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The Perpetual Photographer

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As I commented in someone else's thread, things between my boyfriend and I have lacked romance for quite some time now. To be honest, he's never been very romantic, but we did at least used to kiss, hold hands, and have sex more than twice a month. Nowadays, he rarely kisses me, doesn't like to hold hands (because it throws off his stride), and rarely initiates sex unless it's at a really inopportune time like when we're supposed to be going somewhere and are getting ready to go.


In an effort to get us some alone time together, I suggested a short vacation. The vacation is next week. I'm looking forward to it; however, I have a concern: his camera. Where we're going can be quite picturesque, so I would expect pictures to be taken, but he and his camera are inseparable during these kinds of trips. We go to the zoo - he spends all of his time taking pictures. We go to the park - he takes pictures. We go to the fireworks on the 4th of July, and I stand alone while he takes pictures the entire time. On the rare occasions when we go out to do something together, it is extremely frustrating that his camera seems to be his date, and I fully expect this to happen on this trip.


So what do I do? It would be ideal to try to have a conversation with him about how the camera interferes with our time together, but he tends not to be receptive to that kind of thing, and I fear he'll take it the wrong way. He usually makes comments about how we're still spending time together even if he's taking pictures and/or that I'm needy.



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Given that he really enjoys photography and resents being prevented from engaging in his hobby when you're on trips, maybe a vacation wasn't the best way to reconnect. Forcing him to not do something he clearly enjoys is a bad idea. He'll end up resenting you the whole time, which is counterproductive.


It sounds like touch is important to you, but not to him. For him, merely being with you is enough. You have to either learn to live with that, or move on. You can't change that about him.

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Hmm... interesting. I'm not sure what to make of your advice. I'm not ready to just give up on vacations altogether. That seems extreme. I also don't think it's right to say I should have to live with something or move on. Aren't relationships about compromise and trying to meet each other's needs?


Also, I should add that I haven't actually talked to him about his camera obsession. I was basing how I think he would react on past experiences when we've discussed other things. I know I probably shouldn't make assumptions, but similar conversations have happened before.

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You have a legitimate issue and should talk to him about it. He should be able to take photos of course but if he does it to the point of you being excluded then it isn't any different to being on vacation with someone playing video games all the time. There should be a compromise here.

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I'm not saying give up on vacations, I'm saying you're going to have to accept that he focuses on photography during vacations. If you can't get enough from being with him and talking with him, if you feel resentful of him devoting energy to photography, you're going to be unhappy. Resenting something that your partner clearly enjoys always leads to tears.


Some relationship conflicts aren't about compromise, they're about who a person is. I'm not talking about photography now, I'm talking about what things are important to them emotionally. You like to be touched. I understand this, I like to be touched too. I was in a relationship with a woman who did not like to hold hands or hug, and it drove me insane. You cannot change this about a person. At most you can get them to make an effort out of duty, but you can't make them like it, or care about it.


It's really not about photography at all. I'm a fairly serious photographer myself, but I will find time to touch the woman I'm with, camera or no camera. Frequently.

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I had to comment because I totally understand where you are coming from with this. Before I met my husband I briefly dated a guy just like this. It is so annoying, and you really do feel like you are doing these things (watching fireworks, hiking, at the beach, etc) by yourself because the other person is behind their camera the whole time.


Honestly, with the guy I dated, I felt like it was a way to stay disengaged. If you are constantly recording an event, you are not really fully engaged with the person you are there with. It's like you are constantly the observer, and not the participant.


I don't really have any advice, just sympathy. This guy and I broke up over other issues. Looking back I have some amazing photos of trips we took, etc., but not too many memories of us enjoying those things together.

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His interest in photography has grown during our time together. Generally, I am not resentful of it, and I enjoy looking at his pictures. He is a really talented photographer. I even bought him a camera backpack he wanted, so he could easily take the gear he needed when he was taking pictures. My only issue with it is that it can be a bit excessive at times, and it interferes with the time we could be spending together, enjoying what's happening. I have absolutely no problem with taking pictures here and there... but he can literally take thousands of pictures in one sitting.


I will say that once when we went somewhere, afterwards he made a comment about wishing he hadn't spent so much time taking pictures. I agreed with him and said that it would have been nice to enjoy things together more but didn't push the issue. Maybe he'll remember that and apply it to this trip? I hope so. I just have this fear that his camera is going to be out in full-force... but maybe I'll be wrong.


Also, regarding the physical contact, he IS a touch-oriented guy. At least he was in the first year or two we were dating. I was actually the one that was more standoffish and less physically interactive because I didn't experience a lot of touch previously. My family isn't huggy or affectionate, so it took some time to adjust to being with someone who is. But now he isn't as much. I think part of the problem is that he feels I don't reciprocate as much, so he's pulling away. But I do kiss him and say sweet things to be affectionate. It just seems like when I touch him, rub his arm or leg or something, it's never right. He always says it either tickles or it's too hard and is very critical of what I'm doing, so then I get frustrated and stop because I don't want to annoy him.


I don't know. I'm rambling now. I just know he used to hold my hand and kiss me and now he doesn't as much. Also, when he is affectionate, he tends to do things that he knows make me squirm like nuzzle my neck where I'm super-ticklish. He knows it isn't my favorite kind of touch, but it's what he does. -ramble ramble ramble-

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