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His Take: “He Follows Random Chicks on Instagram”

New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.

I’ve been seeing this great guy for almost six months and we are officially boyfriend/girlfriend. I’ve noticed, though, that in his Instagram profile that, in addition to a few friends, he follows about 10 or so random chicks who post provocative photos of themselves, as well as and photographers who post sexy (yet tasteful) photos of women they photograph (similar to Maxim). It doesn’t really bother me that much about the latter but the former makes me feel like I am not enough for him sexually (which is kind of strange to me because we have amazing sex almost every day/night of the week!). I wonder if I should ask him about it, but I don’t want him knowing I was looking at his Instagram profile (even though he has it set to public and has posted photos he has taken on Facebook). I send him dirty photos of myself randomly and when we’re away from each other because I think it’s fun and hot (safely, of course, with my face not showing). Do you think I have anything to worry about in terms of him cheating or looking elsewhere for sex? — Instagram Dame

JAREK: Have you ever moved? Me too. It kind of sucks sometimes. I can just never remember everything I have to change my address on. There will always be something I forget. My license still has the same address as the last place I lived two years ago. It doesn’t mean I’m holding on to my last place emotionally or don’t want to change my address because I may go back to it some day; it just means I don’t even notice it anymore so I keep forgetting. This loose connection (inspired by my inability to pick up my FedEx package yesterday) just means that this guy had a life before you. Yeah, subscribing to “sexy girl pictures” on Instagram may seem a little juvenile, but as we’ve covered on here before, guys sometimes just like to look at that shit.

The fact that he still gets those pictures does not mean he desires other women or wishes he could sleep with someone else. It just means that he didn’t automatically unsubscribe to all his “single guy” stuff once he entered the relationship. It’s not deliberate; he probably just didn’t see it as a big deal or completely forgot he was subscribed to them. It’s not like keeping your profile up on a dating site — it’s his Instagram feed. If it’s anything like my Tumblr feed, I haven’t checked it in six months. If he continues to subscribe to new ones, you may want to explore it a little more, but otherwise I wouldn’t worry about it. If it really bothers you, ask him about it and see if he’ll drop them. But this behavior is not indicative of cheating or wishing for something better. You like the guy and have amazing sex. If he wasn’t interested, it would be evident in areas other than hidden deep inside his Instagram feed.

DAVID JAY: This is one of those cases where I really wish you had included the age of your boyfriend because it is very relevant. If he’s around 20, having pictures of hot-looking girls associated with his profile makes him look like a “cool stud” to his equally-immature buddies. If he’s around 30 (or God forbid, older), then this is downright creepy. (Yes, a LOT of maturing happens in the male mind between 20 and 30 as we leave college and enter the real world.)

Do you have anything to worry about? If he’s closer to 20 than 30, I’d say NO because he’ll outgrow it soon enough. But if he is closer to 30, YES! Did I mention C-R-E-E-P-Y?!

JMagic: This is a tricky question, especially since the first ad populated by GMail is “Does your Wife Cheat?” I’m inclined to say you really don’t have anything to worry about. Sounds like you have a great sex life and if you were “not enough for him sexually” a few Instagrammers would be the last of your worries. The more important issue here is the lines of communication not being open. Couples who freely talk about whatever is on their mind to one another will undoubtedly have the best sex life out there. So, I’d say simply approach him about said photos/users and voice your concerns. The longer you hold on to this, the bigger it will get until it blows up in your face. It’s probably nothing, but you’ll never know until you ask!

JOE: I cannot say for certain that you don’t need to worry about him cheating or looking elsewhere for sex, because I don’t know him, you, or your relationship. However, I can say that following the posts of random women who upload provocative pictures of themselves isn’t cause for any concern whatsoever. Looking at women (or men, depending upon one’s orientation) and fantasizing about them is what men do. However – and this is very important – for most men, that has absolutely nothing to do with a genuine interest in pursuing or actually being physical with them, nor does it in any way imply a disinterest in his significant other. It’s a fantasy, and not even one that’s of any real depth – it’s a purely physical moment that is fleeting and meaningless, and that’s on the rare occasion that it actually becomes more than just a glance at a body. It has absolutely nothing to do with his appreciation of you, your body, or your sex life. It’s entertainment, nothing more. It can become an issue when it gets out of control, but it doesn’t seem from your letter that this is the case at all.

* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.

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{ 30 comments… add one }

avatar 6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 12:48 pm

What the h is instagram?

avatar HelloJello September 20, 2011, 1:10 pm

That’s what I was thinking? Is this something all the kids are doing these days?

avatar El September 20, 2011, 1:11 pm

My thoughts exactly. Social networking has gotten completely out-of-hand. Do people have actual social lives anymore?

avatar honeybeenicki September 20, 2011, 1:14 pm

Nope, its like those commercials for… I think Toyota? about the adult kids talking about their parents not having social lives just because they only have 19 friends on facebook.

avatar LSS86 September 20, 2011, 7:06 pm

Ugh, I hate those commercials. They’re for the Venza and they make no sense. I can’t figure out who they think their target market is.

avatar NOLAGirl September 20, 2011, 1:22 pm

Instagram is actually kinda cool. It’s an iPhone app (at least that’s how I found it) that can add filters on your pictures to make them retro looking. It’s a hipstery thing. I downloaded the app but haven’t done much with it besides take retro pics of my dog…

avatar LSS86 September 20, 2011, 7:08 pm

I downloaded it for the filters, not realizing that it connected to social networking sites, and accidentally posted a picture to Facebook. I always thought I was pretty technical, and I have no frigging idea how I accidentally posted a picture on Facebook.

avatar artsygirl September 20, 2011, 1:17 pm

Would you also be bothered if he watched porn? If so I would not search his web history. Men (and women) fantasize about people who are not their partners, but have no interest in cheating or ending the relationship. Seriously have you never had warm and tingly feelings about Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, or Adrian Brody (ahhh Adrian Brody…be still my heart). Now if he was contacting these women and asking them for sexy shots or meeting up for coffee, I would be pissed but otherwise don’t worry over much about it.

avatar Melanie September 20, 2011, 2:14 pm

I think the fear here is that these are actual girls that he can have a dialog with. The chances of you speaking to Ryan Reynolds are fairly slim, I can guess. Also are the chances of him having a fling with a porn star.

But I’m err on the side of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

avatar artsygirl September 20, 2011, 3:42 pm

That was why I mentioned that unless she felt there was contact (which I figured she would say in the letter) it was mostly likely she was blowing this way out of proportion. I agree with the innocent until proven guilty.

theattack theattack September 20, 2011, 5:51 pm

There’s a difference in looking at pictures occasionally and having this sort of connection set up. He’s established a connection where this stuff comes to him automatically (I guess anyway. I don’t know what Instagram is, but I’m assuming it’s sort of like Facebook). Not to mention they are real people. I have a facebook friend (someone I know in real life) who is in bikini contests all the time, made it into the Hooters calendar, and now works in a bar where she barely wears any clothes and poses with random guys. She has thousands of facebook friends because these guys add her. Anything she posts on there, she gets around 80 comments about it because these random guys are obsessed with her. They definitely get some sort of sexual pleasure out of it, and they’re interacting with her, not just looking.

LW, I think you should bring it up with your boyfriend. Maybe in a joking way if you can pull it off. Don’t make it a big deal, but just sort of ask him why he’s still got that stuff. If he laughs it off, then let him know that it makes you a little uneasy and leave it at that. If you’re in a relationship, he should respect that.

avatar El September 20, 2011, 1:22 pm

Also, LW- it’s incredibly stupid of you to assume that a nude photo cannot be traced back to you because it doesn’t include your face. Ever heard of cell phone data storage? Ever heard of an IP address? Guess you didn’t think of those things ahead of time?

Hope that doesn’t come back to bite you in the ass.

avatar TheOtherMe September 20, 2011, 1:46 pm

I think she most likely meant that if the pic finds it’s way online after a breakup, it wouldn’t be as bad because her friends/family might not recognize her.

Unless the dude is a freaky photoshop expert in which case he could probably mockup anything :D

avatar ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 1:25 pm

I think Jarek summed it up right here: “You like the guy and have amazing sex. If he wasn’t interested, it would be evident in areas other than hidden deep inside his Instagram feed.” Is he attentive to you? Do you feel you fight for his attention, or does he balance your relationship well with the rest of his life? Does he make you a priority? Do you talk about the future? Does he have a history of cheating on past girlfriends? If you can answer these questions positively, then I don’t think you have anything to worry about. If it bothers you, ask him about it nicely. If he doesn’t give a crap, he’ll de-follow (or whatever…) if it bothers you that much.

Also, the point made about working on your communication is right on. You’re adults! Sit down and have a mature discussion when there’s something eating at you. Stalking social networking profiles and writing to DW are only going to get you so far.

avatar TheOtherMe September 20, 2011, 1:26 pm

I don’t think you have anything to worry about. If it bothers you because it’s set to “public” and you are embarrassed that others can also see what he is following online, then you should definitely talk to him about it, otherwise, be happy you have amazing sex every day !

avatar Nick September 20, 2011, 1:28 pm

I do laugh at all the ways ladies misunderstand the role of all varieties of porn in the psyches of men. We are on different pages in most cases. Thing is, I meet quite a few women with very healthy porn consumption habits these days too.

Often, looking at a hot woman is like looking at a hot car. You may picture what it is like to drive the Lambo, but you’re not googling the closest dealer and using the loan calculator. I will say this, it might make it harder to be happy… with your toyota.

avatar TheOtherMe September 20, 2011, 1:36 pm

Even though I don’t “really” want the car, I still use the loan calculator, you know, out of curiosity ;)

avatar NOLAGirl September 20, 2011, 1:28 pm

To actually answer the LW, I agree with the guys in that I don’t think subscribing to a few chicks who post provocative pictures is all that much of a red flag. If he were exhibiting other signs, like lack of attraction to you, flirting openly with other women IRL or keeping open a profile on a dating site, etc. then maybe I’d be concerned – but if it’s just following a picture stream, I wouldn’t be too worried. And I’m not entirely sure how he handles his Instagram, but if it’s anything like my Twitter feed, I follow a bunch of random crap. I don’t think it’s necessarily a smoking gun unless there’s more behaviors that we’re missing here.

avatar Theenemenyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich September 20, 2011, 1:39 pm

JMagic, I think you are right on.

avatar SGMcG September 20, 2011, 1:45 pm

Are you sure that he’s even legitimately following them? I read that Instagram can be tied to your other social networking accounts. Of them, Twitter alone has all these spammy accounts with camwhores (aka girls who do sexual services via webcam for $$$) letting you know they follow you. I know for awhile I was following them in return, until they became too spammy for me, and then unfollowed and unblocked accordingly. If your guy is a legit follower of Maxim (and has a magazine subscription), Charlie Sheen and/or Hugh Hefner, those spammy camwhore accounts may have followed him and, not knowing any better, he may have followed them back. I know that I still have a few camwhores on my Twitter account that I have to unfollow and block accordingly, but I haven’t done so because I don’t have the time to do so and/or I’m too lazy to do so.

So your guy may be following them, but he may actually not BE following them – it’s just another theory to throw out there. I know the guys have said that he may be legitimately following those accounts as a form of entertainment and that as long as he treats you well and still respects you, there is nothing to worry about. Yet whether these Instagram accounts are being unintentionally followed or legitimately followed, you should have enough trust in your boyfriend to communicate your concerns without the fear of the relationship spontaneously combusting – so go ask him already.

avatar lk September 20, 2011, 2:12 pm

“so go ask him already.”

^^^It’s so simple : )

Budj Budjer September 20, 2011, 1:56 pm

He isn’t trying to hide it so no red flags there.

Girls that do those provacative poses post them so dudes like your boy friend will follow them and therefore are a similar function as porn….think of them like amateur models trying to get to be those Maxim girls…

bagge72 bagge72 September 20, 2011, 2:53 pm

This is the best advice. No need for analogies on this one!

CatsMeow CatsMeow September 20, 2011, 2:20 pm

I like Jarek’s comparison. :)

But I think whether he just hasn’t gotten around to removing them, or has deliberately kept them on his follow list (or whatever), it doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter either way. He’s into you and it seems obvious to you that he is, so… Don’t worry about it. I’m not even sure if it would be worth it to bring it up to him – unless, of course, you want to, in which case, go for it!

And if this is the only *potential* “red flag” you’ve uncovered in 6 months, then it’s looking pretty good!

avatar soandso September 20, 2011, 2:32 pm

You: “why do you have those women posting pics on your instagram?”
Him: “well you see….”

landygirl Landygirl September 20, 2011, 3:01 pm

Why do women always measure their worth according to their mates pron viewing habits? His actions probably have nothing to do with you and everything to do with him. Same thing goes for you, if you don’t feel like you’re enough for him, that is your issue, not his. Instead of worrying about his hipster account pictures, start worrying about why you think that you’re not good enough and what leads you to mistakenly believe that his viewing habits makes you less of a person.

You aren’t second hand goods, stop thinking that way.

avatar artsygirl September 20, 2011, 3:44 pm

can’t like enough!

avatar instagram dame September 20, 2011, 5:35 pm

UPDATE from Instagram Dame (me): Just so you know, I was only concerned because I thought he would potentially contact some of these people. I have no problem with him watching porn or fantasizing about other women. It’s completely normal, and I do the same thing with other people (men and women!!). I understand that guys like to look at racy pictures of nude women – I was just worried that about the whole contact in real life (completely paranoid, I know).

Anyway, I just asked him about it because we are pretty good at open communication, and it’s like Jarek said above – it’s not something he kept up with regularly, he wasn’t following new random people. In fact, after we had the conversation and resolved the issue he voluntarily stopped following all the random girls. I did not ask him in any way shape or form to stop following them, which I thought was respectful. He still follows photographers who take beautiful photos of beautiful women, but I have no problem with that and even find photos like that nice. I honestly could care less that he looks at these photos or watches porn or fantasizes about other women during masturbation or even while we’re having sex! Lord knows I have done and do that sometimes. It’s only a problem when a guy prefers watching porn or jerking off to maxim over having sex with you, a real live person…

Just glad I got it out in the open. Communication is key! And we are still going strong :)

avatar Nick September 21, 2011, 4:24 pm

Love this comment, attitude.

avatar Leonardo Cervantez Da IIIrd May 18, 2012, 7:49 pm

I’m 40, married to my wife of 15 years (whom I have passionate sex with still very often and have never cheated on because she’s just f-ing amazing) and I follow a couple of the women described above on Instagram. The guy “Joe” above explained it perfectly. Just because I view some of these girls’ pictures does not mean I would be interested in them at all. It’s all entertainment, seriously, it’s almost like looking at pictures of a fancy sports car (boy I would love to drive a hot red Ferrari, but I sure as hell wouldn’t go and buy one – I can’t afford it and they tend to be more headaches than actual fun).

A lot of the women who snap pics of themselves in sexy undies obviously have issues (meaning simply that for one reason or other, they’re not content with finding one guy and keeping their hot bodies to their special guy, there’s obviously some attention issues there).

Honestly, if my wife had the same “confidence” as some of these women, she would look as hot or even hotter, it’s just the variation or change in “scenery” that’s appealing. At the end of the day, I’m happy with my wife and while it’s pleasing to see pictures of these women, I would never consider having an affair with them (not all guys would throw themselves and have sex with just any woman, even if she’s hot). Just like how some women look at guys’ crotches in public, it’s not like you women are looking to screw every guy (I’ve caught my fair share of women checking out my butt too, and I know that’s not an invitation whatsoever).

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