Talk About Marriage (http://talkaboutmarriage.com/)
-   Sex in Marriage (http://talkaboutmarriage.com/sex-marriage/)
-   -   Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse (http://talkaboutmarriage.com/sex-marriage/34768-rights-spouse-know-about-past-sexual-abuse.html)

JustAMan2 11-14-2011 11:57 AM

Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Hey everyone,

I've made a few replies after "lurking" for about 6 months here on TAM. This is my first "new thread", so forgive me if I fumble around.

The short story is that after 23 years of marriage my wife finally confided in me that she was severely and repeatedly sexually abused and traumatized as a young girl. Even on our honeymoon I knew something was not quite right with her sexual responses. I was not a virgin and I KNEW what "typical" was in the broad sense of the term. She was not "typical".

Through the years of our marriage, I would repeatedly express my dismay at my sexual needs not being met. My requests were met more often than not with promises, which were very shortly thereafter broken, or anger, or accusations that I was a "sex maniac" (I'm not, I'm AM high drive, but not a maniac) or other accusations that were attempts to deflect or avoid discussing the REAL problem.

We are now one year plus past her reveling the abuse to me. This weekend we were talking, I told her that I absolutely positively had a right to know BEFORE marriage that she was abused. She became very upset and said I did NOT have a right to know. My logic is that anytime someone (in particular a potential mate) is making a life changing decision, they have the RIGHT to all potentially pertinent information.

At minimum, when I started expressing my sexual frustrations to her early on in the marriage, I had a right to that information then.

I feel very "right" in my right to know about the abuse.

She says "no", that I did not/do not have that right.

I want to clarify that I do NOT need specific information about the abuse. Who did what and when etc., for most of that is lost anyway. I'm talking about the critical information that she was abused (severely) and that it is the primary reason for the difficulties in our marriage.

Thoughts???

Sawney Beane 11-14-2011 12:32 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JustAMan2 (Post 480972)
Hey everyone,

I've made a few replies after "lurking" for about 6 months here on TAM. This is my first "new thread", so forgive me if I fumble around.

The short story is that after 23 years of marriage my wife finally confided in me that she was severely and repeatedly sexually abused and traumatized as a young girl. Even on our honeymoon I knew something was not quite right with her sexual responses. I was not a virgin and I KNEW what "typical" was in the broad sense of the term. She was not "typical".

...
Thoughts???

This is one line of thought.

Married Man Sex Life: Skeletons In The Sexual History Closet

There will be others (it's early yet) but a lot of people accept AtholK's word as gospel, so you might as well make yourself aware of it.

morituri 11-14-2011 05:30 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
I also believe that the sexually abused person has an obligation to inform his/her future spouse of their past trauma. I say this because it does impact the marriage and without this information, the other spouse doesn't know how to deal with sexual issues that arise from that trauma.

A few months ago I was informed by a mutual friend of my ex-wife and mine that one of my ex-wife's relatives confided to her that my ex-wife had been repeatedly raped by a male cousin when she was a teenager. My ex-wife never told me about her trauma in all the time we were together. I truly believe that my ex-wife's secrecy of the sexual trauma came back to haunt her when she had her one year sexual affair with another man.

If people believe that their soon to be spouse has no right to know about something as serious as past sexual abuse, then the marriage is already starting off bad. Keeping secrets can and will poison a marriage.

ClipClop 11-14-2011 05:45 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Are you saying you wouldn't have married her if you knew?

My husbands ex suffered no abuse that we are aware of. No sex. No affairs. Simply,no sex.

I was abused. Lots of sex. No extramarital affairs.

This is blaming the victim. You simply have no way of knowing what impact it has had without her saying what it might be, if any. But if it makes you happy to blame her affair or the lack of sex on abuse do it. Just realize all of the speculation in the world doesn't necessarily make it true.
Posted via Mobile Device

Voyager 11-14-2011 06:10 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
I don't think you have a 'right' for that information. I do think, however, that your wife does have an obligation (as do you) to try and have a mutually satisfying sex life. And that includes dealing with any issues arising from the abuse. Does that mean full disclosure to you? I don't know. I think that would depend on the individuals.

Your post makes it sound like you're angry that she did not disclose the abuse early on. You seem to blame your unhappy sex life on the abuse rather than her inability to successfully deal with issues arising from it. That makes it sound like you would have (or currently do) considered her damaged goods. Why would she disclose such information if she thought it made her less valuable in your eyes?

Seems to me the two of you would be better off working together to overcome the issues of the present day rather than argue about things in the past which you cannot change. She was abused. You didn't know. She's not to blame for the abuse. You're not to blame for not knowing. Now you know.

morituri 11-14-2011 06:11 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Affairs depend on secrecy, lies and deception. That is a fact which has nothing to do with 'blaming the victim'.

You bet that if I found out that my then fiancee was keeping something so important from me, I would seriously question the wisdom of getting married to her. I make no apologies for that.

A marriage full of secrets is nothing more than a cesspool of secrecy.

Numb in Ohio 11-14-2011 06:24 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
I told my husband about light sexual abuse as a child. And not sure how anyone else deals with it, it caused me to be promiscuous in my teenage years, which I also disclosed to him.

Yet, when certain subjects come up, like we are still using the same bed I've had for years, he made the comment the other day that he has to use a bed that was used by half of "our town", or even county. Then he laughs and says "oh you know I'm just kidding". Hurts like h*ll. It's not like I don't regret that part of my past.

So sometimes disclosure comes back to haunt you as well. And then also it affects certain aspects of sex life as well,
"triggers",, and he doesn't show understanding on that either.

Maybe I just have an *ss for a H though..

that_girl 11-14-2011 06:28 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
I was abused as a child/teen and while I told him of the abuse in a "skim over the top" type of way, it did come out eventually. I don't have any sexual hangups though, so it didn't bother him.

Sometimes people think they have moved past that time in their life and think they are ok. I thought I was ok, as I had therapy for those issues. However, residual nonsense did hurt us a BIT, but that has been worked out. I think it's more of a trust issue for me, not a sexual issue. I did not allow my abuse to effect my sexuality, but I didn't focus on not allowing it to effect my self-esteem and trust....which I am working on now.

Should she have told you? Sure. Did you ever ask or bring up the topic? Probably not. It's embarrassing, and sometimes people don't want to dive back into it, especially if they think they have moved forward.

It's tricky and I really don't think you can understand unless you've been there or something similar.

that_girl 11-14-2011 06:29 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Numb in Ohio (Post 481429)
I told my husband about light sexual abuse as a child. And not sure how anyone else deals with it, it caused me to be promiscuous in my teenage years, which I also disclosed to him.

Yet, when certain subjects come up, like we are still using the same bed I've had for years, he made the comment the other day that he has to use a bed that was used by half of "our town", or even county. Then he laughs and says "oh you know I'm just kidding". Hurts like h*ll. It's not like I don't regret that part of my past.

So sometimes disclosure comes back to haunt you as well. And then also it affects certain aspects of sex life as well,
"triggers",, and he doesn't show understanding on that either.

Maybe I just have an *ss for a H though..

I suggest a new bed. My husband and I got a new mattress when he moved in...starting fresh.

Numb in Ohio 11-14-2011 06:37 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by that_girl (Post 481435)
I suggest a new bed. My husband and I got a new mattress when he moved in...starting fresh.

It is a new mattress............

that_girl 11-14-2011 06:38 PM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Numb in Ohio (Post 481445)
It is a new mattress............

Then his joke is ridiculous. I'm sorry :( It just shows his insecurities.

Sawney Beane 11-15-2011 02:29 AM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by morituri (Post 481380)
I also believe that the sexually abused person has an obligation to inform his/her future spouse of their past trauma. I say this because it does impact the marriage and without this information, the other spouse doesn't know how to deal with sexual issues that arise from that trauma.

I think it's disingenuous to suggest that simply because the other partner knows about past trauma, they can deal with all of the issues that may arise from it.

If you mean "provide the opportunity to walk away", then fine, but say so. If simply telling someone about a problem allowed the listener to solve it, there would be no incurable disease.

Sawney Beane 11-15-2011 02:30 AM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by that_girl (Post 481447)
Then his joke is ridiculous. I'm sorry :( It just shows his insecurities.

It was a joke? Best he doesn't give up his day job for a career in comedy, then.

jumble 11-15-2011 05:40 AM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
I often concern myself whether past abuse is the cause of my wifes anxiety at specific intimate moments.

I have a very vague recollection of her saying(way before we had any emotional connection) her father did "bad" stuff to her and her sister. At the time(my early-mid 20s) I wasn't willing or able to discuss the issue and she seemed happy to gloss over the topic and move on. This topic has never ever reared its head again. Even after 15 years of being otherwise emotionally and sexually happy.

No doubt this lingers in the back of my mind when she shows signs of being uncomfortable with discussing or taking part in sex. The problem is(after 15 years), do I suggest discussing her past and hope we can move forward with or without external help or should I let her accept that she thinks has gotten over her past and enjoy the fact that she enjoys sex because it satisfies me?

JustAMan2 11-15-2011 07:44 AM

Re: Rights of a spouse to know about past sexual abuse
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ClipClop (Post 481398)
Are you saying you wouldn't have married her if you knew?

No, I'm saying simply that I had the right to this information. We probably would have had a much healthier marriage IF she had been honest. Whe problems cropped up, we could have gotten help--know what direction to go in. It would have saved YEARS of feelings of frustration/anger/resentment.

My husbands ex suffered no abuse that we are aware of. No sex. No affairs. Simply,no sex.

I'm sorry for this for you. That's tough.

I was abused. Lots of sex. No extramarital affairs.

This is blaming the victim. You simply have no way of knowing what impact it has had without her saying what it might be, if any. But if it makes you happy to blame her affair or the lack of sex on abuse do it. Just realize all of the speculation in the world doesn't necessarily make it true.

First, she has not had an affair (to my knowledge). The problem was her very limited sex drive and very, very limited willingness to explore anything sexual in our marriage. I brought this up no less than 5 or 6 times per year in our marriage. She would make promises, but not follow through or just get angry and accuse me of "having a problem" when in fact I just wanted "normal" sex from my wife. This led to more anger/frustration and resentment on my part.

I think I had a right to know--if not before--at this point in our marriage. She KNEW what was done to her (not everything, some is repressed, but she knew of her abuse and all the horror she endured.

Posted via Mobile Device



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:45 PM.


Copyright 2007 - 2013 © Talk About Marriage