Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickie: “My Girlfriend’s Ex Is Going to Photograph Her Semi-Nude”

Photographer

My girlfriend is planning to have a boudoir photo shoot, and, ordinarily, I wouldn’t have trouble, but the guy who will be taking pictures of my semi-nude girlfriend slept with her before we met and that bothers me. Is it wrong to tell her that it bothers me? I know she really wants to do this for herself, but I want her to hear my concerns. Every time the subject comes up, our discussions just turn into all-out yelling fights, and I’m sick and tired. I stay calm, but she just goes so berserk that I don’t even know how to react to these situations. — Uncomfortable with Girlfriend’s Boudoir Photographer

Of course it’s not wrong to tell your girlfriend how you feel. In general, it’s usually not a bad thing to tell a significant other how you’re feeling; the problem is when you start placing demands on someone, using your feelings as justification for being controlling. But in your case, I don’t think it’s even a bad thing to say, “I’m really uncomfortable with your having an intimate photo shoot with someone you used to sleep with. I can’t tell you not to do it, but I can tell you I am not happy about it and it makes me question your regard for me and my feelings.”

Are there no other photographers who can do a boudoir photo shoot? Why does it have to be this guy? Finally, you say every time the subject comes up, your discussions turn into all-out yelling fights. If you are already expressing your concerns in what you claim is a “calm” manner and she’s truly going “berserk,” then you need to re-evaluate the relationship. If you aren’t so much expressing your concerns as much as you are just telling her not to do this shoot, then YOU need to work on your end of the communication issue you two have.

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11 comments… add one
  • Crochet.Ninja

    Crochet.Ninja June 24, 2015, 8:37 am

    ummm..this sounds sketchy honestly. there’s no way i would pick a guy i slept with to take semi nude pictures of me while i was with another guy. and the fact that she’s freaking out is pretty telling too.

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  • avatar

    Unwanted_Truth June 24, 2015, 8:41 am

    Oh hell no. Been there done that, am just let me say two things. 1. If you’re in fact calm, not only do you need to re-evaluate the relationship, I think it is quite telling that she goes nuts , further makes me believe she actually WANTS this guy to see her in this way.
    2. Like Wendy said, if she wants to this so bad, fine, but find another photographer.

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  • avatar

    Schwinny June 24, 2015, 8:59 am

    For something so personal like a boudoir photo shoot, I can see someone wanting to hire someone they know and feel comfortable around, rather than a stranger with no history. What was her relationship with this person? Slept with him once, realized it was a mistake, decided to be just friends instead of more? Or more complicated? What was her friendship with him like before you started dating? It sounds like it is time for a calm discussion with her. She heard your concerns already and trying that approach again is likely to piss her off again. It is not about her hearing you, which can easily slip into her feeling like you are judging and/or shaming her. Instead of insisting that she hear you, why not ask her to explain why she wants the photos and why she wants him as the photographer. Maybe if you promise to listen to her response without interruption and while truly trying to see things from her perspective, you may get some insight.

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  • kmtthat

    kmentothat June 24, 2015, 9:26 am

    Eh, she may have gotten a big discount since she knows him. Or yes again, she feels more comfortable around him (though your discomfort kid of cancels out the benefits of that). Or she knows he’s super talented and really wants him to make her look great and there’s nothing sketchy about it at all.
    .
    I’d personally still be pretty squicked out if I were you. Maybe I’m controlling, but I’d dig to see why it was so important for her to go with him specifically and depending on her answer either a. offer to offset/pay the cost of her going to someone else or b. ask to go with her the day of the shoot. If she really has no answer, yeah…
    .
    Relationships are about compromise, and I hope you two can find one. Neither one of you can just “put your foot down” without making the other person feel disrespected.

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  • avatar

    girltuesday June 24, 2015, 10:21 am

    WWS.

    I’m more concerned about the yelling matches she gets in with you after your calmly express your discomfort.

    As for me, I certainly wouldn’t pick an ex to do my nudie photo shoot. That would actually be the last person I would want to do it. If my boyfriend had come to me and approached me the way the LW did, I would be like, “Oh crap, I feel like a total jerk. I will find someone else to do it.”

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    • Raccoon eyes

      Raccoon eyes June 24, 2015, 1:38 pm

      Yeah, this is a short and sweet letter, but the issue is really that they get into yelling fights in which she goes “berserk.” This is not a berserk/yelling kind of issue, in my opinion (also, Im not saying anything really is, but most DEFINITELY not this issue). I dont really even have any advice here.

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  • avatar

    Michael Ziemak June 24, 2015, 11:53 am

    Here’s a simple solution. Why doesn’t the bf go to the shoot? See how she reacts to that suggestion. Anything less than “sure, absolutely and that’s a great idea” should be the bf’s queue to leave.

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    • avatar

      snoopy128 June 24, 2015, 12:05 pm

      Eh, I don’t know if I’d want my bf at a boudoir shoot. I’d weirdly be more comfortable with somebody who does this regularly and understands how potentially uncomfortable/awkward things can be sometimes when you are near naked.

      Then again, I wouldn’t be doing a shoot like this with someone my bf felt uncomfortable with.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray June 24, 2015, 12:15 pm

    As I was reading this, I was thinking yeah that’s kind of shitty. But, when I surprised my husband with boudoir photos they were taken by a close friend, and I had slept with her once. It didn’t mean anything. It doesn’t sound like this guy was an ex boyfriend and more like something casual. I do think you have a right to feel uncomfortable about that, but I would get at why she wants him to do it in particular. Without it turning into a big fight.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros June 24, 2015, 5:02 pm

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to request that she have a different photographer. When it comes down to it, it’s just a set of photos — she must be fairly comfortable with being naked to do it at all, so I think it’s unlikely that he’s literally the only photographer she’d EVER feel comfortable with. I know that I would not be interested in any exes doing those photos for me, and even if I were, I would not be opposed to switching if my boyfriend thought it was weird.

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  • BlueKate

    Kate June 24, 2015, 8:31 pm

    I don’t know, this sounds like such a one-sided letter. Did she just casually sleep with him or did she date him? She told you about wanting to do the shoot, who the photog is, and her history with him. She was honest and open. But apparently you felt the need to bring your issue up about this more than once, hence the arguments, so I’m questioning that she’s the only one yelling, or going “berserk”. She wants to do the shoot, she doesn’t want it with a stranger, she’s honest about it to you, and so what? The photos go to you anyways. So, what’s the problem?

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