My boyfriend of one year was recently accused of sexual misconduct.
The accusations were made by an anonymous source and didn’t cite specifics.
However, as a survivor of rape, my heart tells me that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Above all else, victims need to be trusted and heard.
He’s said that there are definitely past instances where he may’ve overstepped boundaries, been too “touchy,” or misread flirtation.
But he’s denied that he ever forced or coerced anyone into sexual contact.
He’s cited specific instances very clearly and openly to me.
But with his job being under review because the accusations came in an anonymous email to his employer, we haven’t had as thorough a conversation as I’d like.
I don't believe that accusations come out of nowhere for no reason. But I cannot yet reconcile how a man who’s been so gentle and clear about making sure we were on the same page about consent early in our relationship, would ever take advantage of another human being.
I can't turn off the love I feel for him, yet I feel it's a betrayal of anyone who’s been in my position as a survivor of sexual assault.
I bought myself time to think, by saying he needs to focus on the immediate fallout from this… so I would give him space to do that.
I’ve said that I hope he’ll be accountable for any pain he may’ve caused someone, even if it was not on purpose.
I’ve said that I expect to hear all sides out, fully, and give everyone a safe and non-judgemental space to be heard.
Our relationship is in limbo.
This all sounds level-headed, but I’m barely able to keep myself together. I don't know if I’m doing the right thing at any turn.
To be clear, I’ve never felt like my health and wellbeing has ever been at risk with this man. He’s been one of the best boyfriends I’ve ever known and I was beginning to see a long-term future together.
I don’t know what to do next.
You’ve done exactly what’s right for you to do, given all the circumstances involved.
You haven’t dropped all support. But you still want to know all the details of his past that may’ve sparked this accusation.
That’s a natural question that must be answered, for you to decide how to approach the relationship going forward… or not.
So far, the conversation hasn’t been totally satisfying to you.
From your own past experience with sexual assault, you’re giving the appropriate respect to this person’s complaint.
If you’d dismissed it instead, because he’s been respectful and loving with you, it’d nevertheless mean not being true to yourself.
Of course, he is legally innocent until proven guilty.
But you need to be convinced that what he recalls as possibly overstepping of bounds and misinterpretations of flirting and other signals, went no further. And that these involved no coercion towards having sex.
Otherwise, you’ll never be completely at ease in any further relationship with him.
You’re not the judge and jury, but you are a potential partner with your own hurtful past experience that can’t be brushed aside.
I hope that he can understand and accept your position on taking space until the facts, whatever they are, come to light.
At that time, getting professional counselling may be a wise choice to help you deal with the situation as it then stands.
At 19, I had a falling out with my grandfather and his wife, as did my father. While they made up, my relationship with my grandparents soured irreparably.
I’ve only seen them a handful of times in seven years.
My father insists that I repair that relationship, citing my grandfather’s failing health and because he gives me $50 every Christmas (through my father, who doesn’t allow me to refuse it).
He says my grandfather’s emotionally distraught over our broken relationship.
I don’t like my grandfather personally and because of his lack of caring about me. My cousins see him every holiday, at their graduations and birthdays.
I see this strain hurting my father. Should I follow his advice and move forward for their benefit?
Granddaughter of the Year
Asking that question shows you have some compassion for an aging relative and a caring father.
Follow that instinct. It’s a sign of maturing, beyond everyone’s imperfections.
Tip of the day:
If emotionally involved with someone accused of an act you can’t accept, take space from the relationship until all the facts are known.