Could You Forgive Your Spouse For Molesting Your Child?

1 Posted by - March 30, 2011 - Dear NWSO

Dear NWSO,

I’ve been seeing this guy off and on for several years. Recently he expressed his love for me and wants more than just an on again/off again relationship. I care for him deeply and would even go so far as to say I’m in love with him, too but for some reason we just can’t seem to make us work.

He and I just never seem to be in the same place in our lives at the same time. When I wanted more, he didn’t. When he wanted more, I didn’t. I think we’re both in a place now where we both want something real and long-term. I love being in his presence; I can share anything with him without fear of judgment; he makes me laugh; I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not; I can just be myself when I’m with him.

But here lies my problem, I’ve been married before—he hasn’t and I’m sure he’ll eventually want that if he’s saying he wants something long-term. My marriage ended as a result of physical abuse and due to the fact that my now ex-husband molested our daughter. With that being said, I just don’t know that I’ll ever be able to trust anyone enough to say, “I do.” So my question is do I simply say no to something long-term or do I take a chance not knowing if I’ll ever be able to say, “I do?”

Dear Can’t Say I Do,

First of all, so sorry to hear about your ex husband and his abuse to both you and your daughter. I’m happy to hear that y’all were both able to finally escape that situation because not all women are that lucky.

Now, with that said, , you should wholeheartedly be mindful of warning signs and who is around your daughter and your heart. As a mother, your primary role is to be protector to your daughter. I can only imagine the distrust in others you now have when her own father abused her. But not every man that follows will be like your ex-husband and they shouldn’t have to pay for him being the abusive asshole that he is/was.

I don’t know the gentleman you’re dating now besides what you’ve written but I hope that in the time of your on again/off again-ness that you’ve not only grown to trust him but more importantly judge his character (within reason, of course, because I’m sure you trusted your ex-husband at one point). But again your on again/off again guy is not your ex husband. He’s a completely different individual and shouldn’t have to pay for what your ex did.

Furthermore, your ex-husband abused you and your daughter not because he was your husband but because he was an asshole, so married or not if this new guy is an asshole as well he can do the same thing (I pray/doubt he will). So if you guys grow towards marriage, the rings won’t all of a sudden make him a child molester or woman abuser. He either is already or he isn’t.

So if you truly have that trust—which is understandably shaken in men in general due to your past—and you see a happy and safe life with this man just follow your heart. Marriage wasn’t the problem last time around it was who you were married to that was the problem. So if this is a better man then chances are you’ll have a better marriage, should you guys go that route. At the end of the day, though, only time will tell.

It sounds like you both love each other dearly so I say focus on that and let the relationship evolve from there. You don’t have to be married to be happy and every relationship doesn’t have to lead to marriage if that’s not what the people involved want. As long as you and your daughter and the man you choose to be with are all in unison that’s all that matters

Good luck and be safe.

Could you ever forgive someone for harming your child? How hurt would you be to discover that your own partner was the one hurting your child? What do you think should be the punishment for child abuse? Have you ever been in an abusive relationship? If so, how did you get out of it? Would an abusive marriage make you leery of getting married again? Or, would that just make you more selective about who you let into your heart? Would you be able to? Is it fair to carry over distrust from a previous relationship into the next? Do you think that this woman will ever be able to trust another man again? What advice would you give her?

Speak your piece…

  • It’s Me!!!

    First and foremost my heart goes out to this woman. I have a daughter and I can’t even imagine the feeling of knowing that shes been molested. I think that the advice given was perfect. You can’t allow the mistakes of one man dictate the rest of your life because not all men are the same. but as previously stated you do have to watch for signs, but don’t completely give up on love and marriage… Just let not your heart be troubled and stay strong and if its meant to be it will be.

  • God’s Gift (aka Shay from LA)

    Could you ever forgive someone for harming your child?
    - Hell NO!

    How hurt would you be to discover that your own partner was the one hurting your child?
    - Devastated

    What do you think should be the punishment for child abuse?
    - Death

    Would an abusive marriage make you leery of getting married again?
    -Yes

    Is it fair to carry over distrust from a previous relationship into the next?
    -No

    Do you think that this woman will ever be able to trust another man again?

    - No, not for a while.

    What advice would you give her?

    -Counseling, therapy, and more therapy

  • Older & Wiser

    I’ve had to forgive my late husband for causing the death of my oldest daughter so I don’t think that any offense is unforgivable. With God (and competent therapy) all things are possible!

  • Danielle

    Not I could not forgive that person. I am going to kill them to ensure that they are never able to do that to another child/person again. And if I can’t get to them then I will make sure that their time in prison will either make wish they dead or make that wish a reality.

    I would also suggest therapy. Ongoing individual and family. Because if he doesn’t know already and even if he does know, he needs to fully understand and empathize about what has happened to her and her daughter. She can also get a clinical view of his personality as well. Because I would be looking for all the possible signs, there are traits indicative to abusers and eventually they will present themselves and I would be asking my counselor about them. I don’t want become a serial killer.

    One last thing, is you CANNOT allow your ex-bastard (and I hope he burns in Hell) to steal the joy out of the rest of your and your daughter’s life. He has already taken enough. Your daughter needs to see and know that there are good men out there. Because this dreadful experience will most likely affect how she picks the men in her life and she needs that example of how a man should really behave, conducts himself when he’s angry etc.., and how he treats a woman and his family.

    Good luck!

  • Rastaman

    I try to maintain an open mind about most things in life because I understand we have limitations that do not permit us to grasp everything we encounter. But child molesters are just one of those things I have never been able to tolerate and men who molest their own children are even lower on that rung. One man is responsible for this trauma in you and your daughter’s life and that is the man who has earned all your vitriol and mis-trust, the ex-husband.

    The new guy if he has not done anything he has earned the benefit of the doubt. Under the circumstnces no one can fault your extra vigilance but let the experience make you aware not mar prospective happiness.

    If you are doubting your own judgment then enlist the assist of family and friend in gauging the nature of the new man. That is one value they have.

  • Sherel

    No I couldn’t forgive him but I do hope his family can forgive me for KILLING him.

    Yes take a chance but take your time with this relationship. Sometimes you have to let time take you where you need to be. Good Luck!

  • Jacqueline

    This is a very touchy subject. To have your daughter molested by her own father!!! But every man is not like that. In fact, some step-father treat their step-children better than their birth father. So if this man seems like the one for you, good for it. Tell him about your fears and seek some counseling to deal with this. This also would be helpful for your daughter.

  • http://theevolutionofem.blogspot.com menluvmysmile

    As a woman who has experienced abuse from my mother’s partner I can honestly say that she was so much in shock that she denied it ever happening. She was and still is in so much fear that she has cut me off and more or less insinuated to my siblings that they should have nothing to do with me. In short she chose the stigma of being with a molester/gambler than being alone and believes her daughter spoke the truth. So I can understand how this woman feels in going into a committed relationship with someone who is essentially the antithesis of her ex-husband, scared and questioning herself if she should or not.

    IMO it takes a person a lot of time to work through something like this and sometimes it comes through into other relationships, but from my experience it is never intentionally. I feel that if she does trust this man, and wants to be in a committed relationship, that she discloses her and her daughter’s past. I know it kind of feels like releasing a big skeleton from a closet, but I feel it gives context to her and her possible partners past. It will not be easy for either of them, but if their relationship is strong enough, they will work it out. I can say that for me trusting men has been a challenge but I have learnt that what happened in my past even though it is a part of me, doesn’t define me and should not define my relationships. Granted I am still leery of commitment but I am quite selective of whom I let into my heart, but I am working on it.

  • http://smartmomssavingmoney.blogspot.com Laura Madere

    I was this little girl, so I can some what answer from a different perspective. I was not sexually molested by my father, it was by many different men that my mother dated, a friend of the family and an uncle. I myself had a very hard time trusting men around my own daughters due to this at first. Once you’ve been in this situation your mind plays tricks on you and you think everybody is up to no good. Thank God, every time I thought I saw something I did not react at that moment, “it could be nothing but a look or touch I thought I seen” I took the time and rationalize it in my mind first. I would see something wrong in a hug, when someone would pick them up in the pool, you name it my mind really played tricks. I did accuse a few people and we talked over it and I was wrong. It would be nothing, but I had to let my ex-husband and my now fiance know my past and it really helped when they knew where I was coming from.

    Be honest with your now boyfriend or any other man that may come into your life. If they treat you like your dumb or try and tell you to just forget about it, then you need another man. And if they seem to get overly excited like I will kill her father, I mean way overly excited, keep an eye on that person. A lot of times the ones that are child molesters try and cover it up by acting the opposite, I mean way opposite.

    I always tried very hard to never leave my daughters in a situation where some thing could happen. I suggest you never leave your daughter a lone with anybody until you know in your gut 100% you can trust them. You should also get some type of therapy for yourself and your daughter even if she is young, believe me it will, affect her. It changes who we are when we are abused.

    And as far as what does a child molester look like? He looks like every man you’ve ever seen. Each of my molesters looked different, and they were all different ages too. They all told me not to tell, and if I did I would be in big, big trouble, that my mommy would leave me just like my daddy did. And before they sexually abused me, they offered me all kinds of rewards, including everything under the sun. They all smiled in my mothers face as if everything was perfect. None of them looked nervous, or gave off any clues.

    My mother was only 15 when she married, had me at 16 left my father at 18 and for the first few years my father would come get me every weekend. Then he remarried a women who was jealous of me, so he stopped coming to get me. And that’s when the men started coming after me, I was only 4. My mother soon remarried a good man, but he had problems of his own and he killed himself. And right away the men came back after me. They used both incidents against me, a young mind does not know not to believe what a grown up is telling them.

    If someone is buying your kid things or always offering to pick them up or take them places, just ask yourself why is this person offering to help or give so much? It maybe nothing, but a lot of times it is something. And have a talk with your daughter, an on going one and let her know she won’t be in any trouble, let her know you will never leave her and you will always believe her if she needs to tell you someone is touching, talking to her inappropriate or molesting her. Try not to over talk to her about this matter as to scare her, but talk more gentle and in an easy going conversation just to let her know how important to you she is.
    If my mother would of done this with me, I would of told and not believed all the lies they fed me.
    These child abusers are monsters, they come after the kids when they are low. They use things against us. Like when your mom and dad brake up, your dad dies, maybe he is in the war, anything that takes the dad away. They try and act like the hero and slip in. What they are really doing is grooming your child to abuse them.
    The only good that came out of me being molested is that I am very good at reading people now. I’ve worked through how my mind was playing games and now I only go on my gut, which works great. When we are quit and listen our gut never lies.

    I wish this lady and her little girl the best. I really hope your daughter is okay. And I hope you let yourself love again, because there are good men out there, there really are.
    God Bless,
    Laura

  • jaclynsd

    Man first off so sorry to her for having to go through that and even more so to her daughter who will no doubt have a lot to deal with not just now but in the future.

    When I volunteered at a group home I met a girl there whose father had molested her from the age of 6 until she was 12. The worst of it all was that her own mother had stayed w/her father. She told me that the worst part wasn’t that her father had abused her but that her mother had stayed with him. She was supposed to protect her and be by her side to support her but instead she abandoned her and stayed by her father side. If it could get any worse her mother had been molested by her grandfather and so she knew how horrible this situation could feel. I was only 17 when she told me this but that impacted the rest of my life. How could a mother do this I thought, how could she just abandon her daughter and chose to be w/this disgusting man.

    What advice would you give her?

    No doubt you have the right as a woman to move on and be happy and even marry. Although I agree that not every man is the same and that yes def there are good/great men out there. The truth of the matter is (and I say this w/a lot of love) mama that you in a way have proven that you may not be the best at choosing good ones at times. I’m not faulting you for what happen that’s totally separate and he is at fault for choosing to do such a horrible act and not get help. There are mistakes we all make when we’re in love and may even miss signs that if we weren’t blinded by love may have had clarity to see. What I am saying is that although you couldn’t protect her then you can most certainly protect her now, and in the future. You can do this by getting help (if you haven’t already done so) not only for your daughter but for yourself as well. You first priority now is to your child. I think you and your daughter need to get help healing first and then decide if you and your daughter are ok to have someone come into not just your life but your home. You didn’t mention anything about how this man is around your daughter. You dint mention his thought on family and even his thoughts on what you both went through. I really think the saying is true…if we refuse to acknowledge our past then we are bound to repeat it.

    Before moving forward on the relationship ask yourself how does my daughter view him, does she love him, does she respect him, what are her thoughts on the relationship that you two have. How would she feel if you two were to marry and start a life together? Children are very smart and intuitive they see past the love we have from someone. I promise you that if you talk to her she’ll let you know more and may even ease or reaffirm your doubts. Your decision to be with this man is not just your own anymore but your daughter’s as well. Try and remember that he’s not just entering your home and heart but his entering her’s as well she should have a say so too. Best of luck to your both!!!!

  • Cherie

    Wow….To Laura and Menluysmile!! You both brought me to tears. I have the upmost respect to the both of you. And your words were truly inspirational. My Mum experienced something very similar, as a child I was rarely allowed to stay over at friends etc, I was constantly being made aware of ‘perverts’ men who would say ‘don’t tell’. I was told that such words were code to Definately tell. As a child I thought my Mum was paranoid and extremely over-bearing, we argued quite a bit as I got older. I wanted my freedom, I wanted to take part in sleep overs etc. As an adult I fully understand that my beloved Mother was doing everything on her power to protect me, and to save me from the he’ll she once endured.

  • Lyndon

    I firmly believe molestion and father abandonment is at the core of black folks relationship woes. And I commend her for standing up for her daughter. Many times the mother ignores their child’s abuse which only makes it even harder when the child becomes an adult.

  • DH

    Unfortunately, I know of more than one woman who was molested by her biological father. In one instance, the mother divorced the father once she found out. In the other instance, the mother seemed to almost go along with the abuse, which is sickening.

    Could you ever forgive someone for harming your child?

    This is a broad question. If it was molestation, I doubt it. I would want that person prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    How hurt would you be to discover that your own partner was the one hurting your child?

    Too hurt to verbalize it or to put it into words

    What do you think should be the punishment for child abuse?

    Atleast a decade in jail. During that decade, thorough mental counseling needs to be done to see why that person thought their actions were okay.

    Have you ever been in an abusive relationship?

    No

    Would an abusive marriage make you leery of getting married again?

    Probably. Even though the letter writer was not the abuser, she may feel guilt for not forseeing that her ex-husband was abusive. This plays a role in feeling leery. You don’t want to go through the same thing again.

    Is it fair to carry over distrust from a previous relationship into the next?

    Probably not, but you can never be too careful these days. Sometimes it’s better to be hesistant than to be overly trusting.

    Do you think that this woman will ever be able to trust another man again? What advice would you give her?”

    Yes. With prayer and I also suggest some confidential counseling for both her and her daughter.

    Interestingly enough, this very topic was an article on line yesterday. Apparently in the Netherlands 12 is the age of consent and child molesters get custody of their children. It’s Unbelievable:

    http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/dpps/news/dutch-girl-12-gives-birth-on-school-trip-dpgonc-20110330-fc_12547744

  • DH

    Lyndon you gave an excellent summary of what is happening today and what has happened for several generations. I think that mothers that stay with husbands that sexually abuse are almost as much to blame as the abusers. I always wonder what is the mindset of a woman who will allow her husband to do that to her child and stay married to the bastard. As a young child, if you can’t trust your mom to help protect you, who can you trust?

  • Wmofyr

    The writer must get counseling. A real psychologist, not one of those who is just a sounding board. Learn boundaries that are going to keep you two safe. Should you just take a chance: No, find a smart way to keep dating this man. And look for signs if the daughter is uncomfortable with him, or if he comes between the two of you.

    I imagine I would have to kill the molester. But if the second guy turn out the same, I would partially blame myself from being so stupid. I know I’d need some counseling.

  • QuoteMan

    It’s always sad when kids are no longer safe in their own home. It’s beyond my comprehension in every conceivable way, how any man could be sexually attracted to kids, much less his own. I mean, you gotta be deeply troubled and demented to behave this way.

    I think it stands to reason that any mother with this kinda past would be hesitant in her dealings with other men. And that in itself should be applauded, cuz the well-being of your kid should never be compromised, not for love, money or even the world. Let’s face it, some mothers wouldn’t give credence to their kid’s story, esp. if it involves a loved one, like the story menluvmysmile just told.

    I do agree with the advice given thus far. But sometimes, it’s not easy to get a good read on who is capable of carrying such a heinous act. While the signs of some may be obvious, others’ could be latent. All we could do is teach our little ones what’s an inappropriate or unacceptable touch when they’re dealing with strangers or family members for that matter, and hope for the best.

    Good luck and be safe.

  • AGK

    Are you serious?
    I’m not even close to having kids right now, but if ANYONE would try hurting my future seeds… I’d probably tear them apart with my own hands.

  • SweetCree

    To molest my children is a death sentence and I will gladly do the time!

  • Shannon

    My daughter was molested by a man I was dating. I was unaware of this, of course, until one day my daughter became violently ill and I took her to the emergency room. When the nurses took her and started examining her, I was ushered into the hall and a social worker approached me, informing me that evidence of sexual abuse had been discovered and my daughter was being taken into custody and I was floored.

    I walked back into the room and went to my daughter, who was crying for me. I asked her who was hurting her and she told me it was my boyfriend and I lost it for sure. I stormed out of the room and snatched up a cane that was at the nurses’ station and made my way toward my boyfriend–we had a date that night–and swung the cane with all my strength, screaming, “You sonofabitch! You hurt my baby! You motherfucker!” I swung that cane so many times I lost count and laid his head open. He fell to the floor bleeding and I kept swinging until a police officer–I didn’t even see him come toward me–tried to restrain me while another got the bastard up and to a room, where he received 32 stitches on the front of his head and more than 100 in the sides and back. He was taken into custody and is still in prison to this day and he better hope and pray that we never cross paths again in this life or the next or I will pick up where I left off.

    It’s hard to trust any man around your daughter when something like this happens, but you don’t want your daughter to think that all men are like that or men are dangerous. That what is instilled in one in childhood doesn’t just disappear upon becoming an adult. Make sure to focus on your daughter and how this experience is affecting her and how it will affect her later in life. Don’t look at every man as a threat and a danger or you will never feel safe and secure and then your ex will win. This is devastating, especially since the perpetrator was her own father and sometimes it can cause a mother to doubt her own abilities as a parent. Mothers are supposed to protect their children and sometimes you just can’t, especially when the perpetrator is someone you know. You can still make her feel safe and comfortable with herself and you can still make a good life, a happy life with a good man who loves and respects the both of you. I wish you and your daughter the best.

    BTW, I did and still do take my daughter to a therapist. And it really helps.

    • Jenniferdouglas22@yahoo.com

      I wish my mother had acted as you did. Your daughter is lucky to have a mother like you.

  • kat

    My mother was molested by her own father and after years of therapy and no contact to her parents she now manages to live the life she was supposed to have lead many years ago.Surprisingly ,she never had a problem with trusting men.And her mother was also one of those mothers – it is a phenomenon – who knew what was happening but did not act.Of course,most of the women in a relationship like that are also abused by their husband and thus in the mercy of the molester.

    If my husband or boyfriend would molest our/my child I don t know if I would be strong enough to let the court do the justice.Secondly,I doubt I would be able to trust another man completly with nurturing or taking care of my child all by himself.It would take years to build that kind of trust , plus I m not a person who trusts others easily.

    And there is no sentence for molesting a chid neither is there an appropiate one for rape.The person who does that does not destroy another living by killing a person ,but by his acts and that is even more destroying ,because both of them have to exist with that for their whole life.
    Pedophiles and paederasts do not deserve to live any longer therefore.A lot of studies found that most paedophiles or paederasts can not be treated succesfully- they would do it again and again(for some there are succesfull treatments,but only for the minority).Why bother keeping them alive?

    As a mother,I would try to not take the law into my own hands -but only because I want to be there for my child.

    I think it is natural to distrust new possible partners.And if the partner loves you,he understands that.

    I wish the woman and her daughter the best!

  • kat

    @Dh and Lyndon

    There have been quiet a lot of extreme cases of child molesting in Europe recently.The court and also the public wants to know why the mothers didn t act.It is a rarely researched field , but psychologists think that the mother lives in a relationship of extreme dependency (wit the father) and does not say or do anything because she fears he would harm her and the children even worse,there is also often the point of “keeping the mask alive” – what means that his acts are so shameful, that she does not want anybody else to know.It s a vicious circle – if she recognizes the signs too late,it is already too late and the longer she waits to do something the more she becomes an associate and while all that is happening around and inside her ,the relationship becomes even more and more dependent.

    But even if these theroies explain some of the non-taken action I will never understand completly how some mothers can “just” do nothing.I am sure they are suffering too but most women turn into a tigress when it s about their child.

  • Mel

    Sorry to hear about your daughter but been reading this blog for a while and have seen your comments for a while on here. Was just curious as to when you dated that boyfriend because didn’t your husband pass like a year ago? May have been longer than a year but I thought it was semi recent and you’ve had a hard time finding men of your standard. I know you’re saving yourself until (or if) you get married again, so boyfriend or not was wondering how he got left alone with your daughter to do her harm? That’s not to put any blame on you at all, just after following your comments for a while was just wondering about that based on what I’ve gotten from your previous comments.

    Thanks in advance.

  • UnInspiredMuse

    Thank you for saving me the time of having to rewrite all of that.

    Ditto

  • http://www.AConleyCreation.com AConleyCreation

    First, I have to point out that all of us are God’s children and are not monsters, even those of us who commit heinous acts such as this father. I believe people who do these things, especially molestation, are sick and unhealthy. These people deserve just as much compassion as their victims.

    It is because of my personal belief that I would very much aspire to forgive the man, if I were in that situation. I understand it would be very challenging, but to also better myself and my health, I would seek to forgive.

  • http://www.AConleyCreation.com AConleyCreation

    …As for relationship advice, I have experienced that when there is an off and on cycle in a relationship, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Healthy love shouldn’t be that hard to have or feel like a rollercoaster. Therapy would help her greatly. I don’t think it would be wrong to get together with this man necessarily, but if not done yet, she should be honest with him: of her ex, her fears, her hesitance in committing to him, and that she has to work on healing her issues. They could also go to counseling together, which could benefit them greatly.

  • Des

    There’s so many issues with this one. Could I trust him? No. Could I forgive him? Maybe. Although, I doubt I could ever feel comfortable around him.

  • Wmofyr

    Wow, you talkin crazy. The job of parenting is enormous. More important than anything. I didn’t want to judge you. But you crazy. And you can’t tell others what to put up with.

  • http://spinsterscompass.wordpress.com Spinster

    Could you ever forgive someone for harming your child?

    Hell. Mother. F$%£$”%ing. NO.

    That’s all she wrote.

  • http://spinsterscompass.wordpress.com Spinster

    Oh wow. Speechless. May she RIP.

  • Cuevas4hemet

    The answer is No …I know.  I have stopped hating him, because hate can destroy you.  I just know he is very sick.

  • Radeogaga

    My X husband molested my children twelve to fifteen years ago, went to prison for 8 years and was in counselling, can I talk to him just as a friend now or what?

  • Lilly

    My answer is NO. I can never forgive this atrocity. I know what it has done to me. I’m 30 now and the scars are still there. Religion tells you to forgive bla bla bla…Well, I am not religious…broke free long ago. I believe in justice however and those people deserve to be treated like the cowards that they are. The damage is so profound and the only way out is to let it go completely. I cut them out of my life and day by day, regained my self esteem, dignity and self love. It took a lot of work and time but I’ve come through. Moving on and hoping for the best.