He Has Pics of His Ex Everywhere, Is He Still Hung Up On Her? [Ask A Dude]

Dear Dude,

I was wondering if it’s wrong of me to ask my boyfriend to remove some pictures of his ex. We have been dating for almost a year and I couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend…I don’t worry that he will cheat on me, but seeing pictures of his ex hanging on the wall of his house or even pictures of his ex on fb bothers me. One thing that irks me is that he always mentions how family comes first and I love that, but when there’s a folder on facebook that says “Me and my family” and the only pictures in that folder are of him and his ex… I just don’t know what to think of that.

We always talk about our future together and getting married to finally become a family, and all I can think about is those pictures. I also know that there are pictures of them together on his phone as well. It’s not like I want him to throw away or delete the pictures. They dated for four years, and I understand that a lot of those pictures are memories. I just don’t want to see it everyday.

I’m sure he really doesn’t look at them at all, and its not like I’m going out of my way to find these pictures. Most of them are blatantly right in front of my face. Is it wrong for me to expect him to phase his ex out of his life? I don’t care if he shoves them in a shoebox and put them in the drawer. At least then I would feel like he is being serious with me. And maybe it’s just my insecurity talking but I’m really confused and not sure how I should handle this.


Dear Confused,

You’re hung up on the pictures of his ex on FB, his phone, and find this as an indication that he’s not taking your year-long relationship seriously. And you want to know how to get him to get rid of the pics. Have I about summed up the predicament? If so, there are a few factors to weigh and a couple concerns to raise.

First off, is he still friends with his ex? I get feeling like he’s not moving on past her but, besides old photos, do you have any other reason to come to this conclusion? If he’s still close with his ex then it makes a lot of sense to honor their time together and have those photos all over the place. I mean, as you’ve noted, she was a MAJOR part of his life for 4 YEARS. A fling it wasn’t. So, is it just photos or are there some other warning signs that are scratching at your insecurity about the relationship?

Look, nobody likes the presence of an ex in their relationship. It can feel like you’re fighting against a ghost of girlfriends past (jeezy chreezy, did I really just reference that ridiculous Matthew McConaughey movie?). You want to be the sole focus and want your relationship to progress. How can it if there’s a lingering safety blanket like the memory of an ex in the picture? Especially a cyber-scrapbook of her. It seems a bit excessive, especially if he’s looking at them every day but that doesn’t sound like the kind of behavior you’re worried about. You’re worried because they’re there and that you’re constantly confronted by them, and this is triggering a worry that he doesn’t take your relationship seriously. Okay. TELL HIM!

We all get irrational worries and pet peeves and maybe this is one for you. The more you worry but don’t talk to him about it the worse you’re going to worry. Just take him aside and let him know that this upsets you. You’re not claiming it’s rational, you just know that it bothers you and you want to tell him so he’s aware. If you have a question about whether they have to be so out there for all to see constantly then ask him if he’d mind taking some of them down and placing them in his personal files. Just tell him it bothers you. Tell him why. Don’t sugarcoat or judge the reasons, just be honest about them. It’s okay if they’re part of some insecurity because it’s the insecurity that needs to be dealt with.

My question is: Are you sure it’s just the pics? I mean, it’s one thing to be irked and another to think this is a sign that he’s not taking your relationship seriously after being with you for a year. Is there any possible, even seemingly insignificant, things he’s done or isn’t doing that is triggering your Relationship Agent Orange? Because the bottom line here is that you’re insecure about what you have and about losing it. These photos are circumstantial evidence, nothing more. You are freaking out over something on the smaller side. You are worrying and reading into something much bigger. So when we fixate on something on this smaller side it can often be because we’re avoiding a larger issue. I don’t need to scan this relationship with a sonic screwdriver to assess that there’s a larger issue here at hand: part of you doesn’t trust this relationship is going to work.

Now I suggest that when you talk to him about this you take a little inventory beforehand. Why are you freaking out? Is it all him? Fear doesn’t come from someone else, it comes out of our own issues and one of yours is creeping up the threat-o-meter to your relationship. Take a little time to think about what’s causing this fear besides pictures from your side of the equation, a past break up, some advice from friends or family or is it some relationship drama you’ve witnessed that scarred you for life, I don’t know but there’s something lurking just below this peeve that’s ALSO got to be handled.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Don’t freak out.”

Dude Bartowski

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall? We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to askthedude [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]

Too Much Too Soon [Diary Of The Undateable]
Too Much Too Soon [Diary Of The Undateable]
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