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Boyfriend looks at ex’s Instagram everyday. Am I paranoid?


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My boyfriend and I have been good friends for almost 10 years but only been dating for about 1 year.

The thing about being friends for so long is that I’ve met all of his exes, and I don’t really care about most of them except for M. My boyfriend and M met in college and were inseparable for 2 years. When it all ended he was miserable and still talked about missing her years after. 

He dated other girls after her but she was the only one he kept up with on social media. Even 6 months before we started dating, he was still analyzing her Instagram stories, wondering if she posted pictures of her current boyfriend to spite him. Our friends and I had to tell him to stop and just unfollow her because it was unhealthy. 

Then we started dating. Things were amazing! Then last week I used his phone to look for mine and saw that he was on her Instagram. I brushed it off because I know we all get curious once in a while. But I’ve caught him looking 3-4 days in a row in the past week alone. He doesn’t follow her, just open up her page and look at her stories. I don’t know if this is recent or if I just never noticed before. It’s been 5 YEARS!! Is it possible he is still hung up on her? Or is it just simple curiosity? I don’t want to bring it up because I don’t want to sound insecure. How should I handle this?

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You probably don't want to hear this but I just can't see why you'd continue to date him. You should separate and find someone who can be with you 100%.    The circumstances of their break u

So you'd rather live your life anxious and fearful, checking his phone and his social media activity every time he's not looking? Is that how you'd always imagined your ideal love relationship?

He wasn't over her before you started dating, and he still isn't.    Why did they break up?

You're right, it is unhealthy and he does sound like he is still stuck on her 😕 .

He should have stopped that a long while ago... but this is how social media is.  You can find/follow people etc in many ways.

Has he ever been single a good while? Especially after they split? Or just jump one woman to another?

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56 minutes ago, Hollyj said:

He wasn't over her before you started dating, and he still isn't.   

Why did they break up?

From what I know, it was because he felt like he wasn’t a priority in her life. She would cancel plans with him to hang out with her friends, reply to other people’s texts before him, etc. 
 

They were friends first and she apparently made more of an effort when they were just friends than when they actually started dating.

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He's still hung on her. 

Talking to him about it isn't going to change that. He won't really be ready for another relationship until he fully and completely moves on from her.

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39 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

Has he ever been single a good while? Especially after they split? Or just jump one woman to another?

He did go on casual dates but didn’t have another girlfriend until 2 years after the split. That lasted about a year or so. Then it took another year before we started dating.

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This is a tough one.

Is he a good bf otherwise?  Has he ever compared you to her?

 Have you ever asked him if he was totally over her?  If not why?  Are you afraid of the answer?

It is a legitimate question

Lost

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1 hour ago, Wandapanda said:

They were friends first 

Unfortunately the same thing is happening to you now. Reconsider this . He may be better as a friend than a BF.

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What did he say when you asked him about this?

Instead of worrying about "sounding 'insecure'", you need to find out so you can make an informed decision.

Besides, he's your boyfriend.  If you can't be vulnerable in front of him what's the point?

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8 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

This is a tough one.

Is he a good bf otherwise?  Has he ever compared you to her?

 Have you ever asked him if he was totally over her?  If not why?  Are you afraid of the answer?

It is a legitimate question

I'm thinking about this along similar lines. 

It's understandable to be unnerved by this, as most people would be in your shoes, and since social media is more or less invented to manipulate feelings and exacerbate insecurity. How you feel right now, along with his impulse to look at those stories, has put a lot of Teslas in a lot of driveways in Silicon Valley. 

At the same time, you two have a unique foundation, in that you were friends for a decade before transitioning into romance. That's so great, in so many ways. But it can also mean that certain habits from your friendship may stick around, like him feeling, without really thinking about it, that it's still okay to indulge this sort of curiosity, especially if it was something you were understanding about as a friend and have yet to directly discuss as bf/gf.  

I'm not saying all this to minimize your feelings, or to deem his behavior appropriate, at all. You know him better than us, and yourself, so you know what kind of man/bf he is. If a year into things you have some gut sense that he's "somewhere else," or not that into things, or whatever—well, that is a real issue, far more than his social media habits.

If you don't have those feelings, while being unnerved by the social media activity—then that can be a bit like letting him know you don't like it when it leaves the toilet seat up. Not the most fun exchange, but if he starts putting the toilet seat down (or stops looking at the stories) you know that he is far more motivated by considering your feelings than anything else. 

Lots of words to say: talk to him about it. No shame in that, no insecurity, just you being vulnerable with the person you're supposed to be most vulnerable with. 

 

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8 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

This is a tough one.

Is he a good bf otherwise?  Has he ever compared you to her?

 Have you ever asked him if he was totally over her?  If not why?  Are you afraid of the answer?

It is a legitimate question

Lost

He is sweet, kind, and caring. He has never compared me to her to my face, but I know he did compare the girl before me to M. After they split, he even met up with M to tell her about how that girl reminded him of her and that he missed their time together.

I knew he wasn’t over her when he kept analyzing her photos, but after he unfollowed her, he also stopped talking about her so I thought he had taken the steps necessary to move on

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I once had a boyfriend who seemed completely into me. I was his #1. But little did I know he had feelings deep down for a woman he met years before me. He couldn't be with her at the time. He cheated on me with this woman 3 years into our relationship. Last I heard, they are together still. 

I think your boyfriend is still hooked on this ex. If you caught him looking at her profile and it is the same pattern that he is doing, I'm sorry, but patterns are patterns. You should talk to him about it. But if it's been going on for 5 years, I would just move on. He's not ready for anyone else. 

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2 hours ago, boltnrun said:

What did he say when you asked him about this?

Instead of worrying about "sounding 'insecure'", you need to find out so you can make an informed decision.

Besides, he's your boyfriend.  If you can't be vulnerable in front of him what's the point?

I’m scared because if the answer isn’t what I want to hear, I don’t think I can recover from it and would lose not just the 1 year relationship but the 10 years of friendship as well

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You probably don't want to hear this but I just can't see why you'd continue to date him. You should separate and find someone who can be with you 100%. 

 

The circumstances of their break up concern me. 

 

It would be different if he left her because she was cheating or did something unforgivable. BUT breaking up because she cancels plans suggests that he broke up with her out of insecurity because he WANTS to be with her and wants to spend time with her. They basically broke up because of his desire to constantly be around her (her canceling plans) and him wanting to be #1 in her life (him feeling she didn't prioritize him). They broke up because of circumstances instead of conflict meaning its possible that he still has feelings for her/is still hung up on her. 

 

 

I would break up with him at this point. Not only is he cyber stalking her but he's taking too much interest in a woman that has already moved on. He is clearly "riding the wave" with you (portraying an illusion that he's healed from her and moved on to someone new) when in reality he's in a new relationship with one foot out the door and is still worried about the ongoings in her romantic life.

 

You would be better off leaving this man. He has no business in a relationship with anyone and that is soo unfair to you. Make sure you're not looking down on yourself over this situation, the likelihood of them getting back together is probably VERY slim considering she is already dating other people and going on with her life.

 

No woman should fall "second best" or "rebound" within their own relationship, he sounds like an insecure little child and he is using you as a "filler" or "back up" in hopes that his ex will somehow return. (I doubt it'll happen) What happens if she actually comes back and he's still dating you? 

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This will painful for you later in life, as you guys grow in your relationship and become more serious itll contrast his feelings for her even more. The deeper he gets with you will be the more desprate he'll be with his situation with her... you don't want him waking up one day realizing he wants  her when you two are married 2 children deep. You don't want him cheating on you with her. 

This man needs to be single and needs to work on his insecurity issues. It sounds like he messed up with her and now he's paying the price. He messed up with you (by not being over her) and he should pay that price by you moving on to someone new. He can't just use people as a "filler" he needs to work on himself and get over this girl. 

 

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The friendship? Temporarily end the friendship until he gets his emotions together. Once he "gets over the girl" and once you've healed from the relationship, you two can restart the friendship. By then he should be more self aware and understand WHY you had to break up with him. 

 

I'm sorry this happened to you. It's extremely unfair but you belong to someone else. There's someone else out there waiting for you. There's someone out there that did the heavy lifting/healing after their break up and they're ready for a healthy relationship with you. Your boyfriend isn't that guy

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44 minutes ago, Wandapanda said:

I’m scared because if the answer isn’t what I want to hear, I don’t think I can recover from it and would lose not just the 1 year relationship but the 10 years of friendship as well

Take Charge. Tell him you would rather go back to being friends. That way you spare the friendship without needy questions or accusations.

It will save you all the headaches and heartaches you have now and will in the future. 

The added bonus is that you can  date others who are into you without constantly scanning their album of conquests.

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48 minutes ago, Wandapanda said:

I’m scared because if the answer isn’t what I want to hear, I don’t think I can recover from it and would lose not just the 1 year relationship but the 10 years of friendship as well

Sticking your head in the sand isn't going to make this go away. Just address it. He will probably say it was for sentimental reasons, and agrees he should just stop this nonsense. After 10 years of friendship, you should be able to talk honestly with each other...am I right?

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50 minutes ago, Wandapanda said:

I’m scared because if the answer isn’t what I want to hear, I don’t think I can recover from it and would lose not just the 1 year relationship but the 10 years of friendship as well

So you'd rather live your life anxious and fearful, checking his phone and his social media activity every time he's not looking?

Is that how you'd always imagined your ideal love relationship?

You would recover.  Every single one of us has been through a tough breakup and made it through.

As for the friendship?  I like the suggestion above where you tell him you value your friendship and that's why you think it's best to end the romantic relationship now while you still have friendly feelings toward one another.  If he protests and says he loves you and wants to be with you, then he needs to address WITH YOU why he's continuing to put focus and attention on his ex.  That needs to be resolved before you two can move forward in the relationship.

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2 hours ago, Wandapanda said:

He is sweet, kind, and caring. He has never compared me to her to my face, but I know he did compare the girl before me to M. After they split, he even met up with M to tell her about how that girl reminded him of her and that he missed their time together.

I knew he wasn’t over her when he kept analyzing her photos, but after he unfollowed her, he also stopped talking about her so I thought he had taken the steps necessary to move on

It's safe to assume that he's not taking the necessary steps to get over her, he clearly caught some nonverbal cue or gut feeling that it bothers you and now keeps quiet about it. 

In his eyes "taking the necessary" steps is keeping his relationship with you/giving off the illusion that he's moving forward when in reality he's mentally somewhere else. 

I'm not doubting that he's nice to you but caring? It seems like he cares about all the wrong things/people. At this point, the ongoings of her daily life shouldn't even concern him. He shouldn't care. Most people check on their exs social media out of curiosity but it's once or twice every 10 years and its normally not habitual.  He's concerned about a woman who is no longer in his life anymore, he's concerned about her relationships when in reality she probably has no idea he's checking on her. He's basically obsessing over a random woman in front of his current woman. That is not okay. 

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3 hours ago, bluecastle said:

I'm thinking about this along similar lines. 

It's understandable to be unnerved by this, as most people would be in your shoes, and since social media is more or less invented to manipulate feelings and exacerbate insecurity. How you feel right now, along with his impulse to look at those stories, has put a lot of Teslas in a lot of driveways in Silicon Valley. 

At the same time, you two have a unique foundation, in that you were friends for a decade before transitioning into romance. That's so great, in so many ways. But it can also mean that certain habits from your friendship may stick around, like him feeling, without really thinking about it, that it's still okay to indulge this sort of curiosity, especially if it was something you were understanding about as a friend and have yet to directly discuss as bf/gf.  

I'm not saying all this to minimize your feelings, or to deem his behavior appropriate, at all. You know him better than us, and yourself, so you know what kind of man/bf he is. If a year into things you have some gut sense that he's "somewhere else," or not that into things, or whatever—well, that is a real issue, far more than his social media habits.

If you don't have those feelings, while being unnerved by the social media activity—then that can be a bit like letting him know you don't like it when it leaves the toilet seat up. Not the most fun exchange, but if he starts putting the toilet seat down (or stops looking at the stories) you know that he is far more motivated by considering your feelings than anything else. 

Lots of words to say: talk to him about it. No shame in that, no insecurity, just you being vulnerable with the person you're supposed to be most vulnerable with. 

 

I gotta disagree. 

The friendship isn't leverage for them and doesn't increase the compatibility or relationship success rate. It actually counts against them in this situation. 

It means he was able to pull in a standby relationship fairly easy because you two already knew each other. Instead of having to use a dating app or go out and spend months building something to fulfill the "illusion" he moved on, he had the opportunity to pull in a woman he already knows and had some kind of friendship with already. It's less work for him. 

 

The girl he had before you? I'm sure that was his first attempt to fill his exs place. She was probably his first attempt to make his ex jealous. It was probably time consuming faking a relationship. This means instead of going through the long process of courting/dating a brand new woman, he found someone that already knew him...

 

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28 minutes ago, rchubn said:

The friendship? Temporarily end the friendship until he gets his emotions together. Once he "gets over the girl" and once you've healed from the relationship, you two can restart the friendship. By then he should be more self aware and understand WHY you had to break up with him. 

I didn’t think of it this way. You’re right. Believing that we have built a strong enough foundation and have enough history to one day be friends again even if the romance doesn’t work out would make having this conversation easier. 

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Also... if you ask him. He WILL deny it. He's attempting to juggle two women and keep two women in his queue. Unless she comes to him wanting to get back together he probably won't let you go anywhere and will probably tell you whatever you want to hear in order to keep you in the relationship. 

You need to go with your gut instinct (that he's not over her) because right now he probably wants to keep you both. 

 

- He wants to watch her in case she decides to come back to him or in case she flaunts a new boyfriend around social media. 

 

- He wants to be in a relationship with you to make it seem like he's moving on as well (so that he has someone to flaunt) and he wants you probably to calm his own anxieties about being alone. Her having a boyfriend probably hurts less if he's in his own relationship 

 

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