Christine asks: I’m divorced with two young children. I met a man online who seemed really wonderful. He’s kind, works with children coaching soccer, and always acted like a gentleman.
I had a strange feeling though, and I can’t shake it. He is 40, handsome, has a good job, but he’s only had two relationships in his life – a high school girlfriend and a girlfriend 7 years ago that was long distance (and they only dated for a year). This seemed strange because I couldn’t find any reason that women wouldn’t be throwing themselves at him.
Several dates in, we had a disagreement as he’d begun sending me sexual texts. I’m not comfortable being sexual with someone who is still active on dating websites, and I told him so. He got mad and told me I had no right to ask him to leave the website. He stopped talking to me. Bummed because he seemed great, I discussed it with a friend who advised that he was probably right as we weren’t committed. After emailing him an apology, the sexting continued.
Once we started having sex, I learned that he’s into some very strange things. He wants me to do things to him that gay men do to each other (if you catch my drift). Also he watches a lot of porn and his favourite includes young girls about 14-16. It really bothered me because the porn is not fake—they are videos that the girls made themselves to send to a boyfriend or something. I tried to get him to see that it was wrong, but he insisted that all guys like that type of porn and its normal. I can’t make him feel sorry for the girls. He also watches a lot of other strange porn.
A few weeks later he asked me to be his girlfriend, went off the website and invited me to meet his parents and given me the key to his apartment, so things were going really well, however, one time he said he was going to work and on his return home, he texted a photo of him naked on the couch. The time and date stamp was when he was supposed to be at work. I asked him how he took the picture when he was at work and he called me crazy. I can’t prove it but I suspect that he sent the picture to someone else.
Last weekend, we had a lovely evening together and then he left to go to another town 3 hours away to coach soccer. That night I was texting with him and he mentioned that he was meeting a friend for dinner but sounded kinda shady. I shared this with a friend who advised that I snoop around his apartment. I know it’s wrong but I couldn’t shake my unease and wanted proof of something. When I got to his apartment, to my surprise, he was home. I told him I’d come to pick up earrings I’d left behind but I was shocked that he was home because he’d said he was at dinner. I didn’t speak to him for a few days but then he called full of excuses about why he couldn’t tell me he was coming back home—apparently he didn’t want to text and drive and that was just getting ready to tell me when I arrived.
I want to believe he’s a good man because he has so much potential and wants to introduce me to his parents. He normally treats me very well when we are together, we love watching a show together and playing trivia games. He trusted me with his key and I’ve introduced him to my children. I see a future with him. What should I believe?
Christine, what you need to believe right now is that you’re with a man who is into watching pornography that features underage girls—you do know that’s illegal?—and his sexual values are not compatible with you, being around your children, or in fact coaching children in soccer or children full stop. He is not the ‘good man’ you so desperately want to believe him to be. This man has potential…to find himself on the registered sex offenders list and spend time behind bars.
Just like alcoholics don’t look like someone rolling around in a bush with a bottle in a brown paper bag, paedophiles and sex offenders don’t have a special ‘look’.
They have jobs, sometimes they’re a parent, they help out the elderly, go to church, donate to charity, are sometimes world-renowned and talented, and the former perversely gravitate to working in jobs or partaking in extra-curricular activities that involve them being around children. Being in possession of and watching child pornography, even if you think that ‘child’ doesn’t seem like one, is a criminal offence pretty much wherever you go, and all that aside, it makes him a no-go as a relationship partner.
You are involved with a charming man who seems to have few sexual inhibitions, a porn addiction, scant regard for your feelings or the truth never mind for the basics of forging a romantic relationship, and who is prone to manipulation including gaslighting. No matter how much you like a TV show, playing trivia games, how gentlemanly he seems, or the fact that he wants to introduce you to his parents, the truth cannot be obscured.
There are so many things wrong with this situation and the fact that you have continued with this sociopath masquerading as a gentleman causes me to wonder, Why is Christine so OK with this situation? Why does this feel like home?