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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Just want to know how to deal with this...(lengthy)

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Author Topic: Just want to know how to deal with this...(lengthy)
Renenenenenene
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So let me start off by saying that I'm still with the guy that this happened with. We have our issues but we really care about each other.

So in September of 2012, I met this boy in school and we started dating. He was sweet to me, but I was incredibly shy and anxious around him (I'm like that with everyone before I get to know them). I also had this idea in my head of how I was supposed to be - especially when it came to sexual behavior. I told myself I wouldn't be a prude, I wouldn't refuse sex. So when the topic came up, I acted like I was opposed to waiting very long even though I was absolutely terrified. It wasn't that I was scared to say no because of him, I knew I could. He didn't try to pressure me at all.
So in October we almost had sex but decided at the last minute not to, and that neither of us were ready. He was actually the one who stopped it. We ended up having a deep conversation that day, and it was so much nicer than the shallow ones we normally had before then.
But then things got bad, once he started asking for oral. I told him, just like before, that I would do it, when he asked me through text. I really didn't want to, because I just didn't fully trust him yet and wasn't comfortable with the idea.
So we saw each other the next day and he asked me if I would do it, and I hesitated to answer for awhile before I eventually agreed. I didn't hate the act itself, and he obviously liked it.
There were a couple times after that where he asked, and I hesitated so long that he eventually just told me I didn't have to do it and let it be.

So then, this happened in December of 2012, just before christmas. My mom went out, and he asked me to do it. When I didn't respond he just took out his dick and waited, like I owed it to him. I never said yes or no, but instead tried to make myself do it, because I thought I was supposed to. Before I did, my mom came home, and my boyfriend gave me a dirty look and said "you are literally the worst."
I got upset, and he started to apologize, and said that he didn't mean it. My mom came into my room and told me that she was going out again. When she left he started begging me to suck his dick, and said that "it always takes so much longer than it should, because you say you'll do it but then you just sit there."
I ended up doing it. Afterwards he realized I was upset, but didn't totally get why. I didn't even fully understand why at the time.

We just kind of pretended it wasnt as bad as it was, and throughout 2013 we did other sexual things but he never pressured me into anything else. I just recently realized the gravity of the situation, and I told him how I felt. We had a discussion about it and he didn't make excuses for himself, he admitted that it was abuse and apologized, and said that he would never do anything like that to me again. I believe him, I just don't know how to deal with this situation, I keep over analyzing everything that happened around that time.

I know part of it was a lack of communication in the relationship. Also, before me he dated a girl that was emotionally abusive to him so he also had some terrible ideas about how relationships should work. He's not abusive to me in any way now, but I'm finding this difficult to get over.
I've talked to my therapist about it, she said that she wouldn't call the relationship back then abusive, but rather "cold and neglectful."

I played a role too. Not that I blame myself. But I kept saying I would do it, so he really didn't know how scared I was, I guess he thought I was just nervous and shy or something. And I let it happen, when I could have just stopped it with a simple "no". I know that if I had refused that time, he would have stopped, I guess it was partially a misunderstanding. It was still wrong for him to put me down though, and pressure me...

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Sam W
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Hi renenene,

I am sorry you are having a tough time processing what happened to you (and that this situation arose in the first place). I think you, not your therapist or anybody else, gets to decide what to call what you went through.

I will say that, while it sounds like you did have some issues around communicating your own comfort level with sexual stuff, it also sounds like he was doing a bad job of reading your non-verbal cues (silence, hesitating, complete lack of enthusiasm for what was going on)even though it sounds like he was noticing they were there. To me, when one partner is more actively pursuing sex than the other, it's on that partner to be really sensitive to and respectful of any cues (non-verbal or verbal) that the more passive partner is giving off. And if you badger if someone until they perform oral sex on you, your partner was definitely no giving free, enthusiastic consent to that act.

In terms of helping you work through this, I have a few questions. First, how do you feel about this relationship outside of the sexual stuff? And, when you say you want to "deal with this" what would be your ideal outcome for it being dealt with?

[ 02-11-2014, 09:51 PM: Message edited by: Sam W ]

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Renenenenenene
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Yeah...I've been thinking that too, I feel like he should have noticed that I was uncomfortable because of my hesitation. I brought that up with him and he just said he thought I was being shy or something. I'm thinking that maybe at the time he just didn't want to acknowledge it...
Besides the sexual stuff I do think it's a strong relationship, because we connect in a lot of ways and care about each other. I want to stay with him and love him for who he is now rather than dwelling on who he used to be.
What I mean by dealing with it is that I want to really understand what happened and settle the issue. I need to work through it especially after ignoring it for so long.

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Sam W
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I think that's a pretty fair reading. It sounds like he knew something was up, but was more concerned with his own desires rather than on making sure you were comfortable and happy.

I'm glad to hear you feel the relationship is a healthy one, and that he is honoring his promise to you in terms of respecting your boundaries.

I think a good first step in dealing with this is acknowledging (as frustrating as it may be) that the process might take longer than you would like it to. I know you say you don't want to dwell on how your boyfriend used to behave, but when someone's behavior hurt us, it can take awhile for our brains to decide how (or even if ) we want to forgive them for what happened. Beyond that, the best person to help you work through what happened is a therapist (either your current one or someone else). It sounds like you've talked to them about what happened. Have they made any suggestions in terms of ways you might start to settle the matter for yourself?

I'm also wondering if you'd be interested in some resources on talking about sex and boundaries with a partner, either for current or future reference?

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Renenenenenene
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He admitted that by the time it got really bad he kinda knew that something was wrong, but just pushed the thoughts away. He was so selfish and it's hard to think of him being like that because he's completely different now. I agree with what my therapist said about it being cold in the beginning, because there was no real trust, communication or compassion on either end. I really feel like the way his ex girlfriend treated him had an influence, cause it honestly doesn't seem in character for him to use somebody like that.
I know it's gonna take awhile, and I've told him I want to take things slow. He hasn't tried anything without asking me first, and he's obviously more considerate than he used to be. It's clear that he cares a lot now...and I really don't want to hold a grudge forever...
I'm going to bring it up with my therapist next week when I see her and that should help. She's said that it's important to be open about this with my boyfriend.
What resources? Thank you for your help by the way, I really needed to talk though this.

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Heather
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I hear that you have been seeing a therapist. Has he, as well?

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Renenenenenene
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No, he says he wants to but if he told his parents they wouldn't take him seriously. The only ones he has access to are the ones at the school and he doesn't want to see them, since they're not the best.
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Sam W
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Hi Renene,

These are the resources I had in mind for you in terms of talking about sex with a partner:
Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner

Yes, No, Maybe So: A Sexual Inventory Stocklist

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Renenenenenene
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Also...I will say that when we started having sex, I would be an active participant in the foreplay stuff but once it actually commenced I would get kinda quiet. Not silent, I would make some noise, but not nearly as much as someone who was really into it would. He would say dirty stuff sometimes, but I could never think of anything to say in reply, so he'd end up just asking things like "do you want me" and all that so I would respond. I could never really figure out why I was hesitant to say anything, and why I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I should have.
I never felt pressured by him to have sex, and he thought that I was timid and self conscious when it came to being loud and talking and such. He never enjoyed it that much either, and was always disappointed when I didn't finish, because he thought that he was bad at sex.

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Sam W
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I will say that what you're describing doesn't sound like a super healthy and happy sexual life to me. However, thinking about how things were is helpful only so far as it helps you process and work through your feelings and figure out how to proceed in the future. Are the dynamics of your sex life now different from the ones you described above?

Also, two more articles to add to your reading list:
Driver's Ed for the Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent
Hello, Sailor! How to Build, Board and Navigate a Healthy Relationship

[ 02-12-2014, 11:30 AM: Message edited by: Sam W ]

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Renenenenenene
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Thank you, for the resources, I'll definitely take a look at them. And yeah, it really wasn't very healthy, I can't believe it took me this long to realize that.
Things are getting better, we haven't been intimate since we talked about it because, like I said, I want to take it slow. He's been respecting that and hasn't violated any set boundaries, it's been okay so far in that way. I'm not so hesitant to say no now, and I feel more comfortable because of that.

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Sam W
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You're quite welcome [Smile] . I'm glad to hear that things are going better, and that you are feeling more comfortable. I do want to reiterate Heather's suggestion that your boyfriend seek out therapy of his own, even if that might be difficult.
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Heather
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Just to be clear, as your therapist hopefully has explained to you, what we know from a lot of study on people who are abusive is that they don't change in any kind of real, permanent way, without counseling.

Even then, many will not, but that is the one thing - that and, I have to be honest with you, not staying in relationships with anyone they have abused - we know really even presents a chance at permanent change.

Temporary changes in abusive behaviour are not unusual. They are actually pretty common. But sadly, they are also usually short lived, especially when a person is not getting professional help changing not just their behaviours, but all the ways of thinking about relationships and themselves that tend to be at the root of abusive behaviour.

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Renenenenenene
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I know that...the thing is though I never really considered him to be abusive, beyond what happened in the beginning. Would the sex we had be classified as abuse, even though I gave consent and there was never much of an indication that I was anxious? Because it wasn't that I didn't want to do it, it's just that I would get nervous every time. I don't really think he knew that I was somewhat uneasy during it...I didn't even acknowledge it myself.
I really don't know what to do about this. I don't want to break up with him but I'm also hesitant to trust him.

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Heather
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Engaging in sex with someone a person has not sought consent from is a sexual assault. That is an abuse. Coercing someone into sex with things like guilt trips is an abuse. Verbally abusing someone with putdowns is also an abuse.

We can easily find out how someone feels about a thing by asking them. Did he ever ask you how you felt? If not, then this can't be about him just not knowing a thing, but likely was also about him not caring how you felt. When we care and are not sure, we ask, you know?

Can I ask what your therapist has advised if they know all the details here?

[ 02-12-2014, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sam W
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From what you were describing, it sounds like there was an indication that you were anxious and were not comfortable with what was happening. And, he noticed that this was happening (you mention that he made comments about it) and kept pushing for stuff.

The fact that you're hesitant to trust him is actually, to me, a sign that this relationship is not a good place for you. Have you considered taking a break, either from being sexual or from being in a romantic relationship with him to give yourself time to work through what you're feeling and give him a chance to seek therapy?

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Heather
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I am also very shocked, I have to say, given your description of the oral sexual assault, to hear a therapist apparently saying that is not an abuse.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Renenenenenene
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I know what happened in the beginning, when he pressured me into giving him oral sex, was abuse. But I don't know what to call the sex we had months after that. Cause we became sexually active with each other in July of last year, and I was fine with that, he didn't pressure me into it. But most of the time, when we did it after that, I would get nervous during it and, like I said, get kinda quiet. It was like I wanted it to happen but I was also uncomfortable during it, because trust had never been fully established.
We both thought, I guess, that consent was implied and that if there was anything I didn't want him to do, I would tell him and vice versa. I was nervous cause I didn't feel like I should say no to anything, not cause I was scared he would get angry but because I just didn't want to disappoint him, kill the "mood", or even acknowledge the fact that I didn't want to do it in the first place.
During it he would ask me if I was close to orgasm, and be disappointed when I said no. He thought he was bad at sex and was always just trying really hard to pleasure me. I think part of him always felt guilty for what he did in the beginning and he thought he owed it to me. Also I should mention that he never asked me to give him oral, even if he wanted it...

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Renenenenenene
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We're taking a break from sexual things...I'm trying to work these things out but it's very difficult...I know he really cares about me, and I trust him emotionally but not sexually...
Also when we were talking about this, and the intercourse we had came up, he said something like "oh my god, did you not want to have sex, were you uncomfortable" like he really didn't know...
I think my therapist was saying that what he did was abuse but that the relationship itself wasn't abusive.

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Heather
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I hear you saying, in a reply previous to this you STILL do not trust him.

I certainly think that is valid, but then I also winder this: why remain intimate with someone we don't trust? How is that safe for us, and how does that benefit us?

What about, if you simply do not want to part ways with this guy or not be involved romantically, you choose not to be so intimate until you have time to build trust, if it does turn out to be sound, and he makes efforts to get his own help, like by using what counseling is available to him?

Or what about just only choosing to be in intimate relationships with people with NO history of abusing you in any way? Can you see how very different that would be?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sam W
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I think it is a really, really good idea that you two have stopped being sexual with each other. If you didn't want to do it in the first place, then it wasn't consensual. Again, because he was the pursuing party here, it was his responsibility to check to make sure there was explicit, continuous consent going on. One should never assume consent is implied, especially if one of the partners doesn't seem to be engaged or excited by what is going on. When this was happening, did he never check to see how you were feeling, if you were happy?
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Heather
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I do not think anyone with any qualifications in healthy relationships would say that a relationship a sexual assault and verbal abuse happens within is not abusive. That would be like saying it was raining, but not rainy. In healthy relationships, people do mot sexually assault each other.

If a therapist did in fact say that, and was not very clear this has been abusive, I would suggest finding someone new to help you with this, or asking for a referral to a therapist with current education and a specialization in sexual abuse or abusive relationships.

[ 02-12-2014, 01:06 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Renenenenenene
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I think I will encourage him to get help...I want to try not being sexual to build trust, to see if it works.
I told him I wanted to do it, and like I said I was involved in foreplay. There was also no hesitation or anything.

As far as checking on me, it was like he just assumed I was okay because I didn't freeze up or act like I was in pain. I also would moan sometimes, cause I often got some pleasure for at least part of it. But I was never very loud and talking was an issue. I think he asked about that at one point and I told him I was embarrassed and didn't know what to say.
And then like I said, he'd keep asking if I was close, and when I said no he'd keep trying and asking, because he wanted me to get something out of it. Sex would always go on for too long and become monotonous for both of us, cause he was trying too hard to get me to finish.

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Heather
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You know, you can also set a limit about him getting help. In other words, rather than just supporting him if he does get it, make clear that it is a limit you are setting, something you need him to do, that he has to find a way to do, for you to continue being involved in any way.

Like I said, do know that a qualified counselor for people who have abused others will likely first tell him he needs to not be in relationships with anyone he abused to even start being able to really get better. If your own therapist has not told you about that thing we know from a lot of study, something basic anyone counseling someone about these things should know, then again, I am pretty shocked and dismayed. That is the most standard and basic first step in that kind of help, because it is very, very hard for people to really break patterns when they are still engaged in anything where they have behaved in that way.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Renenenenenene
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Yeah...I know, it doesn't really make sense to call a relationship in which abuse occurred anything other than abusive. I'm gonna talk to her more about it during our next session, and if she still thinks of it that way I'll talk to someone else.
And it really honestly makes sense for us to break up over this, I know that, but I just don't want to, however stupid that may seem.

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Heather
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How about you take some time and make yourself a list of how this relationship benefits you? If all the ways it makes you feel great about yourself, how it improves your life, whatever the really good things are that have you wanting to stay in it?

I have heard you say that there are some bad things he is not doing now, and things he is getting better at, but I have not yet heard you say anything at all about how this relationship has been and is something great for you or something that feels like it really benefits you and your life.

Sometimes just the process of doing that can clarify feelings in something like this, and let you better see what is actually going on.

[ 02-12-2014, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Renenenenenene
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That's a good idea, thanks..I'll try that..
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