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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Advice on when/how to disclose?

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Author Topic: Advice on when/how to disclose?
polyprotic
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Member # 45568

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I met a guy while home for spring break about five weeks ago. There was an immediate mutual attraction and he took me out before I went back to school. Everything went well and we've been talking online almost every day since. Our talks have gradually taken on depth (we're both a bit slow to open up, it seems) and I've discovered that I could really like this guy.

This is the first relationship prospect that hasn't begun sexually for me. I'm enjoying letting the relationship grow naturally and seeing where it takes us. I just have this nagging feeling that I should tell him some difficult things sooner or later, including my history of abuse, the fact that I've never had sex while sober, and my (what I know to be irrational)insecurity that I can only be used as a sex object.

I told him that I wanted to take things a bit slow physically when I get back in a few weeks, and he was totally cool about it. I think that's all he needs to know at this point?

I know this is a brand new relationship and that we're still in the trust-building stage. I'm just new to the whole concept of you know, emotional intimacy in a relationship and was looking for some advice on the if, how, when, and how much to disclose without scaring him off.

Posts: 97 | From: USA | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
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Member # 25425

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As much as I'd like to give you a step-by-step plan for how to talk about difficult topics like this, unfortunately there isn't one. When and how to disclose a history of abuse is something that we need to figure out for ourselves, and in each new relationship. It's really a lot about gut feeling and finding the timing that's right for you.

One thing that can be helpful is to ease into it slowly. So rather than pressuring yourself to say it all in one big rush, you might start by telling your partner that there is something you want to talk to him about but that it's really difficult for you and you want to wait until you feel ready to be completely honest. That way, he knows that there's something going on, and any time you feel ready to tell him, you can just say "remember when I said I had something to talk to you about? I think I'm ready for it now".

It sounds like you're already off to a great start by telling him that you'd like to take it slow. That's a great first step. So just keep following your gut feeling on this, and follow your own pace.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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B. Adriana
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Member # 66741

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I know what you mean. I want to give you my personal experience with this very subject, but first I'll give you my background story.

When I was 15 years old I was physically abused by my boyfriend. This went on for 2 or 3 months. The last straw came when I was unable to move my torso without crying out in pain. So I went through the whole ordeal of police reports, court, doctor's visits, and making friends all over again.

Since then I've been in 2 relationships. My first relationship was 6 months after the abuse. My then boyfriend was really emotional. I just came out and told him about it with no subtle way and the way he reacted was not what I expected, he cried and couldn't look at me; the way I told him was also not the best way to do it. I can honestly say that when he did that I knew he wasn't someone that could support me emotionally. That relationship lasted a little less then 2 years.

My next relationship, which is also the one I'm still in, came 4 months after. My boyfriend and I knew each other 2 weeks before we got together, and we didn't open up about our personal experiences for another 2 weeks. The conversation started over the phone when we were talking about family and pass relationships. I started the conversation about my recent ex-boyfriend and was very vague about the abusive one, he was aware of names and with the abusive one I just told him "that one didn't end well." and we kept it at that. About 5 days later he came by and we talked some more. I just told him "hey, I wanna tell you something about me." And I told him. He was quiet for a few seconds and he hugged me. The next thing he told me was surprising. He opened up about his experience with sexual abuse when he was a kid. We talked about the experiences for 5 minutes and that was it.

This conversation hardly ever comes up now after 2 years. I'm 20 years old now and my memory about that experience is very hazy. I believe that conversation made my boyfriend and I very close. I don't think a serious conversation about abuse would scare a person off. In my experience people don't react in a negative way. With friends and family I've gotten hugs or just questions about why and if I'm okay now. If it's been years and your fine with the person you are now, then there shouldn't be nothing to be scared about. Your experience shouldn't scare people away.

Posts: 13 | From: California | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Djuna
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B. Adriana, welcome to the boards!

I get the impression that your abuse is something you've already done a lot of work on and seem to have largely resolved - correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, know that if that's something you wanted to talk about, we're here. [Smile]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
B. Adriana
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thank you patrickvienne, i have come a long way.
Posts: 13 | From: California | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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