Dear Prudence

Exposed

Prudie counsels a man who discovered videos of his boyfriend on a porn site.

Dear Prudence is online weekly to chat live with readers. An edited transcript of the chat is below. (Sign up below to get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week. Read Prudie’s Slate columns here. Send questions to Prudence at prudence@slate.com.)

Q. Boyfriend on display: I have been dating a terrific guy, “Jason,” for about five months now (we’re both dudes, if it matters). He’s everything I’ve been looking for but there’s a problem: He has an Xtube page up. I introduced him to my friend “Bob,” who is an avid watcher of online porn. Bob later told me about the page and sent me the link to it. (I made Bob promise not to tell anyone; he’s a great friend and I’m not worried about him spreading the word.) Basically it’s nine videos of Jason masturbating with his face showing in a few of them. I was mortified seeing the videos and cried privately. I don’t know what to do. This is the best relationship I’ve been in in years. Jason is attentive and caring and is interested in taking our union further, but I don’t know if I can ever trust him. I’m not interested in having a boyfriend whose naughty bits are on display for the whole world to see! If it matters he apparently hasn’t logged on or uploaded any new videos to his porn page in over a year. What should I do?

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A: I’m not sure why you feel like you can’t trust him. What about his having masturbated in front of a camera a few years ago has rendered him untrustworthy? I can understand feeling uncomfortable, certainly, and wondering whether you two are compatible in terms of how you view privacy, but trustworthiness doesn’t seem to be an issue here. There’s nothing untrustworthy about jerking off for an audience. If you think you can have a conversation with Jason about this (without accusing him of hiding something from you or of being an untrustworthy person), then tell him what you found, ask him if he’d be comfortable removing the videos, and have a serious conversation about what you both think about privacy. On the other hand, if you honestly don’t believe you can date someone who has ever had an Xtube page, no matter what the circumstances, then do Jason a favor and end your relationship before it gets serious.

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Q. New wife: My parents, who had been married 31 years, divorced last September. The decision to officially divorce was made roughly a year ago, by my mother, who was the one who left. My father has moved on. While I may think it’s far too soon, I know he’s an adult. He moved in with his now wife and three kids the same month the divorce was final and just recently married her. They have been married roughly a month and already she’s being named as a beneficiary for his IRA account (I know because I work at the firm that holds his account), and I’ve been removed. Not only that—he told me that he is redoing his will but assures me I will not be cut out. I’m hurt and confused. How do I even broach this without looking like the child wanting their share of the pie, when really I just don’t want her taking advantage of my father?

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A: I don’t know that you can. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that he would want his wife and (presumably minor) stepchildren to be the new beneficiaries of his IRA and that he would want to update his will to reflect his new family. You don’t say anything that suggests your father’s new wife is pressuring him to go into debt to keep her in jewels or minks or hydroelectric dams—being named in your husband’s will is hardly “taking advantage.” This issue is not financial but emotional. I feel for you; it must be strange and disconcerting to see your father remarry and acquire stepchildren so quickly after his marriage to your mother ends, but he is not being taken advantage of here. You’re simply sad.

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Q. Bumble trouble: I recently was swiping on a dating app called Bumble. I came across a friend’s fiancé’s profile on the dating app. He posted several recent photos and a short profile description. Do I tell the friend about this? I like her a lot, but am not especially close with her. I see her once or twice a month. I could disclose it to a mutual friend who is closer to her, but I don’t want to spread gossip. They’re getting married this summer.

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A: I’m not against telling in cases like this, but if you’re not especially close with your friend, and you don’t want to involve a third party, consider keeping it to yourself. There are the usual caveats (maybe they’re in an open relationship, there’s no smoking gun, maybe he really is the one guy in the world who’s ‘just looking for friends,’ etc.); besides, if it was this easy for you to find him, my guess is he won’t be able to keep it a secret for long, if it is one.

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Q. Baby brain: My friend had trouble conceiving several years ago but after some difficulties conceived twins using IVF. I was a devoted friend throughout her complicated pregnancy and after the babies arrived. Eventually I returned to my normal routine and she had help from family. She sent me and several other people a short email newsletter sending pictures and updates on the twins’ well-being, which I appreciated. The next month, another newsletter, but this time from the babies’ point of view. That’s right—infant twins writing (in baby talk) a newsletter about their preferences and milestones. I joked that it sounded like she’d gone a little nuts (this was completely out of character for her), but she said angrily that a lot of people liked the newsletter and even replied back to the babies! I dropped the issue. In the two years since then, all this woman has talked about is her twins. She even switched careers to being a multiples-only post-partum doula. I invited her out of the house, but she wouldn’t leave the twins for even an hour. It’s not my lifestyle—we’ve drifted apart and no longer socialize. My question is … after two years of longer and longer monthly newsletters, how do I get her to stop? I want to say, “Sorry, but every time I receive a newsletter from your twin babies, my eye twitches even as I reach for the delete button.” But I’d also like to convey that I wish her all the happiness in the world—I just don’t want to hear the details from the babes’ mouths.

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A: You can’t. Unsubscribe or set up an automatic filter that deletes the emails before they reach your inbox, but you can’t tell someone you’ve already stopped spending time with that you hate the newsletter they write about their children while simultaneously conveying the message that you wish them the best. (I agree with you that her newsletter sounds mind-numbingly dull, if that’s helpful. It probably isn’t, but here we are.) If you’re not interesting in maintaining a friendship with her, there’s no point in telling her that her single-minded obsession with her children is bothering you, particularly if you plan on adding an insincere “Of course, I wish you all the happiness in the world” to the end of it. You’ve already successfully drifted apart. Don’t turn it into a falling out by lobbing a criticism over your shoulder as you make your way to the exit.

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Q. His family first not ours: I have been married for 20 years and have a 16-year-old daughter. I love my husband—he is a genuine, generous man, and that is the source of my problem. He is the eldest and only son of a family rife with abuse, abandonment, and drug abuse. We have lost money, time, and tears because one sister needs bail or a car or an apartment. We haven’t taken a vacation in 10 years because the funds always end up going to one crisis or another. I had to ask his nephew to move out when he brought drugs into our home. Now my mother-in-law is losing her house because he was found storing drugs there too. And he knocked up his cousin who was staying there with her toddler! Now my husband wants his mother and pregnant niece to move in with us. This is a huge issue, and we have been fighting forever about it. Is there anything I can say to convince him that our family needs to come first here?

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A: You could leave. Leaving is neither the first nor the best choice, but it seems like little else has worked. If he’s repeatedly taken in family members over your objections and used your vacation money to bail out relatives for the last 10 years, I don’t know that what you could do or say to convince him that letting his mother and niece move in with you is a bad idea. Generosity is one thing, but sacrificing your own family’s financial and emotional stability for a series of unending and escalating crises is quite another. Your husband has chosen to live in a constant state of emergency. This seems like the sort of situation ultimatums were made for. If he would prefer to live with his mother and niece over his wife and daughter, you’ll have a very clear answer about whose needs come first and can act accordingly.

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Q. Workwear woes: I recently began my first “serious” job. After years of working in kitchens, I landed a wonderful position as an admin for a real estate company. There are many benefits to this but one huge drawback: I am now navigating the world of business casual. With spring weather growing more and more consistent and my time to solve my issue decreasing, there is one area I still haven’t been able to figure out: Is it OK for me to show my legs?

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Some background here: I don’t shave them. My skin doesn’t tolerate it well, and keeping up with the dark, fast-growing hair feels Sisyphean at best. My friends, family, and lovers don’t mind (in fact, some have expressed envy at my “bravery”), but I’m not so sure about my superiors, who are a generation removed and, overall, a conservative bunch. There is no company policy one way or the other, and I don’t want to start workplace drama over something so insignificant. Is this something I can ask about directly? Are my legs doomed to spend all summer trapped in opaque tights and long pants? Or should I let my wild side show and hope for the best?

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A: I definitely don’t think you need to ask your bosses for permission to show your legs, shaved or un-, but I understand your fear that your bosses might find unofficial ways to register their discomfort at the sight of your body hair. Try to get a sense for how conservative the dress code at your new office is. Do others come into work wearing skirts without hosiery, even in summer? If you’re seeing a lot of dress trousers and skirts-with-pantyhose, you may want to follow suit. If, however, you see your other co-workers dressing for comfort during the warmer months, I think you can safely do the same. If you’re nervous about getting started, stick to longer, below-the-knee skirts so you’re not anxious about the amount of leg real estate on display. As long as you’re following basic standards of professional dress (I assume you’re not asking for permission to wear cargo shorts and Rainbows), I think you and your co-workers will all survive your leg hair.

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Q. Re: New wife: The IRA beneficiary may be just a small part of that pie. Perhaps your dad is restructuring all of his assets and could be making sure that his children are taken care of in his will. He could be structuring all of this to be the most beneficial for all members of the family for tax purposes. Also, his old beneficiary was probably your mother … I could see how this might upset his new wife. I wouldn’t take this as a slight necessarily—talk to your dad about his intentions if it bothers you so much, and perhaps ask to sit in on a financial/legal planning meeting. (I work in financial planning.)

A: Thanks for the expert advice!

Danny Lavery: Thanks, everyone! Now you all know I’m afraid of flying and of not hearing “I love you” first. I hope these revelations bring us even closer together. Until next week!

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If you missed Part 1 of this week’s chat, click here to read it.

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