I’m 26 years old, but inexperienced with relationships. I grew up without a father, and therefore became a young mother at 15.
I didn’t stay with my child’s father because he was young and loved to womanize. I chose to co-parent separately rather than deal with drama.
As I’ve stated I have very little experience in relationships because I’ve been used and manipulated by men before, therefore it keeps me weary of trusting them.
Earlier this year I decided to start dating a man 8 years older than me. We’d known each other for a couple years. We’re both musicians that have played in the same bands, and we really hit it off. For the first couple of months, there was no sex, as I wanted to build a stable relationship between us first. I was never pressured into sex with him, as he is a born-again Christian and has supported me spiritually and physically.
I was aware that he’d been married before me, and the marriage produced children. But, he and the woman are no longer together, as he lives alone.
I received a message from a woman on social media claiming to be his wife, and that they were legally separated. I confronted him about this, which he confirmed was true. He has been in divorce court for the past 2 years trying to finalize his divorce. He has 2 children with this woman, and he takes care of them. From what I can see he is a good father. For the sake of the children, I’ve chosen not to be around them as their parents are still legally married.
Today, I received a message from her again airing his dirty laundry about the marriage and why it didn’t last. I chose this time to let her know that what happened before me was not my business and I want to stay out of their drama. She continued to inform me of his past aggressions, his abusive past with her, his porn addiction, his philandering ways, etc. Well, once again I confronted him about it and he confirmed that it was true, but that it was over 12 years ago, and he’s a changed man.
He claims he didn’t inform me of his past because he is over it, and has given his sins over to God and therefore he wants to move forward from it. He doesn’t curse, he doesn’t drink, and he doesn’t smoke or do drugs. He works steadily and has given me, as well as our associates, a completely different attitude than what he used to be. He’s done a whole 180 turnaround with his life, and puts God first. He’s also a minister in his church. He’s also never shown anger or violence towards me and has given me the utmost respect.
After taking my time and praying to God for a man who cares for and respects me, flaws and all, I finally find a relationship with someone who I’m happy with and is happy with me, but this is a major bump in the road.
I guess my question is, who should I trust and what should I do? He’s told her to stop contacting me. I’ve told her to stop contacting me, but she continues to do so and every time she’s airing his dirty laundry about their past relationship. I really care for this man, and I can forgive his past because we’re not perfect. But, is it smart to be in a relationship with someone who has a history like his, but has given everything in his power to change and be better for himself and his children? – Confused and Deceived
Dear Ms. Confused and Deceived,
Proceed with caution.
Look, you have all the information. He’s confirmed all the details his wife has shared with you, and you have to ask yourself why is she sharing this information with you. What is her motivation? What is she gaining from all of this? It’s obvious she is upset, bitter, and angry from what he did to her, and she wants to make his life miserable now. She doesn’t want to let go and move on, and her actions could be rightly justified.
Before he became a changed man, and turned his life over to God, he sounds like he was dog, and he mistreated his wife. And, if he did this for a number of years, then the only man she knows is the man she was married to. She doesn’t know the new man that you are familiar with. She doesn’t see him as the changed man who is working at changing his life and being a better person. Something happened in his life where he sought to turn his life around. And, that is what you should be asking him.
Sit with him and ask him to share his story. Ask him to share with you what happened then, while he was with his wife, and what he did to her. And, then ask him what happened that he wanted to turn his life around. What epiphany did he receive that made him want to change? There are many reasons why people turn their lives over and seek a spiritual journey. Who knows what his reasons are, but it’s important that you know.
The only way for you to make a judgment call on whether or not you should be involved with a man who was once addicted to porn, beat his wife, a philanderer, and did drugs is to hear his story, and find out what happened for him to change. Again, I’m not saying that though he may not exhibit these behaviors with you, and therefore you should continue dating him and hope that one day you get married. I am saying you should proceed with caution. If he’s an abuser, and he’s did drugs in his past, then you should find out if he has received treatment for them. Has he been in counseling for his anger management and his abusiveness? Has he received therapy for his drugs and is he currently in a program? How long has he been clean and has he ever relapsed? If he hasn’t received any treatment or counseling for his behaviors, then how does he manage them, and how does he hold himself accountable?
Proceed with caution.
He has a lot of past issues that can be easily set off again if he is put into a position or situation that can be too tempting for him. So, how does he manage these, and what happens if you and he continue dating and you can’t have a social drink around him? What happens if he gets upset and he hasn’t done any therapy for his anger, and you push his buttons and he explodes, then what? This is why you need to have all the information and details about his past and what he’s doing to prevent these things from happening or reoccurring. Again, proceed with caution.
In regards to his wife, block her on your social media, and stop responding to her. If you don’t want the drama and stress, and you’ve already asked her to stop contacting you, but she continues, then she obviously has a motivating factor. She is angry, and she is looking for an audience, and you are giving her one. So stop communicating with her, and block her. Stop giving her the attention she is seeking.
Two more things and I’m done. First, he’s still married. Though they are legally separated, and he’s been in divorce court for two years, he’s still married. You are dating a married man. This is something I don’t condone. Yeah, they are going through a bitter and messy divorce, and it doesn’t seem like they will likely reconcile, but the fact remains he’s still married. He needs to work out his issues, finalize the divorce, and move on completely from her, separate from co-parenting his children. He has baggage, and she is a big bag full of his skeletons. You need to strongly consider if this is something you really want to take on. You can’t move forward if you have other issues lingering. You can’t leave one door open while trying to open another. Solidify your past so you can move forward into a future without drama and stress. You even mentioned that you don’t want to meet his kids because he’s still married. So, you need to take all of these into consideration if you continue dating him.
Second, you mentioned earlier that you had a child at 15 years of age, and you didn’t stay with the father of your child because he was young and a womanizer. You stated that you’ve been used and manipulated by men previously. And, you also mentioned you didn’t have a father figure. The irony is that you’ve met a man 8 years your senior who is a minister – A father figure. According to his wife he’s been a womanizer, and mistreated her. And, he has confirmed all of her allegations. Now, I’m no psychic, however, if you look at your life, and the type of men you tend to attract, well, uhm, take a look at your present situation and the man in your life. Yes, he could be a changed man, and he may not be that man any longer, but the fact that you attracted this man into your life says something about you. Perhaps you need to do some work on yourself and work through your issues before you seriously date anyone. Maybe you need to find out why you continue to attract these types of men in your life, and how you can change this. My advice is that you proceed with caution. There is nothing wrong with dating, but just know what you are getting and what you are getting yourself into. – Terrance Dean
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