Partner-intimacy-issues For the Survivor and Partner
What a beautiful picture, huh?
Like the proverbial elephant in the livingroom, Partner-intimacy-issues can require a lot of time and space, kind of like the space this picture takes up on this page, but in the end, a beautiful relationship can be the result!
Trust me, in my own relationship with my husband, it takes effort every single day, but yes God, it is certainly worth it!
When you have been sexually abused, intimacy is usually foreign to you and partner-intimacy-issues will probably erupt if and when you decide to get into a relationship.
Like I mentioned in "My Story" if you read it, I spent YEARS on my own because I just didn't want to deal with intimacy at all! That is because I knew that I would have to deal with partner-intimacy-issues! That certainly is a choice..but a lonely one. I can attest to that! I did have the company of my two cats..but that doesn't take the place of a warm and loving partner. I am sure that a lot of you ladies out there can relate to that!! I found myself talking to myself..and my cats. When you find yourself answering back, or if your cats start answering back well, you need to run, not walk, to the nearest hospital!!! :)
Your abuser stole your ability to develop intimacy away from you when he took your trust from you. You have to regain trust to develop intimacy. That's it, plain and simple.
The key to the development of a long lasting healthy intimate relationship is time. Time for the trust to build. Your partner has to be a patient soul. Sometimes that is hard to find..but believe me, those people are out there, so don't give up hope! That is the reason for Partner-intimacy issues.
You are worth loving and cherishing! Someone will see that, but you have to see it in YOURSELF first.
If you are in a relationship and you wish your partner to read this, that is a good idea.
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FOR YOUR PARTNER:
Partner-intimacy-issues include you! You need to give the survivor time to trust you. Just because you have never given her reason not to trust you doesn't mean she will automatically trust you. Unfortunately, you are getting the brunt of her fears from her abuse.
Don't take it personally. I know that is difficult and you may not understand or like it..but it is what it is. Basically, it sucks! One thing I know is that you care about your abused partner or you wouldn't be reading this right now. Bless you for that. She is lucky that you care. That is something to build on.
Allow the survivor to have as much control in the relationship as possible. Make it a 50/50 partnership.
Open communication is essential!!
Talk about everything. Don't assume anything!! You have NO IDEA what eachother is thinking. Neither one of you are mind readers! If you were you would make a ton of money and both quit your jobs!
Partner-intimacy-issues are prevelant in the bedroom. Always ask permission in some way before having sex...or before trying new sexual things. Being sexually creative is great! but only if it is consentual sex!!
Even weird and strange sex is fine..but ONLY if both of you agree to it! Get my point!!!!
Support her recovery!! If she needs to go to meetings, then allow her to go to meetings. It is for your benefit as well as hers. That is her lifeline! This applies for church as well.
Regarding Partner-intimacy-issues, first and foremost for my husband and myself, we have to put God at the center of our relationship. When we start forgetting to do that, we start fighting and sniping at eachother. It only takes a couple of days to figure out what is wrong and we get re-centered.
Abandonment can be a huge Partner-intimacy-issue! Make sure you call her if you are going to be late! Don't spend huge amounts of time on the computer,reading,watching TV without her etc., get my point? She might perceive this as abandonment.
Anger, another Partner-intimacy-issue. When tempers flare... She might shut down. If she was physically abused along with sexually abused. You, her partner, may not ever hurt a fly, but subconsciously, she doesn't know that.
She could still be in a stage where she perceives you as a threat and may dissociate and shut down, like I said above and go into survival mode. Don't push her into talking to you at that moment. Give her space and let her come to you. Let her know you love her and support her.
She will come around in her own time. Each time you react in that way, you build trust. Like I said at the beginning, trust is a huge issue and takes time to build.
Dissociation is not necessarily a Partner-intimacy-issue, but a symptom of sexual abuse that is a scary thing to witness. If she shuts down and appears to be in another place, mentally. Do as before. Support her and love her. She will come around.
Let her talk about her abuse if she needs to. There are times that I absolutely need to talk like a babbling crazed woman to my husband when my abuse issues get triggered. I tell my husband NOT to try and FIX anything but to just let me talk.
Sometimes, he just can't do that. Men are wired different than women. When he can't listen, I need to talk to my girlfriends and he is understanding and I go where I need to go. Now, in an equal relationship, girls, you need to allow your partner the same respect. If he needs alone time or time out with his friends, respect that too! It works both ways!
I mentioned Respect. Respect is a HUGE partner-intimacy-issue. Mutual respect is everything. When someone is abused, their respect is also taken away.
You can show respect in small ways and big ways. Guys, you know what I mean! Think of her needs..and I would bet she will think of yours. If she doesn't, go back to the communication thing. Keep it open.
My guess is that she, as a survivor, will detect even the slightest bit of disrespect from you. If she is early in recovery, she might still allow you to disrespect her. It is your responsibility to not disrespect her!
Make it a point to lift eachother up every day instead of bring eachother down. Think of 10 kind things you can say to eachother each day at least..and your relationship will be better than most!
Finally, if she asks you to go to counseling with her, go.
Counseling is helpful for almost EVERYONE! Don't let it intimidate you. They aren't going to try to analyze you or blame you for anything.
The goal is you having a successful, intimate relationship.
You are well on your way if you follow my suggestions.
Remember, partner-intimacy-issues don't get resolved overnight or without help sometimes. Sometimes counseling is the best way.
A third party can sometimes see things clearly because they are on the outside looking in. That does NOT mean JUDGING YOU! If you feel that they are, get a different counselor.
If you feel that way with the second counselor, then it is YOUR problem, not the counselor's. Bite the bullet and do it for your wonderful partner whom you love and cherish and would do anything for...right? You will also get the benefits too.
You can do it, I know you can. I have faith in you! I really do!
Like I have said throughout my website, I will not leave your side. If you have questions, I am at your disposal with my own personal expertise and my professional expertise. No question is too dumb or wrong. Believe me, I have heard it all! Especially where sex is concerned! :) So, feel free to email me and ask away. If it requires a professional therapist, I will let you know and refer you.
Read together, pray together, cuddle together (not sex, OK, have sex), support eachother, talk to eachother, praise eachother and most of all, have patience with eachother. If you do all of these things, you should be well on your way to a healthy intimate relationship!
Good luck and God bless you both!
Further questions??? Got comments or suggestions for additions to this page?? Send me an email and I will respond to you within 24 hrs.
Interested in reading my NEW ebook "Developing Intimacy"?
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