You were scrolling through Instagram one day and you see it: a compliment from your boyfriend on another woman’s photo. You likely feel a range of emotions immediately: hurt, angry, embarrassed. That’s understandable, especially given the huge role social media plays in our lives. It’s proven to make us way more insecure and jealous than we would normally be, but that’s no reason to lose your cool over it. Here’s how to handle your partner heaping praise on another woman online.
- First things first: remind yourself that you’re not crazy. Your feelings are not crazy. It’s okay to be upset if your boyfriend complimented another woman on social media. After all, she isn’t the only one seeing his comments. Leaving a comment on someone’s post is a public act. It’s announcing to the entire world: “Hey! I know I have a girlfriend, but this is what I think of this other girl’s photo.”
- Process your feelings. If you go into the conversation feeling too emotional, the communication will be difficult to resolve. Consider the reason that you’re upset. What is his behavior like on social media? How often is he making these contents? Is it the girl he’s commenting on, the things he’s saying, or the act in general? What is the ideal outcome of the conversation you have with him?
- Talk it over with a trusted friend. Bounce your feelings and ideas off of someone who knows you and who you can trust. Extreme feelings can give you a warped sense of the situation. A friend can help you gain perspective and help you to go into your conversation prepared.
- Set boundaries. When you talk to him (and you should talk to him), it’s important to be honest and set boundaries. If something your boyfriend said bothers you, open communication is key. Allowing your feelings to fester isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’ll likely just come up in a later argument, and if that’s the case, the conversation will already be emotionally charged.
- If he gets defensive during your conversation or calls you unreasonable, remind him that this isn’t a huge ask. You’re not asking him to end a friendship or cease communications with her, just to stop complimenting her on public platforms.
- Keep a level head. You don’t want to go into this conversation sounding jealous and accusatory (though you have every right to feel jealous). If it sounds like you don’t trust him, it’ll be difficult for your partner to react positively. Instead, make sure to mention your feelings, recognize that you know his intentions weren’t bad, and ask him if he could change his future behavior. Be sure to use ‘I’ statements to express your emotions. This will help avoid finger-pointing and make him feel less attacked.
- Put yourself in his shoes. Think about the relationship he has with these girls and find a comparison to someone in your life. Would you behave in a similar way? Have you behaved in a certain way? If he thinks you’re being hypocritical, he’s more likely to get defensive.
- Be honest with yourself. Think about how you interact with men on social media. Do you like their shirtless beach pics/thirst traps? Do you DM them? Would your behavior make your partner upset or uncomfortable? If the answer is yes, maybe it’s time to evaluate your behavior too.
- Consider a social media break and trust your partner. It sounds like avoidance, but it may be right for you at the moment. Social media can invite insecurities, mistrust, and paranoia. If you find yourself constantly checking your partner’s activity and profile, maybe take a step back. Relationships are about trust and respect. If you don’t trust him, that may be a deeper issue you need to evaluate.
- Trust yourself. If you feel uncomfortable with a situation, remember that you have a right to feel that way and trust that you will be able to react appropriately. Trust that you know what is best for you, and act on that. You know yourself better than anyone.
This conversation won’t be easy, but it’s necessary. If his actions make you uncomfortable, you have every right to ask him to stop. If his behavior continues after an open conversation, you should consider whether this is the man for you. A man who can’t respect a simple boundary won’t respect you in the long term.