'I discovered my boyfriend subscribed to Only Fans'

Em Clarkson is here to solve all your problems.

Well, sort of.

As Metro’s agony aunt the influencer, author and content creator (busy much?) is primed and ready to be a sympathetic ear, an oracle of wisdom or, quite simply, a stand-in for that girl in the nightclub bathroom you share your thoughts and dreams with while waiting in line.

While she stresses she’s no alternative for therapy, Em is keen to talk through any quandary.

This week, she’s helping Metro readers navigate postnatal bodies, a boyfriend with an Only Fans habit, and the awkwardness of disliking your best mate’s partner.

Read on for this week’s musings…

I found out my long-term boyfriend subscribed to someone on Only Fans two years ago and I cannot move past it.

Em: The debate as to whether or not subscribing to Only Fans creators counts as cheating has divided my Instagram audience since it first came up. Some consider it to be as ‘harmless’ as watching mainstream porn, others argue that the personal element constitutes an emotional affair of some kind.

Whichever side of that you land on, the bottom line is: if it makes you uncomfortable then it is not okay. So, I’m really sorry for you that you feel betrayed. Ultimately you are going to need to find a way past it though, because this resentment will eat you up and destroy the relationship.

Your boyfriend broke your trust and for that I hope he is really sorry, but he can’t spend every day for the rest of his life apologising for it, otherwise neither of you will be able to move on, so you need to work out IF you can forgive him, and if so, how.

If you’re open to the idea, couples therapy might be a good option. Either way, he needs to know that you are still upset with him and together you need to find a way to repair the trust and move on from this.

If you can’t find a way to do that, you both need to know that now, but I hope you can. Let his actions since then speak for themselves and give him the chance to show you that he is sorry. Sending you a massive hug.

I don’t like my best friend’s boyfriend… I wish I did. He isn’t a bad guy overall but he doesn’t seem as invested in the relationship as her. She deserves more but love is blind sometimes. I hate to see her bending over backwards and getting breadcrumbs in return. I am so afraid she will close up if I say anything negative. He’s her first boyfriend and she is very protective of the relationship.

Em: Oh God, I wish you did too, this is a disaster. And I know that because I’ve been exactly where you are now.

My best friend has been out with two guys I actively disliked. One of them put curry in the recycling bin of my flat which I never got over. And the other tried to make her life smaller and weaponised his own incompetence. Both times I nearly bit my own tongue off not saying anything.

You know this already you have a tightrope to walk here; the last thing you want to do is tell her you hate the guy only for her to go on to marry him and have nine children. But you also don’t want to sit by whilst her heart gets broken.

The first time I said nothing and waited until my friend started showing signs of doubt (he posted her an envelope of her own hair he’d found in his bin and thankfully a siren went off somewhere in her head) and the second time I said something a bit sooner, which I don’t regret, but it wasn’t easy because they did stay together for a while after that.

Take your friend out for dinner and explain (GENTLY) how you feel. Tell her that at the end of the day if she loves him, you’ll do what it takes to love him too and you’re sorry, but you feel she deserves more than what he is giving her. And bring receipts. Reiterate the fact that if she’s okay with it you are too but explain that this is coming from a place of love, and you hope she’d do the same for you.

She may well walk away from the conversation in denial and maybe even angry with you, but you will have planted a seed and from there it’s up to her to decide what she wants to do about it.

Try not to bring your own feelings into it if possible because this isn’t about you. Instead focus on prioritising the protection of your own relationship with her which sounds like the most important thing right now.

How can I love my postnatal body more? I have had three babies and two c-sections and it’s hard to love!

Em: It IS hard. I’m almost seven months post c-section and I absolutely get it. Society’s simultaneous celebration for the pregnant body and distain for the post-partum one is one of the cruellest tricks the world could play on women.

“Bounce Back” culture means at every turn we are shown pictures of women who “look like they never even had a baby” and that’s used as a stick to beat us with by the diet and fitness industries who are trying to sell us the promise of something that really doesn’t exist anymore: our pre-baby bodies.

Whenever I feel down on myself for how my body looks since birth I stare at my baby, particularly her eyes and I try to fathom how I could ever have done something as epic as conjure up jelly balls that she could SEE out of, in my stomach, with no instructions, basically out of scratch. Reminding myself that I facilitated a miracle, makes it harder to hate myself.

Spend some time naked (at home, obvs). Get used to seeing yourself. Not through the lens of diet culture, but through one of awe and admiration for what you did. Let your kids see your body. Let them see you accept it. Every time I want to be down on how I look I remind myself of the little eyes watching me and I catch myself. That’s how we break the generational cycle and that feels like something positive to work on.

In the meantime, I also really recommend following people who look like you on social media. Learning to dress my “new” body has been really important for me to feel good in it, and seeing other women rock their post-partum bodies has been instrumental for me too.

Want to ask Em Clarkson a question?

With nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram and a reputation as one of the more honest influencers out there, Em is often asked for advice in her DMs. Now, she wants to do the same in Metro, as our newest columnist.

No topic is off limits. So if you’ve a question for her agony aunt series, email [email protected].

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