Ask Evie: my boyfriend keeps liking thirst traps

This probably seems like such a cliche problem, but my boyfriend (of 4 months) won’t stop liking thirst traps…

I used to post them myself but stopped it when I got into a relationship, yet I constantly click on hot pictures of girls and find him in the likes.

It makes me really uncomfortable and I’m also starting to feel a bit more insecure about my own body as all these girls are really fit and skinny. I don’t know how to bring it up to him and haven’t tried yet, but I wish he would’ve just stopped already as it’s making me hate myself and him too.

I’d appreciate any tips. I don’t know if I’m overreacting or if it’s just not cool on his part to keep liking pictures of half naked girls.

 

Thanks for writing in.

I do believe the dilemma that social media brings to relationships is a bit of a conundrum.

In terms of you and your partner’s social media, I do believe you both have to work on communicating your expectations and then find a compromise that works for both of you.

Obviously, this is far easier said than done!

But I noticed that you mentioned not yet having brought up your feelings to your boyfriend. At 4 months in, you’re still fairly early in your relationship and no doubt working out each other’s needs. This will also involve a bit of give and take in learning how you can grow together and better accommodate each other’s needs.

Platforms like Instagram have made online interactions a little more complicated for couples. I do think that giving your partner the benefit of the doubt and voicing how his behavior makes you feel is the first necessary step towards finding a solution that works for both of you.

No one (or at least the majority of people) wants to see their partner eyeing up others when in a committed relationship. However, dating online and using such platforms can lead many to think ‘less’ of what a like or a comment constitutes.

What you might consider to be common sense and respectful to you might not yet be the same as what your partner feels – which is why it’s critical that you sit down and have an open discussion about why he’s liking certain pictures, explain how it makes you feel, and invite him into the discussion to try and find a middle ground that suits both of you.

Getting accustomed to relationship life and how you need to balance the emotional needs of a whole other person doesn’t come so naturally to some, so he may well not realize how this behavior is impacting you. He might well be shocked to learn how this is hurting you, he might deem your reaction overly sensitive – how he responds to finding out will gauge the next steps you both take.

I also want to add to the above, in response to how you’ve voiced that some of these images make you feel a bit more insecure about your own appearance, that reflecting on your own emotional response to seeing him interact with certain images is also important.

Although it’s easy to get caught up in a trap of comparison, many of these images won’t be an accurate representation of the subjects look like in stark daylight – unedited, airbrushed, unposed and un-photoshopped.

What you see/what you’re seeing him like online is a minute snapshot of someone’s appearance that has no doubt been tailored and edited to try and push this ideal of perfection –  which really does not exist. It’s unfortunate to beat yourself up for not looking like pictures online, but try to remind yourself that these models don’t look like themselves either.

Social media is unfortunately the villain when it comes to comparisons.

It’s easy to compare yourself to a snapshot likely taken in a professional studio, with a glam team, professional photographers, and a host of photo editors. But try and remind yourself that:

  1. your partner has chosen you and is clearly attracted to you,
  2.  social media is notorious for pushing a fake, edited world that is far from reality,
  3. all relationships require communication and learning about the other person. From here on, there will be periods where you upset one another, and it’s your job to express these feelings and work as a team to mitigate the situations.

I will add that if this continues to occur despite you expressing all of the feelings you’ve shared with me, you will need to think about whether or not your partner is able to meet your needs.

It’s all good and well mistakenly upsetting your partner when you’re oblivious to your behavior, but as I always like to say; once is a mistake, twice is a decision.

If you decide that this act of seeing your partner browsing and liking other images is beyond your limits and negatively impacts your emotional wellbeing, yet despite trying to find a solution this continues to happen, consider the long-term impacts.

You’ve already mentioned that you’re growing resentful of yourself and him, and whilst I do believe that with communication and effort these types of rifts can be repaired, someone who is not willing to hear you out nor adapt to your needs (in the process, you will also need to understand and to a degree adapt to theirs) is demonstrating an unwillingness to grow and learn with you.

All in all, I hope you find the confidence and strength to express your feelings.

Try and explain this to him as candidly as you have told me, and be open to listening to his perspective and hopefully finding an outcome that works for the both of you.

All the best,

Evie

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

Ask Evie

Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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