body dysmorphic disorder, BDD, couple selfies, selfie culture, group photos, needing control, insecurities, this stuff is golden,

Why I Don’t Have Any Couple Photos Of My SO And I

We recently went to a house-warming party to our new neighbour’s apartment. When I left the kitchen area (the party area, let’s be honest) to have a nosy look round, I noticed this lovely arrangement above their fireplace. It must have been about ten to twelve photos of the couple, in one large collection of photo frames. I realised that my SO and I had no couple photos at all, let alone on display.

Okay, so there are some photos of us – I think my SO and I were tagged in a few from New Year’s Eve 2015 (of basically just me snogging his face off, a tad drunk), and there’s one of us taken in Princes Street Gardens when his mum came to visit (I do not like that photo as I look awkward in it). But there’s none that I actually like.

I’ve tried maybe three times previously to take a couple photo/selfie of us, but none have them have ever turned out good enough for display. It’s never my SO who looks bad, always me.

The thing about group selfies or couple selfies is that I can’t control them. I feel like I can’t sit there for ages to change my pose, move around for better lighting, or flick my hair over the other side to see if it looks better that way because there are other people with me. I think that if they see me do this, see me need to take at least 60 versions of the same photo, that they will think:

  • this girl is vain
  • this girl is insecure
  • the first photo was fine, why are we still doing this?

I need that time to get the right selfie because a large part of my body dysmorphic disorder has always been that I need control over how I look.

This is why I don’t like other people taking photos of me. This is why I don’t particularly like going to the hairdressers. This is why there are almost zero photos of me in my teenage years – I was the one behind the camera, taking the photo instead of being in it.

Whenever tagged photos occur (hardly ever nowadays) or somebody takes a photo which has me in it, I avoid looking at it completely – I used to bin my school photos before even looking at them. It’s just easier not to see what I look like in it so that I can maintain the illusion that I look just like the mirror showed me that morning.

My SO is a beaut. He won’t like me writing this but when he first met one of my friends, just before we were about to leave for our Edinburgh move, she text me afterwards saying:

Now I know why you’re going off to Scotland – he’s bloody gorgeous! I’d follow him wherever he went!

I love to repeat this to him as he always blushes. He does not know how good looking he his. And I cannot help but feel that next to him, I am the ugly duckling.

I’d love to be able to change this. I joked to my SO that one day we should go around town, bring a few pieces of clothing with us, and take hundreds of couple selfies all over the place – making it look like almost 2 years of photos.

Maybe I will have the courage to do that one day soon. Maybe I won’t feel so inadequate next to my SO in a photo.

One day (before my wedding I hope, whenever that may be) I hope to have that confidence of letting somebody else take a photo of me and not worrying about it or avoiding it afterwards. Perhaps one day soon my SO and I will take the loveliest couple selfie ever, and I will actually love it too.

I know that once my lovely SO reads this, he will come over to me, bury his head in my neck, squeeze me tight and say something like; “I wish you didn’t feel like that”.

I wish I didn’t feel like this too.

If you have realised that you have similar issues with photos or your appearance in general, here’s some helpful links for more information about body dysmorphic disorder, and where you can get help:

Body Dysmorphic Disorder – MIND

Do I Have BDD? – BDD Foundation

Body Dysmorphic Disorder – NHS

The Ugly Truth About Body Dysmorphic Disorder – BBC

and as always, you can talk to me if you like.


  1. Quinn

    Hmm I am a bit like this – definitely usually the one behind the camera, and I’m JUST ABOUT okay with selfies every so often when I’m in total control. My mother has had eating disorders her entire life (undiagnosed anorexia or bulimia) and because of that I’m hyperaware of NOT being like that. I try extremely hard to bury any feelings of ‘I’m fat’ or ‘I look lumpy.’ Most of the time I try to let myself feel them, and then tell myself, ‘It’s not true. You know it’s not true. Say yes to the hamburger. Do NOT let the nasty thoughts take away your delicious burger. Don’t end up restricted to lettuce and rice cakes like your mother.’ It doesn’t make the feeling go away but it does provoke me into not letting it impact my diet.

    I’m not sure that makes sense outside my head… Basically what I’m saying is, I know the feeling. We have exactly one couple photo on show in our apartment after almost eight years together. He’s not big on photos and, although I’m big on taking them, like you I’m not big on being in them, so that’s okay. I don’t think I have body dysmorphia but honestly I’m not sure I’d be able to tell if I did. I second what Gloria said though – you are gorgeous! Even if you take twenty selfies to get the one you want. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! You look GORGEOUS.

    1. Lauren

      Oh wow, that must be tough for both you and your mum. Good on you for fighting against those thoughts.
      BDD is something I had much more severely when I was a teenager – taking showers in the dark and putting make-up on in the dark etc. So I know I have made some progress – it just gets in the way of some of those small things in life, like displaying photos of my SO and I.
      If you ever want to talk about how you’re feeling with me, do feel free to ping me a message whenever you want 🙂
      And thank you, you’re so kind! x

  2. Gloria

    I never used to suffer from insecurity about how I appear in photos, only in recent years has that happened and that’s because new cameras (almost all) distort images. Yes it’s true. They either stretch out the middle of the picture or the edges, giving a completely distorted image. It used to be true that the camera never lies but these days they do, especially phone cameras, but I’ve even had it happen with professional cameras. Somehow most people seem to be oblivious to this which boggles my mind. Maybe I’ve just been around long enough to remember true images. If you look at old photos it’s easy to see the difference. So these days I’m cautious about being photographed for that reason and try to position myself not at the edge and not in the middle, if possible, just somewhere in between that space. I refuse to give myself a label though and especially not allow any doctor to label me. That just gives them an excuse to prescribe drugs. I just recognise that images can be very misleading. It might help you to remember that professional photographers take literally hundreds of images just to get one good one. I don’t want to tell you how you should feel but I just want to say that you’re very pretty and I hope you can find a way to believe that too.

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