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I am really wondering if there is some type of correlation between infidelity and childhood sex abuse survivors. If anyone can relate because they have been with an unfaithful spouse that is a CSA survivor OR you are one yourself and know something about this - Id love some feedback. Here is my situation:

Throughout our marriage (which I am only recently finding out) she felt comfortable lying about anything where her real feelings were being revealed and also seeking out "dangerous sex" with others - so while our sex life was triggering for her - she seemed to want/seek out affairs with new people that were always somewhat unsafe as well.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
 

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The only thought I have on that is it sounds INCREDIBLY unhealthy for you. You cannot save her. I know that is hard to accept, but it is true from everything I've seen/read.

Be supportive and a good friend if you can separate the two (very difficult and not something I could do), but concentrate on your own well being. No one is going to concentrate on it for you.
 

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As a survivor myself, I have never cheated or felt the need to cheat. So from a purely personal point of view.. past abuse does not give a free pass for infidelity.

However, that the abuse has affected her sexual habits is totally normal. Sounds lie it could have been a family member that was trusted etc and she is seeing them in you so there could be an element of projected 'revenge' in there. if the abuse was long term the abuser will have been a master manipulator and likely very controlling. All things that can be projected onto others, eg if you are a strong leader type she wont neccessarily see that as a good thing. My issues are totally there but manifest differently. Only useful thought I can give is be direct and honest with her. I am in no way trained or experienced in figuring out other peoples issues, but very experience going over and over my own issues stemming from childhood abuse. If my wife had just told me how close I was pushing things and made me seek help we might have saved things. In the end she got tired of nudging and prompting and now I have to do it anyway but without her support.

If you continue as is, she will make you as miserable as I made my wife. On the other hand maybe she pull herself together with counselling or other professional help. regardless, you should make absolutely clear you are not willing to share her, no matter what the excuse.
 

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I don't know if I was. I have a gap, a year long gap where I don't remember from the 5th grade. That gap coincides with a lot of other age inappropriate acting out for me. So I'll never know.

That said, even the possibility has colored a lot of my personal interactions.

Infidelity was never a part of my life until after I separated.
 

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@K.C. If you have been able to find help overcoming CSA could you let me know how it has gone for you? I posted about my husband trying cbt or dbt and would be curious to know if you have tried anything like that. My husband has been very open and honest about what is going on and has agreed to do whatever to help himself and our marriage, but I do not wish to waste any more time ... I want to hear from someone who has lived it firsthand and what worked for them.
I am very much work in progress.

I am finding cut very useful but have been unable be referred for counselling so far.

If he has been able to be open and honest puts him ahead of me. It took my wife leaving to wake me up to where I am. Really all I can say is encourage him to do what he needs to, but he does need to be the one to do it. Be there for him. Counselling or working on his past issues will be tough on him and no doubt on you too by extension.

You cannot push the timeframe, trying to get it fixed faster will quite possible be counter productive.

I don't want to be an as$ but do not let him hide behind the abuse for his cheating. It's not a free pass.

IC and MC. Meds if needed.
 

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I do not understand CSA being a reason for infidelity or alcoholism. I am a survivor and I never participated in either. In fact it made me more apt to not want to engage in questionable behavior as if that would redeem me.

Where I struggle is leaving my kids. Terrified someone will harm them like I was harmed. I worked for years in therapy to get through that and the guilt I had over the abuse.

I guess I'm not really much help. I feel we are all responsible for our actions good or bad, and there comes a point when even the CSA survivor has to grow up and accept responsibility for their actions.
 

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:iagree:

Absolutely no free pass. He may get to Plead mitigating circumstances to a degree but the act is still his to own. Hiding behind CSA is not owning it.
 
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He never said he thought abuse was the reason BUT when I questioned him about being sexual with someone else the way he described it was more of a need for the attention and acceptance than sex.
From experience, that seems to be the pretty standard SA definition. I attended meetings for 5 months or so, and that was a big part of my acting out, wanting to feel a connection. (Though that connection was distorted through the addicition)
 

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Sounds like maybe she is over compensating for the fact that she was sexually abused..trying to fill the void. Or maybe even justifying what she is doing with her childhood experience.
 

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I agree sooner is better, just be wary of pressure.

CSA is huge on your self esteem and view of sex. I think you are right to take it into consideration and I'm glad he hasn't used it as an excuse. All positive signs. In my mind he needs IC to deal with this.

Has it been suggested to him to do that? Do you think he would respond badly to talking therapy for it?

The issues can be quite insidious and affect you in ways you don't even realise at the time.
 

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I have not been in a relationship with a survivor, but I have known them. The male survivor I know acted out with cheating on many past girlfriends. He basically does not associate emotion with the act, and has the ability to have sex for sex vs sex for the relationship. He would stray if his relationship wasn't meeting his needs, and I have a hunch his sex drive was heightened by the abuse in a similar way previously mentioned in this thread.
 

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Individual counselling.

A safe place to talk for him.
 

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Bear in mind my qualification to advise is no more than based on my own 15yr long experience. I am not qualified or know him well enough so Doesn't mean it's what he should do. I just know I regret not confronting my demons much sooner.
 

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Some are turned off sex. Some use it as validation of worth. That's how it affected me. I became obsessed with sex as validation my wife still loved me.

There is a link I think but even at my lowest, I never once strayed from my marriage.
 

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Nicki, you seem to have a good empathy for how abuse can make us act out and contribute to bad decisions. He needs to deal with that, he simply cannot use the past as an excuse for cheating. I know you say he isn't. Don't do it for him either though.

It's getting late and, well I need to run away from this thread while i can for a bit heh. I'll check back in tomorrow.

Just to say, living with a survivor can be tough. Consider your own needs and support in this. Massive respect for being there for him but in case you missed it.. No free pass. G'night.
 

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I am really wondering if there is some type of correlation between infidelity and childhood sex abuse survivors. If anyone can relate because they have been with an unfaithful spouse that is a CSA survivor OR you are one yourself and know something about this - Id love some feedback. Here is my situation:

Throughout our marriage (which I am only recently finding out) she felt comfortable lying about anything where her real feelings were being revealed and also seeking out "dangerous sex" with others - so while our sex life was triggering for her - she seemed to want/seek out affairs with new people that were always somewhat unsafe as well.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
I am the long term husband of a CSA survivor. It seems that the effects of sex abuse on males can be quite different than on females. I have not read much at all about male survivors so my comments and opinions may not be at all applicable to male survivors.

CSA survivors learn about sex, sexuality, nudity, and relationships in a terribly defective way. These survivors were young children and thus they interpreted events through a child's level of understanding. Their brains are rewired differently, and permanently, from the abuse events. There are many potential secondary events which can further damage them, such as a trusted adult refusing to believe their story about the abuse, or even being blamed for the abuse.

Which is all to say we must be cautious in trying to understand the logic and emotions of an abuse survivor especially in relation to sex and close emotional relationships.

Research shows a history of child sex abuse is one of the top 3 correlations to marital infidelity. A previous history of infidelity is iirc the highest correlation, and I forget what the #2 correlating factor is.

Strange, because sex is frequently very very difficult for the CSA survivor within a marriage, yet extra-marital sex may be very easy and in fact very much desired.

Another common pattern is sexual promiscuity in the high school and college years, followed by major problems with sexual intimacy in a marriage. The common explanation is that the boyfriend is won over with sex. He gives her validation of her value via her being sexual with him. She learned as a child her value is in sex. But when she becomes engaged and then married, the boyfriend jumps the fence from "outsider" to "adult male authority figure relative", which puts him in the same category as her abuser. Suddenly he is now emotionally (and maybe not even consciously) considered one of the dangerous class of males.

CSA survivors tend to cope either by acting out or acting in. Acting out would be things like promiscuity, violent or abusive behavior, and infidelity. Acting inward includes things like anorexia, high levels of internal stress, pulling her hair out.

There can be a blending of acting out and acting in. My wife does have some of both, though she tends more towards the acting out side.

Kar, I see you have a few other posts since you started this thread. Things seem to be on the mend. Just don't rug sweep her CSA. She needs to deal with it, as it is a foundational part of her sexuality and emotional intimacy.
 

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I am the long term husband of a CSA survivor. It seems that the effects of sex abuse on males can be quite different than on females. I have not read much at all about male survivors so my comments and opinions may not be at all applicable to male survivors.

CSA survivors learn about sex, sexuality, nudity, and relationships in a terribly defective way. These survivors were young children and thus they interpreted events through a child's level of understanding. Their brains are rewired differently, and permanently, from the abuse events. There are many potential secondary events which can further damage them, such as a trusted adult refusing to believe their story about the abuse, or even being blamed for the abuse.

Which is all to say we must be cautious in trying to understand the logic and emotions of an abuse survivor especially in relation to sex and close emotional relationships.

Research shows a history of child sex abuse is one of the top 3 correlations to marital infidelity. A previous history of infidelity is iirc the highest correlation, and I forget what the #2 correlating factor is.

Strange, because sex is frequently very very difficult for the CSA survivor within a marriage, yet extra-marital sex may be very easy and in fact very much desired.

Another common pattern is sexual promiscuity in the high school and college years, followed by major problems with sexual intimacy in a marriage. The common explanation is that the boyfriend is won over with sex. He gives her validation of her value via her being sexual with him. She learned as a child her value is in sex. But when she becomes engaged and then married, the boyfriend jumps the fence from "outsider" to "adult male authority figure relative", which puts him in the same category as her abuser. Suddenly he is now emotionally (and maybe not even consciously) considered one of the dangerous class of males.

CSA survivors tend to cope either by acting out or acting in. Acting out would be things like promiscuity, violent or abusive behavior, and infidelity. Acting inward includes things like anorexia, high levels of internal stress, pulling her hair out.

There can be a blending of acting out and acting in. My wife does have some of both, though she tends more towards the acting out side.

Kar, I see you have a few other posts since you started this thread. Things seem to be on the mend. Just don't rug sweep her CSA. She needs to deal with it, as it is a foundational part of her sexuality and emotional intimacy.
Awesome Thor

No way to summarize it better.



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Excellent insight, Thor. I can actually see how this information could be applied to a male survivor.
I'm sorry, but nobody can understand what a CSA "survivor" is thinking because WE don't know and don't think we will ever truly get it...We survive, that's it, nothing more, nothing less. Lots of people just "survive" in this world..."It is what it is" As soon as you accept that, then you can move on...

Reluctantly, pressing submit...
 
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