I’ve been with my husband now for four and a half years, married for one and a half. About two years ago, the cops showed up at our door with a search warrant for child pornogrophy. Apparently, he had downloaded it onto our computer. Obviously, it was extremely upsetting for me. Within the next week he started counseling. I’m not saying that I made the right choice, but I loved him and saw that he was getting help and wanted to stay by his side.
But now, here I am two years later and I still can’t get past what he did. We’ve also been dealing with multiple court dates, possible jail time, and since he has this floating over his head, no one will hire him. So that’s plenty of added stress. Nobody outside our immiediate family knows this happened. He didn’t want to tell anyone, which I understand. But he’s also lying about to people about working (he’s unemployed). He’s lied about having issues with porn when confronted has lied about it.
I feel like our relationship has been poisoned. I have a hard time being romantic with him. He is my best friend, and has supported me through my fights with bipolar disorder. But when I look at our future it is all one big question mark. I don’t know if I can trust him with any kids we might have. He may have not physically done anything but he looked, and to me that’s just as bad. I don’t trust him at all. Somedays I decide “I can’t do this” and then when I see his face my resolve melts.
We talked briefly about counseling, but he doesn’t seem to think we need it, since I’m the one having trust issues. I can’t make someone want to go to counseling. But I also don’t know if I can ever rebuild that trust.
I’m so confused. Should I stay or should I go? — Not a Child
I had to read this letter a couple of times to make sure I was doing the math correctly. Your husband was found in possession of child pornography two years ago and, yet, you married him six months later? I understand that you have a mental illness and I am sympathetic to that, I am, but still. Still! You knowingly married a man — with at least an idea that you may have children together one day — who only six months earlier was caught with downloaded kiddie porn on his computer! Honey, even if he won’t get counseling with you, I hope and pray that you are going on your own.
But if your husband refuses to go to counseling with you — if he isn’t even willing to do that very basic of things to earn your trust back — you need to move on. Frankly, I’m shocked that you even suggest that you might have kids with him eventually, or that it’s enough of an idea that you are wondering if you trust him enough to be around them. Hell to the no. A couple weeks ago, I wrote an essay about the importance of finding a good father for one’s future kids (I also wrote a column on the subject recently, too). Tip one for finding a good co-parent: stay away from dudes who like kiddie porn. Seriously.
Please, for your own sake, even if he refuses to get counseling with you, go to counseling on your own. You need a professional to help guide you through processing the end of your marriage and building a new life for yourself. And take a look at this column where I answer a similar question and readers left some very insightful and supportive comments that may be of some help to you. You may fear the life you’ll have without the best friend you’ve known all these years, but the bigger fear is the life you’ll have with him.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me on Twitter.