Recovering from Abuse

Recovering from Abuse

I was in an abusive relationship. And even though it ended almost two years ago, I still cannot get over it.
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Am I Sexually Messed Up?

Q I just turned 18, and I have a girlfriend—my first in over a year—but every time I kiss her I feel guilty. The problem is I just don't find girls attractive—not even supermodels. I don't have homosexual thoughts; I just don't have heterosexual thoughts. Should I go to a doctor?

A Going to a doctor might help, if only to set your mind at ease that there's probably nothing wrong with you. People are different. Some have very powerful sex drives, and others don't. You might have the impression from watching TV that sexual attraction is the most overwhelming force in the world—and it is for some people. But it isn't for everybody.

And that's OK. You don't have to search for some factor that will change you. You don't even have to have a girlfriend! If you have a girlfriend you enjoy, it's not mandatory that you kiss her. Kissing can sometimes get in the way of developing encouraging, communicative relationships—especially when that's all a guy can think about. So consider it a good thing that physical contact isn't your top priority.

Perhaps at this point in your life sexual attraction doesn't drive you. Maybe friendship is far more important to you. That doesn't mean you'll never feel sexual attraction. When you become deeply attached to a girl whom you care for as a friend, you'll likely find that kissing becomes a more desirable experience. Regardless, don't feel obliged to act and feel the way you think you're supposed to. The only person you have to live up to is yourself—and God. You're made in God's image, as a unique individual. Live up to that.

Forgive My Abuser?

Q I was sexually abused by the pastor of the church I went to. He was put in jail. But now he's out on parole, living in a different state. I know he won't hurt me again, but I'm having a hard time forgiving him. I know you are not supposed to have unforgiveness in your heart, but I feel as though I do. I want to know how to forgive him for the awful things he did.

A When something so terrible has happened, forgiveness can be a lifelong process. You may never completely lose the dreadful feelings you have toward him, but you can move steadily in the right direction. Just the fact that you want to forgive him reflects an act of God in your life, giving you grace.

I think it's extremely important to get help in the process. I'd suggest a woman counselor. You can ask your new pastor, your youth leader, Sunday school teacher, or any trusted Christian friend to help you find a female Christian counselor who can help you with forgiveness. If you don't have the money, many Christian counselors can help you anyway.

Also, these two hotlines can help point you in the right direction: 1-800-new-life and 1-800-383-hope.

Due to the volume of mail, Tim cannot answer every letter. Questions should be sent to: "Love, Sex & Real Life," Campus Life, 465 Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188. You can also reach "Love, Sex & Real Life" via fax (630-260-0114). Look for more on love and dating

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