It’s a crime we’re all guilty of committing, but it’s time to stop stalking your ex’s Instagram.
So, things ended with him – maybe it’s just been a few weeks, maybe a few months, or… maybe even years. We’re trying to live our life, move on, and possibly make him jealous by presenting a woman who’s thriving on her social media feed.
Then, we get the itch. We want to know: What has he been up to? Is he seeing someone new? Does he still post cryptic captions that totally have something to do with us? Has he moved on? We crave another hit, to know about his life without having him know we know.
And so we stalk his socials – we just take little peek. Our sweaty fingers sneakily type in his name and sift through his feed. We comb through the likes and comments of his posts, and maybe even check out his tagged photos, searching for anything and everything that will offer us a better understanding of his life without us. Then, we delete our search history, washing our hands clean, and go on with our day.
Sound like something you’ve done recently? Look, we’ve all found ourselves with the same urge. It’s strange to know that this person we once knew so intimately is living a life full of friendships, likes, drama, and everything else in between, but without us. It’s hard to grasp the reality that this person we’d gotten used to speaking to every single day, one day spoke to us for the last time.
It’s easy to find ourselves in the rhythm of checking in on his socials semi-regularly, as part of a monthly routine. But deep down, we also know it’s not healthy; we know we shouldn’t be stalking his socials – that’s why we don’t want him to find out, why we call it stalking.
So how can we stop giving into the little voice that tells us to go take a gander? How can we stop stalking our ex on social media?
First, Admit That You Have a Problem
Yes, this is an addiction of a sort. As we fall into the habit of checking up on our ex’s socials, it gets that much easier to keep doing and that much more difficult to stop doing. We keep feeding a hunger we should be training out of ourselves.
By staying in our ex’s life this way, says Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., we aren’t able to make the clean break that the end of a relationship is supposed to offer us. And in order to stop giving in to this compulsion, we have to admit to ourselves that it isn’t healthy and have the desire to stop – we have to fully recognize that this behavior needs to end.
Hold Yourself Accountable by Telling Your Friends
So what if we’ve already looked ourselves in the mirror and told ourselves we’d stop, only to give in once again and type his name into the search bar? Well, you aren’t alone if this is the case. It’s far more difficult to hold ourselves accountable when we don’t have to answer to anyone when we slip up.
The next time you’re faced with the desire to go take a quick peek, text a friend instead.
This is why it’s helpful to tell our closest friends about our decision to stop snooping around on his socials. Ask them to help hold us to that, by regularly asking us if we’ve gone back and looked. And the next time we’re faced with the desire to go take a quick peek, text one of them instead.
Block Him If You’re Still Struggling
The desire to know what’s going on in his life is one that isn’t easily ignored, especially if we’ve been giving in to it for long enough. Simply wanting to stop isn’t enough, and sometimes, even telling a trusted friend won’t do the trick.
If quitting looking at his social media is proving to be more difficult than expected, it may be time to block his profiles altogether, so even if we, in a moment of weakness, want to sneak in a quick little stalking session, there are more steps we have to go through than just typing his name. If we have to go to our settings and press “unblock,” we’re way less likely to go through with it.
Embrace New Things
When we’re trying to quit anything, the key is to replace the time we would’ve spent doing that thing with something else. And we likely keep going back to our ex’s social media and ruminating on the past because we haven’t given ourselves new things to think about, new things to love.
We keep going back to our ex’s social media because we haven’t given ourselves new things to love.
Take up something new; broaden your experiences beyond what they were with your ex by learning a new language, volunteering somewhere, working out, traveling with your best friends, or changing up your style. Give yourself something new to latch onto that says, “I’m in a new phase of life.”
Get Back Out There
We might be shying away from jumping back into the dating game after a breakup. Maybe we need some time to heal and refocus our energy on ourselves; it’s not a bad thing to take some time to be single after the end of a relationship.
But sometimes, we’re keeping ourselves from getting back out there because we don’t want to let go of our ex – and dating someone else makes the breakup so much more final. But we can’t hide from dating forever.
When we’re ready to, getting back out there can help us let go of our past relationship more fully, giving us permission to envision a future with someone who isn’t our ex. And let’s be honest, it’s so much easier to get to a place where we don’t even remember the last time we stalked our ex’s social media when we’ve happily moved on.
It’d be hard to find someone who hasn’t taken a peek or two at their ex’s socials, but just because it’s normal doesn’t mean we should continue doing it. Stalking your ex’s feed is an ultimately destructive habit that’s worth quitting.
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