My husband's co-worker is emailing him sexual photos of herself
January 27, 2005 10:26 AM   Subscribe

I snooped in my husband's e-mail account. I know that was wrong to do, so you don't have to point that out. What I found was a bit surprising. A co-worker of his sent him pictures of herself. All were dirty, and included "showing pink," sex with her boyfriend, and giving a bj to her boyfriend. I don't have a problem with him looking at porn; I regularly look at porn myself. But this seems odd to me since he didn't tell me or show me the pictures (for reference, some are from a few days ago, and some are from a few weeks ago). He had a different girl show dirty pictures of herself before, but he told me about that. I don't think he's cheating on me with this current girl because he is kept pretty busy, and I haven't noticed anything weird between them. So my question is: is this bad? should I "confront" him?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (56 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I seem to remember there being a thread on an almost identical subject here on AskMe several months ago. The general consensus was: talk about it, and start by saying: "I've done something wrong, but you also may have done something I feel I need to discuss with you if we are to continue in our relationship."

My personal feedback would be to say that honesty, trust and openness is crucial between you two. You must address this by promising not to snoop in his accounts; in return he agrees to be open about his proclivities with other people. This may be hard to do, as perhaps part of the thrill he gets from it is in the secrecy. But if you can make clear that you don't object to the activities as long as he can be honest about them (and perhaps even share them with you) then you stand a chance of re-establishing trust.
posted by skylar at 10:31 AM on January 27, 2005


Tell him you checked out his email, but let it go.
posted by orange clock at 10:33 AM on January 27, 2005


You should tell him you've been reading his email and see if he confesses anything. Also, feel bad about going through his things without his permission.
posted by haqspan at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2005


The answer to both of your questions is "yes." I'd be extremely concerned that your relationship is in a state where you feel the need to invade his privacy and where it turns out there is indeed cause for your suspicion.
posted by rushmc at 10:40 AM on January 27, 2005


I'm sorry to offer a dissenting opinion: I see nothing wrong in reading your husband's e-mails. My wife can read mine anytime, I can read hers anytime.

I know that's not helpful, so here's an answer to your question: yes you should confront him, because it's clearly bothering you. If it bothers you, there's a problem, and therefore there's a problem with your relationship.
posted by NekulturnY at 10:44 AM on January 27, 2005


The previous thread on this subject had a bunch of good answers about how you need to separate the breach in privacy from the content of those emails in a discussion. He could simply say "so what if someone at work sent those to me, I don't trust you now that you're snooping around!" which is a natural defense.

I can't find the thread, but it had loads of good advice on carefully framing the discussion where you admit upfront to accidentally reading his email but tabling that portion for a later time, and instead ask to focus on the emails.
posted by mathowie at 10:50 AM on January 27, 2005


1) apologize for snooping
2) let him know what you saw
3) let him know that you don't mind, as long as he tells you about it.
posted by bryanzera at 10:50 AM on January 27, 2005


It's bad that you snooped, but that's done and you can't "un-know" what you discovered. This simple fact, IMHO, should drive both your sense of personal culpability and how to confront him.

You need to confront your boyfriend because he has a problem. He's not just looking at porn- he's looking at porn involving people he knows. This is, in and of itself, not inherently Bad, but it's indicative of a number of potential problems he may have, either in general or specific to this relationship. He may be unhappy and seeking an outlet. He may simply have voyeuristic tendencies he doesn't know how to deal with constructively.

As rushmc pointed out, there's the question of why you snooped. I have a hunch that you sincerely suspected something was up, given his past behavior. Are you at all worried about the state of your relationship, or are you simply worried about his behavior?

Either way, these are questions you need to resolve with him, probably with the help of a counselor. So, again, the answer to both is "yes", but also seek a longer-term strategy through a professional.
posted by mkultra at 10:50 AM on January 27, 2005


Well... he could have not told you about the pictures because although "innocent" (in the sense he wasn't doing anything wrong), he feels you might overreact because it is someone he knows. It sounds like you're okay with the pictures themselves, just worried about his silence.

I think you should tell him. Tell him you were snooping, apologize for it, but also make it clear that while you're okay with the pictures, you're concerned that he didn't tell you.

Remember, they were pictures of a coworker and her bf, not of the coworker and your husband. I don't see anything here that overtly screams "AFFAIR!"; but then again, what do I know? (nothing really)
posted by sbutler at 10:54 AM on January 27, 2005


I think it is this thread that others are referencing.
posted by fionab at 11:05 AM on January 27, 2005


You really already know what to do. Your instincts are going crazy. You just hope someone will tell you it's ok and not to worry about it. But it is bad and you know it. You must confront him. You don't really think it's ok that he has naked pictures of other women laying around especially those of a co-worker!!! First you need to get that perfectly straight with him. Secondly you need to get it perfectly straight with the co-worker. I don't get how anyone would think this is ok. For fucks sake is he in love with you or not?
posted by oh posey at 11:13 AM on January 27, 2005


On preview - oh posey wins! Excellent response.
posted by Local Hero at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2005


Unless you personally define "cheating" as exchanging kinky photos (and it sounds like you don't -- you just worry that it might LEAD to cheating), I don't think you have cause for concern. Like all spouces, your husband MIGHT cheat on you, but I don't think you can predict whether or not he will based on the emails. I suspect he hid them from you simply because he wanted to have a little kinky fun (but not cheating) without upsetting you. It was wrong (depending on the rules of your marriage), but I think you should forgive him. What you did was also wrong, and I think he should forgive you.

Doing sexual stuff behind your partners back is wrong but very very common and likely to happen; snooping amongst your partners private things is wrong but also very very likely to happen. A strong marriage should be able to overcome these issues. If you feel yours can't, you might want to explore counseling. Your marriage might have deeper problems.


I see nothing wrong in reading your husband's e-mails. My wife can read mine anytime, I can read hers anytime.

This is a confusion, I think. You and your wife have an arrangement that involves openness with email. But if you asked your wife not to look inside a box and she did, this would be bad. It wouldn't be bad because she looked in the box, it would be bad because she voilated your trust. If anon and her husband have a policy about privacy and email, then she violated his trust by reading the email. You may simply object to any secrets or privacy in a marriage, but that is a different matter.
posted by grumblebee at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2005


By the way, I'm not saying ignore it. Confront him about it gently. Forgive. Move on.

Oh, and if you're up for it, part of moving on might involve emailling him kinky photos of yourself. It's really thrilling to learn that our spouses are on the same kinky wavelengths that we are!
posted by grumblebee at 11:21 AM on January 27, 2005


i think you know this, but oh posey's hysteric response is prompting me to say it anyway - it's perfectly possible for him to both love you and have strange email. hell, i've done a lot worse than that, and i don't think i'm a particularly bad person.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:22 AM on January 27, 2005


Aside from the snooping and (potential) infidelity issues which have been covered already, what about the employment issues? Your husband and his co-worker are one argument away from all sorts of work-related messes including the potential for sexual harrassment allegations, firing if any of the porn was exchanged using company resources, etc. What he's doing has the potential to seriously affect both your lives. That's something you both need to deal with.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:28 AM on January 27, 2005


For fucks sake is he in love with you or not?

You can be in love with someone and still find other people attractive, possibly even more attractive than the person you're in love with. You can be in love with someone and have sex with other people. You can even be in love with multiple people at the same time! Mind blowing, I'm sure, but humans are complex creatures.

So my question is: is this bad? should I "confront" him?

Yeah, talk about it. Tonight. Invading his private life was fucked up, but you can't undo that, and those photos'll gnaw at you, so you might as well bring it up and maybe you two can be more honest and less sneaky with each other from now on.
posted by cmonkey at 11:28 AM on January 27, 2005


This thread is useless without photos.

And yes, I agree with the idea that you should tell your husband what you did and what you found. And maybe you can get your husband to show you the next set as soon as they arrive, to avoid any appearance of trying to hide something from you. It works for me.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:33 AM on January 27, 2005


i'm no relationship expert, but this is what i think:

it seems to me that you should go to him and apologize for snooping in his email. have that discussion. he should forgive you for the breach, particularly since you brought it to the table. the fact that you are being open with him should in fact build trust between you.

then wait for him to bring up the photos when he's comfortable with it. he told you about it before; he'll likely get around to telling you again. but perhaps for the moment he's still enjoying the secret thrill or something like that. if after, say, a month he still hasn't told you about them, then perhaps you should bring it up.

the key is that it's easier to maintain trust in the relationship if you give him a chance to confess before you bring the accusation.

disclaimer: relationships come in all flavors, with different boundaries. your mileage may vary.
posted by Jonasio at 11:38 AM on January 27, 2005


I think that this was the thread that comes to people's minds.
posted by adampsyche at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2005


No one here has any idea what your life or relationship is like, and this is a delicate situation that could call for a lot of different reactions depending on the circumstances. I'm a little surprised that so many people are dismissing oh posey's response as hysterical, because there's a good chance that that's the kind of response your relationship calls for (what's wrong with hysterics? In most people's relationships, I think, that would be a perfectly good reaction to this). You're the best one to make this call; AskMe's not gonna provide much help on this one.
posted by painquale at 11:50 AM on January 27, 2005


You probably snooped because you thought that you were going to find something and, unfortunately, you did.

It's not that they're just dirty pictures, they're dirty pictures of a co-worker, someone he sees on a daily basis. You've got to wonder what kind of intimate relationship they have for her to send him pictures of herself. I doubt it's the kind of conversation you have around the water cooler. This, to me, outweighs the fact that you snooped in his e-mail.

How you deal with this new set of photos depends a lot on how you dealt with him the first time, when he told you about the previous girl's photos. Did you freak out at him? Did you tell him it was okay? I don't think you would be posting this question if you were the type of person who was cool with him having graphic sexual photos of women he knows in his inbox.
posted by KathyK at 11:53 AM on January 27, 2005


I honestly don't see what you gain by bringing this up with him. Saying nothing and learning not to snoop is a viable option. The ability to communicate is, of course, crucial in a relationship, but there's a difference between being able to communicate and having to tell each other everything.
posted by anapestic at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2005


since i used the word hysteric[al sic], maybe i need to defend that? oh posey didn't see the photos. she could have replied as you did, and i wouldn't have used that adjective. instead she started spouting the kind of irrelevant rubbish people say when they're upset, and which anonymous might well say in the heat of the moment, but which i, at least, don't expect from a friend when i ask for advice.

there's a difference between saying "be upset" and running round the room saying "o mi god o mi god".

on the snooping front - it's a similar thing. you're poking round doing something you shouldn't, and it's fun in a creepy kind of way. so is looking at dirty photos of a friend (i would guess). they're surprisingly similar actions, imho.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:59 AM on January 27, 2005


Try not to be so nosy.
posted by pieoverdone at 11:59 AM on January 27, 2005


I don't think people are dismissing oh posey's response as hysterical- I share it, and stated as much. I am surprised, though, that more people aren't pointing it out and treating this as a simple "he's just looking at porn" situation.

Please. It's not. Looking at porn is generally accepted to mean looking at strangers have sex. When it involves someone you know, even more so when that person is the one who sends it to you, it's an altogether different thing.

Ask yourself- what kind of person is this other woman? Does her bf know she's sending out these pics? Are they exhibitionists? Your husband is dancing at the fringes of a culture that is generally considered deviant. I'm not placing a value judgment on it, and please, spare me any "it's more common than you think" comments- the majority of people would be surprised to find this kind of thing out about there partner, and it needs to be discussed. If your husband is curious about watching other people have sex, and he's found someone who is willing to share it via email, it's not an illogical next step for him to want to see the real thing, as he's found a willing accomplice.
posted by mkultra at 12:03 PM on January 27, 2005


This is sort of the worst-case scenario when snooping. If you had found that your husband was actually cheating on you, then [once again, assuming you have a standard marriage] he would have broken the rules and you could have given him hell and the snooping thing would have been less of an issue. If you found nothing [and there are more questions to be asked about your snooping habit, but that's for another question] you'd feel like a bad snooper and maybe lay off. Now there seems to be a weird balance. Snooping when you're not supposed to be is bad. Secretly getting raunchy porn featuring a co-worker may be outside the comfort range of your relationship and therefore bad. I do agree with mkultra that co-worker porn is different from random gal porn.

I'd say you pretty much have to mention it to him unless you believe you can really truly never mention it to him. Mentioning it months down the road is worse than mentioning it to him now. I'd say something like Jonasio does. Own up to snooping, then move on later to "hey why didn't you tell me about this new batch of smut?" and "what exactly is going on here?"
posted by jessamyn at 12:35 PM on January 27, 2005


I'd say you pretty much have to mention it to him unless you believe you can really truly never mention it to him. Mentioning it months down the road is worse than mentioning it to him now.

Also, if you don't want to keep snooping, then you have to bring it up with him now. Otherwise, you will probably find yourself compelled to keep checking his e-mail.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:44 PM on January 27, 2005


If you're snooping on your partner, then maybe your relationship has more serious problems. What is motivating you to snoop, beyond idle curiosity?
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:16 PM on January 27, 2005


I’m starting to feel more and more like a cranky old man. So let me start this with a caveat: I know nothing about you, your husband, his coworker or her boyfriend, and so may very well have my head stuck up my ass. Be that as it may.

Are you and your husband in a monogamous relationship? If not – then I don’t understand your problem. If so – then it seems like you have a problem that you really should surface immediately. As KathyK and mkultra said above, what you dealing with is not porn. Sexually explicit pictures of people you know are not porn, especially when that person sends them to you. Porn (1) (arguably) has no direct interpersonal/emotional weight and (2) is real easy to come by. Thus, it (again arguably) is a fairly harmless way to blow off sexual steam and/or create a little excitement.

You are dealing with something very different. A new sexual revolution may be upon us (at least as represented in the last couple of days’ posts), but I’m guessing it is still exceedingly rare for a woman to send sexually explicit pictures to a co-worker without any prompting. And its happened to your husband at least twice. So I posit that that he puts a lot of time and emotional energy into getting those pictures.

Is that cheating? I don’t know. Probably not technically. And it sure doesn't pass Clinton’s test. But its something. And if its something outside what your think your relationship is, its something you have to deal with.
posted by rtimmel at 1:30 PM on January 27, 2005


If you're snooping on your partner, then maybe your relationship has more serious problems.

My wife and I have no standing agreement with regards to privacy and email (or anything else for that matter) and if she wants to peruse my email, with or without me knowing about it, I couldn't care less. Hell, I've vowed to spend the rest of my life with her and there wasn't a "no snooping" clause exchanged.

Am I in the minority of people who are married or committed in a long-term relationship and don't have this spousal/partner privacy issue?
posted by jperkins at 1:45 PM on January 27, 2005


Am I in the minority of people who are married or committed in a long-term relationship and don't have this spousal/partner privacy issue?

I can't speak for others, but I'd be right pissed if my partner went through my email without asking first. Not because I have anything to hide, but because I think it would show a lack of respect for my private correspondence with others, who have not agreed to let some woman they may or may not have met read the email they sent to me.

If my partner wants to see any email I've sent, all she needs to do is ask.
posted by Jairus at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2005


Am I in the minority of people who are married or committed in a long-term relationship and don't have this spousal/partner privacy issue?


Yes. Just because you're married doesn't mean you and your partner can't have boundaries. The two of you do not make up one person.
posted by haqspan at 2:17 PM on January 27, 2005


My assumption would be that he's cheating on you or is warming up to it.

What you have in his inbox is a clue to the relationship that is taking place outside of email. To deduce that they are just friends seems more than illogical.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2005


jperkins, the poster here clearly represents her own activity as snooping. The boundaries of your personal relationship are not really relevant given that she explicitly states that she 'knows that was wrong'. Different people feel differently about personal space and privacy. An interesting illustration of that for me is diaries - would you let your SO read those? Would you mind if anyone read them after you died? Some people encode their diaries or explicitly request that they be burnt on their death, etc - so that they have a truly personal inner space that can never be violated... Sorry for the OT, just think it's interesting.

Anyway. The email reading was clearly defined by anon as breaking an agreement, so that should be taken into account. As others have said, your motivation for breaking that agreement is pretty important. If you were sort of looking for something, you should start with that when confronting him - tell him you'd been feeling like something was wrong, and you finally gave in to this uneasiness and did something you know you shouldn't have done, and looked at his email. If you just sort of happened across it because you were bored, that is also worth thinking about. Why would you choose to violate his privacy on a whim? Does that say something about your feelings/respect for him? Maybe there are deeper issues all around.

But yes, you'll have to bring the issues to the table if you have any hope of resolving them. That much is a no-brainer, IMO.
posted by mdn at 2:22 PM on January 27, 2005


I disagree that if the relationship was non-monogamous she'd have nothing to complain about. Poly relationships have to be built on even more communication and trust than mono ones in order to ward off potential problems. In a poly relationship, you'd CERTAINLY expect someone to tell you about stuff like that because there'd be no reason to hide it even if you wanted to sleep with the other person.

Hiding sexual behaviors is bad. If it's just pictures, it certainly seems...more than odd. Is he aware that this kind of behavior among coworkers could get him fired at work? If there's sex going on, regardless of a couple's arrangement, it should be known about -- it can put the other person in physical danger if the not-known-about partner has an STD.
posted by u.n. owen at 2:55 PM on January 27, 2005


I can't speak for others, but I'd be right pissed if my partner went through my email without asking first.

I would too. I'd also be angry and think it was really manipulative if I were in this situation and my girlfriend admitted she'd been snooping in my email without mentioning she'd seen the photos. It should be part of the same conversation.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:14 PM on January 27, 2005


Funny thing about snooping. Most people would never be interested in doing it unless they had some inkling that they might find something. Some glimmer of a thought that something isn't right.

Sure, it should be enough to ask your partner about what they're up to and get an honest answer. But there are shitheads out there who cover up and lie. If you ask (or even just have a general expectation of disclosure in your relationship), but you get stonewalled -- and yet still have that feeling that something weird is going on...what else is there to do but look for some evidence?

Not that I'm saying that's the background here -- anon doesn't say what went before she clicked on the Inbox.
I'm just not sure it's a given that snooping is always the greater wrong, or ever the real issue. It's definitely a convenient red herring for the snoopee to brandish, rather than talk about the secret activities. But there are circumstances when a person might be dealing with a practiced liar, and nothing but snooping -- or entrapping, or hiring a detective -- will get the goods.

You know, it's find to stand up for privacy, fine to ask for it and to give it, it's a staple of a strong relationship. But I guess the bottom line for me is this: We're all accountable for every damn thing we do, no matter who knows about it or how they found out.

And let me add my voice to those who say, it's not very common at all for this sort of thing to happen. Sure it happens, we've all heard of it, some of us take part, but it's in no way common. And if you made an issue of it, or were just tired of this sort of arrangement, most people would not feel that it was you who was out of line. You don't have to tolerate any behavior from your partner that you're not comfortable with, and that's true no matter what kind of sexual palette you have. You don't even need a reason. You don't have to explain or justify why you're weirded out. You are, at least enough to ask strangers about it, and that's all you need to know. So instead of "is this bad?" your question maybe should be "Am I comfortable with this?" If the answer to that is "No,", then the answer to your second question -- "Should I confront him?" -- is a simple "yes."
posted by Miko at 3:25 PM on January 27, 2005


jperkins, the poster here clearly represents her own activity as snooping. The boundaries of your personal relationship are not really relevant given that she explicitly states that she 'knows that was wrong'. Different people feel differently about personal space and privacy.

I wasn't implying that it was a mischaracterization on AlexReynolds part - I was curious as to how many people felt that it was snooping. And those are some interesting responses.
posted by jperkins at 3:42 PM on January 27, 2005


I agree with most of what Miko said, but I think that for every Ask MeFi post there is about someone snooping and finding something they're uncomfortable with, there are undoubtedly people snooping and finding nothing at all.

I agree that if your partner is doing things you're uncomfortable with, that you should address that regardless of what avenue you discovered them by -- but your snooping isn't a red herring. It's an issue you should deal with alongside your partner's behaviour.

Speaking frankly, I have a hard time putting myself in your partner's shoes, as I would certainly let my partner know if my co-worker started sending me homegrown pr0n -- but if for some reason I hadn't, and my partner was reading my email and brought it up with me, I would have a very, very hard time believing that anything I said or did within the house would be truly private after that. To be honest, I'd probably do any personal communication at work or somewhere else, from that point on. It would take a lot of work with her to rebuild that trust.
posted by Jairus at 3:47 PM on January 27, 2005


Aside from the snooping and (potential) infidelity issues which have been covered already, what about the employment issues? Your husband and his co-worker are one argument away from all sorts of work-related messes including the potential for sexual harrassment allegations, firing if any of the porn was exchanged using company resources, etc. What he's doing has the potential to seriously affect both your lives. That's something you both need to deal with.

This is a valid and important point.
posted by rushmc at 4:23 PM on January 27, 2005


What would bug me would have been imagining all the conversations between the two of them that got them to the point where she would want to send him the pictures. How much flirting are they doing to get to that point?

As a side note, does your husband take pictures of the two of you, or of just himself, and is he forwarding those pictures to his coworker? FWIW, if he's been sending nekkid pics of the two of you to some stranger, then he has certainly violated your privacy, even before you violated his. Not that it fixes your error, but frankly it is relevant if he starts pointing the accusatory finger of "trust" and "boundaries," etc.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:57 PM on January 27, 2005


As someone said earlier about their relationship, my wife knows my email password, and checks it for me at times. I do the same for her.

Unless you have a very open relationship, I'd take the situation very seriously. And since he didn't tell you about the photos, it's obviously not that open.

The woman didn't just start sending him photos out of the blue. Stuff happened. Open your eyes.
posted by justgary at 6:23 PM on January 27, 2005


Be a libertarian - get one of your male co-workers to send you similar pictures. Leave them hanging around on the screen - ask hubby how he feels about it. Should be revealing once you scape the shit it starts off the wall...
posted by Pressed Rat at 8:02 PM on January 27, 2005


He had a different girl show dirty pictures of herself before, but he told me about that. I don't think he's cheating on me with this current girl because he is kept pretty busy, and I haven't noticed anything weird between them.

Okay. You have an unusual, or at the very least, non-mainstream relationship already. Most people giving you advice will be coming from a lifestyle in which they would never write those two sentences. I am not judging your lifestyle choice, but if "...but he told me about that" is all you need to say about the last incident, then there's a ton of relevant info that you aren't sharing, or your naivete knows no bounds.
posted by bingo at 8:53 PM on January 27, 2005


This situation really sucks for you, especially since responsibility for it falls on you. Your misdeed means that you don't have room to make demands of him. Either suck it up in silence, or apologize and leave it at that. I think we both would expect that at some point after receiving your apology he'd be willing and able to discuss the contents of the email without further prompting, but you have no room to demand it.
posted by NortonDC at 9:53 PM on January 27, 2005


Wow. You've crossed a line with the snooping and have to be fully prepared for his rightful anger at that.

I have no idea what the photos mean or if he's cheating. My best guess is not necessarily, but I don't know the guy.

I do, however, have a Gmail invitation I'd be happy to send him so that he can have a little privacy.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:22 PM on January 27, 2005


Well, call me old fashioned on this one. Anon knows that she was wrong for snooping, so that is obviously a relationship parameter that they have established. It seems odd to me that people here seem to have no sense that a person sending explicit pics to a married co-worker is unusual. I really can't imagine that ever happening any place that I have worked. It is a disordered relationship between people who are supposed to be colleagues among other people in a place of work. The concept of modesty not only applies to how one appears to others, but there is also a "modesty of gaze" that seems violated by the husband repeatedly getting into these email exchanges -- particularly in the workplace.

It seems that Anon is uncomfortable because of the ambiguous nature of that relationship with the person to whom she is married. That is completely understandable. For a vast majority of the married world there is a sense of chastity-in-marriage that would be violated by this type of relationship with a co-worker. I have a feeling that may be what prompted the posting.

Sorry if I am sounding like a moralist, but after reading this thread I had to put these thoughts out there. I would say no to confrontation, instead start a serious conversation about just what the marital commitment is all about and how that should affect the way that you both steer relationships with others.
posted by cgk at 12:46 AM on January 28, 2005


The problem with your post, cgk, is that we've been given no evidence, not even the poster's opinion, that the husband is doing anything but ignoring the emails that prompted this question. So far as we know, he has committed no offense at all, so placing any blame on him is completely unsupported. The breach of modesty was undertaken by the third party, and is not the husband's failing to answer for.
posted by NortonDC at 7:28 AM on January 28, 2005


Um. So random women just keep emailing Anon's husband pictures of themselves having sex, with no encouragement or participation from the husband? And not just once, but repeatedly?

If some guy from work started sending me hot pics of himself, and I was in a relationship, I'd pretty much ask him to stop. You know, thanks for the pics and all, but cut it out, this is weird. I kinda hope, if the tables were turned, you would, too. In addition to telling your SO. Unless you have a really open relationship of a type I'm not that familiar with.

Anon was clearly wrong to invade the guy's email. But the idea that nothing is up with this guy seems very naive to me.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:33 AM on January 28, 2005


We, the readers, don't know if the husband has already tried to get the third party to stop. He clearly has other communication channels with the third party that we, and anonymous, are not privy to.
posted by NortonDC at 8:45 AM on January 28, 2005


This poor guy. Clearly he's in a tough position, because out of the blue random women he knows keep sending him naked pictures of themselves. And then, after he asks them to stop, they keep sending them. I know! Those brazen hussies! I bet this happens all the time.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:08 AM on January 28, 2005


And you're probably right that it's naive to respond as I've indicated, but the husband deserves that. From the very small set of concretely known facts in this situation, one of the few iron-clad conclusions we can draw is that he has been wronged by his wife. Being wronged by his wife does not create obligations on his part. If anything it creates an obligation on her part to give him that naïvité. Between the husband and wife, she is the only one known to have done wrong.

However, there is an argument to be made that the wife has cause to confront the third party and make demands of her.
posted by NortonDC at 9:08 AM on January 28, 2005


However, there is an argument to be made that the wife has cause to confront the third party and make demands of her.

Only on Springer ;). In the sane world, as far as I'm concerned, that's the husband's job, he's the one whose mess this is, he should clean it up. If he expects his wife to confront his co-worker, then the problems in this relationship are much deeper than just the pictures. The co-worker didn't make (or break) any promises to anonymous, the husband (ostensibly) did. The husband should not place anonymous in the position of defending their marriage against a third party that the husband is responsible for bringing into the picture.

I pretty much agree with the posters who suggest you start by apologizing for snooping, and follow up with the fact that what you found made you concerned. However, first I think you should decide what it is that you're uncomfortable about - it sounds to me like you're open to this sort of thing as long as it's shared within the relationship, that's good, but your husband should not be taking advantage of the fact that you're what Dan Savage calls "good, giving and game" by betraying your trust like this. The impression I have is that the main issue is not that a co-worker is sending the pictures, but that the husband didn't talk to anonymous about it. Since it's happened in the past and was discussed, it seems clear that the boundary that has been crossed here isn't the dirty pictures, but the lack of discussion about the dirty pictures. I would make it clear what your issues with this are, and what they are not.
posted by biscotti at 6:27 PM on January 28, 2005


biscotti, your analysis is way off.

The co-worker didn't make (or break) any promises to anonymous, the husband (ostensibly) did. The husband should not place anonymous in the position of defending their marriage against a third party that the husband is responsible for bringing into the picture.

"...the husband is responsible" Whoah! Hold on there! How the hell do we know the husband is responsible? We don't, because there is no indication of that in what we've been told. Every concrete indication of what has happened is about things that that other people did to the husband, namely send naughty emails to him and breach his trust and privacy by illicitly accessing his email. None of these show agency on the part of the husband!

"The husband should not place anonymous in the position of defending their marriage against a third party" He didn't and wouldn't under the idea I proposed. I said the wife may have cause to do such a thing on her own. Again you're inappropriately assigning agency onto the husband.

"...he's the one whose mess this is, he should clean it up." This smears together important distinctions. There are (at least) two messes. One, the wife's guilty knowledge of what she did, is entirely her own creation and her own responsibility. The other mess, the one that had naughty pictures land in his private email inbox, is his to deal with (even though it may not be his creation). And he may already have dealt with it, or be dealing with it now. We don't know, and apparently anonymous doesn't either. It would not be a betrayal for hubby to discretely deal with something untoward that landed in his lap and has workplace repercussions.

Based on anonymous' wording these pictures may have been sent over a period of as short as a week and a half. Perhaps hubby, pursuing maximum discretion, is simply ignoring them in hopes that the sender will get the picture, without any confrontation. Perhaps he has already dealt with it through other channels. We don't know, and neither does she.
posted by NortonDC at 1:53 PM on January 30, 2005


what oh posey said. and rushmc. it's likely you snooped for a reason, however subconscious...and if things are bad enough for both you to feel you have to snoop and for that to be justified is notsogood. mathowie mentioned how in terms of effectiveness you should separate out the two when bringing it up, and i can definitely see that, but internally anyway, the two issues are closely related. and it's a little surreal to me, or it was til i reached oh posey's comment, how nonchalant people were and how much more focused they were on your behavior. but eh. to each her own i guess. i love that "for fuck's sake!" though.

i feel for you. good luck.
posted by ifjuly at 11:43 PM on February 5, 2005


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