Several years ago, our daughter, now 16, was fondled by an older cousin. We called the police, and the boy received probation.
My husband gets up early in the morning. He sets his work clothes out in the dining room so he doesn’t disturb me. For years, he got dressed in the bathroom. Two years ago, I caught him walking through the house naked. He said it was OK since no one was awake yet. I reminded him that our daughter gets up very early and asked him to please get at least partially dressed in the bathroom. He agreed, but I caught him a few weeks later still walking around naked. When I talked to him about the situation, he again said he’d get dressed in the bathroom.
I just learned that my daughter has seen him naked multiple times, including when he yelled out for her not to look and then walked out of the bathroom to grab a towel from the linen closet. On at least two other occasions, she came down to use the bathroom and saw him. I asked her if he might not have noticed that she’d come down, and she said that he’d turned in her direction, so she doesn’t know how he couldn’t have noticed her there. Granted, he was 20 or 30 feet away, but his behavior is downright creepy. Also, he never said anything to me about her already seeing him nude. The poor kid’s been diagnosed with PTSD. She’s planning to confront him the next time she goes to her psychologist, but is there anything else I should do in the meantime or afterward?
—My Husband Forgets We Have Kids in the House
Why on Earth are you letting your underage daughter take responsibility for confronting your husband about repeatedly exposing himself in front of her? That’s your job. You’ve known for at least two years that he has a habit of wandering through the house naked early in the morning.You asked him to stick to getting dressed in your bathroom, reminding him that your daughter—a victim of molestation—also got up early, and yet several weeks later, despite knowing and agreeing to all of this, your husband did it again.
Now you find out that he has continued doing the exact same thing for years, that your daughter has been profoundly bothered by it on multiple occasions, and that he’s been keeping this from you—and your plan is to let her take the lead on this conversation? She’s 16 and traumatized, and you’re her parent.
This is something that you need to talk about with him now. There is absolutely no reason for him to continue doing this, and you have to take seriously the possibility that he has been getting something out of this. It’s not hard to throw on a shirt and a pair of shorts before walking through the house, it’s been made clear to him that casual adult nudity is not a normal part of your household routine, and the sheer repetition and secrecy around this behavior suggests that it’s more than mere carelessness.
Do not allow him to put you off again. Continue to check in with your daughter, prioritize her safety and well-being, and have a plan in place for how you will protect her if he doesn’t stop, even if that means staying in separate homes.