Well, I've always liked forums and have built an image in other realms of the internet, but I still feel a little guilty coming here. Not only am I talking about someone else, but I feel remorse for publicizing the following information. Don't be surprised if I delete this post soon.
I love my girlfriend... she's really perfect and I see a future for both of us... typical, yes. However, I have a strange feeling that either she does not love me, or doesn't believe what I say, or my actions remind her of a past she's been trying to forget.
When I first started dating my girlfriend, a lot of her friends reminded me that all of her past boyfriends have been... well, jerks. Also that I'm going in way over my head with her. Now, I didn't take your typical hero approach of "oh, that's no problem I can take it" but more of a constructive approach of "well, then maybe I'll help her". This coming from a decent guy who is NOT an jerk However, I've been discovering in the past few months that her past boyfriends have been more than just jerks. They have abused her. No, not your typical "oh he hurt me so much" emotional disrespect, this abuse was physical. Beatings, druggings, accidents, the works. As far as I know (and I know a very small fraction because she does not tell me) at least 5 past boyfriends have destroyed her mentally AND physically in the past, and I'm surprised she hasn't given up on men altogether. Her whole past has left her in a disoriented and very fragile state.
I fell in love with her because to everyone besides herself and people who know, she acts hyperactive and cheery to distract everyone from it... her mentality is that if no one else knows about it, then she won't have to deal with it either. In my opinion, this is wrong, but I can't force her to disclose information. When she's not reminded of this horrifying past, she's in the greatest of moods and we match completely. My father told me a bunch of things about the woman I should marry, and she has all of them easily.
I guess my main issue is... I know everyone is different, but is there a preferrable way to approach and help a girl who has been abused?
The problems I've encountered is that she does not trust men, even me. Most of these past boyfriends that have abused her, she describes them as being nice for a certain amount of time, and then miraculously snapping and then beating her. It has happened so many times in a row, that it has completely TWISTED and SKEWED her view of men... NOT ONLY THAT, but she has now developed the thought that its HER FAULT. She now thinks that there's something about her that makes men want to beat her, and I just KNOW that she's waiting for me to snap and abuse her, "just like all the rest of them have".
This is a forum and I doubt anyone will believe me, but let me clearly assert that I have no intention of beating her or ANYONE. I flinch at the site of violence, for pete's sake. I can't stand it, I just wish people would use their damn words sometime. But in any case, I digress...
I don't think she believes me when I tell her how different I am than the other guys... and if I give her evidence about how different I am (I'm practically a nerd to these guys) she then suggests that she is the problem.
Now, our relationship is very stable, we've never broken up and gotten back together or had serious fights where we stop talking for weeks. We do have occasional arguments online, but I think that's because online you can't tell someone's mood or sarcasm. I guess this is a person problem more than a relationship problem, but I really really really really want to help her become happy. She TRULY hasn't been happy since she was a kid, and is constantly reminded of the pain she went through. I'm doing all I can to make her happy but no avail.
The reason why I don't think she loves me is because I've done some pretty romantic surprises for her over the months... I've left flowers on her doorstep, taken her out to dinner many times, movies, I do anything... and she really hasn't given me any romantic surprises in return... she says she loves me but that's all she does, she never shows it as far as I can tell. Maybe this is just a guy complaining, but is this unequality in favors normal? Also, I fear it because she won't open up to me about her past... maybe she doesn't like talking about it, but I am a firm believer that talking about things serves as a good anger outlet, and I know other people think that too and can back me up on it.
I guess I'll end this post... I appreciate any and all responses, but I may remind you all that therapy is not an option for reasons beyond our control. Believe me, if she could, I'd have her... hell, I'd even pay for it. I would EXTREMELY appreciate any replies that have solutions that I can do ON MY OWN without the aid of other people. I say this because she's sensitive about keeping the information private, and I know I'm posting here, but this is anonymous and a different issue.
[Edit]Had to fix some structural issues.[/Edit]
Thank you all.