Dating a sexually abused woman

At Living Well, we recognise that there is not a lot of information and support out there for partners of men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault, particularly in relation to the impact on couple relationships.

Whilst relationships can be a place where difficulties with trust, intimacy and sex can appear, they also provide an opportunity for issues to be worked through and resolved.

Before discussing some of the ways sexual abuse can impact men and their relationships, it is important to acknowledge that relationships require time, effort and commitment – from both parties – to be successful.

A relationship can be a place of intense joy and pleasure, and at times can produce considerable heartache and distress.

You probably already have most of the tools you need.

Partners and men who have been sexually abused have identified a number of themes that can appear in their relationships. The closeness-distance dynamic is one of the common relationship challenges following sexual abuse, in which you might experience a see-sawing in your relationship.

Although hearing that a man has been sexually abused is distressing, sometimes this information can help a partner make sense of some of the behaviours they have been observing.

Some of those things took the edge off things for awhile and that’s probably why I kept doing them.” It is really important to avoid seeing everything that happens in a relationship through the prism of sexual assault. Couple relationships often involve two people muddling their way through, negotiating and sorting things out, trying to ultimately build satisfying and supportive lives.

Many of the ways you have used to get through difficult times together will continue to be helpful in overcoming problems related to sexual abuse or sexual assault.

Your partner might at times seek out re-assurance and assistance, and at other times distance himself, wanting to work it out on his own.

Some men try to manage feeling moody, withdrawn, uncertain and uncommunicative by taking himself off and keeping himself to himself.

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