|Dear Miss Information,
I am in a truly wonderful relationship with someone I know I’ll spend the rest of my life with. The problem: He has a large amount of porn on our shared computer. It’s not anything over the top, just normal run-of-the-mill videos of naked girls, but it hurts me like a knife to the heart. He keeps the contents password protected. I feel like he’s not sharing a part of his life. I would love to watch this stuff with him; I see it as chance to get a window into what other things he would like from me sexually — what he’d like me to look like, dress like, act out. But when I mention this (or, more frequently, cry about how it is taking a chunk of my self-esteem and flushing it down the toilet), I get a wall of silence in response. He will never allow me access to this section of the computer. Never.
He tells me it has nothing to do with me. He says I am gorgeous, that he is incredibly turned on by me, and I believe him. Still, the porn bothers me. I want to know what he gets from watching this stuff and seeing pictures of other girls. I know I should just let it go and not make a big deal of this, but I just don’t know how to go about it. — SM
Porn isn’t for sharing. Wait. Let me rephrase that. Porn is for sharing, but it should be shared freely, not under a state of psychological duress. You can’t demand access to a personal, psychologically loaded possession and expect a cheerful handover.
The intentions are noble, but let’s face it: there’s no way you’re going to feel good about everything that’s in that folder. I’m sure you’ll find some of it’s titillating, but the anime girls pushing mollusks up their vaginas you might regard as really fucked up.
But it’s his fucked up. Not yours. Just because he enjoys looking at it doesn’t mean he wants to introduce it into his reality. Sure, there may be certain scenarios he’s interested in actually carrying out. But he’d rather approach it on his own terms, when he’s ready, than be prodded into it by a partner.
Your boyfriend is a human and will occasionally have sexual thoughts that don’t involve you. I don’t know what else to say but sorry. That’s the way the boner bounces. No doubt that makes you a little freaked and jealous, and baby girl, I’m with you. Years ago I gave my ex endless grief about his porn collection. Crying jags, accusations, threats. I’d tell him I was okay with everything, then change my mind seconds later.
I found the best way to deal with all this was to just give up. Adopt an attitude of, "Fuck it. I don’t care anymore," and stop letting it dominate your thoughts. Can’t do that? Fine, fake it. Trying is better than not trying. Keep reminding yourself that thinking about this shit is fruitless and boring. Eventually you’ll get to the point where it doesn’t bother you as much. You may even go the route I did and start a dirty library of your own. (Just in case you’re curious, I have some crazy clips of gay dudes self-fellating, but sadly, no mollusks).
Your boyfriend’s not entirely off the hook here. It’s selfish of him to refuse to watch porn with you. Not everyone’s comfortable with it, but he owes it to you to at least try. Create a new folder on your desktop, one that contains smut the two of you searched out together. Make a deal: you will stop bugging him about his smut cache if he agrees to be an enthusiastic participant in this new venture.
Ultimately, fearing this stuff is about as sensible as fearing killer bunny rabbits or the boogeyman. He’s not in love with these porn stars, he’s never going to meet these porn stars and he doesn’t think about these porn stars when he’s not watching them. You’re the one doing that, not him. Perhaps your guy should be jealous of you instead?
|Dear Miss Information,
I have a good relationship with my family. I’ve been dating a boy for about two years. He’s smart, considerate and funny. I think I could spend many more years with him, if not my life. But my mother doesn’t even like the idea of him. Since she found out about him over a year ago, she’s never expressed any desire to meet him and doesn’t talk about him. Her attitude is a result of cultural restraints. She immigrated to the U.S., so I can understand that adapting to American culture is sometimes hard. But I’m tired of having to lie when I’m visiting home. My normally critical siblings have already secretly met him and approved, so I think my mom would like him also. I think she may be more okay with the relationship after I graduate from college in a year, but I don’t want to wait that long for her to at least acknowledge him. How do you think I should handle this? Should I just be patient and wait another year until she considers me to be more of an adult? — Dreading The Battle
Dear Dreading The Battle,
If your mom’s like my mom, she’ll never consider you "more of an adult." I still get weekly lectures on smoke-detector batteries and stern warnings about the dangers of consuming hard candy while lying down.
I found these two statements interesting:
My mom has never expressed any desire to meet him and does not talk about him.
I’m tired of having to lie when I’m visiting home.
Dreading The Battle, here’s what I think happened:
You started dating Boy. It took you twelve months to work up the Jujyfruits to share that info with your folks. They reacted how you expected and both you and Boy got the cold shoulder. No one likes to get the cold shoulder, and it’s easier to "forget" and "not get around to" talking about Boy then it is to initiate conflict with Dad and Mom. So you didn’t. Eventually this evolved into deception, but by then you’d been stifling your hurt and resentment so long it almost felt justified. Now you’re wondering why Dad’s not all I love Boy! and Mom’s not all We need to see more of that fine young fellow!
Well, duh. You’re making it really freaking easy for them to continue with the status quo. Why the fuck would you mother "express a desire to meet him?" She’s already getting everything she wants. Don’t think she doesn’t know that, too. You could wait another year, but I don’t know if I’m necessarily for it. Yes it might cause less initial friction, but problems tend to grow the longer they’re left to linger and as more people (such as brothers and sisters) get involved.
Tell Mom and Dad that you’re still dating Boy, you know they don’t like it, but you respect them too much to be skulking around. Offer up some concessions, whether continuing the ruse with your crazy-ass grandma or agreeing not to move in with him without giving them tons of advance knowledge.
Online research has lead me to a lot of interesting opinions regarding the issue of Asian/non-Asian couplings and dealing with the parents. With a name like "Erin Bradley" I’m sure you guys are probably shocked to learn I have mostly Scottish and Irish, not Asian, heritage. Would any of my Asian (or non-Asian) readers care to share their experiences? Be brave, little soldiers. I know it’s hard to talk about anything other than Britney.
©2007 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com