Does Asking Him to Untag Photos With His Ex Make Me Look Bad?

Everyone has a relationship past, but when that past is staring directly at you in the face as you scroll through the many happy photos of your beau and his ex, you may be wondering what to do. After all, if she’s no longer in the picture, then why is she still in his pictures? You certainly don’t want to come off as needy in your relationship or insecure because the mere presence of a photo somehow means that he’s not into you or that he’s harboring feelings for her, but at the same time, you may feel a little uneasy about the fact that he still has these types of photos up for the world to see. So what’s a girl to do?

  1. Think about the current status of your relationship. If you’re wondering how to deal with photos of your boy and the one who came before, it’s important to think about your relationship in its present state. Have you just started dating this guy? Or are you exclusive? Once you consider the status of your connection, you can determine if your request to untag is uncalled for or sound. If you’ve just started seeing each other and hanging out, then making this demand can be perceived as a bit out of line. However, if you’re in a committed relationship with this person, it’s not out of bounds to ask him to commit to cleaning up his online act.
  2. Consider the content of the photos. If you really want him to untag photos with his ex, it’s also important to keep in mind the content of the photos themselves. Are these intimate makeout pics? Or are they group shots that are hard to make out who’s who? If the content is a bit racy, it’s definitely reasonable to ask him to do some untagging out of respect for you and the relationship you’re building together. On the flip side, if these pics contain a group of people where it’s not blatantly obvious who’s together or hooking up, it’s probably not worth bringing up. Pick your battles.
  3. Don’t forget about timing. When you want your guy to untag photos that include special ladies from his past relationships, it’s also imperative to think about how far into the past you’re requesting that he venture. And while it’s natural to not want photos up of his relationship that ended recently, asking him to untag photos from many years ago may come off as a bit excessive. In reality, while you may look through every single one of his pics during your free time, there aren’t many other people who are going to scroll back through hundreds of photos from his younger days in search of evidence that he once dated someone else.
  4. Think about picture placement. Along these lines, if a photo of him and his ex is something that’s front and center, such as a profile pic, a cover photo or any other defining image, it’s not unwarranted to ask him to untag. In fact, if he’s truly serious about moving forward with his life, then changing these photos should be something that he does not only out of respect for you but as an indication that he’s starting a new chapter. However, if he’s hesitant about updating these kinds of central pictures, this can be a clear-cut sign that he hasn’t moved on from his ex.
  5. Determine if you’re willing to follow the same guidelines. If you want your guy to do a bit of untagging, make sure that you think about how you’d feel if he asked you to do the same. Would you be willing to take down all of your photos from your amazing spring break because you went with a boyfriend pre-breakup? If you’re not comfortable with following the same online rules that you’re asking of him, then it’s definitely not worth mentioning.
  6. Figure out why these photos are bothering you in the first place. Before you ask your beau to do some cleaning up of his photos, make sure that this desire for him to untag is coming from you—and only you. If it’s not that crucial to you, but you’re worried about what your friends will say if they see these pics, then you should take a step back and refrain from making this request. In a word, when you stop worrying about what other people may think, your relationship will be far more picture-perfect in every respect.
  7. Decide ahead of time what you’re willing to accept. If you’re going to ask your guy to untag photos with his ex, you should know exactly what you’ll be happy with in return. Are you insisting that he untag every single picture with her? Or would you be glad if he merely hid these pics from his timeline? When you ask him to do some online cleaning and clearing of his relationship history, you have to make it clear to him what you expect.
  8. Have a face-to-face conversation. If you want him to untag these photos, it’s also important to consider how you’re going to ask him to do this delicate task. Specifically, if you bring it up over text, he may not truly get the message about why it’s meaningful to you and/or how it’s even relevant. However, if you have a serious, face-to-face discussion about why you’d like him to untag the photos and clearly and rationally explain your point of view, you’re more likely to get your point across. There are some things you should never discuss via text.
  9. Pick the right place to ask him. With this in mind, when asking your beau to do some untagging, you should have this conversation in a private place. After all, if you bring it up at a party, the supermarket or in the middle of a sporting event, you may catch him off guard and put him off towards following your request. But if you have this discussion in a comfortable setting where you’re both able to fully express yourselves without any distractions or interruptions, you can actually use this as an opportunity to truly open up and get to know each other on a deeper level.
  10. Think about how important it is to you. The bottom line is that if you’d like to ask your guy to untag photos with his ex, you have to be prepared for the different reactions that may come. And while he may be understanding, responsive and totally willing to untag these pics, there’s still a risk that your request may not be well-received. However, if the presence of these photos with his ex is truly bothering you and causing you anxiety and distress, it’s imperative that you follow your gut and ask him to untag. On the other hand, if these kinds of photos aren’t necessarily deal-breakers, you can always choose to put your focus and energy on creating more memories together rather than fixating on old moments from his past.
Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia
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