Starting a new relationship is filled with excitement. However, for many survivors sharing your history can also bring anxiety. We've all been there.
You fear what the person will say, what he or she may feel, and often wonder "where do I even begin". Terri Coles of The Huffington Post Canada, wrote a piece giving top tips on a daunting task we all experience. On one hand, in the age of #metoo there is comfort in knowing you aren't alone. Regardless, it's still quite terrifying!
Three pieces of Terri's advice we found most helpful were, 1) Bring it up early, 2) Be specific about those triggers, and 3) Get support as needed. We all need support. We all need someone to talk to, and finding methods to heal. Whether it's a teacher, therapist, friend, family member, fitness class - whatever works for you, do that. Bringing it up early allows you to start your relationship on solid foundations. Being assaulted does not define you, but it does play a role in your relationships. Especially sexual relationships. Letting your partner know early shows you from the beginning if this individual will be supportive of you and if he or she is a suitable fit. Triggers are a very important topic to discuss with your new partner. Waiting until after hearing his or her reaction, and if supportive, share more about what you find triggering - especially sexually. This prevents trauma from your past entering your new relationship, and creates a safe space for you.
However, or whenever, you choose to discuss the topic, know that you are never alone. It's never too late to begin again.
Written by Jacqueline Villeneuve