In physical and verbal interactions, experts suggest following the lead of the partner who was abused.But Herman cautions partners against thinking that their support alone can vanquish their mates' demons.
But researchers and mental health experts say there are steps couples can take to help overcome these difficulties and cultivate a healthy, meaningful relationship.
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.
But others may have a sudden loss of desire, says Bette Marcus, Ph D, a Rockville, Md., psychologist.
She recalls a patient who, two years into her marriage, began having flashbacks of sexual assaults at the hands of her stepfather.