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She has had just two serious romantic relationships in her life.
She admits she is more comfortable with casual flings, partly because the closer she gets to a man emotionally, the less she wants to have sex with him.
Partners should be especially understanding with abuse survivors, who can at times lash out for no apparent reason.
"Have patience and sit down with the person and try to talk ... It might be that they are having a flashback, for instance.
Abuse survivors and their partners should consider counseling, whether it's with a therapist, self-help group, or religious organization, says Judith Herman, MD, a psychiatrist on the faculty at Harvard School of Medicine."You didn't cause this, and you can't fix it all by yourself," she says.But partners can go along to therapy sessions, if invited, as a show of support.Haney (not her real name), is currently in therapy to help overcome what she calls her "separation" of love and sex.But three months into her current relationship, Haney continues to keep her 29-year-old boyfriend at arm's length, emotionally speaking. "But I don't want to get too close." The arrangement, however, has started to cause friction.May 15, 2000 -- Elizabeth Haney was sexually assaulted at school by a group of male classmates when she was 12.Now 24, the San Francisco woman finds that repercussions of the attack have made her incapable of connecting love with sex.Or, some survivors may use sex as a means of getting validation from men.Some who have been sexually abused have problems staying faithful, says Linda Blick, MSW, LCSW-C, a New York City retired social worker who has counseled many sexual abuse survivors.When those abused as children try to form adult romantic relationships, they can be affected by anxiety, depression, and poor self-esteem.Some have no sexual desire; others may have a high sex drive.