As infuriating as it can be, there are many reasons for why a boyfriend may like or comment on other women’s pictures.
At Ex Boyfriend Recovery, we’ve encountered many clients who have dealt with this issue. We’ve come to the conclusion that there are six primary reasons why your boyfriend may be liking or commenting other women’s pictures:
They could be friends/family that pre-date your actual relationship.
It’s a pattern for them
They could be falling victim to the phantom ex phenomenon
They are genuinely attracted to the person.
They might actually think it doesn’t bother you at all because you haven’t mentioned it to them
They are trying to bait you into a fight so you break up with them
Let’s dive in and talk more about each of these things.
Reason #1: They could be friends/family that pre-date your relationship.
It’s important to consider that the woman your boyfriend is interacting with may have been in his life long before you entered the picture.
As easy as it can be to jump to conclusions, it may lead to more harm than taking a step back and examining the situation.
It’s okay to check up on your partner, but it’s crucial to be level-headed when doing so.
There’s not much more to expand on, so let’s move on to the more compelling reason.
Reason #2: It’s a pattern for them.
Your boyfriend might have consistently engaged in this behavior throughout their dating life.
They may enjoy the quick dopamine hit they get from interacting with others on social media.
To back this hypothesis up, I decided to do some research,
New York University professor Adam Alter, author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” explained what happens to your brain when someone likes your post on Instagram or any other social media platform.
In one of his transcripts, he mentioned:
“The minute you take a drug, drink alcohol, or smoke a cigarette, you get a hit of dopamine,”
“When you get a like on social media, guess what happens? Yep, dopamine is produced, a chemical associated with pleasure. So, when someone likes an Instagram post or any content you share, it’s like taking a drug. As far as your brain is concerned, it’s a very similar experience.”
It may be that your boyfriend is addicted to the pleasure centers in his brain being activated.
This false self-validation from seeing others “like” our content could be why your boyfriend has started liking other women’s photos.
He’s casting a net out, hoping for reciprocation from them. Hoping that dopamine gets produced and he’s almost trapped in this behavior.
This vicious cycle.
Reason #3: They could fall victim to the phantom ex phenomenon.
We talk a lot about attachment styles here at Ex Boyfriend Recovery.
If you catch your partner liking another woman’s photo, your partner may be falling victim to the phantom ex phenomenon.
In the video I just attached, our founder, Chris Seiter, described the Avoidant Phantom Ex Syndrome as:
“A past partner that you can’t seem to stop thinking about. So instead, you hyper-focus on them and romanticize your time together, even when that time together wasn’t all that great.”
Simply put, if a past relationship was meaningful to your partner, they may feel the urge to connect with people similar to their ex.
Although this may not justify them liking other women’s pictures, this sort of attachment style can lead to an obsession with connecting with people from their past, regardless of whether they are single or not.
Reason #4: He’s genuinely attracted to the person.
“Why is he always talking to that girl in DM’s?
WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH HIM liking her pictures?”
He can’t be interested in her, right?
This might be the hardest pill to swallow, but the correct way to tackle this question is to ask the right one.
After all, actions on social media don’t always translate to real-life feelings.
Therefore the right question to ask is about authenticity. How do you know that your boyfriend is authentically attracted to the person whose photos he likes or comments on?
For that, you want to pay attention to the following criteria,
Consistency: If he consistently likes and engages with a specific person’s posts or pictures, it may indicate a more profound interest in that person. So, you are looking for him to do it not just a handful of times with this specific person, but a clear pattern has been established.
Offline interactions: If he spends time with this person offline, attends events where they are present, or seems to prioritize them in his social life, it may indicate genuine attraction.
Changes in behavior: If his behavior changes when this person is mentioned or around (e.g., he becomes more attentive, excited, or nervous), it could indicate genuine attraction.
Let’s move on to our fifth reason.
Reason #5: He’s trying to bait you into a fight so you break up with him.
It’s an immature and manipulative tactic, but believe me when I say some men have done it.
He may be trying to start an argument, so you’re the one who first walks away from the relationship.
In fact, I think Chris has done a few videos on this,
His argument is the altruistic vs. selfish one. They try to bait YOU into being the bad guy to maintain their “good guy” status.
To bait YOU into breaking up with them.
Naturally, initiating a breakup isn’t something many guys have the courage to do directly.
And interestingly, we can look at the article I wrote yesterday to back that up where I cited research from a study done by match.com that found,
91% of men prefer it when a woman reaches out first.
Men are cowards… the statistics bear this out.
But let’s move on to the more pressing philosophical question surrounding your guy liking another womans pictures.
How Can You Tell If He’s Being Unfaithful Vs. Simply Being Friendly:
When I asked Jennifer Seiter, wife to the founder of Ex-Boyfriend Recovery, Chris Seiter about this she pointed me in the direction of this wonderful graphic below,
It’s called the Actions Vs. Words Theory.
And like most things in life, the brilliance is in its brevity.
If his words and actions match, then it is likely that he is being truthful.
However, if his words and actions are contradicting, then there is a possibility that he is being deceptive.
Consistency in words and actions is essential in any part of a relationship.
We see that cheaters frequently struggle to remain consistent with their words and actions, often failing to remember the promises they’ve made, regardless of whether the issues are minor or major.
This raises an interesting question though: could “being too friendly” also be considered a problem?
Just liking someone’s photos isn’t the same thing as cheating.
Ultimately, it all depends on one’s intentions.
A few years ago, Fox News interviewed Chris Seiter about Micro Cheating,
And while “liking” a photo definitely isn’t full-blown cheating, it’s similar to a gateway drug. A minuscule form of micro-cheating that, if left unchecked, can lead to more significant problems over the long run.
And that segues us quite nicely to our next topic of discussion.
What This Likely Means for Your Current Relationship:
Liking photos of another woman is usually justifiable if the person is a friend or an old acquaintance. I want that clarified before I start discussing what to do next.
In the case that your partner likes photos and they are falling victim to the three attraction quantifiers I mentioned above,
Changes In Behavior
Well, you will need to talk with your boyfriend about your feelings and be pretty strict about setting boundaries in your relationship.
I’ll help you with the boundaries part:
Identify What Boundary You Want To Set: These could be situations that make you uncomfortable or emotions you are not okay with. For example, this case is something you can address with your partner and set a boundary where you both agree on what to do and what is not okay. I won’t like so and so’s photos if you also stop.
Learn To Communicate Your Boundary Effectively: Use “I” statements and express how you feel in a non-blaming way. For example, you might say, “I feel uncomfortable when you speak to me in a condescending tone,” instead of, “You’re always so condescending.” More specifically, to this case, “I feel uncomfortable with how much time you are spending liking these women’s photos.”
Don’t Be Afraid To Enforce The Boundary: If the boundary is broken, then a consequence must occur, and it must make sense. The keyword there is a consequence that makes sense. A good result for continuing the “liking” behavior is to invest less time in your partner and instead invest it in yourself.
Setting boundaries is crucial; it’s a form of respecting yourself and your partner. Even though it’s a difficult step, it will make your relationship more transparent and closer.
How To Talk To Your Boyfriend About This Without Causing A Huge Fight:
I’m under no illusions that this could trigger a fight between you and your boyfriend. Still, it’s best to have an open conversation about it.
Before the conversation, here’s what you should consider:
Timing matters: When you have this conversation with your partner. Please don’t bring it up in the middle of a fight. Instead, bring it up during a high point so they are more likely to respond positively.
Take special care not to raise your voice. Keep your tone even-keeled. It would be best if you seemed like you weren’t that bothered by it to inspire communication.
Chris Voss, did a really great video on tone that I feel is worth a watch in this regard:
Here are some extra “No-No’s” to avoid:
Do not make assumptions
Do not make accusations
Do not be demanding
Do not bring up past issues or mistakes
It’s best to have a whole and honest conversation with your partner.
Whatever his reason for liking other girls’ photos, if it does not make you feel comfortable, then take steps to set boundaries in your relationship so that you can have a healthier and more transparent relationship.
There are several reasons your partner could be liking another girl’s photos.
They could be friends/family that pre-date your actual relationship
It’s a pattern for them
They could be falling victim to the phantom ex phenomenon
He’s genuinely attracted to the person
He might actually think it doesn’t bother you at all because you haven’t mentioned it to him
He’s trying to bait you into a fight so you break up with him
Once you can identify the cause and have a productive conversation about it, take steps to set boundaries in your relationship.
It’s essential to always be honest and open with your partner about how you feel about specific actions. It might not always be easy, but it will help maintain a healthy and trusting relationship.