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MKS

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Last night my partner was charged with stalking. Turns out he has had a problem with voyeurism, which he had thought was under control as it had not been an issue for several years (during the even in question he was completely legless drunk so the when the urge to look in a window came along he went with it). I only found out about any of this last night.

We have talked a little about it, not much yet. A big talk coming tonight after work. From what he has said: he says it is not so much a sexual thing (which implies it is partly sexual at least) but more just being able to look and see what you're not supposed to see. He doesn't much care what he sees.

I've ben researching a bit about voyeurism online today (as you can imagine) but as it is by no means his primary sexual interest (we have a great active normal healthy sex life) and has only occurred quite infrequently in several years I'm confused as to whether this would be considered Voyeurism or not.

I'm also unsure of how to feel. I'm not happy that he kept this from me, but I understand that shame (and he feels great shame) can mean keeping things like this a secret. I "get" why he kept it from me. I also feel that as far as aberrations go this is pretty mild (from what I currently understand to be true - if I find out more, then it may be different).

I want to support him, to get help if he needs it, and I don't want to leave him... But I am worried that I am letting my love for him cloud my judgement; that I "should" be horrified, that I "should" want to leave him.

Some feedback please?
 

David Baxter

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Behaviors such as voyeurism, while sometimes associated with stalking and even predatory sex offenses, are not always linked to anything beyond the behavior itself. Often, it has more to do with a form of compulsive behavior or even obsessive-compulsive disorder than a sexual disorder.

At this point, especially now that he has been charged by the police, it is of course imperative that your husband agree to seek help with someone qualified to rule out a sexual disorder and conduct a risk assessment for general antisocial behavior and specifically for sexual acting out. This will be necessary for him to deal effectively with the charges against him. But of course, it's also clearly something he needs to deal with for himself, to address where these compulsions are originating and to learn how to manage or control the impulses when they occur. That may or may not involve the use of certain medications but it certainly will require that he actively engage in assessment and psychotherapy.

As for your role and your relationship, I would urge you at this point to try to look at his behavior as a manifestation or symptom of a mental health issue, a mental disorder if you like. If you were to discover that he were suffering from panic disorder or depression, you probably wouldn't immediately think of leaving him. Or perhaps a better example would be if you were to discover that he was suffering from a form of schizophrenia where he was hearing voices and concealing that fact from you, which he almost certainly would have done.

Until you have more information about the precise nature and extent of the issues or the specific disorder/diagnosis, I would recommend that you try to remain supportive and delay taking any extreme action.
 

MKS

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Thank you. That is pretty much where I am at in my own head... and do need more information from him. Will definitely be seeking help both legally and therapeutically, both of us. Thanks again.
 
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I just wanted to say that under the circumstances I believe all the feelings you are having are normal, even the unsureness of how to feel.
 

MKS

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I just wanted to say that under the circumstances I believe all the feelings you are having are normal, even the unsureness of how to feel.

Thanks Janet,

This is a very confusing time for me. These posts are helping.
 
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Hi MKS...i fail to see how anyone can be objective about this kind of behavior. It is very subjective indeed and i'm not even thinking about your mate's disorder but the victim's personal terror and you're own gut feeling.

Ask him if he can put himself in the victim's shoes for a minute and see what his response will be. If instilling fear in people by "stalking" them doesn't bother his conscience...i have to say that you should listen to yours and act accordingly.

Let the experts handle him to better protect innocent people. Your emotional involvement with him could enable him and cause you and others much suffering in the short or long haul...

This is just my two cents worth.

Blessings,

Jos?e
 

David Baxter

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Hi MKS...i fail to see how anyone can be objective about this kind of behavior. It is very subjective indeed and i'm not even thinking about your mate's disorder but the victim's personal terror and you're own gut feeling.

Ask him if he can put himself in the victim's shoes for a minute and see what his response will be. If instilling fear in people by "stalking" them doesn't bother his conscience...i have to say that you should listen to yours and act accordingly.

I'm going to disagree with you here, forgetremember.

First, you're assuming that his behavior does not bother him - in my experience as a therapist, that's not always the case. Second, helping him to develop a better understanding of the impact on his victims would be an essential part of hio therapy. Third, it's unclear from the initial post by MKS whether he was truly "stalking" or more accurately engaging in voyeurism; if the latter, his victim(s) may not even have been aware of what he was doing, since voyeurs typically take care not to be seen by those they watch (unlike exhibitionists who seek the reaction from their victims).

Let the experts handle him to better protect innocent people. Your emotional involvement with him could enable him and cause you and others much suffering in the short or long haul...

"Letting the experts handle him" is of course essential. neither he nor MKS has the knowledge or experience to deal with his issues, nor to assess any risk he may pose for others in the community. But let's not jump to conclusions, either: Most voyeurs are more of an annoyance than a danger. They do not typically go on to commit other more aggressive crimes, although again some do and only an expert in risk assessment would be in a position to evaluate that risk in his case.

As for her "emotional involvement with him", I would suggest as I did earlier that this is something she probably cannot make an informed decision about at this time - she simply doesn't have enough information yet either about her husband's behavior and risk or about her own reactions to what she has just learned.
 
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I'm going to disagree with you here, forgetremember.

First, you're assuming that his behavior does not bother him - in my experience as a therapist, that's not always the case. Second, helping him to develop a better understanding of the impact on his victims would be an essential part of hio therapy. Third, it's unclear from the initial post by MKS whether he was truly "stalking" or more accurately engaging in voyeurism; if the latter, his victim(s) may not even have been aware of what he was doing, since voyeurs typically take care not to be seen by those they watch (unlike exhibitionists who seek the reaction from their victims).

Disagreements can be educational. I can only speak as a former victim of "stalking" and not as a therapist. It is my understanding that MKS partner was charged with stalking.

I'm not assuming he has no shame, just asking MKS to question him regarding his unacceptable behavior so she can sort out her own feelings... The fact that he has not disclosed to her this compulsive behavior before she invested emotionally and otherwise in their relationship certainly complicates matters wherefore "honesty is always the best policy".

David, i'm perplexed with this quote but will let you better explain: "whether he was truly "stalking" or more accurately engaging in voyeurism; if the latter, his victim(s) may not even have been aware of what he was doing, since voyeurs typically take care not to be seen by those they watch"

"Letting the experts handle him" is of course essential. neither he nor MKS has the knowledge or experience to deal with his issues, nor to assess any risk he may pose for others in the community. But let's not jump to conclusions, either: Most voyeurs are more of an annoyance than a danger. They do not typically go on to commit other more aggressive crimes, although again some do and only an expert in risk assessment would be in a position to evaluate that risk in his case.

Precisely because we are not experts, our freedom to stay with a mate or move on must be spoken of as candidly as controlling the disruptive behavior itself. The majority of people we meet don't have a "stalking" problem or psychosexual obsessive-compulsive behaviors and albeit no one is perfectly sound, most decently imperfect folks will be law abiding when unwell.

As for her "emotional involvement with him", I would suggest as I did earlier that this is something she probably cannot make an informed decision about at this time - she simply doesn't have enough information yet either about her husband's behavior and risk or about her own reactions to what she has just learned.

Well, she had the right to know about his unacceptable behavior before she invested in this particular relationship. Her freedom to take it or leave it remains the same imho.

Blessings,

Jos?e
 

David Baxter

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David, i'm perplexed with this quote but will let you better explain: "whether he was truly "stalking" or more accurately engaging in voyeurism; if the latter, his victim(s) may not even have been aware of what he was doing, since voyeurs typically take care not to be seen by those they watch"

A fine line perhaps and partly semantics perhaps but here's what I had in mind.

First, the fact that he was charged with stalking may reflect existing laws or preliminary information rather than accurately describing his behavior - it may be that in that particular jurisdiction there is no specific law regarding voyeurism and so the police quite correctly would choose the closest criminal code charge available to detain him. I was attempting to distinguish between what is normally characterized as stalking, where the victim is usually known to the offender and where the victim is specifically targetted for surveillance, etc., and where more often than not the motive is control or intimidation or something even more sinister - and voyeurism, where the motive is usually to watch from a distance without the victim's awareness and where the victim is most often a stranger with whom there is no intention of ever making actual contact.

Of course, once the victim does become aware, the distinction from her/his point of view is of course probably academic or legal only. I was mainly referring to risk of physical harm to the victim and making the distinction for that reason.

To be crystal clear about this: I am in no way trying to minimize the negative impact for the victims of stalking behavior - or even voyeuristic behavior when the victim is aware of it.
 

MKS

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Hi guys,

Thanks for all the ongoing discussion. Hopefully this post helps more people than just myself - I originally posted because there seemed to be little out there that I could read that would help explain things to me.

I have additional information to clarify the scenario.

My partner was charged with stalking as it is the nearest thing under the law to "peeping tom". It was a one off event (in that he had never approached this particular window before). He was caught by the inhabitants almost immediately as he was extremely inebriated at the time, was beaten and sat on till police came, who then escorted him home without pressing any charges. The victims have decided to press charges under the law that closest reflects his actions.

Prior to this he hadn't looked in windows for several years. Around 8 years ago (his late teens) it was a big problem for him (he had a lot of bad stuff happening in his life at that point in time, suffered from alcoholism and depression, and ultimately had a nervous breakdown (all of which I have known throughout our relationship), and it seems that looking in at other people was the only way he felt able to "connect" and became a coping mechanism for him. Over recent years it has ceased to be something that plagued him - not occurring to him unless he was "off his face" and in an oportunistic situation (he still has a drinking problem, and I have known about that). It is not currently a demon he fights on any regular basis, and the event he is being charged for occurred in March this year. It is the only instance that has occurred while we have been together.

I don't doubt that having a drunk looking through your window from your own front yard is unsettling, even scary... but it is a LONG way from being the same experience as an ongoing stalking, and I am responding to it accordingly.

I do believe what he tells me about all of this when I asked him - he had withheld information on this subject, but has not other history of lying or deceiving me, and had hinted that there was something bad in his past that he didn't feel he could tell me. I have no problem trusting his answers to my direct questions. While he kept this part of himself from me I can understand why he did so.

I cannot imagine anyone introducing this topic before an emotional investment has been made. Particularly on a chapter that he believed was closed. So, I really do understand that.

We have discussed things and I am satisfied in my own mind that I am going to support him through this, and that we are going to be getting professional help for us both to sort things out. I have made it clear that it is not ok to have happen again. I have made the distinction between himself and his past 'deviant' behavior. The first I love and support, the second I find unacceptable.

Thanks again for all the helpful discussion.
 

David Baxter

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Thank you for the update, MKS. Good luck to both of you in what lies ahead.
 
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Thank you David and MKS for sharing additional thoughts and feelings. MKS, i wish you and your partner loads of personal growth in therapy.

Blessings,

Jos?e
 

ThatLady

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I'll be thinking of you and your partner, MKS. I wish you both the very best. Hopefully, your partner can get help with his drinking problem. That seems to be the catalyst for bad behavior on his part. Thankfully, it's a problem that can be dealt with. Good luck! :)
 

MKS

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Thank you all - having an outlet for my concerns was the most immense help.
 

Halo

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Just remember MKS that we are still here for you now and always as you go through this with your partner. We can always be an outlet for your concerns and help you as much as possible.

Take care :heart:
 

ladylore

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Makes alot of sense now. I hope he does get help for the addiction as there are many great resources out there.

Thanks for the update

Ladylore
 

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