Posted by: Anon | 2004/11/01

Girlfriend molested as child.

Dear CyberDoc,
I (30) am starting to fall in love with a 30 year old woman. We were friends for a few years before now. We're not doing much sexually yet, and that doesn't bother me. She recently shared with me that she was molested as a child by her father. She said that this causes her to have unpleasant images about some sexual acts. She said that it will pass and that I should give her time.
I have no problem with giving her time, but was wondering what you think I should do. I asked her if she had any help with this, and she said that only one other person knows. She said that if I think she should, she will seek professional help.
I’m not a shrink, but I don't think it's a good thing to keep it all in for so long. And although I know that time will heal the sexual thing between us, I'm concerned that it will not heal her as it should.
Should I try to convince her to see a Psychologist? Or what is the best thing for me to do? I'm also a good listener, but I'm not sure I'll be able to deal correctly with the matter when she starts opening up and talk about it.
If you think I should, what is the best way to look for the correct Psychologist? Who should I call, who can I trust?
Thanks for this great service.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hello Anon,
I absoltely DO think that she ought to seek professional help from a psychologist. As the ugly events happened some 15 or so years ago, or longer, and she has not managed to get over them on her own, she probably would benefit from help and counselling, as would most people in her situation. I generally recommend that someone like her should see a general psychologist, and NOT someone who declares a special interest mainly or only in isues of child abuse, because the latter type too often have their own political agenda, rather than concentrating on the patient's needs more than their own ; and because people like your friend do much better with someone who attends realistically to what happened in the past, but concentrates on its effects in the present, rather than in extended archeological expeditions.
She is lucky to have found someone as understanding as you, and it's a good compliment to you that you are one of the only two people she has told about this. As for choosing a psychologist, there's no easy guide to that. It can be good to ask your ( or her ) GP to recommend one, as he/she may know the best ones in the area, by experience. And when calling about an appointment, you can ask the receptionist if this psychologist deals with general relationship problems as well as problems related to childhood sexual abuse. ChiChi's advice on how you can be helpful is excellent, as are Shaun's comments.

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Our users say:
Posted by: chichi | 2004/11/01

I too was molested as a child and what I will advise you to do is suggest that she goes to a psychologist who will help her to deal with this properly. If you are serious about her, you should have some joint sessions, because in the long run this will affect your relationship, sexually, and there will be trust issues to be dealt with from her side. From experience I know that it is very frustrating to be in a relationship where one partner has been sexually abused. When you are intimate, ask her what she wants, try not to surprise her with sex, by this I mean, fondling her while she's sleeping, etc. I hate to be woken up with a man's hands in my panties, just be sensitive, otherwise she needs a lot of assurance and you offering to go for sessions with her will definitely be welcomed.

best of luck

Reply to chichi
Posted by: Shaun | 2004/11/01

Hey Anon,

On the top of this page is the contact number for Lifeline. They usually have trained professionals manning the phones so I feel certain that they would direct you accordingly.

It seems evident that she may need counselling through this, but at the same time I really feel you have made a break-through in that she has opened up to you about it. I will advise against convincing though, as I feel it is very important that she makes her own decision as to the need for counselling. She has told you that she needs time, so try respect this need in her.

In anyway you can, in everyway possible, just be there for her. Don't force or push the issue in any way. As often as you can, try make her feel like she is a princess, & try let her know that she is very important to you. When it comes to intimacy, I would say let her be the boss & decide when what gets done.

If you so strongly feel that counselling is indeed necessary, then often drop hints, & always offer to accompany her, but don't force or push in anyway whatsoever.

Hang in there man, it might be a trying time ahead for you, but try always have your goal in focus. Try not let her doubt your intentions.

Good luck,

Reply to Shaun

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