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What to Do When Ex Watches Porn

"Mommy, Daddy Looks at Boobies"

This post comes from Group Therapy in our TrèsSugar Community. Feel free to add your advice in the comments!

So my kid's dad and I aren't together anymore. He lives in an apartment with a roommate, but when she spends the night with him they usually go to his parents' house because there's more room and toys and she sees her cousins more frequently.

So the other day, my four year old said to me, "Mommy, Daddy was looking at boobies on the 'puter, but sshhhhhh because it's a secret." If I remember the layout of his parents' computer room correctly, the computer screen is turned away from the door, so anyone entering the room can't see it. Maybe they changed it, I don't know. She is very honest and intelligent, and I don't doubt what she's saying at all.

Sometimes when she and I are on the computer and looking at fashion slideshows, a boob will pop up on the screen, and I don't overreact about it (more about that). I can't in any way see him looking at some fashion article. I'm about 99.999 percent sure he was looking at porn and she caught him.

If he has to rub one out while she's there, whatever. I just really think he should do it in the shower or something. And if he is going to be looking at porn while she's there, he should really be quick enough to turn it off before she sees. This really upsets me that he's being so careless about what he's exposing her to.

He and I had a very bad break-up, so bad that his father acts as a go-between when he wants to see her: calling me, setting up pick-up times, relaying messages (and before anyone says it, yes it really was that bad of a break-up). If I bring this up to his father, it will only cause drama, so I'm planning on dropping it unless it happens again. He and I also used to indulge in adult movies/toys/magazines, so I almost feel like I'm the pot and he's the kettle, you know?

Am I over-reacting? Doing the right thing? Not doing enough? What do you think?

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Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 6 years
Thank you all very much for your comments. Maybe it would have helped if I had explained the situation between him and me a bit further: when I first got together with him, I knew he had a temper, but I am very easy going and got along well with him anyway. Over the three years we were together, his 'temper' turned into physical violence, and I left him. He stalked, threatened, and harassed me to the point where I had no choice but to press charges. He only spent three months in jail, which was not easy for me, because if I had presses all the charges I could, he would have been in prison. I now have a no-contact order (temporary restraining order) against him, and it expires a little over a year from now. Thinking I was being 'mature,' I let him walk through it, and he spit it my face and called me a 'bad mommy' in front of our then 2 year old, and I again refused to talk to him. A few months later, she ended up in the hospital (over minor health concerns), and he and I talked there and (unwisely) I let him into my life again. The ex ended up getting my new (now ex) boyfriend's number- I think he stole it out of a mutual friend's phone- and stalked and harassed both me and the new (now ex) boyfriend, so I cut ties with him again. Though he has called and driven by my house a few times- with the little one in the car- the situation is a lot better, and I think I made the right decision NOT throwing him in prison. There was a brief period after the ex and I broke up when I didn't trust him with her, not that he would hurt her, but maybe he would run off with her, and I only let him see her while his parents were supervising. He has been going to his shrink and AA meetings and taking his meds and has made INCREDIBLE progress and I am very happy for him. HOWEVER, he had his second and third chance and blew them both, and there's NO WAY IN HELL I'm putting myself in the position to be harassed again until this no-contact order ends. Neveah, a co-parenting class is a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WONDERFUL idea for us once we begin speaking again. I was planning on going out to lunch to talk with him, but that seems like a safe, professional, and controlled environment. Thank you. We've exchanged letters in the past, and I think that's what I'm going to do now- not only about this, but about how I've been raising her and what my plans are for both her and me in the future. She'll be starting school soon and I'm planning on going back to school soon too, and those are things that he needs to be aware of. As for him molesting her, that just seems impossible to me. He has a huge (religious and dramatic) family and loves kids. When it comes to any kids, he's as loving and protecting as he can be. I've always said, no matter how bad it got between him and me, he's always been good to her. I've never prevented her from seeing him, and never will. I wish I could talk to him, but like I said, I tried (and tried and tried) and he blew it. There's no chance of us ever getting back together, but I do still care about him very much and I miss being friends with him. And if he still keeps up his crazy behavior, I'll have no choice but to get a permanent restraining order. I don't want the little one growing up with parents who don't get along (mine are divorced and I know how it feels), but I also don't want her to think that it's okay to treat someone bad, or to let someone treat you bad because you think you're doing the 'mature' thing. Thank you all again for your comments!
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Anon 18: You still shouldn't jump to conclusions. The daughter will think she's being punished if the Mom cuts ties. It's not fair for the daughter or her father if nothing is going on. The child will feel guilt for telling on her father and that could break their bond. Until the issue gets straightened out, I would suggest only letting the father take her to public settings or make sure the guys Dad is always watching. I agree that he shouldn't be spending time looking at porn while he has limited time with his daughter, but maybe it was a 1 time thing. The poster said herself that the father usually takes the daughter over to his parents, but maybe this incident happened at his own place. Maybe the daughter was napping, woke up, and walked in on it. I agree with the "better safe than sorry" attitude, but cutting off ties isn't that.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 6 years
This is very disturbing. It's bad enough to witness your father watching porn. But the fact that he told her "shh it's a secret" should be sounding of the alarms. He should not be looking at porn while he has his child, much less while she is awake. I grew up with a dad who idolized porn. From when I was a little kid on, I used to catch my dad watching porn in the living room all the time. It's grossed me out and made me resentful. I can't look at my dad without thinking of the fact that he was always watching soft-core porn. Nip this in the bud before it becomes something your daughter remembers.
bchicgrl bchicgrl 6 years
I would definitely mention it to his father or him directly if you can. It's not OK for your daughter to be exposed to porn and it's 100000% not OK for her to keep something like that a secret from you. He should be spending QT with her during the visit and not watching porn regardless if he didn't expect her to see it or if she was busy playing with her cousins.
techkim techkim 6 years
If your daughter came to you with just the boobie part ok fine... but the secret part is NOT. I would mention it to the father in law.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Whoa, a little harsh, Glam, to cut off ties with her father based on an assumption. You're jumping to conclusions, it's possible she just walked in on him looking at porn. I'm sure the little girls Dad was just embarrassed and was afraid she would go off telling everyone, so he said to keep it a secret. OP: Definitely discuss this with your ex's father. Talk about your concerns so he can keep an eye open for any unusual behavior and talk with his son.
Glamgirl1 Glamgirl1 6 years
i completely agree with "mix tape"when u wrote that she said "..but sshhhhhh because it's a secret"....this disturbed me immediately...obviously he told her this and shes repeating it. ( because children repeat everything) if the computer is facing away from the door...then my only other guess is he is showing her porn. if i were in ur situation i would not allow him any contact with ur daughter anymore. talk with ur daughter and ask more questions to make sure she was not harmed . im sure theres more to what she is talking about..how would she know that "daddy" is the one who sees boobies and not someone else??...her father should not have been looking at that in the first place especially when spending time with her. he has no excuse.
JessieSP JessieSP 6 years
Just discuss this matter with him like an adult. I'm sure everything will turn out fine as long as you don't nag about it and never give him a chance to speak. Communication is best especially when you have a child between you.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 6 years
Well by your tone it sounds like you understand each other pretty well then I saw your pot and kettle comment and said ahhh. I would just be simple about it don't involve the father but right a note to him put it in an envelope for the dad to give to him. Basically just say hey I can give a $hit it you look at porn non of my business but our daughter just happened to mention to me that you were looking at boobs on the "puter" so just be a parent about it and makes sure she doesn't see. Thanks.
medenginer medenginer 6 years
I would address this now because it could become more graphic next time. I would talk to the ex's father about initiating parental controls on the computer and say what your child said she had seen. When the ex asks his dad why are there are controls he can clue him in. I agree that's not something I would watch at my parents home with my child present no matter what hour. It's just too weird.
mix-tape mix-tape 6 years
It kinda creeps me out how she said "but shh it's a secret." That's something that child molesters tell their victims. I don't think you're over reacting, I think that you are a mother and it's your JOB to protect your child from anything that might harm her. Porn is not ok for a child to view and it bothers me that he might be watching it while she was awake. Now that you know about this situation you are just as easy to blame if he is abusing her or exposing her to something perverted. I hope it was just an accident, but keep on top of it!
MissSushi MissSushi 6 years
She's four years old.. why exactly can't he wait to watch that when she's already in bed? It IS a big deal for several reasons. I would mention it to his father if you can't bring yourselves to speak to each other. I can't judge not knowing why your break up was so bad, who knows what was involved, but i do agree that eventually the go between thing is going to become impossible. You're raising a child, eventually you will have to have many discussions on the choices and disciplines. She wont be an easy 4 year old forever and the teenage years are rough. First - it doesnt sound like he really has her that often, which really means the time he gets with her should be spent with her, not online looking at porn. Secondly - she's four years old and absolutely should not be exposed to porn. I'm really free and open with porn, but its an adult activity period. Boys will be boys is one of the biggest cop outs ever. He is an adult. He should be acting as a mature responsible father when he has his kid over. Thirdly - Not to nitpick, but does he really have such a huge sex drive that he has to view porn and take care of things during normal hours while at his fathers house? A house that has other children running around? Why in the hell is he looking at porn during a time that children can catch him? That's kind of the thing you do at home, in your own time. I think it really has a lot to do with priorities. Mention it, it's important. It may seem like an overreaction now, but things have a way of escalating.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 6 years
You are not over reacting at all! When you have a child there are things that are not appropriate for the child, period! I also think that you need to let go of the break up and have a civil relationship with him, for your child's sake.
JennyJK JennyJK 6 years
I don't know, I would let it go for now, but say something to his dad if it comes up again. It was probably an accident, and no use making things any worse in your relationship if it was just an accident. You might be just setting yourself up for the next time you do something inadvertent/ accidental around the child. It's just a boob, let it go unless it continues to be an actual problem.
Studio16 Studio16 6 years
I'm in the middle. Boys will be boys. Boys usually have to take care of that sort of thing. He's not forcing your daughter into watching porn with him. As far as you know, he's not sexually abusing her. As long as he's being discreet, I don't see a problem. The computer was turned away from the door, right? So she would have had to get pretty close to him to see. Just talk to his dad and ask if he'll talk to your ex about making better entertainment choices when your daughter's around and that maybe the porn should wait until after bed.
JoeTyndall JoeTyndall 6 years
OP, I agree that it needs to be mentioned to your ex's father. Hopefully, one remark and it stops.
jenni5 jenni5 6 years
If you two cannot talk...I would mention it to his father. Let him figure out how to word it to his son. It doesn't need to be a big deal (yet anyway). But I think it would be good to let him know that you know and that your daughter understands what he is looking at.
PinkNC PinkNC 6 years
You need to maturely speak to him about it when you two are alone with enough time to speak, with NO interruptions. Stay calm and don't go TOO overboard on him. Stay peaceful for your child's sake. They need to grow up with both good parents.
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