YOU LANDED YOURSELF a smokin’ hot girlfriend. It’s like she was pulled from the inner machinations of your mind—a fantasy. Congrats!
The only problem? She’s a little too keen to let everyone else know it, too. She posts at a fast-clipped pace—Instagramming her yoga-pants-clad butt mid-workout, uploading a car selfie that’s more chest than face (chestie?) on Facebook, rounding out the day with a Snapchat story of her fresh from the shower. Her intentions could be harmless, but that doesn’t mean your brain doesn’t short-circuit every time you see the post and the barrage of strange guys dropping fire emojis and who knows what else in her DMs.
You want it to stop, but have no clue how to broach the subject. You don’t want to go in guns blazing any more than you want to head into nuclear warfare with a water gun.
So here’s the gameplan, courtesy of psychologist and relationship coach Paulette Sherman, Ph.D.—and remember: your girlfriend is your girlfriend, so treat her with respect. (Here are 10 tips for arguing with your girlfriend without destroying your relationship in case things get messy.)
1. Understand how her sexy social media posts make you feel
Few men ever talk about this, but you need to figure out why you’re upset because of your girlfriend’s pictures. Talk to a close friend or even a therapist to act as a neutral sounding board. Specifically, describe the situation and the emotions it’s conjuring.
Some hypothetical questions: “Do you feel turned-on? The need to be controlling? Insecure?” Sherman says. And do you know where these feelings are coming from? “If you’re feeling jealous or insecure, you could be worried you’re not enough for her and she’s needing the attention of others,” Sherman explains. If you’re feeling protective and angry, that could be a reflection of your values regarding “privacy, boundaries, and sexuality—as well as fear of outside judgment,” she adds.
2. Consider why she’s posting scandalous photos online
This situation is tricky. She could have a few different reasons for all her online posting. Moreover, she may not be honest with herself (and/or you) as to why she’s posting what you deem to be inappropriate photos on social media.
First, the obvious: “She might need attention and is flaunting her sexuality to get it (which may not be about you, but can still affect you),” Sherman suggests. Maybe it’s her form of self-expression—which is to say, she sees nothing “scandalous” about the photos. (Remember, that’s a judgment call.) Or maybe it’s just part of her job (is she a model, spokesperson, or advocate for commercial platform?).
“You can’t assume her feelings or motives unless you ask, but you can intuit where she could be coming from instead of only considering your own feelings,” Sherman says. If you’ve seen some red flags that indicate she’s a bit insecure and seeks constant validation from you in order to feel content, that could point to her motives. If she has a strong understanding of who she is and is unwavering in her self-confidence, her posts can merely be an extension of that. If she’s a little immature relationship-wise and hasn’t had many serious relationships in the past, she might not consider how her posting could impact you.
All (and more) of these could be possibilities. It’s up to you to figure out which applies. And that brings us to our next point: