Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Dec. 18 2003 8:07 AM

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

My beau's sex-offender status has me worried for my kids.

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Dear Prudence,

I have been dating a wonderful man for the last three months. We are completely in love, and he treats me like royalty. He even likes my kids. The problem? He recently told me he is a registered sex offender and was in prison for molesting his then 9-year-old daughter. This was over 15 years ago, and he has not been accused/caught/arrested again. The real dilemma for me is that I have seven children, ranging in age from a teenager to a toddler. I really love this man and want him in my life, but I fear I am putting my youngest in danger by allowing him in the house. I do not leave him alone with the children and have to date observed no inappropriate behaviors. I want to believe that this was a horrible incident in his past and no repeats will occur. I really want to trust this man. I think we could have a wonderful life together if given a chance, but at the same time, I fear I am sitting on a time bomb. Can it have been a onetime thing, or am I just being naive? Please help as I need to make a decision soon to avoid prolonging things if I decide to end it.

—Confused

Dear Con,

Prudie would like to be encouraging, but the odds are not good. Pedophilia is an aberrant sexual behavior where the possibility of a "cure" is statistically minuscule. The 15-year record is somewhat hopeful—if true—but that is counterbalanced by the presence of your kids. The temptation has to be great. It is good that, so far, you have been able to never leave him alone with the children, but you cannot live a life that way. There is a slim possibility he orchestrated the romance in order to live with young children ... who but a saint would elect to take on a woman with seven kids? Your first step should be to discuss your fears openly. He was, after all, upfront about his past. This is a tough decision to make, but your best bet is to weigh your gut instinct with information about the disorder, as well as how this man talks about his illness. It's a gut-wrenching proposition to choose between offering someone a second chance and always looking over your shoulder. Good luck.

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—Prudie, objectively

Dear Prudence,

I am a sexually active 18-year-old girl in my first year of university. I began dating a boy the second week of school, and we are still together. I like him a lot, except for two big problems. Well, one is less complicated: He is not very good at calling me. It seems like I always have to call him. The major problem, however, is that he doesn't want to have sex! It's always me asking, and then he has excuses like, "I'm studying" or, "I'm too tired." It was his first time with me, and I understand that it takes a little while to really get into it, but how will he if he never does it? In the first five weeks of dating, we did it only twice! I feel as though we've had a role reversal, with me acting like the guy and he like the girl, i.e., making plans for the future, wanting to cuddle, would like to go out more, thinks I'm only into sex. I would love to do all that—I just want to have sex, too! I don't want to end it, but I cannot go on the way it is. Please help!

—Sexually Frustrated in Toronto

Dear Sex,

Where to begin? You are considerably more experienced than the young man, not to mention more aggressive. It is clear to a neutral party that this young man is trying to slow things down and is not interested in the frequency you have in mind—if in fact he's interested in any frequency. It is probably not characteristic male college freshman behavior to make excuses not to bed a coed, but he may be shy, insecure, or have sexual identity issues. And he quite possibly thinks you're a sex maniac. Prudie predicts that you will have no trouble finding a substitute whom you will not have to badger to meet you in the bedroom. Do not take this as a stamp of approval, by the way. 

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—Prudie, disapprovingly

Dear Prudence,

I have been seeing a man for nearly four years. Two weeks ago he got down on one knee during a romantic island getaway. I was in shock from the surprise! However ... when he opened the box, I knew the ring wasn't real. Still, I said yes and carried on as though I was very happy. He said the ring was just a symbol until he could afford a real one. I feel a little let down and am still on the fence about his "gesture." Could you help me deal with this one? I don't want to hurt his feelings, but he did buy a new Lexus two months ago.

—CZ and Wishing

Dear C,

Some couples who can't afford an engagement ring have no ring at all. The bad news, from your point of view, is that the car seemed to take precedence over the ring. The good news is that your fella did not try to kid you and pass the CZ off as the real thing. More good news: You can both ride in the Lexus, whereas only you could wear the ring.

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—Prudie, optimistically

Dear Prudence,

There's this gentlemen who, when we see each other at college or in town, always tells me, "You look fabulous." He gave me his cell number, but he has not returned my calls. We are both older—in our 40s. I feel on cloud nine when I see him, and I sense he feels the same way. He said we'll get together sometime. Do you think he will call me soon? All I want is to hear his voice and say nice things to him. Is this love? Thanks.

—Hoping

Dear Hope,

It's distressing for Prudie to be the one to decode this man's behavior for you, but knowledge is power, and it's healthier for you to see the reality of the situation. Unfortunately, in the world of men/women and chemistry, "We'll get together sometime" means the speaker is trying to let you down gently, with "sometime" being usefully vague. A man giving a woman his phone number is a poor second to him asking for hers, not to mention it being a narcissist's move. (And never returning your calls is the wordless way of saying, "This is not going to happen.") The "you look fabulous" could be his casual way of dealing with what he senses is your enthusiasm for him. You have fixated on this man, my dear, and it sounds as though the feeling is not mutual. Prudie is sorry about this.

—Prudie, glumly