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Is my long-term girlfriend's "sexual" and family history normal?

Some general details first:

We've been together three years.
I'm 6 years older than her.
We met through mutual friends and live together.

Over the course of the beginning of our relationship I found out some troubling history on her part, of which was mostly not recent. I will try to make a cursory summary of some key points.

Her father sexually abused her sister of whom is 6 years older than her. Her parents divorced shortly after her father was incarcerated for other reasons.

Her mother later had a long term friendship with a "family friend" who was later regarded as my girlfriend's "godfather." He had lots of money and would take my girlfriend on trips, oftentimes just the two of them. He offered to pay for her college and gave her money and dined her etc. He also had lots of pictures of her. The "godfather" eventually asked my girlfriend about her sexual encounters with other females her age (she is and was bisexual), into middle and high school years. This later turned into a series of sexual advances of which she claims were never acted upon and while "disturbing," she continued accepting means of financial support from him (that could be considered "hush money") while he continued making remarks and advances sexual in nature. She would also visit him and he'd also leave pornographic material out when she was younger. Later he also bought her a car if she agreed to have sex in his van and at a hotel, but she said he changed his mind at the last second and bought her the car anyway. Up to the point we started spending time together she would still agree to have lunch with him on her lunch breaks and he'd give her some extra money. Upon my knowledge of this and seeing my problem with it, she terminated her relationship with him. To my knowledge her mother only knew about the money at this point.

Now the second thing. In my girlfriend's high school years, her mother became close friends with a neighbor family. The mother in that family has always been a drug addict and my girlfriend would act as the son's and daughter's "caretaker." One night she was staying overnight at their house, the father requested her to come to the garage while the rest of the family was asleep (I think). He offered her cannabis and she smoked it before he made sexual advances on her. Eventually she "panicked" and ran out to the son's/daughter's room where she felt safe and stayed there the rest of the night. My girlfriend says her mother didn't believe her later on, probably in part that my girlfriend at the time was also very sexually curious and was caught chatting online in deeply sexual, alternative roleplaying games websites. This was all around the age of 13-14. Later the father was arrested for molesting his own daughter. To this day my girlfriend has a very strong emotional bond with the son in that family (who is now 16 yrs old, she is 26).

Now the third. There was another family friend/neighbor to my girlfriend's mother in her high school years. Later the man's wife had killed herself in front of their own child, [I believe] on suspicion that her husband (the family friend) had some kind of feelings for another female (not sure who). But my girlfriend claimed it all felt like a dream and was confused I guess. Later, she said that one night her mother, while inside the house, asked my girlfriend to give this man some [solace] while he was tending to his docked boat. Needless to say it turned into another sexual advance of which she claims nothing happened. To this day that man is a neighbor and has been in a relationship with another woman of whom we were all friends with up until we moved in our first year in a romantic relationship.

This is only a brief summary and I'm sure I left some details out, however I will do my best to recollect them and add later.

I also found a sexual video on her phone a couple of years ago. I refused to believe it was her sister as she claimed, and she finally admitted it was her and a guy friend she was still in touch with (in another state). She said she forgot she still had the video.

Other than this our relationship has been relatively steady and mutually beneficial.

I just don't know what to make of all of it even to this day.

Thank you for reading.
3 Responses
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134578 tn?1642048000
Another way for you to think about it is that she went through the wars and has some inevitable post-traumatic stress. You might read up about adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse or inappropriately sexualized environments.

It sounds like you and your girlfriend have a good relationship. To continue to be a good boyfriend, learn more about what these exposures do to a person psychologically.  It's not like she can't live with it and it's not like you can't live with it; it just seems important that you understand why victims can sometimes seem passive in the face of their victimization. Getting angry or worried is not as helpful as being able to recognize these things for what they are.

I think her reaction to the environment in which she grew up sounds pretty normal. Not saying the environment was, just saying that how she is handling things sounds like what one might expect.
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134578 tn?1642048000
A friend of mine was continually molested by her uncle when she was a child. (Her brother was, also.) Later in her life she was victimized by several other men. Her uncle had controlled her resistance and modified her behavior to be acquiescent, when she was too little to resist, and it worked, it became part of her personality such that she attracted men with those tendencies for years afterwards. She only knew that pattern with men, and she put up with domineering men she should not have put up with, for years. It's like they could sniff her out.

You ask if your grilfriend's history is "normal." If by that, you mean "Is it OK?" well, of course it's not OK. But if by "normal" you mean "Is it common?" or "Does this happen more than we would like to think?" the answer is yes. It happens all the time. And it marks its victims (if her dad was abusing her sister, it's quite likely he was also abusing her in some way, emotionally if not other ways).  If you intend to use the accusation that she didn't have a "normal" childhood to chide her that she is in some way not normal in her reaction, I sure wouldn't go there. She did what she did to survive the situation with her sanity intact. If she wants to see a counselor about it, that would be great for her. But there is no reason to come back and wag a finger at her about her childhood not being normal.  
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973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there and welcome to the relationships forum.  It sounds like you have a very open and communicative relationship with her which is great!  She's shared a lot of things with you.  

From my take, she was a girl in a situation with a lot of creeps.  I would not hold this in any way against her.  Taking the first guys money is something many would do as a young person being offered financial things!  You are pretty dependent on that at that time and even beyond.  My husband tells a story of a man he worked for.  My husband was taken under this man's wing as my husband's family was pretty uncaring and financially strapped.  He was the youngest male of 5 and regarded as the 'black sheep' in a way.  That's all his side of things, of course. And this business owner was well off.  He helped my husband in high school and college.  He provided a job but also took him to nice dinners, helped him start thinking about his future, helped him with a car, etc.  He was a married man with no children.  Most look at this as this man wanting to help someone.  My husband still keeps in touch with this man.  We've been to visit and introduced our kids to him.  My husband's story is similar to your girlfriends.  But I look at this man as a helping hand to a boy who needed it.  Going away on getaways is the only suspect thing you mention. But I would let it go.  Regardless she was a young girl from a clearly difficult home life with a father in prison (and girls with dad's who have issues often become very sexual early as she did, keep that in mind).

When we moved to our house we live in now, my kids were 1 and a baby.  The neighbors had a 10 year old girl. She often came over after school and played with my kids.  To this day, she adores my kids. They bonded. Your girlfriend bonded with the son of the other scenario.  And other things you mention are more 'traumatic' to me than sexual.  She sounds like she was a target of victimization her entire young life!  She deserves a metal for making it through as she has and has found a loving partner that is clearly very articulate.  I would only offer her support and an ear.  She has been through a lot and I am sure she is happy to have found you and some sort of 'normal' in this world.

The video she had.  ugh.  This day and age, these sex tapes are plain dumb.  But oh well. She did it.  If she is still in contact with past lovers, you CAN let her know this makes you uncomfortable and ask her to possibly make that very minimal.  I think that is fair.  Especially someone you've now got the imagery of in the sex tape.  

Keep being a good partner and hopefully this will all work out. We all have pasts and some just have a bit more to theirs than others.
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