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Dear Amy,

Well my boyfriend and I were dating for 4 years and until now I noticed that I was in an abusive relationships since he was controlling me. He only used physical abuse like twice by grabbing my arms very tight (one time) and the other he would pinch or bite me or push me (even if I was playing around with him). My psychologist asked me a couple of questions and I noticed that everything I went through with him was abusive. I thank God that I broke up with him even though it was very hard.

Now I keep asking myself if I was raped or not since most of the times we had sex, I would tell him that I didn't feel comfortable with it and he would stop. But after he stops, he starts saying all this sweet stuff and then complains about not doing it, making me feel very guilty. So since he was so controlling, I would just let him after he knew that I was uncomfortable. He never used physical abuse when he wanted to have sex but he would always make me feel guilty. When we were done, I would always feel dirty, upset, angry at myself, guilty, and uncomfortable. I'm so confused because I don't know if that was rape or not...

Could you help me.... Thanks,



Patty --

In general, rape is both a very specific thing -- penetration against your will, but also a very vague thing and a very personal thing.

Essentially it's a matter of whether or not you felt raped. From what you have described it doesn't seem that way. It does seem like you were in an abusive relationship and that's a fine line -- was the entire thing left to be invalidated because of this overarching aspect of it. I don't think so. You can't erase the things that were good or overshadow everything from the lens of abuse.

I hope that helps and so glad that you left the relationship.

-- Amy