You've avoided falling into the situationship trap, defined the relationship, and are in the honeymoon phase. Congrats! Of course, you still stalk the shit out of bae's social media profiles, reminding yourself how lucky you are to be with this hottie. But then, ooof, you scroll too far back and see a ton of photos of them and their ex during happier times.
Seeing your partner's ex on their feed can definitely cause some awkward feelings—especially if you want to make your relationship Instagram official, or you feel weird that the whole world can see who your partner dated before you (and naturally, make comparisons). Do you have the "right" to ask them to delete these pics? Or is that absolutely none of your business? It's a toughie, and you can easily see the argument for both sides.
Here, eight people explain why you should or shouldn't ask your partner to erase photos of their ex from social media:
Yeah, I'd want those photos gone...
"I've asked this of my current partner (when I was 29) and my ex (when I was 24), as their pasts with their exes were starting to negatively affect our current relationship. It's not as if I asked them so I could pretend they'd never been with someone before, but more because those relationships left lasting bad effects on my partners. Had things with their exes in both situations ended on good terms, I wouldn't have asked. Removing their photos was more like the closing of a chapter, so that we could start writing our own together. "— Anna, 36
"Keeping up pictures of your ex is weird. If a guy I'm dating still has pictures up of his ex, that would mean to me that he's not over her and is still holding on hope that he has feelings for her. If you got divorced, you wouldn't still have your wedding portraits hung up all over the house, so there's no reason to keep those photos up on Instagram for the whole world to see. I would be really offended if I was someone's girlfriend and he still had pictures up of his ex, especially multiple exes. It would make it seem like I'm just another girl to add to his album of girlfriends, and that I'm not special."—Lauren*, 24Continue reading below ↓
"Yes! I feel that if I'm dating someone and they still have pictures with or of their ex on their Instagram page, then they need to at least archive them if they don’t want to delete them. Your Instagram page is a reflection of what you want to show to people, and if you're dating someone, you want to show that—not every other person you've dated."—Julian*, 19
"I'll admit that it's convenient to scroll through a guy's page to see what his ex looked like and what their relationship was like out of selfish curiosity, but if you're actually seriously dating, I think it's weird to have photos still up with your ex. It makes me think that he still has feelings for her because he's proud enough of that photo/being with her to still have it up even though they're over. If we were actually exclusive, I would definitely want those photos deleted, and I would do the same."—Christine*, 27Continue reading below ↓
No, I think that's unreasonable to ask of someone...
"I am very strongly against asking anyone to delete these kinds of photos. For many people, social media is a virtual photo album and can be legitimately the only place their photos are ever stored. To ask them to delete that is like asking them to delete huge chunks of their life and memories forever."—Sarah, 30
"I don't have a problem with it. It's a memento of a time period in their lives that they might want to preserve. I wasn't there, and it's foolish of me to think that I have domain over past/present/future. That said, I've deleted pics with some exes based on how the relationship went, and if they were positive memories of a good time in my life, I kept them. But if anyone 'required' me to delete them in order to be with me, I'd probably find someone else to date. Autonomy is important, both for me and anyone I happen to be with."—Luc, 23Continue reading below ↓
"Deleting every single photo (I understand deleting kissing photos, etc.) with an ex feels like trying to erase all the experiences they shared together, and I don't think that's reasonable. It's not that I enjoy seeing them, but those photos and experiences were also a part of that person's life at that point. It feels like the equivalent of asking them to scrub any vacation stories and adventures because they happened while they were with someone else. This is presumably someone that they loved, dedicated a lot of time towards, learned a lot with, and helped shape them, so I don't think it’s fair to expect someone or to ask someone to do that."—Morgan*, 26
"I definitely do not think it is OK to tell your partner to delete any photos. I feel like a better way would be asking them why they still feel the need to have their photos on their feed, and expressing the reasons why it upsets you. Straight up telling someone to delete photos doesn't address the actual issues of why you're upset, or why they still have them up, and could just make the situation worse."—Kyra, 22Continue reading below ↓
Answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
*Names have been changed.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.