5 Red Flags About the Photos Your Partner Posts, According to Therapists
THESE SOCIAL MEDIA BEHAVIORS DEFINITELY WARRANT A CONVERSATION.
For better or for worse, social media has totally transformed our relationships. We use these platforms to share photos of our romantic adventures, celebrate our relationship milestones, and even communicate with our partners throughout the day—whether by tagging them in a funny meme, commenting on their photos, or sending them a DM. But not all social media behavior is beneficial for your relationship. That's why experts advise looking for certain red flags about the photos your partner posts.
"Your partner's social media and texting habits can actually be quite revealing," says Laura Wasser, a relationship expert, divorce lawyer, and chief of divorce evolution at Divorce.com. "They offer a window into their emotions, priorities, and even hidden aspects of their personality. By paying close attention to the content they post and share, you can gain insight into their true feelings and motivations. Sometimes, these habits may even alert you to potential issues in your relationship that need to be addressed."
Next time you're scrolling through your partner's feeds, be sure to keep an eye out for the following photos.
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Excessive suggestive selfies
It's one thing if your partner posts an occasional skin-baring pic at the gym or on the beach—but a sudden onslaught of super revealing photos could be a red flag that they're yearning for attention, according to Lisa Strohman, a clinical psychologist and founder of Digital Citizen Academy.
"If your partner posts overly sexualized photos, it could indicate poor boundaries and respect for a monogamous relationship—leading to trust concerns," says Lisa Lawless, PhD, a clinical psychotherapist and CEO of Holistic Wisdom.
If the photos are bothering you, it might be helpful to let your partner know how this behavior makes you feel and ask what their intention is in posting them. Just be sure to approach the conversation with curiosity and compassion, rather than an accusatory stance. From there, you'll need to figure out what boundaries you can mutually agree on setting when it comes to posting this kind of content.
Not posting about you at all
Some people like to share every detail of their relationship on social media, while others are far more private about their personal life. However, if your partner is super active on social media, but almost never includes you in their photos or posts, therapists agree that can warrant a conversation.
In a worst-case scenario, this could suggest they're dating other people at the same time—which is why they don't want any traces of you on their social media feeds, says relationship coach and therapist Susan Trotter, PhD.
Keep in mind, though, that there are many other possible explanations. "It could suggest that they're not entirely comfortable with the public perception of your relationship," says Wasser. "This inconsistency may indicate underlying uncertainty or a desire to maintain a certain image."
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Over-posting about your relationship
Just as excluding you from their social media feeds isn't a great sign, experts say it's also possible to overdo it on the sappy posts about your relationship.
"If your partner posts photos on social media in an excessive and perfectionistic way, they may have a high need for approval and validation," Trotter explains. "It may also be a way to avoid the real-life intimacy that comes with relationships."
Of course, there's always a chance that your partner simply can't help but boast about their romantic bliss. If it feels like a violation of privacy, though, it's time for a talk about boundaries. Or, if it's just downright annoying when they constantly stop to snap a pic during every date night, you might want to ask why they feel the need to share every moment of your relationship.
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Repeated photos with an unknown person
While it's normal for your partner to have friends, a sudden influx of selfies with a new, unknown individual—say, a colleague—could be a cause for concern, according to Wasser. "It may suggest that they are investing emotionally in someone else," she tells Best Life.
While these photos could suggest some form of infidelity or an inappropriate relationship, Wasser and Strohman both agree that it's important to avoid jumping to any conclusions.
"Instead, approach your partner in a non-confrontational and open-minded manner," Wasser says. "Share your observations and ask for clarification."
Photos that contradict your shared reality
Alexey Laputin / Shutterstock
If your partner posts photos that seem to misrepresent the reality of your relationship or their life at large, that could be a red flag, Wasser says. For example, they might post photos that make their life seem more extravagant than it really is—which suggests a need to uphold a certain image, no matter how fake.
"Filters and editing are pretty common and not necessarily a red flag, but if their photos look unrealistic, that could indicate insecurities or a lack of authenticity in their relationships in real life," adds Lawless.