Iím 17, and was abused for many years when I was younger and raped a year ago. I have been in therapy since the assault, and it is helping Ė but moving slowly. I have always been very shy and pretty much steered clear of every guy who ever looked at me. However, this past school year I have let myself get to know a guy in my art class. He knows a little about my past, though nothing in detail, and has been very nice, and keeps his distance. He has given me time to warm up at my own pace, and I feel just about as comfortable with him as I can be with anyone (which isnít a lot).
The past month, he has said that he has deeper feelings for me, and wants to move onto something more than friendship, but only if I want to. Part of me does, and part of me doesnít. I like him and enjoy his company. He is wonderful, and he respects me. I do think that I like him more than a friend, and the fact that he does, too, makes me happy. For once I felt like I was normal Ė my heart jumped and I was on cloud nine.
The other part of me, however, is scared, and keeping me from saying OK. It isnít something I can really help. I am scared that he will hurt me if I let him get closer, that it wonít work out and the best friendship Iíve ever had will be lost with the relationship. Iím scared he will get to know me deeper, and run because of everything I havenít told him. The biggest fear, though, is that I wont be able to move into anything beyond friendship. Iím not sure I can give him the things he would want Ė the physical part of the relationship Ė the hand holding, hugging, cuddling, kissing, etc. It is hard for me to let anyone touch me. Really hard.
He says he would wait, and only go as quickly or as slowly as I want to, but I donít want him to wait around for something that might never happen. Right now, I never want to have sex again. I know that might change, but it is my mindset at the moment. I know that relationships are not about sex, and that there are people out there who abstain their entire lives...however, I do know that physical contact is a part of all relationships Ė and that is not something I can really give currently.
I have brought this up with my therapist, but like I said, things are going slow. She believes I should be working on other issues first, and boys later on. Perhaps she is right. But I am so confused. Iím not really sure if I really have a question that can be answered. I guess I am hoping that maybe someone else has been through this before, and can give me some advice or at least tell me I am not crazy or paranoid.....anything. I feel very alone right now, and everyone I have talked with so far has not understood. They all think Iím overreacting. But I am just terrified.... but, I donít want to be.
You need to do whatever YOU feel comfortable with, and only that. Just take it easy, you don't need to listen to the advice of others if you think that it isnt whats best for you, but take it into consideration. Personally, I have no real backgrounds to help you on this. I would like to see Miz Scarlet answer you.
I'll be praying for you.
------------------ Love is natural, and everything that goes with it. ;)
Sounds to me Ailes, like you might best answer your question by sitting down with him and saying all of what you've said here, to him.
As a platonic friend, he's very unlikely to abandon you if you do that, and as a potential boyfriend, he can then be in the position to really evaluate if he can handle the pace you need and your (very valid) uncertainty about physical affection and sexual intimacy.
That's not to say divulging all of that is easy: it's incredibly hard and very scary. And with all of this, there's no need to question the validity of your fears. It sometimes takes rape victims half a lifetime to really heal -- it's rarely a swift process. That combined with abuse can be a major double whammy -- I dealt with that combination myself, and it's a really long road. You're not crazy or paranoid, you're feeling vulnerable and fragile and are worried about hurting more when you're already carrying a heavy load. That's about self-care and that's a good thing.
But I've always found that being as honest and sincere and I could was a big help. And if it's any consolation, 20 years after my rape, I'm totally fine. There are a few triggers for me in terms of the rape and abuse when it comes to sex or relationship dynamics, but they're minor, and I'm able to tell my partners in advance.
You do, though, have to be in a place where you feel able to trust another persons judgement about their choices. In other words, if for him, he says he's willing to wait and wants to, knowing that he may always be waiting, you need to trust his choice. And understand that that isn't a guarantee: at some point, it is possible he might decide it IS something he needs. If you think that may be something you can't handle, you need to consider that. You also need to be in a place, if you pursue this, where you know you can set and keep limits as you need them, and express them clearly and without reservation.
I don't want to second-guess your therapist because it isn't my place, and she's obviously much more informed as to all the details here than I could be. But I also think that joy is a pretty healing thing, and it's hard to work through all the issues around rape and abuse without some joy as well. And I don't think one can't do both.
But only you can really determine what's right for you, what you feel up to handling, and everything else. Even if you do opt not to change your current relationship with this boy, I hope you can glean some of the joy from feeling like you both do right now.
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