Should I Care What My Boyfriend “Likes” on Instagram?

If you’ve ever found yourself deep on your ex’s Instagram post-breakup, you know that the app can make it difficult to move on. Lurking on social media is a classic form of self-sabotage for the heartbroken, but I’ve found it especially challenging to navigate when I’m in a relationship.

Have you ever scrolled through your Discover feed and realized that Instagram’s algorithm has surfaced a photo of a mysterious girl for you because the person you’re dating liked it? I have. Multiple times, with one particular guy. Each time, my life would descend into chaos. I’d take screenshots, text my friends, call my mom and, of course, try to figure out who in the world that girl even was.

We were a few months into our relationship the first time it happened; he was working across the country at the time. After seeing his likes on booty pic after booty pic, I started wondering what in the world was going on 2,000 miles away. (And, more pressingly, was there something wrong with my butt?) When I finally worked up the nerve to mention it, I did so over text and received a really apologetic and understanding response. I thought the issue was settled.

Fast forward one year. We’re still together, I’m scrolling through Instagram and there it is again: a trail of likes on unfamiliar women’s photos. Seriously? I felt an all-too-familiar wave of nausea. I again resorted to sending him a text asking what was up with all the liking. The answer I got wasn’t as receptive as the last; he said something along the lines of, “Am I not allowed to think my friends look good?” That he actually knew them somehow irked me more. He eventually toned down the defensiveness and told me it didn’t mean anything, and that’s what I tried to focus on.

I’m not going to pretend it didn’t matter to me. With hindsight, it’s clear how much it did. I remember feeling completely crushed and unappreciated. Even today, I’m still unsure whether my reaction was warranted. I’m still not confident of whose perspective, mine or his, was more in need of adjusting. On one hand, I’m on Instagram mindlessly liking pictures all day. Maybe he was, too. On the other, his actions felt like a betrayal of trust the way my liking photos of shoes never would. I recall a friend comparing his liking to checking out a girl on the street — weren’t they both harmless? I understood her point; even in the thick of love, a living, breathing human can still notice a person is attractive. And yet, this felt more hurtful than an on-the-street glance.

All relationships are different, but when I found myself years-deep in a random woman’s Instagram at 4 a.m., I realized that mine was nothing if I didn’t trust my boyfriend. Eventually our relationship ended. I’d hesitate to cite the Instagram liking as an actual reason — there were a few things wrong — but I know now that, for me, it’s important to create boundaries for what I choose to take in and disclose. Instagram may be the framework through which we choose to see and share information, but how we interact with it is our prerogative. Nowadays, the only photos I click on in my Discover feed are those of well-dressed chihuahuas, and I don’t scroll through my followers’ activities.

On Instagram, we have the power to present ourselves in the way we want, whether that’s true to who we really are or not. My ex-boyfriend claimed his behavior was not flirtatious, yet he still felt compelled to double-tap — to send the tiniest beam of communication. Perhaps I was being naive, or perhaps there is a larger social narrative at play here, where men are so accustomed to evaluating women that they practically don’t even notice themselves doing it.

Have you experienced this? What do you think about it? I’m eager to hear more perspectives.

Photography: Louisiana Mei Gelpi
Creation Direction: Emily Zirimis

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  • Emily

    I have a friend who gets really upset when her boyfriend does this, and I reckon I’d be really upset if mine did too… it somehow feels more “seedier” than checking people out on the street? Its a lot more communicative, as you said, and almost like they WANTED them to know that they saw, and they literally liked it? Great post!

    • Hayley

      Instagram provides a level of protection/privacy for this kind of behavior that would not normally occur if someone was just “checking out” someone walking by.

      • Emily

        Amen sister!

    • cuz there’s evidence!

  • Adrianna

    I probably wouldn’t waste my time dating someone who doesn’t have the common sense to not like other girls or women’s photos. This guy sounded too immature to be in a relationship.

  • Anoushka

    My boyfriend isn’t on Instagram, thank god. I’m already paranoid enough! With all the opportunities for people to interact these days, from dating apps to social media, it’s becoming increasingly hard to feel comfortable in a relationship, especially as everyone I speak to these days seems to have a story of being cheated on that at least partially unfolded online. It’s becoming so easy to flirt online, from likes to disappearing photos to messages on umpteen different apps. And there’s so much choice available too thanks to the internet, it really is quite scary. I would definitely be upset if a guy I was dating was liking booty shots online – it’s basically the 21st century version of flirting, and to do it right in front of you (digitally speaking) is just rude.

    • Emily

      AMEN!!! So well put! Exactly what I was thinking (but failed to write so eloquently)… I completely and utterly agree! It’s so easy to cheat now!

    • Adrianna

      There’s always been a version of this problem. The guy I dated in high school spent his free time sitting around and chatting with girls off of chatrooms, Xanga, and Myspace. He saved images on his Photobucket, which he may have not noticed wasn’t private.

      However, I haven’t had this issue with texting or apps in my current relationship of five years. I can honestly say that I never suspected him of talking to another girl.

      I think the type of person who would cheat through apps or social media wouldn’t have been a great partner pre-internet either.

      • Micah Lpez

        Thats the same thing I was thinking, would you ever really know if they are cheating ?!? I think everyone is capable of lying and obscuring the truth. Ultimately no matter the relationship, things will start to crumble if you don’t trust the person. Constant surveillance just makes relationships look weak IMO.

      • belle

        This is reassuring to hear!

        • Adrianna

          It’s similar to the discussion about how our phones are ruining our social and dating skills. I went to high school in the middle of no where in Pennsylvania 2003-2007. There were no towns where kids hung out after school. We went home and immediately turned on our computers. So much of my dating life and drama was about what was posted on AIM away messages/profiles, Xanga, and Myspace. It was kind of normal to reference a friend that you never actually met in person. I could think of several people who found their first relationships on the internet.

      • Amy Brumbpo Tungus

        Photobucket!! I haven’t heard that name in years…..

      • Pterodactyl111

        Yes. Cheaters gonna cheat, and trustworthy people are gonna be trustworthy.

    • potato

      I’m so glad I opened this article and found the comments. For once, my feelings feel validated. About 6 months after my boyfriend and I started dating I started to get weary of the bikini pics that would pop up on his Facebook, often of girls he’d hooked up with in the past. Then one of those girls added him on Snapchat and would send him pics. It created an incredibly rough patch in our relationship because A. I constantly compared myself to these girls, and B. even though I hadn’t previously felt suspicious of him, I knew he could so easily be deceiving me, so I became constantly suspicious.

      We’ve now been together four years, but it came to the point that I asked him to remove those girls from his friends list. I’ve spent most of our relationship thinking I was crazy/controlling, but I just really couldn’t stop feeling bad about it when I knew my boyfriend had instant access to half naked pictures of girls he’d previously hooked up with. I honestly don’t think we’d be together still if he hadn’t. I know that makes me seem insecure, and maybe I am, but that doesn’t mean I should have to be unhappy in a relationship or not in a relationship at all.

  • Cate

    I think it’s fine for guys to have female friends and like their stuff on Instagram. It’s a different story if he’s constantly liking just one particular girl or if the photos are provocative. Aside from the fact that that feels like more of a betrayal, I question any guy who goes on liking sprees of ass photos in a public forum.

    That said, if I’ve learned anything, it’s trust your gut. Girls are told that we’re crazy all of the time, and that makes you second guess some of the things that your brain puts together for you. Most of the times that I’ve talked myself down from “I think he likes her,” I was actually correct (which sucks, but is the truth).

  • Clara

    I have the same feelings here and I always feel like I’m being pulled between “it’s not a big deal” and “but this is how I feel and it bothers me”, leaving me in the middle feeling guilt-ridden and somewhat ashamed? It’s particularly difficult here because these are people that he claimed were friends, so there is potential for you to feel guilty about asking him to stop. Either way, your feelings are valid. There’s certain pride in sending out that “beam of communication” – he’s certainly validating that “yes, I think you’re hot” (here assuming that that’s the clearly desired reaction to the post), which really isn’t necessary when it comes down to it.

    I agree with a below commenter, that it sounds like he was a bit immature, and there were likely other reasons that your trust was compromised in this case. You are not being unreasonable in expecting that a dude you’re dating isn’t constantly liking thirst traps on Instagram. Seems a little cheeseball for a dude to be making that kind of thing public in any case, girlfriend or not.

    • Candice Chantalou

      “I’m being pulled between “it’s not a big deal” and “but this is how I
      feel and it bothers me”, leaving me in the middle feeling guilt-ridden
      and somewhat ashamed?” Is the BEST way I’ve heard this whole scenario described. I think so many of us feel this way. Did anyone read that article a woman wrote about her boyfriend liking EmRata’s butt pics, and then the BACKLASH she received for being “overly sensitive”/”silly”/”crazy”. I felt so bad for her 🙁 Women so constantly have those feelings! It’s no wonder we feel ashamed when the response is so consistently negative for voicing our feelings.

      • Olivia AP

        Now I want to read that article! I was dating some dude who ALWAYS liked photos of models butts and boobs, and you know these IG accounts that are just tits and asses. He only liked photos of women he didn’t know, but still felt so wrong.
        I feel like some men are secretly aiming to have this model gf, even when it’s out of their league which is a very douchey move

      • belle

        I am so torn on what I think of Emily Ratajkowski. I know she talks a big game with feminism/sexuality/equality etc. but I just can’t get over the fact that she’s literally famous because she has big boobs and an emaciated body and danced topless in a music video for a rapey song sung by a total creepy stalker. She has freely admitted that she was sexualized from a young age (true for all women, especially if you develop early) which is really fucked up, so I understand why she is motivated to turn that around and make a career out of being sexy (exploit the patriarchal system that exploited her, etc.) I agree that women should feel free to indulge in intimacy and sexuality without shame (especially when men are not held to the same double standard) but I can’t help but think that posting softcore porn on social media for public consumption is not representative of healthy sexuality for a woman OR a man. I find it so weird that people fall to either extreme of “Conservative prude” or “Liberated exhibitionist.” I wouldn’t bat an eye at casual nudity (sunbathing, breastfeeding, changing clothes) but I bristle when faced with the constant and relentless sexualization and self-objectification of the female body.

        Then again, my general Instagram rule is to look at someone’s last five photos, and if three or more are solo photos of them, I don’t follow. A handy trick to save everyone from a lot of self-promotion and digital narcissism…

        • Emily

          Amen about EmRata… I agree

      • ESW

        I am less worried when it is someone like EmRata, who is not going to give my husband the time of day, than a real-life hot girl or instamodel, who might.

    • I think you’re spot on! I’m so glad that my husband doesn’t use ANY social media, but if he did, I would feel similar. If I could see what stuff my partner was liking, other people could too! It’s not the kind of trail you want to be leaving around for friends, family members, or work colleagues to find either. Plus, it sends a message to his “friend” that he’s looking at her butt posts – it’s weird and inappropriate.

      Not to mention that we’re all faced with unrealistic images of beauty wherever we go, so feeling like you’re comparing yourself in real life to someone’s perfectly lit, posed Instagram photo is just so unfair. I once had a friend’s boyfriend tell me I shouldn’t bother blogging or posting on Instagram because there are “so many girls, who are so, so hot on there.” As if a woman can’t post for any other reason than to look sexy for men – give me a break! It revealed a lot more about what he was using the app for. A little bit of a red flag, don’t you think?

    • Claire Thompson

      I think this is so true! The other one I get when I confront my boyfriend about liking and following bikini models is “its normal, all guys do this” and then of course he gets really defensive. This is by far the biggest issue in a relationship that is otherwise pretty solid, so I’ve sort of accepted that this is just a blemish on his character that I can’t change, and that gets outweighed by all the good stuff. I think it helps that we have a very trusting relationship and I know he would never cheat.

      When it comes to following friends and ex-girlfriends I think it is different. I’ve had ex-boyfriends continue to like my pictures after we have broken up and its creepy, like they want you to know they’d still go there. That has made my pity their current girlfriends and wonder what I was ever thinking being with a creep like that!

  • Zoë

    This article just made me go scroll for 3 whole mins in the Following tab to the last photo my boyfriend liked on Instagram, and it was a video of a German shepherd puppy. Phew.

    On a side note, what are people’s thoughts on their s.o. sharing about your relationships on their own profile? My boyfriend has never posted about us on his. Why do we see this as a “step” in the relationship? Like it’s not serious yet if you both haven’t shown your love the world of Instagram? It bothers me that this is a thing, but unfortunately I do feel like he hasn’t committed fully until he has shared something about us on there, like I have on mine.


    • Emily

      Totally agree that for me I wouldn’t feel fully “at ease” I suppose, until he had…, and totally agree that that is such a stupid thing to feel! Here goes social media, adding another way to make us feel worse / compare our relationships…!!

    • AC

      My husband and I have been together for 5 years and he dislikes social media with a passion. He doesn’t have a single social media account, which I think is awesome. Because I respect his position, I don’t have any photos of us together on my social media accounts. We are still 100% committed without sharing our lives on Instagram.

    • sq

      wow this is a thing, what is social media doing to people!

      • Zoë

        Turning us into over analyzing crazies

    • Adrianna

      This is very 2011, but my boyfriend and I set our anniversary to the day we changed our relationship status on Facebook. (We were also 22/23)

      I’m pretty active on Instagram. But I’m also a photographer and photo retoucher – I think visually. I post photos of what I think is pretty. Sometimes my boyfriend looks pretty.

      My boyfriend poked fun when I complained that he never posted photos of me. He’s not particularly active, but I pointed out all the photos he’s posted of food, friends, and his dog during the few years we were together. My argument is that it’s a form of PDA. It stopped bothering me as soon as he posted a couple. Ironically he recently complained that I haven’t posted any photos of him in a while.

    • I think that just depends on the other person’s social media use. If I was dating a guy that’s super active and always posts photos of his friends I probably would get a bit hurt if he never posted a picture of me, even if it is stupid. My boyfriend is kind of active, he posts if he did something/went somewhere interesting and if he happened to take a photo of/with me he’ll post it. I try not to post too many photos of us because I don’t want to be the annoying person who always posts couple photos.

  • DonutEverLetMeGo

    My ex boyfriend did this with pictures of girls he knew, and I hated it, but never spoke up. Even when we broke up, and he became serious with someone else, he would continually like MY pictures. Until I blocked him. For him, I think it was a way of passively flirting, and I didn’t want to be involved in that.

    But liking pictures of instagram “models” your boyfriend clearly doesn’t personally know? It’s just a little skeezy and immature, in my opinion. I don’t like the idea of policing what my boyfriend can look at, but ‘liking’ it is public! I do think it’s akin to openly checking someone out, which is disrespectful when it’s in front of your girlfriend and/or her friends.

    • missmg

      My ex did this to me for years, I didn’t follow him or like his photos or even look at them. I found it so annoying that I blocked him too. If you dump someone and break their heart you give up the right to like their photos and interact with them on social media IMO!

  • CatherineAlvarez

    Instagram = socially acceptable softcore porn that’s accessible at all times

    I had a very similar experience that broke my self esteem a year ago. My bf was sitting next to me on the couch and was showing me the cute puppies that were coming up on his “Things you might like” feed and then out of habit he opened up the next booty picture on that same feed right in front of me. He half apologized and didn’t think of what it really meant to me.

    I later looked at his “things you might like” feed again and realized that it was almost all booty/pretty much naked photos of women. It was extremely upsetting because that feed is specifically catered to what you actively look at and it was clear what his interests were. I get that people occasionally watch porn to get off but something felt different about this situation. When people normally watch porn, it’s for the specific reason of wanking off, but constantly looking at softcore porn images throughout the entire day without even realizing it made me feel inadequate – like he needed to always look and objectify women more beautiful than me. This might not be the best comparison but it felt similar to those people who are addicted to unrealistic porn and eventually realize that they’ve become desensitized to real life women.

    Anyway, here I am, still a little broken by it but back on instagram. I unfortunately got back on after quitting for 6 months because of this specific incident. I didn’t want to think about my bf constantly doing this all day and I knew that there was just nothing I could do. And TBH, quitting instagram’s carefully crafted pictures of friends “having fun” was REALLY good for my mental health. Heck, maybe i’ll do it again.

    • Emily

      I’ve just come off Instagram again for this exact reason! Comparison really is the thief of joy, and constantly comparing myself to what everyone else was doing / curated that they were doing, was destroying me! I’m so sorry that happened to you with a partner, it would have broken my self esteem too 🙁

      • jules_js

        I love being off instagram currently!! finding so much more happiness and satisfaction in my own simple lil life these days rather than worrying about how it compares to all the stuff everyone else is doing and posting

        • Emily

          Agreed!!! Me too! I came off it for 3 months and I’d never felt better! I’m terrible for comparing things, and then I bring myself down! I need to concentrate on myself, not what everyone else is doing!

          • Kat

            I love Instagram, but I don’t follow many of my friends on it, and as soon as someone I follow makes me feel bad, I unfollow them. My feed is mostly photos of awesome nature shots like mountains, forests and lakes, art from artists I follow, and a few animals 🙂
            It can be a tool for helping your mental health, if you use it differently!

          • Emily

            I hadn’t thought of it like that, thanks 🙂

    • belle

      My “things you might like” literally has the heading “Turtles & Tortoises” so yeah you could say I’m doing life right.

      Also should add that I totally agree with your feelings. I had a previous boyfriend who basically used Tumblr for softcore porn and it was all women who didn’t look like me….he definitely had a “type” (especially seeing all his girlfriends since, who are like carbon copies of each other) and it sucked to realize it wasn’t me when we were still dating.

      • CWodehouse

        That’s my main issue—noticing that there is a definitive type (who he followed and friended before me, and still follows). Tiny, athletic, model-ish, wakeboarders, snowboarders, adventurers… things he told me when we first started dating were on his “list” of what he wanted in a woman and had been looking for the last 10 years of bachelorhood. I’ve tried to change and learn the things I didn’t have to fit the bill and assimilate, but it’s exhausting and breaking me down, clouding the things about me that are different and make me confident. Knowing that he can still wistfully look at these dream women, double tap to send them that ‘beam of communication,’ (especially to the ones he’d dated) and possibly wonder what could be with them… it drives me nuts. Feels like he has one foot in the past, in a fantasy. I’ll forever compare myself to them as long as I know he’s seeing them each morning when he’s scrolling through his feed. Seems unfair that we have to compete with this unrealistic accessibility in this day and age. (p.s. none of my exes even have social media, so I can’t even give him a taste of his own medicine!)

        • belle

          That sucks. It’s definitely HIS problem, not yours, but of course you’re the one bearing the burden…. 🙁

          • Justin Paul

            Do not give women misinformation because you think it’s gonna make them feel better. All the women on this thread are citing the fact that they are comparing themselves to these women. The problem has nothing to do with their boyfriends and everything to do with themselves; their self esteem, body image, and identity…with those things, nothing anyone else does or says will change that. All of that comes from an internal perception of the self. If i were claiming to be someone who can help, I’d tell them to seek counseling for why they feel this way, and why they hold Instagram in such high regard .. it’s f*cking Instagram, get over it or go back to high school

          • belle

            lol wut

          • Justin Paul

            If you don’t understand what I wrote, maybe go back to school and take eng 001, reading comprehension 👌🏼

          • belle

            Sadly, I do understand.

      • jumpsuit1

        Yes, tumblr too. When we first started dating, my bf used to scroll through it next to me on the couch and just all types of naked girls, porn photos would come up, I felt terrible, knowing he subscribed to these feeds too. I had to have a few teary convos telling him how disrespected I felt and how rude it was, of course I’m going to feel bad if I see that!

  • Lydyass

    I think its totally valid to feel uncomfortable with it. Liking another friends post is normal (if its sexual maybe not) and liking a bikini models post who they don’t know? Yeah, not okay. I am one to get really uncomfortable when men blatantly check out other chicks in front of me or make comments about women walking past. Doesn’t matter if we are friends or acquaintances or in a serious relationship I think it’s disrespectful and I believe it objectifies women. If they’re objectifying a complete stranger then what do they think of me and do they really respect me as an equal? Their behaviour tells me that they probably don’t and I’ll be quick to bail. I get we are human and have ingrained biological ‘urges’ but there is a point where we have developed to become socially conscious beings where that sort of behaviour is now unacceptable and shouldn’t really be tolerated.

    • Lydyass

      It’s like Trump awkwardly complimenting Brigitte Macron on her appearance. Just no.

  • Nicole

    This is really hard for me, especially when women are told to minimize reactions that others may seem as unwarranted or extreme. This very situation would bother me a lot. I think if they’re legitimate female friends of his, that’s understandable, but this would upset me too.I think what’s also upsetting is that he dismissed your requests instead of owning up to the fact that it was something that hurt you, even if he recognizes or doesn’t see it as totally rational. I’m sort of dreading this aspect of my next relationship, because it seems unavoidable.

    • Kat

      It’s not unavoidable! My boyfriend is really good at recognising my feelings, even when they are a bit crazy (all sorts of crazy hormones going on ATM to try to treat my endometriosis).
      Of course the only issue is I then have to step up to his level and recognise HIS feelings, and calmly discuss why we feel that way. It’s hard but totally worth it!

    • Not Lenny!

      If they’re actually friends then I think it’s whatever. Hell, even a legitimate celeb doesn’t annoy me the way instamodels/softcore porn does.

      • Kiks


  • Micah Lpez

    Reading these comments really have me wondering if people don’t realize that partaking in social media has become so unconscious as breathing or moving our limbs. We spend our whole days endlessly scrolling on pretty pictures and monotonous announcements from our curated feeds but we aren’t truly digesting it. If a significant others finds themselves liking a picture of someone who looks attractive, should’t it just be treated as some meaningless public appreciation?!?

    • Erin

      I totally agree with you, Micah. In fact, I’m quite surprised there are fewer comments such as yours on this article.

      Scrolling and liking and re-posting have become almost subconscious acts; many times perpetuated with little thought or planning. As someone who dumps dozens of likes without the activation of more than two brain cells, I would hate to be judged by my significant other for such meaningless behavior.

    • Not Lenny!

      Isn’t it a little insidious that looking at softcore porn has just become an unconscious part of life though? And that men so frequently include it in their curated feeds?

  • I have never dated anyone who posted a lot on social media, so perhaps I would act differently in the moment. But I’ve never felt the need to check up on my boyfriend’s social media activity in the first place and I do have to wonder if this is more a sign of a deeper trust issue than a problem in itself? I know I have male friends whose posts I ‘like’ – and yet that is obviously a completely innocent gesture, expressed in exactly the same way as I would to a female friend. My instinct would be to assume the same of my partner until they gave me a reason to doubt them.

    Having said that, if you have had a past experience of cheating (particularly online) then I totally understand the insecurity this kind of behaviour would create.
    Likewise, if the pictures are particularly provocative then that’s worth having a conversation. However if they’re just women you don’t know – I would presume it’s innocent

  • MKP

    i would also be interested in opinions of ex-boyfriends throwing you a double tap on insta posts – what’s the end game on that?? ~emotional breadcrumbing~

  • M

    To me, being uncomfortable with your S.O. publicly giving out his approval to sexual images of other women is reasonable. The fact that his actions made you feel “completely crushed and unappreciated” is not insignificant. The title of this article is “Should I Care…?” but to ask if you should care about something you clearly care about is to give other people the power to delegitimize your experience. Your boyfriend’s defense was just a lame excuse.

  • katikeyes

    I am not trying to undercut what is truly a difficult relationship situation to navigate, BUT if you want a laugh, I started an instagram account for exactly this purpose. It’s called @daily_bulge and it’s all pictures of 70s/80s rockstars wearing pants that are too tight IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Next time you catch your man liking a bunch of mysterious lingerie models on instagram, give him a taste of his own medicine: like a bulge bigger than his 😉

    • katikeyes

      Like, just imagine the flip side of this whole thing…
      “Dear Maxim Magazine,
      My girlfriend keeps liking photos of Robert Plant, David Bowie, Bruce Dickinson, and Freddie Mercury’s crotches. Should I be worried?”

    • You are my hero.

    • Engels_Beard

      Thank you for this goldmine.

    • You are a genious! Giving men a taste of their own medicine. Love it! Next time my husband does that to me I will be all over your feed liking David Bowie’s mighty crotch.

      • Paul Ó Raghallaigh

        Omg girls can be worse than guys! Mighty crotch!? We don’t like Emma Watsons pics cuz of her pussy, its a general appreciation of beauty that any rational woman can understand. Its an insta “like” so what!

        • Shanmu Chen

          But we don’t like that you think Emma Watson is a beauty when the reality is she has a spotty, average, little boy face under mounds of heavy make up, smoky eyes and airbrush. That’s the problem. You’re easily fooled and we know we are as worthy of a like as she.

    • Roos .

      While I think it’s funny and creative, I don’t think it “works”. Men are not (yet!) as objectified as women are (sexually), but they are catching up (or rather: the industry is sinking their teeth in boys/men’s self esteem too). And also, even if it did work: hitting back is not a constructive tactic. Even if it feels good for a bit.

    • Sarah Beckx


    • Justin Paul

      To be quite honest, no secure guy is going to give a flying f**k if you go around liking photos of rockstars bulges. If anything, he would lose respect for you and most likely distance himself. Double standard? Maybe, but possibly the larger question is why does a man liking photos of women stir up so much emotion that it makes you more interested in his day to day activities? I say that doing anything to get back at a man, especially this, is just going to backfire. Now, if youre with an insecure puppy dog b*tch boy, you’ll get your desired effect; why even be with a guy like that to begin with though?

      Just my 2 cents

  • Tanya

    This is a tough one! First of all I believe I may be older than most people responding and spent most of y dating year PRE-Instagram and PRE-everything tech…that being said I am dating a man who follows stuff on Instagram etc. The key word here is ETC…you are right, you cannot police a man’s activities and if you attempt to, all this will do is cause him to go further underground. I really believe that what we are really talking about is our confidence in ourselves as women and our trust in our relationships. I don’t look at my boyfriend’s phone ever. I trust that he loves me and wouldn’t hurt me and I also trust that if I snooped on his phone I would find something that would upset me of that nature and i’d rather not feel that way. So I let him live parts of his fantasy life and he lets me live mine ( which includes shoes and puppies but still) That’s because during the last phase of my previous relationship I started to feel something was “off” in my gut…which prompted me to snoop, and I found what I feared. As soon as I saw enough words to confirm, I confronted and it was the end..I didn’t need to see every gory detail, that would only hurt ME…but I knew in my heart…so why snoop unless you don’t feel right in the relationship in the first place?…now if you are “friends” on Instagram and you can see the “likes” and they are for someone else’s body parts, that is just plain rude, but says noting about you or your butt…my biggest question? Why are those women showing pictures of their butts ? Why do THEY need the validation so badly … NOW THAT makes me sad…guys ARE wired differently and that requires acceptance. The more we accept that and stop judging them the less inclined they will be to act immaturely about it and give us the same respect by not shoving it our faces.
    My thoughts

  • Christine

    Don’t we have better things to worry about than the crap our partner is looking at on Instagram? Our careers, our friendships, our relationship? It’s human nature to look at people we find attractive, and it’s never bothered me when a boyfriend has followed attractive (even scantily clad) women on Instagram. We have a solid relationship, and her being attractive doesn’t diminish me or my relationship with my boyfriend. She posted the picture, so it’s not as if viewers are creepily oogling a picture that wasn’t supposed to be public. If a man’s shady enough in real life to mess with your mind and make you obsessively go through his social media then I think it’s time to dump him and find someone better. But don’t waste your valuable time (or your mom’s, or friend’s) trying to stalk the photos he liked on Instagram! It’s just a sign of a bigger relationship issue.

  • Emmmmieee

    Men are visually wired – we all know this. In a time of constant self expression and competing autobiographies, humility and self discipline IS GOLD. I completely relate. Unfortunately, I believe the issue goes both ways. Good men are self aware and value women who don’t have an insistent need for this kind of affirmation. For example, I feel my guy would wonder why I would want to post such a pic. just like I would wonder why he would like it. I love my ladies and power to the she-wolf but this is another issue of a society that is addicted to image and praises narcissism.

    • Not Lenny!

      This is a myth actually – women and men are all on a spectrum when it comes to being “visually wired.” It’s just that men have grown up their whole lives objectifying women and women have grown up seeing men as people.

  • Corinna

    Ok, potentially unpopular opinion: I don’t think this kind of thing should matter in a relationship. What your bf likes on Instagram usually speaks very little about your relationship but how you feel about that “like” usually speaks volumes. I’ve been there in the past and I understand the feeling, definitely not trying to downplay that. I just think it has a lot more to do with self confidence and the confidence you have in the relationship. I follow a couple of male models and if that made my bf feel inadequate or doubt our relationship, I would seriously question our future together. The times I have felt that sting in past relationships was usually indicative of much larger issues. And I get it, none of us actually want to know when our bf’s check a girl out or watch porn but as humans we all understand the impulse. The only difference is with Instagram there’s a public digital footprint.
    That being said, you were right to call out your bf because regardless of opinion, feelings are feelings and they should be respected in a relationship.

    • sq

      yeah I agree with this, I mean I’ve looked at pictures on instagram of people I find attractive, and follow maybe a few people who I do, and it really has no impact on my relationship or anything else. Maybe the difference in this situation is that he knew the people whose photos he was liking.

    • I agree with you. I’ve never checked what my boyfriend likes on instagram (or any of my followers – just going through my own feed takes up enough time) but once he was scrolling beside me and I noticed he was following some models. He even showed me and asked if I minded, which I thought was nice. I follow hot people on instagram too, that doesn’t mean I’m not satisfied with my boyfriend. Now we even send each other hot profiles for fun sometimes.

    • Erin


    • Haley Nahman

      Totally on board with what you said and also want to present another, tangential way of looking at it:

      I think the reason it doesn’t play both ways in equal measure is that women have historically been and still are objectified to perilous ends. I understand wanting to wave it off and say it doesn’t matter but I think that does the whole topic a disservice.

      It depends on the relationship, but for me, the role feminism plays in my relationship is important. I think discussing something like the objectification of women on Instagram is worth exploring. Not as categorically wrong! But just as a behavioral extension of a value system that’s worth questioning. I’ve had this conversation, actually, with the dude I’m dating. It was super interesting.

      I don’t think finger-pointing is the answer, but I think it’s worth every person’s time to stop and ponder what subconscious drivers are at play, and what toxic conditioning might be getting reinforced through certain behaviors. We ALL have these. We are all conditioned in ways that harm marginalized groups. It’s up to us to question what feels like “instinct.” Instagram liking is such a small part of that. But there is obviously so much more to it — I think that’s why women feel such a way about it. For that reason alone, I agree, it’s worth the discussion.

      • sq

        ‘the objectification of women on Instagram is worth exploring’

        but what about the fact that lots of these so called objectified women on instagram would argue that they are making a feminist choice to put images of themselves in a bikini on instagram, and are not objectified.

        • Not Lenny!

          Liberal feminists argue that every choice they make is a feminist one these days.

          • sq

            Yeah that’s my point, on the one hand is a guy liking random photos on instagram the same as if he was checking someone out in the street? Because lots of women choose to put these sorts of photos of themselves on instagram and then claim that it’s a feminist choice to do this (@emtrata), whereas women don’t choose to get checked out on the street. So I’m not too sure what Haley’s point is, how is it objectification if some of these women on instagram post these photos of their own accord, and know what sort of attention they are going to get. On the other hand, you could argue that they have internalised the male gaze, and therefor their choice to put these pictures of themselves on instagram is one where they objectify themselves, based on this internalisation, but that’s kind of patronising.

          • Haley Nahman

            This is the exact exploration I was referring too! None of this is nearly examined enough, if you ask me. (And I think you agree, at least based on your response.) I do think there is a lot of internalized misogyny at play, on both sides. But whether or not that’s the case, I don’t think two wrongs (men are misogynistic, women are appropriating their gaze) or two rights (men are not misogynistic, women are not appropriating their gaze) cancel each other out and make the topic not worth thinking about. Because neither of those realities would ever be completely true.

            I think we all should spend more time considering the drivers at play when we post, like, etc. I think the whole topic is worth of discussion in a relationship and just in general. I think that’s why I always dig my heels in when people want to brush it off.

            Can’t stress enough, by the way, the we aren’t at fault for our own conditioning! But we are if we refuse to question it.

          • sq

            Really interesting points Haley

      • Madeline C

        I’m also going to offer a potentially less popular opinion. This just kind of struck me and I thought I would share in the interest of letting ideas flow. In college in one of my classes, we used to have the idea of sharing on “shaky feet.” Mainly just sharing while you are working out the ideas in your head, just to get them out there, just to help organize and get feedback but they might not be your own yet. Here goes:

        I’m having a little trouble with the idea that if you value feminism in your relationship, then you would care about this more. Like maybe I am reading too much into this, but this feels like an insinuation that if you don’t care what your boyfriend does on Instagram, maybe you don’t appreciate the feminist repercussions.

        My partner and I are feminists. We talk about these issues and challenge each other on a daily basis. Having said that, I also send him pictures of half naked women on Instagram as a way of flirting. I know, eye roll, this kind of feels like the ‘cool girl’ trope where I’m falling onto what my partner likes sexually to appear ‘chill’ even though it bothers me deep down. But genuinely it’s hot to me. It is like going to the sex shop and looking at all the toys before you go home and have some fun of your own. It’s foreplay to us. I’ve never noticed him liking other women’s photos, but it would not bother me if he did.

        Am I being naive? Is this being a ‘bad’ feminist? Am I toxically conditioned? Probably, I don’t know, and YES. But I don’t think that historical objectification of women should temper a woman’s ability to sexually express herself (via Instagram and other) and let the rest of us live in a world filled with that vitality. Fundamentally I agree with Corinna. I think this is more about the type of relationship you have with your partner and what those “likes” mean to you. I believe that they can mean everything and nothing. And there is no wrong answer. I think it’s more about having that conversation with your partner and coming to the table about what it means for the two of you. If it does bother you, and you bring it up, and they shut it down, or don’t care, or don’t listen…..THAT is the inherent societal problem. Not the appreciation of women sexually, the inability for men to see our societal valuation on the physical appearance of women as something that can affect their partner deeply. That can and does affect women on a daily basis. There are miles of thoughts to unpack on this subject, obviously. And I do think it’s incredibly valuable to check yourself consistently. Assess what is subconsciously driving you and deciding, consciously, if it is how you want to proceed, especially if you want to grow as a feminist.

        Anyway, thank you for this article! It has had me thinking about a lot of deep cuts/feminist issues/partner conversations, and anything that does that is a gift!!

    • Adrianna

      I also follow some male fitness models and view things that would make him feel inadequate — but I’m respectful of my boyfriend’s feelings and don’t bring attention to it. Yes, we are all entitled to some privacy and private thoughts – so those should remain private.

    • lillian c.

      for me it’s not the “likes” on girl’s pics he doesn’t know, it’s the “likes” on girl’s pics that he does know that’s upsetting

  • Babara

    I think about this this particular scenario a lot and just women feeling insecure in relationships in general. I always wonder if men feel the same way or if men feel insecure if their girlfriends like another guy’s photo. It always seems like we (women) are the ones that have to be on the lookout for philandering, just seems a bit unfair.

    Do dudes just not think like this/ do they hide these insecurities, not willing to talk about it as openly as women? Sometimes I’m like damn I wish they got to feel the way we do every once in awhile…or do they? I’ve felt crushed after going on social media stalking sprees, mostly due to comparing myself to other women even though I know better and even though I know it’s an unhealthy mindset. Women are perceptive and generally can deduce all the wonderful qualities (whether real or imaginary) another woman (on instagram) might possess from just a quick browse through their photos. Its exhaustingggggg but not sure how to turn off that part of my brain /:

    • Emily

      Been here too, so many times! It’s so destroying! Why do we do it!!

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    Your guy sounds like a player-either that or totally clueless, but my own experience indicates the former… (No offense). Looking at pics on instagram is different than liking. Actually clicking “like” is giving attention in a way that merely looking is not.

  • sq

    If this is a problem for you, then you either have trust issues, or he is not trustworthy, and you would probably be happier if you worked on both of these, whichever it is.

  • Kittybat

    My boyfriend doesn’t like other girls’ instagrams, and I’ve never checked if he actually double taps. Because I know that he’s not doing it. I feel like if you feel the need to actually check in on your boyfriend like that, something’s amiss. I DO send him pictures of girls I think who look amazing tho. With the caption “Giggity” and we laugh about it. It’s an odd, if not, very healthy relationship.

  • Jac

    I constantly see this on my discover feed from my sister’s boyfriend. I feel so uncomfortable and disgusted by it (already not a big fan of him), but have no idea how to bring it up with her. If I constantly see it, surely she does? They’ve been dating for years, so it really doesn’t feel like my place to be making commentary.

  • I hate it. I hate it when I’m in a relationship and my man likes random pictures of gals. Okay, right, I got it, you’re free to like whatever you want as well as I do, but out of respect I’d rather NOT do it. I think stopping yourself from giving a like is a way of saying “hey, I like this ass, but I respect my girl enough to keep it for myself”. Men are visual, they like to see, and what bugs me the most is not that, is the fact that they make it public. For me, liking a booty is like saying “hey, you’re hot” and that isn’t respectful if you’re with someone else. Same goes for girls, of course. It’s okay if it bugs you. It’s just easier to be the liker who gives no shits, than the man who understands that sometimes a like isn’t just a like.
    Pd. I sound so angry, but I’m swear I’m not lol

  • Adardame

    I had a coworker who went on at length about why it should be perfectly acceptable to go to a nude bar for a few hours after work before he went home to his wife. They broke up their 10 year relationship a month and a half later. He was very resentful and defensive about his activities.

    A friend told me her ex-husband did the same thing right before their final split. I don’t think a man goes about looking at other women unless there’s a crack in the relationship.

  • Ira

    My boyfriend doesn’t like other girls’ pictures enough to where it makes me uncomfortable (I probably like more men’s photos than he likes women’s pictures), but when we just started out dating I saw that he would like almost all of his ex’s pictures whether they were selfies or pictures with her new boyfriend. I knew that they were trying to remain amicable since, at the time, they were in the same friend group, but I still didn’t think it was necessary for him to be liking her pictures or even following her on social media. He justified him still following her as he “just never bothered to unfollow her in the first place and just forgot to.” Personally, after a relationship I don’t follow my exes on socials simply because I’m not particularly interested in what they’re up to, but I can still wish them the best and all the happiness and will say hello if I see them in person. Anyway, my boyfriend eventually unfollowed his ex after she was malicious toward me. He and I couldn’t be on better terms, but when I think back on it I can’t help but wonder why. I believe that guys can mindlessly like things on Instagram and social media but can’t it have some meaning if it’s an ex? I feel like because of this incident, I find myself stalking his ex’s page more often than I care to admit. Is it bad that I constantly creep on her? I think I’m just convinced that she still has feelings for him because of some of the things she did. Now I’m just ranting on the internet, searching for an opinion from who isn’t biased, I suppose.

    • Emily

      you dont sound insecure, i totally get it! social media is the absolute fucking devil. our parents never had to deal with this crap! it just adds a whole other layer of insecurity to relationships??? it does for me, anyway!

  • missmg

    No one can tell you how to feel and the bottom line in all of this is it that what he is doing is making you feel crap and therefore it needs to be addressed/stop.
    I agree with Haley in that there is a bigger dicussion here around the objectifying of womens bodies on instagram.
    Here is a real life example of social media fu**ery that I experienced:
    The person I was dating a few months ago was liking selfies of his ex a month after we got together and I absolutely blew up because it made me feel like absolute sh!t – there is just NO NEED to do it – (btw every single one of my friends agreed) his response was that it didnt mean anything and so when I noticed he followed some random girl on Insta I gave him the benefit of the doubt and said nothing… a few weeks later I found out he went on a date with this girl and was texting her behind my back! My point is sometimes social media behaviour means nothing and sometimes it means everything and you have every right to call sh!t out that makes you feel bad about yourself or lose trust in your SO.

    Good luck xxxx

  • Christopher

    Hello Ladies,

    I am a guy, and i would like to chip in on the conversation.

    I am guilty of doing what all of you have been complaining about in the comment section. In fact i am shocked that this is even an issue. My gf knows about it, and in fact she sends me pictures of amazing looking naked women on Instagram. If i see something beautiful, i like it. It doesn’t mean anything. I love my gf, and we are getting married next summer (i just proposed). I never compared these random women to her. Nor do I fantasize about any of them. It is pure artistic photos on Instagram and it means nothing, it is actually healthy for guys to look at naked women according to some studies :))

    Ladies, don’t be insecure, you are all beautiful. If he is with you only for the shape of your ass, then you are in the wrong relationship. Please know that this is all harmless and it means nothing. i suggest you even get on the act! There is nothing more beautiful than the female body. Trust me, your men will love you for it. If you act shocked and hurt, then your man will go do it behind your back. Don’t shackle your man, he will love you more and he will never ever let you go! Are you crazy? Who will he leave you for? That woman who is sooo insecure that she has jealousy fits if he looks at a picture of a butt on instagram? 😉

    Just my opinion.

    P.S. to my fiancée, who sent me the link to this article… I always knew how different and special you are, but after reading the comments, this knowledge has been amplified by 10 million :). – I love you

    • Not Lenny!

      “i suggest you even get on the act! There is nothing more beautiful than the female body. Trust me, your men will love you for it.”
      Love how your idea of making this “equal” is her liking other women’s pictures and not pictures of attractive men.

      • Christopher

        Who said anything about equality? Equality is a given… You want to like pictures of men, go ahead, who is stopping you? Do you think men care? Do you think i check what photos my gf likes??

        • Roos .

          History about the objectification of male and female bodies is not the same. You can pretend it’s all fine and daisies nowadays, but I suggest you read up. John Berger has a nice documentary on Youtube about this.

          • Christopher

            How is this relevant here

    • aloo

      What about when the looking isn’t just about beautiful art. What if you’re partner is using his friends’ regular, innocent fb pictures to fantasize about them during masturbation?

  • Elli

    Thank you for this article! I have a similar dilemma revolving a FRIEND which I hope some of you can share your thoughts on:
    A few months ago I went on a couple of dates with a guy I really liked. Turned out he was in love with someone else and was basically using me to get over her. Prior to our first date he “groomed me” i.e we chatted over instagram, so yes- liking can definitely lead to more! After our short romance he coincidentally met my best friend at a concert and they became friends on social media quickly followed by flirtatious messages from him (similar to the ones he had sent me- so turns out he´s just a bit of an ass). My best friend being my best friend (and also not single) turned him down gently. However, the other day I was checking his instagram account (I KNOW but I promise I´m cutting down) and saw that she had liked his latest posts. He´s a funny guy so I don´t blame her. I even liked his posts a while after our fling ended. Still, I can´t help but feel this slight feeling of betrayal. I guess it´s not so much about the likes as the question: Can I bare my girlfriend being friends with a guy who I´m into/used to date/hurt my feelings? And if the answer is no, does “liking” pass as friendship?

  • Mariana

    I have and it was hell. I thought I was going crazy for caring so much about it but I couldnt help but notice that all the photos he liked were from really hot girls that I knew for sure that were only friends of friends of friends, so why bother even following them? I mentioned it to him a couple of times and he had the same reaction as your ex, was very defensive and acted as if I was crazy for checking his likes (but they were on my face, duh). I realized that it was happening at a time where our relationship wasn’t solid and I decided to keep checking it and not say anything. Turns out it completely stopped as we were becoming stronger as a couple. So today’s lesson is: don’t underestimate your man’s likes on instagram, they do mean something.

    • doublecurl

      THIS. Those last two lines say everything.

    • Roos .

      Did you talk about it afterwards? Does he know he does this? I’m afraid a lot of people are not bringing up their boyfriends objectification in fear of making them feel bad. They are not necessarily bad! But they will keep doing hurtful things like these if we don’t speak up, and I wouldn’t want a boy like that to raise kids with me. People become adults once they’ve examined stupid engrained behaviours that their loved ones point out to them and they work on themselves.
      I know I have to work on feeling better in my own skin; but w/ a person by your side ogling or looking feverishly or boredly at other women’s bodies as a form of pleasure, it’s not weird to question your own attractiveness.

  • literarity

    was really hoping the body of this article would just be a giant, size 600-font “NO.” if this is freaking you out, ask yourself if you’re perhaps focusing on just one section of a whole bunch of categories of things your partner passively consumes and “likes” on insta. are you flipping your universe over the friends’ kids, mountain climbing accomplishments, cute date night pics, new albums from bands you don’t like, etc?

  • lillian c.

    wow this is the MOST relatable article. this girl asked why i didn’t follow her and i straight up told her it was bc i didn’t wanna see my boyfriend liking all her pics. it’s deeper than that with that relationship, i trust my boyfriend but i REALLY don’t trust her and we have to see her every couple of months. it has been a major problem in our relationship and a big thing we fight about in a relatively drama free four years and running relationship. the minute i saw the title of this article i was like fuuuuuuuuck do i know!

    • lillian c.

      i should add my intro to this girl was seeing my bf like every single one of her pics, so i’d love to know other ppls opinions too

  • Laura_B

    This is too real. I dated a guy for a long time and I always felt super insecure about being with him because he was like super hot – I had rando girls come up to me and tell me – anyway, he would like these bikini models all the time on insta and it felt like a slap in the face. It only fueled how insecure I felt. I had never really cared about how I looked or even what my feed looked like until we started dating and I saw what he was liking. Needless to say, it didn’t worked out and honestly THANK GOD

  • I think it’s obvious that a woman gets worry for specific likes of her partner, I think a man would feel the same if his partner constantly liked this type of photos.
    But let me tell you, Instagram’s things you might like doesn’t work for me, so maybe IG’s algorithm is nonsense. I’m a vegetarian a IG keeps on thinking I might like meat, cooked in every way. There was a period of time when it also suggested me horrible hunt scene, with men embracing their rifles posing on those animals. I totally dislike very muscular men, tanned, shaved men and guess what? They keep on appearing in my feed…
    Anyway, time ago I was thinking about following a man who works for tv because I found him interesting and well-read. I took a look at this profile, he followed very few people and basically they were only women with huge butts, fake breasts posing in very vulgar ways. That totally changed my mind about him!

  • Hayls

    My friend recently broke up with her boyfriend who used to do the same exact thing. They didn’t break up because of it, but to me it seemed to be indicative of other problems, RE his level of maturity. She also had a hard time with it when she knew that these were girls that he actually KNEW in real life – not just some random model that he would obviously never hang out with. She also tried to explain why it bothered her, and and at first he seemed to get it and stopped, but a few months later picked it back up again. I know there’s a lot of nuance to this- regrading social media etiquette, not shaming other women, feeling like it’s an overreaction, etc.- but I agree, it would upset me too, and it definitely feels disrespectful.

  • Sadako

    Maybe stop spending so much time on Instagram?

  • Ciccollina

    You definitely, definitely, definitely made the right move in trusting your instincts here. Him liked the photo is equivalent of him checking a girl out on the street and the walking up to her and giving her a thumbs up. Just no.

  • Sari Fishher

    I had this same issue. What you didn’t mention but also happened to me is that my friends ALSO noticed how many Suicide Girls and random “sexy accounts” the like he was liking it. It left me feeling even insecure in our relationship and a bit embarrassed.

  • Rachel

    I have never intentionally liked anything on Instagram. Occasionally I have noticed that I’ve accidentally done it while scrolling, but I go back and unlike it. I’ve just never understood that part of the platform. I only follow one or two people I know in real life though, and that’s why it seems different to me than, for instance, liking personal news a friend shares on Facebook.

  • Alejandra

    I loved this article, I was thinking about this subject a few days ago when I saw my boyfriend followed a total stranger with a kinda soft porn account, so I feel soooo related to how it feels, every word and idea makes perfect sense…’s so difficult dating, love, relationships in IG times….
    BUT I’m too proud. I would never tell him how I feel, because I don’t want to present myself as an insecure or jealous person. Though it pisses me off so bad!!!!!!!

  • I don’t think liking pictures of women on Instagram is the same as looking to beautiful women on the streets. I’d say it’s closer to CATCALLING women on the street, because men who do that feel obliged to prove they are there, watching. Creepy, i know. Perhaps that’s why you (and I, and most girl) feel icky when we notice this type of behaviour?

  • Mariane

    Me: okay look at, but need to double tap?

    This action is public and intended or not, is one to comunicate on to the other person.


    i def. see a difference btw models/celebrities and people he knows. Its def. NOT ok for him to like friends scantily clad pics. its flirtatious and unacceptable. And its def. disrespectful to your partner. Even if he doesn’t understand if hes not willing to stop bc it makes you uncomfortable, then he’s an asshole.

  • Sophia Gontijo

    I’ve been through the same thing with my ex, and although it wasn’t the reason we broke up, it really upset me everytime he liked those pics. I think the difference is that, when men glance at other girls in the street, they are passively “appreciating” it, but liking those but/bikini pics on instagram, is an active behaviour. It’s like saying: “hi, my name is XX and I find you attractive”. There’s a big difference there. Also, if he’s already checking out the pics, why feel the need for liking it? I still think it’s a way to flirt, to let the girl know they think she’s hot.

  • Scarlett Monique Hill Falcon

    I look at it this way if something bothers me i will always communicate it. My boyfriend is very understanding at he’ll listen to me and take my feelings into consideration. He has let me know that liking other girl’s pics (although I’ve never seen him like booty type pics) usually means that that’s a friend from a while back or that he met long ago. I am his first serious girlfriend and he has come to understand that even if I know that nothing is happening between them, that the fact that there is something about that girl that can make me feel as you said unappreciated and it would get into my self-esteem. We talked it out and we both apologized me for not really being able to control my emotions very well (I’m a cry baby) and him because as he told me “it was disrespectful to you” I can say that talking about it really helped us grow as a couple and appreciate each other and of course it’s human nature to look at someone who we may think is attractive but we always make sure (especially him because I’m the sensible one lol) to let each other know that we are with each other because we want to and because we love each other and that makes me have a lot of trust on him and him on me. Also on personal experience if a guy gets defensive about a subject (this for example) it’s because there probably is something going on, also you have to think about your happiness and think if you want to have that feeling for the rest of your relationship? If it’s not your cup of tea then maybe that person isn’t for you and your happiness may not be with that person and I say this because I may understand the situation but my feelings might not, and that’s okay! That’s just the way I am and thankfully I am currently in the most healthiest relationship I have ever been and I’m happy 😊

  • M

    I have felt the exact same .. w ass and boobs , I feel as if they are almost in the same category as nudes . Some reason it just creates fire in me. Comparison, competition, yet these are just chicks on Instagram ? Like they aren’t real people ? You could be doing any daily activity and run into one of these accounts.. or they could approach you , what are your thoughts/ intentions then ? I always want to feel chosen and stable in the thoughts of knowing I can fulfill his needs when it comes to intimacy .

  • Gabriela Novoa

    Gosshhh I know. Happens to me too.
    I stopped complaining about it. It makes feel not pretty or fit enough no matter how many pounds I lose or harder train and get fit. Even though I know he’s not going through something with that people it’s kinda hurting cuz I’m not the kind of girl who is always looking at and liking guys pics. And if I was I know it would be different. We wouldn’t accept it.
    It’s funny they’re always lookin those perfect girls they’ll never get. But then we think is he with me because I’m what he could get? Gosh idk how to deal with it.

  • Julie Mankowski

    Wow, I cannot BELIEVE the number of comments on here that have validated what I have been insecure about for months. I had a weird situation where my boyfriend actually sent a couple of the hot model pictures to me, and for one of those girls, he told me he would leave me for her if she came calling. I told him that was a shit thing to say and he apologized and seemed to regret it, but that opened up floodgates and I started checking how often he “liked” her photos… which is often (even now). And he never liked any of my own Instagram posts, which had never bothered me before, but it suddenly did after he said this. I usually only look/check when I’m feeling upset about him, which is pretty clear psychology right there. I felt like a psycho, high-maintenance girlfriend and I hated that feeling since that’s not the kind of girlfriend I want to be, but it hurt me to hear him say he would leave someone he supposedly loved (me) for this hot girl on instagram that he had never met. Anyway, he and I are still together because I’ve come to peace with it and that incident is honestly the only reason I’ve ever been given not to trust or love him, so it’s just finding the balance. And we kind of compromised by me hinting that he should at LEAST like my photos if he’s going to also be liking photos of a fantasy girl. I don’t think any of us have figured out yet what is really “right” or “wrong” here.

  • aloo

    I had a similar situation happen to me where I saw what my boyfriend was lookig at/searching for on Facebook and Instagram. After a while of seeing a constant stream of girls on his search bar (girls he knew, didn’t know, used to be with, met on tinder) I asked him why. At first he lied and said he was just checking in on friends but eventually he told me that he was using these girls’ pictures to masturbate to. It wasn’t even booty pics, just regular selfies etc. I was so confused, I didn’t really know how to react. I felt sad because he also had a ‘type’ and also because I knew some of these girls. I asked a couple of my guy friends if they use FB to mastubate and they said yes. I’m still not sure if my reactions are founded or unfounded. If it’s normal or not. I feel kind of ashamed to be dating a guy who can do that with so many girls’ innocent pictures.

  • jumpsuitgal

    I struggle with this all the time, and feel like it’s a new relationship ‘hurdle’ totally unique to our generation. I’ve tried to explain it to my parents when I was really upset one night, of course they can’t relate, they had no social media, no gratuitous ‘booty’ photos being pushed in their faces at all seconds of the day! I’ve dated guys that openly liked photos like this on instagram and it’s made me very insecure and even jealous. I never know if it’s even warranted for me to bring up and be upset about either. I have often wished there was some way to reverse the situation to show the guy how it feels, but most girls don’t just scroll through ‘gram, looking for dick pics, and if we did they’re not on there! We’re just not like that. I think it’s just really disrespectful but there’s no standard that’s been set, yet.

  • KL

    Helo ! I had exactly the same problem with my boyfriend. At the begginnings I told him throught examples that doing that is rude and totally unnecesary, he stoped doing it for a while.. two months later he was linking 3 photos of the same colombian girl he met 4 years ago. I freaked out!!
    So I had a mini crisis.. big big fith!
    On the next day I try to understand him, and I asked myself why does he did that. I reallice that it has a self confidence problem on one hand (for me), My father said to me: there’s gonna be better o worst people than you, but YOU are unique, and that’s so much more important. You have to understand that youre life worth so much than a big but o a perfect instagram account,youre a doctor, youre amazing daughter and a faboulus gorlfriend. I stopped crying, I didnt communicate to my boy friend. At Níght, he appologisses and said it meens nothing to him, I reply that it doesnt help me at all for my self confidence goals but if for him its impossible not doing that, its ok!
    He told me that its not Gonna happen again, I said that its not my issue but I appriciate it.
    Forma that day I realice that if I want a fit body, I have to work on it. Not for him, or for likes on Instagram, justo for me.
    So: be confident, let go social media, and try to ask yourself why are you feeling that way, and do do do do something to be better, if he wants to join you perfect! If not, go and do it anyway.


  • Md

    This exact situation was the grounds for many arguments between my ex and I. I would find myself going on his phone at 3am while he was asleep next to me and go on his “photos I’ve liked” tab on instagram and would feel instantly sick at the amount of girls selfies and gym pictures he was constantly liking. I would extremely self-conscious and would always think the worst of it, that he was looking for something better or didn’t appreciate me. Looking back on it now, I was the one laying in bed with him at 3am.. not those girls. I was so blind as to how harmless it really was even though it seemed like a weird way of getting cheated on at the time. I completely understand where you’re coming from, and the feeling really sucked. I’m obviously not in that relationship anymore but I’ll tell you I’m now with a guy that understands where I came from and has so much patience with me. He tells me he’s with me for a reason and doesn’t give me some bullshit answer that will him to allow to keep doing something that bothers me. This guy I’m with now was consistently snap chatting some girl he met at a weekend long concert that I didn’t attend, and I finally told him it was bothering me because I didn’t know this girl. He realized how uncomfortable I was with it and told me if it bothered me so much, he doesn’t need to keep doing it even though it was harmless. The way he handled it and answered it with so much more respect for my feelings made me realize that there are amazing guys out there that actually give a shit about how you feel. I’m sorry this was so long but this all happened very recently and it’s comforting to know other girls have gone through it too in a way.

  • Kassie Haedtke

    I have been through the exact same situation so many times with one particular boyfriend also, which eventually led me to the conclusion that different people have different boundaries and his liking of half naked women on instagram definitely crossed some lines for me. He didn’t agree, and eventually our relationship ended. Whether I’m right, he’s right, or neither of us are right is irrelevant. It made me uncomfortable so it just didn’t work out in the end. To me, liking a girls picture isn’t equivalent to checking a girl out on the street. It’s more like winking at a girl on the street. It would be so easy for any guy to just scroll past the picture without ever actually expressing his feelings of attraction to that girl, just like when a guy sees a girl who looks good in public. But once he shows the world that he thinks this girl is attractive by winking at her or liking her pictures it seems too deliberate to be innocent and acceptable. But once again, everyone has their own boundaries and that’s ok. I’ve landed myself in a great relationship since then by expressing those boundaries right away with my new boyfriend.

  • alice

    I’ve never been in a long term relationship, and I’ve always been uncomfortable about being monogamous with someone who still watches porn/ likes loads of soft core images. I had an experience with a guy who definitely watched loads of porn and would objectify people in front of me just after we’d had sex, but also really hated it when I mentioned male friends to him in really platonic terms.

    The experienc made me uncomfortable about monogamy in general. There will never be a way to find out exactly whether or not someone is using these sites (internet history deletion etc), and I’d rather not place my self esteem in the hands of one person who could make me feel like I’m not good enough. Female objectification is so ingrained in society, but I feel like by not participating in monogamy I can in some way break with the notion that female bodies are commodities by not belonging to any one person.

  • Sana Senkevich

    Instagram is toxic guys, It is not the real world. The world would be a better place without it honestly.

  • Anonymous

    I asked my partner why he’d liked those girls’ booty picture & his response was “It’s a guy thing”.. Please ladies what does that mean??

  • Natalia Velecela

    I had a boyfriend and actually it was the same situation and yeah we did end up breaking up…. the story. To be honest I didn’t mind him liking pictures of other girls in bikinis or whatever it was cool with me because I mean I do the same lmao. Right I mean I follow mcm accounts and like pictures of the hottest guys ever and who gives you Know. What just pinched me out of the “hey it’s cool” was him liking his roommates picture (which I did not mind) but he commented too and like put a 😜Emoji. To be honest I liked the picture too she looked pretty hot but when I was liking it I realized he actually wrote a comment she was wearin a bathing suit against a glass wall so her ass looked great. But the whole roommate being a girl and shit him literally acting like her boyfriend picking up her laundry and talking badly about her boyfriend saying shit ha! Well at the end he had the guts to break up with me by text. 😂. While we were dating I made a new Instagram without him on it and he’s like ‘why did you make a new instagram’ and I said ‘one of my exes is like texting me like a lot and I just wanted to leave Instagram’ he said ‘well you could’ve told me like I’m older than you and I know’ Yeahhhh you definitely knew why. 😒

  • Liar Liar, Pants On Fire!

    Holy hell, all these girls getting jealous over guys liking untouchable instagram models, yet when I get jealous over my girl wanting to go out on her own with her girlfriends, I’m the overly jealous one. *sigh* Not fair.

  • Serena

    I really think people have different approaches to likes on insta, some are stingy, some like absolutely everything and most don’t even realise it helps drive the algorithm of what you see so I always tread carefully here and err on the side of harmlessness. A guy I was seeing liked every single pic by every single hot celebrity he was into. Naomi Campbell. Ashley Graham. EMILY R. What it did was a) tell me what his physical type was and b) reassure me his tastes were eclectic and that he enjoyed all kinds of beauty. Also, I *used to* comment on every single one of David Beckham’s instas sometime pledging my undying admiration and love… so…. yeah 🙂

  • New Era

    I only do it if the girl I’m dating likes other guy’s pictures XD

  • Reese B.

    This situation happened to me last night actually and I still have a bad taste in my mouth about it. This guy I’ve been in an on and off situationship for 4 years posted ashley graham on his insta story and added, “my new bae” *insert drooling emoji. That pissed me the hell off. My problems with this were the following: 1. a month ago i commented on Drake’s post complimenting his new OVO sweatshirt in Lavender. The guy literally screenshot my comment and went in on me through text telling me to “cut it out”. 2. I don’t have access to Drake so him getting mad over that is stupid seeing as he’s not my boyfriend and doesn’t seem to want to be anytime soon. 3. He got mad over my Drake comment but turns around and actually posts his bae in his head for his followers to see but i know if i ever asked for a picture together, i’d get the run around.

    Basically, we aren’t crazy to feel some type of way about our guys liking other women’s pics. We’ve been conditioned to believe when another woman’s beauty or physique is appreciated, that eliminates our own. It’s hard to reverse that type of thinking, especially when the guy we have feelings for appreciates another woman’s beauty when other times it’s as if he barely acknowledges ours. Overall, yes, boyfriends, f*ck buddies and husbands will like other women’s pictures. If it’s communicated that you don’t like that and he tries to justify his liking sprees of other women then just let him go because he doesn’t see your feelings as valid.

    As for me, I’m completely over my, whatever he is and leaving him to drool over Ashley Graham and anyone else he deems as his “new bae”.

  • Anita Ellsworth

    We , as women, men not so much, always seem to ask is it ok to feel the way I’m feeling?? Am I being oversensitive, paranoid, etc. STOP IT!!!!!!!!! You are allowed to feel however you feel!!!!!!! If your man is ogling Instagram booties and you don’t like it… SAY SO!! It’s OK to express how you feel with the man or woman that’s supposed to love you. If you can’t or he or she disregards your feelings by saying it’s no big deal, your overreacting, blah, blah, blah RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!!!!!!!!! I am blessed to say that my man does all he can to make me feel that I am the only woman he looks at. He makes me feel like I am the most beautiful woman in the world and that no other woman is worth looking at compared to me. If your man isn’t doin the same thing, find one that does. You are worth it. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

  • Fernanda Seike

    Omg, my husband does this all the time. And not only he likes, but he follows these girls… And they are all blonde-super skinny-big tits-so different than me and sometimes I catch myself thinking if he feels a bit frustrated for not marrying his ideal type of girl or something like that… It definately messes with my self esteem… on the other hand… I feel free to do the same, so I like-follow-admire whoever I want and if for me it doesnt mean that I would rather be married that blonde-handsome-model guy that I follow, I try to believe that he thinks the same way…

  • Tiff Lovin

    Yes I have

  • Melissa Lynch

    You explained this in a way most women can relate. There must be some boundaries to 3000 booty pics. Why men find this a need I don’t know

  • Makenzie

    I discovered girls, complete opposite to me , regularly in my boyfriends recent search history. All local girls , from cafes we frequent to the big boob fake tan type. The same girls over and over again. But he does not follow them. I have lost all respect for him .i feel like it’s my fault, I opened him an Instagram account so he could follow his children and I , but he now uses it for stalking teenagers on Instagram. We’ve been together for 10 years. And now I just think he is a creep.

  • Michael85

    If your boy/girl friend is following instahoes (men and women) it means they resent you for not being hot enough. They would dump you for someone superior.

  • Leah

    I check a guy’s Instagram before dating him and if he seems to only like accounts that are scantily clad women, I tell him I checked to see what he’s into and he objectifies women too much for me and I want to date a guy that sees women
    as more than objects. I’m of the opinion that if we keep accepting that behavior, nothing changes. If women speak up and tell guys it’s offensive maybe some will get it/change their behavior.

  • Medialuna

    Currently I have this problem with my bf on facebook. I must add: we have a long distance relationship for 2 month now, after a “normal” relationship for about a year (I will eventually move to the city he lives in 5 month). Its not easy, we are both very bad in that long distance thing, we have problems now and that makes me insecure and of course I end up stalking. A few days ago I stalked his fb, his fb (female) friends and came across a profile picture of a girl (that I don’t know) that he had liked. See, the like is not the point. He didn’t LIKE like it, he liked it as the only person in this random way you can like on fb now, with a smile that has a SHOCKED face like this 😮 Aside the fact that neither the picture nor the girl was sooo pretty, I was so upset about the fact he would like it that way. I asked about 20 people what this shocked smile-like means to them. I heard everything from “oohh wow sexy” to “oh you are so pretty”…. it still doesn’t make sense to me but the worst part is: I feel more unsecure about this relationship than ever now. If you suddenly end up in s long distance thing AND it seems to ruin your relationship those “likes” seem to feed all your anxieties and it may sound super stupid but after I saw this 😮 i even feel more insecure about myself than ever. I don’t know why he did this, I will never ask him and never find out. WHAT I now is: I have to stop doing this because aside of the fact that it could eventually ruin my relationship it ruins ME and my self esteem. (Sorry for the bad english, I’m from Germany 😉 )

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  • Elena

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  • Kira

    Have been in the same situation and it is still hunting me everyday even though the relationships are over like an year now. It first started when I checked his following list to get an idea for a christmas present and realized that half of his following are women with no clothes on. Not sure what exactly hurt my feelings… the number of accounts? Or that they all were Asians (I live in Asia btw and I’m white…so why would he date me if he is really into asian girls and there are plenty of them around?). Or maybe that these were not bikini accounts with random girls, but personal accounts, so HE selected them himself, sometimes there were two accounts of the same girl (isnt it a sign that he really likes her?)… Or maybe the fact that not all of them were models but some of them were girls from the same city who visit same places we do? I addressed the issue right away and got the most defensive reply ever like I am being too sensitive and he is a guy so he likes to watch. But do you really need that many to watch? When I say many I refer to almost a 100 accounts which are updated on a daily basis, so everytime he opens his instagram there are butts and boobs. He promised to delete it but never did, so I sucked it up (mostly because some of my girlfriends said guys always stare). But then when he started to follow more, I addressed it again. After that he didnt subscribed to more, but the number of existing ones remained the same. For some time that was kind of fine but it really affected me in a way that i found myself checking his instagram activity (what if he will follow more?) It actually got worse when I met one of these girls in a hair salon. So if I can meet her, he can meet her too. This is where it got scary for me and I kind of determined the boundaries: i could possibly tolerate a girl he has zero chance to meet like VS model because they live in a different part of the Globe). I talked to him about that and he said ‘damn thats not acceptable i will unsubscribe’ but no, he never did. We didnt break up because of this, but i believe it was one of the reasons he kicked me out, and after that he just subscribed to 20 more naked women (surprisingly to white girls this time…). Honestly, after this experience I just can’t stop thinking that all guys are doing that and i will always have to suck up that they will subscribe to lots of naked women on daily basis and say its normal. I was always thinking that situation when you choose to hurt your partners feelings just to fap on naked girls isnt normal.

  • Helen Watts

    Everything from the all-too-familiar wave of nausea, to caring so much that you’re compelled to bring it up for fear of self-implosion was SO familiar and SO important to hear about from someone else’s experience. And though I’m lucky enough to have a partner in my life who isn’t that into Instagram and SM in general, I think it brings up some really important issues about gendered power dynamics in the social media age and our own psychological dependencies / psychological investment in these digital spaces (and we’re lucky enough to dive into this thoughtspace with the hilarious + insightful comments below) But to sum on my end: these experiences and broader issues feel way less isolating when we share them, as this piece does.