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New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
My older daughter married at eighteen and moved to California with her Marine husband. They needed money and my daughter posed for some nude pictures…like in Playboy. Those pictures are on the internet.
I was very disappointed with my daughter. I raised her with Christian values and thought I had instilled in her strong morals. Her husband was raised differently and was not a good person. She has divorced him and has returned to her Christian values.
I recently lost both my parents. My mom died in September and my dad died last month. During my mom’s illness I noticed some nude pictures of my daughter had been saved to my desktop computer. It was basically my husband’s computer; I have a laptop.
My daughter comes over and uses the computer sometimes, so I thought perhaps she had saved the photos for some reason. But something kept telling me not to approach her about it. I was too busy and mentally drained anyway from dealing with my parents’ illnesses, deaths, funeral plans, etc.
The very same day that my dad died I confronted my husband and asked him if he had downloaded the pictures of my daughter. He confessed and told me that he had searched the internet to see if she had any bad pictures of herself. He told me that he felt relieved that I had found out.
My husband is 67 years old, so he should know better. He has started counseling, but I can’t forgive him. My daughter should have been safe in her childhood home. Other men have exploited her, but her step-father should have loved and protected her. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of him looking at my daughter sexually. Last year he told her that “she had a nice ass.” When she told me that, I told her that he was just being stupid and didn’t mean anything by it. Of course, now I know he was looking at and fantasizing over her photos. I also found out that he has been watching porn videos on the internet.
My whole family loves him and thinks that he’s a good man. I had always thought that he was a strong Christian man who would never cheat, etc. Now I look at him as a creep and a terrible man who has violated my trust and exploited my daughter for his pleasure.
I no longer work due to several failed back surgeries that rendered me disabled, and I can’t support myself financially. I also feel that I have so much vested in my 24-year marriage. Please help. What do I do? — Brokenhearted in Texas
First, I’m sorry for the recent loss of both your parents. My own father-in-law passed away recently after a brief but intense illness, just three months after my husband and I welcomed a baby daughter, so I have an idea of the mental and physical drain you felt and likely still feel. That kind of exhaustion can certainly color your perspective and make everyday tasks, to say nothing of true challenges, seem almost insurmountable. But what you have described, as troubling as it sounds and must feel, is not insurmountable. You and your family CAN get past this.
You need to remember that people are human and capable of extraordinary feats as well as devastating disappointments. We make mistakes. Being Christian, having “values” — and by the way, plenty of people who don’t call themselves Christians have the strongest of values while lots of people who are Christian hold shaky values at best — doesn’t exclude one from making mistakes. (Also, not every decision a person makes that is different from what you would choose is a mistake either.) Holding one’s self to a rock-solid code of morals doesn’t make one perfect. People are flawed. People give in to temptation. People don’t always know the best path even if they have the best intentions to take it. Isn’t one of the biggest tenets of Christianity forgiveness for precisely this reason? We are expected to sin. And we hope that the people we love and the God we worship, if we are religious, forgive us.
But, in the case of your husband, you aren’t even clear what the sin is. You say he’s been sexually fantasizing about your daughter, but you don’t really know that. You say he’s been exploiting her, but what is that based on? All you know is that he downloaded nude photos of your daughter, after “searching the internet to see if she had any bad pictures of herself.” Is it possible that his initial intention at least was to simply check on her and try to protect and guide her? I’m not implying that his intention remained that — that he wasn’t tempted to sexualize your daughter (and past comments about her ass would indicate that he already has crossed that line), but I am implying that this may not be as black and white as you think it appears.
People are complicated. But you have twenty-four years with this man and, by your accounts, he has been a good husband and a good father. Yes, he may have behaved like a creep at some point. Maybe he’s even done a terrible thing or two (or simply made decisions you don’t approve of). But downloading some photos that your grown daughter posed for for a publication is not the same thing as, say, a man taking photos of his new teenage stepdaughter in the shower. Your husband may have made your daughter feel uncomfortable — if not with the downloading of her photos since she might not be aware of that, then with his lame comment about her ass — but he hasn’t jeopardized her safety. He hasn’t exploited her. There’s a difference.
I do think you would benefit from therapy to help you work through your anger and confusion and trust issues over your husband’s behavior, as well as the grief (and maybe shock?) of losing your parents back-to-back. You are under a lot of stress and it’s understandable if you don’t feel as clear-headed as usual. Don’t let that drive you to making decisions that irrevocably change the course of your life. This is not the time to make life-changing decisions. This is the time to seek counseling, work through your grief, try to see your issues from different angles and in different light, and give time and distance — and forgiveness — the chance to pull you forward. This is the time to let your husband do the work to earn back your trust. A twenty-four-year investment is worth that much.
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Chaotonic January 19, 2016, 10:15 am
Wendy, this was an incredibly thoughtful and well spoken response. Out of all the letters in recent months, I, personally, think this has to have been one of the hardest to formulate a reply to.
LW, WWS. Your husband, your daughter’s step-father, didn’t exploit her. He found and viewed readily available photos that your daughter had published in a well known publication. Was it kinda creepy? Yes. Was it exploitative? No. Get thee to counseling and attempt to work through this if you wish to save your marriage.
csp January 19, 2016, 10:28 am
I think that this was a great answer as well. However, the next time you speak to your daughter, I would ask her if there were any other times that your husband ever made her feel uncomfortable. If she asks why, I would just say that you were thinking about the “nice ass” comment and thought you were a little dismissive of her feelings. If she says it is fine, then I would move on. But I would have to ask if this was the tip of the iceberg. Once I got confirmation that it was nothing, I would follow Wendy’s words to the letter.
LT January 19, 2016, 5:43 pm
Agreed! She should really find out *exactly* what she’s forgiving him for before she starts forgiving.
csp January 19, 2016, 7:13 pm
Yea, this falls into the “Trust but verify” category.
Kate B. January 19, 2016, 10:40 am
There is another thing to consider. The man is 67 years old. Sometimes, sexual comments where there previously have been none can indicate the beginnings of dementia. I am not excusing his behavior, simply suggesting that there may be another reason for it. All the more reason why the LW should talk to someone and try to see this from all angles before making any decisions.
Jane January 19, 2016, 10:44 am
Beat me to it! But glad others had the same thoughts 🙂
gigi January 19, 2016, 11:09 am
Yes I agree, my own father has seemingly “lost his filter”. He has health issues & takes strong pain meds to deal with that. He made a comment one time to me that I found inappropriate & awkward, but I reminded myself that he is not the same person anymore that he was when I was growing up. My mom was quite upset/embarrassed, but I just told him “Dad, that was uncomfortable, you shouldn’t say those kind of things” & then let it go. I know he truly didn’t mean anything unforgivable by it, & I am sure at times, as I grew up, I did or said things (as all children do) that may have made my parents uncomfortable. Now the roles are slowly reversing & its my turn to be compassionate & forgiving towards them.
JJ January 22, 2020, 8:49 am
This comment shows so much maturity and grace that it made me a bit emotional. Knowing that parents are human, and make mistakes too, and that children grow up and eventually need to see their parents as humans… it is a really compassionate viewpoint that is spot on. Of course, it’s important to also realize that there are people that are exploitive with their children and it’s critical to call out that behavior. But there is also room for compassion with parents that make mistakes.
Jane January 19, 2016, 10:42 am
LW, I am very sorry for the recent loss of your parents as well as the unnerving situation with your husband and daughter.
I am wondering however if there’s any chance that he could be showing early signs of dementia or some other illness. I have had experience with a family member who began to say and do alarmingly uncharacteristic things, and it turned out the culprit was Alzheimer’s.
Please take my thoughts with a grain of salt as I am not a medical professional, and if this is an isolated incident, then it’s likely the result of a man succumbing to temptation in a moment of weakness. But consider keeping an eye out for any other small or bizarre quirks that are unusual for him.
Jane January 19, 2016, 2:53 pm
And by “succumbing to temptation in a moment of weakness,” I in no way am saying that it’s not creepy or doesn’t need some serious recourse, because it is and it does. But I do think a 24-year relationship deserves some significant examination before throwing in the towel immediately.
Vathena January 19, 2016, 11:13 am
Wendy’s advice here is very sound, and I echo what others have said (determine if he has a history of creeping on your daughter, or if there might be an underlying neurological problem that is causing this behavior). That said, I don’t know that I’d give him a pass for “giving in to temptation”. There is nothing wrong with porn, but one can look at porn without looking at porn of one’s own child. This is his daughter, who he has raised since she was eight, and probably known for longer than that. If my husband were checking out nudies of our grown daughter, or his grown nieces, I would find that disturbing in the extreme.
anonymousse January 19, 2016, 11:24 am
Miss MJ January 19, 2016, 11:26 am
I tend to agree. This isn’t just a case of the LW’s husband looking at porn, which is pretty normal. This is a case where he actively sought out nude pictures of a person that he raised as his own daughter from a very young age. Totally different scenarios. And, if I were his stepdaughter, I’d be really disturbed about this if I found out about it because it’s creepy. This is, from her POV, at least, her father for all intents and purposes and he deliberately looked up her naked pics. Yuck.
Despite all of the “Christian values” and “exploitation” handwringing in the letter, I totally understand why the LW is upset, too. Again, this is the man she as treated as her daughters’ father who is checking out her daughter naked and making sexual comments. Yuck, again. That said, the LW is in a pretty bad position. She feels betrayed and is understandably upset about this situation, but she cannot work, cannot financially support herself and appears to be totally dependent on this man, so leaving seems to be a last resort. I’d recommend that they go to counseling – preferably not religious based, since I doubt that they will be able to get to the root of this particular problem in that setting. Maybe during that process, not only can they work out this issue and any others, but the counselor may be able to get a feel for whether any of the early dementia stuff you guys are positing has merit. What a rough situation, LW. Good luck.
Vathena January 19, 2016, 12:10 pm
Yeah, I know if something like this happened within our family, my husband would go out of his way to *never* see the photos. (At least, I sure hope so!) Deliberately looking them up and downloading them seems pretty shady, to say the least. LW, do you have a place you could stay for a bit, with a friend or family member, to get some distance and clarity about how to proceed? Or can you ask your husband to stay elsewhere for awhile? I know if it were me, I’d find it difficult to live in the same house while feelings are still so raw. And seek counseling, for sure.
keyblade January 19, 2016, 11:14 am
I think Wendy’s advice was very compassionate. I wonder if this letter writer is also angry at herself for dismissing her daughter’s comment and not catching that the step-father might not have seen her kids as his own as much as she wanted to believe? I could see myself wanting some distance to feel safe processing my feelings about the entire thing and trying to wrap my head around such a gross violation as both a mother and a person. While the step-father may not have endangered the grown daughter there are some lines you just don’t cross. I agree that the letter writer should take whatever time and space she needs to figure out what this all means in the big picture of her life and proceed as thoughtfully and measured as possible given all her circumstances.
jlyfsh January 19, 2016, 11:41 am
Excellent advice Wendy. I had a hard time cutting out the religious tones to this letter when reading it. And the idea of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ people just based on whether they are Christian. And the idea that being Christian alone means you have good morals and don’t watch porn. Most people probably have no idea how many people in the pews next to them watch porn. Or maybe they choose to not believe that could be true. Watching porn doesn’t automatically make them a ‘bad’ person.
I do find it odd that he searched for her on the off chance that she had ‘bad pictures of herself’ online. That’s not something normal parents do on a regular basis. Did you tell him they existed? If he searched for them because of something someone said or something he saw online (not from you), I feel like it would not be as odd as just randomly searching for naked pictures of his daughter. Or having been told by you and then seeking them out. I don’t know, I just find that whole thing odd, there has to be more backstory.
keyblade January 19, 2016, 12:13 pm
I think I may have heard of parents with teenagers looking for what might be on the web (not just for pics but other online stuff that could be harmful). But to me it sounded like the daughter had professional pornography done. I can’t imagine knowing this as a parent and googling sexually explicit images of my grown kid’s junk. Maybe curiosity and a strong stomach might get the better of someone else. But the daughter told her mom about the comment her step-dad made. I’m imagining she wouldn’t have done that if there wasn’t something about how he said “nice ass” hadn’t felt weird and off. Even if he just searched the images to see if they existed, why would he save them to his computer? To me, even if the stepfather was indulging in a private mental fantasy that had no basis in reality, I would have expected some sense of empathy and consideration to his family to squelch that impulse.
I think the real issue is that the letter writer’s image of her husband as a safe, protective, father-figure has been shattered and she needs to figure out if the new image of her husband is one she can tolerate. Given that she can’t work and take care of herself, I think she should explore counseling and see if there are ways the husband can regain some level of trust (he probably won’t ever get back what he had). I think a counselor would be a good person to help the letter writer figure out what this means for her (and his) relationship with her adult daughter. I would need him to talk to a doctor and possibly get his head examined. I think would need for him to apologies to the daughter for the comment he made and show real understanding for what a violation of trust it was. I would need to see some real humility. I might need to have family counseling where he talks to both grown kids and acknowledges his mistakes (as long as it’s done in a way that isn’t selfish and assuming too much of the kids). I don’t know because I haven’t researched this situation enough to know the best way to heal and re-create some sense of emotionally safety and honesty. Or I might find a way to stay married but emotionally separated, or legally separated if divorce is not a practical option. But these are long-term conclusions not to be arrived at on the heels of grief and the initial processing of the step-dad’s actions.
Perhaps the letter writer won’t be able to get everything she needs. The question then becomes how does she tolerate not having all her needs met. Which needs are actual physical needs to be alive? It’s a tough situation.
keyblade January 19, 2016, 12:15 pm
Sorry for all the grammatical errors.
jlyfsh January 19, 2016, 12:19 pm
I guess I can’t imagine a father searching for images of his 32 year old daughter just because, like you would keep up with a teenager’s online habits. Unless he was told by someone or the LW. And if it was someone else in a situation like hey I by the way I saw this online then I could see him searching. The saving images, I can’t imagine what he was thinking unless he decided for some reason he needed to tell the LW.
I just don’t think there is enough information to automatically decide he is a creep.
csp January 19, 2016, 7:05 pm
For me it isn’t the search that bothers me. It is saving the picture for later. I am not saying run for the divorce lawyer. I just think I would have to confront my daughter and ask if anything happened.
anonymousse January 19, 2016, 12:37 pm
So your daughter is what, 32 now? And presumedly posed for playboy awhile back.
I’m sorry, I realize my opinion isn’t a popular one, but there, to me, is a difference between looking at porn, looking up your daughters nudes for curiosity’s sake (which, still gross) and purposefully downloading and saving full frontal nude sexually explicit images of your daughter. Hey, bodies are bodies. I went to art school for undergrad. I don’t think a nude body has to be viewed sexually, but I’m assuming these are sexual, full frontal nude photos. That’s different to me then an image of someone who is not your own daughter.
Maybe he does have some neurological issue. 67 seems still pretty young to me. It’s seems more probable that he’s a creep.
I would suggest insisting he move in with a friend or family member while you get some distance and perspective. You do need to talk to your daughters and see if there is additional innapropriate history there. And you should go to a couple’s counselor with him, if you feel as though you can move forward with him. Without more clarity of exactly what happened, it’s hard to say exactly how disturbing this is. On the surface, it does sound really wrong. I can even understand the “exploiting” comments. She views these images as exploitation and anyone viewing em is thus exploiting her daughter. That’s not too uncommon of an opinion, especially in the more repressed older Christian circles.
You say you know he was sexually fantasizing, and by what you found, the fact that he’s in therapy now, I’m going to assume he admitted he was. You need to decide if you can weather this or if you need to prepare for divorce. If that is something you are entertaining, speak to a lawyer. Most will do an initial consult for free, I think. They can help you figure out what you are entitled to. Without a prenup, I’d think you are entitled to half. This is disturbing, and I’m sure confusing. You probably should see a therapist as well.
anonymousse January 19, 2016, 12:44 pm
I read this as, through counseling he’s revealed his intentions, and he was sexually fantasizing about her/his daughter.
And to those who would say she isn’t his daughter….yes, after almost 25 years, I would disagree. For all intents and purposes, she is.
RedRoverRedRover January 19, 2016, 1:09 pm
My dad’s only 69 but he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. 🙁 67 is definitely not too young for these “old age” diseases to start showing up.
anonymousse January 19, 2016, 1:18 pm
Good point. That comment was not very considerate.
RedRoverRedRover January 19, 2016, 1:30 pm
I didn’t find it inconsiderate, I think of 67 as fairly young as well. People are living longer and so late 60s seems like just the start of retirement (which it is) instead of nearing end of life like it used to be. But these diseases don’t care, sadly. 🙁
freckles January 19, 2016, 6:55 pm
My dad also has Parkinsons (spirit animals…I’m telling you), as did his father. My father was diagnosed in his 40s, and his personality has definitely changed. He’s much grumpier and more forgetful for sure. I don’t think there’s full-blown dementia there yet, but it’s coming. And he’s only 60 now. My grandfather also had Parkinson’s and was also diagnosed early-ish (50s maybe?). So yeah, it can happen at any age.
Cassie January 19, 2016, 1:33 pm
“Now I look at him as a creep and a terrible man who has violated my trust and exploited my daughter for his pleasure.”
I think your reaction is understandable. I would probably feel the same way. I’d agree with others who mentioned checking in with your daughter to see if there were other instances he’s said things or made her feel uncomfortable.
I think your disability puts you in a difficult situation, though. If you don’t want to continue the marriage, have you thought through your options?
Monkeysmommy January 19, 2016, 2:50 pm
LW, I agree with you. This is sickening and inappropriate. If my husband were looking at my daughter this way (same scenario, he has raised her since she was 5), I would be livid. I doubt our marriage would survive it.
There are some things in your letter I find troubling. Like, you saying you found the pictures but had the feeling you shouldn’t mention them to your daughter- you knew, on some level, but buried it. And that’s understandable considering what you were dealing with! You also mention your daughter ran away with a “bad” guy at age 18, and moved far away (hence needing money). That is pretty damn young for such drastic measures. Is there any reason she would have wanted to escape home…? The ass comment really does put it over the top. And your daughter telling you, then your brushing her off is also telling. What else have you brushed off?
I think you need to step back and tell Mr. Nice Ass to move out for a while. Talk to your daughters; find out if there have been incidents through the years that have caused discomfort, or have been outright inappropriate. Talk to a lawyer- after 24 years, you won’t be left high and dry with a good attorney. I find it unlikely your husband has any dementia or health issues; he is just a shit head.
Ange January 19, 2016, 4:04 pm
Marrying at 18 isn’t uncommon in the American military. I read somewhere the average age of a military wife is 19. They do it to secure the benefits, probably so the girl could go live with him. I also imagine the LW’S daughter was raised with pretty strict ‘no sex before marriage’ rules so there might not be that much to it in that regard.
Monkeysmommy January 20, 2016, 10:48 pm
I am American, with quite a few military friends- it isn’t common anymore. This isn’t 1964.
SpaceySteph January 19, 2016, 3:41 pm
Agree with others who are saying that there’s a difference between watching internet porn and looking at your step-daughter’s nudes. This reminds me of a blog I read by a former evangelical who talks about the different ways that “good” and “bad” sexual behavior is divided. For many religious Christians, “good” sex is sex within a marriage and “bad” sex is anything else. So porn, rape, child pornography are all in the same “bad” bucket and it doesn’t matter which. But outside of the Christian dogma, these definitions don’t really hold up.
If I were you, LW, I would put aside the porn thing and focus on the real bad thing– sexualizing and viewing the nudes of your daughter, a girl he raised from a young age. That is gross and inappropriate.
Your daughter came to you for help with his inappropriate comment and you told her he didn’t mean anything by it. Consider that the “nice ass” comment may be the tip of the iceberg and she was feeling you out to maybe come forward with more serious offenses but when you took his side, she decided not to. Definitely the first step is to go back to your daughter and tell her that you are sorry you dismissed her concerns and that if she has any concerns about your husband’s behavior, either current or past actions, you absolutely want to hear them and be there for her. Tell her it’s not ok for her stepfather to comment on her ass and you’re sorry you even hinted that it was.
As an aside, my great grandfather died in his 60s and my great grandmother remarried to a guy who had never been married before. He was the only great grandfather we ever knew, and he was a dirty old man who made inappropriate remarks to me, my sister, and my girl cousin. We were always told “oh he doesn’t mean anything by it” and “he’s just teasing” and we still had to talk to him and be nice to him and kiss him hello all while he was being inappropriate. I resent my parents and other relatives for not listening to our concerns and taking them more seriously or limiting our contact with him. For all you know you have exposed your daughters to the same (or worse) for many years– at least now you know. The next step is to talk honestly with your daughters, apologize, and protect them going forward.
anonymousse January 19, 2016, 4:22 pm
I think your suggestions of how to approach her daughter are really thoughtful.
I’m sorry that happened to you. I hate that type of enabling behavior.
I’m starting to teach my son right now that he controls who touches him.
Skyblossom January 20, 2016, 8:41 am
I’ve also always let my children decide who could and couldn’t touch them. I’ve never required them to hug or kiss anyone. I have a coworker who complains that her sister-in-law allows her (SILs) kids to be rude to their grandmother because she doesn’t force her sons to kiss grandma good-bye. She also complains that grandma is rude to everyone, including the kids and is constantly drunk. I told her that I never forced my kids to hug or kiss anyone and didn’t consider it rude. I said that if there is a good, loving relationship the hugs and kisses will come naturally. There is no need to force them and if that relationship doesn’t exist I’m not going to force my kids to pretend that it does by forcing them to physically touch and exchange intimate gestures. I think kids need to know they can choose who is allowed to touch them and they can choose who won’t touch them. I think they are far less apt to be abused if they know they can refuse uncomfortable affection.
SpaceySteph January 20, 2016, 11:29 am
Yeah I feel really strongly about raising my future kids the same way. My husband’s initial reaction was the same, that it would be rude if a kid refused to hug or kiss a relative and that we should make them. But as we talked more about it in terms of teaching consent from an early age and it made more sense to him.
I think it’s all about how you frame it– you’re not “letting the kid be rude,” you’re letting them choose who and how to give physical affection and that is such an important skill to learn early so they can apply it later in life. It’s not even just saying grandpa is a molester, but that if they understand they can refuse physical affection even from grandpa then it’s easier to refuse first boyfriend who calls you a tease when you go to second base and want to stop there.
Skyblossom January 20, 2016, 11:37 am
Your last point is excellent. Every kid needs to be able to say no to any touch that makes them uncomfortable. Teaching a kid that they must accept and give uncomfortable affection doesn’t teach them that they have the final say about what happens to their body.
Anonymous January 19, 2016, 3:42 pm
I’ve been the stepdaughter who was inappropriately sexualized, and I basically agree with keyblade and anonymousse’s responses above. The comments about her ass and the pictures are the only evidence the MOTHER has that her husband has been sexualizing her daughter, but god only who knows what’s happened in the past. He may have been sexualizing her for a long time. It might have been so subtle that it was inarticulable for the daughter, especially when she was younger. Or it might have been overt but she didn’t want to speak up about it for various reasons.
My stepfather has been around since I was a toddler, and I’ve only just recently been able to open up to a therapist about the inappropriate sexualization. It made me deeply uncomfortable and I avoided spending time alone with him, but I was too scared of the repercussions to say anything about it to my mother. He never did anything so bold, like taking pictures of me in the shower, so I even began to doubt myself that anything untoward was happening. Also, I knew that if I did tell my mother, there were only so many things that could have happened, and none of them were good. She might not have believed me. She might have believed me and not done anything about it. Or she might have believed me and then divorced him, which I knew meant a lot of drama, moving again (we moved a lot), and losing the financial stability we had finally obtained. Even now, as an adult, I’ve made the conscious decision to never bring this up with her. He is the one who takes care of my mother, emotionally and financially, and that’s not a responsibility I can take on, and even if I could, I’m not sure if I would want to. And honestly, I still have a lot of ambivalent feelings about my stepdad because he was a good father to me in many ways and is much more of a father than my actual father ever was.
I think you owe it to your daughter to investigate this. But if you’re totally dependent on your husband and your daughter is aware of this and not in a position to help you out, then who knows if she’d even give you a straight answer. It’s just so sad that we live in a world where girls can’t trust their male authority figures/father figures not to sexualize them.
csp January 19, 2016, 7:13 pm
This was so nicely worded. Thanks for sharing.
dinoceros January 19, 2016, 8:46 pm
I’m sorry, but I’m not that lenient. Aside from the dementia theories, I don’t think there are a lot of benign reasons for his behavior. Searching for them when he presumably already knew they existed is weird. Saving them is weirder. And I think the guiltiness in his response that he was glad she found them is another red flag. If it was an honest mistake, why would he act relieved to be found out? If I had searched for a reasonable reason and someone found photos, I’d not be glad they saw them at all because it would presumably be a mistake that I had downloaded them! And why would he go to counseling if it was nothing? This on top of his previous comment make it seem less like a coincidence. Even if he doesn’t actively fantasize, I think he probably was looking to look.
Beyond the logic of whether it is excusable or not, I personally would be creeped out. I’m not sure I could force myself to rationalize it just to not give up such a long marriage, but more power to you if you can.
anonymousse January 19, 2016, 10:29 pm
Totally! I’m just not seeing the plausible innocent reasons he would have done that, nor the reason to stay. He’s in counseling for it, and then she says she knows he was fantasizing about her daughter. I have to assume she knows because he’s told her.
I have no idea how or why you’d go about trying to forgive for this (plus God knows what else!) 24 years is nothing to walk away from, but 24 years plus creeping on his children? Run away and get a great lawyer.
wobster109 January 19, 2016, 10:55 pm
Wendy is much kinder to LW than I would’ve been. LW, your daughter posed nude to support herself and her family. She’s done nothing wrong. Her morals are just fine. A person who harms others has bad morals, but a person who is proud of her body, who chooses what to do with her own body, has perfectly fine morals. You feeling bad about someone else’s choices don’t count as harm. Sexual purity does not feed the poor nor cure the sickly; it is no substitute for kindness or generosity. Be proud of your confident, resourceful daughter. Keep the judging to yourself.
csp January 20, 2016, 6:50 am
While I agree what you said, I got the impression that the daughter might have been coerced into the photos by her husband. In which case, it wouldn’t be empowering but exploitation. I might have read it wrong but it sounded like the daughter regretted it.
jlyfsh January 20, 2016, 9:18 am
If she was coerced it is definitely exploitation. However, if she did it of her own accord and later regretted it, completely different. It’s hard to tell from the Mother’s point of view if the daughter was forced or not. It almost seems like the mother would prefer to think she was then deal with the fact that it might have been a choice she made.
csp January 20, 2016, 1:47 pm
That could be VERY true that it is the Mother’s interpretation.
Portia January 20, 2016, 9:26 am
I didn’t quite read it that way. The only thing she really says about that is that the husband wasn’t a good person (which could cover just about anything she disagreed with), they divorced, and she returned to her “values.” So although the ex could have coerced the daughter, it could have been her choosing to make money that way. We don’t know either way. It sounded to me like the LW was regretting her daughter’s choice, not necessarily the daughter regretting anything.
csp January 20, 2016, 1:54 pm
That is a good point. It might have made a logic jump there.
Moi January 20, 2016, 10:00 am
I know of something very similar. The step father began saying “mild” inappropriate things to the girl and gradually ramped them up until she told her mother. All hell broke loose. The parents separated, reconciled, finally divorced. The daughter nearly had a breakdown. This was her DAD. Obviously he had never made the emtional connection and never thought of her as his daughter. It happens folks. More than you know.
Joyce May 2, 2017, 5:45 pm
Oh please if your daughter didn’t take off her clothes and pose nude he would not have any nude pics of your daughter. Millions of people have seen her nude and they are both adults so if your daughter got naked why shouldn’t he be able to look at her. It’s not like he was looking through the key hole on the bedroom door. Please grow up
Bittergaymark May 2, 2017, 7:08 pm
Eh. The reactions here in this thread for this one are mostly overblown. I dunno. It could be I wanna pop all “good christians” in the fucking jaw. But this LW made my skin crawl… Drama, drama, drama.
Look. I’ve found out good friend’s lover once did porn. And guess, what? I checked it out. It was STRAIGHT porn but it was fascinating to me. That said, I certainly didn’t jack off to Julie… nor did I exploit her by viewing a film she was paid to do. There is so much pearlclutching / withering disdain coming from this Letter.
Um… Yeah, I bet that their sex life is JUST fucking amazing!! Why oh why would he EVER being looking at porn?
Kate May 2, 2017, 7:23 pm
But… he raised her since she was 8, so he’s like her dad. That’s why this is so gross.
My husband has a stepdad who’s been in the picture since he was 7, and he calls him his dad, totally thinks of him as his father because he stepped up and raised him. It’s possible this girl feels the same way about this guy who’s been around 24 years. It’s incestuous. Ew. If it was just regular porn, or I guess even someone he knew, it wouldn’t be that bad.
Bittergaymark May 2, 2017, 7:32 pm
Eh…. You’re projecting and assuming hersay as evidence. His defense that he did so out of curiousity is quite plausible to me. Now, its my turn to project…
Look. That she posed for these pictures was NO secret. Hell, Church Lady probably blabbed about it to no end. “Can you BELIEVE she did this!? The horror! The horror! Vile! Sin! Oh, I can’t look!”
If somebody said that to me, I’d probably seek out the pictures. And save them in case I ever wanted to come Mama Judgement down. “Look. Honey. Really. Its not that bad…”
Kate May 2, 2017, 7:38 pm
I hope that’s what it was. She calls him dad, it says. I can’t imagine a dad wanting to see naked pics of his daughter at all, seriously.
Bittergaymark May 2, 2017, 7:55 pm
Please. Lately, this place revels in witchhunts on the flimsiest of evidence. The horrific injustice that was the McMartin preschool trial makes more and more sense to me the older I get. More often than not, the masses simply can’t wait to believe the very worst. Evidence and Logic be damned! Hurry! Lets leap to the worst possible conclusion even when the level of probable doubt is hilariously sky high…
dinoceros May 2, 2017, 8:57 pm
Yeah, why aren’t these women more sympathetic to men who like to look at photos of their daughter nude? Or I guess we’re saying that it only matters if they are blood-related.
Why was this even brought up at this point?
Bittergaymark May 2, 2017, 7:26 pm
I do find it interesting that with ZERO evidence — a number of you assumed the daughter was somehow FORCED to pose for these (most likely) tame nude photos. (Playboy style photos are usually quite tame. Even arty. ) I dunno. I guess I just don’t immediately leap to conclusion that so many women are helpless victims.
Paula June 3, 2017, 9:28 am
These comments are ridiculous. There is nothing wrong if this woman chose to pose for naked pics however it is 100% wrong that the man who raised her as a daughter in a father/daughter relationship would have these photos. There’s no reason or excuse. He also commented on her having “a nice arse” that is sexualising. I don’t care if this man is in his 60’s, he’s a filthy creep. Get out of that marriage.
JD October 18, 2017, 12:40 am
Judge much? Let’s be analytical.
People assume it is “sick” and “demented”, but why? Biologically speaking, he is not related to her, so biology is not on the table. The best I’ve heard is people like yourself making the case that raising someone is enough to make someone not sexually attractive. That seems like a big assumption. Show me the studies that prove that that is so and that that is “demented” behavior.
Bottom line, all normal men are attracted to any attractive woman (unless homosexual of course). Biology may filter out one’s own progeny, but I don’t think spending time “raising them” necessarily crosses the bar and as far as I know there aren’t any studies to that effect either. You all just WISH there were.
DB February 5, 2018, 8:39 pm
If she had been his biological daughter, why would that be any different? To assert that all normal men are attracted to any attractive woman is nonsense! Assuming you’re a guy and have an attractive daughter, can you honestly say you’re attracted to her? What about being sexually attracted to her? If you find this attraction normal between family members, then you may want to consider laying of the porn. If he’s looking at naked pics of his daughter and making sexual comments, he’s likely to do more..
JD July 9, 2018, 9:30 am
This is weird to me. I hadn’t seen this as it is from long ago but I didn’t write this. Was someone on my computer or was my info hacked. I dunno but just seeing this I am shocked and confused.
JD July 9, 2018, 9:39 am
Actually I just looked at the date. I was packing a moving truck that day, not online. Really weird.
Ron October 18, 2017, 8:56 am
I see you are into stepdaughter porn. Yes, it is objectively creepy. Yes it is a basic violation of this guy’s role as husband and stepfather. And yes, there are sick men who date and marry single moms simply to gain sexual access to her children. Your objection seems to be ‘but, it happens’. Of course it happens, but that doesn’t make it either normal or moral or anything other than a huge betrayal of his partner and her children.
Green Fantastic July 8, 2018, 10:13 pm
How dare you Wendy! Excusing such perverted behavior. This man helped her raised this girl from when she was very little. Even if he is not her biological father, he knew her before she reached sexual maturity. This is disgusting!
PKUSH July 5, 2021, 5:16 pm
I also feel if no complaint ever happened until at 67 saying nice ass ,I mean if he is a Pervert and watched her grow through her young teens to adult and never any uncomfortable issue,Wendy is so right.With all the LIFE stress compounding and now this,the last thing she should do is react.Just get through the stress and losses and then address ,weather it is he is sick or something more serious,27 years says a lot..Congrats on that but take care of you first ,later deal with the rest as you feel ready to.
Rickinator November 9, 2021, 3:18 am
he was…gasp…watching porn videos on the internet. oh dear me no!
welp, so much for the while “Christian values thing.”
ron November 9, 2021, 5:58 pm
“so much for the whole Christian values thing”.
Yeah, LW’s invoking Christian values reads differently, as in even more bizarre, today than it did when this first appeared 6 years ago. Was the LW one of the 85% of white evangelical Christians who voted for Trump (twice) knowing he boasted about getting away with grabbing women’s crotches and showed and commented upon his very strong sexual attraction to his own, biological daughter? LW is in the age group that it’s about 95% likely she voted for Trump. Did disgust at her husband’s likely sexual fantasy about her daughter stop her from voting Trump? I tend to doubt it.
The stepdad is still a creep, viewed from today’s vantagepoint. The LW?