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Should you delete photos of your ex off social media when you start dating someone new?

From epic vacations and family celebrations to that really good sandwich we ate that one time, our Instagram feeds are a real-time scrapbook of our daily lives — and often that includes past relationships. When you start dating someone new, there’s often the question of what to do with your social media feed.

Do you need to delete all of the photos you have of you and your ex together? Do you just delete the mushiest ones of the bunch? Do you leave everything just the way it is? Does the new person you’re dating have the right to make suggestions? These are all things to consider.

I’ve never been one to post a lot of couple photos online — and if I do post something, it’s only when I’m serious about someone. Since I haven’t had that many serious relationships over the past few years, there aren’t a whole lot of PDA photos floating around my social media feed. If I dated someone in the past and it didn’t end badly, I see no harm in keeping the photo online. Taking it down would feel like I’m erasing part of my past.

However, I know other people feel very differently about this issue. In fact, if I don’t know someone that well but I follow them on social media, I can often tell when they’ve split from their significant other because there’s suddenly zero photos of them together on Instagram.

If you’re in a new relationship and trying to figure out whether you should delete photos of your ex, here are a few things to keep in mind.

How do the photos make you feel?

Does seeing old photos of you and your ex on your social media history cause you distress? If the photos remind you of bad times and everything that went wrong in the relationship, then, by all means, you should delete them. However, if seeing photos of your ex is more of a “meh” situation and the new person you’re dating understands this, don’t worry about taking them down.

How long ago did you date?

Did you date super recently or was it more than a couple of years ago? Would someone have to dig to find photos of your ex or are the photos still front and center? If you’ve transitioned from one relationship to the next, it’s understandable that your new partner might be bothered by the fact that your ex is still prominently featured on your social media. Try to be sensitive to this and consider removing at least some of the photos.

However, if the photos in question are more than 6 months old, you might want to have a conversation with the person you’re dating about why they feel threatened by photos of your long-gone ex.

Can you compromise?

I’m pretty secure in myself but I would still be bothered if my new partner insisted on keeping up photos of his ex that were super intimate — like that afterglow selfie they took from bed or the shot of his ex in a bikini with a super mushy caption attached. So, while there’s maybe not a need to delete EVERY photo in your timeline, perhaps you can come to a compromise and do some “editing.” This means keeping the photo of you and your ex at your best friend’s wedding last summer but removing the couples boudoir shots you took together. Just a thought.

Are you deleting them for yourself or for the person you’re dating?

If deleting old couple photos makes you feel like you have a fresh start, then delete away! However, if the new person you’re dating insists you delete evidence of any partner that came before them, there might be bigger issues at play. We all have pasts and part of dating is learning how to deal with that and most importantly, move forward.

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