My boyfriend and I have been together for more than five years. He is a lot older than I am. He has always respected me, and we truly love each other.

Just two days ago I caught him getting pleasure from watching videos of young girls who are around twelve years old. It broke my heart, and made him a complete stranger to me. We talked about it, and he told me that this is nothing new, that he’s embarrassed, but that he thinks he’s not hurting anyone and has never touched any young girl. What should I do?

Dear Friend,

It is likely that you already know what you should do, but are looking for confirmation to make sure that your instincts are right. We appreciate your confidence in asking our opinion.

A pattern of behavior is almost always more significant than a one-time mistake. The pattern that you have presented is clear.

The information that you have given us about yourself is that you are in your early twenties. Your boyfriend is much older than you are, and you have been together for more than five years. This means that a much older man began a relationship with you when you were still a teenager. Now that you are a woman, he is turning to videos to focus on even younger girls. He admits that he has been engaging in this behavior for a while, but justifies it by implying that he doesn’t see anything wrong with it.

Relatively few people set out to do evil things. Most begin with small justifications, such as your boyfriend’s saying that he is not hurting anyone and that he has never touched any young girl. But then they gradually begin to justify more and more immorality or more evil behavior. If you accept his behavior now by choosing to stay with him, it is almost certain that this pattern of behavior will escalate. He will feel even more justified by having you as an accomplice to his behavior. Even if your words say differently, you will be giving your approval just by doing nothing.

Of course, he will probably continue his behavior even if you do leave him, and it will probably escalate. But there is a small chance that your actions will help him accept that he needs professional help for his deviant tendencies. Either way, we believe that you should not waste any more years, months, or days with this man.

We understand that you love your boyfriend and want to be with him, but what about your future children? Would you ever be able to trust him? Please read Cases 201 and 603 to know what this kind of situation is like for a child and for the offending pedophile father.

We encourage you to learn from this situation and do things differently in the future. Don’t have physical relations with a man until you are married to him. And don’t agree to marry a man without finding out if he has secrets. God will give you the discernment that you need to protect yourself in the future if you will determine to do things His way.

We wish you the best,