Hidden truth behind posting bikini pics online when in a relationship

Mel Schilling is a relationship expert, confidence coach and TV presenter who is passionate about educating, motivating and inspiring people to be their best. Mel’s advice is backed by her 20 years spent as a psychologist and aims to improve your relationships in life and love.

Question: My boyfriend told me to stop posting photos in my bikini on Instagram - is he in the wrong?

OK, I know you’ve asked me a question about your boyfriend but I’m going to start by flipping this on you.

You’re welcome.

Woman taking a mirror selfie in a bikini.
Mel Schilling exposes the hidden truth behind posting bikini photos on Instagram when you're in a relationship. Photo: Getty

I’m more interested in how you feel about posting revealing photos of yourself on Instagram. Before we look at ol’ mate and his opinions, let’s spend a moment with you. I have some questions:

  • Why do you choose bikini photos over other photos to post?

  • How do you feel when you post them?

  • How do you feel if no one comments or likes them?

  • How do you feel when other men comment on your body? Other women?

  • Do you want your boyfriend to see your photos? And the comments by other people?

I am asking these questions, not to judge you, but to encourage your self-awareness. We often post images on social media without a conscious awareness of why we are doing it or what we hope to achieve by it.


Ask yourself honestly, is there a connection between the type of photos you’re posting and the attention you want from your boyfriend?

Is there anything missing in your relationship that you could be trying to capture through your posts? Or is this more about gaining attention from people outside your relationship? And if so, what does this tell you about your current level of self-esteem and/or interest in your boyfriend?

And now onto your man.

Consider the impact on him and put yourself in his shoes. Literally, think about this - how would you feel if he was posting revealing pictures of his body?

This is not about gender or ownership, it’s about respect and boundaries. Once you have some empathy for his position, you can start to examine the bigger picture here.

The bottom line is this - if you are happy and comfortable with your bikini shots and want to continue posting them then you need to negotiate this with your partner. Not to ask for permission, but to explain your reasons and why it’s important to you, and attempt to gain his buy-in.

Essentially, you need to state that this is part of who you are and how you live and if he can't accept it, that’s on him.

If this is genuinely the case, then to answer your question, yes he’s in the wrong.

MAFS' Mel Schilling.
'This is not about gender or ownership, it’s about respect and boundaries.' Photo: Instagram/mel_schilling1

However, if you asked yourself the above questions and began to realise that you’ve been posting the 'kini shots for a reason tied up with your relationship or your own self-esteem, then maybe it’s time to have a broader conversation with him about how you both feel in the relationship.

If this is the case, he may have a point and you could both possibly do with some soul searching.

Mel's topline advice:

  • Ask yourself why you’ve been posting bikini images online

  • Does this have anything to do with your own self-esteem or your relationship?

  • If you are genuinely happy with your posts - navigate a way through this with him

  • If you are not - open up the conversation with your boyfriend about boundaries, what you are both comfortable with and where you want this relationship to go

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