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Boyfriend still has photos with his ex all over his social media


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Have been in a committed relationship for 5 months, I have a key to his place, we’ve been going on vacations together, have plans to have him meet my family, everything is great - except… his social media is full of photos with his ex wife (with whom he shares custody of his child). I’m extremely bothered by this. I mentioned this to him when we first added each other to social media, and then once again after we went on vacation as I had noticed he had photos in the same exact poses doing the same exact things with other exes. He had also liked a random ex girlfriend’s selfie. After I mentioned it the second time, he deleted photos of all of his other exes, except the ex wife. They’ve only been divorced 3 years and he has had several girlfriends since that he has published all over his social media. The photos he has still up with his ex wife are of them kissing, calling each other soul mates, exact same poses of the photos we have taken on vacations, and many photos of just her. I’m extremely bothered by this as I don’t post boyfriends on social media unless we’ve been living together and if the relationship ends I remove all photos out of respect for my next relationship. Seeing photos of him kissing his ex wife, devalues what we are sharing, it’s turning me off sexually, and makes me feel like he’s stuck in the past and has just been jumping from relationship to relationship without processing the loss of a long relationship/divorce and maybe he’s still not over her in some ways. His friends and son also have confused me and called me on accident by one of his other exes names. He has a stuffed animal on his bed that turned out being one of his ex’s daughter’s whom he had gotten very attached to (not his ex wife, different ex). I do trust him and I’m not concerned about him cheating on me with his ex. I wanted him to delete those photos only based on how I told him they made me feel, not because I’m ordering him to take them off (I know he would if I “made him”). I can’t visualize him as “my person” while he has photos with other women on his social media, and I can feel I’m holding back in the relationship. How do I handle this situation? I have already verbalized all of this to him before, the only difference is that I mentioned photos of his exes in general, not only the ones with his ex wife. But I did mention that the only photos of exes that I think are appropriate are the ones that have been taken post divorce and are posts about his child. Do I tell him a third time? What do I say? Is he just not my person because of our differences in social media usage? I’m also divorced and have dated people with kids before, this is the first time I’m encountering this problem - my other exes were aligned with how I think in regards to social media and staying friends with exes. 
 

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Yes, I know. You said as much in your first post.

So, in other words, you have never specifically told him how you feel seeing his ex-wife. I would have a conversation about this. See what he says. That will tell you whether or not you feel you can continue dating him. 

 

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1 hour ago, MissButterfly said:

I’m also divorced and have dated people with kids before, this is the first time I’m encountering this problem - my other exes were aligned with how I think in regards to social media and staying friends with exes. 

And why dont you look this as an incompatibility?

Men are not really "thorough" as women in regards to socials. But he can understand that he shouldnt have exes and most certainly not like their selfies when they publish them. And I dont think he would delete his baby momma and their pics together. From a simple reason that if he was going to do it, he would have done it before. And not now because his new girlfriend doesnt like them.

And that is another thing. You are putting him in front of an ultimatum. Where if he doesnt do it, you are extremely upset and you may leave. This wont end well either way.

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9 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

And why dont you look this as an incompatibility?

Men are not really "thorough" as women in regards to socials. But he can understand that he shouldnt have exes and most certainly not like their selfies when they publish them. And I dont think he would delete his baby momma and their pics together. From a simple reason that if he was going to do it, he would have done it before. And not now because his new girlfriend doesnt like them.

And that is another thing. You are putting him in front of an ultimatum. Where if he doesnt do it, you are extremely upset and you may leave. This wont end well either way.

I think you may be right. How do I even phrase it to him without sounding psycho controlling about his social media? I say that “our social media usages are incompatible and that’s why we should go our separate ways”? I do NOT want to sound like I’m giving him an ultimatum. What if when I tell him, he tells me that he’ll delete them if we don’t break up? What if he goes and deletes them then anyways? Obviously there are feelings involved or I wouldn’t be so bothered by this. 

 

 

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All you can do is express how you feel about it.   If he thinks that makes you come off as "psycho," well, he is entitled to his opinion and he can do with it as he chooses.

If you do express how you feel about it, don't bring a lot of emotional weight into your delivery.   Be matter of fact.  Don't act hurt, petulant, angry, threatening.  Just speak your piece.   Then the ball is in his court, as far as how he manages his social media is concerned.

The ball is in YOUR court, though, when it comes to how you will handle things if he does nothing.  You will only have 2 choices in that case:  Learn to accept this, or leave.   

Once you've brought this up (and this will be the 2nd time if I'm following),  you need to leave it.   

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“I feel uncomfortable that you have photos of you and your ex wife being romantic with romantic comments about each other. We are a committee couple and I am uncomfortable that it looks like you are in love with your ex wife.  I do understand why you want to keep family photos for the sake of your child.”

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41 minutes ago, Jaunty said:

All you can do is express how you feel about it.   If he thinks that makes you come off as "psycho," well, he is entitled to his opinion and he can do with it as he chooses.

If you do express how you feel about it, don't bring a lot of emotional weight into your delivery.   Be matter of fact.  Don't act hurt, petulant, angry, threatening.  Just speak your piece.   Then the ball is in his court, as far as how he manages his social media is concerned.

The ball is in YOUR court, though, when it comes to how you will handle things if he does nothing.  You will only have 2 choices in that case:  Learn to accept this, or leave.   

Once you've brought this up (and this will be the 2nd time if I'm following),  you need to leave it.   

Thank you, this is very helpful. And it would be the third time.

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19 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

“I feel uncomfortable that you have photos of you and your ex wife being romantic with romantic comments about each other. We are a committee couple and I am uncomfortable that it looks like you are in love with your ex wife.  I do understand why you want to keep family photos for the sake of your child.”

Thank you so much for this! 💙

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@Batya33is a legend. Great advice.

@MissButterfly you need to have that last convo. IMO, he's not over her, even if he tells you he is.

 

I once had a first date with a guy who brought up his ex during our convo. Told me how things went with her and so forth. I immediately knew this was a red flag and I knew I wasn't interested anymore. For context I'm leaving out here, we end up chatting and I let him know I didn't want to meet again due to the ex talk that was inappropriate to me and showed he's not over her. He insists that he is over her and that I misunderstood him. I nonetheless trust my logic/intuition and do not give him a chance.

So we end up as chat buddies for a couple of days, and one convo leads to another and he admits that he still loves his ex but he'd not "in love with her". Boom. He broke up with her because of toxic incompatibilities, and not because he wanted to end the relationship. And he wondered why he couldn't find a GF 3 years post breakup...

So trust the signs. And, if he refuses to remove their couples pics whilst telling you he is over her, it doesn't mean it's true.

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Co-sign with what's been said, that if it bothers you, it's going to keep bothering you.  

Enough so that if this doesn't get resolved to your satisfaction, it could lead to the end of the r/s.  

FWIW, my sister's ex husband (they divorced three years ago) whom he has children with, is in a new relationship (which he's shared photos of) but still has pictures of my sister on his social media with them and their children and he certainly doesn't desire her back in any way.  

It's not unusual for people, especially when children are involved, to still have their exes in their lives, but again, if it's causing you this much angst, he needs to know.

Previous romantic involvements contribute to your identity, and after moving on from the split, you may discover that you still have a fondness for your former partner in a non-romantic manner.

Of course, I wouldn't be happy to stumble upon a photo of my boyfriend and his ex, even in the best circumstances. Jealousy can be an ugly emotion. Alternatively, if he was hiding it as some weird secret? And hiding me as some weird secret?

Yeah, I'd be concerned.

If your boyfriend truly loves you and shows it through his actions and faithfulness, there should be no reason for you to dwell on a small issue from his past. But if it still bothers you, let him reassure you that his ex is just a part of his history and will never cause problems in your relationship.

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Many years ago my husband had a Match.com account as did his good friend.  We didn't meet that way.  I'd had one as well.  After we were married in conversation one night I realized he and his friend still got those "matches suggested for you" emails even though both were married/didn't have accounts anymore.  He and his friend liked sharing the emails -making jokes about who was suggested etc.  I told him -I didn't feel comfortable with that.  So he stopped  -with stuff like that to me the spouse/SO comes first if it's at all in the range of reasonable.

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It's a form of respect to you if he were to remove his ex's photos from his social media and this type of conscientious behavior says a lot about his character whether he cares or not. 

First of all,  you shouldn't even have to request that he delete his past with his ex.  He should've done it on his own accord awhile ago.  Nonetheless,  call it to his attention and hopefully he'll acquiesce not only out consideration for you but for being honorable to himself and you. 

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If the two of you are going to continue to have a serious relationship, then you need to be comfortable sharing your feelings with each other, letting the other know when something is bothering them. If he does love you, he won't see you as a psycho. He'll be concerned that you are upset about something. You can have a mature, adult conversation and reach an agreement that is fair to both sides.

What you are proposing is fair and reasonable. You aren't trying to cut her out of the picture entirely, you just naturally feel uncomforable with the reminders of how close they once were. I doubt he would want to see pictures of you kissing an ex.

Be straightforward and honest. Stay calm. Explain just what you said here, that you trust him but that this bothers you and makes it difficult to believe he is fully invested as you are. Hopefully he will understand.

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When I split up from my ex, I was very aware that if any new partner scrolled through my Facebook, they'd see various photos of me with him.  I chose to delete the ones I didn't like and change the setting on those remaining to "visible only to me".  The guy I'm seeing now has no idea I'd ever posted photos of me with my ex and the photos I like are still there for me to see.  I don't know how other platforms work, but for Facebook I think this is a reasonable compromise.

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"Have been in a committed relationship for 5 months, I have a key to his place, we’ve been going on vacations together... i have a problem with his social media photos with his ex wife" 

I know it's nice when you meet someone and your emotions run wild but we are adults, we must take responsbility for our emotions and control it. You should never of gotten into a relationship with him until this major red flag was resolved, and I say it's a major red flag because it indicates he's not emotionally over his ex. If thats the case, it's not wise to get with someone like this BECAUSE they have a high chance of dropping you for their ex wife if she tries getting him back. If he was over his ex he would delete it with no problem at all.

The problem you face is that you never addressed this prior to getting in the relationship, so it can seem unreasonable for you to question it now as you accepted it previously, you have less ground to stand on now.  But I would discuss with him how it's making you feel uncomfortable and ask if he is able to delete them. If he says "i dont think I can" then you know how commited he is to you, and that you should leave. Or you can simply accept it and stay, understand if you do then it'll teach him that he can do things that aren't respectful towards you but you'll stick around.... which could lead to be cheated on. 

People sometimes do what you allow them to, and the only power you have is to leave. Hope this makes some sense OP. 

 

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4 hours ago, poorlittlefish said:

When I split up from my ex, I was very aware that if any new partner scrolled through my Facebook, they'd see various photos of me with him.  I chose to delete the ones I didn't like and change the setting on those remaining to "visible only to me".  The guy I'm seeing now has no idea I'd ever posted photos of me with my ex and the photos I like are still there for me to see.  I don't know how other platforms work, but for Facebook I think this is a reasonable compromise.

Just like I have many photos boxed up somewhere and albums with exes, my prom photos, etc. My mom has in her home on display a photo of me in a gorgeous park. I know it was taken by my ex boyfriend and I think my husband might know that as well.  I wouldn't find it reasonable if he asked my mom to remove it just because my ex (who my husband met) took the photo and obviously it was while we were out on a date.  But my mom of course knows better than to display any photos from my past where I was with a boyfriend -out of respect for my husband.  It is about respect and common sense. 

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I don't blame you one bit for feeling this way.

Especially since many of the photos aren't just old vacation pics with the kids; they're pics of them shmoopy-ing all over each other.  All the excessive "soulmate, kissy kissy" social media stuff is so annoying, even while the relationship is going on.  

But once they've broken up, divorced, and are with someone new?  And the new person has pointed this out?  That's just a form of control on their part.  I won't do it, and you can't make me.

This was a problem in my last relationship.  I won't bore you with the details, but after 2 1/2 years, it got worse, not better, I'm sorry to say.  I expressed my feelings in a kind, thoughtful way, and eventually it led to huge fights and a breakup, but it took a long time to escalate.  

The P.S. to my story is that he now is married and has (what he thinks) is a hidden Facebook account.  I found out because he friended someone I'm friends with, so it recommended him to me.  That's where he keeps all his exes, hidden from her.

I'm not saying this will lead to a breakup for you, but if you express something in a kind and sincere way, and it is still disregarded, then think about if this is the guy for you.

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Perhaps the lesson we should all take from this is to just not put private photos on a public platform. Then there is no need to worry about someone seeing them or getting hurt from it. There would be no need to scroll though a ton of photos or posts to delete specific ones. There would be no acting as if we need to erase a person from our past, as if those moments didn't happen. I mean, how many people really need to see picture of me smooching with someone? And the few who would get a picture of this person, just send to them directly and privately.

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2 hours ago, ShySoul said:

Perhaps the lesson we should all take from this is to just not put private photos on a public platform. Then there is no need to worry about someone seeing them or getting hurt from it. There would be no need to scroll though a ton of photos or posts to delete specific ones. There would be no acting as if we need to erase a person from our past, as if those moments didn't happen. I mean, how many people really need to see picture of me smooching with someone? And the few who would get a picture of this person, just send to them directly and privately.

In my case there were no smooching photos, just selfies of us wherever we'd been.  I only kept the photos in which I thought I looked good (a rarity!).  I didn't give a crap about the rest, which is why I deleted them.  I still have my memories of the places we visited and other photos were neither of us were in the shot.

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6 hours ago, ShySoul said:

Perhaps the lesson we should all take from this is to just not put private photos on a public platform. Then there is no need to worry about someone seeing them or getting hurt from it. There would be no need to scroll though a ton of photos or posts to delete specific ones. There would be no acting as if we need to erase a person from our past, as if those moments didn't happen. I mean, how many people really need to see picture of me smooching with someone? And the few who would get a picture of this person, just send to them directly and privately.

What I do is boundaries.  Despite annoying pushback we greatly restrict photos of our son.  We allow on certain school/camp sites.  I have one or two on my facebook including one when he was 5 months old which my friend inadvertently posted (she is also in the photo).  I posted one once because it was published in national newspapers and was a from behind shot.  We email and text photos to good friends, family, friends who ask.  

I have photos in my profile.  Wedding photos, parties and events from years ago, vacation photos with my husband.  That is my comfort level.  I have a photo as part of my Linkedin.  I don't feel the need to have no photos and on the opposite extreme I don't feel the need to post photos of my travels, food I eat, adorable photos of my son, etc.  I cannot stand when people post photos revealing that their homes are empty and they are away, cannot stand the humble brag photos either.  I do not like the intermittent pushback I've had from friends and family we've told not to post photos.

My husband has a nominal FB profile to connect with overseas friends and colleagues.  He never posts either.  He has no photos but I wouldn't know -no need to check, I never need to check up on him in that way ever.  Can't imagine feeling like I had to.

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If this guy has these photos up, has been throughout the 3 years since his divorce, and has dated a bunch of women that he has on there as well...he's never wanted to take them down because I'm sure anyone else he's been with has said something to him...meaning you are not the first and the requests still have not been complied with. He's not oblivious, he just doesn't want to do it. He's a grown adult...he knows how you feel but he ain't gonna be changing a thing. He likes having those on his FB page. Shows you truly what kind of mind sent he has.

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I would consider a gentle inquiry to learn whether the man is considering the feelings of his children and would prefer not to hatchet up his SM if any of his kids are having adjustment problems with the divorce.

We can all side with you because yous is the side we’re dealing with. But sometimes the resolution to a problem is about putting an adversarial approach aside and shooting for the relationship to get a win instead of one or the other. I’d delve deeper with curiosity rather than jump to accusations.

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1 hour ago, smackie9 said:

If this guy has these photos up, has been throughout the 3 years since his divorce, and has dated a bunch of women that he has on there as well...he's never wanted to take them down because I'm sure anyone else he's been with has said something to him...meaning you are not the first and the requests still have not been complied with. He's not oblivious, he just doesn't want to do it

Great point. I'm more used to the scenario where it's a recent ex, first new gf etc.

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