Miss Information

My boyfriend found my blog and broke up with me. What should I do?

By Cait Robinson

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

Dear Miss Info,

About a week ago, my (now ex) boyfriend discovered my blog. I have some not-so-nice pictures posted, mostly just anonymous shots of me in my underwear. I'm pretty open when it comes to these things, and even sex in general, but he clearly wasn't. He freaked out and broke up with me, and we had this big dramatic moment ending with crying, lots of hugging, saying "I miss you," and confusion. He wants to be friends, but I told him that I couldn't do it.

I understand what I did. My ex is conservative when it comes to stuff like that, and I didn't respect that. I didn't see it as hurting him because, well, he'd tease me about my blog (which is deleted now) every now and then, but he never really looked at it. I assumed that if he found out, he would just brush it off or something. But I really, really hurt him. I love him and he's the greatest guy I've ever known and I just can't imagine being without him. Things were going fine. And then he just up and dumps me on a whim.

I have nobody to talk to, and he knew this. Before I cut off all communication with him, I did the typical crying and pleading bit, and I even went to see him. It ended with us cuddling and kissing on his couch for hours. He said he needs time. He gave me his cousin's phone number, with whom he is really close. She was more than happy to talk to me, and she's been a big help. When I talk to her, she says that she thinks he'll get over it and that his ego is just bruised. I don't know what to believe. She told me that he said that it's just too soon and the pain is just too fresh for him.

His cousin told me to just let him cool off, and to check in on him every few days with a text like "Hi, just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you... I hope everything is okay," and to give it a week, but I don't know. Should I listen to her? Is there anything else I can do to make my ex understand that I'm sorry and that I regret what I've done, and that if he takes me back that it won't happen again? I'm so confused. This is my first adult-type relationship. Is it inappropriate to be talking to one of his family members about it? Should I just cut off communication with her too?

Family Ties

Dear Family Ties,

This is a tough situation because everybody involved seems to be behaving honestly and openly, which is tough to argue with. And though the Venn-diagram circles of "emotion" and "reason" only barely overlap, you can't fault anyone for being honest about their feelings and communicating that clearly, which both of you seem to be doing. As much as I'd love to crow some new Miss Info catchphrase ("Nudity, not prude-ity!" Print up the tote bags, Marketing Department!), I don't see anybody at fault here.

I give you a lot of credit for recognizing what happened without beating yourself up. At its root, this is a difference in values: you didn't see a problem with publicising your scantily-clad body, and he did. Neither is wrong. And you demonstrate a lot of maturity and tenderness in your letter. My only question is, why don't you have anybody to talk to? Breakups are terrible, but a breakup plus isolation is a volatile combination. Is there literally nobody else you can reach out to? If you have no support network outside of your boyfriend, that is a bigger and arguably more important problem. Everyone should have confidantes and cheerleaders outside of their partner. Don't let a significant-other be the only important relationship in your life.

That said, I see no particular reason for you to cut communication with his cousin. It sounds like your boyfriend referred you to her because of genuine concern, and as long as you trust her — meaning that you feel comfortable talking to her candidly, and believe that there is no behind-the-scenes weirdness — then I think you're okay. Find support where you can.

Her advice to remind him you love him but give him space seems sound. Now just make sure you're using that space to your benefit, too. Try to fortify yourself during this time; put down some roots outside of your relationship. If a break has to happen, make it useful for you as well as him.

Dear Miss Information,

I was hoping you could shed some light on an issue which has become very confusing. My girlfriend and I have been together for about a year. We've had some good times together, but lately she's become so distant and is constantly unavailable in every sense. She seems to want me around, and gets upset if I say I have things to do, but the next minute she's having a go at me for being in the way.

I have never felt like we are part of a pair who support each other. She hasn't really supported me in anything I've done in the last six months, even though I try my hardest to accommodate her and make sure she's happy. Every time we have an issue, she refuses to talk about it — she only ever says "If you don't like it, don't go out with me." I used to put up with this, as I think the attitude is partly a symptom of her having a very stressful job. (Which, by the way, has become another issue: she is very vocal about the fact that she thinks my life is a joke.) Anyway, I suppose my question is, do I stay with her until she is less stressed and back to normal, or do I call it quits? I love her and underneath all this she is a good person. I don't know what to do.

— Doormat?

Dear Doormat?,

It's amazing how much crappy behavior one will put up with when one is getting laid: "She threw rocks at my car, but it's cool. She's just really passionate about green transportation." Or "Sure, he got 'Victoria' tattooed on his chest, but my middle name is Elizabeth, and they're both English queens, so..." But there's a limit to the mistreatment you can handle or the excuses you can make. Your letter sounds like you're hitting that limit.

"She hasn't really supported me in anything," "she thinks my life is a joke," "I used to put up with..." — these are not little things like "we can't agree on curtains!" or "She doesn't like my dog." These are big, systemic, patterned behaviors that speak to a tremendous lack of respect. Your insistence that "underneath it all, she is a good person" doesn't do much to reverse it. That line is a classic excuse for mistreatment. You're basically saying, "I know she knows better, but she's just choosing to treat me badly," which is not much of an endorsement.

You said nothing positive about her or your dynamic as a couple. It is possible that she's just dealing with some personal things and will come around eventually, but it's not your job to be her punching bag in the meantime. From my perspective as a third party, the decision seems really obvious — but this is your call, not mine. Being able to tell the difference between "disagreement/ rough patch" and "abuse" is an invaluable skill, and one I recommend you put some effort into cultivating. From the language you use, it looks like you're well on your way: just trust yourself on this. You deserve someone who treats you well "deep down" as well as on the surface.

Commentarium (71 Comments)

May 08 11 - 11:20pm
mayfly

Granted, I've never been in a remotely similar situation, but it seems like the guy in the first letter is way, way, way overreacting. A few anonymous underwear shots is deeply hurtful and worth breaking up over? Most people probably have pictures about that revealing on their facebook pages (I'm thinking things like bikini snapshots at the beach). His response makes makes me think he's insecure and controlling, or at the very least pretty immature.

May 08 11 - 11:58pm
Michael

"Granted, I've never been in a remotely similar situation" "but I'll go ahead and pass judgment on what is normal and reasonable anyway".

May 09 11 - 12:22am
mayfly

I don't know, dude, I think it's ok to have opinions on things you have not directly experienced. For example, I think it's not normal or reasonable for someone to ask their guests to paint themselves orange and spin three times widdershins before sampling the quiche at a dinner party, even though I've actually never been in a remotely similar situation.

May 09 11 - 12:56am
David

I think the boyfriend was more upset/hurt about her betraying his trust than about the pictures themselves. There was obviously a big lapse in communication on her part. Judging by his response (which I thought sounded pretty mature) it doesn't seem like he's overreacting, insecure, or controlling. Just confused and upset.

May 09 11 - 1:18am
BrosephofArimathea

It's a problem when "I am not familiar with this concept" is equated with "It must be bad!" Miss Info has the best attitude to approaching conflicts in values: "I don't see anybody at fault here." Ahhh I've been breaking character.

May 08 11 - 11:23pm
A Sudden Thought!

The weird thing about a loving relationship is how hopelessly enthralled we become once inside of it. An emotional dependency is developed, an addiction, I guess. I once heard a 12 year-old compare a crack addicted criminal on COPS to woman she knew who was going through a divorce. I was startled at the accuracy of the comparison.

Great responses, on both counts, Miss Info. If that IS your real name.

May 11 11 - 10:43pm
CaitRobinson

It is. I've got the monogrammed towels to prove it.

May 08 11 - 11:52pm
MC

Great advice, Cait (as usual). For people who are not sexually open, out of choice or because they haven't grown to that point yet, finding that your significant other is sharing a part of their sexuality with an audience that isn't you can be very upsetting. I think that is pretty natural.

It seems like the new relationship norm among the youngins and progressive not-so-youngins is to wield your sexuality like an exclusive club. You can either accept the club rules or get lost. I would suggest that maybe a little more flexibility would be more realistic. Being sexually open is a wonderful gift to give yourself and your partner because it shows that you trust yourself, your partner, and that sex is affirming and fundamentally good. Since trust and safety are such a large part of creating that, I don't think that writing off a really great boyfriend who is struggling in those areas is the right choice. Show him that sex is still safe and you are still trustworthy and that the blog is just a healthy expression, not a secret life or compulsion.

Cousin sounds smart. Give it time. Let him see that you are still the same person he loves and that this blog doesn't represent something sneaky or deceitful. If he is able to see that, then your relationship will only be stronger since you can now share this other part of your life with him.

Good luck, buddy.

May 11 11 - 12:23am
nope

Ugh, I really don't like how you make it sound like his feelings and opinions are just something he needs to grow out of. Not wanting sexual pictures of your S.O. on the internet without your knowledge is not some character flaw you need to work out, it's just a way you feel about something, and it's a pretty reasonable way to feel.

May 09 11 - 1:05am
Dee

To the second guy: Dump her. Immediatly. Move on with your life and revel in the next kickass lady who comes along and doesn't belittle you. Do it for yourself and fuck her ass! Possibly literally. And then break up with her.

May 09 11 - 1:19am
BrosephofArimathea

This is the truth... up until the ass remark. No relationship is a better place than that relationship.

May 09 11 - 2:59am
lezley

Having a blog where you post pics of yourself in your underwear and not telling "I love him and he's the greatest guy I've ever known and I just can't imagine being without him"-guy is, um, not being open about sex. Maybe you have an exhibitionism kink, which is cool but something you should share... or maybe you are a needy manipulator who likes to keep a couple potential partners on the line in case of breakup, or you have massive approval and attention-seeking issues that make you post "mostly" underwear pics of yourself on line to get a quick attention fix. If it's either of the latter two, he's probably better off without you.

May 09 11 - 5:12am
Bart

The guy in the first letter is being ridiculous and controlling. She wasn't cheating on him. She was expressing herself in her own personal blog and he is just a slut shaming douchebag.

May 09 11 - 3:29pm
Bo

I might agree with you, if I could see the pictures first.

May 09 11 - 7:39pm
Mollie

It seems unfair that men have to accept every single sexual act, thought, etc. of their girlfriends or wives or else they are "slut shaming." How is that healthy? So he has to swallow every sexual impulse or action that his girlfriend has or he is a misogynistic asshole? Not fair! If she came to him and said, "hey, I am really into this blog and it excites me to put pictures of myself on there, but I wanted to see what you thought first" and then he lost his shit and called her a whore, that would be slut shaming.

May 09 11 - 6:41am
roc

the thing that's not totally clear in the first letter is whether or not she was up front with her boyfriend about the blog and what was on it. she says he 'discovered' it, which implies that he didn't know about it before, but then later says that he'd tease her about it, which implies that he did. i think that's the key difference, because the core principle of any relationship is honesty. nothing- underwear photos online, flirting, kinks, sex with other people- is necessarily wrong if it's undertaken honestly, but any one of those things done clandestinely can be a serious breach of trust. it wasn't just being 'open' and 'expressive' if she couldn't or wasn't expressing it to her boyfriend, it's sharing a part of her sexuality with the anonymous internet that she wasn't sharing with him, and it's totally understandable that he would feel confused and hurt by that.

May 19 11 - 3:12pm
Marie

Absolutely. LW1's boyfriend is behaving as if he has been betrayed or at least feels that way. The thing about betrayal is that it is pointless to compare different kinds or assume it sits along some spectrum-- eg "underwear pics aren't as bad as a one night stand which isn't as bad as..." etc. To the person betrayed, it oftentimes feels just the same and no amount of minimizing makes it better. It won't help him to be told or even to know that he is overreacting. If she shared her sexuality DISHONESTLY it will feel like a betrayal to him.

May 09 11 - 10:19am
bck

like roc says, there seems to be a few gaps and question marks in the first story. nevertheless it is a bit messed up when you "discover" a blog of your girlfriend (however, we don't know what his/her definition of girlfriend/boyfriend is) in scantily clad pictures. Some people like to have their secrets, but why be in a relationship in which you can't be upfront and honest? I think it's a bit unfair to write this guy off as conservative and not sexually open. I personally would be more confused on her reluctance to let me know about it. Luckily, a little communication does wonders to clear up misunderstandings, should both parties be willing to listen. But, it's never nice to catch someone in fragranti. No one likes to feel like he's been treated like a fool.

May 09 11 - 10:33am
Gsa400

Say goodbye to the loser.

May 09 11 - 11:17am
Ian

Dear Family Ties:

I am compelled to comment here to let you know that there are, in fact, men who would either (a) not feel it was a "betrayal", and/or (b) appreciate the fact that you are sex-positive and enjoy maintaining a blog that involves anonymous photos of yourself in your underwear. Based on your letter, the blog involves you, not your boyfriend. I suppose one could argue that by agreeing to date him, you're also agreeing to limit your own expressions of sexuality to those that meet his approval, but I find that argument distasteful - why isn't he required to accept that you're less conservative than he is? It just smacks of patriarchy to me and, yes, slut-shaming; I have to agree with Bart in that respect. I can't understand how this blog, of which he was apparently aware, though he may not have taken the time to view it, can be deemed an affront to the boyfriend. Why? Because you're "sharing the goods" with people who aren't supposed to own or control them? Because your exhibitionism suggests that he's "not enough" for you? How is he being "treated like a fool"? IMHO, this situation should reveal that while you might have been in an "adult-type relationship," it wasn't actually an "adult" relationship, because a full-grown man would not be so insecure and threatened as to react in the way this guy has reacted. Best of luck to you.

May 19 11 - 3:16pm
Marie

I'm a feminist and agree with you sorta... but I've been betrayed by a romantic partner "sharing" in semi-secretive ways... which until it happens to you is difficult to imagine. There isn't much logic in it. But, logically-- if the bf has an obligation to accept her liberal-ness, doesn't she have an obligation to accept his conservative-ness? Or at least know it exists and be forthcoming with things that might trigger it. Beware double standards :-)

May 09 11 - 1:18pm
ETC

I think that "doormat" is missing a big cue. "Every time we have an issue, she refuses to talk about it — she only ever says 'If you don't like it, don't go out with me.'" She's trying to get him to break up with her. She's treating him terribly, taunts him about breaking up with her, she's kneecapping this relationship on purpose. She doesn't want to break up with him but she does want to break up so she's making him do it.

May 09 11 - 6:03pm
AB

Wow. You are exactly right. A normally "good" person who acts rude, mean and insulting _is_ trying to get you to break up with them. That is the writing on the wall, innit? I don't know why she is being a pansy about it, but she is human, and this is definitely one way to end a relationship.

May 09 11 - 1:43pm
notfromaroundhere

LW 1 should dump that conservative, controlling douchebag.

LW2 should dump that bitch.

May 09 11 - 2:38pm
Russo

First letter: Storm in a teacup. You've already got the advice you need so just take it to heart. Give the whole situation some time and it'll come right. The dude's just bruised. Sounds like you're both pretty new to serious relationships and this is just a speed wobble. On a side note, I can't believe how sone commentors can tease this situation out into some crypto-feminist polemic about patriarchy and "slut shaming" - the writer might not even be a woman (although things point in that direction).

All it is, is some unanticipated discomfort provoking some shock and insecurity in someone fairly unpracticed in relationships. This situation isn't gender biased, there'd be plenty of females who'd get pissed to find their boyfriend had some illustrated sexual confessional going on online. Personally, I like her moxy but then I'm not her boyfriend and someone she loves.

May 09 11 - 6:15pm
Greg

To Family Ties, I think your ex should stay your ex, he seems very immature even going so far as to ask you to talk to a relative of his, it's time he man up and not be jealous of a picture (I assume he's NOT in it) and for you to stop your blog because he can't handle it is a very passive form of control, he's controlling your blog, he's controlling the break-up and he's watching to see how much you are willing to grovel for him to comeback. If he does you will resent not being able to blog and every time you fight will he have you call his relative to see if "he's" ready to make-up? I'm sorry but his passive/aggressiveness is showing

May 09 11 - 8:19pm
lezley

I have this feeling that everyone involved in "Family Ties" may be 16 (seriously).

May 09 11 - 11:35pm
CS

"This is my first adult-type relationship." Very well could be. That said, dude sounds like a dick, no matter what his age.

May 10 11 - 9:29am
lezley

what I am getting at is that 'family ties' and her underwear-pics-blog is probably teenage attention-whoring instead of a thought-out choice about her sexuality.

May 11 11 - 10:54pm
CaitRobinson

@ Lezley: Agreed that they do seem young, but who knows. Unfortunately, attention-whoring is not age-specific.

Kids today with their "sexting" and their jazzy Victrola records...

May 12 11 - 1:41pm
lezley

yeah, though I think it's that someone who's 30 and posts nudes in a public or semi-public venue knows what they're doing and why (which I think is a more or less 'sex-positive' behavior) , and someone who's 17, realistically, is probably responding to general social pressure to be sexually available all the time, which is negative as fuck.

May 14 11 - 6:56pm
CaitRobinson

@Lezley: An important distinction. I knew there was a reason I wanted to ride bikes with you!

May 09 11 - 8:31pm
ldzw

How did she betray his trust? Did they have an agreement that she not be seen in her undies? I think he's being a bit of a baby.

May 11 11 - 12:29am
nope

She makes it clear that she was aware it would be upsetting to him if he knew, and so she did not tell him. That's a pretty clear betrayal of trust. Like if someone hides that they take speed from you, because they know you wouldn't like it if you knew. That's a betrayal. And all the worse if you aren't sure how you feel about speed in the first place. (I think a good tip from old-Miss Info was to take sex completely out of the equation and see what happens. In this case, I think it shows that blaming everything on the guy is really reactionary and unfair.)

May 19 11 - 3:23pm
Marie

Amen. A counselor told us once, "If you have to lie to your partner about it and it involves sexuality, there's a good chance it is cheating." Its the lying part that is the betrayal, not the actual thing you lied about. Everybody has a mental list of what "counts" as cheating or not, til something happens to them and they don't understand why it hurts so much.

May 09 11 - 10:25pm
Kevin

The hurt boyfriend sounds immature. Or really uptight. Maybe he's learned something about her now that makes her not good material for a g.f. for him. Not her fault, maybe they're just incompatible. Personally, I think her openness makes her hot.

May 09 11 - 11:07pm
A boy and...

"She doesn't like my dog" is a showstopper.

May 10 11 - 1:47pm
K

I agree!

May 12 11 - 12:09pm
AT

I actually have had an experience very similar to the one LW1 is going through.

The real, underlying issue is complex. The LW1 and her boyfriend obviously have different sexual values. That's a big part of it and honestly, that's what LW1 should really be considering here instead of focusing all her energy on winning her boyfriend back.

LW1 probably considers her posting anon undies pics as being on about the same level as a guy's porn habit. And like porn habits, some SOs are cool with it as long as it doesn't escalate or interfere, and some SOs really internalize it as a negative reflection on them, and can't abide the idea that their SO enjoys that sort of activity. Inevitably, this creates a scenario where the person indulging in the behavior has two options: either give up the behavior at the demand of their SO, thus sublimating this aspect of their sexuality, or engage in a certain level of deception.

Even though it's almost irresistibly tempting to see this breakup as a challenge to try to be the perfect girl in order to keep an otherwise great guy, the LW1 should be true to herself. This guy is flying his nonfreak flag in a major way, saying in no uncertain terms that his idea of a monogamous relationship require that his girlfriend not express herself online. Notice that still leaves the door wide open for a double-standard. Maybe the LW hopes that by playing along now, she'll eventually loosen him up, but what if he doesn't? What if it just gets tamer from there? Great SOs are somewhat rare but hell, if you got one you can get another. Does LW1 really want to stick with the guy who tags her as morally inferior?

May 12 11 - 3:19pm
mj

I don't think that LW1's ex is necessarily sex-negative-- he might just see a bunch of red flags popping up at the realization that his GF needs sexual validation from a bunch of strangers. That's what stood out to me.

May 14 11 - 3:31am
ricochet

Boy, a whole lot of assuming is going on here. First off, unless any of you have seen LW1's blog, it's pretty damn tough to judge if the guy is overreacting or not. LW1 seems to have come to the conclusion that he's not (how she got there is kind of a mystery, her explanation leaves a lot to be desired) and wants him back. And she will never do it again.

So then, without a lot of what I think is key information, everybody has an answer AND a judgment (with the exception of Cait). I will say this, and nothing more. If LW1 was comfortable with what she had on her blog, and is now willing to give up that part of herself, that is her decision. If she doesn't feel that strongly about it, so be it. Doesn't make her any less of her own person. We make a thousand tiny concessions every day. That's what makes us adults and what we live in a society. But if it is something she enjoyed and felt was a part of herself, she may regret it. And that's also part of being an adult.

May 19 11 - 2:40pm
Shinobi

What Doormat? is going through reminds me a lot of patterns I have seen in other relationships when one person wants out, but doesn't want to do the dumping. Things like "If you don't like me then leave" and just generally treating him badly remind me of what I've seen a couple of my friends do to their future exs. They always rused to play the "Dumped" card, even though they had clearly wanted out for a while based on their behavior.

I'm sorry to say it, but she may just be hoping that he leave her, but afraid of being alone. It sounds like he'd be better off elsewhere too. Go forth and find some other girl who will make you happy!

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