Dear Carolyn:

I've been seeing this guy for about six months, and the other night when we were talking, the subject of posing for nude photos came up. I told him I posed for a couple of my ex-boyfriends and now he's obsessed about it. He wants me to get them all back, but to be honest, I don't know if I could track them all down, and I really don't care that they have them. I didn't think it was a big deal at the time and I still don't, but he's really upset about it. What can I do to make him realize this is no big deal and shouldn't affect our relationship?


Nothing. If he thinks it's a big deal, then it is. To him.

You can, however, try to make him realize it's no big deal TO YOU. Explain that this is who you are. You are not modest. Or, you're trusting, or unfamiliar with Google, or some degree of all three. If he refuses to accept this about you, then that's telling you something.

You can also make yourself realize what's going through his mind. Not to make yourself agree with him, necessarily; couples can survive different opinions (and in fact have to, unless we want society full of paired-off pod people trolling bridal expos . . . oh wait).

But it's tough for couples to get past a lack of respect for each other's differences. Search your emotional archives, dig through what you know about him, see if you can find any sympathy for, or even comprehension of, his viewpoint.

And if you find some, tell him so. Then tell him what you're willing to do, if anything, to make him feel better -- what you're able to do without shoving your integrity into a box in your closet.

If, on the other hand, your digging yields not even basic comprehension of his viewpoint, much less respect, then that's telling you something, too.

Dear Carolyn:

I have been married for 15 years and thought I was happy. But I now have a big crush on a man I work with. Is this normal? Does this mean something is missing in my marriage?


Something is missing from your marriage: newness.

It will also be missing a few years from now if you flee your marriage and run off with your crush -- not that you were necessarily even considering it. Which is why it's a good idea not to.

It is possible, of course, for a crush to wake someone up to the fact of an unhappy marriage. If you've been building a careful wall between you and loneliness you can't bear to face, then a crush can blow a hole through your work.

But a happy marriage is built on the certainty that there's a better this or that out there, always -- but you just don't want it.

And if you thought you were happily married, then you probably were, and will be again after the newness expires between you and the man at work, and you become incredulous that you ever had a crush on this person. You're human. It's normal. It passes. In the meantime, try bringing those "new" feelings home.

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