Thursday, June 18, 2015

When Trust is Tarnished

When I was seventeen, I was raped by an ex-boyfriend. We were friends at the time (which was rare for a past high school relationship or any relationship for that matter) and I cherished our friendship. I trusted him. My parents trusted him. It hurt me deeply when, after I emphatically told him that I had no interest in being physical, he took what he wanted anyway. Once that happened, I found it hard to trust any man. Men that I had known for years began to receive side-glances from me and I questioned every invitation, every conversation, everything in general. I hated feeling this way because I always had comfortable relationships with my guy friends. This is why it wasn’t a big deal at all for me to spend time with an ex-boyfriend. It was something I was used to; you know, just “hanging with the guys.” That fateful day changed everything for me. I went on to get married right after high school. I felt that I had found “the one.” It was a step I don’t think I was quite ready for and yet, I still made the leap. Suffice it to say, we didn’t last. We had many problems, one of which was my own inability to remain faithful. Sex had become meaningless to me. All that I had ever tied emotionally to sexual intercourse had been shut off and it had become nothing more than a purely physical act. Sex, for me, was only a means to an end for pleasure and reproduction, period. I met my second husband in the midst of my divorce from hubby number one. I wasn’t even open to meeting anyone romantically at the time. We just happened to share common friends and we ended up in the same places frequently. He wasn’t forward at all and I found myself becoming the aggressor (which was completely out of character for me). I went after him and I guess you could say I “caught” him. We began dating and it wasn’t long before we moved in together and later got married. We now have two beautiful boys and we are going on seven years of marriage. I can’t say I’m completely healed from my past scars because that would be an outright lie. It creeps up on me in the worst ways. When my husband lies to me, it sets me back. I clam up and find it difficult to be open. Thankfully, he tries his best to reach out to me and draw my feelings out as gently as possible. I’m blessed that he cares enough to do that because it wouldn’t take much to send me back to prior misbehavior. I won’t go so far to say that sex is still meaningless to me; my husband has helped to change that, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s a conscious effort on my part to remind myself that this man is different. This man has been there for me through some difficult times and I honestly can’t imagine how I’d wade through some of my deepest feelings without him. He catches me when I’m falling into the abyss and pulls me back into reality. It isn’t easy to heal from scars created by sexual assault. I know I’ll always carry some emotional baggage from that day. However, finding a gentle, sensitive and caring man has helped volumes that I couldn’t begin to describe, even if I thought I could.

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