Sex & Relationships

AI Can Now Help You Scrub Your Ex From Photos

Meet the "ex-terminator."
Image" Courtesy Photoroom and OkCupid

There’s much to be said about how precarious the creeping reign of Artificial Intelligence could be—but for any lovelorn singles (or just anyone who would prefer to literally never look at a photo of their ex again, for that matter), it could come with some satisfying benefits.

Last month, dating app OkCupid announced it had teamed up with AI-powered photo editing app, Photoroom for a new campaign. Aptly dubbed “Ex-terminator,” the project allows users to totally scrub their ex from photos. As Photoroom put it, the point is “to help you ditch the ex and keep the selfies.”

The idea is that the app can help singles start anew—and that after said ex has been erased from your image, you can add it to your profile on OkCupid (of course).

While the tool has received some praise—reviews on Photoroom’s website shout things like, “[the app] has done more for my dating life than our ex ever did for out relationship,” and “she kept the dog so I’m keeping the best picture we took together”—it has naturally drawn some criticism, too.

reviews of photoroom and okcupid's ex-terminator, which reads "she kept the dog, so I'm keeping the best picture we ever took together," in pink writing on a white card.
Reviews from Photoroom’s website (Image: Courtesy Photoroom)

In a piece for marie claire UK, Mischa Anouk Smith mused on the dystopian nature of the tool, writing, “Sure, people have been clipping old lovers out of pictures for decades, but digitally removing people feels oddly more permanent.”

While Chartered Psychologist Dr Mark Rackley acknowledged that there can be benefits to scrubbing exes from old photos—particularly if they were abusive, controlling or cheated—there are downsides, too. As Dr. Rackley told Smith, the process could move from cathartic to problematic if it becomes away to avoid dealing with your past, or the reality of negative experiences.

Smith also spoke with relationship and dating Coach Kate Mansfield, who noted worry at the way in which digitally altering our selfies could impact our memories. 

“Over time, memories naturally change, but editing photos may further contribute to a distorted perception of the past,” Mansfield said.

Despite reservations, OkCupid released the results of a user survey with over 185,000 responses, in which 62 percent of single women admitted they want to erase an ex from a “good photo.

Image: Courtesy Photoroom

How To Erase Your Ex From A Photo

If this sounds right up your alley, the good news is that removing your ex from that otherwise-perfect selfie is easy.

Simply upload your photo to OkCupid and Photoroom’s studio here. AI will do the rest!

Should You Delete Photos Of Your Ex?

While the matter of literally erasing your ex from a photo is ethically precarious terrain, whether or not you should delete images of your ex-partner altogether is (somewhat) a little more straightforward.

Erasing the digital footprint of your relationship may be tough but the general consensus seems to be that you should, at the very least, remove photos of your ex from your social media accounts. Although there will always be some who disagree, taking down couple posts will mean you are less likely to be reminded of the relationship and it can be a healthy step toward healing.

One study shows that looking back on old photos could even cause you to forget why you broke up in the first place. This research also underscores why it might be a good idea to delete photos of your former flame from your camera roll altogether.

“You have a higher desire to be back in the relationship because you’re looking at the best times,” says the study’s co-author Dr. Fox. “You’re getting this rose-coloured view of what your relationship was like, and if you’re constantly reminding yourself of it, it’s going to be harder to move on.”

With that being said, there is no prescription for heartache and while you may find erasing exes—be it them from photos or photos of them—helpful, healing is always bound to take time.

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