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Is being a csa survivor a contributing factor to infidelity?

KyBourbon posted 9/30/2020 16:26 PM

My FWW is a childhood sexual abuse survivor. Most of our marital problems seem to come from her issues with trust and sex and her infidelity. I'm fairly certain her trust and sex problems are because of CSA. Is it safe to assume that it also influenced her decision to have an affair?

Lalagirl posted 9/30/2020 16:30 PM

Welcome, KyBourboun.

Can you give us a little more background on your situation? How many affairs? How long have you been married? Any children? Is your WW in IC (individual counseling)? The info will help us to help you.

leafields posted 9/30/2020 16:34 PM

I'm the BW & also a CSA survivor. I didn't cheat.

Unresolved issues from the CSA may have played into it, but there are several of us betrayeds here that are CSA survivors - men and women.

KyBourbon posted 9/30/2020 16:56 PM

Me and my FWW are both 56. We have been together for 34 years, married 32 and have 4 grown children. About 17 years ago she had an EA/(PA?). I confronted her with the first concrete piece of evidence I found and she ended it. We immediately rug swept and never discussed it again till this June. I brought up her affair because I wanted to get separated, we haven't had intercourse in 6 years and she kept accusing me of cheating on her. We had three discussions about her EA and each time she remembered less about it. I was going to move out but she started crying and begging me not to go. It broke my heart because I have never made her cry before, so I stayed.

[This message edited by KyBourbon at 5:01 PM, September 30th (Wednesday)]

crazyblindsided posted 9/30/2020 17:13 PM

I am a CSA survivor but it is not what caused me to have a revenge affair. My lack of coping skills after finding out about my STBX's first A was what caused it. I caused it. CSA has led to many of the sexual issues in my M. It may have contributed to my impulsivity.

survrus posted 9/30/2020 19:56 PM


You wrote, we haven't had intercourse in 6 years and she kept accusing me of cheating on her.

Wow sounds like your WW had an affair 6 years ago and as a result lost all attraction to you.

A symptom of being in an affair is that they believe their spouse is in an affair when they are not and there is no evidence. Seems like a kind of projection.

Get a polygraph as a starting point.

achilles1101 posted 9/30/2020 21:34 PM

From my own experience with my CSA survivor, unfaithful spouse, I believe it does play a role. It is definitely not an excuse for infidelity and has nothing to do with the faithful spouse. My WW got therapy as a child but never followed that up as an adult. That led to a total lack of boundaries and an unhealthy view of sex. If I had looked closer, I could have seen it coming, but as they say, love is blind.

She exhibited a need for male attention and validation that she was attractive and sexy. I could not fulfill that need which I struggle with to this day.

So while I will say that it plays a factor in infidelity, I also say there are plenty of CSA survivors that do not cheat. I think it comes down to how the abuse is dealt with or not dealt with and the personality of the abused. I am no expert, just my observations from living through infidelity with a CSA survivor.

Stinger posted 9/30/2020 22:36 PM

If it does, it did not cause me to cheat. I was 11 when it happened.

gmc94 posted 9/30/2020 22:42 PM

FWIW, my WH's CSAT says that affairs are about attachment. And CSA can certainly impact one's attachment style. However, as others have mentioned, being a CSA (or having a particular attachment style) does not - in & of itself - make a person cheat.

Buster123 posted 9/30/2020 23:51 PM

As others have mentioned, many CSA victims are faithful, so the answer is either "NOT necessarily" (at best) or simply NO.

hikingout posted 10/1/2020 00:28 AM

I am a ws, and a CSA, of multiple abusers from a very young age.

I do not think itís why I cheated. Cheating is itís own decision. However, I do think everything that happens, especially in early years forms our personality, our self talk, shame we may be carrying around, etc.

I think of it in two categories- the why and the how. Why people have an affair at the simplest is because we wanted to. Why did we want to? That can vary greatly. We know many ws carry similar things- entitlement, lack of character, lack of self respect, self worth, etc. We often seek external validation more heavily than your average person due to those things. Sexual abuse can be a contributor to that internal environment. So it plays into the hows- how could you do it, how could you dehumanize your spouse, how were you comfortable, etc.

We can not blame our childhoods and past traumas for the cheating. But we can say there are aspects of it that made us comfortable doing it. For me I grew up with chaos and feel more comfortable in chaos than calm. I used my sexuality for attention and validation from a young age and learned its effectiveness.

Understanding those patterns and where they come from help me recognize them and work to change from them. They are always worth examining because they do play into who we are and how we behave. You canít blame it on that squarely though.

What I think might be the more important things to concentrate on here is that it doesnít sound like she has done much examination. 6 years with no intimacy in marriage must be a very painful thing to experience. It doesnít sound like she has wanted to work on herself or the marriage. Why have you accepted that? What is your estimation as to why she has stayed? At this point it doesnít sound like either of you are happy or staying for the reasons most people get married.

99problems posted 10/1/2020 03:10 AM

My stbxww was a csa survivor. I really wanted to forgive her for the infidelity, because I thought that she was so damaged from the csa and I believed that she was truly remorseful.
When I brought this up in MC she grabbed onto it like a life raft. (MC was a very stupid idea at that point, right after dday #2)
I myself an a csa survivor and have never cheated.
Turns out that a cheater will take any excuse to cheat as long as it absolves them of guilt. Dont give them excuses. Give them consequences. That is what they truly need.

babypuke posted 10/1/2020 08:47 AM

During our relationship my wayward girlfriend (now ex) showed symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) which is an issue that has its origins in problems in the Family Of Origin (FOO) and in her case also included a heightened focus on sex and sexual identity and boundary/attachment issues.

Later, months or even a year after the break up, when watching a television show that had CSA as a topic I suddenly started connecting dots, making me think that she may be a CSA survivor. She had an uncle suffering from mental health issues phoning her out of the blue from time to time without clear reason but some type of weird attachment, once she remarked out of the blue and in enthusiasm that in the spiritual club that her brother attended there was a "healer" that can "heal sexual trauma via sex with him" (WHY do you say this I thought, and that "healer" should be shot I also thought :-), also boundary and attachment issues of course, and some other things I cannot remember directly now, etc.

For the BDP symptoms I got her in IC, I hope she not actually suffered CSA but if so then I can imagine that it played a role in her BPD symptoms and her extraordinary focus on sex (including weird things) and boundary/attachment and identity issues, and henceforth the cheating. I do not know for sure, and I only speak about her, but something certainly was messed up.

Strength all!

20yrsagoBS posted 10/1/2020 13:53 PM

I am a CEA also, have never cheated.

WH wasnít molested, but is a Cheater

[This message edited by 20yrsagoBS at 1:54 PM, October 1st (Thursday)]

annanew posted 10/1/2020 14:54 PM

It's likely a factor, but the more important factor is that she never learned how to cope with what happened. She needs to work on coping skills. Otherwise you can never be safe.

The two of you also need better communication skills - to not talk about something for 17 years is unusual.

You are going to need some brutal honesty from her too, likely she has had or is having an affair in the past 6 years.

In my view, if you stay your requirement should be that she start some intensive work on coping and her own mental and emotional health, and a new era of honesty and communication.

You don't have to stay, though. Even if it makes her cry. Tears are cheap.

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