Is It Normal To Stalk Your Boyfriend’s Ex On Social Media?

We like to pretend his ex doesn’t exist, but sometimes, we can’t keep our curiosity at bay – we cave and stalk her Instagram. It’s totally normal…right?

By Keelia Clarkson3 min read
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Unless you’re the only girl who has ever dated your boyfriend, chances are, you’ve gotten curious about his ex before. What was she like? Was she pretty, funny, or accomplished – or all three? Why was he with her? Who was the woman who had his heart before you did? And we’re willing to bet you’ve stalked her on social media at least once.

Maybe looking once was all you needed. You scrolled through her feed, saw a few old pictures with your boyfriend, read a couple of captions, and moved on with your life. Or maybe, you ended up making a habit of checking up on her every now and then. And before you knew it, you turned into a full-blown social media stalker – you’ve seen every post, caption, and comment, kept on coming back to her profile for more content, and even made a fake account to do your snooping from just in case you accidentally tapped “like.”

Until one day, as you read through her cryptic Instagram caption from 2.5 years ago again, you had to ask yourself: Is this normal? Is this something to be embarrassed about? Is it crazy to stalk his ex, or is it something we’ve all done? 

It’s Definitely Normal

We live in an age where virtually anything we want to know is right at our fingertips. Want to know who the random actor from that one TV show has dated? Ask, and you shall receive. Want to know what happened to the girl you were friends with in middle school after she moved away? Easy peasy. Want to know way more than you were ever meant to know about the woman your boyfriend dated before you – or even the girl before her? Go right ahead.

Before social media, this kind of stalking from the comfort of your couch wasn’t possible. But with the rise of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, it’s hard not to go out searching for the information that’s so readily available. One study found that 88% of respondents from 18-35 had stalked their own ex on social media; the same study found that 80% of respondents had stalked their ex’s new significant other. So whether you’re stalking your own ex, your ex’s new girlfriend, or your boyfriend’s ex, you’re hardly alone.

But It’s Also Definitely Not Healthy

The bad news? Just because something is widespread doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. Instagram stalking might be relatively commonplace, but you shouldn’t use its normalcy to keep you from trying to break free from the habit. Stalking your boyfriend’s ex might feel satisfying at first (you finally have answers to those burning questions), but if you make a habit of doing this, it can affect your mental health and your relationship negatively. 

Checking up on and seeing the woman he used to be with will naturally breed low self-esteem, comparison, and jealousy – not to mention, it draws your attention away from the present (your relationship with him) to the past (her relationship with him) and plants seeds of doubt and pain that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. While it’s normal to be curious, stalking her Instagram is ultimately a self-destructive behavior that won’t end up benefiting you.

How To Break the Habit and Stop Stalking His Ex

It’s one thing to know you’re not supposed to do something – and it’s another to actually stop doing that thing. The reality is, Instagram stalking can be incredibly addictive. After all, there’s always more to discover, if you just wait for new content to appear. So if stalking his ex has become a habit, how should you go about quitting?

First, acknowledge how your stalking has hurt you and your relationship. Has it made you feel insecure about something you wouldn’t have otherwise? Has it caused you to start fights with your boyfriend? Remind yourself that they broke up, and she’s in his past for a reason, and he chose you. Don’t make her relevant anymore.

This should go without saying, but if you have a second Instagram account, get rid of it. Having a snooping account will only tempt you to keep on creeping. If you need some accountability, tell a trusted friend about your struggle, and that you want to quit stalking his ex. It’s easier to stick to your decision if someone else knows about it. You can also consider speaking to a professional counselor. If stalking her has become a ritual, there are likely other underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Closing Thoughts

Yes, it’s normal to stalk his ex on social media – studies even show that the grand majority of people have done it. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you to do it. Whether you’ve only looked at her profile once or twice, or have a habit of checking up on her every week, it’s best to keep the past in the past altogether and forget about her.

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