Friday, October 3, 2014

Woman Hopes For a Future With Man With A Past

Dear Tazi:

I met a wonderful guy at a Labor Day party hosted by a friend. He is everything I have been looking for in a man, but there is a problem. "Matt" is a Level 1 registered sex offender. Several years ago, while still in his twenties, he had a sexual relationship with a fourteen year old girl. She got pregnant, and when Matt refused to pay for an abortion (it is against his moral beliefs) her parents pressed criminal charges against him. He was convicted, and spent a year in jail; with nine years suspended. He will be on parole until 2016.

Matt swears to me that the girl in question did not look fourteen, swore she was twenty, and that had he known the truth he would never have had sex with her. I believe him, because he seems like such a sincere guy and we did meet through a mutual friend whom I respect; but I am concerned because I have a young daughter (she is eleven). I have yet to introduce Matt to my daughter, or any of my family members. I also have not told anyone about Matt's past, because I feel that it his story to tell, not mine.

My friend tells me that Matt is a great guy, but that if she had a young daughter she would not be hanging out with him. My friend is divorced with no children, so she has no problem finding a date. She doesn't know how difficult it is for a single mother to find a good man. A part of me thinks my friend is jealous of my budding romance with Matt, but another part of me thinks she is trying to look out for me. I am so confused, Tazi!

Looking For Love...In All The Wrong Places?

Dear Looking for Love...:

I am going to start by addressing your unwillingness to disclose Matt's past to anyone, because you feel it is "his story to tell". If you were to bring Matt to your home, I am certain that your neighbors with young children might not feel the same way about your silence. So long as Matt is on parole, he is required to meet certain guidelines, which may include staying away from children and the places that they gather. Before setting your sights on a future with this man, you need to investigate his past - and the conditions of his parole - much more thoroughly.

A Level 1 sex offender is at a very low risk of re-offending, and cases such as Matt's often fall under this classification. A Level 1 sex offender is not considered to be a predator; but as a parent your job is to put the safety of your daughter first. If I were you, I would hesitate to introduce Matt to her until you are certain that you know him as a person and that he is someone with whom you wish to build a future. This is good advice to any single parent who dates, but especially since you are dating someone who comes with a questionable past.

Matt may very well be a "wonderful guy" now, but there was a time that he was willing to have a purely sexual relationship with a person whose real age he did not know; and I am inclined to believe that he did not try very hard to find out anything more than what was beneath her clothes. A fourteen year old may "look" twenty, but as soon as they open their mouths their education and maturity levels will show. A conversation about where they went to school, who they grew up with, what kind of music they listened to and the like can reveal much about a person's true age.

From the timeline you provide, it appears that Matt is now in his thirties. I do not believe in punishing someone for a past that they have left behind them, so you have my blessing to give this relationship a chance - so long as you listen to your friend's advice. At this point in time, she knows this man better than you; until you know Matt on a deeper level - which takes time and patience - I would take the relationship slowly. If Matt is as wonderful as you say he is, he will understand and allow you to set the pace of the relationship.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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