His Girl's Photo is on a Porn Site
Q: I've been dating my girlfriend for about nine months. As much as the next man, I am partial to a little bit of internet pornography from time to time and recently ran across photos that I am 99% certain are my girlfriend, presumably taken and published by an ex-boyfriend without her consent. Now, I couldn't care less, I really like her, and it doesn't change the way I feel about her one little bit, but I strongly suspect she'd be mortified. I don't particularly want to confess my pornography habit but would be prepared to do so, in order to let her know that they are out there on the internet. But as far as I can see there's no practical good that can come of telling her, and the chances of her finding out another way seem slim. What's an expert view of this? -- Jeff
Dr. Susan: You've got a real quandary. My instinct, as always, is to suggest you opt for total honesty. No point in hiding your interest in porn, as it will come out sooner or later and you might as well get your girlfriend used to the reality of who you are and what you like. It often does come as a shock to women when they discover their very own beloveds like to look at sexy strangers even when they're in a good relationship with a real and willing woman. But the more secretive you are about it, the more of a betrayal it will seem when the truth comes out. As for telling her about her own picture, think of it this way: would you want your best friend to tell you something like that about you? I know I'd opt for the hard truth over most kind lies, but not everyone is the same. Only you know your girlfriend well enough to figure this one out. It's possible she could get the offending photo removed, but then again, maybe not. So, in the end, whether or not any "practical good" can come of your telling her, getting into the habit of sharing and honesty is way more important than any "practical" effect.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.