I am a separated 40 year old female with a 14 year old daughter. I met a 35 year old man online who is also separated from his spouse. The online relationship has blossomed into a real life relationship and he has recently relocated to live with his parents while getting back on his feet. We get along very well and have many common interests. There are somethings in his past which are bothering me. Firstly he was a drug addict/alcoholic until 1999 when he quit both cold turkey. He had to declare bankruptcy because of his drug usage and has that on his record. He also is involved in the BDSM lifestyle which I myself have had very limited involvement with. I recently found out that he and his wife had a 24/7 Master/Slave relationship in which she could not own anything (everything was in his name alone), she could not make any decisions on her own or do anything/go anywhere without him/his permission (she couldn't have any friends,he moved them to another state away from family, nor could she go outside of their small apartment without him. He said for her *safety*). We discussed this and I told him I am NOT into that lifestyle at all nor would I ever be and he said that was fine that he loved me for who I am and that he didn't want another relationship of that type (It was his second.) I personally am repulsed at the idea of such a lifestyle and I've lost some respect for him. I believe (I could be wrong) these relationships to be mentally abusive. He keeps saying that it isn't that some women just need a strong male to take care of them, make all their decisions for them and protect them. I say perhaps those women need some therapy to find some self esteem and self worth. I told him he should have helped his wife by getting her counseling, he said she didn't need it that she knew what she was getting into as he was her third *Master/Husband*. This is really bothering me and even though I love this man with all my heart I keep wondering if I should devote my life to him as prior to finding this out, we really had a wonderful relationship. Am I over reacting? or should I be worried? You name three things about your man that you are concerned about: addiction, bankruptcy, and involvement in a bondage and dominance lifestyle. Of these three (all worthy 'red flags' so far as I am concerned), you appear to be most torn up about knowing about past relationships he was involved in. You're wondering if those past relationships were abusive, and by extension, if the relationship you have forged with this man could turn abusive. Hard questions really, and, as I seem to have misplaced my crystal ball, I cannot predict the future for you today. I can tell you my opinions about the flags you have raised.
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