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Passing on the Abuse

I have been seeing a guy for over a year - he is charming, supportive, helpful, intelligent...I care very much about him. However, there are some odd things he believes that I can't figure out. For example, he won't call me his girlfriend because he says "then people will think we're just having sex all the time." He insists that we are "friends". We have never had intercourse because he thinks it's "dirty." I know those types of statements are sometimes the result of abusive situations, which has me concerned. I think I might know the source, but I'm not sure. My BF (or "friend") has another female friend whom he's known for 12 years. This woman has Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and many other issues. She has attached herself to him, yells and screams at him when she senses rejection, is obsessively in love with him, accuses him of sleeping with every girl in the neighborhood, and generally tries to control him. Now mind you, she lives 1500 miles away and still does this! He swears they've never been sexual, although he did say that she yanked his pants down and grabbed his penis once. He did nothing about that. He denies it's a big deal. What bothers me, other than his insistence that he has to "fix" her, is that he demands that I accept her as his "baggage" and that I be understanding when he has to fly to see her and constantly take her abuse. He himself is not emotionally healthy - he withdraws affection from me at the slightest hint of being "rejected," which he says I do (when I don't do exactly as he expects). It often feels like he's passing the abuse on to me. I have tried to stick with him and he has agreed to go to counseling, but I don't know what to do anymore. He will not relinquish his relationship with this abusive woman, and says that once he "fixes" her, then we can have a normal relationship. He admits that she is a "heavy weight around my neck" but he refuses to cut ties. What else could be going on? He gets mad when I suggest he has feelings for her. I have never been allowed to meet her or accompany him on his trips to see her. Not that I want to meet her - she'd probably kill me so she can have him. She has threatened me, too. Any help guys? Thanks.
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Avatar universal
Your instincts are kicking in. Listen to them.
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319399 tn?1254531681
This is a very sticky situation to be in. It sounds like both your boy and his other woman friend are very disturbed mentally. Why does he think he is the one who needs to "fix" her? Furthermore, it sound like he needs to be fixed himself. Why does he think of sex as being "dirty" or thinks that if he says that you are his girlfriend people will think that you both are constantly having sex? That is not a normal response. Your boyfriend seem to be going through great lents to avoid sex which is not normal either...

You are right in suggesting  counselling. I do believe that he has lots of issues that he needs to come to terms with. Perhaps your interpretation of his relationship with this other woman is not as it seem....what if he is also obsessed with fixing her and both of them on some level are fixated on each other. Not in a sexual way as it may appear but perhaps because of the nature of their mental state. The seem to have form a negative bond where one cant seem to be without the other. His motivation to "fix" her fuels her dependency on him. Adding to that, he dependency on him is fueling his need to be "needed" by someone. As you stated in your letter that he craves that and withdraws at any hint of rejection. Your boyfriend's behaviour also show some compulsiveness. In a way, i do believe he can relate to this other woman because he knows how she thinks although she might be aggressive while he on the other hand is passive aggressive....they don't sound quite different.

Try to get him into counselling as soon as possible.By the way how old is he?
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319399 tn?1254531681
I though about sexual anorexia when i read your post but i am not 100% sure. Anyway check out this information...does his behaviour suggest this?

Sexual Anorexia

What is sexual anorexia?

Sexual anorexia is an obsessive state in which the physical, mental, and emotional task of avoiding sex dominates a person's life. Sexual anorexia can make a person feel powerful and defended against all hurts. Sexual anorexia often becomes a way to cope with all stress and all life difficulties.

A person who is sexual anorexic seeks ways not to combine intimacy with sex. Both men and women can suffer from sexual anorexia. Most individuals who have sexual anorexia silently battle with it. They are often too ashamed or afraid of rejection to talk to their friends and family about it.

The concept of "sexual anorexia" was first mentioned by psychologist Nathan Hare in 1975, in an unpublished dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment for a Ph.D. at the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco.

Cause of sexual anorexia

In many cases, sexual anorexia is caused by an underlying social phobia or extreme shyness. Sexual anorexia may also be caused by a a devastating rejection or trauma (such as date rape) that resulted in subsequent avoidance behavior.

Characteristics of sexual anorexia?

There are several characteristics of sexual anorexia. Some common characteristics of sexual anorexia are:

    * complete avoidance from any type of sexual pleasure
    * limiting sexual expression to anonymous sexual encounters
    * rigid or judgmental attitudes toward sexuality—their own, and others
    * obsessing about sex and how to avoid it, to a point where it interferes with normal living

Can sexual anorexia be treated?

Sexual anorexia can be treated. Treatment will start with counseling to help determine the cause.


all the best
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Avatar universal
Personally i think you would be better off out of the whole unhealthy situation  luck   jo
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Avatar universal
My BF is 40, I am 35. The sexual anorexia thing is interesting. I appreciate that information. Some of it fits, so I'll look further into that. I realize that there are tremendous problems here, and I also know in my heart that I cannot have a true, fulfilling relationship with him because he is addicted to another woman's attention. I am just concerned for him and would like to see him get into counseling, which he has just agreed to do. I'm afraid if I walk away now, he will not continue counseling. He can be intelligent, and states that I have given him reason to get help and I'm the best thing that has happened to him. He states that he WANTS to be free from the other woman, but doesn't know if it's "the right time." I don't know how long I can wait around.
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535822 tn?1443976780
I am sorry to say this to you ,you have doubts or you wouldnt be posting here my advice for your future is ,Walk away'...there are good men out there waiting for good women , you deserve better.
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319399 tn?1254531681
I understand your stance on this. Since you plan on sticking it out until he seeks help, is there anything you can do to speed up the process? You could start looking for a suitable therapist for him. The fact is that if he is 40, then he had along time to really get help that he so desperately need. You need to show him that you are very serious about him getting help and you prefer he does this sooner than later. He should be in counselling like yesterday. Get him some brochures and start the process. Other wise you might be in for a long ride.
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Avatar universal
Thank you everyone!
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