“I Think My Brand New Husband Abused His Daughter”

I recently married a man I went to high school with (I’m 48; he’s 52). We reconnected a year after he discovered his wife and mother of his daughter (who’s now 22) had been unfaithful throughout the entire course of their 22-year marriage with over 30 different men (my now-husband had a job that required travel four days each week).

I moved across the US to be with him. Now, I am learning some very unsettling things about his daughter who lives with us. I worked in the public school system for 12 years, and this young woman is…well, something’s very wrong here and I am beginning to suspect abuse. I know that her mother raised her in almost abject neglect, teaching her nothing about even the simplest things in life (self-care, home care, work ethic, social graces, etc.). Her mother was constantly dumping this child off on babysitters so she could go meet dates while her then-husband was gone for work. And now I am wondering if she’s developmentally disabled from all the neglect.

Here is a laundry list of what I’m seeing from this 22-year old:

• She does not hold a job.

• She sleeps all day and is up at night. It has been this way since she graduated high school.

• She has not even the most remote interest in dating.

• She has only two household chores: Dishes and cleaning the cat litter.

• She is obsessed with anime cartoons.

• She has the ability to speak intelligently about such things as politics, yet will go for days without bathing or dressing herself (she goes around the house in a t-shirt and underwear–often with the underwear in dreadful disrepair).

•She has no interest in grooming herself (makeup, hair styles, etc.), nor will she clean her surroundings (her bathroom, bedroom, etc.).

• She often carries and sleeps with a ragged remnant of her childhood security blanket.

• Recently, two male friends of hers stopped by for a visit. She did not put on jeans or shorts, citing that it wasn’t necessary to cover up because these friends were homosexual.

• Upon occasion, she will argue a point with her father, seeming to be in refusal to be wrong about anything, much like someone in pre-adolescence would do.

• She has a very “elementary school-age” view of public displays of affection, stating that such things are “gross” or “sick”.

• She chews with her mouth open.

She and I have gotten along alright, but there’s very little chance for any deeper discussions between us because she’s awake all night and asleep all day. Her dad states that he is trying to be gentle with her following the trauma of finding out about her mother’s titanic indiscretions, but I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something wrong with this girl.

Then, very recently, I discovered something shattering. My husband has an internet history filled with pre-teen pornography, family nudist website visits, child model “no-nudes” sites, and even sites showing alleged incest. I’m beyond frightened. I am 3,000 miles away from my home in the Pacific NW, my 19-year-old daughter, and my whole family…with a man I thought I knew. My daughter and I had a wonderful home together, we were very happy, I had a great job, and we were finally healthy after leaving my daughter’s psychologically-abusive father (I was married to him for 25 years; he’s BPD/NPD).

I’m nearly 50, and I should be so much smarter than to have become wrapped in this. But how would I have known about ANY of this if I’d not moved here and become a part of this household? Prior to the discovery of the internet porn, I’d not spoken to my husband about the health of his daughter because I’ve only been in the family for about seven months. Do you think this young woman displays the traits of someone who’s been sexually abused?? — World Shattered

Your step-daughter’s behavior and your suspicions around her behavior, as sad as this all is, is secondary to one major, horrific thing that you bury in the end of your letter: you discovered child porn on your husband’s computer. I am so very sorry that you have made this discovery and I can only imagine how you must be feeling right now after picking up your life and moving across the country to be with him — betrayed, naive, angry, disgusted — but the first thing you need to do is turn him in. What he has done is illegal and, if he is ever caught and it’s discovered that you knew about this little hobby of his and did nothing, you will be in trouble, too. Please, please protect yourself and do what is morally and legally right and turn him in to the authorities.

Next, get your marriage annulled and move back home. Put this painful chapter behind you and move on as best you can. Go home to the life you said was great — to your daughter and the rest of your family. See if you can get your old job back or look for another job you might like. Get a good therapist to help you process this awful experience and find whatever silver lining in it that you can (a deeper appreciation for what you have back home, maybe).

As for your step-daughter, she’s not your problem. I know that sounds uncaring, but the truth is you hardly know her or the rest of her family and you have your own daughter and family — and yourself! — to think about. I would hate for you to get so wrapped up in her well-being that your own healing and well-being is jeopardized. If there’s any adult in her life that you know and trust at all — a grandparent or an aunt or uncle — you can touch base with this person and share your concerns. But because at 22 she’s legally an adult and because your relationship with her is brand new and pretty superficial, there’s not much you can do beyond that.

Finally: don’t blame yourself. You followed your heart and that’s an admirable thing. After what I assume was a painful marriage to your first husband, you moved on and reconnected with someone from your past — someone you believed you knew — and you picked up and left everything that was familiar and comfortable and followed your heart all the way across the country. That takes guts, and just because you’ve now learned that the man you married isn’t whom you believed him to be doesn’t mean you were stupid or wrong. It only means that you took a risk and this time it didn’t quite work out. You are in no way responsible for your husband’s behavior or your step-daughter’s behavior. The only control you have is over your OWN behavior and what you choose to do now going forward. So, please think about the larger picture and do what is best to protect yourself and your family and any potential innocent victims in your husband’s path.

Related columns:

“I Married a Man Who had Child Pornography”

“My Husband Has Child Pornography”


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. kerrycontrary says:

    WWS. I think in the last child porn letter someone had really good advice. Tracy maybe? On the steps to take when you find that on your husband’s computer. There are very specific steps to take to turn someone in. Wendy maybe you could link to that last letter?

  2. Something Random says:

    WWS. I would be sure to contact a lawyer first. I think I read in another DW or possibly Prudence post that this important so that you are protected from possibly being charged, yourself.

    1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

      I don’t think she needs to contact a lawyer so much as she immediately needs to report it to the police. If it’s his computer and she doesn’t share it, it probably ends there. If she doesn’t and it’s a shared computer, it gets a little trickier, and then I’d advise her to exercise her right to silence and THEN consult a criminal defense attorney. But even if it was shared and the police suspected something, it doesn’t mean the District Attorney’s office would consider prosecuting her, even as a “Party To a Crime,” unless they thought she was actively involved in going to these sites and downloading this child porn.

  3. LW, there’s so much to be horrified at here, that I understand why your mind is narrowing it down to a question: “Did he abuse his daughter?” Right now, though, just stop asking yourself that question & listen to Wendy. ~Get out~ of this marriage as fast as you can. You made a mistake. Undo that mistake by leaving this man, & going back to your family.

  4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    Yikes. WWS for sure. Turn him in, protect yourself, and move on.

    In regards to the daughters behavior, I actually don’t think it’s that weird. A little gross maybe that she doesn’t bathe…but over all nothing seems like a big red flag at first read. Honestly it sounds more like her emotional growth was stunted/emotional abuse rather than sexual abuse.

    1. Agreed. Sad to say, she sounds exactly like a (26-year-old) friend of mine. Who happens to have been a series creator/producer of a major television show, and the member of a well-known Hollywood Film/Theatre/TV family. Her issues weren’t at all related to active abuse, but to essentially having been spoiled her whole life/allowed to get away with everything. She’s had no discipline and no motivation to get a job, and only accidentally fell in to the one she’s had in 26 years. I wouldn’t assume active abuse so much here as lack of structure/discipline/responsibilities. Obviously she still has no impetus to do anything constructive (where’s the dad in what should be “get a job, pay rent, do more chores, or get out?”). The bigger issue still is the dad’s activities, rather than his daughter’s lack thereof. Additionally – and unfortunately – should there be pedophilia here, the daughter is not currently in danger. As such, there may be an expired statute of limitations even if she WAS abused, which, again, doesn’t sound like the case (let’s be honest, not wanting to wear make-up or date sounds like me in most of my 20s, and I always had a good job and worked during the day). So – not worth focusing on as much as the dad situation.

      1. Yeah, I mean, I am by no means an expert, but the daughter might just be an odd duck or dealing with some depression issues. I wouldn’t automatically jump to the conclusion that she was abused sexually. And really, given that she’s a legal adult, all the LW can do is suggest therapy because she’s concerned.

      2. I know that I’m a little late on this, but did anyone mention if the LW should speak with the daughter directly. Not asking her anything, per se, but telling her.. I found this (child porn), I have taken legal action, I am leaving, etc.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yup, totally agree. I know quite a few 20 somethings who’ve been spoiled their whole lives and basically do nothing now. They live at home, can’t/don’t hold a job, bum around all the time…the issues with the pornography are WAY way bigger than the slacker daughter. I think whom ever said it below was right, the LW is in denial about the real problem and focusing on something she *might* be able to fix. Rather than sending her new husband rightfully to jail.

      4. My husband is like this once in a while. His mom likes to imply that she was the best hard working sacrificing mom ever, but he never had goals for succeeding in school or chores, and he wasn’t allowed to do league sports because of cost. His entire childhood was chilling in the neighbourhood, easily getting Cs and Bs at school, and unlimited tv and gaming. Adulthood has not been so easy for him. Hes ok but gets periods of being a bit depressed and in general hes lazy. (he does have talents and a great job to suppport us but these ossues come up once in a while.) And he can still barely cook. I really don’t get people who have all day at home and choose not to bathe ! When I’m home with no responsibility ill happily bathe 2X a day. Love baths, showers, jacuzzi. Sometimes I miss a day of bathing because I’m so exhausted and I get really grumpy when that happens.
        Oh, yes , PLEASE call the cops or a lawyer about the exploitative child porn. Be a nice human.

  5. WWS. You can’t sugar coat kiddie porn by calling it pre-teen porn. Pre-teens are CHILDREN. And that is horrible and wrong. You need to get a lawyer, turn him in and get an annulment, STAT.

    1. I don’t think she was sugar-coating it so much as just listing what she saw. Child porn sites aren’t all about referring to it as child porn, in big flashing lettering, you know? I imagine the sites themselves are the ones sugar-coating it as “pre-teen”.

      Which brings me to, I do wonder how this would be prosecuted? It sounds like the guy knew what to search for in order to limit consequences if he were to be caught (non-nude—probably pictures that be be disguised as “modeling” photos, & family nudist sites—which can be a front for research or, like, “hey want to join our nudist colony?” Of course, perverts are the ones on the site, & the site often knows it) (sorry, learned about this during a tangent in my Human Sexuality class)

      But again, not sure how the law actually works for a case like this.

      1. Well, all the LW has to worry about is telling the truth to the police; it would be up to the police to then find the record of it on his computer. I think the police know how to find what they are looking for, even from predators who try very hard to cover their tracks, which this guy doesn’t sound like he’s doing.

      2. Oh of course, I was just sort of wondering out loud. The LW should definitely (after procuring a lawyer) go to the police, & let them handle it. They’d be able to tell how long he spent on each site, as well (right?), so the husband won’t be able to be like, “Oh, it was an accident!”

        And speaking of covering tracks— nobody mentioned this yet— but I definitely WOULD NOT talk to the husband. LW, do NOT talk to your husband before going to police. He’d very likely destroy the evidence, or try to, which would make the police’s job that much more difficult.

      3. Yeah. Not to mention other things he could do to try and manipulate her into not going to the police…

      4. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        The law in most states works like this: if there is evidence that any party in the video or images is under the age of 18, it is considered child pornography. If it’s, say, a model who is 19 but is dressing to look 16, it is not. If it’s a drawing of a child engaging in sexual acts . . . it gets trickier, and it’s not worth going into now (because the federal and state laws vary so greatly).

        But, yeah, assuming the descriptions of the LW are accurate, most of this seems to just straddle the border between child porn and not. The “nudist family” sites are kind of questionable, but not enough to really charge child pornography since there’s no real way of proving the focus was on the child instead of idea of nudist colonies. But here’s the thing: if it really IS pre-teen pornography and not some adult pretending to be a teen, that coupled with the rest is likely to annoy a prosecutor enough to get hyper-technical and charge a felony for EACH PICTURE OR VIDEO found (which isn’t always done; if someone downloads 5 pictures in one zip file — i.e., in one action — it’s usually prosecuted as one count.) Then he has to plea to multiple counts and go to prison for a while.

      5. There you are, I knew a strategically placed “not sure how this law works…” would conjure one Guy Friday 😉 (thanks!)

      6. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        When I read a “not sure how this law works…” I think “yea, me neither.”

  6. I just found it odd that the bulk of the letter was “Do you think my 22 year old step daughter might have been abused when she was little?” As if it that’s the real issue here. And then “Oh, and by the way, I found child porn on my husband’s computer, so maybe he really did abuse her?”
    The big issue is the husband, not the stepdaughter. I mean, yeah, I have empathy for the young woman if she was abused, but that’s not the primary issue here at all!
    Although Wendy gives great advice, she should be writing to a lawyer first! Not an advice columnist about how to help her 22 year old stepdaughter who may or may not have been abused.
    It just seems like priorities might not be line.

    1. It’s almost like she’s asking for help about whether or not her stepdaughter was abused because she might stick around as part of this family? No No No! LW you need to leave right away! I really hope we get an update where you followed Wendy’s advice to a tee!

    2. painted_lady says:

      I think it’s one of those things, though, that people do to avoid focusing on the real problem. Kind of like when someone gets too wrapped up in a friend’s problem when their own life is a mess: she’s speculating on whether or not there’s a problem rather than focusing on the one that clearly already exists. It’s an unproductive defense mechanism, but it’s also common and kind of understandable.

      1. Yeah, I agree, it’s a defense mechanism but at the same time I understand how it could happen. Half the time it seems like LW’s are not asking the questions they really need to ask!

      2. I mean I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in the easier questions though. Because, no one wants to believe the bad/awful things about people they love. They don’t want them to be true. Asking the right question in this case would mean admitting to herself that her husband actually looked at child porn, because you can know something without letting yourself really know it. Having someone like Wendy talk her through it, might be what she needs. An impartial person to say, yes you’re right that’s wrong and here’s what you need to do even though it’s scary.

      3. It might also be a defense against her imagined culpability. She says that at her age she should have known better. LW, this is not your fault. Your husband is an expert at deceit and there was no way you could have seen this coming. He said what he needed to say to get you to believe him. He is scum. There is nothing wrong with you, He is the wrong one here. Please do as Wendy says and turn him in and get out.

  7. painted_lady says:

    LW, I sooooooo get why you’ve chosen to focus on this “maybe” problem than realize that there’s a really scary problem already staring you in the face. The implications of what you have to do and what you think it says about you are terrifying. But even so, you have to face this problem.

    The thing to remember is, it isn’t your fault you married someone you thought you knew and discovered you don’t actually know him at all. I know women that’s happened to with men they’ve been married to for years and years and have adult children. It isn’t your fault he has fucked up sexual tastes and that he chose to act on them, even indirectly. But if you don’t act on it, he’s going to continue to exploit – or encourage the exploitation of, by financial support – children. And while it’s his choice, you know he’s doing it and that’s on you. Don’t be the accomplice to a monster.

    Take care of you first, and protect yourself. If you have anything left over – and she’s open to it – maybe reach out to the daughter. She may not want anything to do with you after you turn her dad in, or maybe she was abused and she’ll be grateful someone finally stopped him. Either way, she’s going to need support, and if you can, and she wants it from you, then maybe offer it up. Maybe. But take care of you and your daughter first.

  8. You sound like someone who is genuinely caring and you want to help. That’s admirable and I applaud you for that.

    I wonder if your move was motivated by the fact that you had gotten out of your crappy first marriage and your new husband showed you positive attention that made you feel good. That feeling may have been escalated by the fact that he seemed so much better than your first husband. That’s how things went down with my and my last boyfriend. I was 2 months out of an intense break up after being with my first ex for 3.5 years. Granted, my first ex was a decent guy, but there were some major differences which we would have never been able to work around. I basically jumped at the first person who wanted to be with me. He was giving me positive attention and he was so different than my ex. I jumped in head first despite the fact that we were very different people and ended up splitting up 5 months later.

    It’s time to turn this guy in, leave this family behind, and focus on your own family and your own life. Wendy’s right in the fact that YOU can take control of your life. You are the one who is responsible for your own happiness and it’s painfully obvious that you aren’t happy with how things are right now. That’s a sign that you need to take control of the situation. Good luck.

  9. Short-term advice: Get a lawyer first. You need counseling on the legal aspects – how exactly you need to turn him in etc. Also, I would say definitely leave him first and then turn him in, for safety reasons.
    Long-term advice: Start therapy. It sounds like you moved on quickly from a 25-year abusive marriage to moving across the country for another man who is also trouble. (I’m not sure about the timeline, but it sounds like a quick move and a quick marriage). While there may have been no way for you to know about his horrible behavior, it still may be a good idea to find out some more about potential red flags in men and about moving slowly. (For example, when I read the story about his ex wife cheating 30 times, this really seemed like a red flag to me. At the very least, he was in a horrible relationship and chose not to leave for a long time AND he didn’t adequately protect his daughter. Plus, you believe his daughter has developmental issues due to neglect, and he’s her father – so he’s partially responsible for that. Is it really possible that he never realized anything was wrong with his ex wife, or that his daughter wasn’t healthy? That’s bad enough even if he didn’t abuse her. )

  10. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

    If you stay with this man you are always going to worry. If your daughter has children, are you going to leave them alone with grandpa? Can you confidently leave this man alone with a child you care about? He is a pedophile. He is a monster who is sexually attracted to children. Please, turn him in. Child pornography is not a victimless crime. Help protect the ones who are exploited due to porn, and prevent this man from ever gaining access to a child.

  11. I know others will (and have) address the heart of the matter here, the new husband’s child porn habit. I am so so sorry for LW.

    A pattern I’ve been seeing in our relatively new socially-networked world, is Boomers and X-ers rekindling/starting romances from long-ago young adulthood (high school & college). It may be a short-term fad because I think it happens only when there has been a long absence in communication/awareness of each other (younger generations stay connected from the beginning).

    What’s interesting to me is how that nostalgia about an earlier time of innocence seems to bring defenses down and sometimes cause people to overlook some obvious red flags. There’s some sense that if you knew someone as a young person, that you can trust them inherently. We forget that the young person we knew back then was not fully formed. More importantly, our own ability to understand people, judge characters was equally underdeveloped.

    We’ve got movies to thank for helping these ideas along. Sweet Home Alabama comes to mind.

    I fell into a similar trap (that had a MUCH less catastrophic outcome) many years ago when I got reacquainted with a high school friend via Facebook after 20 years. It went almost immediately into a dating situation because he pushed really hard. I dismissed all sorts of bad vibes because, I told myself, “I’ve known this guy since I was 15.” In reality, I’d only known him AT age 15 –big difference. There was something controlling and possessive about him but it took a few months for me to admit it to myself and find a way to wriggle out of his grip.

    I think we all want to go back to a time when dating seemed simple and innocent (not that it necessarily was!) as we remember it. In reality though, we need to approach people from our long-ago past with all the same filters and judgement that we’ve developed in adulthood. We have them for good reasons.

    1. Yes yes yes to all of this. Some of these things popped into my mind as I read the letter, so I’m happy to see it fleshed out so thoroughly in your comment. You’re right that it may be (or I hope it is…) a short-term fad, though.

      1. Thanks Fabelle!

    2. Completely agree with everything you just said.

    3. yep, absolutely….

      and i am actually making a cake and attending a wedding of said recently reconnected high school sweethearts next year!

      1. Ha! Well sometimes I suppose it DOES work out, right?!

  12. applescruffs says:

    You can call the social services number in your county with a “hypothetical” and ask them how to proceed.

  13. Bittergaymark says:

    Eh. What a mess… But in answer to the question you pose in your final paragraph — you easily could have learned MUCH if this — especially, his poor daughter’s troubling behavior — had you simply, you know, actually visited BEFORE rushing headlong into some delusional fantasy. So many RUSH into marriage these days. Few seem to grasp that the very reason some have for encouraging this panicky dash to the alter is that they are trying lock their partners down BEFORE the mess of their lives are fully revealed.

    Call the cops. For real. Call the cops. Walk the fuck away. And next time — be sure you actually KNOW the person you are marrying — not just the fantasy version from your past. Sorry. But had you spent ANY real time with his daughter, warning bells would have gone off big time.

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      THAT’S WHAT I WAS THINKING. Like how the hell did you not know ANY of this before getting married? Are people just marrying strangers now? Is this a thing?

      1. definitely. me too.

        although i guess i could see how he could hide the child porn, this letter isnt even really about the child porn anyway! so all this red flag-y, gut not right feelings she is having should have come up before…

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I wonder how long the average dating/engagement period is for marriages.

      3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I’m sure there’s a stat out there. Honestly I don’t even think it helps to say know them X amount of years. But I do think it’s insane how little people know about the person they sign a legal contract with. Like this LW it seems didn’t even live with him before marrying him. Like went from long distance to marriage. That is so irresponsible. I mean you always hear the stories – we got engaged and married after 3 months and have been together 40 years! Well those people are the exceptions not the rule. And you also have people that are together 8 years, get married, and are divorced two years later. I mean you can never predict it, but I do think you should give yourself the best shot you can. And moving across the country and marrying someone you haven’t seen in 30 years is just – middle school kid dumb.

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I read an article, from a semi-trust worthy source, and it was saying there is a “sweet spot” of sorts. Something along the lines of those who marry to fast have higher odds (or some sort of phrasing like that) to get divorced, and those who wait a “long” time (7 or 10 years) do too. People in the middle (like 2 to 5 years of dating) appear to have the longest marriage chance. Clearly I’m not quoting them exactly. I’m totally with you, I think I’m going to add “do a background check” on my (very short) pre-marriage advice list.

    2. One of my big fears in life is that I’ll take a long time to get to know someone, get married, and then they randomly reveal themselves to be a psycho, like something you’d see on 48 Hours.
      Are my fears irrational? Haha

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Eh I mean people can always change for the worse. I think the biggest problem is when you don’t even know who they are at the time you marry them. It’s sort of like hedging your bets. Make sure that you know and love EVERYTHING about them at the time you get married, and just hope for the best. There will always be things out of your control, so make sure that things you can control, like their character at the time, are PERFECT.

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        I have this fear ALL the time. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years and I still have it. But you hear these crazy stories about people leading double lives. Having secret families. It happens!

  14. Avatar photo theattack says:

    Report it, report it, report it. Call the police and the child abuse hotline and report what you found on the computer. Then immediately divorce, divorce, divorce.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I missed you!! I hope all is as well as can be!

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Thank you! 🙂 I’m pretty emotionally fragile right now, so I’m not sure that I can handle much DW for a little bit, other than things like this that are completely non-controversial.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Totally understand. Feel free to FB me if you need anything 🙂

    2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      🙁 I hope you’re doing better.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Thank you. 🙂 Things are very hard right now. I held my grandfather while he died suddenly, and I get a measly three days off work for bereavement which is barely enough time to make the arrangements. America sucks for thinking that’s an appropriate amount of time off work.

      2. geez three days? wow. that is outrageous.

        so sorry.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Thanks. And yeah, I think three days is pretty standard, which is ridiculous. I’m somehow expected to be productive and listen to people tell me about the terrible things going on in their lives right now, and I just don’t have that in me. Not to mention that my boss kept calling me on my bereavement leave too, which I guess is understandable, but I just didn’t get a real break, and it sucks. I really wanted to complain about it, so thanks for listening. haha

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        You are totally in the right to complain!!

      5. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Damn. I never got any leave when my grandparents died. And that was when I was in the Corporate World… I just had to take the time off. It sucked. The way America treats it workers leaves me baffled that so many WANT to work. God, if I could just stay home with kids and NOT waste my time making money for assholes, I would be a happy person.

      6. theattack says:

        Agreed. I’m really not that person, but at least twice a week I wish I could quit work and be a domestic goddess instead. The workplace is full of such crap, and it’s never ending.

  15. There are so many things wrong about this situation, but LW, I think you know you need to leave and report your husband. You just need encouragement. Be glad you found this out already and you’re lucky he wasn’t even trying to hide the child porn. I’m sure a lot of people go to greater lengths to hide it like private browsing or the Deep Web and the wives have no idea.

    While we don’t know the situation about your daughter, it seems concerning to me that you just left and abandoned her and your family. Yes, I know she’s 19 and an adult, but most 19 year olds are still dependent on someone. And I find it odd how concerned you are about your step daughter over your own daughter. I really can’t be that compassionate towards you because this is all kinds of fucked up. I also find it very odd when someone obsesses on the idea of someone being sexually abused and making assumptions or trying to figure it out. It’s none of your business to ask anyone ever, in my opinion. I know this letter is not really about that, but it bothers me so much when people do that.

    Anyways, I hope you leave, report your husband, and move on, and past all of this.

    1. starpattern says:

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about the LW leaving her daughter, but was too scared to say anything… haha. I think it’s bizarre that the LW seems so concerned about a lazy 22 year old when she is 3000 miles away from her 19 year old… I mean, probably her 19 year old is better adjusted than the step-daughter, but still. She needs to follow everyone’s advice immediately and just chalk this whole thing up to a streak of terrible decisions and even worse luck.

  16. WWS! You need to report the child pornography. If his computer is the family computer, it could be his daughter looking at the images, not him. Either way, it is still wrong.

  17. “But how would I have known about ANY of this if I’d not moved here and become a part of this household?”

    That’s not an excuse. If you can’t get a good read on what a person is like without uprooting your family and immediately marrying him, then don’t do it. You can’t just say, “Oopsies, it was too hard to figure out, so I guess I’ll just make a lifelong commitment without knowing him.”

    And to play devil’s advocate, you didn’t HAVE to become a member of the household. You could have lived nearby and gotten to know him better beforehand.

    Anyway, you need to end the marriage and report his porn. I’m not really sure how to address the stepdaughter. I don’t have as much knowledge as you do, but I didn’t find every point you listed as that alarming. Obviously, she sounds immature for her age (and is it possible that she’s on the autism spectrum?) I guess what I wonder also is where her father was in all this bad parenting the mother was doing?

    While I do think the porn thing is really bad, I also think that maybe your perception of the daughter’s odd behaviors equaling abuse might be a manifestation of you realizing what a bad idea it is to pick up and move in with someone you don’t know.

  18. I’m going to play devil’s advocate here, but I’d like to point out that I am in NO WAY legitimizing this man’s possession the child porn. It’s morally wrong and illegal to consume such media.

    However… having child porn (or incest-related porn) does not make you a pedophile. The incest fetish is actually quite a common one, and most of the porn involving it is fake. Most people who are into incest porn would NOT sleep with a relative. And as far as the child porn, many people get ‘into’ that because they are looking for more and more extreme videos to satisfy their cravings, not because they are actually attracted to children.

    Also, I don’t think any of the behavior of the daughter indicates abuse. There are many socially unadapted people with that sort of behavior who have no history of abuse. My brother behaves pretty similarly to how you described this girl, and I know for a fact he never suffered any abuse. Judging by how the mother neglected her parental duties, that could be the sole cause.

    Still, you should turn him in for the child porn and get you and your kid out of there. Better to err on the side of safety in any case.

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