So, back when I first started doing research and writing my “Guide to sexual and emotional freedom” journal for my boyfriend I was so scared. Being a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, etc. It is really difficult to put yourself on a positive track when it comes to healthy relationships. I am, for the first time, in a relationship with someone who does not have a hidden agenda. This is the first time that I have ever been in a healthy relationship, but in doing so this came with some additional fears.
The last person that I showed vulnerability to threw everything I ever shared with him back in my face and it cut me deep. Me showing my sexuality in a relationship was a no go after a certain point in time. This person (not my abusive ex…. well not my physically abusive ex… this person was just as emotionally abusive..). The only thing that this person seemed to want after a long time was sex. He was the person who was the first man I’d allowed myself to be emotionally available to and vulnerable to in a long time. And he used it against me and he broke my heart. What I thought was left of my already damaged heart. I was drained. And I developed a mindset that sex was only going to happen how or when I wanted (I had a portion of this for a long time but this
relationship solidified it for me).
So when meeting the love of my life, things immediately began differently. Nothing about us was sexual, ever. He just was… there. He was a man. And I appreciated that. We didn’t kiss for the first time until the morning of the day he asked me to be his girlfriend and sex came later. It came after the foundation of our relationship was built. BUT, that was the thing that scared me the most. I am absolutely 100% not used to being treated with such respect, let alone being in a relationship with someone who is so attracted to me. It scared me. Completely, because at first I thought, “how could someone see me, all of me, and still be wildly attracted to me after my past…. my deep, deep past?” That was me being utterly insecure with myself and my relationship. However, it led me to find what I needed and the tools that I needed to use to get through my fears.
Being an abuse survivor that is in a relationship with someone who’s main love language is physical touch began as a challenge. Because when it first began any time he would move to touch me, I would flinch. And the more he was attracted to me and the more he wanted me sexually I backed away. Because anyone that wanted me in those ways didn’t have true intent behind them. Which is completely unfair to someone who has true intent behind their actions and their behavior. So I sat down and realized what I needed and what he needed and I wrote a journal called “Guide to sexual and emotional freedom.”
And I was really scared because allowing myself to expose that many levels of vulnerability is absolutely terrifying. I hate being vulnerable, it is the one thing that rattles me to the bone. Any one that I had trusted with everything inside of me and showed every single level of vulnerability to have used it against me and broke me because of it. And I had to decide that if I wanted this relationship to work I had to make sure that regardless I couldn’t let those moments before him destroy us. I couldn’t let it destroy what I had wanted so much in my life, I couldn’t let it stop me.
So.. I wrote this how to love me journal and to my complete and utter shock, he’s reading it. AND he is digesting it. And it is working out in our favor.
It has always been difficult when explaining to a man what I have been through, what my body has been through, what my mind has been through. I always get the response of being treated like a china doll. And that is the last thing that I need. That is the last thing that I need is seeing that I am still being viewed as broken, damaged, and sad. But what I needed from my partner was to see that there were smaller things that I needed to allow myself to show the most vulnerable side of me. To show that I am capable of showing my sexuality the way that I deserve to after all that I had been through. And my journal allowed me to articulate what it was that I needed. So that we could get to what he needed. And it took that level of vulnerability on both parts of this relationship for it to work. It had to be him and I both allowing our walls to drop to receive and give what we have never been able to do before.
I also had to realize that my level of damage and my level of emotional debris is not the norm for anyone. So I had to realize that he needed some tools to be able to decode what I needed. And whenever the topic would come up I would never be able to articulate what I needed so I did what I know how to do. I wrote. I wrote my feelings. My needs. I googled articles of why abuse survivors respond the way that we do when it comes to adult, mature, and healthy relationships. And when doing so we tend to shut down parts of us because when we get close to a person we trust it makes us shut down because those we trusted before hurt us so badly. And I needed him to understand that it wasn’t him. But the most important thing was to understand that I needed to get through this WITH him. Not against him.
And giving him a road map on how to love me, how to see me without the pain, how to love me with all of this baggage, has become one of the highlights of my life. He has taken this opportunity to step outside of everything to see… me. And nothing feels better than that. And I am glad that I have taken the time to give my partner this road map because ultimately this is giving me freedom I never knew I was missing. It is giving me the strength that I needed to stand up for myself and speak up for me. In doing so I realized that I gave myself a voice in my relationship. It isn’t always about the other person in a relationship. Being a survivor, the thing that I have taught myself is to no longer allow myself to be silenced; in any aspect of my life. And I realized that me being quiet about this and how I needed to be loved was actually hurting my relationship. So I spoke up. And I am so proud of myself.
We can love people who are different than us. We can allow people to love us, who have never loved anyone like us before. We can let it happen. It just takes a leap of faith to jump. I jumped and I was able to speak up about what I needed. And I am absolutely and incredibly so full with love. There is a bright side after all. There is a brighter side to the pain. This is my bright side. And this time it started with me.
*SIDE NOTE* If anyone would like to know the contents of my “Guide to Sexual and emotional freedom” journal, please feel free to email me, message me, etc. And I will be glad to share those contents on a one on one basis. Thank you.