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What to do with this relationship? Coping with Sexual Assaults In Long Term Relationship.

LucyLou

Learning
I've been with my partner for almost 10 years, we have 3 children together (5,7 and 8) We get on pretty well, for the majority but there are some issues. March 2022 he r*ped me, May 2022 sexual assault/attempted r*pe and July 2023 he r*ped me (this happens after drinking/c*c*ine use) and other things like he'll randomly grab at me in the night. I told my therapist (in therapy for childhood ab*se/r*pe from my ex when I was 23) about what happened in July (I only started speaking to her in June 2023, she's my 3rd therapist) and she referred it to children's services - not because the children saw/heard anything but because they were in the house at the time, they were downstairs. They came out to speak to me and I asked them not to speak to my partner, because he doesn't know about the therapy/previous trauma and I want to keep it that way. So they spoke to children/their school, ensured all necessary appts for them were attended and it was closed....because of all this, I spoke to my partner myself about how he is when he's had a drink and I don't know why but I downplayed it to him and even he said "so you're saying I r*ped you?" And I don't know why but I just said something like, "I don't know, r*pe is a strong word" but it is what it was and I wish I had spoken to him and told him how I was feeling properly then because 7 months later and I have this feeling that I'm not going to get myself mentally better from not just what he's done but my past, whilst I'm still with him. I don't want the intimate side of the relationship and I know that's important but I don't want it. I find that I just go along with things for him because he can get moody/accuse me of cheating if I don't but I don't enjoy and in the back of my head, I'm thinking "is this going to hurt" and even if it did hurt, because it has sometimes, I don't say anything....because I'm thinking more about him and spoiling it for him.

Despite what I've said about him, he isn't a bad person, he's great with the children and since I've spoken to him, he has been different/will check in on me before anything happens but that doesn't change the impact of what he's done in the past and I feel like I need him to know the impact. How I pretend to be asleep, how if were in bed and he's asleep - I try not to move too much because I don't want to wake him to have him try something on and how I feel on edge and will try to stay at my friend's house, if I know he's going to be out drinking but I really don't feel like i an have that conversation with him....I've tried but something keeps stopping me. I have a therapy appt tomorrow morning but I don't even like bringing him up to her anymore because I don't want her to involve children's services again but there are absolutely no concerns about the children. I don't really know what to do. I don't have anyone I can talk to properly because there is only one person that knows I'm in therapy and why but she has a lot of crap going on herself, so I don't want to pile more on her.
 
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he isn't a bad person
How does this statement fit with the next part:
I pretend to be asleep, how if were in bed and he's asleep - I try not to move too much because I don't want to wake him to have him try something on and how I feel on edge and will try to stay at my friend's house, if I know he's going to be out drinking


The threshold for being a good partner isn’t “he doesn’t rape me anymore”.

You deserve to feel safe in your own home.

And to be honest, if you feel that unsafe around him, then your children know that he’s not a safe person, and they’re learning from you not just how to coexist with level of threat, but to expect it in relationships.
 
I recognise so much of what you say. Even now, I downplay the sexual abuse that happened within relationships but when I read your post, I can recognise that it is so damaging.
I have this feeling that I'm not going to get myself mentally better from not just what he's done but my past, whilst I'm still with him.

This statement is the truth of it. You can't heal abuse while you're still being abused, and you are still being abused.

I really hope you can find it within you to leave him because you deserve better.
 
I have this feeling that I'm not going to get myself mentally better from not just what he's done but my past, whilst I'm still with him. I don't want the intimate side of the relationship and I know that's important but I don't want it. I find that I just go along with things for him because he can get moody/accuse me of cheating if I don't but I don't enjoy and in the back of my head, I'm thinking "is this going to hurt" and even if it did hurt, because it has sometimes, I don't say anything....because I'm thinking more about him and spoiling it for him.

Despite what I've said about him, he isn't a bad person, he's great with the children and since I've spoken to him, he has been different/will check in on me before anything happens but that doesn't change the impact of what he's done in the past and I feel like I need him to know the impact. How I pretend to be asleep, how if were in bed and he's asleep - I try not to move too much because I don't want to wake him to have him try something on and how I feel on edge and will try to stay at my friend's house, if I know he's going to be out drinking but I really don't feel like i an have that conversation with him....I've tried but something keeps stopping me.
I can truly relate to these words LucyLou. These thoughts of yours made me cry as I know exactly where your feelings are in this. I know that things from my childhood negatively affected it as well but during my marriage, particularly the last 10 years of it, this was very much my scenario as well. It was a constant. The pretending to be asleep. The attempts at not moving enough to wake him up. I would literally try and figure out how to get 3 or 4 nights in a row that I could get to bed and get to sleep first before he would get angry and start accusing me of things or just harass me until I gave in, be it with pleading, or words that had enough "bite" to them that I knew to just give up or it would get worse and the next day would be bad again and then the next night would be nearly intolerable at bedtime. Nevermind all of the cheating, lies, verbal and emotional abuse that was thrown in from him. To him that wasn't a factor when it came to sex. Nor were the nights that he came home so drunk that he could barely have sex. But that didnt stop him. He still came at me for it. And the words "came at me for it" are true because I felt nothing but barely restrained aggression coming from him during those times. There was nothing loving about it. It was as if he wasn't trying to have sex with me so much as he was trying to release anger and aggression and every other negative thing he was feeling AT me. It almost seemed like way for him to spit out this anger and keep me where he needed me all in one process. For so many different reasons, unhealthy, unrealized reasons, I tolerated this from the age of 14 until I was 51. Because I wanted love. Because i felt broken, damaged, unworthy. I focused on the good in him, or at the very least what I made myself believe was the good in him. A lot easier to do that than to actually acknowledge what the bad stuff was doing to me emotionally and mentally. Looking back now I'm shocked at how I survived feeling that way for so long.

I finally left him. At 51, after 37 years, I left. I changed the paint, carpet, 1/2 bath sink and toilet, window treatments.....everything in my bedroom. I added a ton of plants and simple light touches of decor here and there. Things that are peaceful and have nothing but softness to them. Nothing but soft to be as far aware from his hard edges and hard feelings and tension as I could get. Just the other night when i was going to bed, I thought to myself how crazy it was that going to bed when I'm tired now is something I actually, genuinely look forward to. Your post made me cry because I remember being where you are right now. I remember it well. I remember the tension in my body every single night laying in bed when I was supposed to feel relaxed and ready to dream. Know that there is someone who understands what you are feeling.
Sending soft, compassionate vibes to you in hopes that you find what works best for you to create a healthy and happy life.
 
And to be honest, if you feel that unsafe around him, then your children know that he’s not a safe person, and they’re learning from you not just how to coexist with level of threat, but to expect it in relationships.
This. If the OP doesn't care enough about herself to leave, do it for the kids. I grew up in a house like this, and I have NEVER recovered from it.
 
I hear all of this. Been there in two relationships and 'downplayed' it both times. One cause me a night in hospital and the other caused me a miscarriage (two nights in hospital plus a D&C). If you're not thinking of yourself first, please think of your children.

As an adult, who listened to her dad abuse her mum (physically and sexually), they may need eventual intervention.

I wish you and your children all the best
 
I can truly relate to these words LucyLou. These thoughts of yours made me cry as I know exactly where your feelings are in this. I know that things from my childhood negatively affected it as well but during my marriage, particularly the last 10 years of it, this was very much my scenario as well. It was a constant. The pretending to be asleep. The attempts at not moving enough to wake him up. I would literally try and figure out how to get 3 or 4 nights in a row that I could get to bed and get to sleep first before he would get angry and start accusing me of things or just harass me until I gave in, be it with pleading, or words that had enough "bite" to them that I knew to just give up or it would get worse and the next day would be bad again and then the next night would be nearly intolerable at bedtime. Nevermind all of the cheating, lies, verbal and emotional abuse that was thrown in from him. To him that wasn't a factor when it came to sex. Nor were the nights that he came home so drunk that he could barely have sex. But that didnt stop him. He still came at me for it. And the words "came at me for it" are true because I felt nothing but barely restrained aggression coming from him during those times. There was nothing loving about it. It was as if he wasn't trying to have sex with me so much as he was trying to release anger and aggression and every other negative thing he was feeling AT me. It almost seemed like way for him to spit out this anger and keep me where he needed me all in one process. For so many different reasons, unhealthy, unrealized reasons, I tolerated this from the age of 14 until I was 51. Because I wanted love. Because i felt broken, damaged, unworthy. I focused on the good in him, or at the very least what I made myself believe was the good in him. A lot easier to do that than to actually acknowledge what the bad stuff was doing to me emotionally and mentally. Looking back now I'm shocked at how I survived feeling that way for so long.

I finally left him. At 51, after 37 years, I left. I changed the paint, carpet, 1/2 bath sink and toilet, window treatments.....everything in my bedroom. I added a ton of plants and simple light touches of decor here and there. Things that are peaceful and have nothing but softness to them. Nothing but soft to be as far aware from his hard edges and hard feelings and tension as I could get. Just the other night when i was going to bed, I thought to myself how crazy it was that going to bed when I'm tired now is something I actually, genuinely look forward to. Your post made me cry because I remember being where you are right now. I remember it well. I remember the tension in my body every single night laying in bed when I was supposed to feel relaxed and ready to dream. Know that there is someone who understands what you are feeling.
Sending soft, compassionate vibes to you in hopes that you find what works best for you to create a healthy and happy life.
This is so beautifully put @Bamboo. You show so much compassion for OP and yourself.
 
This is so beautifully put @Bamboo. You show so much compassion for OP and yourself.
Thank you @Movingforward10. Was honestly just hoping to give a post relationship perspective. It took me a very long time to realize how unhealthy it all was. And how the reasons that I tolerated went further back than I knew.

When I first left my husband, my T said something that has stuck with me. He said to me that despite the difficulties ahead of me, my breaking away from the abusive, toxic situation that I was in was the equivalent of breaking the surface and breathing again after years of swimming underwater with a heavy weight around my shoulders. He said that I didn't even realize how many years I had been "holding my breath". And then said that once I started breathing in that healthy air again, I would be able to better see and feel the level of toxicity that I had been in and would never want to feel that "stuck below the surface" feeling again. I didn't really fully get what he meant at the time. But I very much do now.......And he was right. But it took a very kind, supportive therapist to help get me to that point.

I very much understand the attempts at "balancing" the bad things in the relationship with the good. However, I also understand now that when you are still in thick of it, and not yet to that point you need to be to leave it, you don't realize that what you consider "balancing the good and bad" is sometimes really just using what good you can find to "excuse" the bad. Reading her words immediately took me back to that unhealthy place that I had lived in for years. I just want her to know that there is another that has felt in their body what she's feeling in her body. That there is another that dealt with it in the exact same way. And that I understand how you question yourself. But that when you're finally away from it, you can breath again. There are things in your history that caused you to allow and excuse such abuse. But you can't begin to heal from any that if you can't breath. And I remember all too well how hard it was to "breath" when I was where she is right now.
 
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