Dear Miss Emily:

I'm in a wonderful relationship with a man that truly loves me for who I am, and I absolutely adore him. However, there is one issue that we've had in our relationship -- and that is his collection of pictures of the women he has dated. Some are sexual in nature, some are just photos that women have sent to him. When I bring it up he becomes insulted and offended because, to him, they are just pictures, memories, and he believes that deleting a photo is like burning a book. Now, he does keep everything - and that is one of the things I admire about him.  He sees it as a trust issue. I just think I'm insecure and I don't understand his need for it. The pornography I have no issue with, but I just don't know if he should be keeping these pictures and I feel that his holding onto the photos means that I am lacking in some way, or that he still holds an attraction to these women. It also doesn't help that he keeps these said photos on his porn hard drive divided into X and REAL folders with naked pictures of women I don't know, and beauty pictures of women I do know of -- including videos and naked pictures of his ex that he was never really attracted to but stayed with because it was comfortable.  I do believe that he is faithful. In fact, I know he is. He's faithful in life, with friends and family and I have no reason to believe otherwise. He tells me how much he loves me, how beautiful I am inside and out and how much he believes in me and us. He tells me I am the most beautiful woman he has ever known, the most amazing and passionate lover he has every been with. and he's never wanted to be a better man for someone before but he does for me. I know that he and I have found a love that is rare, and I'm more than happy that we can speak of such things - even if they are uncomfortable - I just thought you could help me get over this. I would never ask him to get rid of his personal property and asking him wouldn't matter because he wouldn't budge and I know this so I wouldn't bother. Are my feelings normal? His he right? Do I not trust him? And is he right in keeping these pictures. Is it just a man admiring beauty and I just need to learn to let go? Please help steer me in the right direction to overcome this insecurity.

--------------------------Miss Emily's advice--------------------

I understand how you feel. You want to be the only one he thinks about, looks at and, therefore should be able to abandon his catalog of girls past; especially in the way that you have described the nature of them and his concerted effort to maintain them. Ask him this: If there were a fire, would you risk your life to save these pictures? I'm kidding. It's quirky but, then, these are the quirky things that some people do. I don't think he does this because you aren't fulfilling his needs in areas that count, but it is a fact that he also has a need to keep these pictures, and it is non-negotiable. That said, if he's all you say he is, I would let this leave my mind, because if you allow this to fester, it will spoil an otherwise excellent relationship. Unless you gain information that he is a phony, and/or keeping in touch with these women in a way that's totally inappropriate (and covert), right now it seems relatively harmless. In time, and if you were to stay with him as a lifelong partner, he may lose interest in the one thing he once thought was so important.