If your partner was sexually abused, some of the ways he has learned to cope, or to keep the thoughts and memories of the abuse at a distance, may be “playing themselves out” in your relationship with him.This may include self-soothing by use of alcohol, overwork, excessive interest in sex or pornography, etc. You do not have to accept or approve of behaviours that are not working for you or your relationship; nor is it your job to fix them.It is worth encouraging him to access support that helps him develop more life-affirming patterns and ways of dealing with stress and distress.
Read more about how solutions can become problems on the page Dealing with the effects of childhood sexual abuse.For a long time, until I could talk about it all and find some other ways of getting by, I just tried whatever was available.The behaviours listed above might have developed as a direct result of being sexually abused, or in an effort to manage the trauma.They should not be seen as evidence of a damaged person.One of the best things you can do is to keep respectful communication flowing.
Remember to take time out if it gets too intense, and then to return to the topic and talk about the important stuff when you have had a breather.
Before discussing some of the ways sexual abuse can impact men and their relationships, it is important to acknowledge that couple relationships require time, effort and commitment – from both parties – to be successful.
A relationship can be a place of intense joy and pleasure, and at times can produce considerable heartache and distress.
You probably already have most of the tools you need.
Partners and men who have been sexually abused have identified a number of themes that can appear in their relationships. The closeness-distance dynamic is one of the common relationship challenges following sexual abuse, in which you might experience a see-sawing in your relationship.
It can then provide a starting place for positive change.