(At the core, you love her, and you know there's a light at the end of this in which you can both stand, together, once again.)
So, at times, when your partner gave you the cold shoulder for long stretches (because she is/was so emotionally scarred from the event), maybe you thought: "Should I cheat?" And then you felt guilty for thinking that awful thought. You also felt foolish and/or ashamed about having things like personal sexual needs when there is so much suffering in the world, and you realized that patience and love is the only answer. Still, you felt lonely for long periods and often wondered whether you'd ever regain the physical intimacy you once enjoyed together. The Truth About Sexless Marriage
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And so you tried to just love and support her emotionally. But at times, when things got intense, maybe you considered, "Can I be strong enough?" and "Can I get my head around this?" It's surely true that, unless you have been similarly violated, you can never fully understand what they're going through, the horror that their waking life has become. In my own case, it got so bad, I knew I was so far out of my element that I strongly recommended therapy. I phoned a rape center, barely able to speak, and pleaded to talk with a counselor. A therapist was suggested and I bravely convinced my wife to go see her.
And then you have the therapy to go through, another process you don't understand yet are committed to seeing her through. And times get tough, and you relive things you don't want to, and issues emerge that seem totally unrelated to the problem. Suddenly, for example, her *whole* sexual identity is brought into question, and it's seriously being considered whether *you* are in fact any longer a healthy part of that! But, out of selfless love, you stifle it... that anger and resentment you feel deep down. "I showed you the way out," you protest mentally. But instead of you offering your hand to pull her back into the the light of happiness, it's more like you're in a cave and pushing her out into the light—and now *you* don't get to leave. But you do it because her happiness is more important to you than your own.
At least that's my own ulcer, just one of a million ways the sexual abuse ripple effect can continue its ever-forward anguish. So, while my heart naturally goes out to victims of sexual abuse (and, believe me when I admit to crying myself to sleep many nights just considering this shockingly common problem in our society), I just wanted to take one short moment in time to acknowledge to other friends, family members, and especially partners/lovers of those who have been abused. I, too, understand the pain you're going through. It's nothing compared with *their* pain, but it is crippling pain nonetheless—and it is my sincere wish that we may *all* find solace at some point, and that a new, compassionate consciousness arises in our world and pervades it so thoroughly that these sort of crimes, like many other crimes, become merely dark parentheticals in the history book of humankind.
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As for my wife and me, we're in counseling because of all of this. I wish I could tell you I knew for sure that everything would be okay. But, I don't. I *am* very hopeful, though, and we have adopted an attitude via which we hope to manifest the optimal future for us both. With light and love, -Rhett.