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Ex ex go away, I don't ever want to think about you again
October 31, 2007 11:25 AM   Subscribe

I don't want to be the bitch new girlfriend, but I also am upset by traces of his ex. What to do?

Yeah, so last night I opened up some photo organizing software on his computer so I could put some of our pictures on my flashdrive. Lo and behold...compromising pictures of his ex-girlfriend. They just broke up a month ago and he said he hadn't looked at them. I asked him whether he thought keeping them was wrong and he said "well...I feel like deleting pictures of us is like deleting part of my life...I was with her for 4 years"

I did get him to delete them, but I feel upset about the whole situation. My philosophy was keep the pictures of ex in front of Rushmore, but it's rude to keep the smut. I'm also upset that he had dinner with her and said "I'm having dinner with a friend."

Honestly, I ended a relationship about a month ago too and his pictures and "hanging out" with him ended along with the relationship. I feel that is the way things should be. I think having them around, whether in compromising pictures or to dinner, is wrong and stupid. I don't want to see her pictures or find the box from the pizza they ate the night before. I just really really really hate her.

I've never been in such a situation before. What is the etiquette for pictures and "hanging out"? Should I just get over this or should I be distrustful? Ack, I don't know what to do.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (69 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
You made him delete pictures of his ex of FOUR years, and they've been broken up for a month?

You're being a bitch. Get over it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:31 AM on October 31, 2007 [26 favorites]


He had dinner with his ex of four years, didn't tell you about it, and they have only been broken up a month?

Don't get comfortable.
posted by ND¢ at 11:34 AM on October 31, 2007 [17 favorites]


I wouldn't have deleted the pictures. If pressed, I probably would have deleted you. People process break-ups differently. I think you should work on coming to terms with that and being more allowing of it. I know that's easier said than done, but that would be my recommendation for what you should do.
posted by willnot at 11:35 AM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


If you think you can't trust him to be faithful, dump him. Which seems to be the issue here.

I'm friends with some of my exes, but they're all exes for a reason and my current girlfriend understands this.

For what it's worth, deleting the smut is more than reasonable.
posted by slimepuppy at 11:35 AM on October 31, 2007


Yeah, my girlfriend felt like you when we started dating. But I've been with her for over five-and-a-half years now, and I still have the pictures. I just try not to let her see them.

(I have, however, ditched all the pictures I could find with me and the previous girl doing any sort of activities, as I found those brought back more bad memories than just the ones of her naked).

If you wanted to continue being a bitch, you could point out that by having those pictures and not having a color copy of her ID on record, your boyfriend could be liable for up to five years in jail for 2257 violations.
posted by klangklangston at 11:36 AM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


If both you and your beau just ended relationships about a month ago, I assume that your current relationship is less than a month old. If this is true, then you are at a very early stage to be demanding picture deletion of and cutting off all contact with exes.
posted by googly at 11:36 AM on October 31, 2007 [5 favorites]


From his "dinner with a friend" comment, it sounds like he's being evasive. From your unwillingness to let him keep old photos, it sounds like you're being controlling. It's hard to know who's acting like the bigger cock here, but I think it's safe to say that this is going to end spectacularly badly.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2007 [6 favorites]


Did he break up with her to go out with you (you both breaking up with someone exactly one month ago makes me wonder)? Are you scared he's going to break up with you to get back with her? If so, I might get the jealousy. If not, why do you care about pictures and what not? He's with you now, not her. Don't transfer the anger you feel toward him to her- that's bitchy and not at all productive, and if you're going to be bitchy, you should at least try to get something out of it, and I would suggest that what you try to get out of it is a picture of whether your new man is an honest person (lunch with a "friend", feh).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hmmm... I think Greg Nog is jumping the gun here.

That said, there's no Bad Guy here. He probably should mention who he's having dinner with, but after a month, you really don't have please-delete-this rights yet.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:39 AM on October 31, 2007


They were in a relationship for 4 years, broke up a month ago and are already hanging out "as friends?" I second NDc. It usually takes a little longer than that to transition into the friends zone after such a long, and presumably serious, relationship.

You shouldn't have this much drama so early in the relationship... but as for the compromising pics, I don't think that was unreasonable to ask that they go away
posted by CAnneDC at 11:41 AM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


For the good of all womankind, thank you for getting him to delete compromising pictures of her. I can't imagine she'd be comfortable knowing her ex still had those around.

Everything else I think depends on how serious a commitment you've made to each other. Yes, a month is short, but if you've made the leap to, say, move in together, own something together, raise a pet together or there's talk of something larger, there's a good reason to say, "You know, I'm not comfortable with this. I'm not telling you what to do, but can we talk about why you're still doing it."

If you're not in that serious/embedded of a relationship, take it easy. You're getting pretty amped up.
posted by Gucky at 11:48 AM on October 31, 2007


You've been going out for FOUR WEEKS. You do not get to make demands on how he deals with the leftovers from his FOUR YEAR relationship. Jesus, you don't even get to leave a toothbrush at his house at this point.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:50 AM on October 31, 2007 [5 favorites]


I feel that is the way things should be.

FOR YOU. Some people do stay friends - and nothing more - with their exes.

I think that a month is ridiculously early to be dictating what he has on his computer. If you're going to be sharing the computer for some reason, it's reasonable to ask him to put them in some folder you won't run across, but it's not reasonable to ask him to delete files.
posted by desjardins at 11:51 AM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


I just really really really hate her.

Hunh?
posted by cocoagirl at 11:52 AM on October 31, 2007 [7 favorites]


I'd suggest handling this as a boundary setting conversation to have with him. You are well within your rights to have those conversations, even early on in a relationship. You can explain what your idea of monogamy is (if that's the type of relationship you have - and I suspect that you are, since pictures of exes was enough to put you into a tailspin) and ask his ideas. Your definitions wont match, and that's okay. What you have to do then is to discuss what each of you can do to meet somewhere that is comfortable for both of you. It will require sacrifice, but if you are interested in avoiding the spectacular disaster that others have alluded to, you're both going to have to give some.

For example, I explained to my boyfriend that porn is a-ok by me, because it wasn't a real relationship. It's fake people doing hot things. What do I care? Hell, I like porn too. But accepting naked pictures from exhibitionist friends online? Not okay. That's too close to real world relationships. And if he really wanted to explore relationships with other people - electronic or otherwise - that was something that we'd have to do together...or there wouldn't be anymore "we."
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:53 AM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Let me preface this by saying I am female.

Honestly, I would never delete ANY pictures that involved part of my life, for anyone. No matter what sort of content they contained. End of story.

I have a horrible memory, and the few pictures I have taken are one of the best things I have to mend that poor memory.

I certainly wouldn't leave pictures like that lying around for anyone to see however.

I do agree that him seeing his recent ex and not being up front about it is not cool.

However I also think that him dating you after only a month of dating someone else for four years is also not wise.
posted by Squee at 11:55 AM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, who did what first?

You guys have only been going out for a month. If had to make a decision between my ex-g/f of 4 years and my new g/f of 1 month, I take the ex-g/f.

If you asked him to delete the pictures, and he did (which I never, ever would have done) and then he lied to you about dinner, then I think he was trying to not hurt you.

He's going to have dinner with his friends. How could they not? Four years is a huge part of your life, and that girl probably knows him better than anyone else.

The more you have a complex about this, the more he's going to talk to his ex. If you want him to stop talking to his ex, just be supportive and sweet, and just make him feel like a million bucks.

Seriously, though, I have broken up with girls who wanted me to throw out pics of my ex. I kept them away from view, I didn't look at them, but they were there. You have no right to dictate how he handles his breakup of four years. You have been around only a month.
posted by unexpected at 11:57 AM on October 31, 2007


I completely disagree with everyone who says it's "too early" for you to be "telling him what to do". Are you supposed to hide all of your feelings until you've been dating 3 months, 6 months, a year? It's completely stupid advice. Open and honest communication with your partner should build from day one. This isn't telling him what to do, it's communicating what makes you uncomfortable, and you're allowed to do that whenever you want. Communicate your feelings in a mature way at any time, and if he responds badly, that's his problem, not yours. Hopefully you can come to compromise on something that will work for the both you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:02 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


This guy's emotional relationship with his ex isn't over yet... By which I mean that his emotional well-being still depends on her to some extent.

How could it be otherwise? They were in a relationship for four years. Anyone who can just quickly shrug off that long of an emotional commitment is a little messed up. It takes time to get used to not having that person around, as you did every day for four years. It is hard to acclimate oneself to no longer being part of that other person's emotional turmoils and delights. And it can be a real challenge to re-learn how to get through your own emotional turmoils and delights without them.

One month just is not enough time for him to have gotten through that. No amount of pushing, screaming, begging, or bribing can speed up the process. And no amount of love he can feel for you will have any affect on it, either. This isn't about how he feels for you, but about how he can adjust to a major change in the substance of his life.

Yeah, it's a little gross to keep naked pictures of an ex. And, yeah, it's probably a good thing that he's deleted them.. But, really. He saw her naked on some regular basis for four years. He touched her regularly for four years. He depended on her, and she depended on him, for four years. After all that, it is hard to start off new again with a clean slate.

I would be worried just as you are, if I were you. However, I'd be more worried about how it could be possible for someone to genuinely start a new relationship this quickly than I would be about some pictures.
posted by Ms. Saint at 12:03 PM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


I don't think you should ever ask someone you "love" to do something they don't want to do.

So I think the question you should be asking is whether or not you want to be with a guy who keeps pictures of his ex and goes out to dinner with her from time to time. If your answer is "no" then dump him. If it's not a deal breaker than get over it.
posted by kpmcguire at 12:09 PM on October 31, 2007


Just because he didn't tell you he was having dinner with his ex doesn't mean that something's going on. Its not like he lied - its perfectly possible to remain friends with ex-lovers. There are many reasons why relationships don't work out - they don't all have to end in big rows and hating each other.
Have you considered that perhaps the reason he didn't tell you who he was seeing was because you're the jealous/controlling type and he didn't want a row or to upset you.
I agree with others saying that in a relationship as new as yours you definitely don't have please-delete rights yet. I've been with my partner for 6 years and even now I wouldn't presume to tell him who he can see and who can have pictures of. I wouldn't particularly like it if he had rude pictures of an ex on his computer but what happened before I came along is none of my business. If you can't trust him to be faithful you shouldn't be with him.

You say you really hate her, is it just because she's your guy's ex or is there some other reason? If its just because she's his ex then you need to get over yourself. If there's some other reason - ie. something she's done to you then maybe your concerns are more valid - but that's information that's pertinent to your question so I would assume that if that were the case then you would have mentioned what has caused you to hate her so much.

He is his own person, he is not your possession.
posted by missmagenta at 12:10 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


"it's rude to keep the smut"

Who do you think it is rude to -- you, or the ex?

He's allowed to have photos of his ex, even naughty photos. Obviously you don't want to see them, but he probably didn't think to hide them because, after a month of dating, he wasn't yet used to the idea that you would be looking around in his computer. So, it was an unfortunate occurence.

If you both leapt out of long-standing relationships into each others' arms just a month ago, then you have a very, very young, unripe relationship. At this stage it might be transitory, it might be for the rest of your life -- you have no idea. It makes no sense to be this clingy and controlling at this early date. You don't even know if you want to be with him, no matter how much you think you know this; you haven't had time to really figure it out. And he will resent you for getting him to delete the photos.

People fantasize sexually about other people than their partner sometimes. And that's why he wanted to keep the photos. It's quite natural and nothing to be upset about as long as it's not thrown in your face.
posted by creasy boy at 12:12 PM on October 31, 2007


You're actually dating a guy who was with a girl for four years, and has only been broken up with her for a month? Geez. Give yourselves some space, eh? This sounds like recent-post-breakup anxiety, and if you've both got it, I don't envy you two.
posted by koeselitz at 12:15 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


He said he was having dinner with a friend because she IS his friend. People can end relationships and still be friends. Relationships don't have to end with dramatic battles, burning every gift and memento, and "never talk to me AGAIN!!" screamed from the second-story window as you're throwing his suitcase out to the curb.

I can understand how you'd be upset, and I'd probably flip out over discovering any sexy photos of my significant other's ex. I can understand the passionate hatred towards the ex.

But. I agree with everyone else that you're really jumping the gun here. A month is rarely enough time to get over the end of a long-term serious relationship, and it's barely enough time for most new relationships to get to the point where they start using the words "boyfriend" and "girlfriend." Step back a bit, before you're throwing the new guy's suitcase out too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:24 PM on October 31, 2007


I agree with TPS. You have the right to say how you feel, and then has the right to say how he feels, and decide what he's going to do about the issue. From then you can figure out how you're going to deal with what he decides to do.

Having him delete the photos doesn't make them go away (except in a tangible sense) as this whole drama might linger in your relationship; it might eventually make him resent you for doing it. He did something he didn't seem ready to do, to please you.

I can completely understand your reaction, it's kind of upsetting to see remnants of an ex (especially the "smutty" kind), but at the same time I feel like there might be more to this story - that you have some sort of history with his ex. I gather this from the comment "I just really really really hate her."

As others have noted - it's going to take him a while to get over it. People may front and act likes they're over a relationship, but feelings don't just go away immediately because you broke up. Even if you're with someone fabulous now, you still have a person who was part of your life for a long time - you have a history with them, and it takes more than a delete button to get rid of that.
posted by wilde at 12:25 PM on October 31, 2007


Jealousy is an intolerable trait in a lover.
posted by hermitosis at 12:36 PM on October 31, 2007 [8 favorites]


I agree with the following:

- it seems early to be launching into a new relationship of any level of seriousness less than a month after a long term relationship of four years.

- it seems somewhat fishy/rather undesirable that he would be evasive about who, exactly, he was having dinner with.

- it seems premature for you to be making strong requests (or demands) about how he handles any of his personal belongings/choices at this stage in your relationship with him.

- "I just really really really hate her."
Hunh?
-cocoagirl

"It seems" prefaces most of the above because, without talking about this, it's impossible to know all the nuances. For example: you don't tell us (and possibly you don't have comprehensive knowledge) what ended his previous relationship, or how it ended -- if it was a mutual, gradual growing apart, perhaps there is plenty of distance for him to see clearly into making a new relationship work. However, this is pretty rare, from all accounts, so the caution still stands: one month out is not giving a heck of a lot of time to process the dissolution of a serious four year relationship.

We also don't know, as mentioned earlier, the sequence of events with regards to the finding of the compromising pictures and the "hanging out." This may or may not make a difference, but the only way you are going to really find out why he told you he was seeing "a friend" instead of "my ex" is if you sit down and talk to him as calmly and open-mindedly as you can manage.

Personally, I don't think it is a major dealbreaking crime to keep nude pictures of an ex around on one's computer, though I deleted whatever I had in the one case [several months after the breakup!] because the memories attached to them at that point only made me uncomfortable. The big thing here is that it DOES bother YOU, and in my book, partners in a relationship make an effort not to continue doing things (within reason) that the other has asked them to stop. Good news, here, for you: he deleted the pictures. But his willingness to see to your needs and requests means that you should be willing to capitulate for him: meet him half-way on the hanging out with the ex, or something else he requests.

Maybe he is still hung up on her. Maybe he will end up back with her again. Maybe they're completely over it and no force on Earth could compel them to start again with each other. Whatever the case, it does you no good to fixate on how much you "really really really hate her," because she still evidently means something to your boyfriend, and being spiteful about that is not likely to win you points in his book. You don't give us any explanation for hating her guts, so I'm inclined to assume it's just because she was there first and has had a longer presence in your new boy's life than you have. If it's some other reason, fair enough... but generally negative emotions (and stewing in them) aren't going to produce positive results in interpersonal situations like this.

Bottom line: talk to him about it; be honest but try to avoid pointing fingers and jumping to conclusions. Accept that dealing with the aftermath of LTRs is a process that differs for everyone, and also from relationship to relationship.
posted by dorothy humbird at 12:37 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


a few things:

a) a month is not enough time to get over a 4-year relationship. he's on the rebound.

b) if you've only been dating a month, you don't have the right to ask him to throw anything away except a gum wrapper.

c) being territorial is never, ever, ever appealing or sexy.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:38 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


ThePinkSuperhero: I completely disagree with everyone who says it's "too early" for you to be "telling him what to do". Are you supposed to hide all of your feelings until you've been dating 3 months, 6 months, a year? It's completely stupid advice. Open and honest communication with your partner should build from day one.

But people aren't "partners" from day one, that's the whole point. Unless there are some time-overlaps here that we're not aware of, I'm really surprised the OP even thinks of herself as being in a couple at all, in the stable, ongoing sense. This is why her reaction seems so odd to me, not because I think she should be hiding her feelings.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 12:46 PM on October 31, 2007


Yeah, so last night I opened up some photo organizing software on his computer so I could put some of our pictures on my flashdrive. Lo and behold...compromising pictures of his ex-girlfriend.

It's not your computer. You have exactly zero say in his file structure.

"well...I feel like deleting pictures of us is like deleting part of my life...I was with her for 4 years"

And that should have been the end of the conversation right there.

I did get him to delete them

Do you feel like you've accomplished something? Just because you can't see the images on his (read: NOT YOURS)machine does not mean that you deleted the 4 year relationship from him Lacuna, Inc. style. I hope he goes into the recycle bin, selects them, and clicks 'Restore'.

Let's say that you spent 4 years living in Spain and amassed a collection of Balenciaga shoes. Then you meet a man that has a major hate on for Spaniards and harangues you about how impractical and expensive the shoes are. He tells you that you're back at home now there's no need to be so ostentatious in your footwear or pompous about living abroad for an extended amount of time. Do you say 'I loved Spain, these are my shoes, get stuffed' or do you let him harangue you into listing them all with a 5.00 buy it now price on ebay?
posted by pieoverdone at 12:57 PM on October 31, 2007


I hated my husband's ex when we met. Mostly because I could sense she hated me, and he was required to have contact with her. Other than taking a lot of unseemly joy when she bit it hard on stage one night, I didn't say anything. I lived through his mom showing me photos of her playing with his nephews.

Don't go looking for stuff associated with her. Don't think about her and surely don't make his ex your business unless she goes out of the way to make herself your business. Think of it this way - if you're thinking about her, and then you force your boyfriend to "talk" about his issues with her, then you're making him talk and think about this chick when you don't want that. So don't go down that road, be yourself and be cool.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:59 PM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


Do him, and you, a favour: dump him now.

Being controlling is always bad. Being this fantastically controlling this early? Double plus mega bad.

Go get some therapy for your control issues.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:59 PM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


You really, really hate her? Have you even met her? Did she do something terrible to you? Either there's a whole piece of this story that you've omitted or you're having a severely unwarranted attack of jealousy. Maybe your boyfriend didn't tell you he was having dinner with his girlfriend because he realized you'd massively overreact (and I can't imagine where he might have got that impression). After 4 years, there's no doubt still some logistic and emotional crap to deal with.

Also, the term 'rebound relationship' exists for a reason. You're in one.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:01 PM on October 31, 2007


I did get him to delete them....

I feel upset about the whole situation.....

My philosophy was keep the pictures....

I'm also upset ...

I ended a relationship....

I feel....

I think having them around....

I don't want to see her pictures .....

I just really really really hate her.



Your post is completely laced with how you feel and what you think. When your boyfriend, someone you supposedly loved, had different feelings, you twisted his arm and forced someone you love to do something you wanted him to do, not what he wanted to do

This is totally bitch girlfriend behavior, which don't want to be, right?

He is not your plaything, toy, or tool. He has his own thoughts, feelings and views, and he just came outta a four year relationship. He needs time to breathe and a bit and let those old pieces fall away. So realize that bits of her and their relationship will crop up, but in time it'll go away, so give it time and let some of the stuff go.l
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:05 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


nthing the chorus of "he's on the rebound." Four years is a lot of time to spend with someone. Don't demand that he delete the photos ... it's just not fair to push someone in the grieving process ... and breaking up involves a lot of grieving. It doesn't sound like he's ready to move on. You should keep your options open for a while.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 1:16 PM on October 31, 2007


Some people really *believe* in being friends with their exes, and by the way that you've phrased this (he went to dinner with his "friend" that happens to be his "ex") it sounds like he's one of those guys. And it might be part of how he needs to get over his four year relationship.

Either way, if you want to continue dating this guy, you're going to have to put up with his ex(es). Sure, communicate that it makes you uncomfortable and that you need some reassurance now and then, but if you force him to delete photos/memories, he'll never let those relationships go.

Really, if you know now you can't handle it, it's a perfectly reasonable reason to break up with him.
posted by lastyearsfad at 1:18 PM on October 31, 2007


I just really really really hate her.

I feel compelled to comment on this too. I'm dating someone right now that is close friends with one of his exes, and I hate hate hate her. I can't help it. It's like, primal.

However - she's a person that's important to him for whatever reason, we communicate openly about it, and it's clear that it is not a threat to our relationship.

Talk to him about what his friendship with her means to your relationship.
posted by lastyearsfad at 1:26 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it's weird that you "really really hate her". She hasn't done anything to you. She isn't the one lying to you about who she is having dinner with and who knows what kinds of photos he sent to her as well. If you are going to pissed at anyone, it should be your boyfriend, not this woman. Plus, I agree with the other poster who said this drama is premature if you've only been dating a month yourselves. I mean, come on. You don't even know each other yet really and that kind of raging jealousy just seems strange given the length of time you've been dating.
posted by 45moore45 at 1:26 PM on October 31, 2007


klangklangston writes "If you wanted to continue being a bitch, you could point out that by having those pictures and not having a color copy of her ID on record, your boyfriend could be liable for up to five years in jail for 2257 violations."

Only applicable if anonymous lives in the land of the free.

klangklangston writes "I just try not to let her see them."

Do or do not, there is no try: Truecrypt.

wilde writes "Having him delete the photos doesn't make them go away (except in a tangible sense)"

Unless, of course, he is in that elite 1/2 of 1 percent of users who actually have working backups of their stuff.
posted by Mitheral at 1:27 PM on October 31, 2007


It's not your computer. You have exactly zero say in his file structure.

It took me a while to get rid of the photos of myself and my ex, including the compromising ones, simply because I f@#%ing hate dealing with iPhoto and kept putting it off. It was much easier to dump our physical correspondence in the trash, but the photos...ennnh...
posted by avocet at 1:28 PM on October 31, 2007


Years ago, I had a girlfriend who, after we broke up, started seeing someone else. Fine. That's the way of life.

But the new girlfriend made my ex get rid of pictures of me - not just regular pictures, but baby pictures, which she still had (I'd forgotten she had them, and assumed I had them in a box somewhere).

When she told me about it, some months later when we were back in touch (we kept radio silence for several months after the breakup, which I think is advisable if you want to have a friendship later), she was in tears, and so was I. Not so much that the baby pictures were gone (the negatives had long since vanished, and they were the only copies), but that she'd ended up in a relationship with someone who A) Thought it was ok to make her do that and B) Made her feel like she had to, if she wanted to maintain that new relationship. She and that girlfriend - the rebound girlfriend, hi - had broken up a few weeks before. We both cried into our beers and started to learn how to be friends.

For chrissakes, it's four years of his life, and it's up to him - without any pressure from you - to decide what to do with pieces of HIS life.

You don't want to be the bitch girlfriend? Too late.
posted by rtha at 1:52 PM on October 31, 2007 [4 favorites]


Weird. I'm friends with most of my exes. Just because a romantic relationship doesn't work out doesn't mean that a platonic relationship won't.
I consider a woman I dated almost 10 years ago (who is now married and has a son) a very important person in my life. After we broke up we stayed in touch and I helped her through a rough patch when her mother and grandmother passed away within weeks of each other.
I like her husband, he's a good guy and I'm happy for her.
My current girlfriend doesn't like that I talk to my ex, but she's never even met her. Actually, my current girlfriend doesn't like any woman that I've been romantically involved with...and she hasn't met most of them either.
That's her perogative, but I'm not going to toss out longstanding relationships for someone who doesn't understand them. I don't talk to these exes everyday, nor do I hide anything from my girlfriend.
I'd never ask her to hide her past from me and I think anyone who'd do that is either extremely immature, a control freak, or has personal issues that they haven't dealt with.

You've only been together a month. If this sends you into a tizzy, wait until you have a real challenge...
posted by black8 at 1:53 PM on October 31, 2007


You don't like his ex because you see her as a threat to your new relationship, but, as much as you have a right to communicate with your new beau, being so aggressive about it rather than strengthening the relationship is going to weaken it, he undoubtably knows how you feel, and telling you he was having diner with a friend was an attempt to head off another confrontation, would you have "let" him have supper with her? Indeed, this very behavior may cause him to think along the lines of, "why did I ever break up with my ex? At least I could talk with her."

There are a limited number of options here:

1. Break up, learn from your mistakes.
2. Have a boundary discussion with him, about the needs of BOTH people involved, be honest, but also be willing to compromise as it is very likely you have some making up to do, try and make decisions not from an emotional state.
3. Continue as you are and count off the days until he dumps you.
posted by edgeways at 1:55 PM on October 31, 2007


If someone has private photos of another person, taken with the understanding that these were not to be shared with others, they should keep them where other people won't find them easily. That's just good etiquette.

This doesn't mean you have a right to have them deleted altogether though.

You're upset by all traces of an ex he only broke up with last month, that he went out with for 4 years? Get over yourself -- what's the guy supposed to do, never talk about the past 4 years?

I just really really really hate her.

You sound like the sort of person that a guy would want to delete all traces of once you become the ex.
posted by yohko at 2:01 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


You're both in a rebound relationship anyway. It will likely end soon once you get to know one another, making this issue moot.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:11 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


I did get him to delete them, but I feel upset about the whole situation. My philosophy was keep the pictures of ex in front of Rushmore, but it's rude to keep the smut. I'm also upset that he had dinner with her and said "I'm having dinner with a friend."

A man who you've been dating for a month did something he didn't want to do because it would make you less upset. Whether you choose to mirror his behavior or take advantage of his good nature will speak volumes about how well your relationship will age. If you had said to your new beau "Hey, I accidentally saw nudie pictures of your ex. They make me uncomfortable. Could you get rid of them?" that would be one thing. But to be all "I don't have any pictures of my ex. I don't hang around my ex. You should be like me" makes it sound like you don't value opinions that are different from your own.

I think having them around, whether in compromising pictures or to dinner, is wrong and stupid. I don't want to see her pictures or find the box from the pizza they ate the night before. I just really really really hate her.


I think getting rid of all your pictures when you stop having sex with someone is sad and cowardly. When I see someone who has absolutely no pictures of someone who they had a long and serious relationship with, it makes me weary of them. I think to myself "Has this person never had a relationship that was worth documenting? Does this person's relationships end so badly that she has to get rid of everything that is even tangentially connected to the person? Isn't there anything worth remembering about the ex after they stop having regular monogamous sex?"

If you don't want to see pictures of his past, that's perfectly fine. Don't go into his computer. If even a pizza box full of leftovers will fill you with hatred for someone, then I think that the way your new boyfriend deals with this ex is ultimately going to be too much for you to handle.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:14 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Do or do not, there is no try: Truecrypt. "

My photos of my exes are all analogue.
posted by klangklangston at 2:20 PM on October 31, 2007


Unless, of course, he is in that elite 1/2 of 1 percent of users who actually have working backups of their stuff.

Dude. It's porn. I have Iron Mountain pick up my discs every week for offsite storage.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:25 PM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


You realize just gave him a big huge red flag about how you are going to act in the future, right? And that it's entirely possible that he is now thinking about how you demanded he do something and is likely to decide he doesn't want to be with someone so unreasonable, jealous, and controlling who by the way is also being very insensitive to his feelings during what is probably a very emotional time in his life?
posted by echo0720 at 2:26 PM on October 31, 2007


Honestly, I ended a relationship about a month ago too and his pictures and "hanging out" with him ended along with the relationship. I feel that is the way things should be. I think having them around, whether in compromising pictures or to dinner, is wrong and stupid. I don't want to see her pictures or find the box from the pizza they ate the night before. I just really really really hate her.

I would be missing out on a few very good, very close friendships if everyone thought like that. There is a reason people date, and sometimes the reason is great to be friends but there is other reason to not be lovers/in a more intimate relationship. Please try to re-think the wrong and stupid thing.

On the whole though, I would say your behaviour was not cool. Personally, I doubt I would have put up with such a request or made such a request in a relationship. People have lives before they meet us... you can't expect them to completely forget about that part of their past.
posted by kellyblah at 2:43 PM on October 31, 2007


I agree with those who say you're being a bitch.

I know people who go out to dinner with their exes as part of the reconciliation and post-breakup process. It's nothing romantic, it's just an attempt to further resolve feelings. He was with her for four-and-a-half years, you can't just demand he dump all that for your petty jealousies! He probably didn't tell you he was going out with her because he knew you would react like a crazy, jealous bitch.

And the picture-deleting? You've only been with him a month and you're being this controlling? You know, people deal with breakups differently. Some people have to get rid of everything attached to their ex. Others like to keep stuff around, not out of a hope of getting back together but as a reminder of fond memories. My partner had compromising pictures of their former partner. It wasn't sexual--it was like pictures of them together at New Year's. It was a reminder of that aspect of their relationship. Their relationship included sex. Why should your guy be forced to forget that, but not Rushmore? Maybe he liked the sex better than Rushmore. Who are you to judge what memories he chooses to keep around, unless he's using them as an active, vicious comparison to you?
posted by schroedinger at 2:43 PM on October 31, 2007


1) I think you have the right to ask him to delete the nudie pics. He has a right to say no and then you have a right to break up with him.

2) Him seeing his ex and lying about it is not a good sign.

3) Him seeing an ex and being honest about it is fair game, but again, you have the right to ask him to stop, he has the right to say no, and you have the right to break up with him.
posted by callmejay at 2:46 PM on October 31, 2007


How could it be otherwise? They were in a relationship for four years. Anyone who can just quickly shrug off that long of an emotional commitment is a little messed up.

Ms. Saint, I take exception to this. For some of us, by the time the breakup actually comes, we've had time to mourn the relationships/get used to the idea. Many relationships die out slowly with no actual break coming until one or both partners are actually ready to move on.
posted by Cricket at 2:50 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


I feel like fighting with him over the smut is kind of a bad idea, but I don't think it's wrong for you to be uncomfortable that he had them, or to tell him so. It's not like you were asking him to erase all traces, just the naked ones.

As for dinner, if they went out to eat after you had the fight about the pics, maybe that's why he didn't tell you? It's not a great excuse, but it makes it kind of understandable.

A lot of people have treated you pretty harshly on this thread but it's hard to know what side of the reasonably upset/controlling line you were on without more context.

It's one thing if he's going to be friends with his ex (that's not weird at all, and you might need to deal with it even if it bugs you) but it's quite another if he's going to lie to you about it.
posted by SoftRain at 3:04 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. I, personally, would not want a monogamous partner to keep obviously sexual pictures of an ex around. I'm not so crazy about deletion, but certainly moving them to long term storage filed somewhere at the bottom of a box would be nice. I think if you're at the point where you've agreed on monogamy, you're at the point where you can say "so stop thinking so much about having sex with your ex". (For those who would argue this, try this little experiment: Next time you're having sex, imagine your partner is mentally putting their ex's face over yours....)

Anyway, in your specific situation I would break up. It sounds like both of you are rebounding--he's still clinging to fond memories of his ex, you're expecting the understanding that comes from a LTR without going through the getting to know each other that you should be doing in the first month.
posted by anaelith at 3:27 PM on October 31, 2007


klangklangston writes "My photos of my exes are all analogue."

Ya that ramps up the cost a bit both money and access wise. Locking file cabinet? Book safe?
posted by Mitheral at 3:35 PM on October 31, 2007


From the original poster:
I don't think compromising was a strong enough work. These were not just some nude shots, they were explicit (would be termed hard-core if they were on the internet) videos and photographs of sex acts. I'm not sheltered, but these upset me.

Also, I hate(or hated) the ex because it seemed she was conspiring to get him back. I honestly didn't know he was with her so long or that their relationship had been this serious until a few weeks after I met the guy. Both of our relationships were winding down when we ended them and we ended them before we met each other.

Ultimately, I suppose I was a bitch. But when you think a relationship is going really well (or I thought it was) and you open up a bunch of videos of this girl doing sex acts, I think it's understandable. Probably one of the most shocking experiences of my life. I had some similar content with my ex and I asked him to delete it when we broke up. I just hope he did. I'll never let a boyfriend take such video or pictures of me again because of this experience.

You all are right...I'm a bitch. And I'm not always one. Now I recognize a situation that makes me into a bitch and I'll dump and run next time I encounter them. If a guy doesn't have my ethics...deleting them won't change that. Maybe it's not a deal-breaker/bitch-maker for some people, but it certainly was for me.
posted by mathowie at 3:44 PM on October 31, 2007


Yeah, so last night I opened up some photo organizing software on his computer so I could put some of our pictures on my flashdrive. Lo and behold...compromising pictures of his ex-girlfriend.

You were snooping. You two just learned that neither of you trusts the other.
posted by desuetude at 3:44 PM on October 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


I did get him to delete them...

I'm nthing those who find the word "get" in that sentence alarming.

I don't think you ever have that right, not after twenty years and six kids, even... but after only one month? Wow.

Also, when do we hijack the thread to complain about how iPhoto makes it impossible for anyone to maintain separate worlds? :(
posted by rokusan at 3:56 PM on October 31, 2007


Now I recognize a situation that makes me into a bitch and I'll dump and run next time I encounter them.

You go, girl. It's tough, sometimes, to do what is best for oneself.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:56 PM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


The "hardcoreness" of the pictures doesn't really matter here. That makes them more shocking to you, but that doesn't give you more of a right to demand he deletes them. If they've been broken up for a month, and it was a few weeks after that when you two met, then that means you guys have been going together for what, two weeks? Sorry, but you have no business directing this guy's life. You guys are in the very, very beginnings of the dating stage. Complaining that his ex is trying to get him back, that he has photos of her--this is establishing a permanency to your new relationship that is not there yet. You are way, way too fucking involved for how new this thing is. Step back, take a breather, and go out with some friends.
posted by schroedinger at 4:03 PM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


If a guy doesn't have my ethics...deleting them won't change that

I really want to know how old you are. If you think as your life goes on that every man you date has to be this clean slate, you are in for an astounding disappointment. There was only one bubble boy, and he died 25 years ago at age 12 or so.

Just because someone keeps dirty pictures of their ex doesn't mean they are unethical. Shit, I have been divorced for almost 10 years and there are dirty pictures of my exhusband and I in the basement. I don't look at them and think 'oh god this is hot, why did I ever file', I'm detached from it enough the cock in the foreground doesn't even register and I think 'I remember this shitty apartment. Hey, that's my U2 poster I lost, and there's that bubply orange ceramic tiki lamp my friend Tommy gave me'.

Also, all relationships don't have to end with the ground opening up and swallowing the history of you two into a hateful pit of brimstone. I have some exes I'm still good friends with, some I hate with the heat of a thousand suns, and some I'm indifferent to. If you think that the start of every relationship has a goal of this being the end all be all of love and sunshine and chocolate and babies, that's wrong too. Get to know people. Have some safe casual sex. Go out in a group of people to a ballgame. You've created this narrow set of criteria and if $current_relationship doesn't meet that, then you think that the other party is a bad horrible person with no 'ethics' or whatever you want to call it.

Lighten up. You have a history. Your suitors will have a history. Have some fun.
posted by pieoverdone at 4:25 PM on October 31, 2007 [5 favorites]


I don't think compromising was a strong enough work. These were not just some nude shots, they were explicit (would be termed hard-core if they were on the internet) videos and photographs of sex acts. I'm not sheltered, but these upset me.

Doesn't matter how hardcore the content was. I still say you were in the wrong to have him delete the pictures if he didn't want to. Obviously, if your boyfriend has had previous relationships before you, he's probably had sex with other girls. Sure it's not something you want to see or hear about, and you shouldn't see or hear about it. It's unfortunate that that happened. But it did happen, you can't make it go away, and it's important to him. Not in the "he still wants to sleep with her" kind of way. You shouldn't assume that just because he still has the photos. Heck, in a way you can almost be GLAD that he's had an adventurous sexual past, because it probably makes him a better lover for you, now, in the present....the person he's currently with. As long as he's not dwelling in it, let him cherish his past every once in a while.

Also, I hate(or hated) the ex because it seemed she was conspiring to get him back.

Seemed? Really? You'd hate someone because it SEEMED she was conspiring to get him back? There's a good chance that that "seemed" is all in your head.

You all are right...I'm a bitch.

All of this doesn't make you a bitch. You may have behaved like one for a moment in time, but that doesn't mean you are one. So please don't be too hard on yourself for it. But I would consider apologizing for having him delete the pictures.
posted by Squee at 4:26 PM on October 31, 2007


I think you need to confront that you feel really insecure and that this isn't a good relationship for you right now. I don't recommend going out with anyone whose just broke up with someone just a month ago. Your fears aren't going to go away just because he agreed to delete the pictures.

She's there in his head and you can't see what he still thinks of doing with her. So just go casual with him and date other guys, even if you are completely over the moon about him. He's in the ambivalent phase.
posted by onepapertiger at 5:53 PM on October 31, 2007


I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said better (particularly by pieoverdone above). First I will say that I don't want to share a login with anyone on my computer for this very reason. I don't think my partner needs to see and share every little thing that makes up me. I have a history, a life before them, and it doesn't need to be vetted by them. For better or for worse it's who I am. I return that respect -- and it is about respect -- I will not snoop, I will not make superficial demands nor try to control anyone. (For the record I also don't believe it's my business how many people my partner has slept with, or when, how or where. Honesty and openness is essential, but there's no questionnaire! And anyway, some things I am quite happy not to know.)

If you're quite young, and I suspect you are, maybe the responses have been a bit harsh. If you're in your teens or early 20s, how are you supposed to learn this stuff until you find yourself there? Either way I hope you're getting the gist, which is that you shouldn't let your insecurities rule you. It will make you into someone you don't even like.

When I was younger I was a pretty jealous girlfriend, at least in a way that seemed average at my age. It was normal to hate ex-girlfriends just for being with your boyfriend before you were. It was normal to want to possess your boyfriend. But you know, I grew out of that in my 20s. For one thing, I ended up being the previous girlfriend and realised that all of these roles are complicated.

Can you imagine how difficult it is to be your boyfriend's ex? She's just ended a relationship of four years and he's already got a new girlfriend who wants him to forget all about her. Maybe she's got regrets about the breakup, because a few weeks apart has given her a chance to see what she's lost. But she feels like the enemy, because the person who's (more than likely) the closest person in her life isn't even "allowed" to say he's having a meal with her. Maybe you haven't experienced this, and I hope you haven't, but it sucks. It sucks to feel you may have lost something you shouldn't have given up on. It sucks to see your ex move on really, really quickly, as if it were nothing. She's not the enemy; she's most likely just like you, except on the other side of the coin. In a place you may well be someday.

At best you are being extremely insensitive. You're not expected to help your new boyfriend figure out what he wants. You're not expected to embrace his ex in any way. But you have to accept the position you have chosen -- starting a brand-new relationship with someone who just ended a four-year relationship a month ago. One month. I've had naps longer than that.

I don't really believe you don't understand this, though. Think about what you would say to a friend in this situation. Why don't you say that to yourself? Sometimes we accept a risky situation because we believe it'll be worth it if it works out. But it also means you've gotta take the consequences if it doesn't work out. You're starting to see the dangers of a rebound relationship. If you choose to consciously stick around that's your bailiwick -- but don't blame your bruises on him or on his ex.

Based on your follow-up in this thread you've already made up your mind about what a reasonable policy is -- why, then, did you ask the question?
posted by loiseau at 7:21 PM on October 31, 2007 [9 favorites]


Okay.

First of all, if you'd found some really naughty stuff on my computer when we were only dating a couple weeks, and you objected, the next thing to happen would be me dumping you. Because you can't be trusted to keep your nose out of my biz. And my relationships - past, present, or future - are just that: mine.

But hey, snooping is my hotbutton. Your bf may well be far more tolerant than I.

Okay. So you've requested deletion of material. It's mine, you're new, why should I? So you find it shocking. Well, hooray! That got a couple awkward conversations about preferences out of the way, didn't it. I might archive it, I suppose, but wth are you doing touching my stuff anyway?

Now, I'm having coffee with a friend on Friday. Yes, it's an ex. Get over it. I liked this person before they were my ex, and y'know what? we still got shit to sort. For one thing, there's this underwear I found last week ...

Good thing we're not in a relationship, I guess. I can't stand snoops, or controlling behaviour, or jealousy. They're dealbreakers.
posted by ysabet at 1:06 AM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Listen to ThePinkSuperhero.
posted by Locative at 1:42 AM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I have to say... I understand where you're coming from. I understand the emotion. It hurts to think about the person you're with ever loving anyone else, or having a life with anyone else. Most of the time, it feels fine... and then something happens, and it stings like hell. You're jealous. Everyone gets jealous. Don't feel too bad about that...

The only consolation I can give you is that it fades... I know it doesn't feel like it, but it won't always hurt this much. Truly. If you really care about this guy, just try to relax. I tend to agree with those who are saying he probably wasn't honest about dinner with the ex because he didn't want to upset/hurt you. I would bet that you have been somewhat vocal about the way you feel about her... and maybe he just doesn't feel the same level of negativity. This does not mean that he still wants to be with her, or that he doesn't want to be with you.

Try to take it all down a notch. Try to talk to him when you're not all kinds of emotional. Start off by apologising for freaking out over the pictures (and you DID freak out). Explain to him that you were surprised, and reacted badly. Try to stay calm and explain where you're coming from... not giving ultimatums, but just putting it out there. Have a conversation and listen to what he says. You MIGHT NOT like what he has to say... but don't assume he's saying it to be hurtful. I think that you'd be surprised what a rational conversation can accomplish in terms of opening up honest communication...

Keep in mind that people deal with break ups in all kinds of different ways. Some people hate their exes and never want to see/speak to them again. Some people maintain friendships with them. It just depends on the person...

I think that, in life, we have to deal with the things that we have control over. If he is still interested in being with her, there's nothing you can do to change that... and he's not the guy for you anyway. You only have control over the things you do, and the things that you say... and if it works, great. If not, it probably wasn't meant to...

Relax. Breathe.

No one wants to date a psycho hose beast... and I mean that in the nicest possible way. :o)
posted by Mookbear at 3:21 AM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, just in case you feel I do not know whereof I speak ...

... one of my husband's exes - the one he admitted to still being in love with shortly before our relationship began - was a groom's attendant at our wedding.

Dealing with an ex? Old hat.
posted by ysabet at 4:35 AM on November 1, 2007


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