Boyfriend takes pictures of neighbor
November 8, 2013 8:44 AM   Subscribe

I feel kink of embarassed but last day, I used my bf's camera to take pictures and when viewing the pictures I took, I saw that my boyfriend took pictures of our hot-looking neighbor when she was in her room changing, brushing her hair, etc. It was at night, the curtain in her room were not closed. He also took pictures of her underwears (bra and panties) hanging outside...

When I try to speak to him about it, he either say it is for his friends, that I am making a drama out of nothing, that I am jealous, etc. So I said nothing and kind of forgot the incident...
I feel like he is feeling embarassed so he doesn't want to tell the thruth.
Honestly, I don't know how to react. I feel it is strongly inapropriate for a man in his 30s, I could understand if he was a teenager, but he's not. I feel like I am losing interest in my boyfriend because of this. Like I am less attracted to him.
Did someone experienced that before? Am I overreacting?
Please help!
posted by daile to Human Relations (196 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
You are not overreacting, what he is doing is a gross creepy awful violation.
posted by elizardbits at 8:46 AM on November 8, 2013 [110 favorites]


Please inform your neighbour that she should close her curtains.
Dump your boyfriend.
posted by Snazzy67 at 8:47 AM on November 8, 2013 [111 favorites]


It sounds like your boyfriend is a voyeuristic creep.
posted by xingcat at 8:47 AM on November 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


Holy SHIT that's creepy.

When I try to speak to him about it, he either say it is for his friends, that I am making a drama out of nothing, that I am jealous, etc. So I said nothing and kind of forgot the incident...
I feel like he is feeling embarassed so he doesn't want to tell the thruth.


Not a single one of those excuses is ok. For his FRIENDS? What, do they not have access to porn- he has to spy on some poor woman in her own home? Oh, and you're "just jealous"? You shouldn't be jealous, you should be terrified to be dating a man who has so little respect for the privacy and autonomy of women. Embarrassed? He shouldn't be 'embarrassed,' he should be mortified and ashamed of his disgusting behavior.

This is, again, fucking creepy as shit. If I found out that my neighbor was doing this to me I would move IMMEDIATELY, even though it would cost me hundreds of dollars. Your boyfriend fucking sucks. Ugh.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:47 AM on November 8, 2013 [35 favorites]


No, you are not overreacting. Your boyfriend is behaving in a really disrespectful way towards your neighbor, you and people in general.

I admire you for losing interest, some folks would be making excuses.

By all means, dump this guy. His behavior is gross.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:48 AM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I havent had this experience before, but I certainly dont think you're overreacting. It is decidedly sketchy for a couple of reasons that your boyfriend did this. He's YOUR boyfriend. Taking pictures of another woman in this way is completely inappropriate
more importantly, this is a creepy violation of your neighbors privacy, even if she did have her curtains open. I'd dump him in a hot second if he can't understand that
posted by darsh at 8:48 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This has and will be covered by others but dump this creep so hard he bounces.
posted by ominous_paws at 8:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


Yeah, this isn't only about you and him but mainly about your neighbor. A violation in caps. This isn't trivial, wouldn't even be for a teenager.

I'm sorry you had to find that out, but I feel like it's not a good thing to let sleeping dogs lie. Not overreacting, definitely not.
posted by Namlit at 8:49 AM on November 8, 2013


I'm gonna give this to you blunt, sweetie:

- Your boyfriend looking at other women is not thaaaat bad.
- Your boyfriend taking creepy pictures of other women is bad, but surmountable.
- Your boyfriend lying about taking creepy pictures of other women is REALLY bad, but also surmountable.
- Your boyfriend trying to gaslight you - to convince YOU that you're "crazy", "jealous", "overly-dramatic"? That is a giant, toreador-sized red flag. Proceed with this guy at your own risk.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [52 favorites]


You're not overreacting. What he did was awful and turning it around and trying to blame you for making drama or being jealous is also awful.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this the same boyfriend who had other women's panties? 'cause if so, I'd advise just packing a bag and leaving. Because creepy voyeur that collects panties is not a good sign.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [76 favorites]


he either say it is for his friends

Does nothing to lessen the creep factor! No, no, no.

Please break up with him. This is a gross violation of someone's privacy and all the excuse-making in the world doesn't make it better.
posted by rtha at 8:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Woah, not only is that wildly inappropriate in the context of your relationship, it's a huge violation of your poor neighbor's privacy and a crime. You're not overreacting, in fact you're underreacting. Dump this creepy, awful person.
posted by Papagayo at 8:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Presumably you are less attracted to him because he is a disrespectful, boundary-violating creep. It is okay to let him go and find somebody who doesn't lie about his fetishes. I can't imagine what possible rationale you might have for staying with him, but, ick. You have reached the point of Bad Boyfriend where you need to protect others from him and will have a constrained social life because you are intimate with a bad person. Why go down that path? Just run. I see from previous questions that this is a longer-term relationship, but don't fall for sunk cost thinking here; cut your losses ASAP.
posted by kmennie at 8:50 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are so many levels of WTF about this. No, I don't think you're overreacting. That's an awful level of creepiness and were I in your position I'd be running for the hills right now.

What he's done is certainly morally reprehensible and quite likely not even legal. And I'm sorry, but "it's for my friends" isn't an excuse for doing something you know you shouldn't do!

My advice would be to get out, and quite possibly to inform your neighbour.
posted by gmb at 8:50 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


If this were the only question you had posted about it, I would agree with julthumbscrew, but this is a pattern. Delete the picture and leave. AMF!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:54 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Surely it's not legal to take pictures of people undressing, from outside their homes, without their knowledge?

You're not overreacting. If you haven't dumped him yet, you're under-reacting.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:59 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


And by the way, he does kind of the same when we go to the beach, he takes pictures of women in bikini "for his friend". If I react, he says I overreact and get upset... He just wants to have some fun! But I think the neighbor is worst...

Yes Brandon Blatcher, same guy!
posted by daile at 9:00 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nope, not overreacting. His behavior is inappropriate. His reasoning is inappropriate.
posted by sm1tten at 9:02 AM on November 8, 2013


Dude, this guy is a bucket of bad news. What he is doing is hugely creepy, skeezy, and disrespectful. You need to get out of this relationship. And I would tell your neighbour to start closing her blinds.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:03 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sooo....you're still with him...WHY?

He's a gross, creeper and he probably lies and cheats on you.

Welcome to Dumpsville, population one more asshole.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:03 AM on November 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Same guy? Yeah, daile, I know we MeFites have been accused of being a little too quick on the "dump hiiiiim!" trigger, but honestly? This guy is OBJECTIVELY creepy as hell, and dishonest as hell, and is violating boundaries like it's his full-time job, and has been doing so for YEARS now. DUMP. HIM.
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:04 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


And by the way, he does kind of the same when we go to the beach, he takes pictures of women in bikini "for his friend". If I react, he says I overreact and get upset... He just wants to have some fun! But I think the neighbor is worst...

He's being alarmingly perverted, while gaslighitng you, which mean he doesn't respect or care about your extremely valid uneasy feelings. You're not overreacting at all. If anything you're under-reacting.

Leave him. This behavior isn't going to get better, it's only going to get worst.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:04 AM on November 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


If your neighbor was doing this to your mother, how would you react?
posted by oceanjesse at 9:05 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I knew that one of my neighbor was taking pictures of me, I would think he's a "$% pervert!
posted by daile at 9:06 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


He is not taking pictures of them "for his friends". His friends don't care what his neighbor or the women on the beach look like. If his friends want to look at pictures of scantily clad women who they've never met before, they have the internet, they don't need to wait for texts from him to do that.

Also, I am a 32-year-old man and nobody has *ever* sent me a picture of a woman in her underwear or a bikini and said, "dude, check this chick out, she's hot" nor would I want them to, nor be particularly interested if they did.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:07 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


If there was ever a justified DTMA response to a question, this is it. In fact, if matthowie is reading along, I propose we get a "DTMA button" to add to questions in the relationships category.
posted by dgran at 9:07 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


You know, the most creepo of all this is that he says he is doing it for his friends. I mean wtf. kind of friends does he even have. This is run-away material, and don't wait until you're at the beach again.
posted by Namlit at 9:08 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


You are not overreacting. This is disturbing behavior. Drop this guy.

It's one thing to appreciate a bikini-clad woman on the beach but to take pictures of strangers just because they look hot in a bikini? Strange. Weird.

Taking pictures of the neighbor changing in her private home? Very creepy. Inexcusable. Disrespectful. Grounds for immediate breakup. Never look back.
posted by Fairchild at 9:08 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, I'm sorry, but this is really gross behavior and a total violation of this woman's privacy. It might be one thing if he happened to see her through the window and thought she was hot, but to take photos? That crosses the line into action. As a woman, I find this very creepy and I'd dump this guy. This is probably the definition of a relationship "deal-breaker." You should feel no remorse or guilt about losing interest in this weirdo.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:10 AM on November 8, 2013


Honestly, this feels like call the cops territory, but definitely tell your neighbor and dump this creep.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 9:13 AM on November 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


Yeah, this is creepy.

If you're feeling generous and you really want to, sit down and talk to him about it seriously. If he won't understand why this is creepy, admit he has a problem and actively seek help then dump him. Let him know if he ever does anything like this again then you'll dump him.

But to be honest, it will probably save time and emotional energy to dump him now.
posted by Ned G at 9:14 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Your boyfriend is a total scumbag and you are not overreacting. Kick his gross creepy ass to the curb.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:16 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


from the O.P.:
"And by the way, he does kind of the same when we go to the beach..."

There is no "kind of" about it. He DOES this. He doesn't "kind of" do it.

Please report back to the board when you've dumped him, and be sure to tell him why.
posted by BostonTerrier at 9:16 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


(obviously with the caveat that you still find him attractive and worthy of your trust)
posted by Ned G at 9:16 AM on November 8, 2013


I just noticed that in March of this year you posted a question about your boyfriend having another woman's panties in his belongings. Why the hell are you still even with this weirdo? It sounds like this creeper is both taking photos of his neighbor and stealing her panties. Surely you don't actually think this loser is the best you can do, right? Run. RUN!
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:17 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Your boyfriend is a voyeur. That isn't necessarily a big deal. I don't think there is much of a difference between looking at an image and conjuring an image in the mind while you spank it. What is a big deal is that he has a habit of violating other people's privacy and not having the good sense to cover his tracks. You take your shameful homemade porn and you hide it on the deepest sub folder on your computer. You don't take pictures of people in front of your girlfriend. And you absolutely don't take your kink and try to turn it into someone else's neurosis when you are caught.

If he didn't do this last part I think you could salvage this, become an accomplice on his naughty escapades and teach him to be less creepy about it. But since he turns it all into lies and blame I would snoop on his computer to delete the many naughty photos he has undoubtedly taken of you and inventory your panties while you pack up.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:21 AM on November 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


He's not doing it for his friends. But even if he was, he's in the wrong in a major way and he's lying to you about it. The previous question makes it pretty clear. If it were me, I'd leave this person.

Put it this way, if he was demonstrating remorse – was genuinely sorry for his actions and was talking about things like getting himself into therapy – I'd still leave. This kind of thing rarely changes. But he's not even showing regret or concern that he might lose you over your knowledge of the photos. He's lying to you. It's as though he has no understanding of how violating and disrespectful his actions are (lies included). He lacks respect for women which won't bode well for you in any case. Listen to your instincts.
posted by marimeko at 9:21 AM on November 8, 2013


Like others said: DMTFA, tell the neighbor, and give her the number of the local police.

And I'd actually go a step further and make copies of the pictures and give them to the neighbor in the event that she needs evidence for the charges or lawsuit she should be initiating right after you inform her. Hell, if you paid for the computer and/or internet connection, I'd suggest maybe making copies of the e-mails to his also-creepy friend(s) and giving those to her as well, since distribution is in all likelihood some sort of crime.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:28 AM on November 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


So back in March you were already saying you were not happy with him, that the two of you "barely speak", you "don't love him anymore," and you found other women's underwear in his belongings multiple times.

Why are you still wasting your time dating him six months later?

Now you've found him doing this incredibly, unbelievably creepy stalker-photo thing, you "feel it is strongly inapropriate for a man in his 30s", you are "losing interest in [your] boyfriend because of this" -- but in the same breath say you "don't know how to react?" Whaaaaat?

Just how many more free passes are you going to give this guy before you finally kick him to the curb?
posted by ook at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2013 [29 favorites]


I feel like I am losing interest in my boyfriend because of this. Like I am less attracted to him.

Make sure the door hits his arse on his way out.
posted by flabdablet at 9:32 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I do actually think informing the neighbor and/or the police would be an appropriate course of action, but I just sincerely doubt OP is willing to do that. If she hasn't dumped this guy already, she doesn't have the wherewithal to contact the police or the neighbor.

But this is stalkery behavior that crosses all acceptable boundaries. I would be worried this behavior is a symptom of compulsions this guy cannot control, especially when you consider he has been caught hiding other women's underwear. I think OP should consider this.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:32 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dump him! Now! Immediately! Oh my god!

But first get the camera and take it to the police, or at least to the poor woman next door, or at LEAST leave her a note about your creepy Peeping Tom ex- boyfriend!

You seriously cannot break up with this guy soon enough! Your future self will thank you, dump him! Please!
posted by windykites at 9:36 AM on November 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Why are you still with this guy? Your question in March makes the relationship sounds dismal, and now you know that he's also a privacy-invading, stalker, gas-lighting creep on top of the other stuff.

You said in March you live together, which might be causing some of your inertia in this relationship? When I finally realized I needed to leave my cheating, underage diddling, gas-lighting creep of a boyfriend, I waited until he was out of town and packed all my stuff and my cat in my car and went home to live my parents. It was hard to move back in with my parents at 29, but I needed to make the break.

I got a lot of pleasure thinking about the look on his face when he came home, found the house emptied of my stuff, and a note that said, "I had to leave. You know why."
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:40 AM on November 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


This isn't just really bad. If you stay with him and share an address with him, you are completely dependent on him not crossing a line and getting caught and landing you on a sex offender registry for the rest of your life.

Get out. Get therapy. Learn that you have to take care of yourself even if it means some boy might get mad and not like you anymore.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:45 AM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is what gas-lighting is.

Sliding vs Deciding. Once you're living with someone, getting out is much harder. You are living with this guy, so now you have to do the hard work of leaving, but I promise you, it will be so worth it.

The guy has absolutely crossed all kinds of your boundaries and now you need strength and support to defend your boundaries. Find the people in your life who will help you move out, or get him out, depending on the legal/real estate situation where you are. Find the people in your life who will keep you company and be supportive while you sort out the aftermath.
posted by bilabial at 9:56 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Get out of this situation before you end up becoming an accomplice of some kind when this woman reports him. Your boyfriend is sick for lying. So gross!


Never date/be in a relationship with someone so gross. It just makes you look desperate for hanging on. And don't be desperate. If you feel that way, then get some counseling so you aren't codependent on him.
posted by discopolo at 10:08 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Your boyfriend is a creep. Dump him.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:14 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dear Daile. In every single one of your questions you've asked, you don't think you deserve anything good. The sad truth is you do but you can't seem to truly believe it.

Do you deserve the hard-earned income you make after investing your energy and dedication and studies? Yes, you do.
Do you deserve to travel and see the big wide world you're curious about, even if your boyfriend can't go? Yes, you do.
Do you deserve a boyfriend who doesn't stash other people's panties in a super creepy way and then make it sound like it is your problem? Yes, you do.
Do you deserve a boyfriend who doesn't violate the privacy of other people in a super creepy way and then make it sound like it is your problem? Yes, you do.

You are worthwhile. Your time, your input, your feelings, your opinions, your hopes. WORTHWHILE. YOU DESERVE BETTER than what you are consistently settling for. Please stop devaluing yourself!
posted by sestaaak at 10:15 AM on November 8, 2013 [128 favorites]


> If I knew that one of my neighbor was taking pictures of me, I would think he's a "$% pervert

So -- you know you're dating a "$% pervert. Do you want to date a pervert? One who's going to have trouble with the law sooner or later?
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:19 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's okay to be single.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:21 AM on November 8, 2013 [27 favorites]


When I try to speak to him about it, he either say it is for his friends, that I am making a drama out of nothing, that I am jealous, etc.
Whether it is for his friends or not, or whether you are jealous or not, is completely irrelevant. He could be completely uninterested in the woman, or you could be completely OK with him being interested in the woman, but the fact would remain that he has grossly violated this woman's privacy. Why on earth would you stay with him?

Even if he's uninterested in her, or if you're OK with him being interested in her. Why on earth would you stay with him?
posted by Flunkie at 10:23 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Consider how you would react if your best friend told you their sweetie was doing stuff like this. What would you tell your friend about the relationship? What would you tell your best friend to do?

Be your own best friend, here.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:25 AM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


your boyfriend is a rank pervert. the reason pervs take photos like that is so they can masturbate to them. the reason your bf keeps other women's panties in his posssession is so that when you're not there, he can put them over his head and inhale her most intimate scents while flogging his log.

if you love your bf, turn him in to the cops so he can maybe get some treatment as part of his sentence. this is the best thing that could happen to him.

there's another, not-best thing that could happen to him. he's hiding there in the dark, photographing this woman through her window, and one of her bigger male friends catches him in the act. if it were someone like me, the outcome would be worse than a criminal conviction.

you have been close enough to this perversion for a long enough time that your silence and tolerance is verging toward enabling and complicity.
posted by bruce at 10:29 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Listen, this may not be a popular opinion, and you'd be 100% entitled and justified in just leaving. That said, his behavior is SO out of the norm that I think it may be pathological. It may need to be treated as a serious disorder and addressed in very intensive therapy. If he's willing to accept this as an ultimatum, recognize that it is a SERIOUS problem, and go be treated for paraphilia with provisions (e.g. you get full access to his computers, emails, whatever), there may be a hope in hell for staying with him. Given his reaction, this doesn't seem likely, but after 7 years, it would be understandable that you'd make that ultimatum. (And it should also be said that we don't have success treating paraphilias, only the pernicious behaviors surrounding them. This will probably always turn him on.)

If he absolutely won't accept the gravity of this situation, you must leave and it would be unethical not to inform the victim of what you know.
posted by namesarehard at 10:30 AM on November 8, 2013


You are definitely not overreacting. He's a creep. Dump him.
posted by sarcasticah at 10:34 AM on November 8, 2013


Please read what sestaaak wrote. Then read it again. Print it out, put it in your pocket, tape it to your monitor, memorize it, believe it.

What advice would you give a friend in this situation? You deserve so much better than this.
posted by headnsouth at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes Brandon Blatcher, same guy!

Whhhaaaaaaaaat? Why is this even a question, then? Dump him. Tomorrow. Get Out Now.
posted by Justinian at 10:42 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I thought about sending the neighbor an anonymous letter saying someting like "please be aware, one of you neighbor is watching you at night".

@namesarehard I don't know if it can be part of the problem, but I don't have access to his computer. His reason: he thinks I will try to find something...

@sestaaak I think you're right because I cried when I saw that answer....
posted by daile at 10:42 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This guy is a creep and possibly a predator. Unless done with explicit permission from the person being photographed, what he's doing is also probably illegal. Even if he did have that permission (which it seems abundantly clear he does not) it is incredibly disrespectful to you for him to be doing this without your knowledge.

This guy is creepy, horrible, no-good bad news. Get the fuck out of that relationship immediately. I wouldn't even discuss it with him further, I would just disappear from his life and cut him dead, never speak to him again. If you want, leave a note on the counter at his house saying "Taking sexy pictures of women without their knowledge or consent is creepy and horrible and disgusting, and doing it without telling me is also disrespectful and gross. We are over. Do not contact me again, in any way, ever."

Then I would tell my entire social circle, including anyone who is a mutual friend of you and your ex, and also definitely including your neighbor (leave a note under her door if you don't want to confront her in person) exactly what he is doing and why you left him. People need to know that this guy is dangerous and disgusting and bad news.

You are not overreacting. You are actually seriously underreacting. This is serious, bad shit. What he's doing is, depending on your definitions, either sexual harassment or sexual assault as well as being a form of cheating. This guy is no good and a danger to those around him. He's also a disgusting scumbag. Get the fuck out of there and burn all your bridges.
posted by Scientist at 10:46 AM on November 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Also, the way that he minimizes and rationalizes and downplays his behavior and manipulates you into staying with him by getting all dramatic and weepy when you try to leave him (as per your previous question) is emotionally abusive. If you don't feel like you are free to leave your relationship at any time and for any reason you choose (and it doesn't matter if something is no big deal to him, it only matters if it's a big deal to you and this absolutely should be a big deal to you) then you are trapped and you are being abused. Good partners don't do that shit. Run and run fast. Don't confront him and tell him you're breaking up with him, just get the fuck out sometime when he's not around and never communicate with him again. And tell all your friends why.
posted by Scientist at 10:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Leave him. I'm not sure that this chorus needs any more voices, but I know that leaving a long-term relationship (no matter how fucked up) can be very hard, so perhaps you need all the encouragement you can get.

I don't think I need to repeat that his actions towards the neighbour are immoral and illegal, and his behaviour towards you is psychologically abusive. But maybe you should just ask yourself this:
Can I be happy in this relationship?
If the answer is no, you don't even need to demolish his obvious lies or argue with his sadistic mind-games about your response to his disgusting behaviour. You have to leave simply because you deserve a life where you can be happy, like all of us.
posted by pont at 10:50 AM on November 8, 2013


Honestly, I thought about sending the neighbor an anonymous letter saying someting like "please be aware, one of you neighbor is watching you at night".

If I received this as an anonymous note I would take it to the police. That is seriously scary, & not knowing either who's looking or who's reporting ... double scary.

Much, much better that you break up with this creep, and talk directly to your neighbor either after he moves out or as you're moving out. She deserves to know & you'll feel good & strong telling her.
posted by headnsouth at 10:50 AM on November 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Honestly, I thought about sending the neighbor an anonymous letter saying someting like "please be aware, one of you neighbor is watching you at night".

This is not enough, either for her or for you. All this will do is make her very fearful for her privacy (and possibly her life) but completely unable to do anything about it. At the very least, your neighbor needs to be informed of exactly who he is and what he is doing. Depending on where you are, this guy is committing crimes, at the very least theft and invasion of privacy, probably with unlawful surveillance and distribution and some sort of sex offense. Even worse, it sounds like this guy is escalating, especially when it comes t the sharing with "friends" that you have no idea what they are capable of.

You don't have to defend this guy anymore, and it's getting to the point where doing so is could be a serious danger to others.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:51 AM on November 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


You are right, I should tell her which neighbor because she may be paranoid. Good point.
posted by daile at 10:53 AM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is about a perfect storm of pile-on, DTMFA and "therapy," any or all of which can strike me as a little too prevalent 'round here, but the trifecta is correct and appropriate with this, full go.

Be good to yourself, okay?
posted by ambient2 at 10:54 AM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seriously, six months out from this relationship when you're free and your mind is clear and you have some distance and perspective on the relationship, you will be astounded and disturbed to realize how manipulative this guy is and how much he has been screwing with your mind and your judgement. The fact that you are still with this guy despite his awful behavior speaks to a pattern of manipulation and mind-fucking that has you in a place where you can't clearly see how awful he is and don't feel like you're free to leave anyway. You need to get out. Your life will get much better, and quickly, once this guy is totally out of your life for good.
posted by Scientist at 10:55 AM on November 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


Your neighbor wouldn't be "paranoid." Some creep really is taking her photo when she doesn't know. For all you know, the creep is posting them to the Internet for his "friends" to see. Maybe with her name. You've got to tell her.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:59 AM on November 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm a guy and I enjoy the sight of a pretty woman, but I wouldn't take stealth pictures of a woman in her bedroom and of her undergarments. If he saw her through the window and kept his eyes on her for a little while because he thought she is gorgeous, I don't know, maybe hard to say that's creepy, but taking photos of her is creepy and wrong.
posted by Dansaman at 10:59 AM on November 8, 2013


DUMP HIM.

DUMP THE MAN FINALLY ALREADY.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:11 AM on November 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


"please be aware, one of you neighbor is watching you at night"....I should tell her which neighbor because she may be paranoid.


If this is what you choose to do, then you should also tell your neighbor that there are pictures being taken. Some people might not mind overly much being looked at; knowing that someone has unconsented-to, porny pictures (and is sharing them) is where I think it crosses the line for just about everyone. Also, be prepared for the police to be called, because they almost definitely will. (It's definitely a civil tort in most places, if not a full-on crime.)
posted by likeatoaster at 11:14 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


His reason: he thinks I will try to find something...

You already found something. Many somethings. The things he's been careless enough to let you see are waaaay more than bad enough; I can't imagine what the things he's still hiding from you must be.

Seriously: get away from this guy. Please don't do the same thing you did last time where you say "yes I should do something" and then don't do anything. You don't need any more evidence, you don't need any more reasons. It's time to go.
posted by ook at 11:36 AM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh my god, dump him before you find the three dozen dead bodies in his goddamn crawl space. Or become one of them.
posted by like_a_friend at 11:42 AM on November 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


I know you've been with this guy for a long time, and leaving or dumping him may be incredibly scary for you but his behaviour is inappropriate in the most alarming way.

Please do not waste another 7 years on this dude.
posted by JenThePro at 11:44 AM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, going forward: do you have friends or family who can support you as you move out and away from pervy panty photo boy? There's no shame in telling someone this happened to you, now is the time to reach out to them and get some help be it emotional or logistical as you move on with your life. The person you reach out to doesn't necessarily have to be a close friend, I know if a casual acquaintance of mine said, "Hey, this crazy thing happened to me and I need some help," I'd be there with hugs and moving boxes within the hour.

Don't be too afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.

And from this point on and in the future, when you ask yourself, "Am I overreacting?" the answer is "No, you are not."
posted by jamaro at 11:51 AM on November 8, 2013


I agree with the comments saying you should tell your neighbor, but I really feel you should break up with him and move out first. We don't know your boyfriend aside from the things you have shared with us, but it seems pretty clear that he has impulse control issues as well as boundary issues, and I would be concerned about your safety at home if the police showed up to talk to him about his creeper activities.
posted by elizardbits at 11:52 AM on November 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


Your boyfriend has serious issues. It's not that he's a bad person because he has sexual fetishes or whatever. I am not going to judge anyone for that. Everyone has some kinks.

Women's underwear is his thing? Fine and dandy. Just in case you weren't aware of this, lots of people get off on stuff like that. Whole sites are dedicated to high heels or stockings fetishes, for instance. The Peeping Tom stuff? Also common, and your boyfriend could easily indulge his fantasies without invading anyone's privacy. Exhibitionists post selfies and videos of themselves online, amateur porn sites cater to that "peeking through a window" aspect willingly. The two of you could have had fun with it, too, maybe, if he had just been open and said something like, "Hey, how would you feel about some role-playing where you walk around in lingerie and get undressed and I "spy" on you? Because I am really into that."

BUT. He has been gaslighting you, making you think this is all in your head. He has been spying on women without their knowledge, in a disturbing and creepy invasion their privacy. Taking pictures and documenting that is even worse. How would your neighbor feel if he posted those pics of her on the internet?!

So don't let him make any excuses or blame any of this on you in any way. Your boyfriend opted out of the healthy, informed, open communication route, not you. Chances are, if he had just acted like a decent human being from day one, you wouldn't now be dumping his sorry, manipulative, deceitful ass.

So I definitely agree you should dump him! I really hope that when you do, you let him know how he screwed up such a good thing, too. It would be really easy for him to just rationalize to himself that you were jealous, or a prude, or didn't understand him (which is probably what he told himself with previous girlfriends), when really this is all on him. Personally, in a perfect world, I'd want him to realize that, but it is probably too much to ask for from this guy.

But daille, really, you know you should have dumped your boyfriend months ago. Why in the world are you still with him? Your other posts suggest you make plenty of money, so I can't see the finances of living together being the problem, though even then I would urge you to find another living situation.

Ask yourself WHY you've stuck around. Don't you feel you deserve better? Are you afraid of being alone? Do you expect to be treated badly by men?

Really look at yourself and ask why you stuck around, because I'm worried that if you don't, daille, you will continue this pattern of settling for someone who treats you badly.
posted by misha at 11:53 AM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yikes, you deserve better than this.
posted by radioamy at 12:01 PM on November 8, 2013


Every alarm bell in my head is going off about this guy.

His voyeurism at the beach makes me think he's capable of objectifying people pretty thoroughly and isn't ashamed of it. --> means he's likely capable of scary stuff

His interest in spying on this woman in her home makes me think that crossing boundaries gets him off. --> means he's likely to enjoy doing scary stuff

His explanation that pictures are for "friends" makes me think that boundaries don't even make sense to him anyway (what "friends" share pictures of their peeping tom activities?!) --> means he's likely to justify his own behavior as "normal" and "acceptable" even if it's not

Those things make me think he's dangerous.

Please leave *now.* I honestly don't think this person is safe to be around. Things like this don't end well. After you have another place to stay, I think you should go to the police about his activities (with proof, by way of the pictures and anything else that's relevant, if possible). If the police aren't able to do anything, and/or if they recommend doing so, *then* go to the woman. This isn't her problem to solve, this is Chris's, and since he's escalating his behavior, it's law enforcement's job to get him back on track.
posted by rue72 at 12:06 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Echoing everyone who says that aside from being a creep of the highest degree, he's potentially dangerous and you should leave him as soon as you can. Things will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER get better with this guy, and you deserve better.

Your neighbor also deserves to know, as soon as you are safely away from this guy, that she is being spied on. Do not leave an anonymous letter for her; that's going to freak her out. Speak to her directly.
posted by scody at 12:14 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


On top of everything else - if he was telling the truth about the pictures being "for his friends" (he's not), it would be even worse than what he's actually doing. It would mean that he not only was violating your neighbor's privacy but that he was willing to spread her pictures around to the general public.

When someone has a bad enough sense of what is morally acceptable that his excuses are worse than what he's covering up, that's not a good sign.
posted by tdismukes at 12:20 PM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Chiming in to say when I was a kid there was a combo creep+pedo neighbor who would spy on my mom AND me and take photos.

The police were called. And they actually cared. And not just because a kid was involved or whatever.

This is legitimately illegal. And not in the parking ticket way. In the handcuffs time served way.

Definitely consider that going forward. This guy is criminally creepy. I absolutely agree with the "potentially dangerous" assessment as well.
posted by emptythought at 12:21 PM on November 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Gah, people who are doing something wrong ALWAYS try to convince you that YOU are the crazy one, that YOU are the one who is causing drama.
posted by vignettist at 12:27 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now it's time for me to (potentially) overreact:


Daile, do you feel okay to leave him?

Are you staying because you don't think you have the money to move out? Is there a family member or friend you can stay with for a while, to help with costs?

Does your BF make you feel afraid? Has he physically threatened you, your child, and/or your pet?

If this is the case for you, please understand that none of this is your fault. You are not the cause of your BF's behavior. You deserve to be respected, and to feel safe in your own home.

I know that some women feel they can't leave their partners because of personal finances. I know some women feel they can't leave their partners because they believe--usually with good reason--that any implied violence will became actual violence if they try to go, or that any actual violence will escalate.

Please reach out to the Nat'l Domestic Violence Hotline or a similar resource. There are people out there waiting to help you. They can help you make plans to leave safely.

I hope that I am very, very wrong about this.

Good luck.
posted by magstheaxe at 12:30 PM on November 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


If I were your neighbor, I would want to pursue criminal charges. Maybe a lawyer in the group can chime in about the legal ramifications of you involving yourself in this matter. Like, should you take the disk out of his camera to preserve the evidence? Most likely you will be interviewed as a witness, at the very least.

If I were your neighbor, I would also want to know when the guy was moving out (although, I would probably move anyway, if I thought some creep were doing that to me and might possibly come back).

If I were you, I would start doing more snooping to make sure he doesn't have any pictures of ME that I don't want him perving on or worse, posting on the internet as revenge after I broke up with him.
posted by vignettist at 12:34 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Me I'd DMTFA, several of the things he's doing would be deal breakers for me. Top of that list is the lying. And I'd let my neighbour know you can see into the room where she changes from your house. She can then elect to close her curtains or not. Telling her or suggesting to her that she should close her curtains would be pressuring if she doesn't care if people can see/photograph her naked.

Sing Or Swim: "Surely it's not legal to take pictures of people undressing, from outside their homes, without their knowledge?"

This is an extreme "It Depends" situation with quite a bit of hair splitting of both expectations of privacy and the nuance of law and a big dose of YJMV. There was quite a bit of discussion about this topic on Metafilter when Arne Svenson's apartment pictures were posted.
posted by Mitheral at 1:02 PM on November 8, 2013


I've been at nude beaches with a friend and been approached by people who want to take pictures. My friend, who is something of an exhibitionist, said yes and let the man take pictures of her. But you know what? Even that exhibitionist friend thinks that your boyfriend's behavior is creepy and inappropriate. You're not overreacting. Dump this guy and move one.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:10 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


You seem to be minimizing the seriousness of what your boyfriend is doing, either because it's simply too unpleasant to fully face or because he has distorted your view of reality.

For example, you have thought about telling your neighbor that someone is looking at her at night. You understand that what is being done to her is wrong, and that she would be better off being able to protect herself from it, but you do not want to have to confront her directly or even give her all the information she needs (who is doing it, and that he is taking photos which are in his possession and possibly being distributed to other people). I'm not trying to be critical - you're in a very difficult situation. But I think there it will be useful to try to unpack your feelings about it. I obviously don't know exactly what you think and feel, but here is what I might be thinking, if I were in your shoes:

-Your impulse is to just tell her about the peeping, but not the photos. This might feel safer: after all, if your boyfriend were just spying, there would be nothing that could be done after the fact to change what had already happened, and she could take steps to protect herself in the future just by closing her curtains. Possibly this could be done without your boyfriend finding out that you had told her. But spying is not all that happened. Your boyfriend took photos, which still exist, meaning that the past violations are really ongoing: he is still looking at her, he has indicated that he might be distributing the photos so that others also can, and your neighbor closing her curtains will not change any of that. It is not possible to address this without the knowledge of your boyfriend - the photos on his camera and computer must be accessed and confiscated (ideally by the police). And if anything like that happens, it would no longer be possible to maintain your relationship status quo. You might also have to find out what else was on that computer he doesn't want you poking around in:
photos of other women, worse photos of the neighbor, photos of you that you didn't know he had taken, disturbing things he has downloaded. Perhaps you are afraid of following this trail of breadcrumbs and finding out what's really been going on all this time, because then you will feel even worse about your boyfriend and your relationship, and yourself for staying with him so long.

-Your impulse is to leave a note and not talk to your neighbor in person. In this way you would protect yourself from several things. Perhaps you are afraid to witness how upset she will get, because this would force you to see exactly how horrible a thing your boyfriend is doing, and that is it not just a bump in your relationship, but a serious and damaging violation of another person. Perhaps you are worried about what she will think of you as someone who would date that kind of pervert, that she will see you as implicated in what he has done to her. Perhaps you are afraid she will call the police, and feel guilty about what that would do to your boyfriend's life or how it would almost certainly end your relationship with him.

It is not your fault that your boyfriend is doing these things. The fact that he is your boyfriend does not mean that you are in any way responsible for his actions, and they aren't a reflection of you or the kind of person you are. But now he is asking you to keep his activities hidden, and if you do that then you do become complicit in his predatory behavior toward your neighbor, who does not deserve this just because she hasn't thought hard enough about who can see in through her windows at night. The fact that he expects this complicity of you, on top of everything else, is horrible, and it is natural that you feel confused.

But I think you already know what you should do. Trying to hide from the full extent of what's happening will not change the reality of what your boyfriend is doing, or repair the damage done to your relationship. It must be painful to realize that a person you have loved and spent so much time with is actively engaging in such icky and immoral behavior. You must wish that it would all just go away, or that there could be some innocent explanation. But the only way to get out of this situation is by realizing that your boyfriend is far, far outside the bounds of acceptable behavior and taking steps to separate yourself from him. You should not be in a relationship where you have these kinds of fears. You deserve to be with someone you admire and are proud to call your partner. Not someone you need to leave shameful anonymous notes for the neighbors about.
posted by unsub at 1:28 PM on November 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


DTMFA. The fact that people like your boyfriend exist makes me feel bad about life and depressed about humanity.
posted by parakeetdog at 1:34 PM on November 8, 2013


If I were you, I would start doing more snooping to make sure he doesn't have any pictures of ME that I don't want him perving on or worse, posting on the internet as revenge after I broke up with him.

Exactly. If he's doing this to a woman he only has access to through her window, what does he have of you that you may or may not know about?

But now he is asking you to keep his activities hidden, and if you do that then you do become complicit in his predatory behavior toward your neighbor.

This is a very important point that you need to consider. If you just ignore this behavior and let it go on, you are complicit in the ongoing sexual violation of your neighbor.
posted by winna at 1:35 PM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thank you everyone. I don't know what I am afraid of but I'll find out for sure.

For the record, I don't need him financially and he's not violent at all with me.
posted by daile at 2:02 PM on November 8, 2013


If I were you, I would start doing more snooping to make sure he doesn't have any pictures of ME that I don't want him perving on or worse, posting on the internet as revenge after I broke up with him.

Oh wow, yeah, I want to underscore this. He clearly has zero respect for women in general and is fine violating their privacy and boundaries, and I think you should prepare yourself for the strong possibility that he's been violating your own privacy and boundaries. Even if he's not physically violent with you (and I see from your update that he's not), this is a kind of emotional/psychological violence that he may be perfectly capable of committing.
posted by scody at 2:05 PM on November 8, 2013


Collecting women's underwear? Taking picture of women's underwear? No job and no money?

Why are you still with this loser?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:12 PM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


He has a job and money, it's just that I have more than him. That's why I say I don't need him financially.
posted by daile at 2:14 PM on November 8, 2013


Skimming back over your previous posting history, and reading this question and your responses, I wonder what it is that you get out of this relationship that makes you stay? Is there anything that makes you happy to be with him? Because from where I am standing, it seems to be causing you an awful lot of pain and heartache for no reward - it seems that you are getting much less (emotionally) out of the relationship than you are putting in, with all the awful things your boyfriend is doing to you and to others. It's a cliche, but life really is too short to waste time on people that actively hurt you, or at the least are indifferent to the fact that they are hurting you. You deserve a lot more than this.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 2:19 PM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


He's actually incredibly psychologically violent with you. That you don't experience his treatment of you, and of this innocent stranger, in that way says a lot about your relationship.

You're not financially dependent on him. You don't have children or a mortgage. You're staying because you have learned somewhere that you are helpless, you don't have a right to make your own decisions, you need permission to do things, and that you are not smart/capable/interesting/attractive/worthy/deserving of love, respectful treatment and baseline fairness from a life partner. You're co-dependent in the extreme with this really fucked up, potentially dangerous guy, friend.

You are living out a pathological, sick dance you likely learned a long time ago, long before you met this asshole and he decided that your passivity fit perfectly with his latent abusive streak. And make no mistake - part of the thrill here is quietly humiliating YOU, along with invading the privacy of this woman next door. He does this in front of you. He has no desire to keep this from you. He wants you to know that he does this kind of thing and to feel powerful over you when you accept his lies and/or question your own sanity. This is violence, absolutely.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 2:20 PM on November 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


In March you were thinking of dumping him, and selected as "best answer" advice to leave the loser. Why didn't you?
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:32 PM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


He's a peeping tom with an underwear fetish and he's a pervert who likes taking photos of women unaware. He *says* he's taking the pictures "for a friend": so that makes him a LYING peeping tom pervert with an underwear fetish. And if he's this into creepy pictures, I'd bet real money that he's also taking 'up-skirt' photos: holding his cell phone underneath strange women's skirts --- like if he was behind them on an escalator; some guys hold their phones out so they catch women passing the guys' seats in theaters or restaurants. All of which is, oh yeah: not just disgusting, it's illegal.

And finally: I'm sorry, but it's also a pretty good bet that he's taken pictures OF YOU, to share with his pervert friends and/or the internet.

Dump his ass, NOW.
posted by easily confused at 2:37 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


- Your boyfriend looking at other women is not thaaaat bad.
- Your boyfriend taking creepy pictures of other women is bad, but surmountable.


With the greatest respect to the person who made this comment, it is that bad. It's worse.

You don't owe us an explanation as to why you're still with him. We're not living your life - you are.

I do feel curious, though. You say he won't acknowledge how bad this is. What difference would it make if he did? He'd still be a voyeur and a panty-thief with it. Minimizing and denying compounds the offence, but still. Why do you think you need to convince him or get him to admit to anything? Is it not enough to convince yourself? You know how bad this is because you asked the question and you obviously do know the answer. You may never get him to say "yes I did it because I'm a disgusting perve" and, if you're holding out for an innocent explanation, you'll wait forever.

What do you actually want from him, I wonder?
posted by tel3path at 2:41 PM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree.
posted by daile at 3:25 PM on November 8, 2013


You don't need his permission or his agreement to break up. It's enough that YOU want to end this unhealthy and bad relationship.
posted by Aubergine at 3:26 PM on November 8, 2013 [27 favorites]


Don't ask his permission or seek his agreement. You have absolutely no obligation or duty to do so, in this situation or ever in any relationship. He is a manipulative abuser who is fucking with your head and will play mind games with you and try to guilt you into staying with him (just like he did before, as you mentioned in your previous question) and he may succeed. Just get the fuck out of that relationship and never speak to him again. You will be much, much happier and healthier for it.
posted by Scientist at 3:34 PM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Breaking up with him is explicitly refusing his hold over you - asking him is the anti-thesis of that. Of course he wants you to stay - all his hard work convincing you that you're the crazy one and that it's okay to be a creeper and vile jerk will go down the drain! He's not asking you to stay out of love, he's asking you to stay out of selfishness.

You need to be a bit selfish in return. Your goodwill, your inner peace, your life, is worth more than a jackass who creeps on neighbours and objectifies women so badly.

(Just as a heads up - is it possible he's been taking creepshots of you? Be prepared for that as blackmail when you finally leave).
posted by geek anachronism at 3:40 PM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


That's like trying to get someone to agree that you should rob them. In that, they probably won't agree that it's a good idea for you to rob them. Not like that because robbing someone is a crime, and breaking up with someone is okay. In your case, more than okay since you want to break up with him and because he is a disgusting perve.

You can't expect to get him to agree that breaking up with him is a good idea. People often don't agree, but they nevertheless have to deal with something happening that they don't agree with.
posted by tel3path at 3:54 PM on November 8, 2013


Of course he doesn't agree. So what? You don't need agreement for a breakup.

What, exactly, is preventing you from just breaking up with this guy?
posted by Justinian at 3:55 PM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


On your first Mefi question, you marked as Best Answer that you don't need a reason to break up with someone.
posted by horizonseeker at 4:07 PM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


He is never going to say "you're right, I'm terrible, you should leave me, please go". Seriously. Why do you need him to agree that you should breakup? Don't tell me, tell your therapist who you need to get ASAP. Geez. If someone broke into your house, would you wait to call the police until the criminal agreed that they should stop stealing your stuff and wanted to go to jail? Come on, get a grip, it's not going to happen. You need to person up and take the responsibility for this, he won't do it, and it's not his responsibility to decide when you want to leave him.
posted by windykites at 4:07 PM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree

Please look out for yourself here, because his lying and minimising to you indicates that he's no longer on the same team as you. You don't need his permission. If you make the unilateral decision to break up, it's going to be okay. You've not violated any ethical rules by doing so.

I read this question and the previous one, wondering why you're still with him after 8 months. In making your decision to break up or not, you may have considered the 7/6 years of dating/living together (a painful investment to have made), so it's very understandable that you're still with him.

This, right here, is the sunk costs fallacy. This is a cognitive bias that many people don't quite consider when they make decisions, and comes into play in many situations - *considering whether to drop a PhD? Changing career fields? Staying together for the kids?

Don't waste any more time, emotions or effort on this guy, please. You really deserve someone better than him. In a year, or 2 years, this issue is just going to come up again, and you will find yourself at the same point you're at right now, except this time with a 9-year history of being with him. It's not too late to make a decision now.

* I don't agree with the last paragraph.
posted by rozaine at 4:13 PM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree.

What if he never agrees? Are you willing to spend the rest of your life with this man?

[Tough love begins here:] You think you'd feel more comfortable if he'd agree to break up? How comfortable do you imagine you'll feel if you spend years -- decades -- continuing to find panties in his gym bags and pictures of neighbors he's spying on, knowing that he is violating the privacy of other women (and quite possibly breaking the law in doing so), wondering if he's cheating on you, being lied to, being told that you're jealous or crazy? I assure you, the pain and fear and anguish you feel now will be nothing compared to waking up in your 40s, 50s, or 60s with the sinking feeling that you have been wasting your life on a misogynistic loser who you don't even enjoy being with.

I am almost certain that he will never agree to break up (at least not until he decides to dump you for someone else), because doing so would actually be in your best interests, and his behavior has shown that he doesn't care about your best interests. The shared history you have is habit and familiarity and convenience to him, nothing more.

You get exactly one life. And it's simultaneously too short and too long to spend it with someone who doesn't even respect you, not one little bit.

[/End tough love]

I know that breaking up must feel frightening, and that you might be worrying about dealing with intense feelings (such as pain, regret, loneliness, fear, etc.) that will no doubt accompany a break up. It also might feel like the fact that these feelings will come along will be a signal that breaking up is the wrong thing to do. But it's not -- it's just a signal that breaking up is a difficult thing to do, and sometimes the most difficult thing to do is still the right thing to do.
posted by scody at 4:20 PM on November 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


Perhaps there's some part of you that enjoys being with a voyeur and gets a vicarious thrill from it? Otherwise, you know what he's like, and have done so for a while based on your questions here - you either like it or you really need the permission of internet strangers to leave him. Only you know the answer, and can act on it.

There's nothing wrong with you, if that's your kink. You also have my permission, as a stranger on the internet, to leave him if that's not your kink. You need to tell him though, one way or the other, because based on what you've said here he either thinks you're okay with his kink or he thinks you're an idiot.
posted by goo at 4:32 PM on November 8, 2013


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree.

Carry this through to its logical conclusion, ok? What if you were dating a man who dealt heroin, or a man who beat someone to death and hid the body, or a rapist? Would you still be like, "well, I WOULD break up with him but he disagrees so I guess I can't! I guess I'll just stay with this monster until he decides it's over!"

No. You don't need his permission. You want fucking permission, look at the 100-odd posts in this thread. There's your permission.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:40 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree.

You know, I don't want to get all gender studies on you, but there is a really large degree to which women are socialised to smooth things over, not cause upset, and to be agreeable and non-confrontational. But you do not need this man's agreement to break up with him, and that's good because you will never get it.

Please realise that you cannot continue to live with and have sex with a sexual pervert who is victimising at least one woman. For you to continue to stay with this man is to be complicit in this. Why would he ever break up with you? He's never going to have someone who's so easy to manipulate again.

Grab hold of yourself, woman. This is insanity. Get out and get your life back.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:51 PM on November 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


3 of your four questions revolve around your boyfriend. The other reflects, in my opinion, self esteem issues. You don't seem too bent on leaving him yet. Why? Aren't you worth better than this? I think you are. Even if he limits it to stealing panties, taking creepy, creepy stalkery (and probably illegal) voyeur pictures why in the WORLD would you need his agreement/permission to break up? Do you need his permission to have a life? see friends? Travel? Work? Meet someone who might not be facing jail times? How long will you put up with bad behavior? what if it escalates? Cause it darn well might.
posted by Jacen at 5:05 PM on November 8, 2013


Another thing to consider: do you want to have children? You're in your 30s, so if you want to have them biologically, it's going to have to happen within the next 5 years or so. And if you would like to have children, can you imagine having them with this man? And I don't mean the romantic version of what it's like in a movie to have a baby; I mean really imagine what kind of partner you think he'd be to you during the most difficult, challenging parts of pregnancy, labor, and child-rearing. Beyond that, what kind of example would he be setting for your child in terms of what to expect from relationships? Would you want a boy learning how to behave from him? Would you want a girl learning what to expect from men from him?

But regardless of whether you want children, as DarlingBri says, this is the time to grab hold of yourself. There are more red flags here than in a May Day parade. You are in a relationship with a predator. Continuing to be accommodating and patient isn't going to improve the relationship or your life. Please, please try to internalize the idea that you deserve better than this, and you do not need his permission to seek it out.

I know it will be hard. But I know from your previous questions and comments that you have already successfully accomplished hard things in your life! You have the strength. You have the means. Suffering like this is not the purpose of your life.
posted by scody at 5:07 PM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The only person who can look out for you is you.

You thought enough of yourself to get an education. To get a good job. Please apply that to thinking enough of yourself to leaving this guy. I bet maybe some part of you doesn't want to deal with the shame of being gaslighted by him, and I get that. But staying with him will not make bad feelings and self-doubt and shame go away - it will only increase the time and intensity you feel them.

You don't need his permission or consent to break up, and the fact that he's even acting like you do is a giant red flag. Pack your essentials and get out ASAP.
posted by rtha at 5:11 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree.

Upthread I talked about leaving my cheating, under-age screwing, creep of a boyfriend. What I didn't say is that I knew he was a cheater for months before I left, he knew it was destroying me, and I quite literally begged him to just dump me since I didn't have the willpower to leave. And you know what he said? "I will never break up with you."

And do you know he said that? Because he was a SELFISH JERKASS.

Your guy is a selfish jerkass who is never going to agree to something simply because it would be beneficial for you. He doesn't care what is good or beneficial for you. You probably don't even exist as a person for him. You're just a toy he can play with when he feels like it, along with his stolen panties and peeping tom photos.
posted by Squeak Attack at 5:38 PM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I agree with what everyone else says about your boyfriend's behaviour, but what I really want to say is that if I were your neighbour I would want to hear about this from the police rather than from a neighbour.
posted by ambrosen at 5:41 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree.

He doesn't get to decide whether or not you dump him.

You do.
posted by stormyteal at 5:57 PM on November 8, 2013


Jesus, this is bad. Its really scary how much control this asshole has over you. I know you claim he's not violent but he IS, its just with your soul instead of your body. Do your friends know about this? Can you confide in at least one friend so you have real life support in addition to all these posts telling you to DTMFA? If I were you I'd have a friend come over when you tell him its over and he needs to leave, a friend who won't let you back down.
posted by hellameangirl at 6:16 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


dgran In fact, if matthowie is reading along, I propose we get a "DTMA button" to add to questions in the relationships category.

Previously suggested.
posted by mlis at 6:40 PM on November 8, 2013


Wow, who cares what he thinks? He steals women's panties and peeps through their windows! His opinion is invalid!

After you have this creepo out of your life, you will seriously wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Just move on. Every second you wait is a second delaying a possibility of actually being happy with your life.

If you won't go to the police, then tell the neighbor exactly who he is and exactly what he is doing and exactly how you know that he is doing it. I would urge though that this is info you should tell the police. If you're really this scared to break up with him, a visit from the police may do the trick and give you an easy out of this relationship. And him taking a visit down to the police station might be the perfect time for you to gather your belongings and get the hell out of there. Seriously, if he is peeping on his neighbors, posting the photos online (probably) and stealing women's panties, this is really not OK. It's illegal and it's disgusting.

Do post back once you've dumped his ass!
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:41 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I told two of my close friend about that and they were saying the same thing as you: DTMFA, don't waste your time, etc.

I tried to leave him twice in the past, one time after the pantie episode. He made me feel like I was the bad person because he did nothing wrong, that I should learn to forgive, he made a mistake, blabla. I think he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to breakup.

And I went to therapy alone. The shrink asked me the same question as you guys: why are you staying. I couldn't find an answer... but the shrink was not aware of the picture part. Don't think it would change anything anyway.
posted by daile at 6:51 PM on November 8, 2013


There is no try, there is only do
posted by oceanjesse at 6:55 PM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


You need to leave him right now. Like, why are on you on the internet, you should be doing things to leave him.
posted by wcfields at 7:09 PM on November 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


I think he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to breakup.
Oh honey, I'm sorry but what he done is WORSE than cheating, its CRIMINAL. At least with cheating the other woman is a willing participant. He says he's done nothing wrong? Ask him if he think the police will feel the same way. He says you are jealous? Who cares! Tell him think whatever he wants to think. Its not worth staying just to prove that you aren't jealous.

Look, I know its hard to breakup with someone. I've come here myself seeking advice on it and opinions have varied, but here you have 100+ responses and NONE are pro-boyfriend. So you have friends support, a therapist's support, and dozens of internet strangers. Whats it going to take?
posted by hellameangirl at 7:12 PM on November 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Hon, even if he hadn't done anything wrong, you are still allowed to leave him whenever you want. You have agency and choice.

In this case? There's a list longer than my arm FULL of things he's done wrong, and serves as reasons why you should leave him.

Just go.
posted by Zelos at 7:13 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I tried to leave him twice in the past, one time after the pantie episode. He made me feel like I was the bad person because he did nothing wrong, that I should learn to forgive, he made a mistake, blabla. I think he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to breakup.

You're not his girlfriend. You're his prisoner.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:18 PM on November 8, 2013 [24 favorites]


Ugh. He's continuing his damage and trying to manipulate you into staying. He doesn't care that you want to break up. He only cares about himself. Don't you see? His DEFAULT mode is "do not respect other people's boundaries."

The phrase you need is "We are no longer dating. I don't want to be in this relationship." You don't owe him any reason why.

Imagine yourself in three months explaining to your friends and family why your boyfriend is in prison. Imagine waking up alone, because he doesn't care enough about you to stop his terrible behavior.

This relationship cannot be fixed. Even if he stops taking photos now, and he won't stop because he doesn't feel bad about it, what then? Do you think he'll never do something like this again? I think not.

"We are not dating anymore. I don't want to be in this relationship."
posted by nicodine at 7:18 PM on November 8, 2013


"You're not his girlfriend. You're his prisoner."
This. Ugh. Exactly this. Do you want this to be your life? Twice before he made you feel like 'the bad person'. He will do that again. DON'T LET IT WORK THIS TIME! Let him think you are a jealous raging bitch if thats what it takes. He wants 'forgiveness'? Fine 'forgive' him, but DON'T STAY ANOTHER DAY AS HIS PRISONER. You need out. Now is the time.
posted by hellameangirl at 7:37 PM on November 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Assuming that the friends you told are trustworthy, have sense and can not be manipulated by this guy like you can, this is what you need to:

1) Talk to your friends, tell them you want to break up with him but you need their help because your future-ex is very good at manipulating you. You and friends get together and plan what you are going to do with your stuff, where you are going to live (if I were you I would move out because staying with this guy one day longer is a bad idea), etc. etc.

2) Once the plans are nailed down, break up with him. Don't do it alone. Have your friends come over and then you tell future-ex "I'm leaving you because you are a creepy pervert. Goodbye." Then your friends hustle you out the door so you don't hear any of his manipulation attempts.

3) From then on, you don't speak to this guy. Block his phone number. Block him on facebook. Forward any emails he sends you to a friend and have them read them and pass on any important information. Your friend can respond to him as well.

4) If for any reason, you actually have to talk to him, don't meet him in person. Do it over the phone and have a friend there who can remind you that he is a creepy perv and a lying liar who lies.

5) The most important thing is not be alone with him ever again after you break up with him so he can't manipulate you.

6) Go back to therapy. You said you didn't know why you stayed with him. A therapist's job is to help you look into yourself and find out why you did. If the last one you went to didn't help, then find a new one. You really need to work this out.


He made me feel like I was the bad person
Your future ex is no way, shape or form a competent judge of what makes a bad person. Don't listen to him.

Also, feeling bad sucks. But you know in your heart the right thing to do is to break up with this guy. And you are going to have to feel bad do it. Even people who break up with good people (future-ex is not a good person) feel bad about it. Feeling bad is a horrible reason to stay with someone. And feeling bad sucks but you can get over it. "If you're going through hell, keep going." It will get better.
posted by nooneyouknow at 7:55 PM on November 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


After reading your other question, about the only two possibilities for those panties I can think of are 1) those panties belonged to someone he cheated with, 2) those panties belong to someone he stole them from.

Technically, yes, they could be purchased from someone or sent by a cam girl - but those are long-shot, best-case-scenario... and plenty of reason to get out, all by themselves.

The other two options cover all sorts of possibilities, however, ranging from bad to really freaking scary.

Grab a couple of friends, heck, call in your social network army. Don't forewarn him, just get backup/emotional support as advised above, pack and go. Leave what you can't realistically take, with the understanding that he may destroy what is left behind - you may discover a violent side to him after all. Send someone else, preferably male, to retrieve things if necessary.

Consider seeking help from a domestic abuse program; the mental manipulation he's doing *is* abuse.
posted by stormyteal at 8:14 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to breakup.

And why, exactly, do you care about the opinion of someone who treats you like shit?

Look. Just because he doesn't think he's done anything wrong, doesn't mean that he's right. His actions are making you feel unsafe, unhappy, unloved, and he doesn't care about any of that.

Please. Care enough about yourself to get this piece of shit out of your life.
posted by palomar at 8:15 PM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


DON'T TALK TO HIM ABOUT LEAVING HIM. DON'T TALK TO HIM AFTER LEAVING HIM. JUST GO.


Don't tell him you're going or where. Change all your email addresses, phone numbers, and delete your social networking profiles. Tell your work to screen your calls. Go stay in a fucking women's shelter that he can't locate, make it impossible for him to contact you, delete his number on your phone and do not contact him, so that he can't manipulate you into going back to him.

YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE, STOP ADJUSTING FURNITURE AND GET THE FUCK OUT!!!!!!

I am not angry or yelling to be mean! This is urgent! You need to leave this man before he brain-fucks you anymore! Go as soon as you can, just go, please!
posted by windykites at 8:26 PM on November 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


Sometimes, some women can get so caught up in their relationships, they literally forget that they are a separate person and identify more with their SO than with themselves. Some of us get lost, and don't even know how to find ourselves again. The "relationship" becomes the most important thing in the world. It gets romanticized into what we dream of, and the thinking becomes "how can I make it conform to how I thought it would be/wish it would be?" and all the energy goes there. You asked for a reality check "am i over reacting" . You got the reality check. Well over a hundred times. No, you are under-reacting.

However, it appears you are clinging to what you wish things would be so hard, you can not see how things are. And his telling you that you are the one screwed up has you believing it, because if that is true, then somehow you can change things. You can't. It is HIS problem. That dream fantasy relationship is never going to happen with this man. He does not have it in him.

You are a wonderful, beautiful and unique being TOTALLY SEPARATE from him. You will lose nothing of yourself if you leave, you will instead start rediscovering who YOU are as defined by YOU, not anyone else. You are an adult, a strong, sensitive, enduring adult with much to offer. But you have to find her again first under all that mud he has been slinging at you. You are so covered in that mud you can't see it, but your friends can, and your therapist could, and internet strangers can. Only by breaking away, and support and perhaps therapy can you rid yourself of it. But the good news is you can clear it all off and be YOU. However, you must do some hard things to get there.

Don't let fear of being alone, or the unknown, or ghosts from your past keep you from doing so. Don't let that lovely, happy, great woman within you down. She is waiting to bloom.
posted by batikrose at 8:47 PM on November 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Lady, at this point you need to listen to these folks. If what you describe is correct in every way, you are in a situation where you alone controls what happens next. You are spending time with someone engaged in a form of criminal behavior, that depending on where you are it may be considered quite serious. It is very likely he will get caught at some point, if he is lucky the police will deal with it, if unlucky he will get the shit beat out of him, or worse.

YOU. You are involved here.
The only person you can truly control is yourself. You've said you are not financially dependant, that you can not come up with a reason to stay with him. If this is true, if this is not a multi month troll, you have all the information. You have articulated the problem and acknowledged it. We can not physcialy remove you from the situation. Do your part. Leave. IT WILL NOT GET BETTER

I am mildly concerned that you seemingly needed people to point out just how bad/creepy the situation is with your neighbor to be able to acknowledge the wrongness of it and that it appears you are telling us stuff you are not telling your therapist.

Stop writing AskMe questions about the same shitty relationship if you refuse to take the overwhelming advice given.

No excuses, leave the fucker tomorrow. No more phone contact, no more talking, no more of this lead balloon. No rebound relationship. Get your head together.
posted by edgeways at 8:53 PM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, the mental manipulation and abuse he has put you through, combined with your own lack of self esteem, has really done the trick. He's got you right where he wants you. Call some reinforcements -- friends, your mom, THE COPS, whoever -- and start packing up your shit and leave immediately. You don't seem to realize this now but you do deserve better and you do deserve to be happy.

Also, I'm not exactly sure why you post these questions and then blatantly ignore the advice that you know is correct. At some point you need to resolve to muster up SOMETHING. If you can't muster up the courage to leave him by yourself, then muster up some to get backup. Think it through and have an exit plan of where you are going to go, how you're getting there, everything -- if that would help. And then just fucking do it already.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:54 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd say it's about time for a new boyfriend.
posted by freakazoid at 9:16 PM on November 8, 2013


I agree with everything everyone else has said, you "boyfriend" is a manipulative, sleazy, immoral creep. There is so much so very obviously wrong with this man that it should be extremely clear that he doesn't deserve second chance etc. etc.

However, I do think you have to ask yourself what is wrong with YOU. Specifically why you have developed this dependency on this man. Why is it that you find yourself unable to leave someone this unpleasant and why do you require his "consent" for you to leave him.

You need to leave him and you need to seriously re-evaluate your own self-confidence and ability to see yourself and value yourself as an independent human being. You do not just have validity as part of a couple and you should not be prepared to put up with nearly anything to be in this relationship, or indeed any relationship.

You should also tell your neighbour and your neighbour would be entirely within her rights to tell the police. Whether she does or not is emphatically not your problem or a reason not to tell her or stay with this fucker.
posted by inbetweener at 9:28 PM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


On the same note, it seems to me that there are long-standing issues of self-worth here, and I wonder if this dates from very negative experiences when you were younger.

You may benefit from seeing a therapist, or counselling (alone) - not specifically to deal with boyfriend issues which seem to be me to be symptomatic - but just for you.
posted by inbetweener at 9:42 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you've decided to dump him, but you're not sure how (or you're not confident in your ability to follow through), I'd recommend the book How to Dump a Guy, by Kate Fillion and Ellen Ladowsky.
posted by russilwvong at 9:58 PM on November 8, 2013


You are on a path to disaster and it could end up very badly. Drop him ASAP.

Have you checked to see what is on his computer!!
posted by ladoo at 10:18 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Firstly, I agree with the 150 answers before mine so I won't retread all that. A few things did stand out to me, though.

Your responses to the comments here seem strangely blasé and almost detached, to the point that I wonder if you genuinely understand his serious this is. You said:
The shrink asked me the same question as you guys: why are you staying. I couldn't find an answer... but the shrink was not aware of the picture part. Don't think it would change anything anyway.(Emphasis mine)
You don't? Still? OP, I hope you leave your boyfriend. Immediately. Either way, please, please contact your doc again and give them this information. I suspects they will be very interested and it might help them help you.

I don't know where you're located, but as an example, here's what Louisiana thinks of your boyfriend's actions:
§283. Video voyeurism; penalties

A. Video voyeurism is:

(1) The use of any camera, videotape, photo-optical, photo-electric, or any other image recording device for the purpose of observing, viewing, photographing, filming, or videotaping a person where that person has not consented to the observing, viewing, photographing, filming, or videotaping and it is for a lewd or lascivious purpose; or

(2) The transfer of an image obtained by activity described in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection by live or recorded telephone message, electronic mail, the Internet, or a commercial online service.

B.(1) Except as provided in Paragraphs (3) and (4) of this Subsection, whoever commits the crime of video voyeurism shall, upon a first conviction thereof, be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than two years, or both.

(2) On a second or subsequent conviction, the offender shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars and imprisoned at hard labor for not less than six months nor more than three years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

[...]

F. A violation of the provisions of this Section shall be considered a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541. Whoever commits the crime of video voyeurism shall be required to register as a sex offender as provided for in Chapter 3-B of Title 15 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950. (Emphasis mine)
posted by Room 641-A at 11:27 PM on November 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE, STOP ADJUSTING FURNITURE AND GET THE FUCK OUT!

This.
posted by flabdablet at 1:36 AM on November 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


This all reads like a 'dance macabre'.

Two dancers with their arms around each other, their teeth in each others' necks. Dancing while mutually sucking the blood from one another... in order, they judge, to sustain themselves.

For they are terrified that if they stop the dance, they will separately and wholly fall apart. They are both terrified to move from the known to the unknown.

And so it will continue.

Continue, that is, unless one of the partners says, "You know what, I'm outta here. Thank you and good night."

And in departing, it really helps if that partner has already organized some sort of temporary sanctuary. A safe and secure place where one may rest in safety, recuperate, and start to take small new individual steps towards a different future.

A different future and a different dance.
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:08 AM on November 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is this a situation where you want to do something, and hundreds of people are screaming at you that it is morally imperative that you do it, but one person says you shouldn't do it and that one person's opinion is enough to make you feel you don't have a watertight case.

Does it make a difference that that one dissenting voice is your boyfriend? What if he agreed you should break up but one, just one of us Internet strangers said you shouldn't? Would you feel like that one stranger's opinion is an insurmountable barrier to breaking up in the same way your boyfriend's opinion is?

Often, when women attach themselves to criminals and won't let go for seemingly inexplicable reasons, it's because they have the same values as the criminal in a passive way and they stay with him because he performs the criminality function for her. In other words, maybe you actually like and approve of his panty-stealing and voyeurism. Is that it? NOTE I'm not asking you if maybe, deep down, despite feeling on a gut level that you hate this, you actually like it and are hiding it so well from yourself that you're secretly unaware of it. If on any level you like this, you probably are aware of it. So, is that it?

Probably not, right? But boy, are you going to get publicly shamed when this comes out, if you didn't dump him first. You weren't a sex offender, but everyone will think that you were. Then you're going to have to deal with a lot more of people thinking you're a bad person. Will it all be worth it, as long as your BF isn't accusing you of being a bad person for leaving? Would you sacrifice your good name completely, as long as he approves of you?

Plus, do you have thousands of dollars to spend on legal costs? Assume this will still cost, even if he is acquitted, or maybe he'll get lighter sentencing. You probably won't have to visit him in jail or stuff. So, is that how you want to spend your money?
posted by tel3path at 2:47 AM on November 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Daile, I'm going to point something out here because I think we've been inadvertently adding to your confusion. I think I've been harder on you in this thread than I should have been, so I want to apologize for that.

Everyone on this thread is screaming at you that "we told you he was a pervert when you asked the panties question, why didn't you obey us then? Is it because you're stupid, or because you'e evil?" That's hard for anyone to hear. It's also not quite what happened.

What happened was, you got 53 replies and out of those, only 8-10 were telling you the panties were grounds for breaking up. Everyone else was telling you they were a MacGuffin - a bright shiny detail that catches and holds your attention, but is irrelevant except as a focal point for whatever is really going on. I'm one of the few who thought that the panties were a sign that he's a disgusting perve and, all on their own, were necessary and sufficient grounds for breaking up. I would have agreed that you should break up because of the panties even if everything else in your relationship had seemed good. I also, though I didn't say so, thought that if you didn't break up you would eventually end up in a situation like this, and you did.

Everyone else was saying "do what you want". However, as shown in your subsequent questions, you have extreme difficulty figuring out whether what you want is okay. I am sure we all, including you, would like you to transform into someone who knows what she wants is okay, and therefore does what she wants. If you had been that kind of person, you would have come away from the panty question resolved to break uo (or actually, perhaps not asked the question in the first place). But, being someone who isn't sure if what she wants is okay, the answer "who cares about the panties? Do what you want" only confused you more.

And now the same community that gave you what - to me - were obviously confusing answers, is scolding you for not listening to those answers, when - to me - it's apparent that you did listen to them, but they didn't tell you what you would have needed to hear in order to leave.

I would have hated it if you'd dumped him and then gone into another unhappy relationship which you also couldn't leave because the guy, however awful, just couldn't produce any deal-breaking panties, and that's what I think people were getting at there.

Look, you feel bad about having plenty of money. But you know very well that that's irrational, that you deserve the money. You asked how to match up what you rationally know (you deserve to earn and spend without guilt) to how you felt (guilty, despite everything). Meanwhile, though you felt guilty, you didn't let the guilt stop you from earning a good living. You kept on acting ethically and in your own best interests even though you sometimes felt bad for doing so.

At a certain point, you do have to have the courage of your convictions. If you are uncertain of yourself, it's a good idea to turn to others for a reality check. But if you ask ten people, you're going to get ten different answers, and ultimately you cannot crowdsource your big life decisions. The crowd isn't living your life, you are.

I mean, you basically knew the answer to your panties question, your income question, and your travel question. You know, right? You know. I'm sorry it's hard to do what you want sometimes, but the discomfort of doing what you want and what is right is a lot better than this other discomfort.
posted by tel3path at 3:43 AM on November 9, 2013 [24 favorites]


He made me feel like I was the bad person because he did nothing wrong, that I should learn to forgive, he made a mistake, blabla. I think he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to breakup.

He doesn't get to do all of the thinking. What do you think?
posted by DarlingBri at 4:01 AM on November 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


You don't need his permission, you don't need his co-operation, you don't need to convince him that he's the one in the wrong. You don't need any reasons, although you have plenty. You just need to walk.

He's a highly skilled manipulator who's known you intimately for over seven years. Of course, if you try to argue this out with him, he's going to win the argument, because he knows you inside and out and knows exactly what buttons to push to get his way. You can't win the argument. Don't have the argument. Just go.

I know it's difficult. But do you want to belong to this man for the rest of your life? Do you want to be back on AskMeFi every three months telling us about his latest sex crime?

It's not easy to do this now. But the longer you wait, the harder it gets. If you don't leave now, do you really think you'll find it any easier to leave in five years? Ten years? This is not, ultimately, about whether he's a liar, a sex offender, or an abusive manipulator (though he is all these things). It's about you, and whether you want to spend your short time on this planet being miserable or being happy.
posted by pont at 4:46 AM on November 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Your boyfriend is taking pictures of your neighbor, her underwear, and women on the beach because it turns him on. Taking pictures of your neighbor is an invasion of her privacy, and might be illegal in your town. He's not admitting the truth because he's ashamed of his behavior.

Telling you you're over-reacting is controlling, manipulative and dishonest. This guy is bad for you. Your relationship is unhealthy. It will get worse.

I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree. What do you need to break up with him? There are @ 150 people telling you that this guy is bad news. Do you need a place to live? Transportation? You have a good income. Is the lease in your name and do you need help getting him out? Then that's your nest AskMe question. You've got support from your friends, and I'll bet your family will be supportive, too. You know this guy needs to go. Now you need to develop your plan for making it happen.

Read sestaak's comment. Print it out and read it often. Take action. If you let this person stay in your life, I think you will genuinely regret it.
posted by theora55 at 7:02 AM on November 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up.

To be blunt:


He will NEVER agree that you should break up. NEVER.


Why should he? From his point of view life is fantastic. He has a victim (YOU) at hand that he can manipulate and exercise power over whenever he wants to. He can indulge in all sorts of problematic and predatory sexual behavior without consequence, because (so far) he's been able to manipulate you into keeping quiet and staying in the relationship. He gets all sorts of "benefits" from having a girlfriend - regular sex, I'd bet you do most if not all of the cooking and cleaning, he's probably living in a nicer place in a nicer part of town than he could afford if he was on his own.

And you also are providing camouflage. He can tell himself and others, "Hey, I can't be all THAT weird/creepy/dangerous - I've got a normal girlfriend. If I was really dangerous no woman would have anything to do with me."

This sounds plausible, but it is not true. All sorts of sexual predators (up to and including serial killers) have been able to lead double lives. I'm not saying your boyfriend is a serial killer, but your existence as his girlfriend is in no way proof that he is "normal" or not dangerous to others even if he's not violent with you.


I think he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to breakup.

He is wrong. Period.

"I don't want to be in this relationship" is the only "reason" anyone anywhere needs to end a relationship.


Breaking up is scary and stressful, but you can do it. Follow nooneyouknow's script, enlist the help of friends and family members and the authorities and whatever womens' resources you can get hold of and get away from this guy immediately if not sooner.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:32 AM on November 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Others have used the term "gaslighting" assuming you know what it means. In case you don't, this is what they're referring to. And when you said:

I tried to leave him twice in the past, one time after the pantie episode. He made me feel like I was the bad person because he did nothing wrong, that I should learn to forgive, he made a mistake, blabla

That is textbook gaslighting. He has literally told you to your face that your (incredibly reasonable) feelings and perceptions are wrong? That is a massive, waving, "LEAVE NOW" red flag because it's only going to get worse. Next time you break up with him do not tell him, just leave. You don't need his permission, and if you try to tell him about it he'll just keep gaslighting you because it worked for him once already.
posted by Ndwright at 9:46 AM on November 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to breakup.

1 You don't need a reason to breakup
2 You have a number of very real reasons to break up

3 It's a new day. Are you gone yet?
posted by edgeways at 9:48 AM on November 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Several of your responses seem to indicate that your immediate plan is to think over some of the questions that have been posed here about why you are in this relationship, why you find it so hard to leave, etc. That is all fine and good - these are excellent questions to work on - but I just wanted to clarify that you do not need to answer them before leaving your boyfriend. The only question you need to answer immediately is: do you still want to be in this relationship?

If the answer is no, then figuring out all the other stuff can wait. You do not need to write a declaration of independence with multiple clauses perfectly expressing your every grievance and feeling. The only reason you need is that you don't want to be with him, and that is how you feel. No one else gets to demand justifications of your feelings before you can act on them, not your boyfriend and not strangers on the internet.

The purpose of the questions is a)to help you recognize and overcome whatever forces are keeping you in a relationship that does not make you happy, and b)to, later on, help you understand what happened with this man so you can change your patterns of response and avoid doing it again with someone else. The purpose is not to give you homework you have to complete before breaking up.

So I leave you with one more question that you do not have to answer immediately: Why does he get to have power over your decisions when you don't get to have power over his? Which is to say, why do you feel you need his permission to break up, if he doesn't need your permission to take illicit photos of your neighbor?
posted by unsub at 10:27 AM on November 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Looking at all of your questions together, the answer is really simple: get rid of this guy and have no boyfriend for awhile. Be yourself, do some traveling, save your money, and think about what you want. If he wants to know why, "fuck you" is why. You don't have to have a reason why. It's not an argument that you have to win; it's not even an argument that you are required to have. You just tell him you're done with him. And then you are done with him. The end.

He, I suspect, would drop you in a second if he wasn't enjoying the benefits of being with compliant you and your money.
posted by pracowity at 10:34 AM on November 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm a photographer who has taken nudes of lovers and friends. (And my ma is a photo prof who talks about ethics of things like this in her classes, so I've had discussions about it from a broader perspective.)

I really understand the draw that voyeurism holds. And I'd go further than many MeFites in defending quasi-voyeuristic shots, where the intent isn't sexual but rather, e.g., city scapes or something like that.

But the thing is, in order to do it totally ethically, there has to be consent. And that goes double for sexual stuff.

It's exploitative and it is toxic to the trust necessary for a relationship. It's toxic for society at large.

I have no doubt that your boyfriend is doing it because it gives him a charge, and being taboo is part of that. And when he's discovered, he feels ashamed and defensive.

But too fucking bad. If you feel ashamed that you got caught at something, it's pretty likely that's because it's something you shouldn't be doing. There are ways to get these desires met that are ethical and consensual, but that's not what he's doing, and he should feel bad for it.

More fundamentally, he's proven that you can't trust him. I couldn't be with someone I didn't trust — and I'd feel constantly stressed if I was. Because you can't trust him, it's entirely reasonable to do two things: One, demand to go through his computer and delete pictures he may have taken of you. If you could trust him, you could accept his word that he hadn't taken any of you. But you can't, so you should feel entitled to demand to do it yourself. (Depending on your relationship, you could let him be there, or you could demand to do it alone.) Two, you can (and should) dump him over this.

If he objects, point out that he's been breaking the law in a way that makes him a sex criminal. If you go to the police and tell them that he's been taking creep shots of your neighbors, they may arrest him. (You may or may not feel this is warranted.) This is a fairly large lever for you, and while it would normally pretty much mean the end of the relationship, well, frankly, that's not really a concern, is it?

Here in the U.S., there's both state and local law prohibiting this, depending on your jurisdiction. But there's also U.S. Code 2257, which requires him to keep ID from models in "sexual" poses to prove that they're not child pornography. As it is very unlikely that he has copies of the IDs, he could face pretty severe fines on top of whatever criminal charges could be brought in the local jurisdiction.

Basically, with a fuckup like this, his only reaction should be abject contrition (and probably a lot of sobbing), not fucking with you by telling you that you're jealous.

(Maybe you're not wired this way, but when I end up dealing with someone like this, I find it helpful to deal with them as if they were a stranger behaving the same way. Blunt demands, a confident sense of your own power, and no fear over destroying the relationship. You no longer have a boyfriend. You have a roommate who doesn't care about you and is willing to exploit other women for his sexual gratification. You owe him nothing. He owes you for not calling the police immediately. Figure out what you want without thinking about his feelings at all, make that your demand, and don't feel the need to negotiate. Stand firm, he can either accept it or not, and you'll do what you feel is necessary to protect yourself.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:10 PM on November 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's been covered plenty, and I agree. I also think you knew the answer already. I'll put it as bluntly as I can, in hopes that you'll be motivated to leave this time:

Who is he thinking about when he has sex with you? Neighbor? Panty girl?

Of course he doesn't want you to leave. You're the one who lets him use your vagina. Finding a replacement would be difficult, especially for a creeper.
posted by ctmf at 1:17 PM on November 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't have anything to add to the chorus of correct responses except that it's obviously incredibly hard for you to actually go through with what you know needs to happen, and it might be easier for you if you had someone to (figuratively) hold your hand while you go through with it, someone who has been there and knows what it's like. I'm pretty sure at least one of the people in this thread who are saying "I've been there" would be more than happy to be that someone; you might try reaching out to one of the responders who feels especially simpatico to you via MeMail and seeing if they would mind being an e-mail buddy as you proceed. The rest of us will be cheering you on. Good luck.
posted by languagehat at 2:20 PM on November 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree.

THIS IS NOT HOW BREAKUPS TYPICALLY WORK.


In bold and caps, because it's not just true for this particular disgusting psychopath that you should leave, never speak to again, and report to the police like yesterday. It is true FOR ALL OF THE MEN YOU WILL EVER DATE. Even the good ones.

Breakups are not de-facto mutual things! In fact they are ALMOST NEVER mutual things! Whoever taught you, through word or deed, that you need someone's permission to leave a relationship should be put in the stocks and have produce thrown at their face for teaching you such a damaging lie.

You are the chief authority in your life. You. You are in charge. And in this particular case, not only is your "boyfriend" is not in charge, his opinion on anything at all, whatsoever, in the entire sphere of human experience, is LESS THAN WORTHLESS. He is like a cockroach. Would you let a cockroach tell you what to do about your life?

Stop listening to the cockroach.
posted by like_a_friend at 4:21 PM on November 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


I think other people have made the point I would make, but more eloquently or more forcefully or more thoughtfully than I would have, many times already in this thread.

I want instead to comment on something that daile said, because I'm wondering if it might contain a clue about what's holding her up from getting disentangled with this guy:

I tried to leave him twice in the past, one time after the pantie episode. He made me feel like I was the bad person because he did nothing wrong, that I should learn to forgive, he made a mistake, blabla. I think he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to breakup.

Daile: do you think that being a bad person is worse than being in an unhappy relationship with a shitty person? Do you stay with him because he always makes you feel guilty if you try to get out of the relationship?
posted by clockzero at 6:02 PM on November 9, 2013


Step 1: Gather your valuables and some clothes and GO TO A HOTEL ASAP.

Step 2: Take the camera with the pictures to the police.

- Let them tell your neighbor.

- They can and will escort you with movers to get the rest of your clothes. Put anything completely yours into storage. Leave shared belongings for him. It's ALL replaceable, anyway.

Step 3: Get therapy and definitely go no contact with this guy.

Step 4: Retain a criminal attorney, or shop around and line one up in case he tries to implicate you. I have a feeling the police will confiscate his computer and they WILL discover further criminal acts.

You might want to execute Step 4 concurrent with Step 2.

This is the only SAFE, right, moral, and ethical way to proceed.

Stop thinking about "why" and start taking action.

It's this simple. You will feel so much better, but YOU MUST ACT AT ONCE.

Upon Edit: I want to add that you are out of options, or at least, any option you had of staying in this relationship has been nuked from orbit and you can not stay with him. It's over.

Save yourself.
posted by jbenben at 12:50 AM on November 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


I tried to leave him twice in the past..... He made me feel like I was the bad person because he did nothing wrong, that I should learn to forgive..... he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to break up.

What a load of pure, high-grade SHIT. This lying, perverted asshole may or may not have cheated *physically*, but boy oh boy has he ever cheated on you *emotionally*. He most certainly has done something wrong --- just call the cops and ask what they think about the peeping tom stuff, the underwear thefts, the creepy picture-taking: all are criminal activities, and might even qualify him for some sex offender registries. I'll go farther than that: not only has he broken a number of laws, but he is now making you an accomplice to his crimes, all while blaming you for him being the pervert he is.

Please dump this jerk, today. If you live in his place, move out now. If he lives in your place, kick him out immediately: call a couple friends to stay there with you until his ass is out and all the locks have been changed. Do not accept any communications whatsoever from him: not one single phone call, text, email, Hallmark card, anything.
posted by easily confused at 7:57 AM on November 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


jbenben has a solid plan for getting out.

Now. Listen to me. What this man is doing to you is abuse. What he is doing to your neighbor is assault. Keep repeating that to yourself. It might take a while to sink in because he's pretty thoroughly brainwashed you.

Abuse is not merely physical. It can be mental and emotional too. And that sounds like what he has done to you. He's rearranged your mind over these seven years and turned you into a person you do not want to be. He has not asked your consent for this and he has done it for his own scumbag reasons.

Get yourself somewhere safe (meaning: HE DOES NOT KNOW YOU ARE THERE), grab his camera/computer as evidence, and then contact the police. Seriously. This guy is engaging in criminal activity and needs to be stopped.
posted by cmyk at 12:28 PM on November 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is the place in your name or his? If yours, boot him out and probably get a restraining order. If his, take Friday off of work or get a group, pack what you can, and get out of there. Local mefites can and will help. Contact some of them if you need or want more backup or people to talk to. This guy is obvious bad news, and we are concerned for you. I am extremely leery of what is on his computer, aside from the admitted and suspected voyeurism. Bottom line is, we all think you need to get a plan, and get out or get rid of him. For you, for your own sake. It doesn't matter what sort of villain the panty thieving voyeur paints you as.... but it does matter what the cops can arrest him for. Talk to someone about seeing whats on that computer, but please, secure your future. We think you are worth it.
posted by Jacen at 8:27 PM on November 10, 2013


Your boyfriend is doing something to your neighbor without her consent. He has done things like this often enough around you that he accepts it, and thinks you should too.

It is not acceptable, for one reason (of several) because your neighbor was unable to consent to what he did. Does she want naked photos of herself on his camera? Does she want them shared with his friends and, inevitably, the internet?

And then he denies he's doing something that he has provably done.

He is being disrespectful and dishonest, to you and to others, and has established a pattern of this.

The sum of this says: move on, now.
posted by zippy at 10:33 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You seem to want to break up with him, you seem to lack the tools.

I like the idea of getting all of your things out of your shared space while he is gone. I'd write a note, because face-to-face is clearly where you fail in extricating yourself.

"I am leaving you. I don't want to be in a relationship with you anymore. Don't call me, don't write to me and don't try to find me. It's over."

Don't give him reasons, don't discuss it with him. Make a UNILATERAL decision to leave because YOU WANT TO.

You are allowed to do exactly what you want to do. You don't have to give anyone any reasons.

It's not cruel to leave someone who is a manipulative, creepy, jerk. It's a life-saving move.

Please, value yourself enough to get OUT!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:08 AM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think I would feel more comfortable if he would agree that we should break up. But he doesn't agree.

Why do you value the opinion of a criminal voyeur? The only person whose opinion matters when it comes to "should you date this person" is your own.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:41 AM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I tried to leave him twice in the past, one time after the pantie episode. He made me feel like I was the bad person because he did nothing wrong, that I should learn to forgive, he made a mistake, blabla. I think he thinks if nobody cheated, there is no reason to breakup.

posted by daile at 9:51 PM on November 8


You're giving a whole lot of consideration to what he thinks.

For once, don't worry about what he thinks. What do YOU think? If you totally remove your boyfriend opinions from the equation, what are you left with?

What do YOU think?

Or look at it this way: if one of your best girlfriends was in the same situation as you, what advice would you give her? What if your mom was living with a man who acted this way? What would you tell her? Would you think she was reasonable to give such consideration to her boyfriend's opinions? Or would you start yelling "Get in the car, the motor's running!" as you threw her things in the trunk?
posted by magstheaxe at 2:20 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I keep hoping that daile (the OP) will pop back in to tell us all about how she's left her shitty boyfriend and how everything is starting to get better. Please daile, let us know what's going on. We're pulling for you here.
posted by Scientist at 3:08 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


His friend = his penis.

He's a disgusting excuse for a man. Please DTMFA.
posted by lotusmish at 3:36 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thank you all. I am reading all your responses carefully and I will take action.

I know for sure that I want to leave him and that I will not regret it. I would NEVER have a child with this guy. If he would propose, I would say no.

If my friend was telling me all this, of course I would suggest her to leave the guy.

I think the best way, as some pointed out, is to not have a discussion like I did in prior attempts to breakup with him. Just to tell him "It's over, I am not in love with you anymore".

I think that this is part of my problem:

You know, I don't want to get all gender studies on you, but there is a really large degree to which women are socialised to smooth things over, not cause upset, and to be agreeable and non-confrontational
posted by DarlingBri at 4:51 PM on November 8

I don't like to cause upset and I want to be a good person, non-confrontational.

That why, I guess, that I care so much about his opinion. Because he will hate me and judge me. I know for sure. And that's one of the reason, he will make me feel bad.
posted by daile at 3:59 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


And that's one of the reason, he will make me feel bad.

...But he's making you feel bad already, so what would the difference be?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:03 PM on November 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


You know, get a little angry. Fuck him making you feel bad. He's taking slimy photos of un-consenting women and a million other things he should feel deeply ashamed and remorseful about. THAT is who should feel bad.

Stop worrying about this douchebag's feelings and don't let him manipulate you with his bullshit.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:09 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


The one who should feel bad is HIM. NOT YOU.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:09 PM on November 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Once you've dumped him, feel free to come back here and make another post in this thread, or in Metatalk. For every mean thing he might say to you, you'll have a hundred voices telling you that you're awesome.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:37 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because he will hate me and judge me.

Frankly, he hates and judges you now. He thinks you're an idiot. He thinks you're a sucker. He thinks you are not worthy of respect or consideration or honesty or compassion. If he didn't think any of these things, he wouldn't behave like he does.

Yes, he's going to make a fuss when you break up with him. He will be angry at being deprived of something and he will lash out at you (much like a baby), and he will pour his anger and scorn on you as punishment. But all of that merely shows who HE is, NOT WHO YOU ARE. You are a human being with inherent worth, and you have every right to make decisions based on your own happiness and self-respect. This makes you a good person, and a strong one, and when he tells you differently it's because he wants to keep you unhappy purely for his own selfish purposes.

He lies. Your heart and your gut are telling you the truth. Follow them.

I'm pulling for you. We all are!
posted by scody at 4:59 PM on November 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


That why, I guess, that I care so much about his opinion. Because he will hate me and judge me. I know for sure. And that's one of the reason, he will make me feel bad.

Who cares what this scumbag thinks of you? He's a terrible human being. A coward. A failure. Who is he to judge you? Of course he won't react positively when you stand up for your morals. You can count on him to get angry. Why? Because assholes don't like getting called out as assholes. An asshole would rather lash out and attack than face the ugliness that resides within them. An asshole abhors personal awareness and responsibility. Of course he's not going to agree with you, his sense of reality is completely warped to suit his own selfish desires.

If you're afraid that he'll hurt you, call a domestic violence hotline to figure out a safe plan for getting out. But remember that he's just a person. He has no godly powers over you. His judgment of you is worth nothing. He can disagree with your reasons for leaving all he wants, nothing he says or thinks or feels can actually stop you from leaving. You are your own separate person with power and agency. The only permission you need to leave is your own.

I don't like to cause upset and I want to be a good person, non-confrontational.

I want to challenge this assumption. What qualities make someone a good person? "Non-confrontational" is not necessarily a positive quality, if that means you're willing to endanger yourself and others as a means to avoid unpleasant but necessary conflict. Not wanting to cause upset will often mean doing absolutely nothing to help in a bad situation, because bad people tend to get upset when people interfere with their plans. And blaming yourself for causing upset is just misplacing blame as a means to justify doing nothing. You see how this leads nowhere "good"?

Avoiding conflict and martyring yourself won't help you to grow as a person. Learning how to stand up for yourself and to stand up for what's right is never easy, but you'll only grow as a person by facing challenges and adversity. That's how you gain strength and learn what you're made of.

Please leave this man. He's holding you back from all the good things you are and could be.
posted by keep it under cover at 5:01 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Breaking up with someone is never easy, even under the best of circumstances. It always hurts, and it's almost never by mutual agreement. This guy is a manipulative scumbag and if your previous updates and AskMes are anything to go by he's not going to hesitate to try to make you feel absolutely awful if you tell him you are breaking up with him, in the service of manipulating you into staying with him. He will do this because he wants to keep controlling you, using you for money, and using your vagina. Not because he loves you, not because he cares about you, and not because you are a bad person. You are a good person. He is a dirtbag. Don't listen to him. Better yet, don't even give him a chance to talk.

You've said that you have friends that you can talk to this about. Talk to one of them about your decision to break up with your scummy boyfriend, in confidence, and ask them to help you with a plan to get out of there without confrontation and to help you stay strong if a confrontation does happen. You haven't said whether you live with him or he lives with you, or what the living situation is. I'm going to give you two plan outlines, one for if you can move out, and another for if you have to kick him out.

Plan A: If you can move out (i.e. if he is the one who controls the housing, legally if not financially, for instance if his name is on the lease of your apartment) then here's what you should do. Enlist a friend or two to come over to the place when you know he won't be around -- when he's at work or school or out with friends or whatever. Have them bring a bunch of boxes and luggage. Pack everything of yours that you can into those boxes and luggage as fast as possible (and I would highly recommend also taking his camera and later going to the police with it) kiss the rest of your stuff goodbye, and go sleep on a friend's couch or spare bed for a while while you figure out what your next permanent housing situation is going to be.

Do not tell your ex-boyfriend beforehand. Do not leave a note. Do not say or do anything that would give him a hint of your intentions or a clue as to where you've gone. Block his number, unfriend him on Facebook, set up an email filter that sends his messages straight to the trash, and instruct everyone you know not to tell him what happened to you or where you went or why. Never speak to him again, at all, under any circumstances. If he somehow finds you and manages to contact you (or worse, appears in person) call the cops on him and then get a restraining order. This guy has a high probability of turning into a dangerous stalker and you need to give him nothing at all because even rejection will keep a stalker stalking.

Plan B: Now, if you have to kick him out, things get a little tricker but it's still manageable. Keep in mind that even if you live in an apartment where you're the only one on the lease, it's probably still well worth it to just move out, abandon everything you can't take with you, break your lease, and let him get evicted. However if you can't do that for financial reasons or if he is living in a house that you own (thank god you haven't married this creep such that you have joint ownership of your house) here's what you need to do. Again, get a couple of friends to come over to your house with some boxes when you know he won't be around. Pack up as much of his stuff as you can, and then leave the house before he gets back. In advance, prepare and sign a note, or take a video or audio recording of yourself saying something very terse like "I am breaking up with you. You need to move out immediately. Take what is in these boxes and leave. Don't ever return or ever attempt to contact me. All attempts to contact me will be ignored and may lead to legal action. I will put the rest of your things in a storage unit under your name and will have Friend X send you an email telling you where to pick them up. Now take your things and leave."

While you are gone (you can stay at one of your friends' houses in the meantime) your friends will stay in the house and wait for him to get back. When he arrives they will deliver your note, reiterate to your ex boyfriend that you have broken up with him, that he must not ever contact you, that he needs to take the boxes and never return, and that the rest of his things will be put in a storage unit in his name. Once he is gone, and your friends are pretty sure that he's not just coming right back, they can call you and you can come back over to your house. Immediately change the locks, using new locks that you bought in advance, as in that very night. Consider putting some stoppers or bars on the windows too, as this guy is dangerous and it is not out of the question (though thankfully unlikely) that he might try to break in at some point and exact some kind of revenge.

Those are your two plans. You are very lucky that you have friends nearby, that he has not isolated you to the point where you have to do this on your own which would be much harder. I know people who have been in situations similar to yours and who have implemented plans along these lines, and it has worked perfectly. You can do this. Doing it in the manner that I have described above will mean that you don't have to speak to him, that you don't have to break up with him in person, that you don't have to stay strong against the tide of abuse and guilt and manipulation that he would inevitably heap upon you should you confront him about this.

You know you need to break up with him, and that's wonderful. You realize that confronting him over the issue would be very difficult for you, which is totally understandable though unfortunate as it means he has hurt you and undermined you quite badly. Fortunately you don't have to go through that confrontation. You don't owe it to him in any way, and you don't deserve the huge pile of shit that he would throw at you if you did confront him. You owe this man nothing. You owe it to yourself to get him out of your life, completely and cleanly, with a minimum of drama and confrontation. Here you have two alternatives for how to accomplish that, with the help of a couple of good friends. You can do it! Put it into action!

You are a good person and we love you and are rooting for you. You are going to feel so much better once you are free of this abusive and terrible ex boyfriend. Please let us know how it goes and don't hesitate to lean on us for more advice or support if you need it.
posted by Scientist at 5:41 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sometimes it's good to be hated and judged by some people. It means you're doing something right.

Why would you want the respect of someone who lies to you and manipulates you, and takes photos of women who haven't consented? These are things to work out after you get out.
posted by rtha at 5:43 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and if by any chance you live in the New Orleans area, memail me. I would be happy to be one of those friends who helps you get this crapsack out of your life.
posted by Scientist at 5:49 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every excuse you make can be answered with, "He is a creep and criminal who steals women's panties and photographs them changing through their windows." His opinion does not matter. Not even a little bit. For heaven's sake, just do something for yourself for once. And don't feel bad because he clearly does not give a shit about anyone else's feelings, especially yours. Everything you've shared about this guy screams "selfish" and "pervert" and "loser."
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:18 PM on November 11, 2013


I would consider it a badge of honor to be hated by a loser like him.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:40 PM on November 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


That why, I guess, that I care so much about his opinion. Because he will hate me and judge me. I know for sure. And that's one of the reason, he will make me feel bad.

As things stand at present, he has the power to make you feel bad because your mind has a big red button with a sign on it that says "press here to make daile feel bad" and he knows where that is.

But here's the thing: that's your button, and it's within your power to disconnect it.

The trick is to decide that you will stop recognizing the words that come out of his mouth as words. Instead, think of them as some kind of strange bird call. They might sound like words, but they don't mean things the way words do; the best way to extract meaning from them, if you absolutely must do that, is to pay attention to the tone in which they're delivered rather than to the details of which words they sound like.

If you do that, you will almost certainly find that whatever he says, the message he's actually trying to make you believe is something like "I am reasonable, and you are not reasonable, and therefore it is only right and proper that I make these decisions for you, and that you just go along with them". Which, given that you already know he's a shifty lying underhanded two-faced manipulative creeper, is clearly nothing more than another blatant lie.

A little thought experiment might help: take the thing to a ridiculous extreme to make things come clear. How would you react if you met Hitler, and he tried to make you feel bad because you'd not murdered enough Jews today? Would you let him make you feel bad for that? Of course you wouldn't. So think hard about what would stop you feeling bad in the face of Imaginary Hitler's outrageous demands, and contemplate the fact that you do have the power to apply the very same method if the arsehole ex-boyfriend ever does manage to breach the wall of silence you're going to put up after taking Scientist's 100% correct advice.
posted by flabdablet at 9:05 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't like to cause upset and I want to be a good person, non-confrontational.

That why, I guess, that I care so much about his opinion. Because he will hate me and judge me. I know for sure. And that's one of the reason, he will make me feel bad.


There's a chapter in the book Difficult Conversations about the ways that difficult conversations, or even just contemplating having one, can cause an "identity quake." You do NOT owe your bf a conversation about leaving him. But the following might be helpful as you contemplate your way forward:
Our anxiety results not just from having to face the other person, but from . . . having our identity threatened. . . . [eg,] "Am I a good person?" . . . "How can I be the kind of person who causes others pain?" . . .

The biggest factor that contributes to a vulnerable identity is "all-or-nothing" thinking: I'm either competent or incompetent, good or evil, worthy of love or not. . . . All-or-nothing identities are about as sturdy as a two-legged stool. [eg,] We let their feedback define who we are. When we exaggerate, we act as if the other person's feedback is the only information we have about ourselves. We put everything up for grabs, and let what they say dictate how we see ourselves. We may turn in a hundred memos on time, but if we are criticized for being late with the 101st memo, we think to ourselves, "I can never do anything right."

Ground Your Identity. . . . First, you need to become familiar with those identity issues that are important to you. [daile, you have already identified yours. Well done!] Second, you need to learn to integrate new information into your identity in ways that are healthy -- a step that requires you to let go of all-or-nothing thinking. . . . We each exhibit a constellation of qualities, positive and negative, and constantly grapple with how to respond to the complicated situations life presents. And we don't always respond as competently or as compassionately as we'd like. . . . A self-image that allows for complexity is healthy and robust; it provides a sturdy foundation on which to stand.

Imagine that it's three months or ten years from now. . . . What do you think you'll have learned from the experience? How will you feel about how you handled it? What advice can the you of thirty years from now give to the you that is facing the pain?
There's other stuff in that chapter, but it's relevant to reasonable people having disagreements, not one reasonable person (you) and one person (your bf) who has committed a crime and is trying to normalize it by making you think you're the bad one.

Speaking from experience re "How can I be the kind of person who causes others pain?," I hope you can work through this faster than I did. It took me about three years to figure out that causing somebody pain by ejecting them from my life, didn't make me a shitty person. It just made me someone who stopped prioritizing their needs over my own, stopped being their doormat. Their need to feel loved by me, their need to be not-upset, their need to think of themselves as good and normal, their need to inhabit the role of The Only Rational Person In Our Relationship -- all their needs sucked the life and joy and self-confidence out of me.

The pain they experienced from me firing them from my life was something that adults figure out how to deal with. It gave them an opportunity to introspect and modify their problematic behaviour somewhat. Yeah, I'd rather that they didn't resent and judge me, but it's a small price to pay for the freedom from their baggage and bullshit.

You are a good person. You will be a good person while you break up with him. And after the breakup is over, you will still be a good person.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:15 PM on November 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also! Please disconnect being a good person from being a nonconfrontational person. They are not one and the same, and you can absolutely be one without being the other. Confronting a problem by standing up for yourself does not make you a bad person. You probably know this. But just in case you need to hear it.
posted by rtha at 11:21 PM on November 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


Daile, you're almost there. Just let him hate you and judge you. There's nothing you can do about that.

Part of letting yourself be the good person you are, sometimes, is letting people hate you and judge you.
posted by tel3path at 2:39 AM on November 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


You will find that being hated and judged by an asshole is a badge of honor. Wear it proudly.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:05 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


That why, I guess, that I care so much about his opinion. Because he will hate me and judge me. I know for sure. And that's one of the reason, he will make me feel bad.
posted by daile at 6:59 PM on November 11

Frankly, he hates and judges you now. He thinks you're an idiot. He thinks you're a sucker. He thinks you are not worthy of respect or consideration or honesty or compassion. If he didn't think any of these things, he wouldn't behave like he does.
posted by scody at 7:59 PM on November 11


Or, as one of my older relatives used to put it, "Ain't nothing wrong with doing something that makes Satan mad."
posted by magstheaxe at 9:12 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


> I think the best way, as some pointed out, is to not have a discussion like I did in prior attempts to breakup with him. Just to tell him "It's over, I am not in love with you anymore".

I'm very glad you're definitely planning to leave, but I would urge you not to say anything like "I am not in love with you anymore." It's not about your feelings, and any specific thing you say gives him an opening to argue ("You think you're not in love, but I know you are, and I know you better than anybody. Remember when..."). You don't owe him, nor should you give him, any explanation. Just say "It's over, I'm out of here," preferably in a note that he will find when you've already left.

Remember: You don't owe him anything.
posted by languagehat at 9:31 AM on November 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


The only way that you will eventually feel better is sometime after you leave. Until you do you are stuck in this whirlpool of sewage. It might will hurt a bit getting out of it, but you then heal and things will be so much better.
Sooner you do that, sooner things will improve.
posted by edgeways at 11:25 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good luck and godspeed, Daile! Don't lose momentum and don't let him suck you back in!
I read this story today and thought of your (ex)boyfriend and what he might be capable of.
posted by hellameangirl at 8:42 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


(I forgot to include a link for the book I excerpted. Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most.)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:48 PM on November 12, 2013


I am reading the book right now! Hope that will help.
posted by daile at 9:30 AM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


daile: "I am reading the book right now! Hope that will help."

daile, I'm very happy to see you are taking steps to end this nightmare with your boyfriend! Have you informed your neighbor that she has been the victim of a crime, or given the police the information they need to make sure this man cannot hurt anyone else?
posted by Room 641-A at 10:19 AM on November 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


I just want to pop in, rather late, to say: good luck and best wishes. This is going to be a hard time, but you are doing the right thing.
posted by kestrel251 at 7:21 AM on November 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


You don't need to read a book. You don't need to post any more AskMes about this guy. You need to dump him.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:37 PM on November 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


Hey, daile, it's been a week since last we heard from you. Are you all right? What's going on with the relationship? How are you coping? Please let us know when you can.
posted by cirocco at 10:30 AM on November 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


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