Guys: Would you ever date a girl who has a history of depression/self harm?

I was sexually abused for several years as a child which lead to depression and self harm in my early teens.

I'm 18 now, and 99% better. Rarely, very rarely , I still get a little panicky.

Would you reconsider having a relationship due to a history like this?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I certainly wouldn't rule out dating someone like you describe.

    However, there are a few "howevers..."

    I was sexually abused as a child, too, so I can sympathize. I've asked similar questions of women -- would anyone want to date someone with my history? So I absolutely don't mean to pick on you. But I also think I have a valuable perspective that you need to consider.

    For one thing, 18 year olds are notorious for making poor choices in partners. When you complicate that youthful inexperience with all the other baggage, your odds of picking a healthy person are even smaller. Women who are sexually abused have *extremely* high rates of marrying alcoholics and drugs abusers. You're probably a few years away from having a healthy serious, committed, one-on-one relationship. I think that dating and relationships should be low on your priorities list.

    Though you've made a lot of progress in your life, there's a *very* high chance that you've got a few more walls to climb. Sexual abuse literally changes your brain and nervous system, and the effects can take *decades* to appear. I thought I was okay at 18. But I hit walls at about 24, 27, 32, and earlier this year at 34.

    Some people won't want to date someone with sexual abuse baggage. Or they'll get into it, and realize that it's not like the movies where it's all resolved in 90 minutes. So if people don't want to date you (or me) it's not necessarily because they're bad or judgmental. It's because people like us often need a special kind of personality. And relatively few people (especially at your age) have the special blend of kindness and patience that we sometimes require. For these reasons, people have a *right* to know about the abuse before a relationship gets sexual and/or serious. That can complicate things in this era when a lot of people expect sex by the third date.

    That's all I have for now. But I'll probably think of a few more observations and add them later.

    If you ever have any questions, don't be afraid to ask.

    Good luck!

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What Guys Said 10

  • Yes. In fact, I have, and I would do it again. There are a few rules I follow, though.

    Things that are OK:

    If you need extra patience sometimes, or get panicky, or have difficult psychological issues involving sex, that's okay. If you get depressed and hard to deal with, even for long periods of time, that's okay. If you hurt yourself again, that's not okay, but I'll try to be understanding and helpful instead of accusatory and critical. Depression is a real condition, but it can be managed with some effort and supportive people.

    Things that are not OK:

    The first time you use your history as an excuse to physically attack me or cheat on me, I'm dumping you and never speaking to you again. (Does this sound hypothetical? It isn't.)

    So basically, a history of depression and abuse causes some extra challenges, but nothing that can't be overcome. Just don't be like my worst ex-gfs and use it as a license to start abusing your boyfriend.

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  • Yes, the majority of people out there are not as well adjusted as they would want to make you think. It's inexcusable what was done to you. I'm on SSRIs. You should know what those are and I most likely will be taking them for the rest of my life. Your past history of suffering horrible abuse and subsequent path towards and reaching wellness has only forged you into becoming a better person than most people. If anyone deserves a truly loving relationship it's you. If some guy can't deal with your past as a reluctant victim, he isn't worth your time or thoughts.

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  • I would date you and want to be there for you. I've never done the "saving" thing, but if you weren't needing to be saved, I would be there and comfort you if anything did come up. That being said, you need to make sure you suppress any new incidents.

    I will say that while I haven't followed all of this type of advice in my engagement, there is a "rule" for guys not to marry sexually abused girls. I think this is very sad but might have some truth to it, in that things might manifest themselves later in a relationship or marriage. I would be happy to date you personally if you had been to therapy and worked on it.

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  • I thought of a better way to explain what I was getting at with my earlier answer.

    For me, the precise emotional baggage in someone's life is not the issue, because we *all* have emotional baggage.

    What's important to me is how they've dealt with the baggage.

    Are they working on changing their destructive habits? Have they taken responsibility for any poor decisions? Do they have insight into their problems, whether through therapy or their own homework? All these things are more important to me than the emotional baggage.

    For example, would I date someone who'd had a drinking problem in the past? I wouldn't rule it out. But I'd want to know they'd been sober for a loooong time, that they no longer visited bars or associated with their drinking buddies, and had a grasp on any emotional problems that might've led to alcohol abuse. It's not unfair to not want to date someone who's only stopped drinking a month ago...

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  • Hey feel secure. Hell yeah I would! I'm kind of happy that a girl that I liked wasn't perfect. I see too many girls that put on a front and fake it, it creates a false sense of what everything should be. It's okay to have a past. I guarantee you that no man will ever judge you based on your past mental problems. He'd be more proud that you had the guts to tell him and that you're taking the active steps in developing a strong sense of self. That's gutsy and commendable and you know what? It also gives your man a role to play. To comfort you in your time of need, if ever it happens again. Sometimes I still slip up and I hope someone's there to catch me. I'm still waiting though... Don't worry!

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  • I don't discriminate against who someone was, only for who someone is. If the problem is in your past, and it stays there, It would not be an issue. And the circumstance leading up to your problem, would allow for more sympathy and understanding as to why you went through that, so yes, I'd consider having a relationship with someone with such a history.

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  • Not only would I, but I did. What happenned to you wasn't your fault. Maybe some guys would rather not deal with real life issues, but you don't want those guys anyway. I know its very hard, but when you do meet someone that you trust, try to talk to him about it. You don't have to tell him everything right away, but slowly. But that way he won't be shocked if you do have a panic attack.

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  • I wouldn't rule you out. To what matters is your current self and if we connect then, whatever problems you had in the past won't bother me.

    I would advice you to mention your history to guys after awhile though.

    Because if you ever go through a bad time again. The person you're with would be able to understand what is happening and be able to help you.

    It might be a hard situation if its a constant battle of up and downs though.

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  • No.

    Don't know it. You are opening yourself to a world of hate,Don't do it until you know you are ready AT LEAST and judging by the fact you are asking us for advice you are NOT ready for a relationship. A breakup would put you in a world of hurt and that's the least of your problems in a relationship,there is a chance you can get a abusive mate/partner. Ect Ect don't do it untill you asked your self this question and you know you are ready.

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  • if I was the person to date you I would surely said yes to u, y beacuse the minute I will try to change the way things around you and make you too fell that you are in better hands.

    i can understand that what you might gone through all your childhood and onething I can say to you that never think about the past which has happend to you and also for the future which you don't know. but think for the present which you have in your day

    finally the best in you let it wake up.

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