Being intimate with your significant other is supposed to be a comforting and safe experience. This sometimes is not the case with sexual trauma survivors, and it isn’t their fault. Being intimate may become especially triggering and it’s important for the partner of the survivor to understand that it wasn’t something they did wrong, but it was the wrongful doing of someone else.
Being in a relationship with a survivor of sexual trauma can sometimes leave an individual at a loss of what to say or do. Its important not to push the survivor past what they may be comfortable with, as the definition of what intimate means has totally changed. It’s also important to listen to them and give them the chance to open up (if they are willing) about their experience.
Trust has an extremely huge role in a sexual trauma survivor’s life. Because of the trauma that the survivor endured, trust may be hindered in the relationship. It may take time and patience for them to be willing to let their partner in on their lives. If your partner is going through this, it is important to let them know that you are there for them and be patient with them in this process.
A relationship doesn’t always mean physical intimacy, and by being in this situation with a survivor, being intimate may not be first priority. Its essential to build trust and a safe environment between one another, and by doing other activities, it may give the chance to learn more about each other.