Very complicated situation, need some help clearing my head

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Osmund
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Very complicated situation, need some help clearing my head

Unread postby Osmund » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:41 am

Hi all. I'm so glad you're here. Apologies in advance for the War and Peace length of this post. I need help thinking through a really difficult, confusing month and this seemed like a good place to turn to.

About me: I'm pretty transmasculine-spectrum but am comfortable with my DFAB body and not interested in trans-related hormones or surgery. I'm bi/pan. I'm in my lateish 20s, but I have Asperger's, which among other things means that socioemotionally I'm a bit young for my age. I'm employed, but precariously and not much above minimum wage, and I don't have health insurance. I love history, science, poetry, animals and classical music. I volunteer with kids.

I grew up being physically and emotionally abused by my blood family. The first close, affectionate relationship I ever had was with a friend I made at 14. We became best pals. Let's call her K. (not her real initial). We've stayed very close. She is my real family, my heart family, my sister from another mister. Through her I met another friend, L. K. and L. are both cis het women. The three of us have been a tight, loving chosen family ever since. K. and L. are hugely important to me. I can't overstress this. We argue sometimes and annoy each other sometimes but we make each other very happy all told and I make my major life decisions on the assumption that we will be together and support each other and so do they. We've grown up together and been there for each other through a lot. I'm very lucky to have them both.

My Asperger's meant that I always had difficulty with the social dance of dating, and as I'm secretly something of a hopeless romantic I suffered a bunch of unrequited crushes on girls and guys both. I asked some of these girls and guys on dates but they all turned me down, and some of them made fun of me for asking. My first and so far only everything -- date, kiss, sex etc. -- was four years ago, with a guy I wasn't into physically or emotionally, and who didn't treat me very well. I just dated him because he was the first person ever to ask me on a date. Because I was a kissless virgin closing on my mid-20s, I got pressured, and pressured myself, into catapulting from my first kiss to my first PIV intercourse in under a week -- I never had that gradual sexual learning period a lot of people have in their teens. And I also have never had sex that was connected with genuine mutual affection and care. It was a bad relationship. My boyfriend and I had very little to say to one another and he wasn't respectful of my strong preference for clothing from the men's department and didn't much care about my enjoyment of sex. He also some pressure on me to use the withdrawal method even though I was terrified of pregnancy. I used fertility awareness and insisted on condoms during the riskiest days, but accepted withdrawal the rest of the time, which meant that I was near-constantly anxious, because I really, really don't want to get pregnant and would strongly have preferred condoms always. Because of fear and stress and lack of attraction to him, my vagina would be dry and closed when we had PIV, so that I had to get on top of him and bear down slowly in order to get his penis inside. I know I bear a large share of the responsibility for all this as I never spoke up. I just went along to get along, tried to do whatever he wanted and keep a smile on, because hey, at least I had a boyfriend for once, so I didn't want to mess things up. After a little over a year he broke up with me, and I was deeply sad even though I didn't love him or even like him much, because I figured that had been my one chance at a relationship.

L. is cheerfully promiscuous; K. is one for long-term monogamous relationships and has had several. I've gotten along OK with all of her boyfriends, but we haven't been best buds or anything. Then, three years ago, she met S. He's a cis bi/pan guy 7 years older than us. He and I hit it off. He's from another country in which I've spent long periods of time, so we have that in common. Also I think we recognized each other right away as people who'd been through traumatic childhoods and that that helped to draw us close. He's had a lot of terrible loss in his close relationships and been through a lot of grief, and on top of that one of the many bad things that happened to him when he was a little boy was that he was raped. When he told me I hugged him and cried with him. I felt relatively well able to deal with the situation because L. has also been raped and I was there for her through that. K. also knows about S.'s traumas, of course. Sometimes he gets badly triggered and we both are there for him then. S. has told me that he's been very lonely for most of his life and that I'm his best friend and that he admires me a lot. K. says that she can see that S. sincerely cares about me and that she is glad S. and I are friends because we both need friends.

S. has a lot of great qualities -- he's smart and perceptive and funny and talented and can be very sweet and affectionate and thoughtful. And to be honest, I was somewhat sexually and romantically drawn to him from the beginning. As we got to know each other better he was occasionally slightly flirty with me, which meant that I developed a full-blown crush on him. I felt wistful, wishing I could have a boyfriend like him, and knowing I probably never would. But I reminded myself that I could, at least, be in S.'s life as a friend, as a supportive and caring person he knew he could count on to be around long term. I think he needs someone like that, and so does K., who knows him better than I do. And I also reminded myself he and K. are probably going to be together for the very long haul, and that I'm genuinely happy about that, because they're good together.

Well, they were. It was always obvious to everyone that S. loved K. very much -- he'd get really down if she was annoyed at him, for instance -- and that she was happy with him. But this past year, they had a bunch of fights that K. confided in me about, and K. has become more and more dissatisfied and irritated with the relationship. In the spring something set off a mental health crisis in S. and he repeatedly got drunk and hit on a couple of other women and had panic attacks at work and broke down sobbing at home. After that things calmed down and improved between S. and K. and the summer was good. K. still wants things to work out with S., although she does talk sometimes about maybe breaking up with him. But then, four weeks ago today, S. confessed to me in private that he was attracted to me. To be honest, I was thrilled, because mutual attraction was a thing I had never experienced and assumed I never would experience. I didn't even feel sad that nothing could come of it, just delighted that it had happened, that this had been a part of my life, that I would always be able to remember that it had happened once.

I told S. that I was very flattered and felt the same but that nothing could happen between us because of K. and that we shouldn't discuss the matter again. K. was cheated on seriously by a previous boyfriend and I saw how much that upset her. K. herself has cheated mildly on two boyfriends but only kissing, nothing else, and she has been faithful to S. S. asked me to keep his confession of attraction a secret from K. and I agreed to, even though I had misgivings about doing so. S. cheated in his previous long-term relationship and has had a lot of romantic entanglements from a very young age, seeming to go from one to another with ease. I worry that this is a pattern for him and that K. will end up hurt.

Over the next couple of weeks I kept writing to S, just friendly stuff about how my day had been and so on, to show him everything was OK between us, because he had been worried I was angry at him for what he'd said. He wrote back some similar stuff for a while, but then started talking about how he'd like to kiss me. I said I'd like to kiss him too, but we couldn't do that, because of K. Then he started talking about how he'd like to do other sexual stuff with me. He said it would be OK to hide that from K. because we'd just be best friends with benefits and it wouldn't be romantic and we weren't going to fall in love -- but he then proceeded to call me romantic endearments and tell me he wanted me to buy him some jewellery so he could have a part of me always with him. I told him his logic about cheating and romance was off to say the least, but then I just...went along with it. I allowed things to evolve into heavy-duty sexual talk with him masturbating while we chatted online. I didn't masturbate, because although I felt initially aroused I then felt really bad and guilty because of K. so I just kept messaging to get S. off, telling him I liked it but really waiting for it to be over. That's how it used to be when I had sex with my ex-boyfriend -- I'd just be working to get him off, waiting for it to be over, feeling unhappy but pasting on a smile. It wasn't nice to be reminded of that, and really I think that even if S. and I were in an exclusive romantic relationship I'd feel kind of weird about sending explicitly sexual messages like those. I'm not keen on that kind of thing. But then S. wanted us to masturbate on webcam together and I unhappily went along with that too, putting on a fakey naked show for him while he masturbated twice. I was so upset about this the next day that I threw up.

I am out of town, indeed out of the country, for a couple of months but S. asked me to have sex with him when I come back, to have a long-term friends-with-benefits thing in fact, and I said I would because the attention and affection felt good and I do find S. attractive and I have never so much as kissed anyone I actually found attractive so I thought for a moment that maybe doing it once would be OK -- fooling myself and justifying my wrong behavior, as you do! But then S. started talking about stuff that I REALLY don't want to do. He said he trims his pubic hair and would like me to trim mine. I very strongly prefer to leave all my body hair where it is. He said he wanted me to wear lingerie. I very strongly prefer to wear men's underpants and plain bras. He said he had had a clear STI screening so he and I should buy a cervical cap so we can have penis-in-vagina sex without a condom. I think cervical barriers are cool and underused but I definitely would want to start out using condoms. He said we should have penis-in-anus sex, which I also SO don't want to do. I said I wasn't sure about that. He said he'd be very gentle and careful and affectionate it would be OK. At that point something clicked for me. K. and S. use condoms as contraception and K. once told me that she and S. had had penis-in-anus sex one time but that she had disliked it and they hadn't done it since. I understood then that S. wants to use me as an outlet for the sexual fantasies that K. will not fulfill for him.

And man, does that feel gross. The whole situation feels gross and I still feel physically queasy. For all that he's genuinely fond of me I feel that S. is being somewhat sexually overbearing with me. K. says he pushes her boundaries sometimes, not sexually but otherwise, and I see now what she means. And I'm going behind K.'s back and so is S. She loves both of us and while she doesn't entirely trust S., she trusts me implicitly. She would be really upset if she knew, as would L. -- L. loves and is loyal to both K. and me but she'd most likely side with K. as I'm the one doing wrong here and K. is the innocent party. I could lose both K. and L. over this if they found out, and so could S. Even if K. and L. and I managed to patch up our friendship somehow after they found out, things would never be the same between us, and that would mean the foundation of my life was wrecked.

And even if K. were with someone else and S. were single and we met now...well, I'd maybe want to pursue something with him, but I'd also be cautious. After all, I've only ever had sex with one person. S. has had sex with something like 20. He talks about wanting me to do things I've never done, like perform fellatio to ejaculation -- I've performed fellatio but only a few times and then only briefly, never to ejaculation. He wants me to orgasm with him and I've never orgasmed with another person present and can only orgasm if I masturbate through my underwear; I've been masturbating this way since I was a prepubescent 10-year-old and no matter how turned on I am touching my bare clitoris does as much for me as fiddling around with my elbow. I don't think I could fake orgasm convincingly with him seeing as he's so experienced. I've never given a handjob. It's three years since I had partnered sex at all. He wants me to be lubricated vaginally and I know I'd be dry and closed from fear and guilt. And so on and so forth. I feel I'd be a terrible disappointment to him in bed. But I'm scared to tell him how inexperienced I am because I don't want to disappoint him. I feel kind of scared of him in general now but I do still really care about him and want us to be friends and want to help him feel better, and I'm also pretty sensitive to rejection and have had a lot of rejection from crushes so if he went cold on me I know I'd take it badly, all the more so because I wouldn't be able to go to K. or L. for comfort.

At bottom I think that S. is pretty stressed out, having fairly recently, as in about six months ago, quit a substance he was addicted to, and is turning to sexual interaction with me as a way of relieving his stress. I'd like to help him cope with his stress in another way, but I don't know how to address this directly with him, because his rape and other traumas probably mean that he has problems around sex and I really don't want to make those problems any worse or trigger another mental health crisis for him. I also feel like I can understand where S. is coming from up to a point because we both grew up with violence and abuse, although in different ways, and that can make you act horribly sometimes. As a teenager I several times hit back at the blood family members who had been hitting me since I was little and once sent one to the hospital with broken bones. What they did to me wasn't right but what I did wasn't right, either. At the same time...I haven't hit anyone for many years now, for all that I was raised that way. I decided to be the place the violence stopped. And S. is older than me; he's had more time to get his responses to abuse under control.

I feel sad for myself too. I've always wanted a loving romantic relationship in which I'm seen and respected and wanted as the individual person I am but now I feel that's impossible: this is the only time I've ever had a crush reciprocated, and both people who've expressed a sexual interest in me have treated me the same in some bad ways: pressuring me to remove body hair, to dress in ways that go against my gender identity, to take risks with contraception, to have penis-in-anus sex. I feel disillusioned. I have a sex drive but I feel like I don't want anything to do with partnered sex any more. I don't want to play someone's pornified fantasy any more. I don't want to give up my dignity and self-determination for a few scraps of affection.

I should also mention that there are cultural issues at play. S.'s country is one where cheating by men is, if not accepted, often winked at, and where men often expect to be quite demanding about their sexual wants. I have spent years in that country, am very familiar with the culture, speak the language to a fluent idiomatic level, but I grew up in other cultures. I also grew up with much more privilege in terms of basic things like clean water and decent housing, as well as education and access to hegemonic culture in general, than S. has had. So S. and I are operating from somewhat different sets of expectations and I worry that we are talking past each other at times, especially since my Asperger's means that social misunderstandings happen to me a lot! I also think that the advantages I've had over him, for instance that I went to college and he only has an elementary-school education so I know more than he does about many things, mean that he perceives my social handicap as less serious than it is -- he thinks I'm reasonably socially competent, just shy, whereas a person with a similar level of education and privilege to me can see right away that I am quite 'off'.

And as if all that were not enough, S. lives in the US but does not speak English and is in a vulnerable situation regarding paperwork that for everyone's safety I don't want to spell out. (I only feel OK posting this in the first place because I'm posting from a non-US IP address.) I think you will be able to guess what I mean.

Basically I am in way over my head and need some help setting boundaries and extricating myself from a very sticky situation without hurting anybody.

Heather
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Re: Very complicated situation, need some help clearing my head

Unread postby Heather » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:49 pm

Hey there, Osmund. Welcome to the boards: I'm glad you've found us. It is 100% okay to write a long post with a lot of history: it can be really helpful for those of us working to help you out.

Just wanted to let you know that I'm digging into this right now, and should have some feedback for you shortly. <3
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

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8473
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
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Location: Chicago

Re: Very complicated situation, need some help clearing my head

Unread postby Heather » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:24 pm

I hope that it's okay for me to be pretty frank here.

I'm so sorry that you've experienced all the kinds of abuse that you have. You deserved better then, and you deserve better now. You deserve love and/or sexual relationships that are fully consensual, emotionally and otherwise safe, that respect and revere the other important relationships in your life, that see and accept you for who you are uniquely, and that don't have to exist in secrecy.

I very much understand why you're feeling gross, and I think that has a lot to do with that S. has been terribly mistreating, manipulating and abusing you.

I'm so sorry that this has gone on, so sorry you have been manipulated into doing things you don't want to, don't feel good about and that make you feel bad about yourself and pressured to be someone else instead of affirmed. It was very upsetting, to say the least, to read all of this (but I'm glad you shared it -- you holding all of this in without telling anyone is so terrible, and I'm so glad you found a way to end that here). My heart goes out to you.

My impression is that S. has been really, really shitty to you (and to K and probably to anyone who has let him in sexually or romantically, from the sounds of his tactics). What strikes me most, and feels like one of the most terrible, hurtful parts of what he has done is how much he clearly hasn't respected the seriousness of you and K's relationship and how much you mean to each other. He has very clearly done a lot of things to sabotage and deeply wound the relationship between you and K. That all by itself is a major abusive tactic: disconnecting someone from their friends and family, and K is clearly both of those for you. It seems to me he also knows exactly what he has been doing in that regard.

I also think it sounds like he's been awful to both of you in his interactions with you: I see very clear patterns of manipulation or coercion (MASSIVE coercion) here. I also see what looks a lot like him playing on your insecurities AND using your care for K and your relationship with her as a way to manipulate you. By putting you in something where everything has to be kept secret, he not only has isolated you from your biggest support systems, he also has made it easier to push you to do things he wants and you don't because you already are feeling so yucky about this and yourself because of it.

I think this person sounds very, very dangerous emotionally, and I'd strongly advise that you at least try and start thinking about extricating yourself from him. I know you might not feel ready or able to actually do that just yet, but I think if you can at least start thinking about it, that could get you started on a better track. I hear you that you feel he has a reason to behave like this. That may or may not be true, but if he's kicking a substance addiction by engaging in emotionally/sexually abusive and manipulative behavior with you, you are the LAST person who should be "helping" him with this. If that's what is happening, he needs to report that to whatever program, doctor or counselor(s) he is working with for his addiction, and separate himself from you or anyone else he's treating like this until/unless he is able to interact with you in healthy, safe ways.

I don't buy that this is about cultural issues: that feels like an excuse to me. Even if that was an issue, it still wouldn't make it okay for him to be treating both of you like he is. It wouldn't make it safe for you to be involved with this person. It wouldn't make his abuse not-abuse, you know? Same goes for his history: his abuse history doesn't make his abuse okay, excusable, or safe for you. If his abuse history has him abusing, then he needs to take responsibility for that, get away from anyone he is abusing, and start doing some work to learn to behave differently. Look at how you address this for yourself: that's the way someone safe when it comes to this sounds and acts. He has the same abilities you do. He's choosing to behave the way he is, and it's as much of a choice for him as it has been for you.

For the record, while being on the spectrum likely made it harder for you to see what was happening with this, I think a lot of why you got to the spot you are now is just because of how abuse works when someone is really good at it. Truly, even the most socially-savvy, neurotypical person could have found themselves in the same or a similar spot as you. This isn't about your Autism making you wrong or bad at this: I just want to be clear at that because I think it'd be easy to take that to a place of self-blame. I think you're in this spot because you got deeply involved with an emotionally abusive person who even had a head start on grooming you due to his relationship (and yours) with K.

I also want to make clear that two isn't a pattern. I get it -- boy, do I, I have so been there, and more than once -- when it comes to feeling disillusioned about sexual or romantic relationships when you have a couple people in a row, and especially in such a formative way, who are abusive. When we grow up with abuse, as you probably know, it's often much harder for us to see abuse coming or to feel ourselves being pulled into something abusive because it's been so normalized for us. By all means, I think that taking however long of a break you want from these kinds of relationships is the right thing: we should always not do this when we don't want to. But if and when you are interested in having this kind of relationship again, I by no means think you're doomed to have it be abusive. I'd be happy to talk with you about some things you can do to unlearn some of that normalization, help protect yourself and screen for healthy partners and partnerships if and when you ever want to do that. For now, I just hope that you can try and recognize that you're not what was wrong here: you are the injured party here, not the injurer. <3

I know that is a lot to take in, and while I mean for it to help, I know it might hurt in some ways, too. If you want a little time to just marinate in this, that's always fine: we're here on your schedule. If you'd like to keep talking, I'm here for a few more hours and would be happy to do that. same goes for if you're ready to start making a safety plan to get out of this relationship with S.
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

Heather
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Posts: 8473
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My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
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Location: Chicago

Re: Very complicated situation, need some help clearing my head

Unread postby Heather » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:51 pm

Just FYI, Osmund, I'm getting ready to head out for the day, but I'll be back tomorrow morning. Just didn't want you to come back and respond and feel like I was leaving you hanging.
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

Gone.Sorry.
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Re: Very complicated situation, need some help clearing my head

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:08 pm

Hi, Osmund.

I completely second everything Heather has said. I'm so sorry you're going through this. Please know we're here for you. It's okay if you need time to process and think and come back to this. This is about you, so you do whatever you need to be able to handle this all.

One thing that struck me in your ask was something in a similar vein I came across the other day. It's from an advice column: Slate's "How To Do It" by the asker "Not Ready To Give Up". Here's near the beginning of the ask: "A majority of my past relationships ended when other people in my life were kind enough to raise the 'get the hell out' alarm and recognized abuse where I couldn’t. I seem to be lacking a BS meter that other people must have; I can also never guess when someone is lying."
This reminded me of you because you have an issue I am intimately familiar with: difficulty in establishing and upholding boundaries for yourself. This is ending up with jerks and bullies in your life taking advantage of you and your anxiety telling you that you need to just buckle down and get through them doing these things to you because this is the best you'll ever have it and you HAVE to have this thing. (These are lies your brain feeds you in order to survive these abuses! These are what people taking advantage of you want you to think!)

I hope you'll go read that ask because I think the answer may really help you to hear. But if you don't, I want to link you to the resources provided in the answer.
One is a book called Asperger's Syndrome and Sexuality. The description sounds incredibly relevant to what you've been through, and I think it may be a really invaluable resource for you in beginning to learn to love yourself and support yourself and accept that you deserve better. I'm going to quote the whole summary here just because I think it's so relevant to you.

Playing the dating game is often tricky: all the more so for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome. How do AS adolescents and their families cope with sexual feelings and behaviour? What help can be given if a man with AS oversteps the mark in expressing his sexuality? How do people with AS deal with intimacy and communication in sexual relationships? In this comprehensive and unique guide, Isabelle Hénault delivers practical information and advice on issues ranging from puberty and sexual development, gender identity disorders, couples' therapy to guidelines for sex education programs and maintaining sexual boundaries. This book will prove indispensable to parents, teachers, counsellors and individuals with AS themselves.


Another resource linked in that advice column is another book, The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law. It's in a very similar vein to the above book and could be another great resource in your pocket.

The final resource mentioned is an autism spectrum advocate, Amy Gravino. I think checking out her videos in particular may be a helpful resource to you right now: https://www.amygravino.com/videos.html If any of the titles/descriptions pique your curiosity or seem relevant/useful!

How do you feel about videos? There are some Ted Talks regarding boundaries and such that I may be able to suggest to you, if you would be interested in these and may have the time/energy to go through any you're interested in.

Next in line for resources - do you have a therapist or counselor or access to be able to see one, even if you aren't currently. A therapist could be really good for you for a couple reasons.
One, you've been through a lot. That's a lot for one person to have to process by themself. Having someone who's job it is to listen to you and support you through this effort could be a relief and a big help towards gaining perspective about what you've gone through.
Two, this can be a great way to start learning that you deserve boundaries and give you good methods to being able to uphold and enforce boundaries.
Three, you've not only been through a lot, you're also going through a lot. You've got a lot of hurt and fear and anxiety about your current situation. You're afraid that if the truth comes out, you'll lose your support system of your friends K and L. Even if things do get difficult and/or weird with K and L, you may feel safer and stronger having your therapist in your corner.
As someone else without health insurance, I completely understand any concerns regarding cost. There may be low cost options near you or you may be interested in an online resource that would be more available and more affordable for you. I had looked into online counseling a while back. I can dig through my old resources and see if I can find something that may be workable to you.

In addition (if at all possible) to a therapist, perhaps there's some sort of autistic folk groups/meetups in your area that you could look into joining/hitting up a few meetings. You might find such groups through facebook or meetup.com. Such groups could have several benefits for you as well. One, it could expand your social circle and give you a bigger support network so you don't feel so dependent on a small amount of people. Two, it could really help you realize how not alone you are. Three, it would give you another great resource of people who perceive the world much like you and may have similar experiences and can help share how they've dealt with circumstances like this and what helps them create and enforce boundaries.

The last thing I want to address for this post is the core of your question: how to get out of this without hurting anybody.

I can absolutely feel the love and loyalty you have for your friends who've become your family. It's clear how much you care for them and how much you're hurting right now. I don't doubt any of that, and you don't have to either.

But you can't control how other people feel. You're in a really crappy situation. You're hurting now because this is a hurtful situation. Your hurt also matters. You can't hurt enough to take away other people's pain, nor do you deserve that.

S is his own person and made his own choices. He doesn't need you to make excuses for you. He's his own person, and he's made some awful, hurtful choices, and that's 100% on him.

I think S manipulated you and took advantage of your feelings and your compassionate and generous personality, and while you may be involved in a hurtful situation, I don't think you caused or created this situation and should allow yourself to grieve about the bad things that have happened to you. It's okay to admit that you're hurt and upset.

K and even L may be hurt and upset at what's been happening. They're allowed to feel that hurt. It may impact your relationship with one or both of them for a while. But hopefully they care about you as much as you care about them, and if that's true, I hope they will take the time to hear and see your side of the story and work towards rebuilding your friendship together.

I personally advocate for clearing up and extracting yourself from this situation by opening up and telling the truth. I know! That sounds terrifying and scary! It is! I just don't think this is something you should have to cover up and keep inside and take all responsibility for. I think being able to say what's happening would stop this cycle of manipulation and help give you power and belief in yourself back. Right now S is isolating K from you, an important person in her support system, and you from your friends, an important part of your support system, and I think keeping this a secret is just increasing the power he has over you. Honestly could be really freeing.
However, I absolutely don't think you have to or should do this immediately or even soon. I think it's definitely a good idea to prioritize your safety and extricate yourself from S first. I think it's definitely a good idea to widen your security net and "team you" by looking into resources like counseling and meetup groups. I think it's definitely a good idea for you to move at your own pace and do what you feels right. (Just because I think speaking up and sharing with K would ultimately be beneficial for you both doesn't mean you have to do it!!! Not at all! This is your life, not mine.)

If/when you're feeling ready to start extricating yourself from S, I think stepping back and taking a break from this one-sided friendship would be a good first step. Tell him that you need some space to think about what's important to you and you'll get back in touch with him when and if you're ready, but in the meantime, you should stop having private conversations, not hang out alone, and be cordial to each other if you're both at the same group hang. Then block him. Block his number, his social media, his email - all private contact you have with him. If he convinces K to pressure you about it, you can tell her that this is really hard for you - she knows how good a friends you two were - but that you've had to make a decision that's best for you, you still want to support her relationship with S, and that what you need right now is just what you said: some space and time from hanging out with S alone.

I know this is no small step. I know you're probably not ready for a step like this. Please do consider some of the other resources I linked and talked about above. You have to go at your own pace.

I'm hoping for all the best things for you. You deserve better, and you can have better, but you have to be prepared to demand better sometimes. <3

Heather
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Re: Very complicated situation, need some help clearing my head

Unread postby Heather » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:41 am

I've said it in another thread, but I'll say it again: I really appreciate your contributions, horriblegoose! Thank you! Great suggestions on sexuality and Autism resources, too. <3
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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