Girlfriend’s Past Abuse

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have known my girlfriend since November of last year. We are both very attached to each other. It started off great but after a month, sometime in December her step dad visited her and sexually abused her one night. She told me about this the Next day itself and I have been supporting her through this. She has taken several therapy sessions and tells me she is recovering and much better.
There is complete lack of intimacy. While I understand it is difficult and I have been understanding and supportive this has now stared to kill me. I don’t know what to do. I know a man should be patient but it really weighs down on me. I can’t leave her I love her too much.
Please help. Please.

A: Thank you for asking this question. Your sensitivity toward your new girlfriend is admirable and your concern makes sense. The difficult part of this is the fact that both the relationship and the traumatic incident are new – making it a difficult thing to manage because there are so many new feelings and features to the circumstances.

On the good news side I am very glad your girlfriend is in therapy discussing this horrendous act. My encouragement is to have her ask her therapist what his or her recommendation is for you. As I see it there are three therapeutic possibilities: The therapist and your girlfriend can invite you in for a session to help you understand the emotional landscape of coping with this type of trauma. Second, this may be an opportunity for you and your girlfriend to seek couples counseling for coping. Finally, the therapist might recommend you have your own therapy for a while. I think any of these possibilities are good — it really depends on how the situation unfolds.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Mar 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Girlfriend’s Past Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/03/05/girlfriends-past-abuse/