Let me be clear... a guy is not a good prospect for a healthy relationship if he is a pedophile or if he (sexually or otherwise), abuses women.
This is not a little piece of advice to discard.
Molesting children and raping women is not in the same category as a guy who forgets an anniversary or doesn't do his share of the dishes.
Forgiving him is not going to heal him.
Pretending he is a great man is not going to turn him into one.
If you are one of those women who dismisses this extremely serious problem in a man you might ask yourself why? Are you so desperate for a man in your life that you will take the really disturbed guys who should not be a part of normal human society?
You may say you see the good in him. I don't buy it. While of course everyone has some good in them, the cruel disgusting behavior toward women and children can't be ignored and completely eliminates the possibility for even a remote chance of a healthy happy relationship.
How do you know if a guy is a sex offender?
Of course most sex offenders are not going to come out and tell you of their perversions and sickness but there are signs and red flags. And, in the course of an early relationship you have the opportunity to get to know the man. Take it. Don't assume a guy is wonderful until you find out otherwise. Find out about the guy before you get into a relationship.
First, check out the National Sex Offender Registry! You can search by name or location! While this is only a beginning and not all sex offenders are registered it is a good start.
Secondly, you can be on the alert for clues.
Briefly, child predators typically are afraid of adult intimacy and may have some sexual dysfunction with women, enjoy time with children (prepubescent boys and girls) more than adults, may date women with children of his desired aged victims, have low self esteem, have a desire for power, have been abused as a child, don't take responsibility for their actions, and desire control over others. Some pedophiles have done jail time but most have not. They typically appear normal (above average education and frequently religious) but may spend a lot of alone time with children and are often unusually popular with children.
Rapists and sexual abusers are typically those men who want to inflict pain, dominate, control, humiliate, and degrade their victims. Rape is not about a "need" for sex but a need for domination. There are actually several different categories of sexual abusers but generally they exhibit a need for power and control. For many men sexual abuse is just one form of a more generalized attitude and behavior of violence toward women.
Third, listen to your gut. I repeat this advice often because it is extremely important. More than your logical mind, your subconscious is aware of the subtle clues that something is not right. LISTEN! If you get that weird feeling in your stomach, that uneasy sense in your gut, your instincts are telling you that something is wrong. Walk away... or run.
Now, of course there is the possibility for some men to change but a few years in jail is not going to heal anyone. Not by a long shot. Unless someone has done the extraordinary work to heal and change some serious issues, had plenty of time to demonstrate he can live a normal life as a productive healthy human being, it is best to just stay away.
Listen to your gut!