Relationship My boyfriend just opened up about situations in his childhood where he was sexually assaulted and he also sexually assaulted one of his cousins.

This is gonna be a long post so thank you to anyone who reads this fully and helps me with this situation. I will try to make this as easily understandable as I can while also trying to not leave anything out.

My Boyfriend of 3 years has been noticeably struggling mentally for the past few months. He used to work as a correctional officer at a few prisons when he was 18, right out of high school. He did that for about 3 years. He told me that while he was there he saw a lot of stuff that still gives him problems (like ptsd). He’s seen people almost die, people being stabbed, had to give cpr to a man that had unalived himself and was already gone, and a lot of other horrible things.

Lately he hasn’t been sleeping well and he’s been waking up from nightmares and shaking at night. He has told me that this was all happening because of the things that happened to him at the prisons. Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, I found out that this wasn’t the only thing that has been effecting him.

To preface I need to explain some things. When he was 10 years old he was being heavily bullied, by a kid his age that was one of the bigger kids, about the size of his penis because this bigger kid saw it at a urinal. He relentlessly bullied him about the size of his penis to the point where he went to his parents about it and was talking about not wanting to be alive anymore.

After he told his parents they took him to a doctor and this doctor thought it would be a good idea to give him hormone shots (testosterone) to jump start his puberty so that he’d grow quicker. These hormone shots completely dysregulated him. He started to feel the urge to do things that he didn’t understand(sexually inappropriate things). He said that when he got that urge that he would shake and it would feel like he would explode if he didn’t try and do something about it. This lead to him looking at his sister and cousins inappropriately.

He said that before he started hormones him and his cousins would “play doctor” sometimes and that he’s pretty sure one of his female cousins had been sexually abused because looking back she knew a lot about what to do and would initiate things like taking their clothes off and touching each other sexually(no penetration or oral, just touching). His sister is 3 1/2 years younger than him and his cousins were 2 years younger and one was the same age as him. This playing doctor stuff started when he was about 6 with his cousins(this didn’t involve his sister).

He said that after he started the hormones he started to feel urges that he didn’t understand like wanting to look at and touch his sister and cousins and randomly getting hard and not knowing what was happening. He said that he looked at his sister one time and he started to get hard and it scared him cause he thought he was gonna explode and up until then he never tried to do anything about it. He said he tried to touch her with his penis but it didn’t work because there was a rail in the way and his penis wasn’t big enough to actually do anything so he just stopped because he didn’t want to wake her up. He said this happened one time.

Also I should say him and his cousins were left unsupervised and were able to watch whatever they wanted so they watched a lot of stuff like animal planet and the discovery channel where very animalistic and sexual things happened that maybe a 5-10 year old shouldn’t be watching, unsupervised especially.

So when he started to feel these things from the hormones he said he understood a little bit about it from those things, but he didn’t really understand what those feelings were, he just knew he needed to do something about it or it felt like he would explode.

He also told me that when him and his sister were around 5 and 2 that a married couple that was friends of his mom used to babysit them while his mom and dad were at work. His mom found out one day that the man was a child sex offender and one day when they were over there they got picked up earlier than usual and it seemed like his mom wanted to kill that man. He didn’t find out until he was an older teenager that the man was a child molester. He says that he doesn’t remember much from being babysat by them but he has one memory of him and his sister taking a bath while they were watching them (in the middle of the day) and that man was in there watching them. He thinks that he and his sister were sexually abused over there and that they just blocked it out of their minds because of the trauma.

He said the big thing that he has been upset about is something that he did to his cousin that was 2 years younger than him when he was 11 and she was 9. He said that him and his cousins were all sleeping over. They were all on a pallet on the floor and he suddenly got that urge again. So he sat up and started to look at his cousin next to him, who he thought was asleep, and he said that he pulled her pants down to look at her the way his other cousin, that was his same age, showed him to do. He said he rolled her on top of him when she was asleep and that his penis touched her pubic area (the mons pubis) and he ejaculated for the first time ever. He said he was scared and didn’t know what happened so he pulled her pants back up and thought to himself that if he just never thought about it again and now that he had done it, that that’s what was making him feel like he was gonna explode and that it wouldn’t happen again after that.

The next day everyone got picked up and him and his sister went to their grandmas house while his parents went to work. He remembered his mom coming back later that day (they would usually be dropped off Friday and picked up on sunday) and took him on the back porch. She asked him what he did and he said he was in shock at first and babbled for a few seconds because he didn’t know what she was talking about and then she grabbed and shook him and started yelling very sternly asking him if he knew and understood what he did. He told me that in his head he thought maybe he had broken a plant pot of his grandmas and that’s why she was mad. Then she said your cousin and what you did to her. Then he realized what she was talking about and she said “you raped her, do you know what you have done to her and yourself, do you know what you have done to me”. He said she grabbed him while saying all of this and shook him once and that he’s never been more scared in his life.

His mom had been sexually abused as a child by an older man so she had particularly strong feelings about what he did. He said that after she was done with him she took his sister back home and he was left there with his grandma for the week and weekend after that. His cousin had told her mom everything that happened and then she let his mom know. Up until now his grandma, mom, dad, aunt, and cousin were the only people to know about it.

He told me that the reason he’s been so mentally bad off was because he’s been trying to build up to tell me all of this because we’ve been talking about marriage recently and he didn’t want me to make the decision to marry him without knowing this thing about him first. He said that some of the traumatic things he told me about when he worked at the prisons was overdramatized because he wanted to give me better excuses for why he was being so mentally unwell cause he wasn’t ready to tell me everything. He knows that I’m really smart and I can tell when someone is lying to me usually so he said he wanted to make it to where I wouldn’t question it because he wasn’t ready to tell me about what he did and what happened to him as a child. He said that somethings were completely true and that he does actually have ptsd from when he worked in the prison system, but it’s nothing compared to the regret and hurt he holds from his childhood and what he did to his cousin.

I know that there are “appropriate” sexual behaviors for children of that age and I understand that his body was basically forced into puberty before his mind could understand what was going on and he was never explained anything about what puberty would do to him or how it would make him feel. And because of these things I don’t believe what he did had any malicious intent behind it or that he was necessarily targeting his cousin or any of the other girls. When he was first actually getting it out of his mouth to tell me, he just blurted out that he raped his sister and his cousin when he was a kid and then when he explained more I understood all that went into it and that he didn’t just maliciously rape the girls around him but that he didn’t understand at the time that what he was doing was wrong.

I’d like to here some other thoughts on this situation because trying to cope with all of this just being thrown onto me is weighing on me heavily and I’ve been super overwhelmed the passed 2 days. He relies too much on me when it comes to his mental illness and talking through it. I’m not a therapist i just know a lot about this stuff because of personal experience and I like to read a lot on this.

I really wish he wouldn’t have told me all of this before he tried to talk to a therapist about it and I told him that as well and he’s been apologizing for telling me like he did. And I really wish he would have held off telling me after the holidays. I also have mental health issues. I have OCD that causes me to have intrusive thoughts that clash with what I know is reality and right now I’m having intrusive thoughts about him possibly trying to hurt me or kill me because he regrets telling me and he doesn’t want anyone else to know so he will try to silence me. We’ve been staying at my moms house because these intrusive thoughts have scared the hell out of me.

He hasn’t done anything to show me that he wants to hurt me or regrets telling me and he is genuinely one of the kindest and gentlest people I know and has never made me feel anything but safe around him. During the first year we were together we had some troubles with some of his friends and we ended up breaking up for a little while (couple weeks) because of them. He told me that this was a big part of it and that a lot of what he had told me was the reason he broke up with me was a bunch of half truths. So now I’ve been asking him things as I remember them to see if they were true or not.

I feel very conflicted cause I understand why he didn’t tell me all of this and I also believe that him withholding this part of his life from me wasn’t necessarily a lie but I am pretty hurt that he lied to me about other things. Now I’m racking my brain like did he lie to me about everything? How much do I really know? If I really know who he is? Because a lot of the things he told me shaped the way that I thought about him and understood him as a person and now I feel like I have to redo all of the things I think about him and see if they’re real or not. I’ve given my entire self to him, he knows everything there is to know about me and I’ve never lied to him about anything.

So thinking that maybe the past three years we’ve been together and have been getting to know each other as much as we do, that maybe I don’t really know him the way I think I do because a chunk of it all was a lie or only half true. That shit is really mind f*cking. Tomorrow we are gonna set an appointment for us to go to therapy together and talk this stuff through with someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about. I have an appointment with my regular therapist the 28th and I’m gonna talk to her about it too.

I just need to hear some other people’s thoughts on all this because it’s really overwhelming to keep it all bottled up to myself and only have him to talk to about it.
 
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That’s a lot of hear and I can understand all your feelings and responses to it.
sometimes there is no good way to say things. So whilst it wasn’t ideal how and when he said it, every way and every time prob is going to hurt?

I’m a bit confused, and I don’t know if this makes a difference or not, but what is described isn’t rape. he Says he did, but then the descriptions aren’t rape? Unless I am misunderstanding?
it’s really difficult because abused children do go on to abuse Other children. Not all of us. But it does happen. The first person who abused me was another child. does that make the abusing child culpable? Such a difficult area.

couples Therapy sounds an excellent idea. The positives are: he has told you, he is working on the relationship with you, he is committed to you? i can understand why it took him so long to tell you. It’s traumatic and he risks losing everything. The fact is: he has told you. He could have chosen not to.

only you will know what you want to do. Taking time to think it all through seems a good idea.
 
I’m a bit confused, and I don’t know if this makes a difference or not, but what is described isn’t rape. he Says he did, but then the descriptions aren’t rape?

This. What is described could be under molestation but not necessarily rape. Honestly his parents should have done therapy over the bullying instead of hormones and failing that should have definitely done therapy when these incidents happened instead of calling him a rapist and shunning him. That’s a perfect recipe for him to feel and act the way he is now.

I won’t say there wasn’t anything wrong with what he did, because on some level it was. But not anywhere on the same plane as someone who would have understood those feelings and chose to act anyway.

I hope you do both take therapy seriously, individually and as a couple. He absolutely needs individual therapy at minimum to work through this stuff.
 
That’s a lot of hear and I can understand all your feelings and responses to it.
sometimes there is no good way to say things. So whilst it wasn’t ideal how and when he said it, every way and every time prob is going to hurt?

I’m a bit confused, and I don’t know if this makes a difference or not, but what is described isn’t rape. he Says he did, but then the descriptions aren’t rape? Unless I am misunderstanding?
it’s really difficult because abused children do go on to abuse Other children. Not all of us. But it does happen. The first person who abused me was another child. does that make the abusing child culpable? Such a difficult area.

couples Therapy sounds an excellent idea. The positives are: he has told you, he is working on the relationship with you, he is committed to you? i can understand why it took him so long to tell you. It’s traumatic and he risks losing everything. The fact is: he has told you. He could have chosen not to.

only you will know what you want to do. Taking time to think it all through seems a good idea.
He thought what he did as a child made him a monster. So from his little understanding about this stuff and the way he was treated by his mom after it happened, he thought he raped her. This entire time he believed he was a horrible monster for what he did and that’s why he was suffering so much mentally with trying to tell me. I’ve been explaining to him about how he was also just a child going through something that no child should have to experience and he’s felt a lot less like he is some kind of monster. He still feels regret and he said he wants to apologize to his cousin some day soon and explain to her what all happened because he’s sure that she doesn’t know anything about the hormones he was on and she just thinks that he targeted her and chose to abuse her. Thank you for your kind response to the situation. We are committed to one another and I do love him and want to work through this with him.
 
This. What is described could be under molestation but not necessarily rape. Honestly his parents should have done therapy over the bullying instead of hormones and failing that should have definitely done therapy when these incidents happened instead of calling him a rapist and shunning him. That’s a perfect recipe for him to feel and act the way he is now.

I won’t say there wasn’t anything wrong with what he did, because on some level it was. But not anywhere on the same plane as someone who would have understood those feelings and chose to act anyway.

I hope you do both take therapy seriously, individually and as a couple. He absolutely needs individual therapy at minimum to work through this stuff.
I was trying to explain to him the same thing after he explained the entire situation to me. I told him that there’s a difference between rape and molestation. And that what he did was a bad thing, but that he had no idea what he was doing really and there was no malicious intent behind so that didn’t make it rape. I also told him last night, when we were talking about what his mom said to him after she found out, that she shouldn’t have handled it that way. Also that that doctor should have never told them to put him on hormones and instead gotten him therapy. We are definitely gonna get both individual and couples therapy in order to help work through this. Thank you for your reply. Hearing other feedback on the situation really helps with my mental health right now and I know when I show him it will help him to feel better as well.
 
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