I broke up with my boyfriend of three years more than six months ago. There was a deal breaker, so I packed my things and moved into an apartment. He’s been persistent about getting back with me, and I’ve been just as persistent in letting him know that I’m done.
At this point I don’t even respond to texts or calls from him or his family. Last weekend he texted me an old nude photo that he has of me from early in our relationship, along with a message that he misses those days and he felt so good when he ran across it in his photo album. I’m pissed because I thought he’d deleted the photo after I asked him to right after he took it, and I’m also pissed that he just doesn’t want to move on.
What are your rules on nudes? Either way, I’m never taking naked photos again. Also, am I wrong for wanting this dude to delete me from his life in the same way that I’ve deleted him? —Anonymous
You’ve made it clear that you aren’t interested in reconciling and don’t want to hear from him. It’s been six months. You weren’t obligated to be nice or compassionate the day after the breakup, and certainly not six months later just because he won’t take no for an answer. This is a nuisance. Block his number from your phone so that you don’t have to be bothered anymore.
Now, regarding this nude photo he sent: Do understand that sending it is a more desperate way to get you to answer the phone because he knows you would be freaked out that the photo exists when you thought it didn’t. Or he sent it as a subtle threat that he could “do something” with it, like post it online or send it to your family, friends, employer or social media to humiliate you. It’s not unheard of. One in 10 former partners threaten to expose risqué photos of an ex online, according to endrevengeporn.org. And 60 percent follow through.
Unfortunately, there’s not much legal recourse available. Only a few states have laws that criminalize what’s known as “revenge porn,” and in those few places, the act is considered a misdemeanor. Given the ongoing, pestering behavior of your ex and that he lied about deleting the image, it’s worth contacting the police to see what your options are here, if there are any.
If I were you, I still wouldn’t call my ex. What he’s doing is not just crass; it’s also manipulative, and he’s been manipulative for a really long time, since he lied about deleting that photo for three years and kept it as a means of controlling you. That he continues to pester you about reconciliation six months after the breakup demonstrates that he is not a reasonable person and doesn’t listen well.
Though there may not be much you can do about his having a nude photo of you, I applaud you for vowing not to take one again in the future. Not from a sense of morality—I’m of the “your body, your business” mindset for and between consenting adults—but because nudes, even tasteful ones, tend to cause a lot of unnecessary headaches and too often get into the wrong hands.
If, for some reason, you should get swept up in a wave of lust or just want to show off your shape in the future and change your mind about nude pics, I implore you not to show your face and to cover or crop any identifying details, such as tattoos, scars and settings. If the picture ever leaks, for whatever reason, you’ll have plausible deniability that it’s an image of you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “First I Was His Side Chick, Now I’m His Wife and I’m Having Second Thoughts”