I have been dating a girl for almost one year and a half now. I am 24 and she is 22 and we are both from South America.

We started as friends with benefits but after meeting for almost 6 months we started dating. I would like to point out that we really didn't talk about it, I just assumed that after 6 months being friends with benefits, it would be time to be a couple and so did her, we did talk about being exclusive though.

Now, I really like this girl and enjoy being with her as she's so much fun. The problem is that since I was little I have been always caring about what others may think. Therefore, when I go outside with her, or if I have to introduce her to my colleagues or friends, I am ashamed as I really care of what will others might think about her physical appearance.

I know this is my problem and there is no way that it is her fault. However, this fact makes it impossible to me to see her as a girlfriend, as I am not comfortable hanging out with her when other people might see us. I would like to see her as a friend as apart from that aspect and as I stated before I really like her and enjoy being with her, but I feel that somehow I am cheating her while being a couple as she doesn't know that I don't want her as a gilfriend until this problem is fixed, I would like to keep her as a friend of friends with benefits.

She does know that I am ashamed of being in public of her and so one as she realized and asked me why I was not uploading picture of both of us in social networks and so on. What she doesn't know is that I don't see her as a girlfriend due to this fact.

After talking with a friend of mine I have realised that this behaviour is not good as I am not being honest and I would like to tell her the truth, I would like to you to point me out some ideas on how to approach the topic.

Just for you to know, lastly we have not been well together as I am going alone on a trip for 1 month with one of my best friends who I met before her and who I have been liking for more than 2 years now (I like both of them). So my SO is really jealous and with reason as I talk a lot with my friend and I wouldn't mind to have an affair with the friend I am going with to the trip even if my SO doesn't know that. My SO doesn't know I still like this girl.

My best friend has boyfriend and she lives far away from me -another continent- so I don't want to be in a relationship with her, although if she lived near me without boyfriend I would consider the option as I really like her too. I don't want to stop my relationship because of the trip of because of her, I just feel that I am not being honest.

Any advice will be welcome. And if you need any other info to help me on how to approach this situation, feel free to ask.

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    I'm unclear as to why can't you just tell your SO that you are ashamed of people seeing you together? – sphennings Jul 13 '18 at 13:01

After talking with a friend of mine I have realised that this behaviour is not good as I am not being honest and I would like to tell her the truth...

That's not how I would approach this problem.

If you like being with this person, get over your shame. You can easily desensitize yourself to it if you do it little by little.

First start going out in public in front of people you don't know, go to another city if you have to, then slowly let her meet some of your friends. The same goes for pictures. You can gradually show her in the pictures on your social media. First, the pictures can be low resolution and then you can gradually increase the resolution and the details.

If you really do want to tell her the truth, think about your objective first. What is it? What do you really want?

Do you want a temporary relationship, a long term one, or do you want a polyamorous one?

When it comes to disclosing the truth, you do not need to disclose everything. Nor do you need to explain everything. Think of truth as an onion with multiple layers.

Explaining everything is also an approval-seeking method. It's giving your power away. Don't do it. Don't explain. Don't justify yourself. Don't do it with her. And don't do it with your friends, even if they start criticizing your choice in women and asking you for an explanation.

Just say what you want. If people don't agree. That's tough on them. That's not your problem. Trying to control what others think of you is futile anyway.

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