Miss Information - Sex Advice by Erin Bradley

Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity. 

Dear Miss Information,

I am a twenty-six-year-old gay male, and have been with my partner for eight years now. We were monogamous until about two months ago, when we decided to open up our relationship. It's been very nice so far, but I keep having an issue. I've hooked up with a friend of ours a few times now, and each time I have a difficult time keeping my erection, let alone reaching orgasm. He is a very attractive guy, so I see no reason for this problem. When my partner and I have sex, I have little trouble reaching orgasm. But for some reason I can't do it with someone else. I can get hard when we're just messing around, but when the time comes to actually perform I lose my erection. I'm not sure if I have some sort of mental block going on from just having sex with one person most of my adult life or what. I'm worried about having this issue with any future sexual partners. What can I do to get over this? — Mind-Blocked

Dear Mind-Blocked, 

You were eighteen when you started dating your boyfriend. A tiny pink tadpole. You and your boyfriend essentially grew up together in your own little boy-on-boy bio-dome. Now you're swimming in the big-kid pond, and its occupants are no longer tadpoles. Chances are they're less closeted and more self-actualized than the guys you were meeting in your teens. It's going to take time to feel comfortable around this new group of people. You're not meeting them for a croissant, you're having sex. Fear of being judged — whether it's your dick size, your kissing style, or the way you smell, sound, and taste — is an unavoidable part of the equation. Unless you're Russell Brand, the perennially naked poster boy for body-acceptance, you're probably going to feel uneasy about it. 

Add to that the length of time you've been with your partner. You spend eight years with someone and it's natural for a new partner, even a very hot one, to throw off the machinery. Have you ever moved into a new apartment? Started keeping your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet instead of on the sink? Your brain expects one thing, you're met with another. It's discombobulating. You also hit your head on the wall, stub your toe, or in your case, lose your erection. 

And let's not discount the emotional element. I bring this up last because your letter doesn't seem to indicate any angst over the new dynamic, and I hate when people assume angst where there is none. But now I'll go back on that and ask: is there anything that's bothering you about the open relationship? Was the decision mutual or was one of you more into it than the other? Were you guys getting along before you decide to bring in other people? What about after? Your erectile problem could be a manifestation of guilt or anxiety. 

The way out of this? Practice, practice, practice, and stop with the cataclysmic boner theories. You will be able to fuck for another person. Multiple people. Don't you worry. Focus on having a good time, not whether everything goes according to script. There is no script. Try having your boyfriend there, if that's within the scope of your agreement. Try screwing around with another person. Go on a masturbation diet, or watch porn while you're doing the dirty. Most of all, relax. This is one of the few times a learning curve can be fun. Enjoy it while you can. Don't worry about this guy (or other random guys) judging you. You've got a great boyfriend you can get off with. This is just extra credit. Your sex partners will understand if they have any shred of sensitivity. If not, fuck 'em. They're a side dish.  

Dear Miss Information,

I am in a long-term relationship with a great guy whom I love immensely. Recently we took a year-long break — we stayed in touch but were both dating other people. I've always had issues with his friendship with his cheating ex, and he knows it, so he tends to keep their interaction to a minimum. Recently, I was printing something from his email — which I had permission from him to check — and did some snooping. I found some nude photos of her in an email from October with the subject line, "Here you go! Use them well!" We got back together officially in September.

I went to see him, cried, apologized for violating his privacy, and asked what the hell was going on. He said that he'd forgotten they were there, apologized profusely for their existence and for being an asshole for having them, and told me that it wasn't what I was thinking. She was asking his opinion on her submission to a SuicideGirls-type website. He also said that they're barely friends any longer. She only calls when she's having issues and needs advice. The most recent contact they've had was last month when she had a breakup.

I still feel it's grossly inappropriate for him to have allowed her to send them in the first place. Despite knowing that he loves me, and trusting that he would never cheat on me, I still feel cheated on. I'm totally fine with him watching porn and fantasizing, but nude photos of an ex are different. I can't imagine our relationship continuing happily if she's still involved in our lives. Is it reasonable to request that he cut her out of his life — explain to her that they will no longer be friends, defriend her on Facebook, and block her calls? — What the Actual Fuck

Dear What the Actual Fuck,

Fuck yes, it's a reasonable request. Friendships with exes are a privilege, not an unassailable right. Every relationship starts out with certain privileges: a regular guys' or girls' night out; an office crush you playfully reference as a running gag; friendship with exes. It's an important part of the bonding process: I let you have freedom. You let me have freedom. We both do our best to be neither unfaithful nor nosy.

You broke the nosy portion of the contract, though by no means would I make you hand over the keys to the deep fryer and turn in your apron. You were put in a tempting position, and you cracked.

Your boyfriend's infractions are much more serious. Nudie shots are an obvious no-no and that line about the SuicideGirls audition sounds about as authentic as a nautical tattoo on a hipster from a landlocked state. Even if the audition story is true, he's still a fuckwit for looking at the pictures. Why did it have to be him? Have either of them heard of the Internet? It's this really cool place with nine galaxies worth of anonymous horny dudes, boners in hand, waiting to offer commentary.

To his credit (and I use that expression loosely) it does sound the rest of what he's telling you is truthful. It did happen only a month after you got back together, and October is a long time ago. I would tell him to cease all contact and let you watch as he sends the adios email. In it, he should tell the ex that he needs to concentrate on the relationships that matter most to him, including yours, and that he doesn't want to have any contact for a while. Don't call me, I'll call you. She doesn't have to know that "a while" most likely means forever. It's better to be vague. Forbidden fruit just ratchets up the drama. Ask him to loop you in on her response, if any, and then take a break from the email policing for a while. 

If he accepts the agreement and refrains from doing anything remotely sketchy, you may want to consider reinstating his friendship-with-exes privileges. If he doesn't, dump his ass and find someone more trustworthy.

Readers, what do you think? Am I being too lenient? Too harsh? Is it possible that this was simply a bad judgment call, or is What the Actual Fuck's boyfriend a dyed-in-the-satin-sheets cheater?

Commentarium (70 Comments)

Jul 26 10 - 12:22am
LC

Sorry, Miss Info, but you blew this one: no one I date (or love, marry, etc.) will EVER get to tell me who I can or can't be friends with, or will extend "privileges" to me that can be revoked. And vice versa. That dynamic is just all wrong, on every level, and a really easy way to get your partner to hate your guts. Whether or not WTAF's boyfriend wanted to cheat before, if she follows your advice, he probably will now. I know I would.

Oct 01 11 - 3:33pm
DM

I'm afraid that I disagree with you. He violated a major aspect of the relationship...TRUST! And trust is an easy thing to lose and a difficult thing to regain. I believe in this particular situation she has every right to limit his interaction with this woman. If he wants this relationship to work out he must accept that the lady who sends naked photos to him cannot communicate with him. She needs to get her trust in him back, he needs to regain her trust and if that's the solution that they come up with and both agree to then I think that's exactly what they should do. It's all about finding a solution to their problem, not like this woman did nothing at all and the gf wants him to stop talking to her. It's not a control situation here at all. Put yourself in her shoes. Knowing that an ex gf took her clothes off, captured it and sent it to YOUR man while you were together. And then wait for that phone to ring, see her name on the caller ID and be totally cool with the conversation that they will have. I think you may see it differently then.

Jul 26 10 - 12:31am
LC

Also WTAF sounds like one of those insecure people who goes looking for trouble because, despite loving her boyfriend "immensely", on some level she wants the relationship to fail. (The reasons why are many and various, and best left between her and her therapist.) And so, like a cat playing with an old sweater, she goes looking for loose strings to make it unravel. Honestly, having that kind of personality is way more destructive to a relationship than getting naked pictures from your ex.

Jul 26 10 - 1:24am
linda

You seem to be projecting just a teensy bit of your personal baggage onto WTAF, LC.

She's totally within her rights to ask for an explanation for the nude pictures and to be skeptical of the response. She also within her rights to REQUEST that he cut the ex out of his life. Obviously, if she is sending him nude pictures and instructing him to "use them well," it hasn't settled into being a platonic friendship. Hell, I don't know if friendships between ex-lovers can ever truly be platonic. Maybe it hints at some sort of insecurity on WTAF's part. But it sounds like her boyfriend has given her plenty of reasons to be insecure about this particular ex. (And after a year-long "break" from each other too.) If they took a year to reevaluate things and decided to recommit, homeboy should be able to SERIOUSLY FOR REALZ commit to her. And that means cutting out exes who send in racy pictures.

And, bottom line, if the friendship with his ex makes his current lady uncomfortable... he should at least consider cutting her out, and WTAF isn't being unreasonable in requesting it. I mean, if a friendship with your ex means more to you than your happiness in your present relationship, you should probably just break up.

Jul 26 10 - 1:55am
kas

I hate when people get all "no one will ever put boundaries on MY LIFE" because actual relationships inevitably involve compromise. You have every right to request boundaries, and the person you are asking has every right to turn you down -- and if they do so, they are showing you where you stand in terms of their priorities.

Jul 26 10 - 2:19am
SM

two different issues - 1) was he telling the truth and 2) whether to place boundaries. one issue 1), he's not telling the truth (i'm a guy). maybe he was hedging since it was right after you got back together after being apart a year, which is not entirely unreasonable. whether or not it's ok to tell this little lie after you got back together is up to you, my opinion, let that go. on issue 2), everyone has boundaries, only question is where are they and how do you both deal with them. each of you just has to determine what you're ok with. if it really is a deal killer for you, let him know it's a deal killer and he'll then decide.

Jul 26 10 - 5:10am
Amy

Yeah, she did crack and looked through his e-mails. But the guy let her get on there, only a foolishly trustful woman wouldn't be curious to see an e-mail from the dreaded ex and NOT open it.
She apologized and knew doing it was wrong, but he had the naked photos to make him guilty. Obviously he's taking their relationship seriously, he got back into it. So in the end, when it comes down to it, he has to respect her opinion on the ex and her desire to cut her out. People from our pasts, who we have no need in our lives, can sometimes ruin a truly good thing.

Jul 26 10 - 6:05am
bart

I don't think your partner has the right to tell you who you can jack off or jill off about. He wasn't seeing her in person to fuck her. He wasn't even cyber sexing her. He was just jerking off to pictures of her - which is what "use them well" meant. But, so what? Whacking off is not about emotional connection. It's about taking five minutes to relieve stress. I don't really see any difference between whacking off to her or whacking off to Sasha Grey. I mean is this girl really going to say she's never jilled off while thinking of an ex since they got together?

Of course, the guy lied about why he had the pictures. But that was a white lie meant to spare her feelings.

Oct 06 11 - 7:10pm
Christina

Known pussy and pussy you will NEVER have a chance to actually touch are 2 VERY different things. He was WRONG!!!!!!!!!

Jul 26 10 - 6:10am
notfromaroundhere

I think the LW should look at this a porn. Just porn featuring someone he knows. If he's telling the truth about there not being contact since October, and apparently he is or the LW would have found something more recent, doesn't that say enough? Personally, I would love to have nude photos of some of my exes. A couple of the most unsuitable people had very hot bodies (which had caused me to overlook how crazy they were).

What really matters is his behavior going forward.

Jul 26 10 - 6:35am
cheesecake

'Use them well' means he requested them. It's like "Here ya go'. I think Dude here is at least as guilty as The Dreaded Ex.

Oct 06 11 - 7:10pm
Christina

You got that right! He asked for the pics!

Jul 26 10 - 8:04am
Jamonit83

Like cheesecake said, "use them well" means he was expecting them. Hey, we've all done douchy things, but this guy sounds like he's lied to cover his own ass and won't own up to it. WTAF is well within her right to req

Jul 26 10 - 8:04am
Jamonit83

... as I was saying, well within her right to request him to stop contact with her. She obviously has even less respect for the relationship than he does.

Jul 26 10 - 9:12am
JCF

People doing something secretive will maintain separate secret E-mail addresses for that kind of stuff. The fact that he just asked you to do something with his E-mail program without worrying about it means he didn't think he had something to hide. So I don't think this is anything serious. Even if he's lying about the reason why they're there (did the shots look professionally done?), it was sent at a time when you two had just gotten back together, and it probably was an uncertain time for him. That being said, I think you are within your rights to ask him to either cut her off, or visibly include (and forward) any and all communications to you. If the ex wants to keep a situation private and only tell your boyfriend and not you, too bad, you don't keep things from each other.

Jul 26 10 - 10:47am
hummus

WTAF is angry at him for allowing her to send the e-mails? Since when do we allow or disallow e-mails that are sent to us? I find that banning one partner from interacting with an ex or a friend or whomever generally ends badly. People need to make their own decisions about who is or is not a part of their lives.

Jul 26 10 - 10:48am
On His Side

Too Harsh, WTAF's boyfriend sounds like a saint and her like a drag. She doesn't deserve him. And, you're turning her into an obsessive controlling bitch.

Jul 26 10 - 10:57am
On His Side

One more thing, I'm boring as hell. I've been sent pics before with similar addendums as "use them well." She was just being cheeky because she knew I was boring as hell. No big deal.

Jul 26 10 - 11:54am
:)

I'm gonna have to disagree with the advice to WTAF, I think she should just laugh the pictures off and forget about it. It's clear he doesn't look at them anymore if he allowed her to go in his email without thinking about them. Also, this girl needs to realize that SHE is his girlfriend and the ex is an EX. If they wanted to be together they would, but he's with her and she needs to stop being insecure. Also, trying to be your partner's keeper is in my experience one of the fastest ways to destroy a relationship, no one likes being told who they can be friends with or what they can do.

Jul 26 10 - 12:03pm
Flynn

I agree with Bart that everyone's allowed to jack off to whatever they want to jack off to, but there are a few limits. Kids? Not OK. Animals? Not OK. Exes? Not OK. Sorry, call me old-fashioned. If it were old files he had from their dating days, then maaaaaybe I'd allow it on a technicality. But if they're broken up and your partner is with you now, no way in hell he should he be encouraging or utilizing these pictures. Boundaries, yo.

Jul 26 10 - 12:04pm
Me

Why are so many assuming that the boyfriend isn't cheating/being sneaky/looking at ex-girlfriend porn just because he let WTAF see his email? It's also possible that he forgot it was there, didn't expect her to snoop, was bluffing openness to gain her trust or thought that she wouldn't be hunting through his archives back to October. If WTAF feels uncomfortable with the ex, then either the boyfriend needs to drop the ex or WTAF needs to drop the boyfriend. It doesn't matter whose fault this is or whose side you're on--it's an unhealthy relationship with a shaky foundation, and they need to either fix it or move on.

Jul 26 10 - 12:19pm
Seattle Blonde

Miss Info's response is great, but in large part because it takes into account the relationship and comfort zone of the two partners. Clearly WTAF isn't comfortable with her ex having naked pictures of exes around, and just because some people are okay with that doesn't mean SHE has to be. Plus, the photos appeared not before they met or knew each other, but fairly recently after they'd restarted their relationship, so in that way they aren't part of "the past" but of the present.

Additionally, the ex sounds suspicious. My man is friends with many of his exes and talks with them about their lives, but if one started involving him in her life in inappropriate ways, that to me would feel like a violation of our relationship boundaries. WTAF isn't trying to make her boyfriend cut off all contact with all exes, just with one who's clearly problematic (and, from what it sounds, isn't really ongoing friend material or very stable anyway). I had a situation where one of my man's exes started calling him frequently and making sexually suggestive comments on his Facebook page. I didn't ask him to unfriend or never talk to her, but just to clarify boundaries of appropriateness given the fact that he was seriously committed to me. He did that, deleted the posts, and stopped calling her. They're still FB friends, and I'm fine with that as long as everyone knows where the boundaries are. That's all Miss Info's trying to help set up here, and that's fair (especially since the ex sounds like really bad news and unstable to begin with).

Jul 26 10 - 2:37pm
NoName

Dear @WtAF - do you ever envision past boyfriends (or girlfriends) naked while you masturbate in fastastical sexual scenarios? If you had pics of them, would you pull them out when you're alone for an hour? Would it be terrible if you did?

Memories of Ex's are part of our lives. Having a pic around isn't any different than a visual image in your mind. In some respect, it may be less "perfect," because it's more real.

I wish I had pics of my Ex's. I don't want to be with any of them and am just fine with my exclusive relationship. But, I wouldn't mind taking a look at them every now and then. It wouldn't mean any more than conjuring up their image during a long shower.

Jul 26 10 - 10:35pm
Betty

If they were still talking, I'd suggest that WtAF and her boyfriend invite ex over for a double date with whoever she's seeing. Once she sees that you two are a well-adjusted couple, she'll stop wanting to mess with him. Since they aren't talking ... I'd suggest that WtAF ask him what criticism he gave his ex about the photos--if she sent them to him for feedback, she must have wanted some criticism, right? Look at the photos nonchalantly with him and talk about what she did wrong--bad angle, misproportioned limbs, etc. He doesn't have to send your feedback to his ex (although that IS what she wanted, isn't it?), but you can ask him what he was "innocently" critiquing.

Jul 26 10 - 11:59pm
VOMITOR

SHE SHOULDN'T AVE LOOKED IN HIS EMAIL. IT'S NONE OF HER BIZ. AND WHAT A SPYCHO FOR TELLING HIM SHE SAW IT. AND ALSO THE GUY IS A TOTAL DUCHE. THIS RELATIONSHIP IS DOOMED. WHAT'S WITH THE YEAR BREAK? THESE TWO NIMRODS ARE SO PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER.

Jul 27 10 - 12:44am
mcaff2

If his feelings about what's appropriate with an ex don't match her's, then they're not a match just like any other issue. Insisting on non-instinctual behavior is going to cause resentments or create secrets.

Why should he give up a friend for someone who's not definitely permanent? If the current GF is permanent, then what does she have to be afraid of?

Jul 27 10 - 2:38am
GoSox687

Waaaay too harsh, and well said, LC. She did wrong by snooping, and he did worse, but their solution has to involve honesty and trust, not controlling ultimata that undermine both.

Freedom and trust aren't just for a couple's opening months, they're essential parts of any relationship. Start "revoking privileges" and everybody gets miserable. Miss Info, you should leave the police state tactics to previous presidential administrations.

Jul 27 10 - 2:40am
MW

Some of these comments are incredibly naive. As a guy who's friends with almost every single one of his exes, I can tell you that no WAY would a guy think that receiving nude pics of his ex (that he didn't already have) during a serious relationship with another woman was okay. In any way, shape or form. Bullshit. He knows better -- he's just counting on the gullibility of his woman (and most of the people commenting here) to get by.

It's a question of respect for the woman you're with. Also, if you're doing something you have to hide from her, you KNOW it's wrong. Otherwise, why not just let her know you're doing it.

Her boyfriend is full o' shit.

Jul 27 10 - 12:41pm
LB

Hear, hear MW. Dude should be considered a mistake on the way to a guy who really gives a damn.

For the record, some people don't spend any time fantasizing about exes. Been there, done that, moved on.

Jul 27 10 - 12:56pm
thinkywritey

Terrible advice. If you look at it one way, if he *was* hankying the panky, her FORBIDDING them from having contact a: won't work (he's already lying, why would he not lie about the kiss-off?) and b: will make it even sexier for him to fool around on her. If you look at it the other way, that he was NOT banging the drum, her FORBIDDING them from having contact makes her seem like an unreasonable, paranoid, controlling lunatic. We don't "let" our loves have freedom. We bond with them or we don't bond with them. Telling them they can't have friends of whom we disapprove can ONLY lead to a life of paranoid misery, not blissful fidelity. (For the record, I'm a woman.)

Jul 27 10 - 3:47pm
mo

wow, those are some intense rules to lay out. i would not date someone who demanded they watch me send ANYONE an email, no matter what i did wrong. that would be the end right there if it hadn't ended yet.

Jul 27 10 - 4:09pm
Me

I'm guessing a lot of commenters siding with WTAF's boyfriend are taking the position of someone who hasn't done anything wrong. He lost WTAF's trust, and now he has to gain it back. Obeying her rules is probably the only way.

Jul 27 10 - 4:53pm
snooping?

wth do you mean snooping? she did not hack into his account. all those idiot men saying the advice was too harsh! there is never a good reason to be in possession of nudes of an ex.

Jul 27 10 - 11:03pm
CVB

It's very telling that many of us are willing to give women a degree of control over a man's privacy and autonomy that they would NEVER tolerate if the genders were reversed. Man combing through his girlfriend's email, and making her send a "goodbye forever" to her ex while he watches = super creepy control-freak behavior by any normal standard. Switching the genitalia around doesn't change that, and if you think it does, you're a sexist asshole. Also, am I the only one who thought that "September" and "October" could easily mean Sept. 30 and Oct. 1? People spin sob stories to make themselves seem as victimized as possible, and people who write to advice columnists are no exception.

Jul 27 10 - 11:37pm
CVB

@MW: "Also, if you're doing something you have to hide from her, you KNOW it's wrong." That's some wonderful black-and-white, you're-either-with-us-or-against-us rhetoric, but it's total bullshit and hopelessly naive. As the French could tell you, a successful relationship depends on having at least a few secrets and hidden things. Flirting is a great example: outside of cuckold fetishists, who really wants to know everything about their SO's flirtations with other people? Who among us wouldn't be offended and wounded if we knew the gory details, all the innuendos and casual placing of hands on shoulders and backs? Yet flirting is a key way to stay sane in a monogamous LTR, and often helps you appreciate what you already have even more. Take that away from someone, and you might think that you're "setting boundaries" and whatnot, but in reality you're shooting yourself in the foot. No one likes to be controlled.

Jul 28 10 - 7:01am
bart

Even us cuckold fetishists don't want to know everything about partner's outside flirtations and encounters. We just want to hear about some of them as foreplay for when we get dirty with our partners.

I'd probably get bored pretty quickly if my partner told me everything. A bit of mystery is a good thing.

Jul 28 10 - 9:05am
r

There are some seriously crazy, jealous, self-important people out there. I think these two should just split, if she can't trust him and wants to establish "rules" for the relationship... If he doesn't come naturally to what she thinks are the parameters of a normal relationship, then they're clearly not on the same page. Forcing rules like that is, as one person already said, a great way to get your partner to hate you.

Jul 28 10 - 10:45am
Rob

My partner ended a relationship with a guy 4 years ago because he cheated on her with multiple women. Her heart was broken, but she still managed to hook up with him after a cooling down period - and was a 3rd party to him cheating on the woman he was seeing at the time. She spent a year or more thinking she could get him back, and was in denial about it the entire time. Still is to some extent. He contacts her every few months to tell her how much he misses her, how he messed up, and is a different guy now. She convinced me that she'd resolved her situation with him - no lingering pain OR desire for him. No harm, no foul, I figured, so I said "If this isn't causing you stress, then it won't cause me stress when he calls." Then she lied to me about getting in touch with him. Not a little fib - went to the trouble of making up a story when none was necessary. That changed the game and the rules. No more contact with the Ex. Lies are a hard limit for me, especially when they involve current interaction with pathologically cheating exes.

Jul 28 10 - 11:23am
cjt

You can make whatever demands you want of your partner and your partner can tell you to go f*ck yourself. Or just keep seeing who they want....that isn't to say the courteous thing to do would be to make some distance between a friend that cannot keep decent boundaries. Friends who constantly try to sleep with you are not respectful friends....unless that is what you are after....

Jul 28 10 - 1:37pm
ETC

I'm gonna go with "too harsh" on WTAF. Like other posters, nobody I date tells me who I can and can't hang out with and if I were her boyfriend I'd be really angry with someone who told me I couldn't talk to someone else.

I think he's on the up and up. She says that he's minimized his interactions with the ex when he saw she was uncomfortable. To me that points to caring rather than cheating. Speaking of, "his cheating ex" she said, doesn't that imply that the ex cheated on him which means that he would be less inclined to date her again?

Also, you're right. October was a long time ago.

Lastly, I'm a model and I've sent nudes to exes before JUST like the ex did. Sure there are like, a million dudes with boners online but if you're looking for a career as a boner inducer a) you don't want to give away your pics for free. b) you know how bad boners are for clear thinking and honest critique. An ex -who you are cool with and have a platonic relationship with- can honestly critique your body as he's seen it up close and personal and can give you good feedback on the pics.

I do agree though that "enjoy" is a little sassy.

Jul 29 10 - 12:59pm
Flynn

You fuck up, you have to be willing to live under Big Brother's eye for a little while.

Jul 29 10 - 2:53pm
AkPete907

Every relationship is full of compromises. You have the right to ask whatever you want to ask, but if you are going to take you better be ready to give. Ideally things will work kinda like osmosis. Nothing needs to happen all at once but equilibrium (or an understanding of such) must be reached or people become one of any sort of possibly damaging emotions. Some of the people here have a sentiment of 'don't impose on me!' which is fine. I hope you find someone (or are with someone) who can deal with that. Although, like I said, you should be able to ask for ANYTHING in a relationship. Hopefully your partner is reasonable enough to either oblige or respectfully refuse. It should, at some point, be aimed the other direction. They will eventually need to ask you for something. Hopefully you can in some way reach equilibrium.

Jul 29 10 - 3:47pm
MW

@CVB: You go right ahead and use whatever rationalizations you need to. Cheaters cheat, and those of us with nothing to hide don't.

Oh, also? "As the French could tell you..." is the most unintentionally funny thing on this page. Thanks!

Jul 29 10 - 6:00pm
CVB

@MW: Oh, I'm quite confident you have nothing to hide. I can't say I'm equally sure that the same is true of your spouse/girlfriend...since (in my experience) people who love to moralize and froth at the mouth about how "cheaters cheat" and other bumper-sticker-level nonsense, often have partners who eventually grow tired of endless sanctimonious rhetoric, and look for a little somethin' on the side to get some relief from someone whose horse isn't quite so high. So good luck with your ultimatums and proclamations, and make sure to get those funny itchy bumps checked out, when they show up some months from now.

Jul 29 10 - 7:27pm
m

I think everyone who is saying that a relationship is doomed if so called priviliges are revoked are being unrealisitic. A relationship is ultimately about give and take, respecting one another's feelings, and if you truly care for someone, making sure they yes trust, but not blind trust. If she feels uncomfortable with his contact with his ex, then she has every right to bring that up to him, and make it clear what he can do to make her feel trusting in him and their relationship. He can either choose to do it or not, at which point she has a choice to make. Just because you may be okay with a partner having pictures of an ex doesn't mean she has to be. Everyone is different, and I think Miss Info gave her good advice based on what WTAF indicated she needed from her bf.

Jul 29 10 - 8:59pm
Eliza

The argument that 'he can't help what other people email him' is absurd. If he was offended or uninterested, that she would have also found the response email asking that she not send pictures like that. Also, as many have mentioned, the email title doesn't make it sound like it was a surprise email....

Jul 29 10 - 10:06pm
nkm

I totally agree with MW (and laughed out loud at the "French" comment); we're all adults here. I'm still confused about them being apart for a YEAR and then getting back together and there still being gray areas. If I recommit to someone after a bloody year, I can assure you, there'd be no gray areas, no areas of confusion or concern and certainly no opportunity for disrespect, such as sketchy communication with exes. I let my partners know up front that I am, oddly or not, friends with many of my exes and helped them find the ladies/men they are currently with. We didn't work for a reason, but we cared about and liked each other for a reason, and that reason can stand after we break up, and usually does. Life is really too short to deal with any of this nonsense, in my opinion. Fundamentally, they are not married or contractually bound to each other at this point, so I would pack up my shit and get out while you still can. And honestly, I'm not saying to get out of it because I don't trust him or I'm afraid or whatever, I would get out, because I (and you) deserve someone who doesn't deal in gray areas. Like MW said, you know when your shit is fucked up and you know what is and isn't respectful of your partner, ESPECIALLY after you make a concious decision to get back together after a whole year?! C'mon. He's clearly unsure of what he wants and life is way to short to be with someone you don't believe is looking out for your best interests and the interests of your relationship. Period. You need to be with someone that is committed to a future together, not ever spending time explaining or rationalizing their past. The past is the past, we all have fucked up shit back there (even sometimes in the recent past), but if we wanted any of that stuff, it'd be in the present...which, tragically, for you, it still seems to be. I think WTAF (and everyone else) should never live in an unnecessary world of doubt.

Jul 30 10 - 12:12am
@nkm

"I (and you) deserve someone who doesn't deal in gray areas." Real life IS gray areas, and if you can't handle that, you're not capable of having a mature relationship, period. People who refuse to accept the gray areas are so, so, so often the ones who end up cheating bigtime. Just wait long enough, and I promise you, gray areas will crop up in your life (and in even the most picture-perfect of relationships) whether you asked for them or not.

Jul 30 10 - 12:30am
@Eliza

"Also, as many have mentioned, the email title doesn't make it sound like it was a surprise email...." I'm sure he discussed sending the pics with his ex sometime beforehand, maybe prior to the photo shoot (which could mean a delay of days or weeks). More importantly, it could have been prior to getting back together with WTAF. We simply don't have enough information. Of course, the real issue is that he didn't delete them, and the key question is whether it was simply an oversight, or whether he kept them as spank material to evoke fond memories. So often, someone's "cheating ex" = "s/he was kind of psycho and a lot of the time I couldn't stand him/her, but the sex was really hot". Almost everyone I know has someone in their past like that, and remembers them with a mixture of infuriation and arousal.

Jul 30 10 - 1:39am
MW

@CVB: hahahaha -- I love that you just keep going father and farther down this road, still with no idea who you're talking to. I'm afraid I couldn't be farther away from the little box you're trying to put me in if I tried.

That's precisely your problem. You can't *conceive* of anyone disagreeing with you who then doesn't fit this bizarre stereotype you've created in your mind of them.

How ironic that you go around unsuccessfully trying to condescend to others about being close-minded...

Jul 30 10 - 6:06am
bart

I think that she should just be happy that when he eventually dumps her she'll still have the right to send him naked pictures.

Jul 30 10 - 7:04am
Giulia

I have a huge problem with assuming that anyone I'm involved with will drop any contact with people from his past. Which is really the crux of the matter here: people are not property, you don't put a fence around them and force them to shoot any intruder down. The image of her standing over the guy while he breaks off all contact with the ex is particularly distasteful.

To the point: she found out something that hurt her, spoke up and received an explanation. Which she can choose to believe or not. If she does, there is no need to be imposing and force him to do anything. If she doesn't, there's another problem for you.

(I'm still in touch with my exes, so is my partner and it doesn't bother either of us. There is a reason why exes are exes.)

Jul 30 10 - 4:42pm
CVB

@MW: After that wonderful and insightful post, all I can say is that I hope you enjoy all the benefits of your perspective, and that you experience no undeserved sorrows in your life.

Jul 31 10 - 11:25pm
christine

What is amazing to me is the sheer variety of responses here, and the number of factors on which there is extreme, polar variation. No two commenters are saying the exact same thing, on questions of: his culpability versus hers, his honesty, how much his honesty matters, how much she should care, what boundaries are appropriate with exes, whether imposing boundaries on your partner is a right or a no-no, and what she should do going forward.... and that's not even all. What this says to me is that PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER, and some of these expectations are really deeply felt and go down to issues of compatibility. This girl is upset by having found out that she's dating a guy who asked his ex for pictures of her to wank off to a month after he got back with her, then lied about it.

(I can relate to the disappointment in finding out something about your partner by snooping, which is made worse by them lying about it, though I have a hard time imagining monogamous folks' anxiety over how to prevent their partner from cheating in the future...)

It seems to me that she just needs to decide whether her revised image of him as someone who would do that (which he is and did) is still someone she wants to invest in a relationship with... Sorry, but I think the vibe of asking to watch as he sends an email to the ex and seeing her response is screwed up. If she has that little power in the relationship that she feels the need to make rules and prohibitions for her partner like that, he probably *will* continue to lie and sneak around, and resent her to boot. If she doesn't want to be with someone who requests photos of his ex to jack off to, she should say so -- and if that's really not who he is, he should have a chance to convince her.

Aug 04 10 - 7:21pm
daja

The same thing happened to me with the photos and he is still doing it...my boyfriend asked for her to send them but the girl is not his type she is fat And ugly I saw the pics he says she is free spirit

Aug 16 10 - 11:20am
Tired of Stupidity

Miss Information, you were too harsh and border-line psycho. Your advice is why so many women are growing old alone. Guys want young girls, not just because of their youthful bodies, but their open minds. She "has" the guy. Is that enough for her? No........... What does she do, snoop and then badger him about a girl who he isn't banging. She's sitting there practically accusing him of taking the photos himself. How did he allow someone to send him those photos? I get tons of spam and stuff daily, despite the filters, am I responsible for what comes through? No............... So, she needs to either get content with her situation or let him be with someone who doesn't come with her own di@k in her a$$. Are we in kindergarten? Is she a member of law enforcement looking for terrorist cells? No, she was looking through his enough like he was a Muslim in NYC. Total BS.

Aug 22 10 - 8:40pm
Jennifer

Miss Information, your advice was right on. WTAF has every right to state what her boundaries are and make a reasonable requests of her partner to end contact with his ex. Making a request is very different from making rules or a demand. I recently experienced a similar situation with my fiance who crossed similar boundaries with dozens of women and lied to cover his ass. Deception from an intimate partner is incredibly painful. It is completely reasonable to ask them to stop focusing their attention on other relationships while their main relationship needs attention. If they say no to that request, they make their priorities loud and clear. Fuck them. No one goes through life unscathed. Most people have some insecurities or fear of abandonment. If Mr. Afraid of Intimacy can't let go of his ex he go find someone who doesn't care if he is going to stick around or not.

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Sep 27 10 - 9:27pm
yourhandjoinchurch?

Yeah... I would definitely, definitely dump anyone, and I do mean anyone, who tried to tell me who I could and could not be friends with. If she told me it made her upset and scared, and in my heart of hearts I knew she had just cause, then I would let the ex go, because what sort of an idiot wants to hurt the person they profess to love? But if there wasn't, I would tell her so.
But telling your SO who they can hang out with, as opposed to who you are comfortable with them hanging out with, is creepy.

Feb 03 12 - 8:00am
Bloemboy

I totally agree!!!!!

Mar 09 12 - 5:00am
someone.

okay. i know how you feel but my stories kinda different.
see, i don't like my boyfriend's ex dominique and when they talk, i get this urge to punch something. not only is she skinnier than me, but she's also really pretty and it sucks ass. haha. i mean, but with all the reasons in the world, i'd agree with you. it was wrong and it was a jerk move. he's basically a bitch. and she's a hoe. not trying to be rude, but it's the truth. she know's he's in a relationship, regardless of him asking or what so that was a big move on both of their parts, i looove my boyfriend. but if that happend, i'd f'cking blow up. i'd tell him how i felt, despite hurting his feelings. mine's only count on THAT note. i love him, but thats wrong. you know? i relate to you and all you ignorant people shut up, because it was wrong. i mean , it''s called an ex for a reason. if that's how he wanted it, might aswell been friends with benefits. but i'd end it with him, seriously. no, that's not right. that kinda disgust me with that thought. but i'd know my boyfriend better than that, i'm just sayin. he's dead if he does that and i'd hunt that girl down lol. -___- THATS just a thought though. c: