JONAH, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing
How I Told My Fiancée about my SSA
Written by Michael
(Posted October 2014)
I just had the most amazing experience of my life. It was worth telling my fiancée about my SSA just for the experience itself.
The girl who I am dating (her name is xxxx) is a truly amazing woman! I took her to Central Park and we went to the Lobe Boathouse. We went rafting for an hour and it was so beautiful. Great place for a date. (highly recommended). Then I took out the towels and kosher food I brought with us. I made a beautiful picnic and we ate lunch there. Then, I went for the "dive."
I started by telling her how beautiful I thought she was and about all the amazing things I have seen in her since I met her. I told her that I trust her completely and that I am only sharing this information because I love her so much. I felt it important and wanted her to see the *REAL* me, and thus understand the true source for my growth.
I started by telling her a summary of all that I had shared with her already. Then I went on to tell her about the sexual abuse that I went through at ages 7-10. As I was explaining this, she started to tear, and I asked her what the tears were about. She responded "that must have been so hard for you". We spoke about the abuse for 20 minutes and I reassured her that I am no longer bothered by it because I have done my work around that. She responded with awe.
Finally, I told her what all my issues resulted in. I said that I had developed attraction to other males and that at one point I was totally lost in how to deal with these feelings. I went to my rabbi, and he referred me to a JONAH referral therapist. I have been working on my "issues" for the past 2 and half years. I told her about all my struggles and she listened intently. After I had finished, she responded with the following " it must have been so hard for you to tell me that. Thank you so much for being honest and opening up to me. The fact the you are being so open with me and trusting me with your struggles makes me more attracted to you than I have ever been before. I am so impressed that you can be so emotionally open with me". She then went on to ask me questions about my therapy. She asked me to repeat the main core issues underlying SSA and to explain how it applied to my life. She had already met my family twice and gotten to know their personalities a bit. After I had told her everything, she told me "now it all makes sense".
She totally "got me" guys. I was totally amazed at her sincerity and understanding. She kept emphasizing how happy she was that I was honest with her, and that it would have been a big slap in her face if she found out after marriage some other way. She now knows my struggles and is willing to stand by my side.
I also spoke to her about my social work degree and the field of interest I am planning on working in (SSA and Sexual abuse). She responded "of course! this is something you went through, and it would be a shame if you didn't utilize your unique gifts, understanding, and knowledge to help those who are struggling". My fiancée and I have a meeting with Enrique, my therapist from JONAH next week. she is excited to meet the man who i have learned so much from about myself for the past year. (And of course to meet my mentor Arthur at the same time).
Basically, to follow up,I told her to take her time on things, And I encouraged her to meet my Rabbi as well. She told me that she has no concerns and because she trusts me fully, she does not need to speak with anyone else. She told me that her trust in me before I told her was 100%,but now it's 150%. She saw my "GOLD" guys! Its amazing what authenticity feels like!
I can finally be *ME.* I don't have to live with a double-bind. I feel alive. I am only 24 years old; yet, I feel like I have come to place of well being such as a healthy 80 year old man feels. Thank you to all of you who took the time to pray for me. I'm sure everyone created a stir up in Heaven for me. You guys rock!
Postscript: Before their marriage, Michael and his bride to be went to Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky for a blessing where they fully disclosed the issues with which he was dealing. Rabbi Kamenetsky was delighted to provide such a blessing for a happy and healthy marriage.
This email was written to others in JONAH during 2011. The writer is now happily married, has a healthy child, and is helping others heal as a licensed mental health professional.