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Having friends of the opposite sex in everyday life can either be no big deal or a big problem in a relationship. But what about having online “friends” of the opposite sex whose pictures you “like” often? Is it inappropriate?

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As innocent as a few likes on some pictures may sound, to some, they’re not proper behavior for someone in a happy relationship. For instance, Black Ink Crew: Chicago star Ryan Henry has reunited with his son’s mother, Rachel. Those who’ve followed the show and their relationship are excited about it, and should be, because they’re quite the striking pair. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know and support other women, and it doesn’t mean he is or was going to stop knowing and supporting them publicly. As a public figure though, his choice to “like” the images of designer Angel Brinks got him called out by a woman who isn’t his girlfriend on social media:

And while Henry’s girlfriend may not care, there are many other women out there with men whose social media “likes” make them uncomfortable.

Like a woman who said, “I get jealous when my boyfriend likes other women’s pictures on Facebook and Instagram. What are some suggestions?”

To take things a step further, there’s also this woman:

I´ve already told my boyfriend a zillion times that I don’t like when he visit other women´s profiles and likes pictures posted a long time ago. My theory is that if someone visits my profile and keeps liking my old pictures, the person wants me to realize that he visited my profile and is interested in my life (which is different from liking pictures recently posted that appears on your recent feeds – in my opinion!).

There is a girl in particular (who is getting married in a few months) that he had done that several times. I complained, but he just did again.

Is that an important reason for me to get worried or should I just ignore?

Then there’s this lady who is more embarrassed than jealous by her boyfriend’s liking activities:

The issue is that he’ll like girls we know/he know’s pictures on instagram. They’re always like really dolled up selfies or pictures of them in tight dresses or in bikinis and I would be fine if he looked at them and considered them hot but its the fact that these girls see him liking their picture and know that he is dating me and in my mind I just see them thinking “Well {name}’s boyfriend is liking my picture LOL sucks to be her” or something along those lines. Basically a girl seeing that another guy with a gf liked her pic and feeling like she’s superior or feeling bad bc she knows he is putting it out there that he thinks she’s hot. It’s embarrassing to me, if that makes sense. These girls aren’t his friends, if they were I wouldn’t give a shit. Its just like people that we barely know just from living near/going to school with/etc.

Obviously, you could easily read into “likes” and start thinking the worst. You could try to derive meaning from them and walk away believing that your partner is stepping out on you. In the case of the last woman, you could start thinking he’s trying to publicly embarrass you and give another woman too much power. But the truth is, we’re just talking about “likes.” They’re not risqué comments about anyone’s body, they’re not direct messages with instructions on where to meet, and they’re not slander against you. The man could simply like the picture, the message being sent in it or want to be supportive. When did social media get this much influence over the state of our relationships and friendships?

But to play devil’s advocate, I do think that in the second situation, with the man who likes old pictures, if his girlfriend made her discomfort with his habits known, he should have respected them. I think we can all agree that going through someone’s old pictures, referred to as “creeping,” is doing a bit more than just liking a picture at a time. In fact, it means you took time out of your day to look through someone else’s profile, gawking at all of their pictures in the process. I don’t think it’s an overreaction to have a “Dude, wtf?” moment.

However, you have to know the person you’re dealing with and that includes yourself. If you haven’t been given a reason aside from some “likes” to think your partner is doing more than just hitting a simple button, then maybe you shouldn’t. Do you like other men’s photos? If you do, are your intentions pure? If they are, it shouldn’t be a stretch to believe that your partner’s might be as well. Has your partner told you that he doesn’t think something about you is attractive, therefore giving you a reason to fret over him liking another woman’s picture? I state all of that to say that we just need to know when to move out of the social media realm and figure out when our concerns are based on what’s going on in reality.

Oh, and if you have concerns that your boyfriend cares very little to do anything about, including telling him how you feel about his social media habits only for them to boldly continue, that’s something to worry about more than a few “likes” here and there…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? Is it petty to get upset over your significant other liking other women’s pictures? 

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