Miz S. - I may be completely out of line here, but I gathered from your replies to other posts that you have a history of abuse and I was wondering if maybe you could give me some advice.
I was sexually abused 6 years ago and have since had a rather shaky relationship with males. In some situations, all it takes is a male voice to freak me out. If a guy I don't know approaches me or talks to me, my eyes are generally fixed on the ground and I am out of there as soon as possible. Over the years, I've built a few close friendships with guys that I deemed 'safe', but I've not been able to build a stable relationship because I start to shake and basically get hysteric as soon as a guy wants to do more than hug me. A few months ago, I got tired of this and made the spectacularly intelligent decision to 'face my fear'. Basically, I ended up sleeping with a guy I barely knew. It was horrible on several levels because I realized way too late that he was not at all who I'd thought he was and in many ways, I think I made my situation only worse. Shortly after this, I got close with another friend of mine and we decided to give a relationship a go. He is a thoroughly amazing guy and has been giving me all the space I need. I've told him I was abused, but he doesn't know any specifics. He is however very aware of my difficulties trusting a guy and we've been working very hard to give our relationship a chance. I've decided that I want to get physical with him and we have talked about it and I know that he is going to respect me in every way. I guess what I am asking is this: Is there anything I -or he- should do or pay attention to specifically to make sure that it's not another complete desaster for me? Most of the time I feel like I am really going to be okay this time, but others there is a nagging fear in the back of my mind.
I know i'm not Miz S, but i think i may be able to offer some advice.
As amazing as your boyfriend may be, when it all comes down to it, this is about you and whether or not you're ready for this. Yes, your boyfriend can listen and help you explore your feelings about it, but if you're just not ready, there's no amount of 'fancy dancing' he can do to get you there.
Have you received any counseling for your abuse? If not, it may be a good idea to do so before you decide to enter into a physically intimate relationship. And take your boyfriend too. Granted, counseling doesn't provide all of the answers, but often it can give you the tools to help you look for the answers yourself.
You mentioned this nagging fear ... Of what, exactly? You don't have to answer here, but it's something to think about. What are you scared will happen? Realistically, what are the risks? What is the worst that can happen? Should the worst happen, what resources do you have in place to cope w/ it? And finally; is this a risk you're willing to take?
No, I've not received any counseling. Back when it happened my mother told me I was making a big deal over nothing, so I just sort of believed her and tried to 'get over it'. And now I'd just feel silly getting help for it because it happened *6* years ago and I should be moving on already.
As for my fear - I am afraid that he might subconsciously do something that will trigger a memory. I really really don't want to put him in the position of the bad guy. 'Cause when that happens, when I get scared and start to feel like I'm being overpowered, I play dead. I freeze up completely. And I just don't want that to happen with him because I don't want to put him into that position, to feel like he is doing something wrong or hurting me or whatever.
HumanTornado: for future reference, it's never out of line to ask me about anything like this. I'm actually completely fine with users asking me about any of my history -- if something is private for me, I'll just say so, so always feel free.
Smurf is right: counseling is a real help in situations like this. If one-on-one counseling doesn't appeal, there are also often support groups to be found of other women experiencing/having experienced the exact same things, and that can actually be a real comfort and help.
Per your relationship with your partner, and entering into a sexual relationship, baby steps are just going to be really optimal, and it sounds like you and he are both good with that: that's great.
Something *might* be a trigger for you, and that's something you'll both have to be prepared for. if you don't think you can handle that happening or he can't, it'd be best to wait for sexual partnership until one or both of you IS more comfortable with that. I'd suggest picking up "The Survivor's Guide to Sex" by Staci Haines for both of you to read for help with that, and food for thought on those lines.
(We can chat this out more here -- I'm sorry for the shortness of my reply today, but I have my partner in from out of town this weekend, so only have time for a short work period. But I'll be back around Tuesday.)
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