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Long Distance Boyfriend Keeps Pictures of Ex Girlfriend


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My boyfriend and I met online 9 months ago. Neither of us were looking for a relationship, but we just got along so well and after we met, we fell in love and decided to be together. I knew long distance was not going to be easy for me, but we discussed that he would be able to move to my location in a year and I decided he was definitely worth the wait. I have never been with someone that I love as much as I love him, and we are compatible in so many ways. He feels the same way. We talk about our future together all the time, and we often discuss living together, getting married, kids, etc. My boyfriend has my trust and has never done anything to make me distrust him.

 

The one thing we don't see eye to eye on is relationships with ex's. I am the type of person who gets rid of pictures/items from previous relationships and just moves on. I don't try and be friends especially if I am in a relationship because it just causes too many issues. I understand that not everyone is like this, however , I think there should be certain boundaries out of respect. I don't understand why *anyone* needs to keep intimate pictures of their ex. Hugging, cuddling, kissing, whatever. I just don't think it's respectful when you're in a relationship with someone else. If someone wants to keep pictures that they have with an ex that aren't intimate, I'm still not crazy about it, but I just ask that they not be displayed on social media. Make the album private, put it in a box, etc. I also don't see the need to hang out with an ex as a friend. Again, I know not everyone agrees. However, hanging out with an ex from years ago does not bother me as much as hanging out with a more recent ex.

 

My boyfriend seems to be the exact opposite on this topic. I know that he keeps pictures of all of his ex's on his phone/computer although I'm not sure how intimate they are. I would hope they weren't. He also has no problems with being friends with an ex and staying in contact, although he told me he wouldn't do anything that made me uncomfortable and would always keep the communication open about it. I know that he talks with one ex from over 5 years ago online, and that doesn't bother me too much since the relationship wasn't serious, they both have moved on, etc.

 

The other day, my friend told me that my boyfriend had a Facebook. I don't have one, so I had never seen it. I remember my boyfriend telling me that he had one he didn't update, but would use for news/ talking to certain people / work pages. So while he doesn't update his life on it, it's still active in some way. I was curious and took a look at it on my friend's account, and I saw several pictures of my boyfriend and his most recent ex. This particular ex is someone he was very serious with and lived with for over 3 years. When my boyfriend first met as friends, he talked about her often (usually about their issues) but he would also speak highly of her as if he missed her in some way. I often wondered if he was over her, but once we met he seemed to have moved on, so I didn't think about it. I admit, seeing these pictures brought up my insecurities that probably aren't rational. I didn't understand why he wouldn't have removed them as some of them were cuddling/kissing pictures, and even reading the comments made me uncomfortable. She made sexual comments to him, and there was one comment where he called her his soulmate which is now what he calls me (and told me he had never told anyone before) which sort of gutted me. I was surprised that my boyfriend would keep these on a public page like this. To me, it's like keep a framed picture on your wall in your house. It made me feel extremely uncomfortable.

 

I let me boyfriend know what I saw, and asked him why they were there and how they made me feel to see them. He basically told me that he didn't even realize they were there, and that I shouldn't have a problem with them because they were apart of his life. I am fully aware of that, but I don't need visual reminders. He basically told me that because that relationship was "more substantial" due to the fact that he lived with her and was serious with her for over 3 years, that I probably just don't understand. This comment brought out all of the insecurities I have about being in a long distance relationship. It's a constant reminder that she got to have him in a way that I don't. I don't feel like he considers us to be a substantial relationship now which hurts deeply.

 

I basically told him I was fine and we ended the discussion. He has not taken the pictures down despite me telling him they made me uncomfortable which is now another thing on my mind. I don't know how to handle this situation now. Any advice would help.

 

Thank you.

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This is his past and good times, you should not ask him to erase it.. I think it is unreasonable for you to ask him to remove them. If you don't like the pictures, then don't look.

 

I think it is high time you deal with your insecurities, or you will have a lifetime of issues- not only with this guy. This is about you.

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This is his past and good times, you should not ask him to erase it.. I think it is unreasonable for you to ask him to remove them. If you don't like the pictures, then don't look.

 

I think it is high time you deal with your insecurities, or you will have a lifetime of issues- not only with this guy. This is about you.

 

I never asked him to erase anything. I simply told him how I felt in hopes that maybe he would explain why it's important to have them on display and maybe just make them private or something. As I said, to me ( and many other people) it is like walking into his house and seeing a framed picture of them on his wall. Social media is a representation of you and your life for public viewing. Many people would not put up with their SO having sexual pictures of their ex, but I need to get over seeing emotional ones of them being intimate or romantic?

 

I admit that I have insecurities. Everyone does. I actively work on them. I even put in the post that even though I don't like certain things, I am ok with them happening with proper communication. My boyfriend has insecurities too that I always make sure to help him with. I'm asking for advice on how to move forward with my boyfriend and communication. I think your reply is unnecessarily critical and not helpful to me at all.

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Well, I don’t see anything strange about this. That said, it’s up to you to decide if this is something you can hang with, or not.

 

Real talk: I think what you’re butting up against are your own issues, and I’d take this moment to work on working them out rather than think they’ll be working out by him deleting photos. People have pasts. Past loves, past vacations, past all of it. It’s silly to pretend otherwise, though not uncommon, especially among younger people.

 

I’m almost 40, have lived and loved, and any scroll through my phone or social media feeds will attest to that. It’s not some crazy documentation, but I’m also not one to pretend my past didn’t exist. I’m not going to delete old photos, because that’s tiring, as is going on Facebook and untagging myself from photos of me and my ex. Heck, even if I did, you could google image me and see photos of me with an ex from 2004, another from 2008, another from 2011. That’s my life.

 

I’m currently dating someone who was married. Her phone is filled with photos from that time, as well as the next dude. No biggie. That’s the path she walked before meeting me. No threat. I feel a sense of trust that she shows me them, not like it’s a “thing” we do, but it’s happened. That’s all informed her, the person I’m intrigued by. Why bleach it or edit it out?

 

So, again, you either can hang or you can’t. Neither is wrong, though if your happiness is predicated on him doing some digital purge...well, to that I’d say it’s going to be a short lived happiness. He’ll make this move to placate your insecurities and then he’ll have to make another and then...well, tension. Disconnect. Resentment.

 

If your love him and trust him then you love him and trust him.

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Well, I don’t see anything strange about this. That said, it’s up to you to decide if this is something you can hang with, or not.

 

Real talk: I think what you’re butting up against are your own issues, and I’d take this moment to work on working them out rather than think they’ll be working out by him deleting photos. People have pasts. Past loves, past vacations, past all of it. It’s silly to pretend otherwise, though not uncommon, especially among younger people.

 

I’m almost 40, have lived and loved, and any scroll through my phone or social media feeds will attest to that. It’s not some crazy documentation, but I’m also not one to pretend my past didn’t exist. I’m not going to delete old photos, because that’s tiring, as is going on Facebook and untagging myself from photos of me and my ex. Heck, even if I did, you could google image me and see photos of me with an ex from 2004, another from 2008, another from 2011. That’s my life.

 

I’m currently dating someone who was married. Her phone is filled with photos from that time, as well as the next dude. No biggie. That’s the path she walked before meeting me. No threat. I feel a sense of trust that she shows me them, not like it’s a “thing” we do, but it’s happened. That’s all informed her, the person I’m intrigued by. Why bleach it or edit it out?

 

So, again, you either can hang or you can’t. Neither is wrong, though if your happiness is predicated on him doing some digital purge...well, to that I’d say it’s going to be a short lived happiness. He’ll make this move to placate your insecurities and then he’ll have to make another and then...well, tension. Disconnect. Resentment.

 

If your love him and trust him then you love him and trust him.

 

I completely understand what you're saying, but I think the problem is that I just have a different perspective on the significance of it. Again, never asked him to delete them. I wanted to understand why he kept them up ( when he deleted them on the account he uses that I also use) and they aren't just random, normal pictures. They are intimate. Would you really like seeing pictures of your SO kissing/cuddling/talking sexually/romantically with their ex on a public forum? I cannot get my head around how that's ok. I feel like if the picture was sexual, everyone would tell me to dump him or make him remove it but the emotional/romantic stuff is fine? I just don't understand, and maybe you can give me some insight on that.

 

Again, if he wants to keep the pictures in a box or file on the computer...ok fine. I don't expect him to act like he never dated anyone before me. We talk a lot about our past relationships and I know he has photos of them because he has shown me. It's simply the display of it. The difference is that I don't keep physical reminders of my exes so it's harder for me to understand. I also don't care enough about any of my exes. If my boyfriend saw an old photo and told me it made him feel weird, I'd just take it down without question. Again, I feel like I just don't understand.

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You sound awesome, as does your bf. Thoughtful, considerate, realistic, as well as really aware of your own issues.

 

This doesn’t sound like something to dwell on.

 

It's definitely not something I want to dwell on, which is why I am here haha. I'd like to move past it, but I also can't ignore how I am feeling if that makes sense? I could just pretend it doesn't matter and hopefully it goes away. But communication would probably be better. I just don't know the right move.

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So you've kind of hit the nail on the head. This is your perspective clashing with his. It's reconcilable...or it's not. Don't go down the road of judging him for not seeing the world through your eyes—that's a fast road toward resentment and discontent.

 

Like, I've slept with x number of women, loved y number. There's a woman out there who will be put off by those variables—I've met them! I don't date them. I date the ones who see the equation and just kind of sigh and say, "Oh, you too? Feel like a movie later?"

 

Clashes are going to happen in relationships, of course, so it's kind of on us to know what kind of weight we can handle and what we can't. What's light for some is heavy for another. Only you can say if it's a drag or not.

 

I haven't seen these photos, but since it's social media I assume we're not talking about two people in their underwear feeding each other cherries. PG-13, in other words, not NSFW? Imagine being a celebrity, who are also people, and whose lives were public forever, and forever documented, long before social media. Actress X dating Actor Y saw plenty of images of Actor X with Actress Z, long into their relationship. Now we're all getting a taste of that, and building the muscles required to handle it.

 

I don't put a lot of emphasis on social media, but have dated women who do. As a result, there a photos in which I'm tagged in in that are "intimate." Me and an ex in bathing suits, being cute. Kissing. Looking like two people very much in love, because once upon a time we were that, and it's 2018, when time (and the past) takes on weird shapes and lives forever in pixels and feeds. My perspective—again, just mine—is that it would be weirder to go through the effort to purge them, as if I'm trying to re-virginize myself so I can be loved and accepted again.

 

The file in the computer—oh, wouldn't that be nice! But that was, like, 2006. Social media is the new file in the computer, the repository of our pasts. It makes it more present, yeah, and it can be a problem. But dude sounds cool, into you, and you sound into him. I'd focus on that stuff. You can feel weird—feel it. Then it's less weird, you know? And then you go to a movie and go back home and...

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I never asked him to erase anything. I simply told him how I felt in hopes that maybe he would explain why it's important to have them on display and maybe just make them private or something. As I said, to me ( and many other people) it is like walking into his house and seeing a framed picture of them on his wall. Social media is a representation of you and your life for public viewing. Many people would not put up with their SO having sexual pictures of their ex, but I need to get over seeing emotional ones of them being intimate or romantic?

 

I admit that I have insecurities. Everyone does. I actively work on them. I even put in the post that even though I don't like certain things, I am ok with them happening with proper communication. My boyfriend has insecurities too that I always make sure to help him with. I'm asking for advice on how to move forward with my boyfriend and communication. I think your reply is unnecessarily critical and not helpful to me at all.

 

I thought they were affectionate, not sexual. He has pornographic photos on his FB?

 

Having photos FB, is not the same as a framed pic in the house.

 

You don't like my answer, this is why you find it critical. I stand by it Deal with your insecurities. This is about you.

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Would you feel more comfortable if he changed the visibility settings on the photos of his exes to "Only me"? Isn't that a reasonable compromise?

 

He shouldn't have to do that. If he wants them there, then they should stay.

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OP, how long ago did they break up? And how often do they currently hang out?

 

It seems to me that this might not bother you as much if he hadn't also spoken about her so much at the beginning of your relationship, and if you knew they didn't still hang out sometimes.

 

Personally, I have taken down photos of my exes off social media. I don't see the need to keep them there any longer once the relationship is done. Just my own preference. Those photos get filed away in my personal files.

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MJ, I would bet you've looked at those pictures much more often than he has. He probably has forgotten they're even there. But even if he hasn't, I don't think the real issue is about his having pictures on a FB account. It's about your self-esteem and not feeling secure. I know - I used to feel like you do. I recognize that pain. Below I'll tell you how I built my own self-esteem and confidence - nobody could build it for me, either through words or actions. It was something I had to do myself.

 

Now, my Mister has plenty of photos of his former girlfriends, is friendly with them (not exactly friends, just FB posts, etc), and I couldn't care less. In fact, we've looked at those pictures together and I cherish them probably as more than he does.

 

Long before we met, when I was married to my ex, he had hundreds more photos of a woman he dated for 9 months than he did of me in all our many years together. Plus love letters she'd written him. It was only after we split up (for other reasons) did I realize the problem was never with his ex or with those photos - it was with me. I wanted him to want photos of me. It was a sign of love, in my eyes. I wanted him to love me as he'd loved her. And he failed me.

 

I started doing affirmations to build my self-esteem. Corny? You bet. Dumb? Not in the least. In 30 days time I felt cocky, invincible, beautiful. And because of those love letters, I knew just how dumb she was and remains to this day.

 

I recommend you try using affirmations, too. So simple and so incredibly effective. I'll give you some of the hallmarks of good (and bad) affirmations, but I'll tell you how I used them first.

 

I wrote thirty affirmations in a notebook I bought just for the purpose of giving them a try. Every night for 30 nights, as I was lying in bed, I read each one, then wrote one of them out 30 times in the notebook. I went down the list until they'd all been copied at least 30 times.

 

Good affirmations are short, specific, positive, present, and personal statements you believe are true or wish were true about yourself.

 

Here's a bad affirmation: I am beautiful. (Too general.)

Here's a good affirmation: I have beautiful eyes. (Short, quite specific, positive, present, and personal.)

 

Bad affirmation: I will lose 10 pounds. (Future, not present, tense.)

Good affirmation: I have strong thighs. (Present tense, specific, short, positive, and personal.)

 

Bad affirmation: I am as attractive as fill in a name here. (Not really personal - it's more about the other person being more attractive.)

Good affirmation: Most men find me attractive.

 

You get the idea.

 

After doing this every night for 30 nights (though I admit, once I got comfortable with affirmations, I'd do them whenever I could squeeze them in), I was a different woman - confident, secure, even cocky. It worked so well, my ex wanted me back. I really was a different woman.

 

By the time my Mister and I met, I was beyond being affected by old photos of exes. I've actually enjoyed seeing them - they gave me a glimpse into his life before me, and he has plenty of photos to share. He tells me stories about them, funny things they did, their talents and intelligence, and I tell me how much I think I'd like them. In fact, I say things like "we love Jane", "Katie's the best of all your exes", and "when you say bad things about her, I wonder why you're so bitter after all these years" and he laughs. And I think he sorta loves how non-threatened I am by his past.

 

Good luck!

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Ok so I agree with you. I def thinks its a sign of respect. If youre in a new relationship atleast remove them from your phone and social media. Maybe dont throw out hard copies or ones that are on computers or harddrive. But def the ones on your cell phone or where most people see them easily(social media) I would have an issue with a guy dating me yet when he is alone he can scroll through intimate pics of an old GF. What would be the purpose of this? If you loved your ex, seeing pics would stir that up OR you could get attracted to the dirty pics. We are only human. This would get sticky. The thought of it makes me uncomfortable . Not necessarily that he would go out and cheat with the exes.

 

I dont think we should jump on women right away and say its her insecurity. If this is something she dislikes and sees it as direspect, it can be just that. It doesnt always have to be some deep issue she has to heal.

 

I think youre right in thinking this way. You want a committed relationship all the way through and nothing wrong with it. Stand your ground until u find a guy who has your mindet.

 

I had an ex bf from years ago who would contact me every few months. He HAD new gfs but still kept my pics. Hed get attracted to them even though he was happy with his gf . He saw no wrong in this. But the pics would cause him to try to hang out with me. I never did but my point is, if you are dating someone new and looking back on old gfs, u will get tempted eventually

 

So delete the pics. Start off fresh. Give your attention to the present.

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Ok so I agree with you. I def thinks its a sign of respect. If youre in a new relationship atleast remove them from your phone and social media. Maybe dont throw out hard copies or ones that are on computers or harddrive. But def the ones on your cell phone or where most people see them easily(social media) I would have an issue with a guy dating me yet when he is alone he can scroll through intimate pics of an old GF. What would be the purpose of this? If you loved your ex, seeing pics would stir that up OR you could get attracted to the dirty pics. We are only human. This would get sticky. The thought of it makes me uncomfortable . Not necessarily that he would go out and cheat with the exes.

 

I dont think we should jump on women right away and say its her insecurity. If this is something she dislikes and sees it as direspect, it can be just that. It doesnt always have to be some deep issue she has to heal.

 

I think youre right in thinking this way. You want a committed relationship all the way through and nothing wrong with it. Stand your ground until u find a guy who has your mindet.

 

I had an ex bf from years ago who would contact me every few months. He HAD new gfs but still kept my pics. Hed get attracted to them even though he was happy with his gf . He saw no wrong in this. But the pics would cause him to try to hang out with me. I never did but my point is, if you are dating someone new and looking back on old gfs, u will get tempted eventually

 

So delete the pics. Start off fresh. Give your attention to the present.

 

 

Thank you! I feel like you're the first person that is actually understanding where I am coming from. I don't understand *why* they need to exist at all, but if they do, let's not display them. We all have insecurities, I admit my own, but this issues isn't just all on me. What are HIS issues that he can't let go? That is sort of the way I think about it. Also, if my boyfriend told me something made him uncomfortable, I would just delete them and not even have a discussion about it. His feelings are more important to me. The fact that this hasn't happened now bothers me tremendously. What is so important about keeping them on display over my feelings? I don't get it.

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So you've kind of hit the nail on the head. This is your perspective clashing with his. It's reconcilable...or it's not. Don't go down the road of judging him for not seeing the world through your eyes—that's a fast road toward resentment and discontent.

 

Like, I've slept with x number of women, loved y number. There's a woman out there who will be put off by those variables—I've met them! I don't date them. I date the ones who see the equation and just kind of sigh and say, "Oh, you too? Feel like a movie later?"

 

Clashes are going to happen in relationships, of course, so it's kind of on us to know what kind of weight we can handle and what we can't. What's light for some is heavy for another. Only you can say if it's a drag or not.

 

I haven't seen these photos, but since it's social media I assume we're not talking about two people in their underwear feeding each other cherries. PG-13, in other words, not NSFW? Imagine being a celebrity, who are also people, and whose lives were public forever, and forever documented, long before social media. Actress X dating Actor Y saw plenty of images of Actor X with Actress Z, long into their relationship. Now we're all getting a taste of that, and building the muscles required to handle it.

 

I don't put a lot of emphasis on social media, but have dated women who do. As a result, there a photos in which I'm tagged in in that are "intimate." Me and an ex in bathing suits, being cute. Kissing. Looking like two people very much in love, because once upon a time we were that, and it's 2018, when time (and the past) takes on weird shapes and lives forever in pixels and feeds. My perspective—again, just mine—is that it would be weirder to go through the effort to purge them, as if I'm trying to re-virginize myself so I can be loved and accepted again.

 

The file in the computer—oh, wouldn't that be nice! But that was, like, 2006. Social media is the new file in the computer, the repository of our pasts. It makes it more present, yeah, and it can be a problem. But dude sounds cool, into you, and you sound into him. I'd focus on that stuff. You can feel weird—feel it. Then it's less weird, you know? And then you go to a movie and go back home and...

 

I appreciate your insight because I feel it's similar to my boyfriend's and it helps me understand more. I know the intent isn't bad, so there's always that. The problem isn't that photos exist; it's that HE is displaying them. Not that he was tagged in them. Again, I think my perspective is just different and maybe I need to think on that more as well. I think social media can complicate things unnecessarily and maybe that is one of those times.

 

Thank you for your thoughts!

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I thought they were affectionate, not sexual. He has pornographic photos on his FB?

 

Having photos FB, is not the same as a framed pic in the house.

 

You don't like my answer, this is why you find it critical. I stand by it Deal with your insecurities. This is about you.

 

I don't like your answer because it seems like you're unwilling to understand that people have different perspectives and instead of reading the situation objectively, you're inserting your own beliefs. I have different beliefs. You may not believe having a picture on facebook is like a framed picture on a wall, but I do and I know I'm not alone on that.

 

I didn't say he had sexual pictures; I was comparing sexual vs emotional. I find emotional to be more hurtful than a sexual one, and not many people would put up with sexual pictures being displayed.

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OP, how long ago did they break up? And how often do they currently hang out?

 

It seems to me that this might not bother you as much if he hadn't also spoken about her so much at the beginning of your relationship, and if you knew they didn't still hang out sometimes.

 

Personally, I have taken down photos of my exes off social media. I don't see the need to keep them there any longer once the relationship is done. Just my own preference. Those photos get filed away in my personal files.

 

They broke up about a year and a half ago, and they do not hang out. When we first met, the breakup was about 6 months fresh and he would talk about their breakup quite a bit and was clearly hurt over it. I also remember all of the positive things he'd say about her after I would say something like "oh she seems awful." He would say things like " no she was really lovely. She was so smart and talented." So those things always stay in my mind. It is OK to have good thoughts about an ex, but that fact that this relationship seemed to affect him so much sort of comes into play. When he showed me pictures of his first serious gf (was with her for 5 years) it didn't bug me at all because he never talked about her as if he was emotionally affected by it and it was SO long ago. They've both moved on. This relationship is fresh, and it's to the point where the ex has blocked him because she's seen pictures of us on his instagram. That doesn't tell me things are really moving on for her. Again, I just don't seem to understand why anyone needs to display intimate pictures of an ex on a public forum. Keep them in a box or whatever.

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