Attachment to Old Sex Videos

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Dear Hoopers,
A few months ago I found old recorded skype sex videos of my boyfriend and his ex girlfriend. I had a discussion with him about them in which he said he had no idea they were still on there and said that he would delete them. A few days ago he forgot his phone at home and the curiosity got the best of me. I checked his phone and they were still there, this time I deleted them out of rage and frustration myself. I then had another conversation with him about it and told him what had happened and questioned why they were still there. He ended up telling me that it was too hard deleting them because it was like closing an old chapter in his life and he appreciated that I deleted them, even though he still has photos of her, her with his kid, on vacations, everything. Mind you they dated 5 years ago but she was also the high maintenance, model like girlfriend as he would describe. His white buffalo per se.

He told me how much he loved me in that conversation and how he never saw a future with her like he does with me. I just don’t see why he couldn’t delete anything then, especially those videos out of all things. It’s been 2 days, and I no longer feel attracted to him. I feel he kept onto those videos to admire her body. Along with this I lost the love to kiss or hug him, or even be in the same room as him for that matter. I know deep down the love is there but I don’t know how to get rid of this numbing feeling I have towards him, all while our child is due in 4 days. Is this fixable and if so what do I do?
-Attachment to Old Sex Videos

Dear Attachment to Old Videos,
Relationship history can sting when past baggage enters current reality. This can especially feel numbing when it subsequently triggers feelings of inadequacy and insecurity in ourselves. Being so close to having a baby, security in a relationship most likely feels very important to you. This is understandable. But also be reminded that many people bring emotional baggage into relationships and you can move on from it.

Is it fixable? It’s up to you to determine, but I would suggest considering your circumstances and putting things into perspective. He loves you. You love him. You are having a child together. This past relationship ended 5 years ago and he vocalized that he never saw it working out. Sure, it absolutely sucks finding pictures of this woman still existing on his phone, but let’s look at his reaction. He has apologetically accepted responsibility for these videos and thanked you for helping him shut that chapter. He didn’t make up an excuse, or try to defend the situation. So now that the pictures are deleted, how will you move forward?

He has apologetically accepted responsibility for these videos and thanked you for helping him shut that chapter.


Relationships take work and continued effort. Sometimes that’s dealing with real time dilemmas, or working through relationship baggage you’ve unwantedly inherited. Be honest with him and admit that these videos made you feel insecure and confused. Make a point to tell him due to the nature of these videos you feel physically distant. It’s important that he understands how upsetting this has been for you.  In order to move forward you both need to commit your attention to the relationship in order for it to healthily grow.

Dear Attachment to Old Videos,
You came across videos that you never should have come across and it was very unfair for you to have to see them. You did the right thing in talking with your boyfriend about the videos and asking him to delete them. It sounds like he has been saying the right things when confronted but his lack of action speaks volumes too.

I’m sure that the mental images of those videos are hard to forget. These images and the implications of your boyfriend not wanting to delete them, have created grief and emotional distance. Although these videos happened before you were ever together, his attachment to them feels like cheating. You were right to feel wronged by his lack of deleting and to want some distance to protect your heart. This may be especially difficult given the emotional gravity of the upcoming birth. Despite your boyfriend’s best efforts to assure you, you still feel vulnerable and betrayed. In a time when you need support and encouragement, you are feeling doubt.

He needs to let go of the past and be with you in the present.

-Dr. Ryan

You are the only person who knows when it is right to embrace his love again. I think it is fair to keep some emotional distance from him while also allowing him to provide the practical and emotional support that you need from him to make it through the next few days and weeks of birth.

Given what you have said about him and his responses, my outsider’s guess is that you truly are his first choice. Whatever positives this other relationship gave to him, your relationship means much more to him and is what he desires for his future. He felt torn about the videos and therefore dragged his feet, but knew that their deletion was the right thing to do. Now he needs to do more. Whether the photos are on his phone or on his refrigerator, one is adequate, two is enough, and three is probably too many. He needs to let go of the past and be with you in the present.
-Dr. Ryan