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How do we explain her past in pornography?

I want us prepared for the judgment

Love Letters

Love Letters

Q. I’m marrying someone who worked in the pornography industry ... a former porn star. We met at a volunteer gathering of hospice aides. I’ve found her to be so kind and loving — yet I do worry how my family will react when they inevitably find out.

Should we undergo couples counseling about this? I want us prepared to confront what will likely be judgment. There is little written about (or by) couples such as us and how they navigate a life together. I believe I can hate her past but love the person she is. There are no throwaway humans.


Also, I am assured by the fact that she has been committed to me alone for the past three years. Has anyone else experienced what we live with? And am I correct in deciding that no matter what others think, it is our life to grow?


A. It is your life to grow. Well said.

As long as you’re comfortable with your partner and she makes you happy, the people in your life should be happy for you. This is more about how the two of you feel about each other ... right?

I ask because of the end of your second paragraph, which concerns me. Why are we talking about throwaway humans? Why is “hate” part of this narrative? If her past is a barrier for you, talk about that — in therapy, if you can — because it doesn’t have to be a source of shame and discomfort. It’s part of her journey, and it led her here.

Also know that there is no “inevitable” when it comes to your family. Did you know I worked for The Providence Journal before The Boston Globe? Probably not, because it’s not on my LinkedIn page. I forgot to put it there. Not every piece of information is searchable ... unless you’re looking.


Your partner doesn’t have to talk to people about this if she doesn’t want to. If she’d like to set a boundary with your family, she can. Or if she’s happy telling them because she feels fine about this, that’s wonderful. Ask her how to keep things comfortable when it comes to sharing information.

Honestly, the most interesting part of this letter is how you met. You were at a volunteer gathering of hospice aides? Sounds like your values align in important ways. I assume your family will be interested to know that, above all else.



So ... you know what’s completely missing from your letter? Any indication of what your fiancee thinks about the situation or how she wants to handle it.


^Well, she’s not the one embarrassed by her past.


What is notable to me is that you’ve been in a monogamous relationship with a woman for three years and your family doesn’t even know her. Likely you live far from your family and/or have very little contact with them, therefore why do you [care] what they think?


Maybe your family will judge her, but there are some tones in your letter showing that you are judging her. If you don’t want your family to judge then you have to lead the way by not judging.


“I can hate her past” is a phrase dripping with shame. I worry that you say stuff like this to her — or even if you don’t, that your attitude toward her tells her anyway. Then you try to make it seem like she should be grateful to be with you. People sometimes weaponize that kind of power dynamic to control their partner. If you always see yourself as better than her (better past, better life, better judgment), then she is always in some sort of debt to you, at least metaphorically. I wonder if *she* even hates what she did. Believe it or not, a lot of people in the porn industry take pride in their work. You’re so worried about what people think — are you sure you can handle being with her without making her feel ashamed?



I think you are making a bigger deal out of this than it actually is.


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