Dear Abby: I was divorced three years ago and have had a boyfriend, “Roger,” for a year and a half. He is seven years younger, and he’s intrigued with women on the Internet.
He saves tons of photos of these girls on his cellphone. These ladies are “perfect.” They have big breasts and curvaceous behinds, etc. I have had two kids. I’m not overweight and I exercise and keep myself in shape, but I have a “Mom body.”
Roger has told me he loves my body and everything about me. But the feeling I get is that he wishes I looked like those girls.
I have asked Roger not to save these photos because it makes me insecure. If he’s going to look, fine. But saving them is another thing. He promised me he wouldn’t, but some of them are still there. So he not only makes me feel like a fatty, but he lies to me, too. He has more pictures of other girls than he does of me.
Now I no longer feel comfortable undressing in front of him. I leave my clothes half-on and turn out the lights when we have sex. He has made me unable to stand myself. What do I do?
The first thing to do would be to stop looking at your boyfriend’s cellphone. Then ask yourself whether he has been seeing other women or just collecting pictures. If it’s the former, you have something to worry about. If it’s the latter, it’s no reflection on you, and he has voyeuristic tendencies (men are visual).
Stop making comparisons. He says he loves your body. Unless you have a solid reason to think differently, believe him.
You are overdue for a frank talk with Roger, and when you do, tell him everything you have written to me. Your problem may go deeper than his photo gallery and your lowered self-image. If you can’t trust what he tells you, the foundation of your relationship isn’t solid.
He swore me to secrecy, which I want to respect, but I’m torn about telling my daughter. She has a right to know that her son is sexually active and needs closer supervision. We discussed condoms (they used them), accidental pregnancy, possible criminal charges and responsibility, but I think he is more proud than alert to the possible consequences.
If I share this with my daughter, I break a long-held trust. When I urged him to tell his mother, he refused. What do I do? This is tearing me up.
Without betraying the confidence, start talking to your daughter about how, at 14, her son is fast becoming a man with all that it entails, including raging hormones. Then suggest she have some frank talks with the boy and keep a closer eye on him, unless she wants to become a grandma before he’s out of high school.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.