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Snoopers & Dolts
January 3, 2002
Over the last few years, my father has spent countless hours holed up in his study on the computer. Because he's such a boring person, it was a big family joke that he was probably looking at porn. It wasn't until a recent family vacation when my sister borrowed our dad's laptop that we learned that he really was looking at porn. After we investigated his various computers (we wanted to believe it was somehow a mistake), we discovered that a majority of the porn was of quote-unquote "underage" girls. Some of it was rather hardcore stuff. I don't think my father has the savvy to find illegal child porn, so I doubt any of the pictures he's downloaded are of anyone who's actually under 18.
Once we got over the initial repulsion (he even downloads stuff to his Palm Pilot!), my sister became frightened for her children.
My father never did anything out of the norm when my sister and I were growing up, and he never did anything with any of our friends. My father has a degenerative disease and I know it prevents him from having any kind of sex life with my mother, so although I find the underage stuff revolting, I'm not really concerned.
My sister, however, no longer wants her young children to be able to spend the night at my parents' house, and since we aren't planning on telling our mother (or our father, for that matter), I'm not sure how she's going to pull this off for the rest of everyone's lives.
What do you think? Is my sister overreacting, or should she keep her kids away from him?
Worried About Dad
You and your sister should be ashamed of yourselves. Your father was kind enough to lend your sister his laptop, and his daughters repaid this kindness by launching an "investigation" into his various computers--even his Palm Pilot! And now, thanks to your snooping, you know more about your father's sexual fantasies than you want or have a right to know. For shame.
Is your sister overreacting? Yes, I believe she is. I'm not going to spend a lot of time defending your father's taste in pornography because, hey, I think quote-unquote underage porn is creepy too. But so long as the "underage" porn on your father's computer features youthful-looking adult women (18+), there's nothing illegal about it and no harm in it. And finding hot-teen-slut porn on your father's computer is not proof that he's a child molester. There are a lot of straight men out there who fantasize about being with underage girls. From sleazy cheerleaders to worldly Catholic high-school students, "underage" girls fuel the sexual fantasies of millions and millions of straight men. The desire to fuck someone who's young and fertile and post-pubescent is not evidence of some horrifying sexual dysfunction. Genetically speaking, it's what men were designed to do.
That said, the vast majority of men who fantasize about hot teen sluts have no interest in being with actual teen sluts--or with actual children. You write that your father didn't have any kiddie porn on his computers or his laptop because he isn't savvy enough to find it. (Way to give your dad the benefit of the doubt!) But finding kiddie porn online is depressingly easy, WAD, so it's possible that your father isn't downloading kiddie porn because he simply isn't interested in kiddies. Considering that your father never behaved in a sexually inappropriate way with you, your sister, or your friends, maybe the old man has earned the benefit of the doubt.
Unfortunately, your sister can't unlearn what she learned snooping around your father's computer. Rather than destroy her relationship with your mother and father by suddenly refusing to let him get near her children, she's going to have to confront him: "Dad, when I was using your computer, I found some porn on it that disturbed me. I'm sorry for snooping, and I know in my heart that you would never hurt your grandchildren, but I want to hear it from your own mouth."
He'll be mortified, of course, but far worse is in store for your sister. To set her mind completely at ease, your sister is going to have to have a discussion with your dad that no woman wants to have with her father: A long, involved, detailed conversation about her father's sexual fantasies. She'll have to ask your father exactly what runs through his mind when he looks at those pictures. Your sister may find some comfort hearing that, while your dad enjoys contemplating 16-year-old girls while he masturbates (or whatever he does), child molestation and incest are not among his fantasies. Your sister can decide for herself if Dad's telling her the truth.
I've been dating a guy for almost two years. We recently split because of his mother and his ex-girlfriend, who he was with for 12 years. His ex-girlfriend lives in an apartment in his mother's house. This girl and her new boyfriend are "regulars" at family gatherings and even use the family vacation home! My boyfriend insists that his ex-girlfriend is a "member of the family" and "just a friend." My boyfriend's mother, who knows I don't approve, invites this girl to family gatherings, knowing that I refuse to come if his ex-girlfriend is invited.
It's her right to invite whomever she cares to, but I feel that it's an insult to me for her to invite this girl now that I'm a part of her son's life. I was left alone on Christmas because I refused to take part in their family gathering knowing this girl would be there. Part of me feels that my boyfriend has been brainwashed by his mother into believing that this situation is A-okay. Any suggestions?
He's My Man Now
I have one suggestion: Grow the fuck up.
You may be a part of your boyfriend's life, but his ex was a part of his life--and, by extension, his mother's life--for 12 years. So when your boyfriend tells you his ex is a member of his family, he's not feeding you some line of shit. After 12 years, his ex is a member of the family, you dolt. And if you want to be a member of his family, you're going to have to accept her presence.
Being around people you don't necessarily like is the price we all pay at holidays for having families. Asking your boyfriend's mother to exclude (or evict) someone she's known and loved for 12 years, someone with whom she has a relationship independent of her son, all because her son is seeing someone who's manipulative and insecure, isn't going to endear you to anyone. Given the choice between her son's pleasant ex-girlfriend and the manipulative, insecure little bitch he's dating now, your boyfriend's mother is going to choose the ex every time.
You obviously don't know a good thing when you've got it. Any sane person your age would be anxious to be part of a family that doesn't turn its back on in-laws when a relationship doesn't work out. Your boyfriend's family sounds healthy and well-adjusted. If that's not to your taste, there are plenty of guys out there with unhealthy, fucked-up families you might feel more at home with.