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My boyfriend stores pictures of women on his laptop, is a voyeur & stares at women in public

By June 27, 2010 - 2:16am
 
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I have been involved with a man of 47 for 2 years now. We are living together and in the first year I discovered folders called 'maybe', 'maybe definitely' etc etc when I opened them I found hundreds of women that he had downloaded from the internet stored in these folders. I was not snooping - he always leaves his laptop on and I needed to find a picture for work never dreaming I would find this - the subject matter 'maybe' is what made me open the folder/s. When I confronted him I told him that I was taken aback and wished he had told me about this but that I was prepared to accept it if we could share it together rather than him 'hide' it away from me. A few months later he was showing me pictures he had taken with his camera and in and amongst them were lots of different women in public that he had taken pictures of ...not just 1 but sometimes up to 6 or even 7 pictures - you could see that he had been following them and obviously all the women were wearing short skirts, had good legs and had high heels on. This time I was really upset and told him that this was not acceptable to me and he promised never to do this again. Meantime the filing of new girls continued and he then joined Flickr and started making contacts with women in Flickr who share naked pictures of themselves and also pictures of them in sexual positions. A few months ago he left Flickr open on his laptop and I found new pictures of a women he had followed from behind that he had put into Flickr as part of his 'gallery'. I have not told him that I know this but am besides myself. A few weeks ago I woke up one night and came into the lounge and saw him suddenly click out of a picture - I asked him why he did this when I had said I was happy to share it and that I found this behaviour very devious and was struggling to trust him. I told him that it is now so bad that when we are out together and he stares at other women I wonder if any of them are in his folders. I am not going to force him to stop because I know that won't help. The other side of the coin is that our relationship is 99% perfect except for this. He now closes his computer when he goes out, enters passwords etc all of which he never used to do. He told me that he clicked out when I came into the room because he is embarassed and my response was 'don't make your problem my problem'. He argued that he is not addicted and that it is like a hobby for him just like some men collect pictures of cars! Last night we went to a restaurant and there was a married women there that he 'spotted'. She was sitting behind him and it didn't seem to bother him that he turned right around to stare at her and she started to walk up and down past our table giving him the eye ...I am so confused. I do not know what to do. We have discussed this ad nauseum and it is not going to go away. I wish our relationship was bad because it would be so easy for me to walk out. We are 100% sexually compatible and have a stunning sex life, the best I've ever had. We are 100% compatible mentally and in every other way I could never have dreamt existed. He tells me all day every day that he loves me, he sends me the most beautiful text messages but all of this does not take away my pain. I told him that I am feeling v unsexy around him, that my sexual confidence has taken a bad knock (I am 5 years older than him) and that I generally just don't feel attractive anymore. He was previously married for 15 years and has told me that this was a huge issue in his marriage ...I have never experienced anything like this before. I actually didn't know that this existed. I am such a liberal woman and so accepting of many things most women would not accept e.g. watching porn together etc...do you have any suggestions. Its got to the point where I'm not happy to talk to him about it because its become a boring subject regurgitating the same thing again and again with no results. I am hoping that someone else has experienced this - I am at a total loss and utterly depressed. Thanks for listening, it sure helped to unbundle this in a letter.

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Monique,
I read your story and Alisons reply with interest. He is actually a sex addict. All the signs are there, and it was most likely caused by his childhood/background. Regardless of wheher or not you stay together, he needs to enter therapy and yourself as well as a co-addict. You should not have to put up with his behaviour, and its best you seperate initially, and he can proceed with rehabilitation. It will take at least a year, probably longer given his age, but please help him to seek therapy. As you said he previously helped you, and right now he cannot see how destructuve his behaviour is. His chances of recovery will be increased greatly if you are there to support him, and be with him. At the same time you need to address you previous abuse, as this will have had an influence on your choice of partner and behaviour. Also I recomend you read up on sexual addiction, to understand the power it has. He sounds as if he is already well advanced into the addiction, so honestly speaking chances of full recovery i.e. no relapses, and both of you living happily ever after are slim. But still please make sure he gets some professional help, and he is no longer in denial. Shock him if needs be, whatever it takes to make him change. He runs the risk of breaking the law, so whatever it takes, its like saving someone from drugs. Anyway well done for having the courage in standing up to him, and regardless of what you choose to do, reading up on these materials will help your recovery. If he really loves you, he will try and change.
Regards
Anon

August 28, 2010 - 2:05am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi Alison, sorry I did not respond immediately but I have to tell you that my initial reaction to your response was not good ... I was almost feeling defensive of him but as time has evolved (I have re read your response countless times) I started to feel I was being abused - am I going crazy because there really is another side to this coin which I will share with you and am going to do so because your response has hit home so 'hard' that today I was out looking for a new home and controlling my emotions.

I realised today that what keeps me here is the 'good' but sadly for me you are 100% correct because despite the good I am not happy, I have lost my confidence, I feel sexually shattered and awfully threatened by woman around us when we are in public - I don't know how to thank you but like I said I do need to share the 'other' side of the coin.

I met this guy on internet dating. Within 2 months we were living together but I hit a really financial slump - I was unable to look after myself financially let alone buy my son (who lives with his dad) an ice cream ..I told my boyfriend this and he was totally relaxed, paid for everything, took me overseas to him home, spoilt me rotten. Before you think that I enjoy money I actually HATE it ..I have run away from every man that has had money but I did not know that this guy had money - he doesn't but his parents do and he wants for absolutely nothing and so he shared whatever they gave him with me ...no one has ever done this before ...Alison I am now crying because I am so devastated - you probably have worked out by now that i come from an abused background which I refuse to admit could affect me because today I am an adult ...

I'm blabbing on, I'm sorry but I absolutely HAVE TO THANK YOU ...I hope I have the courage to carry out my new decision which is to move out to a furnished appartment.

oh yes, what I didn't tell you is that after your mail to me ....we went out for lunch and he kept asking what is wrong, you confuse me because one moment you are ok and the next you are not ...what the hell is going on? ..everything was wrong because I knew that what you had said was the truth that I was running away from ...suddenly as the bill arrived I found the courage and said ...'what is wrong is all the women you are collecting on your laptop, your definition of cars versus women is incredulous - cars do not have vaginas nor do they have breasts and nor do men masturbate over cars...Alison his face turned white ...I said, I am normally a happy person and have been transformed into a paranoid woman thinking and wondering if every woman you look at is perhaps in one of your folders ...like ...'MAYBE PERHAPS' 'MAYBE DEFINITELY' etc I totally lashed out but luckily in a very controlled manner (thanks to YOU!) and therafter he has not stopped loving me, blah blah blah but ...Alison thanks so so so much because despite all his utterings of love I realised that the bottom line is that this is not what I want.l I do NOT want a man uttering his undying live, sending me zillions of texts of love and keeping folders upon folders of thousands of womej on his laptop hidden from his supposedly 'undying love'.
Before I sign off (sorry I know this is long ,,) I must tell you that he said ..' I dont understand you because one minute you're ok and then the next you're not so what happened between yesterday and today' - Alison you know and I know that it was about that woman in the resturant but you gave me the strength not to feel stupid as most of us do when these guys do this so my response was....You and I have only ONE problem. If you can't figure out THAT problem which occurred between last night and today then it truly is not worth us discussing it because I have been totally honest with you in all my feelings and what is ok and not ok for me. ' The intersesting part is that he said NOTHING .. he didn't deny it or say 'what are you talking about' ..dammit Alison he KNEW ..thank you thank you thank you ...this is not going tobe an easy move because we work together and I can't do my work without him and neither can he do it without me but luckily I am not a bitter twisted kind of girl and just have to find that courage to continue to work with him, move out and meet hopefully a man who really lvoes me ...I've written this because I have spent so many months paining, crying, not knowing who the hell to talk to and worst of all thinking that I am just an insecure idiot ...just like the one morning he came to me and said 'my poor insecure girlfriend' ...I truly hope that you share this with any other woman who goes thro this ..amazing what the internet can do. I am most definitely going to stay in touch, tell you what has happened to me and most importantly FOCUS ON ME and my happiness,,,thank you once again...my real name is Monique and I am from Cape Town in S Africa ...

June 28, 2010 - 12:03pm

I wanted to add..I consider myself a liberal woman as well, but some of his behavior may also be verging on illegal. It really is that bad. Taking pictures of women, without their consent, in public to view later is beyond creepy...and could be harassment. Do you know if all of these women he has contact with online are of legal age?

There are many ways to express our sexuality, but calling harassment a hobby (and comparing women to cars...he really does see women as mere objects), is not expressing sexuality WITH you, to form more intimate bonds together, but rather it is in spite of you.

June 27, 2010 - 5:21am

I am so sorry. After reading you message, I understand that you like your boyfriend, and repeatedly say that you two are compatible and that you "wish your relationship were bad, so it would make it easy to walk away".

Everyone has their own definition of what "bad" is. To me, this sounds not bad, but completely awful. I would feel terrible about myself being in these situations you describe...it was even difficult to read without feeling uncomfortable...I can not imagine living this on a regular basis.

It is up to every individual to make choices about what they will accept in a relationship. You have talked with him about how this feels to you, and you are uncomfortable. You are not sure you can trust him. Let's just pretend that his behavior is normal for a man who is sincerely interested in a mutually monogamous relationship (it is not, by the way). Do you want to be with someone who disregards your feelings, and continues to do the very things that you have told him makes you question yourself and the relationship?

You have a choice to make, but he is at least showing you his true self, so that you can make an informed decision. He is not hiding his deviant behavior (though, I would assume you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg), and you have all of the information you need about this person to know if you would like to continue dating him or not. Is this the lifestyle you want to have with an intimate partner?

June 27, 2010 - 5:10am
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