Q: I'm in a great long-term relationship. We have been together for three years and are both in our late 20s. Things are as close to perfect as a realistic relationship can get. My sex drive has always been higher than his, which has made me a little insecure, but I have accepted it and moved on.
Recently I found out that he is really into pornography that features busty women. I'm more on the slight to average size. I feel awful. When we talked about it, he basically told me that this body type turns him on. He said he only watches it when we haven't been intimate in a few days, but that choice is always his. I felt like what he was saying was, "When I don't feel like being with you, I look at girls who actually turn me on." I'm crushed. He always tells me how beautiful and sexy I am. He treats me so well and my friends and family love him. I truly felt like he was the one. Now I just feel like I'm going to fall short for the rest of my life and be not enough to really turn him on. I’ve always been insecure, but this is a whole new level.
I don't want to leave him; I adore him. I don't want to stay and feel badly about my body. I don't want implants because I don't love how they look and I'm smaller framed, plus I'd always feel a resentment that I had to be bigger to please him.
I know he isn't doing it to be mean. It’s his preference but it still really devastated me.
Please, please help me.
– Desperate to feel better, Brighton
A: I felt like what he was saying was, "When I don't feel like being with you, I look at girls who actually turn me on.
But ... that's not what he said, right? That's your take on the situation. In real life, your boyfriend explained that these women are a turn-on -- but that he finds you sexy and beautiful.
We all know that I like the Robert Pattinsons of the world, guys with floppy hair who look good in pea coats, but I assure you that I have never dated anyone who looks like that. Meanwhile, I have been attracted to all of the men I've dated -- especially the anti-Pattinsons. Most of us are turned on by more than one thing.
It's also possible, whether he knows it or not, that your guy prefers pornography featuring women he wouldn't want in real life. It's a way to compartmentalize his fantasy world. And honestly, would it feel any better if you found out that he was consuming pornography that featured women who look exactly like you?
This would bother you less if you had a better sex life. Some of this is normal -- your sex drive is increasing while his slowing down -- but it sounds like you need more from him. At the very least, you need to spice up that part of your life.
Talk to him about what you can do to make your physical relationship more interesting. Ask him what else turns him on -- and tell him about your own evolving preferences. If you can improve your real-life intimacy, these women (and their accessories) will become less important to both of you.
Readers? Is this normal? Is she interpreting him correctly? What can she do to make this better in her head? Is this a deal-breaker? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.