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Author Topic: [Long Post] Changing Attitudes
Metalhead
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Right - this may not be in the right section, but I'm sure any mod who thinks it's not will move it. For the record, I'm a 22 year-old straight male, which may be as close to a minority as you can get on these types of forums, but I need some help.

Guess I'll start at the beginning. About 7 months ago I met someone who I can only describe as the love of my life. She is perfect in every single way (for me at least) - she's everything I could ever wish for in a girlfriend, both physical and mental.

We've become extremely good friends, to the point where there are things that I know that even her closest female friends don't.

She knows about my feelings for her and has done for some time - we've always been honest with each other. Without going into too much detail, she is dealing with a very serious illness at the moment and has a very major operation coming up in early August, so I've backed off to allow her to concentrate on getting better.

Another slight complication is her attitude to guys in general. Again without too much detail, she has been hurt in the past and finds it extremely hard to trust guys, and thinks that all guys are only interested in one thing: sex.

Now, I've never really been the "typical" type of guy. I think getting drunk/smoking/drugs etc are stupid ideas, I listen to 80s heavy metal and I'm generally pretty shy and a bit of a geek/nerd/whatever.

I'm trying my hardest not to force myself onto her, but I do have very strong feelings for her, bordering on (and I know this is a very strong word to use) love.

We found out very early on in the friendship that we're both pretty sexually compatible. It's got to the stage now where we have fairly regular phone/text sex, and we both have webcams on MSN so we use those as well.

Recently, I've been taking screencaptures of her during these "chats" on webcam and saving them to my PC - not telling her what I'm doing. I know she has low self-confidence so I know that if I asked her, she wouldn't let me do it.

This morning, I pasted a screencapture into her MSN window without realising, so now she knows what I was doing. I obviously feel extremely guilty about lying to her, and to make matters worse, I denied it to begin with, saying I didn't know what happened.

I have since deleted all the saved captures and my entire (pretty extensive) porn collection out of guilt, and - if I'm honest - I feel guilty, dirty (not in a good way) and ashamed at my attitude towards sex in general.

I want to change my way of thinking towards it, and above all I want to show her that my feelings are not just physical.

Any help and/or advice is appreciated.
Metalhead

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cool87
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Hey, don't worry, you're not the only 22 years-old guy out there that comes here ! [Smile]

You said you try your hardest not to force yourself on her, what do you mean ? Maybe those were not the best words you wanted to use and that's probably the case because in my definition that's something very not right to do and can even mean assaulting somebody so I just wanted to make clear with you what you meant. Thta's very not much so something to do when you love somebody and want the relationship to be reciprocal and not only go one way.

About the screencaptures, I personnally think it was wrong to do such a thing without asking her about it before and it's just one way to jeopardize a good deal of the trust that she's put in you, I think especially more so if she deals with trust issues but you already seem to have realized that and it's past.

I personnally wouldn't have liked my bf or anyone to screencapture me without my consent and I know that it will be harder for me to trust the guy after. But it's past, it happened and now you just have to deal with it. You can choose to still lie to her or to tell her the truth. It's your decison but were it me, I'd be honest. You already lied once and if you expect honesty as you said in your relationship and not make her trust issue worse and jeopardize your relationship, I think it might be the best decision. Honesty in a relationship goes both way. And you still can't expect somebody I think to trust you at 100% when things like that happens, I think it's not fair nor sound and I think it's not a matter of someone having trust issues but a matter of what happened and the circumstances. You deleted those screencaptures and I think it was the right thing to do.

I really hear your girlfriend because what you described of her is how I feel, too so I admit I might be a bit biaised but I think that what I say still make sense nonetheless, it's a personal opinion though and you and someone else can chose to think differently.

I don't think there's a problem with you having your own personal collection of porn but having sexual pictures of someone else(if that's what you really have been doing, correct me if I'm wrong) really isn't and it's to me like taking advantage of someone without her consent for your own good and just isn't right. It's private stuff really and I don't think I need to tell you, just ask yourself if you would have liked someone let's say your friend to do the same to you and how your trust in her would have been after that.

That said, I'm having a bit of troubles knowing really what you are asking besides all of the above. Is it about you finding it difficult to disclose your love to her or to disclose to her that you're sexually attracted to her and would like a sexual relationship or is it entirely about other things ? Was it only about how to deal with the situation that's happened above ? Just asking that so I can try to help you better.

[ 07-04-2009, 08:27 AM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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Metalhead
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I guess I wasn't all that clear to start with. By "forcing myself on her", I meant that I'm trying not to pressure her into anything or make her uncomfortable, just trying to get her to make the decisions rather than me.

I told her the truth after it happened, and while I still feel extremely guilty about the fact that it happened, she has said she forgives me for it. She still says she can't trust me, which is fair enough, given what I've done.

I think my original point is that I'm ashamed that I thought of her in that way. She said to me that she feels as if I only want her in that way (I don't and never have done - at least not "just" in that way) and that she feels cheap, which I feel very guilty about.

I suppose I just scared myself by doing what I did and I don't want to make the same mistake again.

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Heather
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Well, one thing you can do is go through the process of earning her trust again. One way we can know people really are trustworthy, and made an error but are invested in us, is when they stick around (if we want them to) to do the work involved with rebuilding trust, rather than that person just scurrying away with their tail between their legs, you know? I also think that's a good way to break any possible pattern.

One thing I would unpack is the idea that you have done something terrible here: I really don't think you have. I also think it's important to note that she, too, was participating in the webcam chats. In other words, one can only assume if she chose to do that that she also was aroused by it, liked it, liked having, seeing and making that visual imagery. Same goes with the phone sex. In other words, you both clearly have thought of each other sexually: there isn't any shame in that, and I have to say that it sounds like her feelings around some of this may be about her own issues in choosing to participate in those chats.

To be clear: I don't think this is all about what YOU have done.

So, might you be able to talk candidly about why she feels that way, checking in with her on how she feels about DOING that, not just about you nabbing captures?

Want to talk more about why you're ashamed of thinking of her sexually, especially when it seems she has also thought of you in that context?

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Metalhead
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I'm not ashamed of thinking about her in a sexual way, I'm ashamed of doing something I know she wouldn't like me doing (the screengrabbing, the process of taking a copy of whatever was on her webcam at that time and saving it) without her knowing.

Because she thinks that all guys are the same (basically: sex, sex, sex), and now I'm one of those guys. I know I'm not (or at least I think I'm not) but the gutting thing is that she thinks I am.

She's shy and low in confidence anyway, and it's taken a while to build that confidence up to her to do things like stand up (wearing a nightie or corset) while having those webcam chats.

It's taken a while because she doesn't want to be hurt again, which I can understand, but now I've gone and pretty much reversed all of that, she thinks that the only reason that I talk to her is so that I can (forgive the language) jack-off over her on webcam or on the phone.

She is an incredible friend, and I'm just generally feeling guilty and ashamed of a) betraying her and b) hurting her.

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Heather
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Okay.

An additional suggestion I have then, given what she is saying and how you are feeling is for you to come to the table and suggest that the two of you take any kind of sex OFF the table for right now, including cam or phone. You can make clear that what you want to do is regain her trust, and that you also DO want a relationship about more than that, and would like a chance both to show her that motivation is real, and also to explore the other aspects of your relationship right now. You can put her in the driver's seat, too, by making clear that if SHE wants a sexual aspect back, you'll wait for her to say so, rather than initiating that yourself at this point.

Again, though, I really want to invite you to take some of this weight off of yourself when it comes to you having WANTED the photos (rather than how you acquired them). People keep pictures of people, including sexual, for a whole bunch of reasons. It's sentimental, it triggers a reminder of those feelings you both (presumably) enjoyed. There's nothing wrong with wanting images of someone you have feelings for, have a relationship with, and sexual images don't have to be about anything "cheaper" than images about or around any other part of a relationship.

One of the many hats I wear is as a portrait photographer, and I can tell you that some images I have had of people I have had deep feelings for, sexual and otherwise, over the years which are sexual in nature -- even when they're not explicit, like a photo of a partner of mine smiling after orgasm -- are meaningful to me. When I can have them -- and obviously, these are taken with this person knowing and giving me permission -- it's really nice. Yes, sometimes those images create sexual feelings for me, and I might look at them to trigger those feelings. But they also are just a beautiful reminder of times I have enjoyed, of feelings of love or care, etc.

If I go on vacation and take a photo of a place I loved spending time at, it's basically about the same thing. Most people like having images of things or people to be reminded of them.

The issue here, in my mind, isn't about you wanting the captures, but about not asking her if that was okay.

[ 07-04-2009, 12:33 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Metalhead
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You've pretty much hit the nail on the head Heather. I'm feeling guilty about taking the images without her knowing, but I'm feeling even more guilty about actually lying to her about it (when she questioned the original image I sent by mistake, I tried - wrongly - to wiggle out of it).

The thing I feel absolutely terrible about though is the fact that I've lost her trust completely. She now says that she doesn't know if she can ever go on webcam again (I'm not sure if she means just to me or at all).

If I'm honest, I'm feeling physically sick. I've explained to her that I don't talk to her just for the chats, and - not surprisingly - she doesn't believe me. I'm scared that I've just ruined something that could have been one of the best things in my life.

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Heather
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I understand you feeling scared.

But what I'm hearing is that you made a big mistake. You do, however, know you made it, and have every intention of both doing what you can to remedy it AND of not doing it again. Seriously, that's the best anyone can do or ask for.

Even if she feels that way about cams, it's fine. For all you know, there may be other parts of this, like her realizing cams DO mean anyone you share them with is really seeing you, it is real, it can result in permanent images. You say she was reticent in some respects before this: maybe this has made clear to her this stuff just isn't right for her. That's okay, and that's fine. It isn't for everyone, or in every relationship.

My guess is, she needs some time to figure how she feels about all this, the assurances I suggested you give her, and then y'all will just work through it. Obviously, that's if she still wants a relationship of any kind, which you know is up to her.

But you can't unring a bell, eh? This is done, you're dealing with it as best you can. And beating oneself up is never useful.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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