I've been dating a new guy and we’ve been on three dates in the last week. Each one was better than the last. He's very sweet, kind and seems genuine. I'm 31; he's 37. When I saw him this past weekend, he told me there was something he needed to share with me. He's a felon.
He spent 10 years in prison for building a pipe bomb when he was in the Air Force. Wtf? I was completely blindsided. He showed me photos from when he was imprisoned and has been very open about his past. He has been out for seven years and seems to have his shit together. He's told me that he genuinely cares about me and I appreciate his honesty thus far.
Problem is, I can't seem to find his record to confirm the charge. 10 years seems like a really freakin’ long time to serve for manufacturing a bomb. Should I run for the hills or give this guy a chance? Any recommendations for good background searches?
Rachelle K. – Sacramento, California
Dating a felon
Pipe bomb. Huh… Okay. So, I don’t recommend you do a background search. I offer instead that you bring this problem to him to help you solve. Given that he’s a felon and has told this story over and over and over again for the past seven years, if you bring kindness and compassion to the conversation, he should hopefully be able to handle it with grace and transparency. If he can’t, that’s your flaming-like-a-lit-pipe-bomb red flag answer.
Next question: Do you think that if you have all the facts, can you get over it? If you think with the proper information that backs up his knucklehead decision you can get past this, then try saying something like this. “Hey, the whole felon thing was a shocker, right? I think I can get over it. But I need some information and documentation from you to really move beyond that news. Would that be okay?”
Then find out why he did it. If he was in the military and young, was it because he just did a stupid thing that kids do when they’re bored? Or did he have a specific intent to use this sucker? And if so, what was it for?
As far as I can tell, the military does a great job of not letting civilians access their records, but he’d certainly have a copy of his own records. Ask to see them, and take the time to read through them and ask questions.
If he’s unwilling to be transparent about this, then I’d be out. And on the way out, if you feel like being a kind human you could tell him, “I’m out because you aren’t able to be transparent about this. You may want to work on that before your next potential relationship.” Because anyone who’s both compassionate and forgiving AND discerning and self-respecting will want all the facts. From the sounds of it though, I think he’ll pony up what you need. And once you’ve got the facts, data points and documentation, and they line up with his story about it, you have to decide, can you truly get over it? If no, please spare him and walk. If yes, well done.