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Dear Demetria:

My boyfriend and I recorded a sex tape one day and agreed to delete it months ago. Last night he took out his phone without warning or asking and played it. I was upset and felt gross. He apologized but seemed surprised at how upset I was. Was I wrong for being mad? Is this something I should let go as a miscommunication? —Anonymous

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Hell yeah, you should be mad, even if you were really naive about recording a sex tape with your boyfriend.

You made a sex tape with your boyfriend under very specific parameters: “We tape it, we watch it, we delete it. It will not be saved.” You upheld your end of the agreement. Him? Not at all. And after months of thinking that there is no sex tape of you floating around, you discover at a random moment that there is, and your boyfriend’s been lying to you about it the whole time. You have every right to be mad and to feel violated. 

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He seems sneaky and untrustworthy for not keeping his word. It’s also just weird that after all these months of hiding the tape, he whips it out and starts playing it in front of you. Was that his way of asking for sex with you? Were you arguing and he wanted you to know that he had some leverage over you? Why did he suddenly want you to know that he had never erased the tape as he said he would? And who just whips out a sex tape, even one they’re starring in, and starts playing it out of the blue? That is so weird.

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His claim that he doesn’t understand why you’re upset is him playing stupid or being completely stupid, neither of which bodes well for you. Everyone with sense knows that people get upset when they find out they’ve been lied to. Any halfway reasonable man would expect a woman to be mad about finding out that he didn’t erase a sex tape even though he said he would. Don’t let him play you and convince you that you’re emotionally overreacting and this is no big deal.

You need to be clear with him that this isn’t as simple as a miscommunication. “Erase the tape” is simple enough for a small child to understand, so certainly a grown man can grasp the concept. He heard you; he just chose to ignore you. Then he lied to you, didn’t respect your boundaries by keeping the recording and violated your comfort zone by playing the tape without warning.   

This is a big breach of trust and shouldn’t be swept aside. Most reasonable people, myself included, would understand if you chose to leave the relationship over this. He’s shown that he can’t be trusted with important matters, and again, he’s either too clueless to understand why this is a big deal or being very manipulative to pretend that it’s not.

Now on to what to do about this sex tape: Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do. You can ask or demand that he erase it from his phone (again); maybe he will or maybe he won’t. Even if he does, who is to say that he hasn’t saved the video elsewhere? You can ask him, but at this point, I wouldn’t trust most of what he has to say about anything. All you can really do is hope that he won’t distribute it. But given his strange actions so far, you may need to prepare yourself for seeing that sex tape pop up on the Internet someday.

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Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at askdemetria@theroot.com.

Previously in Ask Demetria: “My Man Is Opening a Business With a Female Co-Worker and Didn’t Tell Me About It for a Year