My boyfriend, the secret photographer
November 13, 2008 6:03 AM   Subscribe

Discovered my boyfriend has been secretly (occasionally) photographing naked models going back for years. I confronted, he came clean. Why am I still upset? (poss NSFW)

(Apologies for the length, it turns out I'm another of those self-obsessed people who posts reams in relationship questions.)

Well, I guess I deserved the shock I got when I was poking around on his computer. (I know, shame on me, I have told him and apologised for this.) I found several folders of photos documenting photo sessions lasting 1 or 2 hours with scantily clad, topless or naked women. I did not find very many sessions (about half a dozen) but the dates went back to four years ago, a year after we started dating.

It was obviously his photography: these sessions seemed to mostly take place at his parents' house, which he visits as a base for 1-day business trips in his home town every fortnight. Two recent sessions were in our new house which we moved into in August. The photos were at first taken with his camera, then with my (better) camera which he borrowed. Most of the photos were just poses of the women in various states of undress (occasionally fully clothed), in different rooms etc. Some were very explicit, eg. shots of one naked woman eating half a strawberry then dribbling the juice over her (close-up) vagina. There is no suggestion of any kind of sexual contact with the women, nor do I believe this to be true.

We have been together for five years, since I was 18, and have lived together for three. We are a close couple and spend most of our time together. This is compounded by the fact that neither of us are very outgoing and we don't have much of a social network. We spend a lot of weekends at home together. He probably has more close friends than I do, but pretty much 100% of them are online-only friends. He works from home as well, so doesn't have any workmates either. I know this is sometimes frustrating for him and he'd like to have more contact with people.

I was quite shocked when I first found the photos - partly because of the subject matter, but the real punch to the gut was that he had kept this completely from me, for years, and I never suspected anything. I don't want to be the nagging girlfriend who lays down the law and stops him from doing the few things he wants to do. I also feel guilty for his lack of social network because he hasn't been very happy since moving away from his home town, and somewhat blames me for dragging him away from there (first for university, then for my work). He has his own internet business which is fairly easy to run from whatever location, but 90% of his clients are still in his home town (2.5 hours away) and he hasn't found any local ones.

I tried to sort out how I felt and concluded that it wasn't the subject matter but the secrecy that bothered me. (Btw, I also found some porn on his computer that I didn't know about. Don't care.) When he came home I gently confronted him. He seemed quite unruffled (not the reaction I was expecting) and explained that he's always had an interest in that kind of thing, but has always kept it quite discreet because of not wanting it to intrude at all on his professional life. He said that it was a weird thing to bring up when we first started dating (and it would have been, with me having been quite a naive 18 year old) and then the longer he left it the weirder it would have seemed to bring it up. I get that. He also said that he's used to compartmentalising his life, and that with us living "on top of each other" a lot of the time he kind of liked having some part of his life that he didn't have to share, that he had control over, and that everybody didn't know about.

He also said he assumed I wouldn't be bothered by the subject matter because we both have fairly liberal attitudes when it comes to sex, and that I probably recognised that there's a professional boundary in photography, ie. thinking of the subject as an artistic object rather than a naked woman in front of you. He explained that he knows these models from an online photography network he frequents. Some of them are paid, some of them do it for fun.

He agreed, after I asked, that in future he would tell me about it whenever he does this, and that if it did bother me that it would be no great loss to stop doing it. I told him it was okay as long as I know about it, but now I'm not sure if it is.

Right now I feel deeply weirded out, but that it's my problem and I'll get over it. The thing is that the more I reflect on it the more uncomfortable and prudish I feel. I dislike the fact that my boyfriend has been interacting at all with (half-)naked women while he or I am away, even though intellectually I think he's separated it in his mind from thoughts of me, and it's not a sexual situation for him. I am getting all insecure over whether he would prefer it if I looked like they do. I feel that this isn't a big deal for him, and therefore it shouldn't be for me either.

So how much am I obsessing? (Quite a lot, given the length of this post.) Does this have any larger implications for our relationship, or how he thinks of me? Am I being irrational? How much upset is justified, and how much due to the sheltered world I live in (which I therefore should get over)?

Throwaway email: boyfriend.secret.photographer@googlemail.com
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (67 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ok, taking nude photos of other women with out your knowledge for the majority of your relationship? I'm sorry but this would be a total deal breaker for me. Maybe I'm not forgiving enough but I'd be done. If you are even THINKING of forgiving him, you are an awesome person and he doesn't deserve you. I hope that you find the answers you need. Best of luck to you and this situation.
posted by pearlybob at 6:15 AM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


The upset is totally justified, that's simply not cool. I think that far from you being upset due to your sheltered life you are being way too understanding because of it, i.e you are thinking that this is just how people are in the big bad world (it isn't). I wouldn't trust someone who'd hide such a thing as far as I could throw em.
posted by zeoslap at 6:22 AM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm a big fan of thinking lying through omission is just as bad as lying directly. You shouldn't have to ask him, "Hey, by the way, you aren't taking nude photographs of women when I'm not around, are you?"

If he'd come clean to you all those years ago, and you'd discussed it then, maybe maybe you could have been more easily ok with it. You've got a liberal attitude about sex and trust him implicitly? Awesome, go snap till your heart's content.

But 4 years after the fact. No fucking way.

And also, you've been in this relationship for quite a while, and though you're young by most standards, if this relationship is going to be one that lasts, that "compartmentalizing" thing is bullshit. Yes, each person in a couple should have their own time and their own hobbies, but hiding shit like this blatantly is crap.

Do you think that if he'd been making model airplanes, he would have made sure to hide all of his work from you?

Honestly, I can't get into the guy's head, and I'm a guy. If you think he's being honest and want to give him a second chance, fucking communicate, PLEASE. Talk to him about this, and make him talk to you. Without communication, you're screwed, if not now, then down the road. The only time my fiancee and I ever go at it is when one of us has let something go too long without saying it.

Good luck.
posted by SNWidget at 6:28 AM on November 13, 2008


Uh, as someone with an outside perspective, that is a really strange thing not to have disclosed to someone you having been living with for 3 years (though I can imagine it isn't very easy to bring up). Regardless of "professional boundaries" or whatever. If there was really that much of a professional boundary, and there was no sense in which these were sexual situations to him (honestly, this seems unlikely, even if nothing ever actually happened with a model) I don't see why he would have not been able to mention this to you at some point. Also I suspect that if he wasn't fazed it's because he had worked out a very specific plan for what to do when you found out and confronted him
posted by advil at 6:30 AM on November 13, 2008


If my wife did this, and I knew about it the whole time, I'd have no problem with it. If she did it without telling me, I'd be totally creeped out, and that would be the end of the relationship.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 6:32 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok, I have to temper my earlier response a little, I came off a little crazed. You are trying to "be cool" about it because you aren't a prude but this isn't all about the subject matter. It is a HUGE breech of trust, no matter how he tries to rationalize it. He is trying to act very "this is no big deal, I'll stop if you don't like it" but if he managed to hide it for four years, what else is he or will he hide? We are all strangers and you are the only one who can decide for you but please be so careful. I think the weirded out feeling you have is the fact that your trust is gone and that is not something to take lightly. I think you knew something was up when you started snooping in the first place. A woman's intuition is a real thing so pay attention to what it is telling you. Again, best of luck.
posted by pearlybob at 6:32 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are you sure his "internet business" isnt partly a pornography business?
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:39 AM on November 13, 2008


With YOUR CAMERA?

Who uses your camera and then doesn't even invite you to the photo shoot?

This whole thing is disrespectful and weird, and the compartmentalizing thing is bullshit.

I'm in a committed, long-term relationship, which happens to allow for lots of kinky extramarital nookie (TMI?). I still find this unacceptable.

The key is honesty. Honesty is how we show our partner we love and respect them.

So, no, you're not a prude.
posted by sondrialiac at 6:46 AM on November 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


What must be particularly upsetting is the weirdness of the revelation. If you'd found out he'd been cheating on you in the standard way the shock might be as great, but it would be a situation that you'd be kind of prepared for (as we all are), with relatively standard sets of responses to follow.

He said that it was a weird thing to bring up when we first started dating (and it would have been, with me having been quite a naive 18 year old) and then the longer he left it the weirder it would have seemed to bring it up.

This is a lame but understandable excuse. I did a similar thing once: told a fundamental lie about my past at the start of a relationship, not expecting it to last long enough to matter. A year passed, then, and the lie became a horrible burden, and I only admitted to it when a situation came up that made it impossible not to. My then-girlfriend nearly broke up with me over this - though the lie did not materially affect our relationship, the weirdness of the breach of trust seriously freaked her out - and perhaps she should have.

The difference with your boyfriend is that he told a lie (of omission at least) and then continued to act on it. If he'd done this kind of thing before your relationship started, even a little of the way into it, then stopped, and you'd only found out now, it might still be strange for you but you could probably find a way to get over it. But he's hidden this hobby of his while continuing to pursue it, and this suggests serious problems with the way he views your relationship.

You say you don't think this was a "sexual situation" for him. If by that you mean you don't think he did anything with the girls, fair enough, but there is NO WAY that photographing naked girls wasn't a sexual situation, that it didn't get him off, even if he was getting other things out of it. I think that for him it was a form of cheating he could believe was "not really" cheating, but I still think it's cheating, and your response is totally rational. If I were your boyfriend I would expect to be dumped for this, no question. (I'd actually feel more guilty about doing this than I would about fucking someone else. I couldn't explain it away as being in the heat of the moment or anything. It's just calculated deception.)
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:54 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


And at your house, too?
So these strangers come in, get naked, and pose on your furniture?
To me, that's icky. Way icky.
posted by pointystick at 7:00 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


4 years of secretly photographing naked women? That's a dumping.
posted by gomichild at 7:00 AM on November 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


explained that he's always had an interest in that kind of thing, but has always kept it quite discreet because of not wanting it to intrude at all on his professional life.

So he didn't tell you, the woman he lives with. While he was taking pictures of nude women, with your camera in your house. And you're worried about being naggy and feeling bad because pobrecito doesn't have any friends?

I'll say it because you can't: that's some straight up bullshit. You can't let go of it because you know it's wrong. If he wasn't worried about you knowing about it, he would have told you a long time ago.

There's no room for secrets like this in strong relationships, and you're doing yourself a great disservice if you let him make you feel like you were wrong. You aren't wrong.
posted by sugarfish at 7:01 AM on November 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yeah...this is weird.

Also, he had these naked women IN YOUR HOUSE and took pictures of them in different rooms? Uh uh. It would be a deal breaker for me.
posted by purplecurlygirl at 7:01 AM on November 13, 2008


Ohhh, dear. I think you've identified that the main issue here is not that he was taking nude pictures of other women for years after you started dating, but instead the fact that he repeatedly kept this from you. It wasn't a one-time thing for an art project two years before you met. The nondisclosure suggests that either he had extreme reasons for keeping you in the dark or his idea of 'compartmentalizing' is seriously, seriously off.

There's now an element of mistrust in your relationship, and this will be very, very difficult to get rid of. You say that he goes back to his hometown every two weeks; how suspicious are you going to be? Will you check his computer? Refuse to give him your camera?

You both need to sit down, perhaps with an impartial third party, and bring all of these issues to the table. His behavior was inexcusable.

How did he respond when you confronted him? Did he take you seriously, or was it more of a "sheesh! Jesus, I didn't know you'd be so touchy about it! Fine, if you're that upset I just won't do it again, okay?".

I'm sorry that your body image and relationship has suffered as a result.
posted by amicamentis at 7:07 AM on November 13, 2008


Anonymous, I spent years in a relationship telling myself that my boyfriend's profound boundary problems were actually all just my own uptight hang-ups.

I was wrong there to explain away my gut reactions in hopes of being a "cool" girlfriend, just as I think you are wrong here to worry more about being a prude than about this bizarre violation of your trust.

He also said that he's used to compartmentalising his life, and that with us living "on top of each other" a lot of the time he kind of liked having some part of his life that he didn't have to share, that he had control over, and that everybody didn't know about.

This creeps me out because it's almost exactly what my 27 yr old boyfriend said about his 16 yr old female friend when I suggested we all hang out together, because I was trying to be cool. Turned out he picking her up from high school every day and fucking her in our bed while I was still at work.

Trust yourself. You are not being irrational to be thrown by this revelation. Stop trying to make your reaction to this the problem! Let yourself be confused and hurt.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:18 AM on November 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


He also said he assumed I wouldn't be bothered by the subject matter because we both have fairly liberal attitudes when it comes to sex, and that I probably recognised that there's a professional boundary in photography, ie. thinking of the subject as an artistic object rather than a naked woman in front of you. He explained that he knows these models from an online photography network he frequents. Some of them are paid, some of them do it for fun.

This is only a valid excuse if he's any sort of photographer. Does he study it a bit? Does he include you in his photography hobby? Does he read, do research, practice? Does he spend time actually being a photographer? And why the hell doesn't he have his own good camera then?

He violated your trust. He violated the private intimate nature of your own home. He refused to come clean and is lying to you (and himself) in assuming that these sessions were, in any way, professional. I am very familiar with photographers who are in LTR and who photograph nude or semi-nude women. And guess who is never kept in the dark? The spouses/SOs of the photographers. When it's a hobby, you want to show off. When it is something that you want to enjoy and brag about, you tell your significant other about it. This guy didn't do that and he damaged your trust.

And never use being 18 year olds and "naive" as excuse for someone to break trust issues with you. If what he was doing wasn't such a big deal, he would have mentioned it to you at some point. The fact that he didn't, that he would have created a system of actively lying and concealing his behavior to you (make sure to delete memory cards, make sure you're not home, etc) shows that this was an active choice on his part to hide this from you.

He should be dumped and he should be dumped right now. Kick his ass to the curb.
posted by Stynxno at 7:21 AM on November 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


there's a professional boundary in photography, ie. thinking of the subject as an artistic object rather than a naked woman in front of you...
He cannot disown the sexual motive behind his art entirely, though. He could have photographed flowers, trees or clouds; instead, he paid an attractive woman to dribble strawberry juice over her vulva. He was deriving sexual stimulation from an economic transaction with another person and not telling you about it. It's akin to going to a lap-dance club or ringing a phone-sex line. You may not mind him looking at porn, but would you be OK with him getting lapdances or having phonesex without your knowing it?

I also feel guilty for his lack of social network...
Lots of people move to different cities or countries and build a social network in their new location. He is a grown man, if he wants a rich social life, he needs to take responsibility for building one himself. He has managed to convince women to take part in nude photo sessions, so he can't be that shy. Nothing's stopping him from going out and making new, clothed friends.

He said that it was a weird thing to bring up when we first started dating (and it would have been, with me having been quite a naive 18 year old) and then the longer he left it the weirder it would have seemed to bring it up.

If he felt he couldn't own up to it, he should have stopped doing it. He was too much of a coward to risk telling you, and lacked the self-control to stop the photo sessions. Now he's trying to make out that it's your fault. Don't let him.

How much upset is justified, and how much due to the sheltered world I live in (which I therefore should get over)?
Well, he lied to you for years, and now he's been caught in that lie, but instead of being contrite, he is trying to make you feel guilty, or suggest that there's nothing at all to be upset about. You should be absolutely livid.
posted by ShameSpiral at 7:26 AM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why am I still upset?

You need to realize that your upset is a warning sign your own body is giving you. Its designed to get past rationalizations and get right to you.

Start by taking away the camera.

Seriously, if you want to be sure have him show you every part of what he's been doing. Ask to see this "network" where he's getting these models from. If he says no, its because there isn't any.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:34 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


He agreed, after I asked, that in future he would tell me about it whenever he does this, and that if it did bother me that it would be no great loss to stop doing it. I told him it was okay as long as I know about it, but now I'm not sure if it is.

then if you're not comfortable with it, tell him to stop. I don't see why he shouldn't be able to stop. unless he fucks the models, obviously (which you don't really know about). if it's really only photography, I don't see it as a huge deal -- having said that he should have come clean with you, we all agree on that I think. he's being a bit of an asshole, but if he's not fucking the models ans he's simply interested in photographing naked women, I don't see where the tragedy is. but, as I said above, if you're not comfortable with it, tell him to stop.
posted by matteo at 7:36 AM on November 13, 2008


This is pretty simple. He lied to you. Kept a secret because he either intended something sneaky or he felt he couldn't communicate his creative interests to you. Either way, not the foundation of a solid relationship.
posted by scarello at 7:45 AM on November 13, 2008


I agree that you have a right to be skeeved about the secrecy.

I'm one of those ladies! I do some very infrequent art modeling (SHUT UP, KIDS, IT'S ART, OK) and my boyfriend, also an artist, thinks it's ace. He knows the difference between the sex I only have with him and me squinting into bright lights, balanced on a 6 inch heel, posing for someone I trust and like but don't love.

However-he knows about it. From the start. When. Why. Who. If and how much I am getting paid. As liberal and art-faggy as we both are, I think he'd have a right to be pissed if I didn't come clean about it.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:49 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll second what everyone is saying, and give a real life example.

I found out that my boyfriend of many years was trading nudie pics with people online without my knowledge. Am I opposed to that? No. And as I told him, I was only upset about the fact that he was keeping it from me. Why? Because if he's willing to keep something of that nature (psuedo-sexual) from me, what else will he keep from me?

I tried explaining to him that if it is done with my knowledge, I'm totally comfortable with it. This - seemingly - resolved the issue.

I should have trusted my instinct. After a few years of being together, I suggested that we open up the relationship a bit upon a bit of advice from Dan Savage (who I usually trust in these situations). So I'm not a prude. He protested. It wasn't what he wanted. Fair enough. I dropped it.

Then he cheated.

I'm not saying this to scare you. But I'm saying this to prove that your feelings mistrust are completely valid and there for a reason. This is shady behavior, no matter how you look at it. And one type of shady behavior is a good indicator of other types of shady behavior.
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:55 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wanted to take your POV of things on this, I really did. But the same thought kept creeping up on me as Stynxno pointed out: This is only a valid excuse if he's any sort of photographer.

Followed by Ironmouth's Ask to see this "network" where he's getting these models from.

After that, if you're still not comfortable with the situation, ask him to stop. Whether he *actually* stops or not, well.. That's something else entirely. Best of luck, this can't be easy for you.
posted by pkphy39 at 8:00 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're still upset because you remember all the times you said, "Hey baby, how was your day?" And he conveniently, and repeatedly, for years, neglected to mention how he mostly enjoyed the part of his day that involved taking closeup pictures of naked women, with your camera, in your house.

On one level, I understand his desire to keep something private, but to actually do this for years, and in the way described, is way beyond the pale. It's not like he was secretly taking dance classes. I am not saying you should or shouldn't break up with him, but you are definitely not obsessing. You are reassessing your relationship in the light of new information. Eventually you will come to a conclusion.
posted by milarepa at 8:09 AM on November 13, 2008


A contrarian view: other than saying "we're a close couple", you don't say anything about whether you really like this guy a lot and want to preserve the relationship. Presumably it is your first live-together experience. If there are other reasons, besides all this, why you might want to call it a day and move on, go ahead. If not, if things are really great in all other respects, then with all due respects to those who want you to get out, I think it would be worth another try. In other words, do you want to look at this as Strike One, or Strike Three? Relationships have recovered from a lot worse than this. Find a counselor or trusted third party, sit down several times specifically to really talk this through, and see what happens.
posted by beagle at 8:15 AM on November 13, 2008


Even if we (you) can rationalize or explain away most of this (the photo taking and the reluctance to tell you), I want to mention that he seems to think that what he did was okay. That because the two of you live together and he needs "something of his own" then it's okay to take photos of women dripping strawberry juice onto their hoo-hahs in your house, with your camera. And then when you ask him about it he doesn't say, "It was really hard to tell you about it when we first met, and it just got harder to tell you, and I'm sorry if my not telling you hurt you, I know it was a shitty way to act. I'd like to keep taking these photos, what can we work out so that you're comfortable with that - maybe if you were there or knew about it beforehand or [x,y,z]?"

If he thought you wouldn't be bothered by it he would have mentioned it. It's not like you found out that he sometimes stops to get a Dr. Pepper at the 7-11, and why would he mention that, because who cares and why would it ever even come up?

Please don't brush aside your concerns because you are in fact a cool girlfriend. Being cool about shit doesn't mean that you don't get to expect basic standards in your relationships with people.
posted by KAS at 8:17 AM on November 13, 2008


Also - he is the one who decided to move away from his home town. It's not like the fact that he made that choice means that he gets to extract outrageous concessions from you, and it does not mean that you owe him "extra" understanding.
posted by KAS at 8:21 AM on November 13, 2008


Who uses your camera and then doesn't even invite you to the photo shoot?

This made me giggle.

On the one hand, I can totally understand why you feel betrayed and lied to -- he was up to something that you should have been told about, and that had a sexual component (even if he kept his hands 100% to himself -- if it was just about the photography, he could have photographed still lifes or landscapes).

But at the same time, I can also sympathize with him, in that four years ago it would have been easy to say, "well, I'll tell her next month," and then pretty soon you are facing the impossible question of "how do I tell her now, when she'll yell at me about not telling her before?" It's so easy to duck telling at first, and then to have that not-telling lead to more not-telling, and then it's five years later and the not-telling doesn't just go away on its own.

So: I think what's really going on is that the two of you need to relearn how to communicate and support each other. Maybe the photography is just a hobby, or maybe it's the crux of his online business, or it's about the titillation, I don't know -- but what matters is that you don't know, either. And unless you understand why he is doing this, you can't possibly make sense of how this will effect your marriage.

You need to confront the question of why he needs to keep secrets from you -- does he feel that he doesn't have any space of his own? Or is he being kind of creepy and secretive, and as time goes on you'll find out all sorts of other icky things he was doing when you thought he was visiting his mom?
posted by Forktine at 8:24 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


He left the pix on the laptop; they weren't hidden or encrypted; he wanted you to find them.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:25 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're not being at all irrational, its understandable that you're upset - he didn't trust you enough to tell you that he takes pictures of nekkid ladies when you're out. (on the other hand, thats what you get for snooping around his computer ;) ) In fact IMO, its not OK to have fully clothed people come into your house without your knowledge.

But I also understand your boyfriend's point of view - I am terrible at broaching subjects - I just can't do it and the longer you leave it the harder it is. So I totally understand why he didn't tell you. Its a character flaw, it doesn't mean he's up to no good with these girls or that he thinks they're sexier than you. But I think the point where he crossed the line is, doing in your house and with your camera without telling you.

I think your first reaction is probably closest to how you rationally feel - that you understand that its just art but you're upset about the secrecy. The other stuff - the insecurity is you dwelling on it. Maybe you could ask if he'd like to take pictures of you, maybe he would but didn't think you'd go for it or didn't know how to ask.

You said you found porn and didn't have a problem with that. So him looking at naked pictures that he didn't take doesn't make you insecure, but him taking the naked pictures does - that isn't rational (assuming you trust that he's not getting up to anything with the girls and he's just photographing them) How would you feel if he had these pictures but he didn't take them?

You need to figure out exactly how you feel and then express it to him, he's already said that if you have a problem with it then he'll stop and you have to trust that he means it.

But its absolutely OK and normal to feel how you feel and to need time to get over it. I don't think it really has any long term implications for your relationship other than you've found out your boyfriend is less than perfect.
posted by missmagenta at 8:32 AM on November 13, 2008


He left the pix on the laptop; they weren't hidden or encrypted; he wanted you to find them.

Or he trusted his girlfriend not to snoop through his private belongings.
posted by missmagenta at 8:34 AM on November 13, 2008


Maybe I'm much less of a prude than I thought, but...he's just taking pictures? And he wasn't defensive when you asked him about it?

What exactly is the problem?
posted by kittyprecious at 8:35 AM on November 13, 2008


The problem is other naked women showing up at your house in total secret. I think that would annoy anyone, and give them pause. To me that's unacceptable, but if you can forgive him and never doubt him again, you're amazing. I would never view the guy the same way again. No matter how liberal you are, relationships are built on trust first and foremost. You TELL your partner about anything that has sexual overtones, to ease any fears and make sure there are no misunderstandings. Secrets of this nature are not healthy. Ever.
posted by Bakuun at 8:49 AM on November 13, 2008


the compartmentalizing thing is bullshit

I completely agree. I moved in with my husband 2 years before we got married, and yes, I have hobbies that don't include him. I watch porn and masturbate when he's not around, but I don't keep secrets from him, especially not secrets that involve people that you don't know coming in to your house.

You have a right to be upset, and he has a responsibility to make this right for you. You need to decide what you want and be willing to walk away if he won't compromise, or just be willing to walk away if your sentiments don't align.

In other words, it seems like he wants to continue to take pornographic pictures of women, and you don't want him to do that. It's not prudish to want your committed partner to not take pornographic pictures of other people. Breaking up wouldn't be a failure at this point - it would be an acceptance of the fact that your values significantly differ from his in a way that's not reconcileable.
posted by muddgirl at 9:02 AM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think everyone else has said this very well. Never never never let someone guilt you into something you're uncomfortable with because they give you some bullshit about how they thought you were "cool enough" to handle it.
posted by MsMolly at 9:24 AM on November 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


the compartmentalizing thing is bullshit

Thirded.

This would be totally unacceptable to me, a total dealbreaker. And I'm sexually liberal (hell, I made my boyfriend a custom Abby Winters dvd for his birthday).

But I'll admit that some of my response is based on the fact that I know "glamor photographers", which is usually what this sort of photography is called; my SO's brother has been into that scene for years. "Objectification of women" is putting it mildly. "Hobby porn" is closer. Also, I can't help but be curious if you guys co-mingle your money at all. Some of those models can be really expensive, upwards of a few hundred bucks an hour.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:30 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, whatever you feel - prudish, weirded out, uncomfortable - is a valid way to feel. There's no need 'try' to make yourself comfortable with something just because you think you should be or somebody tries to make you feel as though you should. You have a right to whatever emotions you have about this.

That said; relationships are about honesty. I live in a studio with my GF too, so I get his need for 'alone time'. But, shit man, take up boxing or running or wine tasting or bird watching or sailing or sketching (fully clothed) people in the park. I know that if my GF found that I'd been keeping a secret life as a nude-capturing shutterbug from her I'd quickly have a black eye and a couple of smashed testes (and not court in the land would convict her, so to speak).

You are perfectly justified in being upset - lots of upset. you are perfectly justified in being cool with this, too - that's for you to decide - but don't try to put on an act here. That'd be as dishonest as he's been.

Oh, he needs to get over the "SHE made me move away so I have to take naked pictures of my MySpace friends" thing. He's an adult, right? He makes his own decisions.
posted by Pecinpah at 9:46 AM on November 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Here's another sexually liberal "cool" girl casting her vote for DTMFA. If my husband did this, all his shit would be on the street tomorrow.

it's not a sexual situation for him.

BULLSHIT
posted by desjardins at 10:17 AM on November 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


The photos were at first taken with his camera, then with my (better) camera which he borrowed. Most of the photos were just poses of the women in various states of undress (occasionally fully clothed), in different rooms etc. Some were very explicit, eg. shots of one naked woman eating half a strawberry then dribbling the juice over her (close-up) vagina. There is no suggestion of any kind of sexual contact with the women, nor do I believe this to be true.

Taking pictures of someone else's vag with YOUR camera and not telling you? Oi. That's crossing a number of lines that are very difficult to go back over.

Even if there's no sexual contact taking place, he should have been upfront about this. Like "Oh, I need to borrow your camera, and the photoshoot is kind of intense - I hope that's cool with you." Judging by your post, that would have been fine. This? No matter what kind of excuses he has for the secrecy, it's obvious that it was part of the attraction - not that it was a sexual thing, but that he really ENJOYED doing something that he wasn't telling you about.

I don't think I could be with someone who had a secret life like that. His compartmentalizing, which he admits to, isn't something that is going to help build a healthy relationship - it's just going to keep feeding into these habits of you finding about what he does (even if it's in and of itself pretty tame stuff... which, this isn't exactly tame) long AFTER he's done it.

It's up to you to decide if you're ok with that. I wouldn't be.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:46 AM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wait, let me get something straight. You've been going out five years. You found pictures going back to four years. He says he didn't want to tell you about the pictures when you first starting going out because it would be weird, and then he was afraid to bring it up because it would be even weirder because he hadn't told you before.

But how does that make any sense when, as far as you can tell, he started taking the pictures a year after you started dating? It doesn't sound like it was a pre-existing hobby. You're just assuming that he'd been taking them for longer, or... what?

I'm pretty open-minded about these things, but a woman dribbling strawberry juice into her vagina isn't sexual? And he lied to you for four years, but you're sure he's telling the truth when he says he didn't do anything sexual with them?

Anyway, he lied to you for four years. He brought people into the house you share without telling you. He used your camera for it without thinking to tell you. And he doesn't seem remorseful about it. Even assuming he was telling the truth about not cheating on you, he ought to be remorseful as shit about lying to you about everything else.

What exactly does he need to do to prove he's untrustworthy? I mean for you to actually think about that; can you come up with a hypothetical where you wouldn't make excuses for him? Because right now you don't sound cool, you sound like a pushover. It's commendable that you want to be understanding even in a bullshit situation like this, but I really feel you're being played here.
posted by Nattie at 10:51 AM on November 13, 2008


Two thoughts, no, sorry, make that three thoughts.
Maybe you should have thought longer and harder about it before you started poking around on his computer.
It could have been a lot worse.
Seek, and ye shall find.
posted by Dr.Pill at 11:04 AM on November 13, 2008


Maybe you should have thought longer and harder about it before you started poking around on his computer.
It could have been a lot worse.


Oh, whatever. While her behavior wasn't correct, it's not her fault that he's taking photos of the vulvas of other women.

Also, I'd posit that, for many people, it doesn't get much worse than this.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:08 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmmmm....
again, it's not the taking photo's that is the problem (if he really has been observing proper professional ethics), but that he's been consciously keeping it a secret from you.

More to the point, from your description, it kind of sounds like he might have been getting off on it 'being a secret'. The whole compartmentalisation thing, and yet, being entirely unruffled by discovery.

The worry here, is that pattern of behaviour might (might) play over into other areas of your relationship.

Unless you are entirely comfortable with that idea, and don't mind regarding that as a possible quirk/kink/issue of his, you have a problem.
The problem is, that none of us can tell you whether that is a pattern that will be replayed in other areas, or whether it's a one-off - but past behaviour tends to predict future behaviour, so if he's been entirely on the level with past girlfriends, friends etc, give yourself a break, some piece of mind, and let it go.
posted by Elysum at 11:21 AM on November 13, 2008


I'd put for the opinion that this is one of those things that just can't be solved by AskMe.

I'm of three minds about the act itself, whether shooting sexual nudes is in itself sexual. Certainly, it can be. There's a fine tradition, especially for male artists, working out their own sexual issues with the assistance of models, and this often crosses over into the creepy. The male gaze embodied by the camera can be a rapacious thing. But then, I also work for a pornographer, and can say that there's a fair amount of pros for whom this is just work, and I know that I've taken nude shots that had very little to do with my personal desire. The juicy berry thing may have come from the model, and might not titillate him at all. Even more to this point, unless you know a person pretty well, what does or does not titillate them is hard to discern, especially given that folks will lie about it.

So, that would come back to your judgment, not ours.

I can also say that I understand hiding something like this, and being called out for it. For a while, a couple years ago, my computer was broken and (since I was in school and had open time during the day), I'd taken to using my girlfriend's computer for watching porn. She was, shall we say, less than pleased, and legitimately so. Even more, I kept doing it after she'd told me she didn't want me to. I didn't see the harm and felt like, well, if she doesn't know, then there's no problem. Needless to say, I got caught and she (rightly) read me the riot act. But our relationship was strong enough that we made it through, and I never (EVER) did that again.

Even now, there are boundaries that I have to respect with her regarding nudity and sexuality—If I take nudes of her, I can't show them to anyone else, even if I don't think of them as sexual. It's part of the deal. And if I wanted to photograph another woman nude, I'm sure that I'd have to clear it with her first.

So, yeah, this may be a deal-breaker or it may be something that you can work through. He does need to be totally open about it, because consent can't happen unless it's informed. And you have to feel comfortable sticking to your guns about what is and isn't allowed in your house and in your relationship.
posted by klangklangston at 11:45 AM on November 13, 2008


Everyone's advice is spot on so far. Two things I'd like to point out:

1. You live together, "on top of each other" in his words, and spend a lot of time together, yet he was able to hide these photo shoots from you despite the fact that some of theme were taken in your house with your camera? That goes beyond a lie of omission — that requires some hard-core sneaking around in order not to be caught. He was deliberately trying to hide this from you, which leads me to conclude that he knows it was wrong.

2. If neither of you has a very wide circle of friends, where in the hell have the models been coming from all these years.

Sorry but this is one fucked up situation. Get out now.
posted by Brittanie at 1:09 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


and that with us living "on top of each other" a lot of the time he kind of liked having some part of his life that he didn't have to share, that he had control over, and that everybody didn't know about.

See, this is the part that bothers me. Anyone who truly loves and cares for their partner wouldn't describe it this way.

I am a pretty private person myself. My husband and I moved in together during the second year of our relationship. There are times when I've wanted to scream because it sometimes seems like you can't even take a dump on your own. But you know what? I never thought of it as "living on top of each other". He and I made the conscious choice to share a living space together. If a little lack of privacy allowed me to have the person I love as a steady fixture in my life, so be it.

Lack of privacy is also no excuse for keeping secrets. It's a given that you won't always want to do the same things and have the same friends. Part of being an adult in a healthy relationship (of any kind, really) is being open about these things with your partner whether they are involved or not.

In short, DTMFA....
posted by arishaun at 1:21 PM on November 13, 2008


Sometimes you learn things in relationships that you have to forgive/forget/incorporate to keep the relationship going, and that can work out really well. You both grow up and become closer and are stronger for all the hard work, but it is hard work.

Sometimes you learn things in relationships that you shouldn't forgive/forget/incorporate... or else, in the future, you will find yourself looking back with regret and saying, "I should have known better. The signs were there."

I would bet this is the second kind of sometimes.
posted by juliplease at 1:22 PM on November 13, 2008


I know of a similar situation, only everything is out in the open between the couple- including when one crosses the line with a model. Turned into a don't ask, don't tell situation.

Bottom line on this story: Respect. He doesn't respect her. She doesn't respect herself.

What I can gather from your situation, is that he could have told you from the get go. Now he is testing you on how to go about the next situation he wants to hide from you. Give em in inch...

And, he borrows your camera? That's not the dealings of a serious enthusiast. My smell factor is sniffing worse.
posted by captainsohler at 1:24 PM on November 13, 2008


I agree with the other posters who have told you that his actions with these women, and keeping these actions secret from you, is a serious violation of trust. I'm also very concerned with how it seems to be your fault that he doesn't have friends and it's your fault, due to your innocence, that he never told you about these sessions (although they apparently started a year after you were dating). And, as you wrote:

Right now I feel deeply weirded out, but that it's my problem and I'll get over it.

Is he taking any kind of responsibility for this? How many other things in your relationship are your fault only? His inability to validate your emotions, and the repeated references to things being "your problem" are strong indicators that he is not a good partner. He is lying (by omission), keeping major aspects of his life from you, and blaming you for parts of his life he is not happy with. These are all very dishonorable and dishonest actions, but blaming you for his problems is an insidious type of emotional abuse that alarms me.
posted by aliksd at 1:43 PM on November 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


If he didn't tell you, he didn't want you to know. That's shitty.
posted by OrangeDrink at 1:49 PM on November 13, 2008


We all need to respect boundaries, and one of those boundaries is that each of us is an individual, with our own needs, desires, and hobbies, and each of us is responsible for our own behavior. It sounds to me like he totally takes responsibility for his photography hobby.

I wonder whether, perhaps, he didn't tell you because he felt that you'd disapprove of his hobby and tell him you wanted him to quit it. That would be the case if you felt "I want to know everything my SO does, or ever did, so I can control him." That, of course, is no foundation for a good relationship.
posted by exphysicist345 at 1:54 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had my first serious long term relationship when I was about your age and we dated nearly 5 years. It took me a long time to get to the point where I trusted when I had a gut feeling that something was wrong.

Long story short, if something he hadn't been telling you makes you feel terrible, walk away. Don't let him carry on with these photoshoots if it feels icky to you.
posted by piratebowling at 2:14 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wonder whether, perhaps, he didn't tell you because he felt that you'd disapprove of his hobby and tell him you wanted him to quit it.

So what? Being honest with your partner doesn't always result in getting everything your way. Sometimes it results in hurt feelings and/or compromises. If you're being dishonest because you want to avoid your partner's reaction, you're the one being kinda shitty.

We don't have any evidence that Anonymous is a controlling girlfriend, exphysicist345, but we do have plenty of evidence that her boyfriend was trying to control the terms of the relationship by hiding his "hobby" from her.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:21 PM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


You are not wrong at all to be freaked out by this. I think pretty much everything is wrong with this situation: the secrecy, the sexual nature of the activity he's (secretly) engaging in, the having people over to your home! (huge violation), the borrowing of your camera without telling you what he's using it for, and the "need a separate-from-you activity" excuse-making for all of the above.

He takes the photos and keeps them hidden. Where is the evidence that he is an aspiring photographer rather than just a guy who gets turned on by photographing women, including in explicit poses? Does he take photography classes? He doesn't even own a decent camera. Please.

And what would have been so weird about bringing it up with you if he didn't think you'd mind? This guy doesn't sound like a person to invest in for the long haul. Don't let him gaslight you, too, on top of this already massive breach of trust.

How would he feel if you'd been photographing men in provocative poses, or perhaps a better question in this context might be, how would he feel if you'd been modeling nude for another guy (or numerous other guys) for four years without making a mention of it to him 'til he caught you?
posted by isogloss at 2:30 PM on November 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


When something like this happened to me, a friend told me something which I have found to be true ever since:

People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

Sounds moronic in its simplicity, but it hints at bigger things - if all is as he says it is, he wouldn't have needed to cover his trail so thoroughly. I don't know if this is a deal breaker for everyone, but it would be for me. While I would be cool with porn, I would be very uncool with strangers coming into my home to be secretly photographed in a porntastic way by my SO. Sneaky, sneaky, and not even a quarter of the full story, I'd wager.

I really feel for you. I know how this feels, and you shouldn't ignore those feelings. They're valid.
posted by lottie at 3:56 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh - I should add... the reason you felt OK at your core with the porn, and not the photography is as I have said above. This is a diferentiation it's OK to make.
posted by lottie at 3:58 PM on November 13, 2008


If he is lying about this, just imagine the other wonderful things he is lying about/keeping secret! I promise you there are more. If you stay together, you will have many years of surprises, hopefully none of the sexually transmitted variety.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 4:29 PM on November 13, 2008


I'm taking the dude's side here, partly to play DA for all these naysayers.

OP says, The thing is that the more I reflect on it the more uncomfortable and prudish I feel.

Is it just me, or is that not the solution right there?

I am totally vouching for compartmentalization. Guys have a way easier time (statistically, not including all possible cases, with exceptions, etc) with compartmentalization that the ladies, so when he said this it made perfect sense with me (as a guy). And above that, it was four years ago or whatever.

There also doesn't seem to be any indication as to whether him possessing remorse for not telling you sooner bears on any part of the equation of you still feeling weird, whereas it so clearly should, having already expressed remorse for not bringing it up sooner but actually trying to find a moment when it wouldn't be a Creepy Von Ickyston moment. It's like his feelings on the matter are completely bypassed. That seems insanely hypocritical to me -- to focus so intently on the emotions of self about a matter with overtly little consideration for the emotions of the perpetrator. It's like a completely new, false scenario has been invented to become angry/weirded about, bearing no similarity except in loose factual data and omitting giant chunks of the actual circumstances just to legitimize feeling weird.

I don't like the "it's still lying if you simply omit it, because I don't need to ask Insert really weird question to ask someone, before you should tell me" idea, because that could be reversed back on anyone for a fillion dillion possibilities that are unpredictably dealbreakerish qualities.
posted by Quarter Pincher at 4:32 PM on November 13, 2008


And above that, it was four years ago or whatever.

It started four years ago, but has continued during that time period.

It's like his feelings on the matter are completely bypassed. That seems insanely hypocritical to me -- to focus so intently on the emotions of self about a matter with overtly little consideration for the emotions of the perpetrator.

Replace "perpetrator" for "significant other" and you've pretty much accurately summed up the situation. OP's BF has had four years to get used to the idea of what he's doing and has been in control of the situation all along. OP's had, what, days? It's not a "false" scenario, but, for her, it is a completely new one.

I don't like the "it's still lying if you simply omit it, because I don't need to ask Insert really weird question to ask someone, before you should tell me" idea, because that could be reversed back on anyone for a fillion dillion possibilities that are unpredictably dealbreakerish qualities.

And how many of these fillion dillion possibilities will someone be completely unaware of after five years? I mean, really, I can't imagine any.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:03 PM on November 13, 2008


Rationally, yes, this is weird.

Maybe if you had been told about the hobby four years ago, by now you would have built up the mental equipment to deal with it. This dilemma would have already passed. Instead it's built up to three or four years worth of weirdness, and that's a hell of a thing to get shocked with!

I can rationally understand the argument that he felt it was weird to bring up to you at the beginning, but... to borrow your camera to take these pictures, I'm assuming that he deleted them/removed the memory card before returning it to you? Repeatedly? I'm assuming you were out of the house when he took the pictures, and cleaned up everything so you wouldn't suspect when you returned?

This isn't a case of passively not mentioning it out of embarrassment, those are deliberate actions to hide something because he knew that the revelation would change things.

My gut feeling is that it shows a lack of respect for your 'healthy and liberal attitude' if he didn't feel that you were emotionally strong enough to deal with it if brought into the open. And now he has to backpedal and pretend that you do actually have the gumption to deal with it-- he decided you did, so it was a foregone argument, so he never actually had to tell you. Thereby neatly sidestepping his own lack of emotional fortitude that would be required to get this out into the open.

If there really wasn't anything sketchy about it, then why did he feel like he had to actively hide it for years? And how long would he have hidden it into the future?

I don't know if the photography, or the hiding of it is a dumping offence. The measure of your relationship is how he's behaving after the revelation is. Is he doing whatever he can to make sure that you are feeling secure and informed, to the extent that you want to be? Or is he flipping the emotional turmoil onto you, making you feel like you should be fine with this, you are so weird for not being the sexually liberated woman he decided you were? If he's doing that, then the relationship is bullshit.
posted by roshy at 5:04 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whatever the reason, this is an incredibly loaded thing to hide from you.

Yes, you shouldn't have snooped, but that doesn't table the issue - you did it, it was wrong, but HI!!! He didn't hide his strange obsession with elvis figurines from you - he hid pornagraphic photography sessions he conducted in YOUR house with YOUR CAMERA. umm...

If nothing else, it shows a blatant disregard for your needs and feelings. You aren't being an uncool girlfriend because you're upset. Those articles in magazines that talk about being a cool girlfriend referencing women who intrude with a guy's long-standing poker nights and time alone with his buds shooting the shit. This is *not* a standard hobby - it's a hobby that a considerate human being would have fielded how comfortable you were with earlier and let you decide if it was a deal breaker for you.

I'm about your age. I've done the thing where I let stuff that was really not cool be ok because I thought the issue was MINE, not his. These little choices...the little things you overlook and say are ok when they aren't - they take a toll. My advice is - get out in the world. Make a life for yourself. My instinct is that once you do that you will drop this dude, find a man who has some social skills and empathy and eventually look back and say "wow, what was I thinking?"
posted by amycup at 5:26 PM on November 13, 2008


I can totally identify with the need to have some "me" things. Still, the people who are saying it took some active evasion are correct. He knew you would be not-cool with it, and he didn't want to stop doing it. Hard, but correct choice: man up and discuss it, then live with a clear conscience one way or the other. Easier way out: keep it on the down-low. Avoid the unpleasant situation.

It could be he's just inexperienced. Maybe he does actually think it's your problem - he knows he's not doing anything wrong, but he knew you would freak, so really, he's protecting your feelings, and no harm done, right? Maybe he hasn't learned yet how much nicer living with a clean conscience is.

Doing it in your home is still weird, though. Finding out my wife was hanging out with other men and avoiding it coming to my attention would be, ah, displeasing enough. Her doing something sexual (even if not actual sex), now we're talking serious problem. In MY HOUSE, though - something about that thought just multiplies the insult by an order of magnitude for me. Violates my safe place from the world. Do the neighbors think of you as "the one who that guy's fucking around on" after seeing models in and out of there from time to time?

So:
Does this have any larger implications for our relationship, or how he thinks of me?

Yes. He hides things from you to avoid confrontation instead of dealing with you straight. Also, if he thinks you're wrong, he disregards your wishes (or what he assumes your wishes will be) instead of reassuring you or compromising with you and making sure you're ok. Are you cool with that?
posted by ctmf at 6:31 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about this all day and, I've tried taking on the boyfriend's position. I've really tried. I tried to imagine crawling into the head of a person who would do such a thing, but I just couldn't picture it as the head of a decent partner in a relationship.

There are photographers who can remain completely distant from their subject matter. But: photographers who can do that, wouldn't need to hide everything related to this work. They wouldn't have to sneak the models into a house/apartment they share with their significant other. They wouldn't have to make sure no one else is around who will ask questions. They wouldn't have to repeatedly wipe memory cards. Why the secrecy, if it wasn't supposed to mean anything?

I can make no sense of it, and no excuse for this sort of behavior. What kind of person goes, "I'd have a really hard time bringing this up with my girlfriend, and I'm not sure she'd be perfectly cool with it. ...I'm going to keep doing it behind her back." Or, "I'd have a really hard time bringing this up, but I know she'd be perfectly cool with it. ...I'm going to keep doing it behind her back."

You have no evidence that the guy was indulging in anything other than snapping photos of strawberry vaginas, but think about this: previously, you had no evidence that he was snapping photos at all. For years. And that's the sort of ghost that will haunt you for a long, long time. That ghost is hard to conquer when the trust-breaking action has such longevity, too. That ghost can be an asshole and destroy the best of relationships. Or he can be a guard dog and help you avoid further heartbreak.
posted by Bakuun at 6:34 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry this sucks so hard. He broke your trust. Ideally, you could ask him to move out for a while so you could sort out your feelings. But then you would just be wondering what he was up to while away. What steps is he taking to regain your trust and what steps do you need him to take? Regaining your trust will take years, is he prepared for that? My first though was that is a very expensive hobby, has he ever spent that much money on you over just a couple of hours?

It was good that you bounced this off other people, sometimes when you are in the middle of a relationship that has suddenly gone pear-shaped your instincts for self-preservation get excused away by the person you are used to trusting. I agree with the peanut gallery that this is such a major breach of trust I wouldn't stick around to see how he could break my heart further. You deserve much better.
posted by saucysault at 8:02 PM on November 13, 2008


The only thing I could add:

You found out X.

You were bothered.

He was not bothered when you talked to him about what he was doing, and in fact was surprised that you were bothered.

You tried to play it off and pretend that you were not bothered....or redirected to say it was the secrecy that bothered you.

You ARE still bothered - both about the act and the secrecy.

So here's the question:

If you share that after thinking about it you are STILL bothered, how do you think he will respond?

Would he be responsive? Would he try to understand your perspective? Would he try to diminish your concern? Tell you you aren't worldly enough? Some other response? Is he willing to talk to you about how you are feeling? Is he curious about that? Can you just tell him that you are obsessing without feeling that he's going to 'talk you out of it'?

Because I think these are the questions that will truly mark if you believe you can have a healthy relationship with him. Not if he takes nude photos, but how he responds to your concern without you feeling like your feelings aren't sufficient, or feel that you've got to come to mefi to to justify how you're feeling. (I'm not saying you are. I'm just saying if you are, that's an unhappy situation).

You're bothered - for whatever reason. It would be nice to think that you could explore that and discover it and he could be a partner in that exploration and discovery. Because he's kind of supposed to be your partner in crime - your best team mate and all that.

So is he?
posted by anitanita at 9:04 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


You said: He also said he assumed I wouldn't be bothered by the subject matter because we both have fairly liberal attitudes when it comes to sex, and that I probably recognised that there's a professional boundary in photography, ie. thinking of the subject as an artistic object rather than a naked woman in front of you.

roshy said: I'm assuming that he deleted them/removed the memory card before returning it to you? Repeatedly? I'm assuming you were out of the house when he took the pictures, and cleaned up everything so you wouldn't suspect when you returned?

If he assumed you wouldn't be bothered, but still wanted this to be his own hobby, he would have simply told you what was going on and asked that you not be around when he did it.

Also, if he assumed you wouldn't be bothered by the subject matter, why would it matter if he thought of the subject as a naked woman?

This whole thing is so fishy, not to mention the massive invasion of privacy and the lies upon lies, that I really must recommend you leave the guy. As other posters have mentioned, you've only found out about his photo hobby; there's probably lots more you don't know. In my experience (and from what I've read elsewhere), liars don't come clean when they're found out; instead, they only admit as much as you know, and try to deflect blame as much as possible. Goodness knows why; it's their one real chance to redeem themselves.
posted by timoni at 12:00 AM on November 14, 2008


The only way to tell whether this is a big deal or not, is to see how he deals with the situation now. Don't try to act like a cool gf ... he should expect you to be at least somewhat pissed about this. If he can't conceive that you might be a bit confused/mistrustful, then dump him.

On the other hand, if he is sensitive to the position you must be in right now, and willing to address this problem, then maybe what he did wasn't so major.
posted by mjao at 12:49 AM on November 14, 2008


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