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My Boyfriend Won't Delete Pictures of His Ex (Is It Normal?)

Feature Image of My Boyfriend Won't Delete Pictures of His ExYour boyfriend is of a practical mindset. He doesn’t hold any resentment against his ex. It just did not work out in the end. Hence, he does not see the point of deleting pictures when he loves you. Try to engage in a hearty conversation, and appreciate what he feels for you.

In this blog post, I will help you understand why your boyfriend won’t delete the pictures of his ex and what you can do about it. Keep reading. 

Reasons why your boyfriend won’t delete pictures of his ex

  1. He is not over her: If the breakup was recent, your boyfriend isn’t over his ex yet. He still has a soft corner for her in his heart. Hence, he is not deleting her number.
    • Before initiating a date, it is better to dig into your boyfriend’s history. If he was dating someone and they broke up recently, he would have difficulty giving over things that remind him of her.
    • When we undergo a recent breakup, we cling to every object that reminds us of them. It helps us in reliving the moment and comforts us on many levels. We don’t think of discarding those materials or their photographs from our life; rather, we plan on treasuring them because that is the only thing left behind.
    • These things may include her photographs, presents, and accessories. However, it is not a hopeless case because, with time, he will forget her completely or start getting rid of everything that reminds him of her.
  1. He is good friends with her: When the breakup is mutual, one can be good friends with their ex. If this is your boyfriend’s case, and his ex is not seeing someone currently, you might be surprised to see that they even share posts and tag each other on some posts occasionally.
    • When your boyfriend is on good terms with his ex, he respects her. He might want you to do the same. He would not want you to hate her merely because she is his ex. 
    • While you might not find the thought accepting, I suggest you meet her in person. Though it often draws in a lot of negativity, it isn’t always essential that that shall be the case. 
    • It depends on how you find her to be. You might use her friends if you find the woman ladylike and genuine. It has to be mutual. If she is playing a masking game before your boyfriend, you would be able to sense it.
    • In any case, it is not advisable to disregard your boyfriend’s past. When you accept him as someone special, you will have to acknowledge all that has gone into the making of this person. 
  1. He doesn’t see the point of it: He is dating you. You are the one who is important to him. There is no room in his life for anyone else. He wants you to understand that and respect him.
    • This is where trust seeps in. he wants you to get stronger together rather than fool around like insecure people. For him, his past is a trivial matter. He might have dated more than one woman. He might have pictures stored in the cloud with each one of them.
    • What you need to look for are signs. The sign that proves to you that he is not playing with your heart or is not some kind of psycho maniac. You can test his sincerity by showing up at his place or calling him at odd hours, asking for weird favors, and seeing how far he goes into walking the extra mile for you.
    • If you discover that he is honest, you will stop minding other people. Your bond will strengthen, and all who will matter in your life is he.
  1. He is not serious with you: It might be that he is fooling around with you and using you to get over her. If he hasn’t made the relationship official, or if he treats you as per his convenience, this might be the case.
    • Though you must be patient with your ex, don’t trust him blindly. Share your photos on Instagram stories and see if he reshares them or stops you from sharing them.
    • If he doesn’t reshare the posts, he has kept your relationship a secret or is not comfortable posing as a boyfriend yet. But if he stops you from sharing pictures with him, it is synonymous with waving the red flag fiercely at you. 
    • Don't get overfriendly with your boyfriend. Making him know all that goes about in your mind at once will not do you any good. Instead, see and observe. Check if he notices things that are not acceptable to you.
    • Love has its language. Lovers don't like to play with the hearts of their loved ones. He doesn't take off the photos immediately when you tell him because he might feel you are trying to mold his life or make decisions on his behalf. 
    • However, when he feels that you are indeed pained by something that he finds trivial, he will undo his actions eventually. It can take time, but when he loves you, and you love him, anyone else cannot take your seat.
  1. He feels that you are using him to enhance your status quo: Your boyfriend might interpret your words and actions differently than your intentions. If you are more concerned about your boyfriend's virtual appearance and not as much about his mental health, he will consider it as a red flag.
    • It is not merely important how we see and interpret things. Sometimes we must shift the angle and see the picture from the other side too. 
    • In the current case, when you step into your boyfriend's shoes, you will understand that his concerns are completely different from yours. 
    • He does not care for the posts because they are a thing of the past. He does not care for his ex's photos because he doesn't open them up to look at them.
    • Hence, though you might feel he should be pleased that you are stalking him, he is upset because he thinks you don't trust him enough.
  1. You have photos with your ex all over social media: He wants you to preach by example. When you have photos with your ex or other guys on your Instagram or Facebook profiles, he feels he can have the pictures with his ex, at least on his cell phone.
    • This is a recurrent issue with most lovers who love to socialize and have fame over the internet. They enjoy posting with the opposite gender, believing it would make them popular. 
    • If you have photos with your ex, you cannot mind your boyfriend keeping the photos of his ex. However, the first step towards taking a step ahead with your boyfriend would be removing the pictures of your ex.
    • When you discard your ex’s pictures, it won’t escape your boyfriend’s notice. He might be inspired to do the same. He might not do it immediately because that would mean he has been keeping the hawk’s eye on you. However, he would do it eventually.
  1. He likes to keep things balanced: He is on friendly terms with his ex and wants you to come around with her as well. He wants you to be the power couple who are not overly obsessed with one another’s past.
    • A mature and serious relationship does not fear the past. They understand and accept the tragic tale of the bygone days and that the heart behaves in mysterious ways.
    • They would not while away their time is complaining. That’s the sign of amateur love. They would insist on mending things to get stronger together. Their objective would be honesty and companionship. 
    • If your partner behaves like the idealized adult boyfriend, I suggest you do the same. Whining is child play. You can do yourself better than that. Show him how you are rightly different from his ex, and make him more confident in you.
  1. He wants an open relationship: Your boyfriend might be a prototype of hyper modernity. He wants to go on multiple dates while being faithful to the fun. Does he keep alluding to people who keep or enjoy multiple partners?
    • People are into acceptance of being open in relationships in every way. They don’t mind telling their partners if they have a crush on someone new or if they checked out their colleague. 
    • This shows that they are sexually active and energetic. They find this quality admirable in that their partner is not tired easily. They also like to play with the thought that their partner is desirable by many.
    • Your boyfriend might be one such character among the lot. He wants to be in an open relationship. The case might be that he already has a serious girlfriend or that the reason for his break up with his previous girlfriend could be so.
    • If you find the idea discomforting, drop clues about it. When he understands it, he will either back off or share his feeling with you.
  1. You are too insistent: If you have been forcing your boyfriend to delete the pictures of his ex more than once, he might have gotten annoyed and decided against it. Either he is too stubborn, or he is messing with you. Let him be.
    • Never force anyone whom you love to prove their love for you. Rather spend more time, thoughts, and ideas loving them. When you give love, it automatically finds its way back to you. 
    • When you look upon love as a task, as something that you both constantly need to do to remind each other of your presence in their life, it is not love at all.
    • Understanding and processing love is a beautiful experience. Let its magic charm, lull you in your dreams, delight you. When you love someone dearly, you overlook the flaws and gaps. You are always looking for more reasons to love them rather than running away from them.
    • When you are finding reasons too dumb them, it means you have been seeing love as a favor. In love, all is forgiven. Love conquers all. If you don’t feel the same, you are either fooling your boyfriend or telling lies to yourself. 
  1. He values his ex: Perhaps more than he values you at the moment, he values his ex. It is too early for him to get rid of her completely. If the situation is such that they share their workplace or they are doing their course together, it would also be awkward for him to delete the pictures all at once.
    • Try to understand the situation here. See where your boyfriend stands with his ex. Just because they broke up doesn’t imply that they have estranged themselves. 
    • What kind of relationship they share should not be your business, lest the situation will get messy. Unless they have something romantic going on, that can be troublesome. 
    • However, don’t jump to conclusions. Take some time and give some time as well. Adjustment breeds love and bring peace.

What to do when your boyfriend doesn’t delete pictures of his ex? 

  1. Communicate: Tell him the thought of it makes you uncomfortable. When you communicate the right set of emotions appropriately, your boyfriend ought to appreciate it.
    • When you want your relationship to flourish, you can’t hesitate or keep your thoughts to yourself. Whatever bothers you must be communicated. 
    • There should be an acceptable level of advanced understanding that the two of you are talking about so that you can make things better. Sometimes, things can get bitter, but you will sail through it together.
  1. Give him time: if you have recently started dating, give your boyfriend some time to understand that this time it is serious. Meanwhile, all you need to do is trust the process.
    • People don’t believe in love easily. They like to take time to see how long it will last. In fear of being overindulgent or vulnerable, they don’t allow their partner full control over them.
    • If your boyfriend hasn’t shared the story of his ex with you, he is taking time. The day he decides that you are the one, and he means to take it long term because you keep him happy, he will tell you all about what happened while you were away.
  1. Try to understand his point: If he insists on not putting down the pictures, he must be trying to make a point. Try to understand the situation from his perspective, and you might fall more for him.
    • This point could be that the future is unpredictable, and even if someone else comes into his life, if you two don’t happen to go a long way, it won’t mean that someone will replace what he has shared and felt for you. 
    • It implies an unsaid promise that whatever is going on between you is meaningful. You won’t feel like a used and discarded tissue paper. 
    • The same is implied in the case of his ex. These become part of unsaid expressions that the lovers share between themselves. Deep inside, he feels the same way for you.
  1. Start growing distant: If it is bothering you a lot, and your boyfriend doesn’t seem to care enough because he is an egoist person who would not do anything for the sake of his girlfriend, it is time that you become distant.
    • Your boyfriend's equation with his ex should not hamper that which is going on between you. If, in any case, he keeps talking about his ex, and he has photos of his ex in his wallet, in the gallery, in his favorite folder, or a separate folder dedicated to her on his laptop, it makes him a ridiculous man.
    • While respecting one’s ex can be a gentlemanly quality, giving them priority over your current partner is unacceptable. It means that they don’t love or trust you enough and suggest that you haven’t quite made the mark yet or the wounds from the previous love are too fresh.
  1. Judge his overall behavior and approach toward you: Try not to focus on one aspect of your lover. If you are judging him, judge overall. Before seeing what he doesn’t do for you, account for everything he does.
    • Complaining is childish. Maturity lies in appreciating that which is done for you. Humility is attractive. Being curtly outspoken in an attempt to be self-righteous is unjustified. 
    • Remember that when you are judging him, he must also be keeping an eye on you. Nobody is perfect. He will find ways to do the same when you appreciate his qualities. 
    • Spending quality time together will draw you closer. Use those moments to do you good. Make those moments so special that all other moments fail to take control.
  1. Notice how often he alludes to his ex in conversations: This could be more problematic than keeping the pictures of the ex. It suggests that he still remembers everything vividly that passed between him and her.
    • It would suggest that your boyfriend is not good at letting things go. It bothers him a great deal. He is clingy and fears nothing more than losing someone.
    • Does he keep on talking about never letting you go away? Does he make a promise never to abandon you? Does he cry easily? Is he too sensitive and emotional?
    • If yes, it means he is more of a person who dwells in between the moments rather than making the most of the moment he is living.
    • Such people much be taken for sessions of therapy. They are prone to depression and trauma because they don’t know when and where to let go. 
  1. Try to understand where his ex currently stands in his life: You can ask this straight to him. Encourage him to be honest by opening up about your past relationships. He will not hesitate to do the same when you share a dark moment in your life.
    • Tell your boyfriend that he can trust you. Explain to him the impotence of opening up. Ask him what he feels for his ex. Ask him if he knows what she feels for him.
    • An important aspect would be the reason for their break up. It will help you to understand many things. When the reason has been a lack of communication, or one of them cheating on the other, you would know his deepest fears. 
    • It will help you to understand the things that need special care. Which subjects to avoid and what not to do when you are seeing him would come naturally to you.
  1. Ask him to evaluate your importance in his life: If you are uncomfortable asking your boyfriend about the equation with his ex, ask him to analyze the equation with you. Let him speak about why he loves you and how his world would be in your absence.
    • While at first, most partners are dismissive about such a subject, if encouraged sincerely, they won’t mind telling you about it. In those moments, they, too, will understand how much you mean to them.
    • If you are doing this, do it by turns. Make a game out of it. Appreciate the qualities that made him take you to be his man. It will naturally attract more positivity and spell off the negative vibes.
  1. Show him pictures with your ex: Make him feel and undergo the same feeling that you do when you see his pictures with his ex. You are dating a metal-hearted person if he is strong and confident enough to handle it.
    • How your boyfriend reacts to the pictures of your ex and you together in a frame would tell a lot about how insecure he concerns you. 
    • If he doesn’t mind and understands that you have shared some significant moments of your life with your ex, he is either too practical, or he sees through you to the purpose of what you are doing. 
    • If he doesn’t understand the purpose and gives you an expected reaction, you confront him and tell him how you feel when you see his ex’s photos. 
    • But if he indeed chooses to be understanding, take your point without making you utter it, and take down his ex’s photo, you have a gem of a boyfriend.
  1. Be more self-indulgent: The end word of it all is, guys will come, guys will go. It is your inner peace that you must maintain.
    • When you have doubts about a relationship, which has been continuing for a long time, perhaps stop minding as much and focus your energy on yourself.
    • Ask yourself why you get so restless and insecure all the time. Would it mean that something is lacking within?
    • Meditate, do yoga, exercise, build a hobby, learn cooking, grow plants, get a pet, read books, and do everything it takes to keep you calm and content.


Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • These are not as serious matters as they may seem. Trust the power of time. Every episode of the past will fade away, and only the present will remain to make a difference.
  • If he loves you enough, perhaps don’t mind the trivialities. You can voice your request when the time and situation are right.
  • Keeping her pictures is fine. Just make sure that he hasn’t kept her in his heart. Read his facial expression when you mention her name. Does he frown, get lost in thoughts, or dismiss the suggestion? It will guide you to the next step.
  • Take a break if you are unhappy with him because the past weighs heavy on his shoulders. A break doesn’t imply a breakup. Be away for a while to get clarity. It will help you to be more objective and practical in all your endeavors.

About the Author

Suprity Acharyya

Suprity is the editor-in-chief of Relationshippp and its parent site RelationshipExplained. She overlooks the end-to-end editorial publishing pipeline. She has a Bachelor's Degree in English and did her Master's in Social Welfare Management.
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