Relationships
If your boyfriend follows Instagram models, here's what experts recommend.

If Your SO Follows IG Models, It's Prob Fine — With This Exception

And no, you can’t press “unfollow” for them…

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Picture this: You're sitting next to your partner as they're scrolling through their Instagram feed when you see not one, not two, but three almost naked pictures of "Instagram models" in a span of 10 minutes. There's no right or wrong way to feel about your boyfriend following Instagram models. For some, it can be an uncomfortable situation and a total turn-off, while others don't really mind.

As with most things in relationships, it comes down to setting and respecting boundaries. Every couple is different, so every couple’s approach to this sitch will vary. For example, if your partner follows these models, and you truly don't mind, then there isn't much (if anything) to really figure out. On the other hand, if knowing that they follow those accounts makes you feel uneasy, that's totally valid. “It’s less about right vs. wrong, and more about each couple’s preferences,” Meredith Prescott, LCSW, tells Elite Daily. “There needs to be a discussion around what the boundaries are for social media as it pertains to the relationship.”

The key here is communication: let your SO know how you feel and why. “Share with your partner your feelings on this,” Prescott adds. “Do you feel threatened? What about this scenario makes you feel uncomfortable?” Vulnerability can be scary, but it’s really the only way to approach this conversation. You may not have the power to control who your SO follows on the ‘gram, but you do have the power (and responsibility) to let them know how it impacts you — whether you’re fine with it or not.

No matter how you feel, chances are you aren’t alone. Most people fall into three categories when it comes to what they think about who their SO follows: they don’t mind at all, they definitely do mind, or their opinion changes depending on the context of each situation. Redditors debated the topic, and although they didn’t reach a consensus, they brought up a lot of good points about what it means to them when their partner is following IG models. Their thoughts might help you sort how you feel.

Some Don’t Care Who Their SO Follows On Instagram

Santi Nunez/Stocksy

When it comes to checking who their SO is following on Insta, some people cannot be bothered — and not because it takes too much effort, but because they actually don’t care. (Yes, even when their boyfriend follows Instagram models.) ”They’re just models basically online. They usually have tons of followers. I wouldn’t be worried. It’s basically like me following male celebrities,” one Redditor explained their outlook. Another agreed, calling it a “non-issue.”

At the end of the day, it comes down to your boundaries with your SO. One Redditor put it this way: “They are selling a look or aesthetic, it's harmless and getting worked up about it will only create unnecessary issues. So long as you have clear boundaries in your relationship there won't be any problems.” For example, you may be OK with them following a few Instagram models, but would have an issue if they started commenting on their posts. Or you might be totally fine with the occasional flame emoji comment, but would have a problem if it ever went into the DMs. There’s no one boundary that will work for every couple; you just have to choose one that fits your relationship and go from there, adjusting as needed.

Some Think The IG Follow Depends On The Situation

A follow on IG can mean a lot of different things, so how you feel about it might be situation-dependent. Some factors to consider: Is your SO fully committed to your relationship? Do they check these IG accounts daily for new bikini pics? Do they DM them flirty comments? These distinctions can play a role in how you feel about who they’re following.

“As long as it doesn't go past just scrolling past photos or whatever and they're respectful of our relationship, I wouldn't be too bothered by it,” a Redditor summed up this stance. “If I was dating a guy who followed like 80 Instagram models and commented on their posts and was always looking at their feeds, it would get old quick.”

For most, it’s all about respect. “I don’t care who he follows as long as he’s respectful of our relationship. If he’s lusting over other women on IG it would be weird, but following them and looking at their pictures doesn’t really mean anything,” a Redditor explained. Boundaries in action! I love to see it.

Some Are *Super* Against Their SO Following Instagram Models

Lauren Naefe/Stocksy

For others, someone following a bunch of Insta models is a huge, breakup-worthy red flag. It might even stop them from dating this person in the first place. “[W]hen a guy puts his Instagram on his [dating app] profile, and I see that he’s following a bunch of Instagram models, I instantly swipe left,” a Redditor explained.

But why is this such a big turn-off for some people? It depends. Some people just find it “immature,” but others see it as a public form of softcore porn. “I...think there's a difference between following celebrities that you like that happen to be gorgeous, and following bikini models where it's essentially softcore porn — porn habits need to be way more private that IG,” one Redditor wrote.

And they weren’t the only one who made that connection. Instagram models are also way more reachable than your typical porn star, which can pose a problem for some couples. Another Redditor wrote, “Keep your porn private, and, hopefully, it is more impersonal porn because I also don’t like that on Instagram they can (attempt to) interact.” It’s similar to how some couples are OK with porn but not OnlyFans. That extra layer of connection — whether it’s a follow or a subscription — can feel a little too close to home. It means that there’s a possibility that you could connect more personally — whether over DM or IRL.

Unfortunately, if you cannot come to an agreement on this boundary, it might just be the end of your relationship. “I wouldn't tell them to stop...I would probably just lose respect for them,” one Redditor added. FYI, losing respect for your partner is not exactly a recipe for romantic success.

TL;DR? Feeling conflicted about who your significant other follows is completely normal. If their Instagram habits make you feel uncomfortable or unvalued, it's important to speak up — your relationship should be worth the unfollow. But you’ll only know where your SO stands on the sitch by talking it out. Before you ask, no, borrowing their phone and doing some sneaky unfollows won’t work in the long run.

Expert:

Meredith Prescott, LCSW