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Author Topic: need some backup on this one...
strumpet
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hey folks, this is going to be a long one....
so my ex/boyfriend is into child pornography. no, that's not the right wording. he's addicted. a few years ago he was caught and went through jail time and a year of intensive therapy (here: http://www.johnhoward.ab.ca/PUB/respaper/treatm02.htm#phoenix ) from what i understand, this therapy included such things as victim empathy and psychotherapy.
fast forward a few years, to last august. i met him. we started dating. he is a super nice guy and awfully cute. about two weeks in he told me about this. he is not proud of it. he said he was better now. i admit it threw me for a loop, but i respected the choices he had made since, and we kept dating. i tried to be as supportive as possible, even meeting his probation officer a few times.
a year later, i learn he has relapsed. he had an out of town job over the winter that really sucked (for both of us!) and he managed to find some wireless signal on his ps3. in april, he moved in with his best friend, his probation was up and he was allowed to have internet access again. needless to say that exacerbated things.
his best friend/roomate is a computer tech and caught him through circumstantial evidence. i found out simply by asking my boyfriend, "do you know what brendan is so stressed about?"
he admitted that he had relapsed. he also admitted that if we hadn't noticed, he would never have said anything, because he was so ashamed.
this was a week ago. now i have no idea what to do. i split up with him that night and felt totally justified. i mean, he had basically been out and out lying to me for the better part of six months. our sex life had been terrible.
but later, things came trickling back. like how his parents emotionally neglected him for eighteen years, like how brendan and i ARE his support base and neither of us are able to speak to him. like how i love him, and i want to be there for him.
i tell myself that he's in no position to be in a relationship right now. he's back at therapy (another program, but still every day). i tell myself that i would never trust him again if we were together. i tell myself that i want someone i can have a family with.
but i can't figure out if i did the right thing. my heart breaks to think about how awful he must be feeling. his roomate asked him to move out. he doesn't have very many friends, in part because i dominated his schedule so much over the past year. his parents are not going to be of any use in this situation.
i want to support him. what can i do?

thanks, if you made it through all of that!

Posts: 61 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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This isn't totally similar, obviously, but have you seen this yet?

http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/should_i_stay_or_should_i_go_my_boyfriend_disclosed_that_he_has_sexually_assaulted_tw

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
strumpet
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i did. i didn't feel it was too similar since my bf/ex didn't *technically* hurt anyone. its sort of an arbitrary delineation, but whatever. also the fact that he's admitted he has a problem and is trying to fix it.
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Heather
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I hear that, though I do think it's only so not-hurtful. The making of child pornography harms children, and without a market for it -- without someone buying it and driving that market -- it would very much limit how much of it is made.

I also think it's sage to consider how close we get to severely disturbed people. Especially when this person also has a history of lying to you.

Since he has relapsed, and restarted his counseling process, what do his counselors say so far as his friendships and other relationships?

Lastly, I'd point out that it's probably best for you to think about what you really CAN do here, especially given that you two have a romantic history. Do you really feel equipped to help someone like this? Are you okay, if you do, with the fact that there will likely be more lying, more relapses, etc?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
strumpet
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i don't even know what kind of help i could/should give him, let alone if i'm capable of it. and yeah, i totally understand the harm/non harm thing. i'd like to think that in the right situation there would be no more relapses. he's really smart and one of the nicest people i've ever met--just deeply, deeply hurting. and the phoenix program has won awards.
that being said, i know if i was in a relationship with him i wouldn't trust him. most of what's bothering me is how can i be supportive and keep from crossing the line from friend to girlfriend again. i know he wants me back, though he understands its not the best idea (we're all allowed selfish wants, right?) so i don't want to make things worse by dragging out him getting over me.
also, holy crap, thanks for the quick response!

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Heather
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Frankly, if you're going to engage with him at all, I'd just draw a very clear, firm verbal limit on you two ever having a romantic or sexual relationship. I personally just think that is a recipe for disaster and heartbreak on your part, and that it also clearly isn't going to fill your needs, especially if you want a family with someone. A given program may be awesome, but you ever trusting someone with him around a child seems like a very bad idea for everyone. Too? Plenty of abusive or disturbed people are smart and nice to the people they aren't abusing, targeting, treating inappropriately, etc.

quote:
i'd like to think that in the right situation there would be no more relapses.
Personally, I think that's very wishful thinking that suggests that only because of given situations or circumstances does he have this issue, an idea which isn't really supported by the data we have on these issues.

So, draw that firm limit, and perhaps ask if he can handle a friendship with you knowing that is where it starts and ends. I'd also make very clear limits about you HAVING limits, not being his therapist, and needing honesty if you are going to be friends. It's not just important with romantic relationships, after all.

I'd also check in with yourself about your own limits, and make sure this is an equitable friendship for you, not an attempted rescue mission. Do you know what I mean? Can this person be as much of a friend to you as you'd be to him? What does a friendship with him offer YOU?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
strumpet
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all true. thank you so much, heather.
Posts: 61 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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