Rape: can my relationship overcome this?

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Rape: can my relationship overcome this?

Unread post by curiousflower »


So, lately, I have been feeling a bit anxious, and I find myself trying to avoid doing things to sexually arouse my boyfriend. After reading several articles on the internet, including this blog's article "What is Rape & What Is It Like to Be Raped?", I've realized that I've been in situations with my boyfriend that fit the description.
I love my boyfriend, and I am sexually attracted to him and have done with him very good consensual sex, but he has a higher libido than I have and while I enjoy long sex sessions with patience and time to go through preliminaries, he sometimes wants those quick moments just to relax a bit before going to do something else, which for me are not particularly pleasureful. Because of these differences, I have found myself sometimes, having sex with him just to get it over with, giving him enough satisfaction so he will leave me alone so that he won't be disappointed. I was never violently forced, and technically I have always said yes, but definitely, in those cases it was not without some persuasion or with enthusiasm.
I never really considered this rape, I thought it was normal or maybe I just wanted to confront the reality, I think my boyfriend is that way too. But now that I read this I can see how my situation fits the description of it, and I cannot deny it. And I have been noticing how it affects my behavior, for example how I stopped kissing him so much because I don't want the kisses to lead to sex (even tho I wanted to kiss him).
Now, this is something affecting me and my relationship, something that now I want to heal from, but also, I don't want to break up with him over this, I think we have enormous potential together, and I believe we can fix this between us, with a big heart to heart honest conversation where we both commit to respect each other's boundaries and make our limits clear.
But I would like to hear your knowledgeable opinion on this, do you think our relationship can be saved? Do you have any advice on how to work this out and how to guide that very needed conversation?

Sometimes I feel guilty for forgiving him and wanting to still stay with him. Like, I should see him as this evil person and not my otherwise loving and caring boyfriend. But at the same time, I think we were just educated to do things this way and we didn't know any better.
The same way people are educated to view rape only as the act that involves violence and is punishable with prison time makes us not want to believe that the persons we love can also rape us, in different ways. But these are 2 different types of rape, do you think, that this second type has redemption, and can be forgiven? Am I weak for forgiving my boyfriend?

Thank you so much for all the work you are doing here,
Sam W
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Re: Rape: can my relationship overcome this?

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi curiousflower,

It sounds like this is all bringing up some big, conflicting feelings for you, so let's see what we can do to untangle them.

I think it's important to start out by saying that I can't tell you if you should, or can, forgive him. That's a choice only you can make. I will say that how willing someone is to forgive someone who sexually assaulted them isn't dependent on how violent the assault was, though that can certainly play a role; people can decide not to forgive instances where no physical force was used, while others can decide to forgive in instances where a lot of physical force was used. It's up to each survivor to navigate that choice for themselves.

What I can advise you on is whether it's at all safe for you--both emotionally and physically--to stay in this relationship. I think a starting point for that is: when there's an instance where you don't want to have sex but agree to do so anyway, what happens if you say "no" directly? Are you afraid of what will happen if you do? When you've said "no" in the past, how does he react? And what does that "persuasion" you mentioned usually involve?

(As an aside, when someone wants a quick source of sexual release in order to relax and their partner isn't up for it? That's a time to masturbate, not continue to ask a partner to be sexual).
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