Q: My boyfriend has posted pictures of himself, including nudes, on a paid membership gay hookup site. We don’t have an open arrangement, but I’m torn because if I tell him I’ve seen the pictures, I’d have to admit that I too had been on those sites, even though I’ve never hooked up with anyone. What do I do? -- Name withheld, Portland, Ore.
OK, you’ve seen your boyfriend on a sex site, and he appears to be, um, open to a good time. Here’s what you do: Take a jog around the block before doing anything. Resist the urge to immediately slam him for the pictures. It’ll be impossible for you to explain anyway, as he’ll accuse you of going to the site for sex, even if you were just looking, as you claim. Or he’ll accuse you of being stalkerish, which happened when I confronted a guy I was seeing after I found him advertising his goods on the Net. That was tough -- I was expecting an apology and a lifetime of holiday and birthday presents, and he called me a freak and ran away.
Over time, though, I realized I acted a little too quickly. So, with that experience in mind, here’s my advice: You can’t just bring up seeing his specific profile, because chances are if you do so, he’ll get freaked out and run, and you won’t even get the satisfaction of an explanation or conversation. Instead, have a general talk. Make it clear yet pleasantly non-pronoun-y. Say: “A friend of mine broke up with his boyfriend because he found him on hookup sites -- and that made me think that you and I never talked about this. So I just want to make sure that we’re on the same page, and that we both decide not to post on any XXX sites unless we mutually agree it’s cool.” Right there you take yourself off the hook because you stated it. (And, if you haven’t already, you get to bring up the monogamy question.) By the way, there’s a good chance that saying this will make him instantly know you saw his profile. But that’s OK, because you acted calmly.
Then wait a month; give him time to pull his ad -- if that’s what the two of you decided to do. It’s possible he posted the ad more for fantasy than reality anyway. The Internet is a place for infidelity, for sure -- but it’s also, for some, a safe zone for at-home daydreaming and ego build-up. If he doesn’t pull the ad after a month, though, all bets are off. Then, and only then, you have my permission to get all angry Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale and move on to a better guy, preferably one without Internet access.