How much to tell FH about past?

What limits should we set before marriage?
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How much to tell FH about past?

Postby MusicianForever » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:56 am

I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I’m not sure what to tell my FH about my past. So far, all he knows is that I’m a virgin and I saved my first kiss until we were engaged. I think he thinks I’m totally innocent, but in reality:

1. I was sexually abused when I was a little girl.

2. Throughout my teen years I was really addicted to erotica and masturbation. It got to the point where I was spending hours a day on websites where “You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter” and totally neglecting time with my family and friends in the process. God freed me from these addictions and I haven’t visited an adult website in 4 years now.

3. I’m much more visual than the average female and spent many years battling lust, although I’ve gained great victory in this area in recent years.

4. I used to think I was bisexual, although God freed me from that years ago.

I don’t know whether any of this is something I should admit to my FH or not, and if so I’m not sure to what extent. What do you think?
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby Shesabutterfly » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:15 pm

MusicianForever wrote:I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I’m not sure what to tell my FH about my past. So far, all he knows is that I’m a virgin and I saved my first kiss until we were engaged. I think he thinks I’m totally innocent, but in reality:

1. I was sexually abused when I was a little girl.

2. Throughout my teen years I was really addicted to erotica and masturbation. It got to the point where I was spending hours a day on websites where “You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter” and totally neglecting time with my family and friends in the process. God freed me from these addictions and I haven’t visited an adult website in 4 years now.

3. I’m much more visual than the average female and spent many years battling lust, although I’ve gained great victory in this area in recent years.

4. I used to think I was bisexual, although God freed me from that years ago.

I don’t know whether any of this is something I should admit to my FH or not, and if so I’m not sure to what extent. What do you think?



I'm sure you'll get some great advice from more experienced people on this board, but I'll tell you what I think. You have to tell him everything. If you try to start a marriage with secrets between you it will just cause problems later on. Do you have a pastor or counselor that you could talk to about this? It could be a good idea to talk about this with someone like that and then bring you FH with you so you can talk about all of it with a helpful third party present. That's just my two cents. Good luck.
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby The Knight's Lady » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:55 pm

Are you and your FH in premarital counseling? If not, you need to be.

Have you been in individual counseling as part of your recovery from the abuse and addiction? If not, you need to be.

My personal opinion is that your FH needs to be made aware of all these issues. But those discussions should be part of counseling with a qualified person, preferably someone with experience in sexual abuse and addiction counseling.
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby luvmygirls » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:18 pm

He definitely needs to know, and not just because of secrets between you, but also because of the effect that each of these things will have on your sexual behavior and your response to his sexual advances. Have you been through counseling for your abuse?

I don't necessarily think that you need to talk through this with a sex addiction counselor if you have already been through counseling for these issues. But you need to approach your fiance with them soon so you can both work through them in premarital counseling. If you are not doing premarital counseling, you need to. Because of the depth of your past issues, you should probably go to a Christian counseling service for your premarital counseling instead of just your pastor. It's a good long-term investment.
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby MusicianForever » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:03 pm

luvmygirls wrote:He definitely needs to know, and not just because of secrets between you, but also because of the effect that each of these things will have on your sexual behavior and your response to his sexual advances. Have you been through counseling for your abuse?

No, I haven't been to any counseling for the abuse. But I have wondered to myself how it could impact my future marriage. That passage in the Bible about a married couple's bodies belonging to each other always kind of scared me, I guess because of my past abuse and not wanting to feel like my body actually "belongs" to somebody else.

And as far as the fact that I used to visit adult websites, I'm not really sure about the impact of that. I know I used to read all kinds of erotica in the past (including some really bad things like BDSM, guy-on-guy, etc). I'm hoping that since it was years ago that it won't have that much of an effect, but obviously I have no way of really knowing yet. I'm not sure of exactly how much to confess to in that area either. Since we're not married yet, should I just say that I used to visit adult websites? Or should I say that I used to be addicted to them? Or should I actually admit to more of what I was into online (like the types of erotica)?
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby Leah » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:34 pm

You need to be in counseling for the abuse AND the porn/masturbation. These things have arms and legs that reach out and affect everyone. You both might want to consider 12-step companion groups--you in the one for the habitual users and he for the families and friends of. These relationships can work if both parties fully educate themselves and work through all the issues that come up in courtship and that will come up when live hands you a trigger.
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby ClaireB » Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:53 pm

I think telling him about the abuse would be a really good thing to do. I know that growing up I always felt the pressure of this big dark secret, not from my family because they were fantastic but it wasn't spoken about outside, so being able to tell my husband before our marriage and not having that big bad there was a big release. I felt a little sad when I read your OP, I don't know if it's the way you meant it but you listed it as a reason you are not innocent and please believe me, if that's how you feel, that you are innocent. It hasn't taken anything from you. Do you have a trusted person who knows about the abuse who can help you to explain it to him? I found sitting down with Mum and my then fiance was really helpful. As far as belonging is concerned, I was abused as a young child and also raped as a young adult, but the belonging to someone you love very much is so different. When it works right it's not about one person being in control it's an equal partnership, when you know that your husband would do anything for you and will be there for you through whatever comes up, then it doesn't matter if you belong to him because it's safe.

The rest of the stuff is something other people have covered and know more than me about.

BTW, BDSM doesn't have to be a "really bad thing".

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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby robin » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:00 pm

Yes you tell him about the abuse and fallout it caused or you don't bother marrying him. I know that sound harsh, but I speak from experience.

You don't need to tell him the gritty details unless he asks for them, but disclose the abuse and the after affects. I have been married for 22 years and trust me the abuse gets revealed whether you want it to or not it's best to just get it all out in the open. Forewarned is forearmed. There are times your husband might accidentally triggers you or you get reminded and accidentally take it out on him, sometimes that's just instinct and you really can't help it, my worst reactions tend to be when my husband kisses me when I'm sleeping before he leaves for work. I've kicked, punched, slapped, bitten, choked, pushed, and scratched him over the years when I've gotten taken by surprise, just this month I landed a rather effective karate chop straight the center of his throat. Thankfully because he knows WHY I do that he doesn't take it personally and I usually wake up before I really hurt him. I just spent too many of my formative years not being physically or sexually safe. Sometimes it comes out of you in different ways and it might be moodiness or crying, avoiding sex, being hyper protective of your children or just mad at your husband because he's a man with sexual needs, or even just a man. Abuse is like an onion, it has layers and each layer is pretty stinky, each phase of life reveals another layer. You can get counseling when it happens or even years afterward like I did, but it never goes 100% away.

If you don't tell him before marriage and he finds out later he ends up confused, hurt and feeling betrayed and lied to. Read some of the posts by Yank who dealt with this with his wife. Her failure to disclose until over a decade into their marriage brought him a lot of pain. He's a really good voice for how being married to an abuse victim can affect a marriage.

Marriage is a serious undertaking. The wider open your eyes are the better a chance it has of being amazing.

Just tell him, if he can't handle it before marriage then he certainly won't be able to handle it afterward and that's information you NEED to have.

You know, this question gets asked often enough that I wonder if there is or should be an article on the main TMB site?
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby robin » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:20 pm

MusicianForever wrote:No, I haven't been to any counseling for the abuse. But I have wondered to myself how it could impact my future marriage. That passage in the Bible about a married couple's bodies belonging to each other always kind of scared me, I guess because of my past abuse and not wanting to feel like my body actually "belongs" to somebody else.


Your body doesn't belong to your abuser. Two people who willingly give themselves to each other become one. If it's taken from you, it's just that, taken. They don't get to own what they didn't have permission to help themselves to.

And as far as the fact that I used to visit adult websites, I'm not really sure about the impact of that. I know I used to read all kinds of erotica in the past (including some really bad things like BDSM, guy-on-guy, etc). I'm hoping that since it was years ago that it won't have that much of an effect, but obviously I have no way of really knowing yet. I'm not sure of exactly how much to confess to in that area either. Since we're not married yet, should I just say that I used to visit adult websites? Or should I say that I used to be addicted to them? Or should I actually admit to more of what I was into online (like the types of erotica)?


It's actually quite common for abuse survivors to develop a porn/erotica issue. It's just part of how your brain tries to sort out what happened with you.

Just sit him down and tell him that you were abused at whatever age and as a result you went in the direction or porn and erotica. Tell him how long you've been clean and how you broke the habit.
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby luvmygirls » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:16 pm

Good advice so far. Robin has a lot of good stuff to say and so has everyone else. You appear to already be putting up walls as a result of the abuse. Your thoughts about "belonging" to your husband may not originate from the abuse, but is certainly deeply impacted by it. You definitely need to be in counseling about the abuse and let the counselor walk through this with you, and let your fiance walk with you as well. You need to know that this is also a great way to see your fiance's true character. If he walks with you through this healing process and wants to marry you, that will say a lot about him and the depth of his love for you. And as Leah said, this will affect not just you, but both of you and even further out to others.

Please get help now.
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby MusicianForever » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:48 pm

Leah in Mid-South wrote:These relationships can work if both parties fully educate themselves and work through all the issues that come up in courtship and that will come up when live hands you a trigger.

Well that's good to know. :D

ClaireB wrote:I think telling him about the abuse would be a really good thing to do. I know that growing up I always felt the pressure of this big dark secret, not from my family because they were fantastic but it wasn't spoken about outside, so being able to tell my husband before our marriage and not having that big bad there was a big release. I felt a little sad when I read your OP, I don't know if it's the way you meant it but you listed it as a reason you are not innocent and please believe me, if that's how you feel, that you are innocent. It hasn't taken anything from you. Do you have a trusted person who knows about the abuse who can help you to explain it to him? I found sitting down with Mum and my then fiance was really helpful.

Yeah, I think it always made me feel like I'm not innocent.

I did keep it a big secret for a lot of years, but then I eventually told a few people and found it freeing.

ClaireB wrote:BTW, BDSM doesn't have to be a "really bad thing".

It doesn't?
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How much to tell FH about past?

Postby padsnd » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:31 pm

I agree with those who say you should tell him and should be involved in personal and pre-marital counseling for all of these.

You may feel like these are non-issues, but I think it says something that you experienced abuse, addiction, and SSA and your first question about what you should or shouldn't share with your future spouse was about breast size and bras that enhance. While the latter is something that shouldn't be a problem to share, it also shouldn't be in the forefront of issues for anyone--much less someone like you who has other things that may impact your relationship in more profound ways.


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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby MusicianForever » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:47 pm

padsnd wrote:I agree with those who say you should tell him and should be involved in personal and pre-marital counseling for all of these.

You may feel like these are non-issues, but I think it says something that you experienced abuse, addiction, and SSA and your first question about what you should or shouldn't share with your future spouse was about breast size and bras that enhance. While the latter is something that shouldn't be a problem to share, it also shouldn't be in the forefront of issues for anyone--much less someone like you who has other things that may impact your relationship in more profound ways.

What's SSA?
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby PS56 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:58 pm

MusicianForever wrote:What's SSA?


Same sex attraction.

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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby robin » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:59 pm

MusicianForever wrote:
padsnd wrote:I agree with those who say you should tell him and should be involved in personal and pre-marital counseling for all of these.

You may feel like these are non-issues, but I think it says something that you experienced abuse, addiction, and SSA and your first question about what you should or shouldn't share with your future spouse was about breast size and bras that enhance. While the latter is something that shouldn't be a problem to share, it also shouldn't be in the forefront of issues for anyone--much less someone like you who has other things that may impact your relationship in more profound ways.

What's SSA?


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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby ClaireB » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:41 am

MusicianForever wrote:
Leah in Mid-South wrote:These relationships can work if both parties fully educate themselves and work through all the issues that come up in courtship and that will come up when live hands you a trigger.

Well that's good to know. :D

ClaireB wrote:I think telling him about the abuse would be a really good thing to do. I know that growing up I always felt the pressure of this big dark secret, not from my family because they were fantastic but it wasn't spoken about outside, so being able to tell my husband before our marriage and not having that big bad there was a big release. I felt a little sad when I read your OP, I don't know if it's the way you meant it but you listed it as a reason you are not innocent and please believe me, if that's how you feel, that you are innocent. It hasn't taken anything from you. Do you have a trusted person who knows about the abuse who can help you to explain it to him? I found sitting down with Mum and my then fiance was really helpful.

Yeah, I think it always made me feel like I'm not innocent.

I did keep it a big secret for a lot of years, but then I eventually told a few people and found it freeing.

ClaireB wrote:BTW, BDSM doesn't have to be a "really bad thing".

It doesn't?

You are innocent! You didn't want it or ask for it, it wasn't because you did something wrong or something is wrong with you. Abusers abuse, rapists rape the only way to prevent abuse or rape or anything like that is to not do it and you didn't.

Another thing to think about, if you don't tell him now, when will you tell him? You will never find a right time if you keep it secret and you will end up resenting that you can't tell him.

BDSM, if it's what you both want, can be good. Not all of it is suitable for a Christian couple, but that doesn't exclude everything. I Googled Christian BDSM the other day, there were a few hits that were quite firmly against but also some really good hits.

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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby CubbieChuck » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:38 am

To me, the real question is: Do you want your FH to marry you - body, heart, mind, & soul... or do you want your FH to marry a perfect image you are fronting?

I would suggest starting by telling him the truth. Start with about as much detail as you put in the opening post. And in that order. That might be all he wants/needs to hear. Or he might ask more detailed questions. You will experience the greatest gift in life & marriage -- grace & forgiveness.

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He knew carrying secrets to the grave was impossible to do.
The secrets carry you." - Andy Gullahorn (lyrics)

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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby LadyP » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:15 pm

You wondered if the erotica would still affect you this far out. Unfortunately, there's a decent chance it will. I was addicted to written erotica for a while in college (not as deeply as you were, but addicted) and scenes and phrases from what I read still pop into my head from time to time, eight years later. By this point I'm pretty good at binding them over to God and moving on, but it still comes up from time to time. Your husband needs to know what is going on in your head when that happens.

My advice would be to tell him that you were seriously addicted to both visual and written erotica, and how and when you got free of it, but not discuss the details of what you were into, at least at this point. I wouldn't treat it as a deep dark secret, though - if he really wants to know you should probably tell him. The point is to give him what is useful. Treating it as something shameful or to be hidden is just self-condemnation and false guilt at this point.

As for BDSM - depends on the type and the intensity. I have quite a lot of thoughts on the matter and would be happy to share them via PM if you are interested. That said, you probably shouldn't explore BDSM in your marriage until you've gotten lots of counseling for the sexual abuse. Too much potential for problems there.
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby MusicianForever » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:50 pm

Well, I told my FH about being abused, but I haven't told him anything else yet. I do plan to tell him about the erotica, but I haven't quite figured out how to go about it yet.

LadyP wrote:You wondered if the erotica would still affect you this far out. Unfortunately, there's a decent chance it will. I was addicted to written erotica for a while in college (not as deeply as you were, but addicted) and scenes and phrases from what I read still pop into my head from time to time, eight years later. By this point I'm pretty good at binding them over to God and moving on, but it still comes up from time to time. Your husband needs to know what is going on in your head when that happens.

I can picture that, because things from adult websites do come back into my mind sometimes. Why would he need to know what is going on in my head when that happens?
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Re: How much to tell FH about past?

Postby 2gether4ever94 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:26 pm

MusicianForever wrote:I can picture that, because things from adult websites do come back into my mind sometimes. Why would he need to know what is going on in my head when that happens?



For a couple of reasons. If you are married and suggest xyz that may be outside of your norm he should be able to ask you where that is comin from if you want to try it great knock yourself out...however, if it's because you've 'fallen' then he needs to know that . Also speakin as a person that comes from a 20+ yr porn addiction if you're bein tempted your spouse should know if for no other reason than to pray for you for strength and protection. I tell my dw when I'm gettin beat up in my head and tempted for that very reason and she does pray for me and it HELPS also it continues to keep no secrets in our marriage. Secrets for me are a bad thing. And from my past secrets do not end well so we don't have any.

My 0.02,

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