DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a man, "Jerry," who committed a crime years ago. He and a friend participated in several robberies. Jerry was unarmed and no one was hurt, although the victims were traumatized. Jerry was caught, served time in prison and has completely reformed his life. He finished college, was married for many years, is a devoted father to his children and holds an excellent job for which he is respected.
Despite the way Jerry has lived his life, I am having a hard time getting over his past. Although I know he has done everything humanly possible to redeem himself, I can't help wondering what kind of person he is deep down. We are starting to get more serious, and he doesn't know I'm aware of his record. (A mutual friend told me long before Jerry and I began to date.)
I'm concerned that if my children know about what he did, they will never accept him. Although I have never met someone with whom I feel so compatible since my divorce, I wonder if it's worth pursuing. -- TORN OVER HIS PAST
DEAR TORN: Let me help you. Jerry is a man who made a very stupid mistake in his youth and who has paid for it. But it didn't stop him from turning his life around and making a success of himself. Many people would respect that. I know I do.
Because you and Jerry are getting serious, he should have mentioned his past to you. The two of you need to have a heart-to-heart talk. If you are truly worried about the kind of person he is "deep down," this is the way to find out. As for your children -- once you accept him, so will they if you impress upon them how hard he has worked to become the person he is today.