When your boyfriend likes another girl’s Instagram, you might feel a pang of jealousy. But that doesn’t make you a psycho. You’re entitled to your feelings on this, no matter what they are.
I once had a boyfriend Zach* who thought it would be cool to like a big booty pic on Instagram. I tried to be the “cool girl” for approximately five seconds. That is until I realized he liked three similar pics on Instagram. It’s like he was at a buffet and couldn’t figure out when to stop.
After unsuccessfully trying to quell the irritation rising inside me, (I clipped his nose hair, damnit! How dare he! This Instagram rando would never do that!), I decided the better response would be screenshotting the like and texting him with a, “Really?”
He was embarrassed to say the least.
READ ALSO: Instagram’s creepy new DM update will have you shook
Upon further snooping I realized he was also liking pics of his female friend. He double-tapped the sexy ones, while seemingly ignoring the ones where she was with a guy or not dressed in a provocative outfit.
I was more pissed than the time I lost my Stella McCartney sunglasses. And not just because he liked another woman’s pics. He had female friends who were around long before he had met me. But liking only the sexy pics of them? Or following and liking titty accounts? That’s different altogether.
And no, this does not make me insecure. I don’t have low self-esteem. To paraphrase Beyoncé, I know that I keep it sexy and fun. I can question my boyfriend’s behavior while still understanding I’m the shit, thank you very much.
So I asked a guy friend of mine what he thought, and he agreed that the way my boyfriend was liking other girls’ Instagram photos was sus.
“As a guy, I think it’s messed up,” said my married friend Dave. “Looking at Maxim is different because the girls are a one-time thing. Following a girl on Instagram is creating a relationship (albeit a one-sided one) [and that’s] pushing the line.”
Zach apologized and admitted it was kinda shitty. But I’m not sure he totally got where I was coming from. Do some men not get why women are bothered by this? Sure, it’s not like he’s cheating. And just because he’s in a relationship doesn’t mean he’s dead. And for that matter, neither are you. You know you’re checking out that guy in the gym who looks like Johnny Depp before he got bloated and weird.
But that’s different and you have every right to be pissed if your boyfriend is liking other girls’ Instagram pics. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Here’s why.
READ ALSO: Single guys explain 5 common Instagram behaviors
1. A lot of men get off on giving girls attention.
Can you imagine a male strip club being treated like anything other than a bachelorette party novelty? No, because guy strippers don’t actually get most women hot and bothered.
When my friend once had a stripper at her bach (which btdubs was a slumber party at her house, not a strip club in Vegas) we spent most of the evening laughing our asses off, offering him food and trying to help him figure out how to get a Green Card. It was about as sexy as a trip to the dentist.
Of course, everyone is different. But by and large, women get off on receiving attention. Men get off on giving it, whether that means paying for things, opening doors, or protecting a woman from harm (in my case insects). And yes, I know it’s 2018 and gender roles are old, blah, blah, blah. But in general, on planet Earth, that’s how it’s been.
Men derive sexual pleasure from looking at barely-clothed women. And when they go out of their way to like a barely-clothed girl’s Instagram post, they’re publicly saying to her, “I like this. Keep doing it.” Instead of passively taking in the photo, they’re making a decision to actively engage with it. You’re allowed to be annoyed by this.
As my friend Shana said, “It’s creepy because it goes beyond Playboy and a poster on the wall. It is an active engagement that takes mental space. And it’s usually done without the other partner knowing, which makes it even shadier.”
2. You know exactly how it feels to receive social media attention from a guy.
When a straight guy double-taps your sexy photo, you know it’s probably because he’s perving on you.
Plus, a lot of the time, that kind of attention doesn’t stop at likes. If your IG isn’t private, you know what I’m talking about. Here are some of the messages I’ve received from guys who habitually liked my photos:
“Damn no nip slips!” accompanied by a foaming at the mouth emoji.
“I don’t want to be a creeper but you’re hot.”
“OMG, I can barely stand up!” He was referencing his boner in case you didn’t get that.
Then there’s just the general, “Hi, how’s it going?” or “Can we be friends?” Which, trust me, they’re not sending these DMs to dudes.
Why did my newly engaged ex, who I haven’t seen or spoken to in 100 years who just moved to the same town, suddenly decide to follow me on Instagram and ask me what’s up?
Why is the married friend of a friend always liking my pics and sending me little jokes?
And why do guys I know with wives or girlfriends still double-tap my pics?
I have no idea. I mostly ignore the messages, but of course it’s still flattering — and seeing as I’m not the one instigating the communication there isn’t much to do except not respond. But sorry, I don’t want my guy boosting another girl’s ego with a pointless Instagram like.
Not saying any of the guys who reached out to me via IG want to bone, but some of them do and would if they could. Others honestly just want the attention of a woman they think is attractive. And if she responds? Even more of an ego boost. So, if this is what men who like my sexy photos and follow me are doing, it’s only natural to wonder if my SO is doing the same thing with another girl.
3. It’s public, for god’s sake.
We can see everything a guy does on Instagram. And while plenty of guys can do some light stalking, they are generally the bumbling Inspector Gadget to our Nancy Drew. We will find out what men are doing whether they like it or not. Why like something publicly and risk your girlfriend seeing it? Like farting on the subway, it’s just flat out inconsiderate.
He can like the pictures in your head, just like you check out the hot guy at the gym in your head. Go jerk off for all I fucking care. I don’t talk about how I just felt myself up thinking about Jason Momoa. I keep that shit safely locked in my head. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting your man to keep that shit locked in his head too.
4. It’s hypocritical for guys to pretend they don’t get jealous, too.
My former flame initially tried to flip the script when he realized I was pissed.
“You follow hot guy accounts,” he said.
I reminded him I didn’t (and still don’t) because I’m not sure what a visual is supposed to do for me. Personally, I need someone live and in the flesh to give a shit. Also see #1.
Then I reminded him how jealous he was when I posted photos of me with my guy friends when we had first started dating. Funny how quickly he forgot that he, too, gets jealous over social media.
I’ve had boyfriends spy on me outside my office, bug out when a customer was exceptionally friendly (back when I was waiting tables), and another one call me a “man eater” when a bartender tried to pick me up. Men feel jellies too. Just in different ways. So, if a guy tries to pretend that your annoyance at his actions is lame, he’s full of shit. He might play it cool, but he gets touchy too.
5. It’s corny and embarrassing.
When you were 15 and had a poster of the celeb-du-jour on your wall, it was perfectly acceptable because you were a teenager with raging hormones. When you’re an adult following naked chicks on Instagram, it’s just… kinda silly.
Personally, I use Instagram to follow my friends and accounts that I like or admire. Artists, actors, musicians, etc. Following a guy just because they’re hot seems silly to me. I realize men are visual, but I bring a lot more to the table than my appearance and I would hope the guy I’m with is interested in people for more than their looks. Personally, I’d be more comfortable with my significant other following (or liking) Blake Lively, whose personality and acting talent he might also admire, than Big Titties #14,748.
“Following someone just because they are attractive and not because they are artists or produce some other content that is interesting? I think I would be frustrated, not because the women are attractive, but because I was dating someone that shallow,” remarked one of my friends.
I couldn’t agree more.
If you’re totally cool with your man liking sexy Instagram pics, good for you. If not, there’s nothing wrong with you. Fuck being cool. Many of us (men and women) are afraid to talk about these things because we don’t want to seem petty. But social media can and does affect relationships and it’s important to acknowledge those feelings.
Time isn’t just up on sexual assault. It’s also up on not speaking up for yourself, not setting your boundaries, and not stating what you want out of a relationship. Having needs and desires does not make you needy or crazy.
I’ve been hit on way too much, by both singles and men in relationships, on social media not to think it could be fishy when my guy is liking sexy pics. Likes can often be the gateway drug. What happens if the woman responds back? Then what is the guy going to do? The lines start to blur and things get grey. I’d rather not be in a relationship with someone who finds the need to blur those lines. One of my friends and her husband even took down their Instagram accounts to avoid the jealousies that were brewing on both sides. That’s an extreme case, but if that’s the conclusion they reached after having an adult conversation about it, then more power to them.
And no shade to any woman who posts sexy pics. I post them sometimes too and if you’re feeling it, go for it. You’re not doing anything wrong. But we all know that when a guy with a girlfriend likes our sexy pics, we kinda feel bad for the girlfriend.
So ladies, there is nothing wrong with you if you don’t like his liking. Single dudes: like, comment and spank away! But if you’re a dude in a relationship and you actually like or love your girlfriend, have some respect for your relationship and stop with the likes, unless she’s said she’s cool with it.
Or you could just wait until a guy starts liking her pics. Maybe she’ll just decide to respond back.
*All names have been changed.