By: The 4-Way Panel
I am dating a man I am very much in love with. We have been seeing each other for nearly four years. Recently, we were having a talk about our childhoods and he revealed something to me that bothers me tremendously. He told me that when he was younger, he molested a boy who was younger than he was. He was obviously filled with sorrow, shame, and regret and I certainly understand that this revelation must be cathartic for him, but now I feel like I don’t know him at all. We all do bad things—and he was a troubled child himself at the time—but I can’t help but feel this crosses a line. Now, I am distancing myself from him and feel very uncomfortable around him. I am so upset; I feel like leaving him, but I love him dearly. But what if we have kids? Is this something I can “forgive”? I’m at a loss here. Please help.—TW, Tacoma, Washington
The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer
I’m glad that you wrote us because I can tell that this man’s confession has rocked you to the core. This uncomfortable feeling will not go away on its own. You need to talk with a professional about this. A therapist who has worked with these issues before and is sympathetic to his past and your concerns is what you need.
Keep in mind that this guy trusts and believes in you enough to confess his dark past to you. And it sounds like there were other things going on in his life at the time that may have contributed to his actions. It is my hope that he has spoken with a therapist about his past and all the feelings that come along with that; and, that in his heart of hearts, he feels that he’s done the work he needed to and has healed. Now he’s ready to love you fully and start a family.
He’s put all his cards on the table and now it’s time for you to believe that people can and do change. I understand that there’s nothing more crucial than the safety and well-being of your children. That’s why it’s so important to work with someone who will help you have faith and trust that he will indeed be a good father.
If he has not been in therapy for this, then that’s a giant red flag. Make sure he gets there and learns how to release his shame and to believe in his future as a solid and loving parent.
Don’t walk away. Do the work you both need to do to keep your love alive and your relationship healthy.
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By: The 4-Way Panel