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Assault putting strain on marriage

(4 Posts)
PetalOfADeeperShade Tue 20-Jan-15 10:22:36

Don't want to drip feed, so this might be quite long...NC so I don't out myself, but I do post regularly.

Over ten years ago I was date raped by a male "friend". It took me a long time to face what happened, but I eventually sought counselling and came to terms with it. Or so I thought.

When I first met my husband we had a few sexual difficulties over this. He was very supportive and patient and with a lot of hard work we got to a good place.

Last year, we moved to a new city. It was very much my idea to relocate- this city wasn't first choice but it was the most practical for a variety of reasons. DH was able to transfer to another office within his company.

Soon after we moved it became apparent that my attacker had also moved here (I had gone NC and had lost track of him over the years). I first realised this when DH and I were walking down the street and I saw him through a cafe window.

Another time we have seen him at supermarket checkout, and one time, on my own, I saw him outside the hairdresser where I was getting a haircut. He has also set up his own business, using his (distinctive) surname and so I often see hoardings/signs with the business's name and logo in unexpected places.

This is taking a huge emotional toll on me. I am basically scared to leave the house a lot of the time. And because I am pretty much terrified most of the time and so emotionally drained by it, I am over reacting to other things a lot, because I have very little emotional reserves left. So I am very tired, flit in and out of depression.

It is taking a toll on our marriage too. Emotionally I am very up and down, so DH and I are arguing a lot. Intimacy is more difficult than it was before, especially sexually. I struggled with it for a while, spoke to DH about it and he was lovely, saying just to take the time I needed and he would wait. But now I am ready for that but he is very inhibited, partly because he doesn't want to pressure/upset me, partly because we are arguing a lot and partly because, when it's been a while it can be nerve wracking starting again.

It has taken me a while to work out what is going on. I thought a lot of my stress/tiredness was down to moving city and also to a few other minor but dramatic incidents that have happened since we moved. But we went away over Christmas and I was literally like a different person. I went for a walk down a street by myself on the way somewhere, and realised it was the first time in god knows how long that I had felt free to do so without being watchful.

To compound things, as we are in a new city I need to meet people and make friends, and this is definitely hindering that as I am so scared and anxious all the time. I am also very scared both of my husband and that he will leave me. He hasn't really given me cause for this, I am just so scared and anxious of everyone all the time it is kind of infectious and I can't switch off the hypervigilance. I know he is getting tired of the arguments and jumpiness/snappiness so I am in danger of being a self fulfilling prophecy.

It has occurred to us both to move again, but that really wouldn't be practical or feasible given how recently we have already moved. In my worst moments I even think about leaving this place just myself and trying to make a go of it elsewhere, but I really love my husband and don't want to leave/lose him. But I can't go on with this ever present fear either.

I really don't know what to do and I sense that I am about to reach breaking point, I can feel that I am on the brink of real depression about the situation. I have thought about going to counselling again, unfortunately I found that quite re-traumatising and became suicidal at one point so am reluctant to jump into that without thinking of other options first. I really couldn't face going over the details of the original incident again, but I could handle talking about how I deal with the situation now IYSWIM.

I know my husband will give me what ever time I need to sort this out. I need to get a handle on the snappiness/short temper the omnipresent fear is causing in me though, as he is only human and my moodiness/temper is getting him down, as are things like my having difficulty leaving the house sometimes even when we have plans and therefore we are reluctant to make plans a lot. He is a very patient and loving and kind man. He is being worn down by this too, but he would never, never pressurise me into anything.

So how do I handle this better?

PuffinsAreFictitious Wed 21-Jan-15 10:49:14

Firstly, we believe you thanks

I am so sorry this is happening to you. It sounds awful.

Have you spoken to Rape Crisis? Do you have a local women's centre you could connect with? If, as you say, you feel unable to talk about the rape, you might look into some counselling to help you o deal with your feelings around the perpetrator being in the same area as you.

Hope you find a workable solution for you and your DH, it sounds like you're living a sort of half life when you could be relishing your new adventure.

PetalOfADeeperShade Wed 21-Jan-15 13:19:21

Thank you Puffins Your kind and supportive attitude really helps, and your advice is really, really good.

I also posted this here on relationships. Sorry, I forgot to come back to mention this before. Was a bit anxious about getting replies once I had posted.

I am going to call the Rape Crisis hotline in a few days- basically at a time when I have got my head round doing that.

My local centre is currently not even operating a waiting list for incidents that happened in the past, only operating for people who have been attacked within the last 3 months. I knew they had funding issues last year (made a couple of donations to their appeal) and I guess this is the consequence. Which is sad- not just for me, I mean it is sad they are struggling so much to meet demand for their services.

I had support from the centre in my hometown originally. I still make an anonymous monthly donation to them. They are still accepting new people, and counselling can be over the telephone, so I am considering exploring that option.

Think I will also go onto anti-depressants for 6 to 12 months. This is to give myself a window of stability in which I can address the underlying issues through counselling. And hopefully come off them having built a stronger personal foundation internally.

PuffinsAreFictitious Wed 21-Jan-15 20:37:34

I'm really sorry to hear about your local centre's funding difficulties. The last few years have been really tough on services like these.

Hope you start to feel more on an even keel soon and can start to process your feelings. You know where we all are if you need us.

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