*trigger warning* – making a relationship work after assault

posted 10 months ago in Intimacy
Post # 2
638 posts
Busy bee

You said you were tired of therapy but have you considered couples therapy? Don’t think of it as trying to “fix yourself” but as you and your fiancé getting the tools you need to have a healthy realtionship and sex life. It will give you a safe space to tell him how you’re feeling and give him the opportunity to learn some ways he can help you and himself when he needs to.

Post # 3
2473 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

Firstly, I’m sorry you were assaulted and second, nobody on the internet can decide this for you. It is extremely sensitive and something you might need therapy for long term. I don’t think it’s fair to sell yourself short like you’re damaged goods. Someone else is responsible for the damage they caused you and it’s horrible but if therapy is the only thing that will help you maintain a good relationship I would suggest doing it. You’re not broken and you don’t have to be doomed to be single because you believe nobody will ever understand. If your boyfriend is a good guy try seeing if getting back into therapy will help you make baby steps. 

Post # 4
241 posts
Helper bee

I second couples therapy. Some people can work this out on their own and others need help. Don’t feel ashamed. Don’t feel like you dont deserve healthy intimacy. Get you guys some help and work through this together so you both can be happy. Marriage is team work, start now. Good luck, bee! Hugs!

Post # 5
363 posts
Helper bee

l1989 :  I second the couples therapy idea.its a safe space you can both express your feelings with the help of a professional guiding you through these issues. If you’re just “tired of fixing” yourself and unwilling to find a solution then yeah this relationship is doomed. You need to find a way to move on from the past and into the future. 

Post # 6
173 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

I agree with couples therapy as well. This is reading like it’s a *you* problem, and I don’t like that. It’s a problem for both of you to work through. You said he asked what are *you* going to do to make things better. Has he ever asked what you need from him/what he needs to do to work in this issue with you? And maybe you don’t know the answer to that yet yourself, but I think a therapist would be able to work this out with you- maybe someone who specializes with sex and intimacy. Working on it from a different angle may be helpful for you. 

Post # 7
10853 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

l1989 :  

Oh, Bee. I am so sorry for the hell you have been through. And that you are still suffering.

When traditional therapy isn’t working, there are other options. For many people struggling with PTSD, ketamine infusion treatment has provided spectacular results. It’s used for several conditions, eg depression and chronic pain, as well as others, with an overall success rate of 70%. There is recent research showing a success rate of 95% in the treatment of PTSD.

Ketamine is also fast; relief comes in hours, not weeks or months. It’s a very safe, 50 year old anesthetic, still in use. For therapy, it’s given in customized micro doses at a controlled drip rate. 

I’ve had eight two hour infusions myself. The original plan was to treat a neuropathic condition. Boy, howdy. It has healed so much more than that. In my wildest imagination, I could not have foreseen all it would do for me.  Some protocols call for 40 minute infusions.

Even Dh, who never wants to try anything new, finally did a 40 minute infusion. He’s struggling with some damage to two brain memory centers. He loved it and got a lot out of it.

The cons: it’s still pricey and not usually covered by insurance because it’s an off label use. A synthetic, Esketamine, is fast tracking through the FDA in nasal spray form.

The results are not permanent. Many people find that ketamine brings them to a place in which they can do meaningful work in therapy. It’s common to return periodically for a booster as needed. My brain is so conditioned to the experience now that it gets deeper work done every time.

Fear not during infusion, you’re safe and whatever comes up, you will observe in a comfortably dissociated state while fully aware of everything going on.

One thing I would very strongly encourage is to have a therapist knowledgeable about the process sit with you during infusion. Best thing I have ever done for myself.

I will own up to being a ketamine infusion activist. IMO, it’s the best, and absolutely, the fastest route to relief. But, it’s not the only. PTSD symptoms can also be relieved for many via Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This is not my area of expertise, we have Bees with far more experience than I. The most important thing about EMDR is to be aware that everything hinges on the skills of the practitioner. Done incorrectly, not only will it be ineffective, it can be harmful. It’s also a not an immediate relief process.

There is also Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) which involves using magnets to stimulate select brain areas. I have not researched this in scholarly journals. Anecdotally, it doesn’t appear to be wildly successful. Yet. Modifications are being made all the time. 

If you decide to give talk therapy another go, my suggestion would be to find someone with a specialization in Trauma Recovery.

Couples therapy could be helpful at some point. But, the PTSD must be treated first. Until that happens, I would expect intimacy to be problematic for you. My hunch would be that many things are probably difficult for you, with many triggers being associated with various behaviors related to intimate contact.

I am so sorry, dear Bee. Absolutely none of this is your fault. It sounds as if your SO has been doing the best he can figure out how to do. It’s crucial to get this horrific stuff cleaned out. It is going to come out, one way or another. It’s manifesting right now as intimacy problems. Please get some help to process everything in a healthy way so it will no longer have power over you.

Post # 8
2238 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

l1989 :  I second everything sassy411 :  said. 

Let me first say how sorry I am you were harmed in this way. I know how it feels to be betrayed by people who should by all rights love and protect you best. 

I underwent EMDR treatment for some PTSD and found my results to be nigh on miraculous. This was after decades of therapy not really making a dent in the underlying traumas that were driving so many of my other mental health issues. 

I think being tired of therapy is totally understandable. People don’t traditionally think of it as “work” but it is incredibly taxing, and has far reaching consequences outside of the session. People see it is as self-indulgent instead of grueling. 

I’m curious what kind of treatment you have had previously? CBT? It might be that undergoing solely talk based therapy won’t be enough. 

People may not always consider that trauma has a physiological impact on body and brain. Treating it with traditional talk therapy simply can’t address all of the places harmed. Just like treating back pain only with pain relivers; unless you also heal the underlying injury nothing will improve. 

Until I also brought in a method which had a direct physiological impact on my brain chemistry, the core of the pain simply would not change or let me heal.

If you feel up to the effort, I would do some research into non-traditional or supplemental treatments for trauma recovery. You would have to decide for yourself which made the most sense for you, but I do believe doing more than just talking about your pain will be the most effective way to help recover from it. 

Your fiancee doesn’t want you to let him go. He loves you, and wants you to feel better. I think potentially attending couples counseling together could be a great way for you both to learn more effective and appropriate ways to communicate about this issue. 


Post # 9
71 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - Baton Rouge, LA

Oh Bee.  I am so so sorry.


Survivor here (my first marriage was…for lack of a better term, a real bitch).  I also remember the “I’m better off alone; I’m tired of trying to ‘fix’ myself” feelings and just wanting to hide in a closet.  That’s the PTSD talking.  And it is lying to you.

It’s been a long, hard road, but I can tell you that it does get better.  And it is worth the work. 

You are not broken.  You have PTSD because you refuse to be a victim.  I second the idea of couple’s therapy.  What worked (is still working, because this is an ongoing process) is therapy, journaling, and taking things very slow with my fiance.   I second the idea of couple’s therapy.  Verbalizing this crap is hard.  A therapist can help with .  Therapy will help you to understand and process what you’re going through as you heal, and it will help him better understand what you’re dealing with, and give him the tools he needs to help you.

Bee, don’t let go.  If I had to guess, your fiance is trying to figure out a way forward, and how to help you (badly worded on his, part, true).  He loves you.  Let him.

Post # 10
3528 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

Perhaps instead of individual therapy, you could look into couples therapy? Even better if you can find a therapist who specialises in helping couples heal from sexual trauma. You could even look into sex therapists.

Long term, intimacy will become an issue and it’s not because you are wrong or he is wrong. It’s not just a matter of him deserving better – you do too. You both deserve to have a healthy sex life in which you are comfortable and happy. 

It can be very difficult, but I think with some professional guidance and a lot of patience and baby steps, you guys can get there. You clearly care a lot for one another and that’s a good place to start.

The biggest factor in determining how successful you and your partner will be in building a satisfying sex life is TRUST. Do you trust your partner absolutely, completely, without hesitation? If you have that trust, you have everything you need.

Post # 11
42 posts
  • Wedding: May 2018

Not sure if you are still following the thread, but I was sexually abused as a child and I understand your pain.  As women we often have to suffer in silence if we have a problem sexually or with sexual expression.  As an adult, my childhood trauma has unfortunately not just affected my own marriage, but my own feelings and thoughts about sex in general.  I notice another commenter mentioned couples counseling.  That may be your best bet, honestly.  We can try to give a million reasons to our spouse why we still suffer from something that happened in the past.  The world we live in is a hyper sexual place that more often than not even with social progression, favors and feeds the sexual appetites of men alone as opposed to couples in general.  Look at the porn industry.  Even with free access to smut, this is a $$$$$$$ dollar industry, full of diseased women, who most likely have drug and alcohol abuse problems, and I would bet my last dime that most, if not all were also abused physically and/or sexually in the past, either by an adult when they were a child or as an adult woman.  Going to see a professional will give a clinical, and non lopsided, perspective so both of you can work together on your problems.  I wish you healing and pray that your partner is able to give you compassion despite his desire for physical intimacy with you.  The therapist will also help you relearn how to have a healthier relationship with your own sexuality, and begin to love yourself again, especially after the trauma you experienced.

Post # 12
233 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Seeing a sex therapist as a couple might be beneficial as it can help you as a couple negotiate the past trauma and find ways that aren’t sex to be intimate with each other. Sex therapists can help couples find the words to express their needs and help think flexibly about what can be done to achieve them in a way that is comfortable for both parties. 

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