The woman who is in a relationship with a pedophile but doesn’t know it has been lied to, tricked, manipulated, hoodwinked, bamboozled, scammed… it was not her fault. Once she finds out, she gets out. We understand this woman and feel for her.

What about the woman who finds out well into the relationship but decides to stay? That gal has been deceived and betrayed, but chooses to stay with her pedophile partner out of…what? Love, loyalty, economic security, inertia? Perhaps she fancies they will work through it as they have everything else.

And what are we to make of that most baffling of creatures, she who knows early on and proceeds anyway?

In any new relationship there is a tremendous amount of information that gets shared. Each party is evaluating every piece of information as to whether it makes them want more to continue to get closer to the other, or less. Sometimes love happens all at once, sometimes little by little. But as everyone who has seen Meet Joe Black knows, love isn’t love unless each party is freely choosing it. When one party withholds important information (such as being Death, for example), it is not love… it is not really a relationship. It is a lie, a hostage-taking.

It must be tempting for some women to think that their finding out about their male partner’s pedophilia constitutes a crisis in the relationship. It is a crisis, but you can’t have a “relationship crisis” without a relationship. Just because the man lied for a long time and she related to him during that time does not make it a relationship. Her loyalty to him in this circumstance is inappropriate. If it would have been a deal-breaker during the courtship, it should be a deal-breaker now.

If our hypothetical woman is of a certain age and over-identifies with her traditional female sex role (TFSR), we can perhaps pity her. She thinks she needs him. The prospect of starting her life over as a single woman is overwhelming and terrifying. She may even think she is earning TFSR points for standing by her man. She is not his woman, though; she is his patsy.

The betrayal of the woman- let’s say “wife” here- by the pedophile man is not like other betrayals. Examples of gay and bisexual husbands who act out with other men; husbands who visit mistresses, porn sites, prostitutes, etc; and the sex-addicted husbands (which category might involve considerable overlap with the above-mentioned other two) are all around us. If there is sexual infidelity, the pain can be horrendous and the building of trust can take years… but it can happen.

The gay husband is the odd-man-out in that paragraph. His sexual orientation (exclusively toward men) prevents his being able to offer any wife the full intimacy she would ordinarily want and expect. So the betrayal in this instance is not just about behaviors (and behavior patterns) but also his overall capacity for intimacy with her. A half-century ago the gay husband might have automatically been categorized with the pedophile in a blog post like this*- gay sex was illegal, and gayness was considered a disease. If a woman chooses to stay with a gay husband, it probably comes down to the math: “I get nine out of ten things with him; the only thing I miss out on is being sexually oriented to. I can live with that.”

Pedophilia is still considered a disorder, and pedophile sex is still illegal. It is not just a matter of time before all those poor, misunderstood pedophiles are finally granted the civil right to have sex with the love sic objects of their choice, NaMBLA party line notwithstanding. Pedophile sex is a crime because it hurts the victim. The damage done to a victim of child sexual abuse lasts an entire lifetime, and is often visited unto subsequent generations… the sin that keeps on taking. Children are incapable of giving sexual consent, even though they can be tricked into saying yes.

So, the wife who finds out after years (or decades) that her husband is a pedophile is finding out that her husband is sick- has a disorder- and, if he has acted out, is a criminal i.e. guilty of criminal behavior… has broken the law. That’s in addition of course to the fact that he concealed it from her all that time. Where does that bring us to? We have already agreed that a disorder that can be treated (sex addiction) is not ipso facto a reason to divorce. Likewise, a sexual orientation other than 100% “straight” doesn’t automatically have to spell doom. Infidelity need not be the kiss of death, even if it was with prostitutes (a criminal offense, albeit a misdemeanor). So what’s the big, hairy deal about pedophiles?

A pedophile who has kept it a secret has signalled his intent to strike.

The developmental task of the wife who was duped is to face that she was used as “cover” for her husband’s pedophile activities. Perhaps that is all she ever was to him. Pedophilia can mimic psychopathy – or would it be sociopathy in this case? I can never remember- and a pedophile can play-act through almost all of his life in order to arrange and have the one small part that involves engaging sexually with minors. It takes courage for the wife to face that she was merely part of a stage set, an elaborate ruse.

Before we turn to the woman who is informed by her male suitor about his pedophilia during the getting-acquainted stage of their romance before they have sex for the first time, let’s consider the wife who suspects there might be something going on, but doesn’t know for sure so she lets kids from the church come over and sleep in the basement with him, and so on. ARE YOU SHITTING ME? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? What else can you say? Why isn’t she going to jail, too? BTW this would apply to teachers, clergy, and coaches who suspect- or worse yet, have information about the man’s past- but still do nothing. We need a new diagnostic term: Co-pedophile.

Lastly, it could be argued that a man who has fully disclosed all potential deal-breakers to his sweetheart before they have sex for the first time has done the right thing. I would certainly argue that. If his disclosure includes his pedophilia, and she accepts it with full knowledge of what that means, then God bless her… and him… and them. It means he can’t have close- certainly not unsupervised ever, and no physical at any time- contact with children for the rest of his life. It means every parent of any children that are going to be in his vicinity needs to be notified first. And even if his orientation is toward little girls, that does not mean he is “straight.” There can be no solace in his eschewing boys.

This treatment mostly assumes honesty and goodness on the part of the woman, except where otherwise noted. Obviously this is not always the case, so we enter a world beyond relationship math: Relationship Calculus. When the woman lies, cheats, misrepresents, and deceives too/also/as well, she gives the pedophile psychic leverage. You can’t have a healthy relationship unless you are a healthy person.


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