Husband molested siblings in childhood... should I be worried about our kids?
Dear Dr. Saltzman,
First and foremost, I apologize that this is a long message. Unfortunately, I'm dealing with a complex and disturbing situation, and I don't know how to accurately paint a picture of the problem without all off the details.
My husband and I have been married for a little under two years. We only dated for about six months before marrying. We knew each other as children in school, but did not interact (I thought he was weird, nerdy, etc., he says he doesn't remember me, but does vaguely remember my fraternal twin). He was no longer in school before he started high school, and rumors circulated that he was in juvenile detention for molestation.
We met again over a decade later, and it was love at first (okay, second) sight. The situation was complicated from the onstart. His 22-month old daughter was in foster care. Social services had been involved for a few months as her mother was neglectful and a drug addict. In retrospect, I should have assigned more blame to my husband; he was there for much of it, and was neglectful in not removing her from that situation. He said he hadn't loved her mother since before she got pregnant, but thought he did, and so stayed. When he finally left, he didn't take his daughter, rationalizing that he didn't have somewhere to take her (he was staying on a friend's couch). Within months, the situation was bad enough that she and the mother's other son were removed from the home, and my husband had to let her go into foster care as he had nowhere to take her. I was involved in the entire process (we began dating a month or two after his daughter was placed), and I know this is the truth. He did everything required to get her back.
When we got her back, my husband was rarely home. I became pregnant and lost my job due to complications. We had severe money issues due to this. I later found out my husband lied to me about the severity of the money problems. He went out to lunch every day.
I also later discovered two disturbing issues. The first, my husband was engaging in gay cybersex online. The second, my husband received nude photos of a 13-year-old girl. When found out, husband ceased contact with both, except for one incidence of gay "sexting." The girl was someone he met online, who claimed she was 18. However, he still accepted and encouraged the photos even upon discovering her age. He claimed that he had feelings for her, and didn't understand why he didn't stop upon learning her age... he said that after dealing with his daughter's mother (who was verbally abusive and severely mentally ill as well), that he knew it was wrong but didn't care. I later found out he was raped repeatedly by a friend as a child, which was why he was doing the "sexting." After confrontation, he cut off all contact with the girl (he hadn't received pictures from her for months, but still spoke to her occasionally). He also stopped visiting gay chat rooms, except for one instance when I went to visit family. It was difficult to keep in touch with him b/c it was a holiday and things were hectic, and he claimed he was afraid I was going to leave him (We were seperated for 2-3 months after I discovered these things). Therefore, he visited the chat rooms again. I've never found any evidence to show he's done it again.
There were no incidents for months before this one. There were no incidents for months after this, beyond typical couple issues, and my insistence that something was "weird" with him... he'd become increasingly distant and moody. Finally, one night, my husband broke down into hysterics, and told me he had to tell me something, but that I was going to hate him when he told me. The rumors from our childhood were true.
He's blocked out most of the situation and his time in juvenile. However, from what I have garnered from his family (although the accounts vary from information and perspective), he was raped by his best friend for a period no less than 1-2 months and up to years. At some point, his mother discovered a used condom, and realized something was going on between my husband and his friend, but did nothing. Some time later, he molested two of his half-siblings in the household, a boy aged 5, and a sister who was a toddler or preschooler. His mother sent him on his weekend visit with his father and told him my husband was "acting weird," and not to leave him alone with the kids. His father ignored this, and my husband molested his half-brother. His stepmother called the police and had him arrested. My mother-in-law claims she had all of them put into counseling before this, but the rest of the family claims this didn't happen until my husband was arrested (at about age 12). The boy who raped my husband went to trial, but the case was dropped, and I was told it was because my mother-in-law failed to provide the information she was told to. My husband was place into juvenile detention. Within months of release, he was arrested for robbing a house and went to jail until he was 21. He had a relationship with a girl in college who lived hours away, riding a bus for around 10 hours every weekend to see her. After that, he got into a relationship with the mother of his daughter, and was about to leave her b/c of her behavior when she announced her pregnancy. After ending things with her, he still gravitated towards resuming the relationship, despite a relationship with another woman, the internet relationship with the 13-yr-old, and later on, with me.
My gut says that he would never hurt our children (I include my stepdaughter in that statement, her mother hasn't seen her in years). But am I taking a chance on my children? Is my "gut instinct" enough to go on, or am I taking too much of a risk?
The issues with lying have gone done considerably. But I feel like my husband's turned things onto me (he "needed" the relationship with the 13-yr-old, he "needed" the gay chats, now he "needs" me enough to give all this up). Are his feelings for me as unhealthy as his desires for those things? He wasn't interested in the girl b/c she was 13, he just "couldn't tell her good-bye" after finding out. He has blown money that we don't have at an astronomical pace. It's been a year and a half since he cut off contact w/ the girl, almost a year since that last texting incident, and six months since he's seriously blown money, but is he doing these things b/c he doesn't want to or because he's afraid I'll catch him? Is he transferring onto me what he saw in these things? And most importantly, should I take him away from our children?
The situation is even more complex due to my stepdaughter. She would go into foster care again. If she loses him, she loses me and her sister too. I don't know what to do. If I make the wrong decision, it could destroy my children. I could pull my stepdaughter away from everyone she knows and loves, and me and my daughter from her. But it would also destroy them if I leave them in the path of a predator.
On top of this, I suffer from mental illnesses. I am mildly bipolar and a borderline personality. So I'm having trouble trusting my own decisions... Am I TOO preoccupied with this? Am I looking for trouble where there might not be any? Or am I so afraid of losing my stepdaughter that I'm putting her at risk?
I know my husband regrets telling me, but he had promised to stop lying and felt like it was important. On a side note, the incidence with blowing money months ago? He swears he doesn't understand how he did it... it was our taxes and he just blew it with hundreds of small transactions. I haven't caught him lying since then, but of course anyone can lie better.
I don't understand why I still love him. Everything would be find if I felt like I could trust him. Instead, I'm a neurotic mess to a point that I don't understand why he still loves me.
Please help me. I've exhausted every resource trying to find help. I don't know what else to do. I don't know where else to turn. The stress and fear is overwhelming... I don't know how to make this decision. He's an amazing father... am I taking my children from a really great dad or from a monster who is waiting to hurt them?
Please, please, please help me.