unfiltered affection and love towards me. I also worry that if the child is boy, my husband will unintentionally distance himself, and in turn, rob our child of the father/son relationship every kid deserves.

    I’ve tried talking to him in the past about this, I just never know what to SAY. When I suggested that the abuse might be the reason he never wants to be intimate, his response was to sigh and say “Oh, probably.” And then he didn’t want to talk anymore. He is seeing a therapist right now, but I don’t know if he planning on telling him about what happened. Like I said earlier, he has abandonment issues stemming from being given up at age 4 that he wants to work through, and I feel as though he wants to pretend it didn’t happen.

    How can I help him? I love him so much, and it kills me to see the pain in his eyes, and to be rejected by him when all I want to so is show him how much I love him.

  21. Jason says:

    (USA) Well Amanda, your husband sounds like my wife. I hate being rejected if I even hold her hand. It’s like pulling teeth, and she rolls her eyes. It’s so hard for me because I don’t take rejection very well as I’m pretty sensitive. I feel like I’m a good romantic kind of man that treats his wife as a queen, but tired of no affection from her. I know how you feel. I hope we can get help, but don’t know if they are willing to get it or express their gut feeling. Why dont they just tell someone. It has to be the biggest weight ever lifted off of them. I guess it’s not easy.

    Here are some things that I found that might help in being with your spouse that has been molested:
    1. Educate yourself on the effects of sexual abuse
    2. Dont push your spouse to talk about it
    3. Dont ever presure your spouse into having sex
    4. Be sensitive but not pitying
    5. Above all… be patient

    Hope this helps for your sake; I hope we can help them.

  22. Kelly says:

    (USA) I came across this when doing a google search on dealing with molestation after marriage. My husband and I have been married almost a year and when we are intimate, I get intense feelings of wanting to escape. I deal with major rage and if he were to tell me he was wanting me or grabs me, I get these rage and anger feelings all over again.

    I pray all the time asking God to deliver me from these feelings, give me understanding and help me. I battle feelings of wanting to hit myself and at times have punched my head for unknown reasons that I have only been able to gage as my way of coping with the intense feelings even though it’s not a healthy way to cope. I don’t know where to go to get help. I feel as though my husband does not understand any of these feelings and only feels rejected then at times tries to emotionally manipulate to get his way, which only makes things worse. It’s a horrible misery that seems never ending. I am tired of feeling dirty and need real help.

  23. Pam says:

    (CANADA) I’ve read quite a few stories on here and my heart goes out to you all who suffering with the fact that you were sexually abused and or raped, because I was too. I was sexually abused by my Dad and a neighbor. I remember vivid flashbacks from the time I was about six until about fourteen. I was living in the past for so long. It was overtaking my life and after trying 15 years of different counseling styles I found a wonderful Christian counsellor who helped me work through a lot of those issues. I was also date raped by my daughter’s father but forgave him because God forgives me. I still speak to him to this day.

    But I don’t want to be close to my boyfriend and when he touches me. I usually shrug him off saying don’t touch me. He probably doesn’t understand but when I’m intimate with someone it makes me feel dirty and I’m not worthy of any pleasure. So therefore I’d rather make up excuses to not have to be intimate. I also know that I’ve forgiven my Dad as he was abused as a child and that helps me make sense of it all. I am still looking for reasons. When I figure them out I may be on the road to recovery. There is HOPE out there. Just keep plugging on.

  24. Jason says:

    (UNITED STATES) I have been with my wife for 9 years and have 2 children with her. She just told me a couple of days ago that she was raped when she was 14 by 2 inividuals but won’t tell me who they are. I love her but I just can’t get over it and can’t even have sex with her now. Am I wrong for feeling this way? How can I cope with this?

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Jason, when someone is raped, it cascades down through the years where many, many people can become victimized by it, because of the effects that horrible violation. I can understand why this is a shock to you, upon finding out what happened to your wife. But please know that no one asks to be raped. They are forced into it. And from that moment in time on, it works in their mind and upon their future actions, discoloring everything (unless they are able to completely deal with it in healthy, therapeutic ways –but even then, there will be scarring effects –that’s just the way it is).

      Your wife HAS to have trust issues going on inside of her. That’s part of what happens. And the fact that it took her all these years to tell you says something in itself. She couldn’t hold onto this horror alone. So she trusted you with it. The fact that she won’t tell you who they are, tells me that she probably is working with a “lets wait and see” mentality, as to what you will do with it. Will you violate her trust, as well? Are you trustworthy to give more information to, and still let her have control of what should be done with it? She’s working with control issues in her mind right now. She lost control when she was raped, but she doesn’t want to be further violated by losing control of what is to be done about it, and when that is to happen.

      By your not getting “over it” where you “can’t even have sex with her now” you are further violating her. She has to be feeling like you are punishing her for being raped. I’m sure this isn’t your intent, but if you crawl into her mind right now, you can see why should could feel this way. She got raped. She couldn’t let that rape (for whatever reason she has put together in her mind) be made public. She trusted you and told you. She most likely feels she is now being judged and punished for it by the one she trusted with this secret.

      Rape victims have a real good way of taking something that WASN’T THEIR FAULT and thinking that certainly it must have been their fault in some way. So when you back away from her, you can cause her to spiral into that false type of thinking, all the more. There is a war going on within her. Part of her knows she didn’t ask to be raped and that she couldn’t have prevented it, but false ideas are playing in her mind that cause her to think, “Well, what if I had done this, or wouldn’t have done that… maybe that could have prevented it or stopped it.” It’s a horrible place to be. The “what if’s” are killers because you can’t do anything about them except to let them further haunt you or put them away from you in healthy ways.

      I’ll confess something to you Jason. I had two different relatives violate me sexually (at different times in my life). For years, I was able to dismiss this, thinking that I was victimized, but that I survived and could go on with my life as if nothing had happened. I thought that what was done to me didn’t effect who I was and how I would live out the rest of my life. WRONG!!! Eventually, it all caught up with me psychologically and emotionally. It was buried deep inside, festering and eventually worked its way to the surface. I told my then, husband to be, that which I needed to get out. I trusted him with information that I hadn’t been able to trust anyone with before. And I’ll tell you, he became my hero in the way he took it in and loved me through it. He didn’t tell me what to do with the info, but told me that he was there for me and loved me all the more that I trusted him and that I lived my life as well as I had, despite how I was violated.

      Years later, more of the festering came to the surface and it affected him in the way that I shunned him sexually. I couldn’t get images, touches and such, out of my mind and so I kept him at a distance. Again, my husband showed himself to be my hero. He helped me through the healing part of that (even though he became a victim of what was done to me, as well) and let me handle these relatives the way that I felt I needed to. He sometimes made suggestions, but always let me take control of ultimately, what I would do with it. One relative I confronted and eventually God gave me forgiveness for him and reconciliation in our relationship. The other relative, I never saw again (and my husband never met because of geographical distance), because he died before I was ready to confront him. I see that as God’s mercy for me and mercy for others because he was a pedophile –I found out that he had done the same thing to an older cousin before he had done that to me. I wish I would have confronted him, but I didn’t. And now, he is in God’s hands.

      Jason, I tell you all of this to say that you are in a very important position right now. If you try to take over and control what your wife does with this info (whether she ever tells you who they are, or confronts them, or not) and you continue to withdraw from her sexually, at a time when she needs deep assurance from you that you are her partner in every way and you stand by her, I’m afraid that this will kill something within your relationship. Let me tell you one thing that meant SO much to me. When my husband found out what had happened to me, first before marriage and then more after marriage, he treated my one relative (that he HAD met) as I asked him to. I asked him NOT to treat him badly. I knew I couldn’t have taken that. I needed to sort things out in my mind. If he would have acted as his judge, I would have been dealing with him and this relative and I needed his support in every way. The fact that my husband showed unconditional grace to this relative, when I asked him to, caused me to respect and love him all the more. I know that if I would have asked him to shun this man, he would have done that, as well. He was MY partner… he didn’t act out on his own. That gave me grace and space to work things through in my mind and to reach for healing, which I did.

      If you need to talk to a therapist about this, then please ask your wife if you can. I encourage you to confess to her that you haven’t known what to do with the information that you had and that you withdrew –not because she did anything wrong, but because you were confused. But PLEASE work to get to a place where you are in complete partnership with her. Be her cheerleader –one who believes in her and backs her up, to best work through all of the horror that she has going on deep within side of her. Please don’t withdraw, but be there in the ways she needs you to be, as her marital partner. My husband did and I can tell you that it was healing. I trust him with all that is within me. He has shown me that he is that kind of person. I no longer mistrust men, or wrestle with what happened in my past. I am an over-comer and what happened to me is not my identity. God is in control and I am right behind Him… May God be praised! I hope your wife will get to that place. It is a place that is so freeing and redemptive. May the Lord help her and you to come together as partners, more than ever before.

  25. Sandra says:

    (UNITED STATES) It’s just too hard to deal with. I keep thinking I got over it when all of the sudden it comes back again. I was sexually molested by 2 males from age 6 to 13. I still hate one of them, the last one. I hate my mom and, but I hate myself more. I was 9 when the second started abusing me. I now think that I should have said something back then. The reason why I didn’t is because my mom physically abused me and my brother. This guy was the only one who sometimes protected me from being hit so much. I was only 9, almost 10.

    Here is when I hate myself even more, when I think that I was really young and I let him do this to me as a pay for protection. Why I didnt love myself more? Maybe I should have let my mother hit me as much, but not let him touch me. I feel I had a choice, and I chose to pay with sex. The physical abuse was way too much. One time she baked a cake, and told us not to eat it. My brother 10 and me, 9, couldn’t resist. We cut a small piece. When she came home from work and asked us, we of course, lied. I decided to tell the truth… She bit us so bad that blood was coming from my head, my legs were so bruised that I couldn’t even lay on the bed for days. Then she gave us a pair of scissors and told us to cut our hair. I started at the ends hoping the she would change her mind, she didn’t. My brother and I cut our hair and then we shaved our heads.

    Punishment was really bad from our mom for any reason. It could be because we didn’t wash the dishes right, or because we didn’t make the bed right. She used to tell me on a daily basis that I wasn’t even good enough to be a prostitute –to be a prostitute you have to use your brain. I remember being always scared, feeling emptiness in my stomach everyday. Now years later, sometimes I feel scared, the same physical symptoms as back then and I hate it. I hate myself for that. Sometimes I see a little girl, and I see myself when I was 6 or 7 and she smiles, and she is always happy. I think she smiles because she enjoys when I’m down and smiles when I’m suffering. I hate her!!! She disgusts me. She is so dirty; she is so low. I just want her to go away. She comes to my mind every now and then with the big smile, and it feels like she tells me “you deserved to suffer; it’s ok to suffer what are you expecting? Are you expecting to be happy? It’s ok whatever bad happens; it’s ok. That’s the way it should be.”

    It’s not. I refuse that fate. I now try and try, but the wound bleeds every now and then, and it takes me back to the starting point. Now I’m in my late 20’s, mom of two girls that I love so much, but I feel sorry they have a mom like me. I asked God to let me have a baby so I can stop being depressed, so I can have meaning in my life. That was a selfishness request. I thought about me. I didn’t know how hard was going to be. I have twin girls. My sadness has lessened but the pain and the anger are still here. On the other hand, my bf baby’s father, tells me over and over that he will leave me. I TOLD HIM WHAT I WENT THROUGH recently, and he understood, but he sometimes forgets. Sometimes he gets mad because I’m so cold when it comes to having sex. I do enjoy it but I don’t care for it that much.

    We’re going through so many problems lately. He recently told me that he feels sorry for me because if he leaves, I’m gonna be so unhappy and lonely because I can’t make a man happy. I need to go back to the little girl and talk to her and love her. Someone told me it’s because the little girl is hurt and sad. But I’m so scared. I just want her to go away. I’m still with my boyfriend even though so many thigs happened between us. Honestly, it’s because I feel he can help me to take care our girls so nothing can happen to them. Obviously a step father is out of the question. I will never have another man under the same roof with my kids. I don’t need one. I was born by myself. I’m just so confuised.

  26. Angel says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA) I’m 20 years, college student and not in a relationship. I was sexually abused as a kid. My greatest fear now is that (if I do get married) my husband will see this as a burden to him.

  27. Bill says:

    (USA) I am 54 years old now. I lived in a house with two brothers and two sisters. My oldest brother (by 5 years) was given away and made a ward of the state at age 8 – to protect our mother (dad’s answer to finding him unconcious on the kitchen floor, bleeding from his ears). We beleive now that she was undiagnosed Bi Polar II and an alcoholic – and was sexually abused when she was a kid too. My brother was the scapegoat or “Black Sheep”. I unfortunately looked and cried and otherwise reminded her of him – and then I was the scapegoat. For the whole family – it was open season to batter, beat and abuse me in horrible ways – often being set up by other siblings knowing it would distract mom for a long while with her beating and screaming at me. If we kids ever seemed to be getting along or were spending time working with dad – it would result in her having to see that this was not acceptable. My dad was a hard working man with a very heavy hand – and she could get him after me at the drop of a hat. One time, he had me down in a corner in the house with his knee on my neck and screamed that he ought to kill me and cut me “…..up into little peices and flush me down the toilet – where they’ll never find me.” The significance in this was firstly, that a couple of times a year my next oldest would have to dig up the cover on the septic tank so dad could unplug sewer lines coming in from the house to it. After that beating and the threats to cut me up and flush me down the toilet – the next time it needed to be cut up – my mom had me dig up the cover on that septic tank alone. Digging my own grave? There are parts of my childhood that are a blurr – that what I really recall the most, is wondering, who is, “they”? Who was this ferocious guy with his weight pressing me on my neck in a corner of the room, afraid of? I went through a spell in 4th or 5th grade where I was terrified to get off the bus once it stopped at home. I feared for my life much of the time. When I was about 8 or 9, one morning, mom called for us boys to get up out of bed. I didn’t right away and just as I did, she met me with a frying pan as my feet landed and I turned to see her slam that frying pan into my head. The last recall was seeing me launch last nights supper all over her on my way to the floor. I’d wake up a few days later in the hospital not knowing where I was. Another time stands out when my mother would send me out in the dark in a snow storm to keep the sidewalks clear of snow until dad got home – sometimes 6 hours or more while I’d have to hear laughter and supper cooking and know it was warm inside. I remember feeling like the puppy that got big and no one wanted to have to bother with him, so he’s stays tied up in the back yard freezing and neglected – like an unwanted dog. When I was in 8th grade, I was “allowed” to go and live on a farm and work for the farmer. My $20.0/week was to be mailed to my mother to keep in a savings for me. After about 8 months of this and never being allowed to leave the farm – I did. I went on my bike and visited schools friends – andmy mom called while I was gone. Got taken back home. I had been gone just long enough for a new scapegoat to appear – and this was “awkward” for my mother. But she had no problem with the transition. After a week, I had an idea and asked her if I could go and see if Uncle John would need me for the rest of the summer – so she told me go find out and I walked the 24 miles to his farm and stayed the rest of the summer, until school started, and I was taken back home. The first day of school I made alist of all the fees kids have to get money for – locker fee, towel fee and book fees. Mom said there was no more money left – but I knew how much I earned and how much I spent – and answered with how much was supposed to be left. Maybe I’d been away too long – but she blew a gasket and as soon as dad got home, it was as if I talked back to her or even pushed her.Here come that bull again, tossing me around like a rag doll in the yard only I was bigger and stronger now, and out of shear terror I would get my feet under him and launch him across the lawn too. I wasn’t on the offensive at all – he gave up when he had exhausted himself and went in the house and threw all my stuff out in the yard – I left home at 14 on September 4th and went to my uncle’s farm – on the 28th of September, ajudge was asking me in court, in front of my parents, if I wanted to go back home or stay with my uncle until a foster home was available. Many years later I would hear that I “made my choice”.

    I write about this now because it tells why I might have an issue feeling rejection later on in life. After getting out of the Army, I met my (1st) wife, Patty – whom it was not possible to be more smitten with, got married, got a house out in the country and expected to have a family of my own and pit this toxic family I came form behind me. In the fall of the second year, I was following my wife around fussing about wanting sex – again. This time, without any warning or reason to expect it, she turned and said, ….”you go into town for that, ….just remember where home is……” and when I could not process that, I began to ask her what she meant. (We’d met where I was a bouncer at a popular night club. I was not chasing after women then – working two jobs and attending night school was my focus so that I could get a good job and have a family one day. Seeing so many pretty girls coming in and leaving – you’d think I would have been more bent on pursuing them – but hey, drunks aren’t that attractive and my job required me to be sober. She struck me as not being like most of the girls coming to the club. I asked around about her and learned she was a good, honest and solid girl, had her own little womens apparel boutique who had not gotten a lot of the usual gossip started. I got up the nerve to talk to her – and she couldn’t quit smiling and looking like she felt awkward.) Before I could finish asking what she meant she forcefully added that, “….we weren’t having any children either.” I could have died! What just happened? She would never talk about it and whenever I tried to – she’d get upset and accuse me of making a big deal out of it. In the last 3 years of the 12 years of marriage, I approached her and begged her to talk to me or go to counciling – and she shut me out – even when I told her I was not sure I can endure this much longer and that I was afraid one day was going to just leave. And I did. A time after we seperated, she came to seeme and handed me a 5 x 7 file card with three rows of names on it. I asked her what this was, and she answered that it was a list ofmen that had either raped, molested or otherwise sexually assaulted her since she was orphaned at the age of nine. Then I started to really read all the names as she asked me what I thought of that. Now, in my defense, I’d just spent my prime years with her and for most of that time, pushed away and drifting further and further away – even begging and pleading with her. MY answer was not meant to be harsh and certainly not towards her – but I said the next time I see your half-brother, I’m gonna kick his butt for him but good! Immediately she said, “see! – that is why I never told you!” I told her that I’d sooner die than allow anyone to make her live in fear and harm our lives together and ruin any chance of having a family. Some of these people had sat our dinner table as guests! When I left – I even left the state. That was in 1990 and a year and a half ago, I moved back. 23 years have passed. She owns a tavern now and has for the last 13 years and I do see her there. We’ve taked and apparently, in my absense, our old friends took sides and assumed the worst in me. This worked for her – and enabled her to not have to explain anything – and she never did. She acknweldges saying I should go into town for sex and that she is amazed that I should still say it was why we divorced. She’d want me to believe, then, that rape is no big deal. Child molestation is no big deal and I should stop bringing it up. She says this now but will also ham it up every chance she gets to proclaim, (aloud, in the bar) how much of a hound dog I was for leaving her like I did. It’s bizarre and rips at me to hear her say one thing an do another – that it’s easier to denigrate and slander me in this way than to stop this pretentious drama. That a list of some 25 men means nothing at all when they are the root of all her pain – and not me. I read in here of wives describing great pain and know they’re hurting their husbands but yet love them very deeply too. I took it as rejection then and I’m seeing it is more about self-preservation, still, to this day. When we were seperated, she came again to me and pleaded with me to not leave her and that she would have children. I about melted right there but I told her that I was not leaving or threatening to leave in order to coerce her into doing something she’s made clear she wants no part of. I said I was raised by a mom that seemed to hate her kids and never wanted them – I would never dream of putting her through that or my own kids. I hate drama and the pretentious games so many people seem to play. I’m no good at it and could never lie like they have to. I told her that what I am doing is finally deciding that I must respect your wishes but that I don’t have to have them as my own. Having a family was very important to me – and I never did have one. I Married twice more – as a rescuer – hoping I could do enough and give enough, in hopes of a little love and acceptance and all I got was resentment for my efforts. All three wives gave no indication or clues anything was wrong – until after the marriage. They wore a mask and “changed” within a year or so. I must be the densist mutt out there because I fell hard two more times after my first wife and I sit here, now, alone and knowing my years are fewer and fewer. I would not say I am jilted to believe that all women are this way and would risk again someday – bite right now – I’m healing myself and need the time out! MY first wife’sinsistance that rape is strill no big deal pretty much clinched it that I’d not want to get back to a relationship with her – but I had to see her and see if she’d been able to put her demons in their rightful persepctive yet. Sadly, no. They say men and women can’t be friends. I can be freinds with her to the extent I understand what is happening and that one day it will boil over. She’s supposed to go in for knee joint replacement surgery in the coming months and won’t be able to busy herself like she has all these years. I’m the only person she has ever told this to and look what it took for her to finaly say anything at all about it. How people’s lives are affected by the actions and choices of some – and they get off scott-free.

  28. :D says:

    (UNITED STATES) As a person who was sexually abused in childhood, I still can’t understand why our culture places so much importance on sex. In my opinion, there are more important things to discuss in marital intimacy, like our VOWS. Love, honor, cherish. I don’t recall my vows being centered around being sexually available upon my husband’s demand. I think men are driven by a strong sex drive, and assume that women MUST attend to their sexual needs. This is not the purpose of marriage. Women are not sex objects.

    Whether or not any of you ladies have been sexually abused, don’t let your husbands manipulate you. You are more than your sex organs!! If your husband cannot find value in your spirit and expresses he cannot find fulfillment without a sexual release, tell him that is what his hand is for. You have the right to say no to any sex that is demanded on you, guilted on you -and you have the right to educate your husband that that is a form of sexual abuse. If he really loved you, he would never treat you that way to begin with.

  29. Patricia says:

    (USA) I can’t remember how young I was when it all started I know I was too young to go to school. My mom would take me to hotel rooms with her and her boyfriend and I would have to watch as they had sex with porn playing. Her boyfriend eventually started doing things to me that always felt good and never hurt. When I was 9 my mother forced me to go with a different boyfriend who repeated raped me. When he was bringing me home he held a loaded gun to my head and told me if he took me home I would tell someone. I begged him not to promised I wouldn’t and he took me home.

    When another of mom’s boyfriends saw me later that day he made her take me to the doctor. As soon as the doctor saw me he had them take me to the emergency room. I was later told that I had arrived there with less than a pint of blood left in my body. Everyone knew what happened. I eventually had to testify numerous times against the guy which I did only because I was told that he had done the same thing to girls even younger than me.

    I have been married to a wonderful man for 23 years but to this day I have to fantasize to be satisfied. I used to try to talk to my husband about it but I saw how much pain it brought to him so I stopped. I am so tired of living a life I know is not pleasing to God. I look at pics, read stories, and think about things that would discust me to see or be involved in but I can’t seem to stop and it seems to be getting worse. I don’t want this.

  30. Jane says:

    (MALAYSIA) I have been married for thirty years. It was only in the last few years that I discovered the reason for my husband’s lengthy baths, aggression and lack of sexual intimacy with me. He had been sexually abused as a child under five years of age, by a male relative. I had asked God why he had these problems and the words “sexual abuse” flashed through my mind. One hour later a friend called to tell me God spoke to her about the same thing. The same night my husband told me about the abuse. Talk about miracles! I finally knew the answer but I still have a heap of problems with him. I told God that I will look only to God for help and keep my eyes fixed on Him. It has helped me tremendously to be heavenly minded rather than earthly minded. I thought I was going crazy before this when I realized that there were many unexplained situations in the past that suddenly took on ugly connotations in the light of my new found knowledge.

    Looking to God has helped keep me sane. I don’t grieve like before. I wish all those in a similar position, the best that life can give you and by God’ s grace, you will overcome.

  31. Ginger says:

    (USA) This is all too familiar to me. It happened to me as a young child, many times. He was a family member. I grew up very angry, feeling not deserving to be loved. I blocked it from my memory. I did not know why. When I was 24 my niece was molested at a day camp and by a cousin. When my sister told me, I had a flood of memories that never went away– of my childhood. I told my sister but no one else. I had to get married at 18 because I chose to drink to become intimate. I remember saying No, but he pushed himself on me and 9 months later my son was born. There was no love in the marriage just affection. He began going steady with an old girl friend on my son’s first birthday. I was Catholic, so there was no talk of divorce. He cheated on me and moved in and out for the 16 years we stayed married. I raised my son practically alone. The marriage should not have happened. He forced me to watch porn and it made me sick. I tried to pretend a long time. After 16 years, he was publicly dating and my son saw him. It ended then.

    I got engaged to a high school friend 3 yrs. later. He was into cocaine and drinking. Drinking was our common interest. We both worked and hoped to marry. After I found his hairbrush full of blond hair (not my color or his) I knew history was repeating itself. I got in trouble for drinking. I went back home and lived with my mom. I got in trouble for drinking again and lost my license. My Mom became my best advocate and my best friend. I was sentenced to a child protective agency. Not only did I clean and paint every day, but I had to attend the daily supports groups. This was my BIG break. I was able to tell my Mom the truth. She cried, I cried and she became my biggest supporter. She drove me to work and to the agency. She even sent for a book on Childhood Abuse. I got my license back after a year. One night she told me to go to a singles dance. I met my new husband. He seemed different from the others I knew. The counselors said to give someone who bored me a chance. I did. We married 6 mos. later. I had been divorced now for 8 years and seemed to be finally getting it together. He said he had been in jail, so I thought it was county or something like that. He was also a Viet Nam Vet. We married in a small church and I locked the door so no one would stop the wedding. I guess I did not trust my decision or his past. I took a leap of faith. I figured I was pretty well on my way to healing from the abuse and I could handle a new marriage. I loved him very much! We had a good life together and a good sex life with all things included. Then it happened, after about 6 mos. or so while he was asleep, he grabbed me by the hair and pulled my head down on him to perform oral sex. I tried to pull away, and then I thought well maybe this is how I am suppose to do this. He held my head tight and when he was done he shoved me away and continued sleeping. I tried to wake him up but he continued sleeping. I was shocked, but thought a new marriage, maybe there were things I needed to learn. I asked him about it in the morning and he laughed it off and denied it. He did it again and this time I made him talk about it.

    He said it was a problem he had and other woman had told him he did this. He said he was sorry and he knew how to handle it. That was it! I was sickened and upset so I dug through his personal files in his closet and found his trial transcript. The sex act he forced me to do was the same one he had forced a 17 year old hitchhiker, he had picked up when he was 25 to do. He also drove her over the state line so he was charged with kidnapping and the man act. He was sentenced to 3 years in Federal Prison and 6 months in solitary confinement. I was now horrified. I confronted him when he came home and he said it all had been a misunderstanding, that he could not complete it- so it did not count. He claims he cut down our sex life at night so this would never happen again. I tried to talk to my Mom. I told her I thought I needed an annulment. It was hard to admit to what he actually did to me. She meaning well, said it was my second marriage and maybe I just needed to learn some things and try harder. She said I married him for better or for worse. If I had told her the truth, I know she would have told me to leave. We stayed married 16 years. My son from my first marriage was bi polar for 20 years and after an accident got addicted to morphine pills. He died in 2011 at 39 yrs. old. At the same time my mom was in end stage cancer. She died 5 months later.

    In between, my husband packed his truck and abandoned me to our retirement home. I needed him so much at that time. He said he could not handle the stress of all that was happening to me. I was so angry. I thought we were together for better or worse. When the worse came he fled. He told every one I never trusted him and that is why he left. I told him to tell the truth about his sexual assault on me. It was one of the reasons I never trusted him. He refused. I wrote letters to his family telling them about the sexual abuse in our early marriage. He became livid and said he was sorry for doing it, but had stopped it, so he figured he handled it and it was not the reason for mistrust. His family stands behind him to this day and have excluded me for talking about his assault on me and his past. What they won’t admit to is that he is a conman, who conned his way into my life and caused even more damage to me. I had done what this column is all about. I had gotten help and had even had it out with the person who sexually assaulted me as a child. I felt whole again and cleansed inside and I thought I was ready for my second marriage. I did not see the abandonment coming. He spoke nothing of good things about me to my family until he ran away. I just figure he is probably more damaged than me. My life is in total turmoil now. I worked for a year and now I am just sitting home thinking. I have joined a grief support group. I have learned I DO NOT HAVE TO LIKE IT, WHAT HAS HAPPENED, BUT I MUST ACCEPT IT AS REAL…all of it. So in conclusion, YES childhood abuse spills over into your life and your decision making forever…Thank you for listening to me.

  32. Debbie says:

    (USA) My husband has been neurologically tested. He wanted to be tested because he thought he had superior intelligence and this would prove he had Aspergers. He was not diagnosed with the disorder but with passive aggressive disorder and antisocial tendencies. He exhibited some bizarre behavior…he solicited for women and took pictures of them in our bed in nude erotic positions. He did all this without my knowledge. To me this man is very sick. He did all this while we had been in couples therapy for 1 1/2 years to generally improve our marriage (we had been married for 31 years) and a non-existent sex life. This is a highly inappropriate reaction because of covert depression in a man that has very little ability to recognize his own feelings.

    We have been back in therapy now for about 6 months and his arbitrary anger directed at me is making me very nervous and frightened about what will happen to me. I am not afraid of any physical violence. He is verbally abusive and it’s awful. I need a break from this behavior. I sometimes think he may have been sexually abused as a kid and has no sense of how it affected him. Is this possible? Or is he just so unbelievablly not in touch with his feeling that he acts like he has had attachment problems?

  33. Kelly says:

    (UNITED STATES) My husband and I have been married for 16 yrs. He is the most loving man I have ever met. The past couple of years my husband wants me to pleasure him in a certain way. Like many others who have been abused, my father tried to make me do this certain act on him. My husband and I had an argument about it last night. My husband told me “why can’t you just leave the past where it belongs”! I am not your father, honey! Just get over it! It hurt what my husband said. My husband did not mean to hurt my feelings. He said that he is just so frustrated. I told him so am I. That is… I’m frustrated with myself. I would never leave my loving husband. He said he would never leave me either. But why can’t it just go away? I love my husband so very much. He is so deserving of so much more than this. He says we will work on this together because our love for one another is very strong. But this is what I mean! He has been so patient for so long. I feel like I am doomed to be this cold fish of a person.

    I am thinking about going back to counseling. I, of course, cannot bring this up to family. To them (the physical and molestation from age 5-17) never happened. When I first told my mother what was going on (I was 12) I was taken to a shrink where I felt like I had to say what my father did to me. After a month or 2 I stopped going. I refused to talk about it. I had to stop talking… no one believed me anyway! My mother would then tell me now and then that when I had not mentioned the “horrible stories about your father” she would say: “I just want to tell you that you have been really good lately!” I didn’t know why but I always felt worse when she told me this. She even said it would be nice if I apologized to my father because I really hurt him and it would make him feel better. My parents even had my grandmother come live with us because my lies were getting out of control. They even convinced my grandmother that I had made up lies. She also told me I should tell my father I was sorry. That was until the day he would try and make her sit on his lap. She then took me aside and asked me what my father had been doing to me all these years. Grandma then said she was so sorry that she ever tried to make me ever say sorry, or that I lied about what my father had been doing to me.

    Sadly my Grandmother died 2 years ago. She and my husband are the only two people who have ever believed me! I miss her so very much. She would protect me whenever my father was around after our talk. If my Grandmother had not told me to never say I was sorry because I didn’t do anything wrong, and I am not a liar or a bad child… I WAS going to apologize to my father. I just wanted to stop being blamed for everything. I wanted to be good. But Grandma said that would be a lie. So I have kept my promise to her. I did not apologize to my father. My sister tells me I need to get over it (my father never abused her). I just try to forget. But the flashbacks and memories are hard to put on a shelf. So, for anyone out there feeling like I do you are never alone. I will fight for keeping my love and message with my wonderful husband and bestfriend! My father has taken my past away from me but, I will not let him take my future. To my loving husband, you will always be worth fighting for!

    • Kelly says:

      (UNITED STATES) Hello everyone! I just wanted to say thank you for sharing what you have been through. Thanks to this site and everyone who shared what we have gone through and those who have given helpful advice and very helpful information. This in itself has given me hope. I never knew other people felt the same way I do about being intimate with their husband or wife. I never could understand why I would push my husband away, why I never wanted sex, and how could I love him so so much and not feel the same way. The feeling of being ashamed, dirty, not lady like after sex… I just never knew??? I just knew that I should be enjoying this part of our marriage but could not understand why.

      It’s hard to explain… my husband knew even when we dated about my physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. I always felt as I said before dirty, like arousal is bad a sin. I have never told my husband how it makes me feel. Believe it or not I feel a little at ease just knowing that there really are other people out there who feel and act the same way I do. I feel like I should have known this all along. I feel stupid for not thinking! Again thank you all for sharing. Each and every one of you have taught me so much in just the last 24 hrs. I feel like there is HOPE and a warm light. It will take time. But now I know I am not alone! God Bless you all!

  34. Kelly says:

    (UNITED STATES) If anyone has helpful advice, I would be so grateful! Sincerely, Kelly :o

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Kelly, I have no fancy words to tell you that will cause this pain to instantly go away. It won’t, no matter what I (or anyone else) could say. This is something you keep committing to God and working through. I also suffered at the hands of a close family member, two close relatives, actually. The pain of it left many emotional scars. But I can tell you that God can help you to get to a better place emotionally and in many additional ways with your husband. I know. I have been and am there. But it takes tenacity and perseverance and the mindset that you will NOT remain a victim. You are an over-comer! Please lean into that as fact.

      Your ability to fight that type of abuse and your voice was taken away from you when you were younger, but you are no longer that little girl. Keep leaning into the healing process. If you need to go to a counselor to help you process another layer of the horrible memories, then please do so. I’ve had to do this more than once. It’s worth the effort, even though it’s so very painful. But when you have an infection, which has dug itself deep within you, sometimes it takes more than one heroic effort to reach down further and get it all out so only a scar is left –evidence of a fight… but a victorious one.

      I pray for you and your husband. He doesn’t understand. This kind of assault grabs at every part of who we were and tries to taint everything we are and try to be. If someone has not gone through this, they have only a vague understanding of the depths of the hurt it has caused. But the fact that he is willing to work with you on this together is so, so good. Something that helped me when my husband couldn’t quite grasp the damage these assaults had done to me is realizing that what was done to me changed HIS life forever too. He became a type of victim too, on a different level because it affects his life too on a different level. When I saw this (I believe it was something that God helped me to see), I realized that the victimization needed to stop. These relatives might have stolen my innocence and damaged me in many ways, but they weren’t going to keep inflicting pain in my future. I dug in all the more to reach for any type of help on this that I could because I REFUSED and refuse to live as a continual victim. And I refuse to allow my husband and my marriage carry the load for the hurt I have suffered.

      I can’t tell you the exact moment, but one day I realized that I was freer than I was in the past –that the nightmares had stopped and little things that triggered memories no longer did that anymore. I’m not saying that I have forgotten everything, because I haven’t. But it’s like looking at a scar –it doesn’t hurt like it did. I am now living a life of freedom and love with my husband. And all I went through is now being redeemed by God as I use it to quietly reach out to others when God impresses me to do so. I’m doing that now with you, Kelly. Keep praying; keep believing; keep reaching out for healing, and eventually I have no doubt that you will experience MUCH better days and a type of closure so you can better live out each day with joy. My husband and I just celebrated our 41st anniversary and I can say with all that is within me that our marriage has never been better. I love this patient, loving man with all my heart. We are both over-comers and victory is ours. I pray that for you.

      P.S. I’m reading a book right now by Ed Underwood titled, When God Breaks Your Heart: Choosing Hope in the Midst of Faith-Shattering Circumstances. Even though it doesn’t particularly pertain to sexual abuse, I’ve found that I can relate to that which he writes about suffering. You may think about getting this book and reading it. As you read it, you can pour out your heart to God and allow Him to speak to you to bring additional healing along the way. I hope and pray you will find this to be so. I also hope and pray God infuses hope into your heart that you will eventually experience better days –ones that will bring a smile to your heart.

  35. Kelly says:

    (UNITED STATES) Dear Cindy, thank you thoughtfully prayers. Everything in my life I have fought for. Nothing has ever come easy! Of course nothing in life ever does. I would never blame God for the sadness in my life. I know in life there are lessons and values to be learned. The human part of me just prays of more sooner than later. I know there is no easy answer. In life there never is and I’m okay with that.

    I am used to working hard and never giving up. At times I just get so tired and find my self asking why… why me… why us. Again no easy answer. I keep praying for the day when it will be easier to put it away. Just when I think things are going well that scar starts to bleed again. I know it will take time. I will do whatever it takes because I love Mark very much and I know I deserve his love too. It’s just hard…tired. Bless you Cindy and thank you! Hugs ooo

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