How To Handle A Girlfriend’s Past On Her Social Media Accounts

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by Jeff Billings in Retroactive Jealousy Blog
August 8, 2016
how to handle a girlfriend’s past

Learning how to handle a girlfriend’s past — who she once slept with and the kind of sex she enjoyed — can be hard enough. But in today’s day and age there’s no escaping the fact it’s made that much harder by social media.

If you suffer from retroactive jealousy ocd, seeing former sex-buddies, two-night-stands and boyfriends on her “friends” list can be pretty galling.

Whereas once this little crew would have to actually pick up the phone to get in touch, or appear on her doorstep, now all they have to do is click a button.

I’d say Facebook is the main culprit when it comes to this, but Instagram, Google+ and Twitter can also cause major headaches.

One of my girlfriend’s former sex-buddies even added her on LinkedIn. Purely for “business” purposes, I presume.

A Girl’s Ex-Lovers On Social Media — The Guy’s Perspective

Here’s an email I received from a guy recently who sums up the problem perfectly. (I’ve changed his name.)

Hi Jeff,

My girlfriend and I broke up for a couple months and in that time she became friends on several social media platforms with the one person from her past I am most jealous of.

Since getting back together she has refused to remove him again.

I understand she has no obligation to and she has a right to have whoever she wants on there, but it hurts to know she can see how much this hurts me but still won’t consider removing him. Despite never talking to him.

It’s causing me to harbor a great deal of resentment and putting me in a constant bad mood.

I don’t want to be like this and I’d like to be okay with it if I can.

Do you have any advice for dealing with social media?

I find that whenever she is on her phone I get a horrible anxious feeling that I’ll see his name pop up, or he’ll like something she shares.

I’d just much rather an out of sight, out of mind, situation.

I really hope you have some advice that can help me. 

Many thanks, 


A Girl’s Ex-Lovers On Social Media — The Female Perspective

When learning how to handle a girlfriend’s past regarding her social media profiles, the first thing you need to do is try to understand things from her perspective.

So just what is your girlfriend’s reason for keeping a whole bunch of dudes she used to sleep with in her orbit? Regardless of whether she actually communicates with them or not.

Good question.

In fact, don’t expect any logical answers here. I’m just going to lay out what’s going on in their heads when they refuse to delete these guys.

1. She hates being told what to do

Your girlfriend is not refusing to remove these guys because she particularly hates the idea of not having them on her “friends list” anymore.

She’s not removing them because you’re telling her to.

In reality, she probably couldn’t give two cents about them, but she’s not going to be told by you who she can and can’t be friends with on Facebook. Or by anyone for that matter.

In a woman’s mind, being told that she has to delete certain people from her personal social media profile is a throwback to the 1950s.

To her, you may as well be telling her she’s not allowed to wear a certain dress out the house. Or to fetch your pipe and slippers and have dinner on the table by eight.


2. She wants to show you off

Social media is all about showing off how great our lives are to everyone, and when it comes to social media women love showing off their new boyfriends.

They particularly love showing off their new boyfriends to their old boyfriends. And basically anyone they once had sex with.

I’m not even on Facebook so it doesn’t make much sense to me why women care so much about this, but there you go.

On some level she probably just wants to let these guys know how great her life is now they’re out of it.

3. She wants to play it cool

Your girlfriend probably wants to come across as not caring anymore about these guys at all.

She wants them to think that they’re so far out of her thoughts that she can’t even be bothered to delete them.

But in her mind, by going to their profile and clicking the “unfriend” button, says she cares.

It means she’s thought about them and taken the (admittedly minuscule) amount of time required to delete them.

The reason why this can be such a big deal for women is that she thinks that by deleting these guys she’s showing she still has feelings for them. Whether they’re negative or not.

She doesn’t want them to think that she’s holding a grudge.

Or that she can’t handle seeing their faces pop up on her profile.

Rather, she wants them to think they’re so insignificant and everything’s so wonderful in her life, that she’s forgotten they’re even “friends”.

How To Handle A Girlfriend’s Past When It Comes To Her Social Media Accounts

Firstly, don’t tell her to delete these guys.

Instead, let her know that it’s up to her whether she deletes them or not, but you’re not loving the fact she’s “friends” with them.

It’s fine to let your feelings be known, but don’t force them.

This is because when you demand that she delete these guys, you’re just making her that much less likely delete them.

And even if she does give in and delete them, you won’t feel any better because you’ll know she only did it because you told her to.

Consequently those feelings of resentment you have toward her over this, will fail to lift.

The problem boils down to this:

Women don’t have as much of an issue with casual sex as men.

Because women are usually far more bothered about their boyfriend’s romantic past than their sexual past, it’s hard for them to see things from a man’s perspective.

In other words, they can’t see just how painful them keeping in touch with some random guy they slept with a couple of times is for you.

A much better approach in learning how to handle a girlfriend’s past on social media, therefore, is to simply let her know this.

Tell her about the different way the sexes handle their partners staying in touch with exes.

And about what gets under a man’s skin and what gets under a woman’s.

And how men really think.

For example, she thinks that by keeping an ex-lover on her social media profile, she’s saying “I don’t care enough about you to even delete you”.

In actual fact she’s saying “Even though I’ve got a boyfriend, I still like you enough not to delete you.”

And probably also “I’m still interested in what’s going on in your life”.

But she can’t see this, and is instead wondering what all the fuss is about.

How to handle a girlfriend’s past popping up on her social media accounts

So, let her see things from your perspective and try to gently put her right about a few things.

Hopefully then she’ll decide to delete them of her own accord when she realizes how much grief it’s causing you.

Sure, we’d love to all be so open-minded that we don’t care who our wives and girlfriends keep on their social media profiles…

But struggling to learn how to handle a girlfriend’s past is hard enough, without them keeping ex-lovers in their “friends” list for no discernible reason.

I can understand why girls keep ex-boyfriends on their social media profiles, but I struggle to see why sex-buddies and two-night-stands also get to hang around.

Unfortunately you can’t force your girlfriend to delete these guys.

All you can do is talk to her calmly about your problem and hope she does it of her own accord.

And in the meantime, check out this post on how to beat retroactive jealousy that’s related to what I’ve been saying about social media.

But if you really want to learn how to handle a girlfriend’s past, check out my course “Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy 101” for more information.


  1. Tim says:

    Very useful tips Jeff. My gf is obsessed by her phone and I always wonder who she’s texting and what she’s doing on there. Not to mention all the photos she has of ex fuck buddies and ex boyfriends and god knows who else on there.

    1. SC says:

      She asks “Is me staying in touch with exes on social media, and talking about my exes a problem for you”? I say…only if I was sexually interested in you, or considering a long-term relationship with you : then it would be a major turn-off. Let her decide.

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