Maintaining positive, healthy relationships is one of the most important things a person can do, especially when they are trying to get their life back together after being convicted of a crime. Studies have shown this over and over again.
For the convicted felon, falling back into unhealthy relationships is a sure-fire way to parole violations, continued legal battles, repeat offending, and a difficult, unhappy life.
Healthy relationships are tricky in the best of times. Entire books are written that talk about how to find and maintain positive relationships. Yet few books, if any, have addressed the issue of healthy relationships for the convicted felon, let alone the convicted sex offender.
The basic question in relationships generally comes down to this: Who do you tell and when?
Clearly, not everyone needs to know. The person who scans your groceries at the grocery store doesn't need to know. Nor does your barber, or dentist, or your UPS delivery person.
But what about your neighbors? Your employer? Your landlord? Your kids' parents? What about the other members of the softball team you play on? Or your poker buddies? How about the people you play on-line games with?
Ok, obviously your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse needs to know. But what about your date? Do you tell him/her before your first date? Do you wait 2 or 3 dates? Do you wait until you're "serious" and then tell them?
The question of who to tell and when has no one "right" answer. Most people would agree, however, that honesty is a key ingredient in any relationship.
And the unfortunate truth is that anyone who is seriously involved with a registered sex offender will deal with some of the same issues the offender has to deal with. Those on the registry often talk about how their wife/husband and children might as well be on there with them. Thus, keeping it a secret from significant others is really not much of an option.
Relationships are possible, even for someone on the registry. I have met many, many registered sex offenders who have a wife, or a husband, or a girlfriend, or a boyfriend. Sure, some of them were married before they went on the registry, but many were not. Many of them met their significant other while on the registry, and the relationship bloomed despite being an RSO.
Finding that special someone is difficult for anyone. Most people find that they have to kiss a lot of “frogs” before they find their “prince/princess.” The registered sex offender may have to take things a bit slower, test out potential relationships a bit longer, and experience a bit more heartache than most. But there are people out there who will accept you for who you are today, not for what you did in your past.