He had another woman’s pic on his phone

A reminder that I'll be leading a discussion about "Interview with the Vampire" (and talking about Love Letters) on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at Newtonville Books.

This Thursday, there's a free talk (not about vampires) at the West Roxbury Library at 6:30 p.m.

I've been dating my boyfriend for almost two years. He is very loving, kind, engaging, and sexy. It has been very wonderful. Some context: I am also in the process of getting divorced. It's taking a long time, and it's contentious. We've been separated for more than two years. I have two children, and because things have not settled down with my husband, my kids still struggle sometimes. I have not integrated my boyfriend into our lives, though they have met him a few times.

Recently, my boyfriend was showing me pictures on his phone and told me I could continue to scroll if I wanted to. A couple of images later (i.e. recent pictures), there was a picture of a woman from his CrossFit class – a 26-year-old who is very fit and beautiful. (We are both 50.) He says he downloaded the picture from Facebook. He asked if I was jealous and I said yes and that it made me feel bad. Then he asked if he should leave and I said yes.

I was not snooping – and I almost feel like he wanted me to see the picture and be jealous. But for me, this makes me doubt him, and I don't know if I can trust him anymore. I think I fear that he's giving up because he's frustrated with being a part-time boyfriend. Am I overreacting?

– Jealous


You're asking a lot of questions about your boyfriend's feelings. As it happens, the only person who has answers is ... your boyfriend.

We can make guesses about what he might be thinking, but he's the only person who knows. Write down every question you have – make a real list – and then get together with him and ask.

The photo can be part of the conversation. You should ask whether he hoped you'd see the pic, and then explain why you thought he might.

Just don't get too stuck on the picture – or the significance of the 26-year-old, in general. The bigger and more important questions are about the state of your relationship and whether the status quo makes him happy enough to continue.

I understand why it made sense to tell him to leave when things got uncomfortable. After seeing Ms. CrossFit, maybe you were too hurt to have a productive conversation, and your gut told you it was time for space. But if this relationship is going to grow, you need to try to work things out together. Shielding yourself from him doesn't help you with that. Stick around and talk.

– Meredith

Readers? Is it OK for him to have that pic on his phone? What does it all mean?