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Forgiving a Dark Past, Part 2

By: The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way
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 man’s perspective: Darren Maddox

TW, I’m not even going to pretend to know what must be going through your mind. What I will do is point out that you’ve learned several things about this man over the past four years. This is likely his deepest, darkest secret that he probably never wanted to tell you. Now that he has—and since this is something that has obviously come between you—you need to talk this out at length. Do not avoid the topic! That’s so 1960s. Get it all out in the open. Tell him that you love him, but this is troubling you. If you don’t, and you have kids together down the road, this issue will always be in the back of your mind. Maybe you’ll be able to mask it in front of others, but when you least expect it, it will come up again.

You’ve spent four years getting to know each other. He obviously feels like he knows you very well or he would never have been able to tell you this. He wants you to know everything about him. I’m not going to defend him, but I will say we all have our pasts. We’re quick to share our good sides, but apprehensive to share the dark ones. To truly know and love someone means to accept all of it. Don’t leave him until you’ve had a chance to drag this thing through the mud and get to the very bottom of it. Only then can you make a logical decision. Good luck.

Check back tomorrow for the straight man’s perspective by Chris Kennedy.

The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.