Ugh. I’m glad I don’t have sexy pix of exes (I do have some good old pen-on-paper letters) because with cloud storage, I’m never quite sure where stuff is or where it syncs to. Not a problem with vacation and where’s-my-car-parked photos but definitely a problem with this genre. This isn’t the campsite rule, but I think we need a similar archives rule that says when you break up, you clean up your digital history with due respect for the former and future partners.


"I was very upset because [...] it felt like he had been hiding something from me"

The other 50% of women would be upset if they were shown the photos.

It's a no-win.

but also, yes, absolutely turn off any cloud-backup / auto-backup stuff. Not that it will stop your girlfriend from being upset.


"What you need is a guy who can either truthfully tell you he doesn't find any of his exes attractive and doesn't use the photo feature on his phone or you need a guy who can lie to you more convincingly about his exes and do a much better job of keeping dirty photos and videos hidden away. And this guy ain't either of those guys."

Dan, you buried the reference a little too hard, but this is a variation on: "Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, the Abominable Snowman and all approach a 4-way stop at the same time, who goes first?" joke.


LW, why does it matter that he keeps pictures and videos of his ex girlfriends, (assuming they are okay with it)? They were part of his life, maybe he wants to keep the good memories. It has nothing to do with your relationship, unless you make it so by insisting he gets rid of everything from his romantic past. He's with you now, if you can't trust him to not get so seduced by these videos that he goes back to his ex, then your relationship is doomed anyway, and you should break up. Men who cheat will cheat without any help from old pics!

And how on earth did all his media get downloaded onto your computer when his phone was just using it to recharge the battery? That takes like searching and selecting and copying and all that shit! Or using the phone spy, er, assistant.

If you want someone without a romantic past, you need to look for a 30-something virgin, or an incel. Try reddit or 4chan, make sure they're not stockpiling weapons. In the meantime, break up with your bf or stop snooping.


I find it strange that the LW wants her partner not to be attracted to his exes - though that seems to be a common relationship expectation.

Most people's looks don't change all that fast. I thought my exes were attractive when I was dating them, and I still think they're attractive now. I don't have any dirty pics (though I sometimes wish I did), but I have shared a number of sexy memories from past relationships with my wife, and she has done the same with me. Memories are like fantasies sometimes - they help us to get extra excited in the moment, solo or together.

So...I guess I don't get the idea that we should stuff our exes down the memory hole and delete their photos. If the relationship is over - and it's usually for reasons having little to do with physical attraction - why should it be a problem to keep photos and cherish memories?

I do think the fellow in question ought to do a better job of keeping his special photos private, and the lying is a definite red flag. If I were in his place I would probably burn them on a disk (remember those?), tuck it away in the attic in a box of old diaries, and tell her exactly what I did. And I wouldn't make any silly promises like never looking at them again. If she still insisted that they be permanently deleted from my life, I would take that as an omen of future conflicts arising from jealousy/insecurity, and I would probably leave...


Iseult @4 when you attach a phone by usb cable, the computer and/or phone will ask “trust this device?” And if you click “yes” it may start syncing photos and emails if that’s how your settings are, um, set. So I can believe the initial discovery did not involve active, intentional snooping. But the guy backed into a corner by accepting the premise that faithfulness=not finding exes attractive, because then spankbank=cheating, and she’s going to feel justified snooping to see if he’s still “cheating.” They both sound more early 20s than early 30s, with warped expectations of how to LTR (Hint: give each other some space; don’t ask questions you don’t need the answer to!)


DTMFA. And by that I mean not LW, but her boyfriend.


When you date someone with a romantic past, the person you know has been formed and changed by every relationship that’s come before you. They wouldn’t be the person you like/love/whatever if they didn’t have those experiences in their past, so it makes no sense to try to force them to erase it all. Get over yourself, and worry about your future together, not their past.


To the boyfriend if you’re reading this: girlfriends who snoop and try to police your thoughts and memories don’t magically turn into wives who are chill and secure and relaxed about it all. Just saying. Also, it’s kind of skeezy to keep your exes’ dirty photos if you don’t have their consent, so, you know, there’s that, too.


To paraphrase Dan's foot fetishist line:

Dump the guy who remembers his exes fondly and you'll find yourself dating a different guy who hates all his exes (or has their body parts in the freezer).


Her: Don't snoop. And get a little self confidence.

Him: Cover your tracks better (for your sake and the XGFs). And find a more secure woman to date. If you'd just been honest about liking those digital mementos and insisting on keeping them, it would have been self-correcting - the current GF would have had to grow up or she'd have dumped you, solving the problem one way or another.


Dear god, I'm glad I'm queer. Straight people and their creepy weirdness about exes is astonishingly bizarre.

Sweetheart, get some therapy to find out why this is turning you into a pile of slop. It's not a big deal. You're so insecure, I can't believe this is the only issue in your relationship.


So are there naked pictures of the LW on his phone as well? I get the feeling the answer is "no" but you never can tell.


@11 Ditto. I was thinking of the times I’ve swapped sex stories and even looked at an ex’s dirty pictures with my ex boyfriends.


LW: You need to gain some confidence in yourself. I did that exact same shit to my husband when we first started going together until my therapist pointed out that it had nothing to do with the exes, but everything to do with how I felt about myself. When you like yourself and feel confident in yourself, I promise you that those old pics and vids of his exes - well, they really become a non-issue. Crud, thanks to my therapist and reading Dan over the years, I could care less if my husband jacks off to porn while looking at a pic of an ex. I actually encourage him to do it because, well, I have a headache sometimes. Besides, insisting on being the constant, sexual center of someone's universe? That's for the princess living the vague "happily ever after" you read about in the storybooks. It rarely pans out in real life. Don't play the odds.


It’s only weird to you gay guys because you’re gay guys. This woman is allowed to feel how she feels without you lot denying her agency and authenticity. Why did the bf lie? Why does he need to see his old gf pleasuring herself.. which he presumably uses for his self pleasuring. Sorry. Something is fishy here. These two need to talk. If he still has attachment to his old gf, he needs to own that.



That is the difference between a sexual attraction and True Love.


LW, you are thirty two, you must have sussed the ways of most men by now. Lying, sneaky little fucks, some of them.
I would be unhappy if I found such videos on my monogamous partner’s phone. Not ex gfs. Isn’t porn enough?
I suggest you shelve the talk of long term plans with this man, he may be mouthing the words, his heart is not in it. Not if he’s lying to you, and keeping jerk off material of his ex, on his phone.
It’s only been a year and a half, don’t move so fast. You’re still young, and why commit to a man who plays the “ oh you caught me with worse than the photos, my only recourse is to gaslight you. No big deal honey..”
Protect your heart and enjoy each other, realising he’s not a trustworthy man.


This woman is a snoop. His life is going to be miserable if he stays with her. Run, dude, run.


7, 8, 14 and 18, yes. 17, no. Dan, spot on with the advice. I hope he wises up and leaves this bozo woman. One more reason she's a bozo: "I am too embarrassed to share/get advice from friends." "Too embarrassed." Send her snowflake ass back to the convent. And anyway, it is inappropriate to share intimate details of your romantic life with your girlfriends. Don't perpetuate the old saw that women get a man in their life only so they'll have one more topic of conversation to dish with their girlfriends. And there's that inconvenient thing about a double standard...if a woman finds out you've shared details with a guy friend about your sex life together, she'd get incensed.


I think it's possibly a little creepy that this guy has a bunch of videos and pics of his naked exes on his phone, like it's a modern notched bedpost. The only real concerns here are: a) are the exes themselves ok with him continuing to have them? b) how do you, LW, feel about him owning naked pics of you? Keep in mind that any naked pics/videos he has of you will be potentially available to anyone who has his phone in the future.

Regarding the fact that he still has them, well this is who he is LW. He's the sort of guy that either keeps naked pics of other women OR that doesn't spend much time organizing his files and deleting stuff. Or both, probably. There's nothing wrong with this (again, assuming the women in the pics didn't ask him to delete them). So the ball is in your court. Are you the sort of woman who can be with a guy like your boyfriend?

If so, stay with him. If not, move on. I know it's not so simple as that, but trying to change him is just going to cause even bigger problems for you in the long run- lots of heartache and resentment and lying probably.

The issue of if he lied when saying he deleted them- maybe he did or maybe he didn't. Sounds like he did delete several of the photos since you had to scroll farther back, so it sounds like it's very possible that he simply didn't get to those or even know. Or it could be that he intentionally didn't delete them because he likes them. Again, back to your choice.

As for him finding other people attractive, well yes of course he does.

Doesn't sound like he was rubbing this in your face, right? Just that you discovered it yourself- not that he showed it to you or left it around in obvious places or told you how much he likes looking at this, right? Ordinarily, I'd say a compromise here could be to ask for some discretion. As Dan says, he should actively only be attracted to you when you are around (be respectful basically) and you should actively avoid snooping (why'd you scroll way back in the first place?). But it doesn't really sound like you are going to be OK with that?


As a guy, I understand the Boyfriend just keeping memories in picture forms. Much like I have memories of my exes naked bodies, especially when they are having sex, imprinted in my brain. The LW shouldn't feel threatened by the pictures, it is just how guys, crudely at times operate. May still not yearn for our ex girlfriends, but we still lust for their bodies, or those memories of those lovemaking sessions.

However, the boyfriend needs to use a hell of more tact with the LW/Girlfriend. Much like I stop looking at porn, or diminish my porn use when I am dating someone, because my needs are being met by the woman I am dating. The boyfriend, should at least take the photos off his phone, and store the photos on lock folder on a memory stick. The boyfriend should be a bit more considerate to his girlfriend. He can't just brush this off as "a guy being a guy", he should apologize, remove the photos and videos from his phone, and try to be more caring and understanding to his girlfriend feelings. For the LW/Girlfriend, the photos and videos may look like a threat, besides screw up your self confidence, but they are just masturbatory tools. What you should worry about our your BF's text messages, not his photos. the Photos and Videos are just nostalgia, his text messages are about intent. However, you need to give your BF some privacy rights, leave his phone alone..


Reading it a second time, I realize she also said that he said it was an oversight (which seems the most likely circumstance since he originally started with close to 100 pictures and got rid of all but 5) and she does not believe him. So far, he has not lied about anything nor done anything wrong, just behaved in a way that doesn't meet her expectations of him, and her response is to think that he's lying to her and feel hurt by the reality of how he is vs her fantasy of him.

Again, LW, that's why I'm saying you have to make a choice. Either you accept him for who he is (which requires trust btw) or you move. Trying to make him into your expectation is going to lead to a lot of drama and hurt (at best) in the long run.

Dendroica, I agree unless the ex asks you to delete them. The right thing to do is respect them, because these things do get out and others see them, etc. It's a risk we all take when sharing nudes with anyone, but since we are talking about ethics, the right thing to do is delete the pics of an ex who asks you to do.

To me, this seems to be the only totally valid concern that the LW could have over the boyfriend's behavior, but it's also not what she seems concerned about. Assuming no ex asked him to delete them, this dude isn't doing anything wrong, and he seems more than reasonable in fact since he did at least remove most of them from his phone when she asked him to- which he absolutely did not have to do. Seems like he deleted all but five right? Which he could've just missed.


@Lava, when did he lie?

"And anyway, it is inappropriate to share intimate details of your romantic life with your girlfriends...if a woman finds out you've shared details with a guy friend about your sex life together, she'd get incensed."

This is all nonsense. It's normal and healthy to have friends that you can talk to about your relationship, including your sex life. What's shitty is if people reveal secrets or embarrassing stuff or make fun of their loves, but there is nothing at all wrong with talking to your friends about stuff. I agree though that if this woman finds it embarrassing to admit to anyone that her bf has naked pics of other women, then she's pretty sheltered.


This guy deserves to be free of you leave him alone go away


“...he obviously still enjoys looking at these old pics and vids from time to time.”

It was only after reading this post that it occurred to me that I still have a few pictures from years ago I’ve never deleted. And for the record: no woman has ever asked me to delete a picture — I guess I didn’t realize that was common.

It seems likely that he still looks at those pictures from time to time, but that’s not a foregone conclusion. For me, I haven’t deleted them for the same reason I haven’t deleted emails and letters, even though I never read them. At one time, those were really important to me (despite the fact that I’m over these women). I guess there is a sentimental attachment to them.

I’d delete them if a partner asked, and I wouldn’t lie about them. But LW seems unwilling to accept her own role in this — her snooping, probably in both instances.


Think how much drama and misery would be avoided if insecure people could somehow force themselves not to snoop in their romantic partners' phones and computer files. Think how much unhappiness could have been avoided if LW hadn't been focused on finding something to hold over the bf's head. I hope the boyfriend has realized how immature and punitive LW's attitudes are and made tracks for the door. LW's not going to be good relationship material till there's been significant time spent with a good therapist.


Mr. PH should DTMFA, PH is controlling and abusive. That is obvious when you read that she wants him to be physically unattracted his ex-girlfriends, and seeks to enforce that position. It is unnecessary wonder why Mr. PH did not do a better job of hiding his homemade porn from a deeply prying girlfriend. It is even more so to debate whether Mr. PH lied to PH; he told her what she needed to hear to stop her controlling behavior, something we advocate doing regularly when a letter writer is confronted with an abusive partner. Shifting the issue whether Mr. PH has the right to retain naked pictures of his ex-girlfriend's is just another way of absolving PH for her controlling and abusive behavior.


I get the sense that the letter writer is made uncomfortable by sex, and free enjoyment of sex, in general. She mentions “his ex-girlfriend masturbating with dildos and buttplugs.” It was already implied that the videos were sexual in nature... why give Dan details on the toys used unless to apply some meaning to exactly how depraved the videos are? Also, the letter writer mentions nothing about her sexual relationship with her boyfriend. Is he, as far as she knows, currently sexuality fulfilled? Is she? Does the boyfriend revisit old videos rather than having sex with her? Did the discovery of these photos change anything about their sex together? We don’t know. The words used by the LW throughout (embarrassed, ashamed, etc.) might speak to something deeper than jealousy or insecurity.


Or.... LW can grow up a little and accept that we all have a past and that past is part of what gets us to where we are today. It's not like it's a sudden revelation that people have been taking sexy photos and videos of each other. Heck, we even did that way back in the dark ages, when you had to bring your film in to be handled by that pimply kid in the photo kiosk in a parking lot.

Of course, if what LW is objecting to is the idea of these photos and videos themselves, not the fact that he's holding onto them, well, that's different. Then he's definitely not the right guy for her. But if she's doing the same with him, then she can expect him to want to hold onto his "memories" of her as well. It's something for her to think about.


EL, he said he’s no longer attracted to his ex.. I don’t think so. If I’d lost attraction for a man I sure wouldn’t keep and assume look at videos of his jacking off.
I can’t believe how much you guys are piling on this woman. They are monogamous, if he wants to keep getting it up over old gfs thru photos or videos.. how is this monogamy? You can’t have it both ways. Or do you all think he can.. obviously they have different ideas of what monogamy means for them.
Get off this woman’s case and trying to undermine her by calling her names.


Told her what she needed to hear, SA@27? That’s what lying looks like. If these photos and videos are important to him, then tell her straight.
He doesn’t want to lose what he’s got with her, so he tells her what she needs to hear. A coward as well as a liar.


Lava, She doesn't know if he's lying or not just like she doesn't know if he's jacking it to that video or not. If he had hundreds of images on his phone, then he could very easily have not seen them for months. But even if he had and was, I don't think there is anything wrong with the sort of white lie in response to a lover who is feeling insecure "I'm not attracted to her anymore"- especially since attraction isn't an objective thing and most of us have mixed feelings about our exes that aren't so easily defined as attraction or not.

As for monogamy, that seems to be a greater difference here. Absolutely I do not think it's nonmonogamous to jerk off to videos of people other than your lover or to be attracted to people other than your lover. I'm surprised you do- that's not a statement I've read you express before. By this definition, I suppose no one is monogamous?

Also I don't think I ever called her names.


LW, you can’t force him to delete stuff. All you can do is talk real with each other about how you both feel around these activities. As these men above are showing, this is some sort of grey area in how monogamy is interpreted. The masturbation videos are way out of line, imo. Not interested in a man playing that sort of double game. It feels like a violation of the old gf. She’s not a porn star. What ever they had, it’s over. Except he hangs onto this part of it. Not pictures of her smiling happy face.
All you’ve ever got are your boundaries, and the belief that you are allowed to have them.
This man doesn’t share your notions of what you thought you were living. It happens a lot between men and women. So, think what you want and find a man who shares your ideas. This man clearly does not. Let him go and find a woman who has a different response to his nude photos, now maybe deleted, and porn of an old gf. Don’t let him film you, unless you are happy to join his video library.


@3 Who's the 4th one, and how does the joke end?

I don't think the "DTMFA" piling on the LW is justified. Everyone seems to have missed that she ASKED her bf's permission to look at the pictures on his phone the second time. That's not snooping. Since he'd said he'd gotten rid of the pics of the exes, it's reasonable to "Trust, but verify." He might have kept them as an oversight, due to disorganization, or he might have lied. Whether he deserves the benefit of the doubt depends on other things he's done in the past. Whether he deserves to be forgiven if he lied also depends on what would hurt more, breaking up or staying together. Her call. Either way, she now needs to deal with her insecurities, which is not impossible.


@31 Lavagirl: If a contract is signed under duress (sign this or else...), it is considered invalid and not enforceable.

If you are going all crazy at your boyfriend, the expectation that he not lie is no longer valid, and he can bend the truth a bit to tell you what you want to hear even though no rational person would actually believe it's true, and no healthy person would even expect it to be true.

If LW doesn't want her BF to lie, she shouldn't demand he say things that almost certainly aren't true.


I think people are being very harsh on LW here, and misunderstanding her concerns. She is not upset because her BF has exes- that's not her concern. She's not upset he's wanking (possibly) over videos of other women. She's upset because these videos are of his exes and he has made a special effort to keep them. He's made a special effort because she makes no mention of any images kept of his exes that are not sexual, or videos not of a sexual nature. Not just that, but his exes are women who sent these whilst in a relationship with him. These are not women he has a sexual relationship with anymore or (assuming based on the lack of mention) even a platonic relationship, so these are not videos he should be keeping for his personal use. That shows a massive lack of respect for his exes and his new GF. DTMFA is harsh on LW- she's not banning him from porn or from having a wank over videos of other women, but she is unhappy about them being videos of his exes, as no doubt he would be over her too. That's understandable. She should talk to him about her insecurity and have a proper conversation about feelings and boundaries with these issues too.


Mr. PH, run like hell before she gets pregnant and you're stuck dealing with her crazy ass for the next 18 years. Trying to control someone else's memories and thoughts is abusive as hell.


I'm not sure PH is that much of a snoop. She is a little, certainly, but Partner just happened accidentally to upload the entire contents of his phone to her computer? Then, knowing this bothered PH, Partner just happened to hand her his phone to PH to see vacation pics? Dan often says that people have a responsibility not to snoop, but people who keep photos of that sort have a responsibility to keep the stuff reasonably hidden. Some plausible deniability is expected. Partner doesn't seem to have done that. He seems to be dancing between rubbing her nose in it and yelling not really.

Close to a hundred photos and all of past partners. I suppose that could mean only 4 past partners with 25 photos of each, but I get the idea it means close to a hundred past partners. I'm not entirely against PH being weirded out by that. I get it that we all have pasts, and I get it that a hundred isn't necessarily that many, but I think Dan's idea that this is a modern day notches on the bedpost is a good one.

PH and Partner don't sound right for each other. Even if he doesn't lie about it, the fact that he has had so many casual sexual partners in his past posing for photos that PH wouldn't feel comfortable posing for makes him seem callous to me. I'm concluding that they should break up but not because she's a snooping judgmental harpy. This is a judgment free case of them being wrong for each other.


L-dub, you're 32!!! It's way past time to get over yourself. And anyone who thinks dudes wouldn't keep photos and videos of past partners as fond mementos, is well... just ridiculous? Don't send them if you don't want dudes keeping them. You can think it's creepy all you want, it's gonna happen 9 times out of 10. I've personally been with my wife for long enough that that was never part of my dating life, but of course I would keep them if I had them from past partners. And it wouldn't even be for wanking (or not just for wanking anyway). It would be for rare and lovely trips down memory lane.


No contract was signed biggie @35. This is the moment a man must stand up and be counted.
‘ I will not erase a hundred or more naked pictures of my exes. I will not erase videos of an ex gf rubbing one out. ‘, not the time to um and ah and lie.


This reads to me as a mismatch of norms and expectations all the way down. She thinks it's reasonable to ask him to delete his wankbank shots of his exes (there's only one ex in question where he didn't). He thinks it's reasonable to keep them as mementos, not flaunt them, look at them occasionally, maybe jerk off to them (though she doesn't know how often). She's used the phrase 'have a future' for them--does he speak like that? Is he allowing himself to be carried along by her expectations and plans--for convenience's sake? For comfort? Sex? Her snooping doesn't give her pause (she soft-pedals the extent). His photos are not an issue for him (actually, I wouldn't think they are, either). I'd doubt each of the hundred nubile women en deshabillee are former partners. Some of the photos would seem to me to be a porn stash. He's deleted a lot of the impersonal porn, but not the personal images that mean something to him.

He isn't necessarily carrying a candle for his ex. Jerking off responds to images; it involves depersonalising the person whose image it is. Making a strop of them. Sex is like this, too--for men, maybe potentially for everyone. My sense would be that women are socialised much more into a 'perfect match' conception of marriage and relationships; the couple are a 'perfect match' sexually (they couldn't get off to anyone else), a 'perfect match' romantically and in life-goals. It's an enticing, and can be an exacting, narrative for women. It doesn't often apply to men. Of course a guy could get off with anybody. A guy can be with someone--a congenial woman, not a ball-breaker--who offers sex.

This couple's most underlying issue cannot be his sexy-ex pics (as @14 seventieslilo & @11 MikeFriedman said). I concur with finding her hard work. Maybe both should be open to sitting down and having a genuine discussion of what they want.


Exactly right philosophy dropout @39,women don’t sent videos to a man, or let him video you, because even once you and he are no longer together, that video may still be in use by him. And whoever else sees it over the years. They won’t ask if you’re ok with this, once you’re no longer together. It may also turn up on some site on the internet.


@27. Sublime. Agree with all of that.

I wouldn't think he has fucked and photographed a hundred or so women. Supposing they're in their early 30s, that's maybe a new partner (and photographic subject) for him say every six weeks on average. Especially with the photos or exhibitionism, that would be specific to certain scenes. Yet there's nothing in the letter about him being formerly promiscuous or on a drugs or party scene. To go from that to one and a half years of monogamy is a big lifestyle change--the sort of thing you'd expect her to reflect on. Yet PH registers surprise, hurt and almost a sense of grievance that he hasn't deleted the pics. Either there's a lot she's not talking about--how she pulled him from the fleshpots--or, for some other complicated reason, he's misrepresenting what the photos of the sprawling women are. There's evidence of one sexually happy or unembarrassed relationship with one ex.

Why does she say nothing about their sex life? There's lots about her feelings--why no attempt to work out what his feelings towards her are?


@34. Wordwizard. 'Trust but verify'. That to me sounds like 'distrust'.


The only thing the guy did wrong was say that he'd delete the photos and videos when he had no intention nor obligation to do so. I get it -- he said what she wanted to hear, because she wasn't being reasonable, and he foolishly thought she wouldn't snoop if he hid the photos way back on his phone. You gonna break up with someone just for being technically incompetent? He's keeping these photos because he wants to and it's his right (presuming the ex didn't ask him to delete them -- my view is, if you don't want someone to hang onto dirty photos of you after you break up, don't let them take dirty photos of you). She's learned why one should not snoop. Get over it or Dump Your Motherfucking Self Already.


Suppose that I've been in an exclusive cohabiting relationship for a while (something I've done but once in my life). It’s bedtime; I've gone out to the bathroom and, coming back to the bedroom, I can snap my fingers--'SNAP!'--and find my partner replaced with an ex of my choice. We spend the night together; in my morning I go out to the bathroom, come back and there's my current partner, looking for his shirt cuffs, choosing a tie, whatever. No suite. No knowledge, no recriminations. A wrinkle in time. A fantasy. OF COURSE I would do that. That anyone wouldn't is inconceivable to me. Yet, for many women, wanting that, indulging it idly, is (as I understand) the most heinous emotional infidelity. But desire doesn't mean that much. It’s not the life a monogamous couple have together. It’s just thoughts.


Rocky @19: Old saw? This is the first I've heard it. You must have quite a low opinion of men if you think they're only useful as conversation fodder, and a low opinion of women if you think men are all we can think of to talk about. Discussing one's personal life with one's closest friends, whatever gender, is absolutely fine and should be expected.

Ferret @21: I'm not a guy and I have some particularly hot exes who pop up in my wank bank often, too. Just saying. And you win the Kindness And Reasonableness Award for this thread. Well said! The only thing I would amend is that he may or may not be wanking to these, or at least it's best that any women in this position believe their boyfriends may or may not be wanking to these. I have some photos of exes and they simply bring back fond memories.

Sublime @27: "Controlling and abusive"? More like insecure and irrational, but agreed, she needs to sort this out, with therapy if need be.

46294 @28: Agreed. Perhaps PH is feeling prudish compared to this more experimental ex. She could use what she's found to start a conversation about kinks and fantasies if she's open to broadening her sexual repertoire. (However, she shouldn't feel she has to do anything she doesn't want to, to compete with someone he's not with for a reason.)

Lava @30: Wow, monogamy does not mean never thinking of someone else or masturbating to someone else. Why does porn pass your "monogamy" test but porn featuring someone the masturbator knows does not? This guy is not just a normal guy, but a normal person. You're punishing him for thoughtcrime, that doesn't sound like you.

Word @34: Bullshit. She asked to see the photos he'd just taken of the holiday they'd just been on together. She did not ask to scroll back years to make sure he'd deleted the photos of his exes like he said he would.

Fichu @38: I will second having had the experience of plugging my phone into my PC and voila, with no further instruction from me, my entire photo library started to upload. The first instance was not a snoop. I agree that once he promised to delete the videos, he should have put them on a memory stick instead. And I'd bet money that that's what he did.

Philo @39: Thanks for confirming my theory that he may not be wanking to these videos.


It’s a video of a ex gf masturbating, Fan. That is not a thought. Those are pictures. Of course monogamy is not about never having erotic thoughts about others.
Porn involves strangers, not women one was attached to. Not women who let those videos happen while they were in a relationship with the man. And if the ex had asked him to delete the videos, would he have done it? Or only said what she wanted to hear.
Hundreds of naked pictures, videos of ex’s getting themselves off. Why does he keep these. Some sort of trophy list of women?
I was surprised at your nasty response to her, invalidating her feelings.


On reflection, she likely means 'hundreds of photos', not 'hundreds of women'. But PH is incurious about who these exes are. It seems there's only one he holds onto photos of--and then only four (photos/vids/precious relics! ). Is he a doormat or was he able to store the rest?


Lava @48, snoopers deserve what they get. She was out of line for demanding that he delete photos that belong to him and have nothing to do with her. And she was more out of line for snooping later on instead of trusting him. What harm is it doing her if this guy DOES occasionally whack off over a video of his ex? Why are you assuming that he IS whacking off? These are memories and they are his to do what he sees fit with. Her feeling is of insecurity, and indulging it by pretending her demands and actions are reasonable is not the way to validate that feeling.


I feel like the commentariat is being very one-sided here. Yes, snooping is Bad and you shouldn't snoop if you can't handle the truth. LW fucked up there. But that doesn't change the fact that the bf lied.

Once he promised to delete the photos he should have deleted them. A 30-something in 2019 knows how to do that. If he thought she was being unreasonable he should have waited until LW was less upset and had a conversation with her like an adult. People have different expectations and just because you don't naturally see eye-to-eye doesn't mean you should deceive someone you supposedly love and respect. Fuck right off with that hiding it in a different place too.

If I found hundreds of photos of my bfs exes on his phone I'd be a little freaked. It's not the same thing as memories and it's not the same thing as porn. I hope all the commenters who talk about sharing ex photos with their current partners have consent to be sharing them.


BabyRae @ 51 - "I hope all the commenters who talk about sharing ex photos with their current partners have consent to be sharing them."

My last BF still has photos of us having sex on his sex-site profiles. He didn't ask for my permission (we're no longer on speaking terms), but if he had, I would have said "Yeah, NBD." Several other guys who weren't even BFs also do. None of them asked. I haven't contacted any of them to complain. I used to have pix of myself having sex with then-current and past lovers on my profiles until I decided that online hookups just weren't working for me and deleted them all. No one ever complained (the ones who didn't want their pix to be used asked me not to take pix at all, and that was that).

I really do think guys see this very differently from the way women do. And I second @ 11 and 13 - I'm so fucking glad I'm gay.


To the people saying he shouldn't have lied about deleting the photos or that he had no intention of deleting the photos, again I don't see why we know this is true.

There were 100 naked pics on his phone. He deleted 95 of them when she asked him to. There are two explanations: 1) that he saved those 5 b/c he wanted to keep them and lied about it, 2) that he simply missed them in the process of going through all his pics deleting photos.

The LW says the boyfriend said it was an oversight (that he missed them) and also that she had to scroll way back into his phone to get to those 5 videos.

So to me, it seems most likely that it really was an oversight.

I'm not saying the guy should've had to delete them in the first place, just that it's very ungenerous to assume he's lying, especially since he appears to have no interest in attempting to cover up the lie (freely lets his girlfriend look at his phone). To me, it sounds like the girlfriend has some trust issues.

We don't even know if he was wanking to them. They could very easily just be left on his phone and he hasn't thought about them. I have pics on my phone from a couple years ago- I can't even remember all that is on there.


@46 Harriet, the creepy part of your scenario isn't the wanting to have (in fantasy or real life) sex with other people (exes or not) from time to time which is so common as to be nearly universal. It's the part in which you snap your fingers to transform your current lover into those other people- erasing the real person and replacing her (at your whim) with someone else. Yikes!


For the record, I'm attracted to 100% of my exes. How could you date someone you aren't attracted to? I find that super rude and wouldn't do that to someone. I think that's a guy thing, female attraction seems to be more emotion based and women can go from highly attracted to uninterested fairly readily.

Anyway, it seems most people here are in agreement - taking and keeping pics is ok, don't snoop, don't sweat your exes past. The only thing I would ad is that if you have these photos, you have a responsibility to engage in basic data security. You don't need to stop a motivated hacker, but you should actively prevent others from freely accessing those pics - perhaps this LW might vengefuly share these pics after a break up, for e.g.

There are apps that can encrypt your files in your phone, that's a good place to start.


I've never felt compelled to write a comment on a letter before, but l am shocked with the general reaction to this. A lot of you (mostly hetero dudes, it seems) are being total effing assholes to this girl.

It is absolutely reasonable for her to ask that those pictures be deleted and to expect that it is done. Her boyfriend showed a tremendous lack of respect on this one. Deleting those photos is a pretty small price to pay to make your possible life partner happier.

Does she need to let go of her insecurities? Maybe. Does he need to let go of these pictures? 100% .

The dude has issues, as do all of you jerkwads who think this girl is insane.

I'm glad you assholes aren't dating my daughter.


It is possible to have different viewpoints and perspectives in the matter. The woman has the right to her feelings in this situation, as much as her boyfriend has a right to his old photos if he wants them. Just because this couple is incompatible and should break up doesn't mean her feelings are somehow superseded by his nostalgia for past girlfriends. It's actually bizarre that people try to find a set of feelings that is right and a set of feelings that are wrong in this matter. As for ethics, she snooped and he lied. Neither is blameless.


@56. Emma. 'Replace' was the wrong word. I only meant for someone else to be there when I opened the magic portal.

@51. BabyRae. But he did he promise? He eye roll said he would because eye roll there are some things women don't understand about men. Her request was palpably unreasonable, possibly coercive (he may have felt), not worth arguing over; and it came from a place of upset and insecurity he thought best to placate. So either then internalising PH's values, he deleted most of the photos (all but a very special handful) or, more independently, moved a lot of them onto storage.


To add to my point I think there's a kind of blase, hyper-individualized, kind of robotic of intimacy emerging in this culture that makes me think of the negative growth societies elsewhere. A kind of numbing social autism with regard to other people's experiences and feelings.


To add to my point I think there's a kind of blase, hyper-individualized, robotic notion of intimacy emerging in this culture that makes me think of the negative growth societies in Europe and Japan. A kind of numbing social autism with regard to other people's experiences and feelings.


I’m a 30something woman. I have pictures of my male exes. They were gifts. I’ve maybe looked at them a handful of times ever but if someone snooped through my shit and told me it was them or those pictures then I’d tell them to get out because it’s none of their business.


Twi, she's not a girl, she's a 32 year old woman. I'd be more sympathetic if she were a girl or even a young woman.

Also there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with her wanting to be with someone that does NOT keep 100s of naked photos of other women he's known on his phone. I wouldn't want to be with someone like that- not because I have a prob with my man looking at naked photos of other women, but because I think it's weird that he would keep like a photo bank of all the women he's fucked and carry it around with him all the time. Probably this is generational though. So if she doesn't want to be with a guy like that or if she is troubled by that, she has every right to feel that way and to a certain extent I even sympathize.

But it's wrong to pretend this is some objective standard instead of just some personal preference. There is likewise absolutely nothing wrong with this guy keeping all these pics (unless of course the women in the pics aren't ok with it). There's nothing unethical or harmful about it.

So this woman has to decide what to do. IMO, deciding to CHANGE HIM is a fool's errand which will lead to resentment later on. But in this case, he didn't oppose deleting them. He did so. Maybe it isn't such a big deal to him and this is something he's willing to accommodate. Great! It should be a happy ending for all!

But no. That was not good enough. Now she's freaking out over the five photos that she missed. She actually looked for evidence that he complied, found five photos that she thinks shouldn't be there, then refuses to believe his explanation for them (that they were an oversight) and now thinks he's lying and so upset by it she's writing to Dan.

That last part does indicate she has some issues with trust or insecurity or whatever it may be, and that nothing will be good enough. This is what people are responding to.

BTW I'm not saying it makes her a crazy controlling bitch or that he should dump her, but she does need to step back and really reflect on what is actually bothering her and why. My guess is that she's actually bothered by the fact that her man is the sort of guy that takes hundreds of photos of women and then keeps them on his phone in the first place- not all the stuff afterwards. Since this is common among young people, she should see if she can accept this fact. If she cannot, then they are not compatible and she should take it for what it is- an early warning of incompatibility before they committed. But trying to change who he is will never work. No matter what, he is a guy who took hundreds of photos of his exes and kept them on his phone for years.


Sporty, I do think there's some truth to that, in that when someone I find physically very attractive acts like an asshole, I no longer find them sexy. I might still admire their physical beauty in sort of an objective way, but any and all sexual desire disappears.

But I think in this context, "do you still find her attractive" is actually asking "would you still have sex with her if you could", and men choose not to have sex with people they find attractive all the fucking time. They end sexual relationships with people they find attractive for all sorts of reasons. So saying "no I don't find her attractive" is short hand for "no I don't want to have sex with her anymore". This may or may not be actually true, but it's not rude or weird to acknowledge that you no longer want to have sex with someone you used to want to have sex with.


Count me in as another who, after reading this, is glad he's gay.

My partner and I have been together since before we had cell phones. And the entire time we have had them I've been the one to back things up for both of us and basically act as tech support.

And in all that time I have never once snooped on his phone, on his computer, his letters, journal or anything else. I've literally downloaded hundreds of photos from his phone to computer without looking at them. We both know each other's passwords in case of emergency and I have never once used one without him asking me to, and I don't believe he has ever snooped in my things either.

And I don't think I'm super or special for that. It's really very easy to not snoop. You just don't do it.

Not that I would give a flying fuck if he had pictures of naked exes on his phone. But if he does or doesn't isn't any of my business. That we are married and been together for decades doesn't make me think I have a right to know everything, and that he doesn't have a right to privacy.

And while I agree with the folks saying we don't know if he actually lied about deleting the photos, as it is clear he did deleted the vast, vast majority of them and very possibly just missed a few, lets assume he did lie.

Well, maybe he shouldn't have lied then. Maybe he just should have broken up with her the moment she asked him to delete them. But I am thinking if he did she would have been writing the same letter, only it would include her complaining that after all that he broke up with her too.

As time goes on I'm even less inclined to want to snoop. Mainly because of how many letters Dan prints that begin, "I know I shouldn't snoop, but I did...".

I never want to be writing that letter, and seems the best way to not be there is to not do the thing we all agree we shouldn't be doing.


I feel like the LW's insecurity over this non-issue is related to the "One and Only" cultural script, which is very pervasive in monogamous heterosexual relationships. I think Dan may have written about it before, but can't find the reference right now. Page Turner of Poly.Land blog put it this way:

"I’d internalized a cultural script about monogamy and romance that was very all or nothing. I’d learned that you had to be someone’s One and Only for a relationship to be valid. And not only did you have to be their One and Only right then, but you also had to come out on top when considering their connections with others throughout their life. To be someone’s One True Love, you had to be the only person your partner ever really loved. Because of this, acknowledging that my partner’s ex had any good qualities (let alone that my partner ever loved them) seemed like a very dangerous premise. It was safer to diminish and invalidate that former relationship in my own mind — and at my pettiest moments, aloud."

When the LW says that she "felt really low" because she "couldn't understand why he needed to hold on to his past if we were in a happy & loving relationship", this is what she's alluding to. She'd be well-advised to read up on what some writers have described as "toxic monogamy" - a set of socially-sanctioned controlling and/or codependent behaviours, which lead to social and emotional isolation, and in some cases, actual emotional abuse. The fact that she is "too embarrassed" to talk about it with friends is another bad sign.


@60 Since a lot of those comments come from gay men, I'm sure they're glad to not be dating your daughter also.


@59 - Exactly right. They're mixed in with other photos, which means he never took the time or effort to organize them for easy access. She had to scroll way back in order to find them the second time. The most likely thing that happened is he just didn't feel the need after any of his breakups to go editing his past out of his phone. And when she asked him to, he did, but missed some, because again, it's not like they're organized in a way that makes them easy to find.


@ 60 - "Deleting those photos is a pretty small price to pay to make your possible life partner happier."

Asking for your partner to delete these photos is an excellent reason to doubt that she's a possible life partner.

"Does she need to let go of her insecurities? Maybe."

Not maybe: absolutely. If this matter his resolved, she'll find some other reason to poison their relationship.

"Does he need to let go of these pictures? 100% ."

100% not. They're part of his past. It's up to him to decide.

"The dude has issues, as do all of you jerkwads who think this girl is insane."

You seem to have more issues than all of us and the dude combined. I don't think the girl is insane (although I would find her unbearable). You, on the other hand...


Lesbisaurus @36

"She's upset because these videos are of his exes and he has made a special effort to keep them. He's made a special effort because she makes no mention of any images kept of his exes that are not sexual, or videos not of a sexual nature."

That's not how I read it at all. The LW says, that during the initial snafu, the boyfriend claimed that "he never looked at [his ex's naked pictures] and they were photos mixed in with years of his life". Then it took him several weeks to delete them, because "he said he had so many photos". When the LW snooped for the second time, she had to "scroll back far" before she found 4 dirty videos and 1 naked photo of the ex still on his phone. She says that "these videos and photo were amongst numerous other [presumably non-sexual] photos of this person". All of this leads me to believe that he probably had thousands of unsorted photos dating back years, and dispersed in this sea of photos were "close to a hundred" intimate pictures of exes. If he made a "special effort" to keep them, surely they'd all be neatly tucked away in a folder or two, which would take all of two seconds to delete?


The pic sending phenomenon is not exclusive to men, het or gay. Women do it too, including gay bio women. That said, most of “revenge” posts are done by het men to women they dated/were married to.

As someone who still exchanges pics I have a rule of not showing my face, and other possibly disclosing details like distinctive furniture, when I’m not fully clothed. Even if you trust the person you’re sending the pictures to, they can still be found by others who may put them to a bad use.

In other news: Ricardo, will you marry me?


CMD @ 75 - You're adorable, but I'm afraid my days of wanting a (love) relationship are over. Ours will have to remain platonic.


@67 I would find that kind of a deceptive "gotchya" question with an answer that is completely unrelated to the actual question in mind. Why say attracted when you mean "would you cheat with them"? It feels both manipulative and self-hating.


Emma @ 67 - For once, I totally agree with Sportlandia.

People should ask the questions that they really want the answer to, and not try to get it in a roundabout way, since that only leads to misinterpretation.

For my part, when I know someone is trying to manipulate me into giving them something which they're not clearly stating (as in the situation you describe), I always make a point of taking them 100% literally. For it is manipulation, and being manipulative is in no way a virtue, so I absolutely refuse to accomodate that person's lack of honesty.

Cocky @ 74 - I always knew I wasn't monogamously-inclined, so I always presumed most men weren't, either (and in my experience, I was absolutely right). Consequently, I was never jealous - as I thought this would be highly hypocritical of me -, so I don't fully understand that mindset. But one thing I do know is that it's a lot less common among gay men than within the heterosexual population (again, in my experience, both direct and indirect).


Harriet @62 - if her request was that ridiculous and impossible then he owes it to her to tell her that. Or break up with her, because they clearly have different values. But bullshitting to placate someone is a clear sign of disrespect. "Did he promise" my ass. I sincerely hope that isn't logic you use in your own relationships.


Ballsup @58, looks like a lot of projection has been happening on this thread. So many gay men putting in their ten cents worth. Men who seem to love the chance to say how happy they are that they are gay. If any of us hetero women got on here and blasted some of the behaviours of homosexual men and how alien they seem to some of us, and worse, to mock them, you lot would be screaming.
This young woman does not deserve such negativity. If you are still around LW after being so roundly discounted by so many in this thread.. mostly men.. please know you are ok and how you feel re this is valid.


Whether this guy jerks off to these videos or not is not the issue. He’s kept them for some reason and yet the girl has moved on. All the naked pics, the girls have moved on. Why doesn’t he.


@80 RE projecting: "LW, you are thirty two, you must have sussed the ways of most men by now. Lying, sneaky little fucks, some of them."

He's sneaky because he keeps old nude photos mixed in with regular ones and doesn't think much of hiding them? What? That's the opposite of being sneaky ... Also, why is it assumed that he's lying? (other than you just projecting your bad experiences with men onto LW's bf) He had tons of photos, he went through and tried to prune out the nudes and missed 5. They weren't moved or hidden in any way. Where's the sneakiness?

Here's a game for you - scroll through a phone with a thousand photos and find all photos with a particular person in them. See how many you miss.

I really don't understand what LW's bf is guilty of in all this. He had photos. She asked him to get rid of them. He attempted to do that. He missed a few.

Side note - yes, straight people cracking jokes about the behavior of gay people would be treated differently, but then again us straight people have a rich and wonderful history of making life hellish for people who don't fit the mold, so that's how it goes. In a similar vein, when Dave Chapelle does his 'White Voice' it's hilarious. When my Uncle tries to mimic what he refers to as 'Ebonics', it's racist and ugly.


LW, you haven’t been betrayed. These are pictures, still and moving. Feeling ashamed that you’ve wasted this time with a man who ignores how you feel because they are not the right feelings to have, you’re not alone there Robinson Crusoe, as my sweet late uncle used to say.


@81 Not editing out evidence of your past and not moving on are very different things. Some people can move forward in life without turning around and burning every bridge they had to cross to get where they are.


Actually if my assumption @73 is correct and the naked pictures of exes were mixed in with loads of other unsorted media on BF's phone, I think it shifts the initial incident from "accidental discovery" to "deliberate snooping". I can belive the USB-assisted tech fail. But LW counted "close to a hundred" "incriminating" photos. If they were all "mixed in with years of his life", it means she had to deliberately wade through his picture library looking for them.

The disingenuous language rubs me up the wrong way, too. She combed through his phone media - twice - "out of curiosity"? And "granted, [she] scrolled back far", but videos of the ex were "right there in plain sight"? Yeah, right.

Over the years, I've accidentally stumbled across numerous mementos of my girlfriend's past relationships (usually when helping her sort through boxes or trying to find something on her computer at her behest). Some sexy pictures, but mostly just little sentimental things, old letters and personal gifts and such. Know what I do when it happens? I acknowledge that I accidentally found something personal, and move right along.


@81/LavaGirl: "The girls have moved on. Why doesn’t he." Just because Mr. PH does move on the way that you would, does not imply that he has not moved on."


Whatever you guys. This woman feels the way she feels, she knows the sort of man she would prefer to be with, and this guy ain’t the one.


@Sporty & Ricardo, yeah I'm not disagreeing with that, I'm just saying why I think he could (theoretically) be telling the truth when he says he doesn't find her attractive. Several people here seem to believe that the boyfriend is lying, and I don't see anything in the letter that shows he lied about anything. She thinks he's lying about saying he overlooked those five photos, but that seems the more complicated explanation- it makes far less sense that he deleted 95 pics, kept 5 intentionally b/c he still finds that exl attractive, let the gf use his phone to look at photos, and then lied about why those 5 were there. And while I don't think it should matter if he's still attracted to this ex and wants to wank to her, it's just as likely that he isn't and doesn't.

@smajor 82, the gays can still be misogynistic (as could Chappelle) in their portrayals of het relationships, and I could definitely see some of that working people up. Likewise as you say, the straights can still be homophobic and people here would get worked up about that too. But I don't think stating simple advantages is offensive in anyway. Like if a lesbian says she's glad she's gay so doesn't have to worry about getting knocked up. Where it gets tricky is if the implication is that the stupid straights should just be exactly like the progressive gays with no consideration of the fact that the situation is different for straights. In this case though, I think it's a pretty simple statement of fact that gay dudes don't have to deal with jealousy in the same way that straights do, and nothing wrong with expressing that. It doesn't even strike me as cracking a joke- just more like, hey how nice we don't have to worry about this thing.


Lava @88 I completely agree with that. Or at least, all signs indicate that this is the case. But the solution to that problem is not to try to change him into a guy who is right for her- that's just going to lead to heart ache, drama, maybe worse.


To all the gay men going haha those silly women, every last one of you were inside one for nine months.


Lava @ 80 - "If any of us hetero women got on here and blasted some of the behaviours of homosexual men and how alien they seem to some of us, and worse, to mock them, you lot would be screaming"

Quite uncharacteristically (which is why I haven't commented on it yet), you've been demonstrating throughout this thread that you have zero clue as to how men think, so if you were to blast some of the behaviours of us gay men, I'd just put it down to you having ingested something that was off or whatever else is making you spew out such nonsense today.

Also, what smajor82 and sublime said @ 84 and 87, respectively.


Lava @ 91 - "To all the gay men going haha those silly women, every last one of you were inside one for nine months."

Whatever it is you've been taking, stop taking it right now. You're becoming pathetic.


Cocky @ 86 - To me, realizing I wasn't monogamously-inclined meant understanding that, just as no one can tell me what to do with my body, I have no right to tell anyone what to do with theirs. It follows that I should give no importance whatsoever to what they do with theirs when they are not with me.

In your hypothetical situation, I really don't see how it fucks with the head and is a total bummer. I'd just be happy to realize that I've introduced two people who found they had good chemistry, knowing that their was no reason for them to tell me about it since we're not romantically involved (although I guess this depends on your definition of "more-than-just-fuckbuddies", which might be different from mine).


Emma @ 89 - Just to be clear: I totally agree with your analysis of the situation.

The fact is, she seems to enjoy twisting the truth a bit (she had to scroll far, but the pix were in plain sight... and other examples mentioned by Lost Margarita @ 85) so that it fits her narrative, so we have no reliable idea of what, if anything, he promised, or if there were that many pix/ex-GFs to begin with, etc. As far as we can tell, we don't even know if it's true that he willingly let her see his photos. She may just have said that so as not to look like too much of a snoop. But if he did, that speaks well of him, and very badly of her for having scrolled down.

"It's a pretty simple statement of fact that gay dudes don't have to deal with jealousy in the same way that straights do, and nothing wrong with expressing that. It doesn't even strike me as cracking a joke- just more like, hey how nice we don't have to worry about this thing"

Right on. I won't name names, but some people on here today seem to take what we said as a repudiation of everything female, but that really has nothing to do with it. "Gay" is not the opposite of "woman", it's the opposite of "straight". And that sort of drama is expected and tolerated way more amongst straights than gays (in my experience and that of everyone of my friends ever; YMMV).


LW here... thanks for all the comments. some really great advice and some really sad ones. Not once in my letter to Dan did I say that I am an unflawed, perfect person - I am human and have my own shit, as does everyone is some way or another. I am not dating this person in hopes of changing him, I only asked that he delete the photos from his phone out of respect for me/my wishes. I never asked him to stop looking at porn and I'm not an idiot, I dont expect him to never find another human attractive. Nor did I ask him to "rip out pages of his journal" GTFO with that. However, I am in a closed, trusting, relationship and my partner deeply disappointed me. Sure - photos in the phone shouldn't be that big of a deal but it was new to me as I had never been with someone who had such a collection of photos of past lovers. I imagine to some of you that makes me prude. To me the collection was shocking. So, ya, I asked him to get rid of them and he didnt. He said he did, he dragged his feet, but he assured me he did. In "snooping" in plain sight, the collection was gone for sure, but now with an emphasis on one human, and her vagina close up. This wasn't the picture collection that I thought I saw last summer, this was something more. His ex, masturbating for him, multiple videos. I didnt even know there were videos - hence the shock to my prude shell. If I tell someone I am going to do something, I do it. If I hurt someone and try to fix it, I intentionally take the time to do it right. The carelessness shows a lack of respect.


JDEN @97, thanks for braving the comment section and dropping by. I get that you're hurting right now, but, honestly, this really is a hell of your own making. It's not a matter of being prudish or not. Most of us have insecurities. I don't relish the thought of finding my partner's relationship mementos or wankbank photos or private correspondence with exes. So I don't go poking around in places where such things might be found - and if I happen to find them by accident, I don't linger long enough to find out which devices the ex was masturbating with. I value my own sanity and serenity too much, and appreciate my partners' reasonable expectation of privacy.

I can empathise with your feelings of deep discomfort - I'd probably feel the same under the circumstances - but the only "lack of respect" that i can see, is your repeated, deliberate violations of your boyfriend's privacy.


“Right on. I won't name names, but some people on here today seem to take what we said as a repudiation of everything female, but that really has nothing to do with it.”

Bingo. I’d expect lesbians to be as likely to say the same thing.

It’s a generalization true, but generally speaking same sex relationships and opposite sex relationships have different dynamics, and I honestly don’t envy the average opposite sex relationship.

Not because they are so horrible but because the dynamics I see in them simply don’t appeal to me.


As a straight female I take zero offense at the general sentiment that "this kind of bullshit is a reason I enjoy being gay." In fact, I'll hop right on board and say, yeah, it's a reason I'm glad I'm not a lesbian. It does seem to be a much more prevalent issue among women.

EmmaLiz, I think, has it exactly right that the issue may really be the surprise/shock/discomfort that the guy had the collection to begin with, especially if the LW hasn't seen that sort of thing before. And all that came after is an attempt to erase that knowledge, pretend that's not the case. But it was, and it is. So I think the LW is asking the wrong question. It's not: why didn't he do what I asked? It's: can I get over this shock and still feel comfortable with this man?

Ricardo also hits the nail on the head several times in this thread.

Lava, I usually love what you have to say, but this time I think you're wrong. The "people have a right to their feelings" thing--yeah, not really. Or, maybe they do, but then it's equally true that we have a right not to respect those feelings.

And I'll go ahead and disagree with LW, who commented above. Photos are like journal entries. Both represent a moment in your past, a thing that was important enough to you to record. There may be a gender thing here--the standard "guys like pictures, girls like words" stereotype--that makes them feel substantially different to you, but that doesn't make your feeling correct. Asking him to delete them is, to my mind, an unreasonable ask.


@79. BabyRae. He doesn't actually promise. Read the letter. They discuss the photos intensively. He says he doesn't look at them (plausible; they're not just sexual but human and emotional memorabilia to him) and that they're mixed up with other mementos. Then, after a while, he tells her he deleted them. At no point does he say anything like, 'I see you're right e.g. I see it's about emotional monogamy, and I make the promise to delete these pics'. Who knows why he gets rid of them? Because the phone is evidently the wrong place for them? To shut her up? Because her request seems needy and insecure to him; and he wants to offer some reassurance, in the way you do to someone obviously in the grip of a misapprehension or compulsion?

We hear relatively little about him until right at the end. Her letter is full of language desperate to put their relationship in the best light e.g. the weekend adventure. (He just likes e.g. scrambling or Lake Tahoe). What Lost Margarita says about the brain-melting script of toxic monogamy is right. She needs to disabuse herself of many expectations and just talk and listen to him.


@86. cockyballsup. Agreed--I get bristly and jealous with fuckbuddies sharing a private joke. I veto my partner's doing all sorts of things for reasons of ill-founded insecurity and jealousy.

If the generality of the commenters aren't granting the validity of PH's feelings ... well, what are these feelings of? Surely not fear he doesn't want to make a life with her, on the strength of his retaining the sexy images.... That would be an unwarrantable inference on that basis. That he's cheated on her? Not on this basis. Doesn't love her? Will leave her? What?


Well I'm not a lesbian so my sample size is not from personal experience, but of the lesbians in my friend circle, they are constantly dealing with issues around jealousy. The way they differ from het couples is it never gets violent and they seem to hang out as friends after breakups, but the jealousy is definitely there.


As for myself, I am capable of being jealous but it has nothing to do with sex, so like cocky I don't make the connection between jealousy and monogamy in the first place.


@60 @70 @72 @80 @92 @98 Sometimes women of all stripes lose track of the fact that gay men are men - and are culturally much more similar to straight men than they are to women.

We can't talk for all men, of course - but we've often got a better understanding of guys like this LW's partner, and a better understanding of the false premises she's operating out of, than a lot of women have. What his behavior indicates is probably not what she thinks it indicates, but she's made it clear she can't understand that it is even possible that her interpretations are wrong, doesn't believe him if he says his experience is different from what she says it must be, and doesn't realize that she's blinded by her own assumptions.

I agree with those who say she should dump him and prepare for life in a convent, or just living with her cats or dogs. Any man she hooks up with will eventually reveal that he's not like her in every way, and will rebel, openly or secretly, against being snooped on, being told that his experience of his own life is not valid, being told that what he says about his feelings is not true, and that he must toe her line or go. None of which is predictive of a satisfying relationship for either party.


@97. JDEN. Can you say why you want him to get rid of the photos and videos?


Heteronormativity depends on straight men and women misunderstanding each other. It takes gender differences that might or might not be there in a less heterosexist culture, and magnifies them--so that they are a part of the constitutive tension of straight relationships, where attraction and a sort of uncomprehending enmity are wound round each other.

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