It’s normal to be curious about your ex’s life occasionally because you were a big part of it for a while, but checking up on him becomes problematic if it’s making you feel bad or it becomes an obsession.Here’s how to stop stalking your ex online so you can finally move on with your life.
Delete, Delete, Delete. Delete EVERYTHING. His number, texts, emails, unfriend him, unfollow him, and erase all his messages everywhere. You don’t want to either be tempted to check up on him, or accidentally be reminded of him when you’re innocently scrolling through social media. It’s going to be a lot harder to avoid his pages when he’s popping up on your newsfeeds everywhere!
Ask your friends for tough love. Ask them to let you know when you’re being obsessive. If you’ve deleted him from all your social media platforms, tell your friends that they’re not allowed to fill you in on his activities or let you use their accounts. You might need some tough love from them right now, but you’ll be thankful for it when you’re done healing from the breakup.
Start a “stalk jar.” It works like a swear jar, except you drop a $10 bill in it every time you check up on your ex online. It might not actually stop you from doing it, but it will help you save up for an epic night out, where you’re sure to forget about the breakup for a few hours.
Keep busy. Bury yourself in work, surround yourself with friends, hit the gym, or get all the hobbies. You’ll be too busy to think about your ex too much, and you’ll accomplish things that will make you feel really good about yourself.
Stalk a celebrity instead. If you can’t tear yourself away from social media, try stalking someone who’s more interesting, anyway. Celebrities are always doing neurotic, self-absorbed stuff that won’t make you feel crummy when you look at it, plus they essentially make a living off of being creeped on. It’s a win/win for everyone.
Find a replacement habit. Have you ever heard that you can’t quit smoking without replacing it with a different habit, like knitting or lifting weights? That logic applies to all bad habits. Pick a replacement that will work for you, and run to it every time you feel a craving to stalk your ex online.
Get back in the dating game. Rebound time! You won’t obsess over your ex if another guy is physically in front of you. You don’t have to go out and bang the next guy you see, but getting comfortable with dating and the idea of being with someone else will not only help you get over your ex, but also keep you busy in the meantime. And who knows, you might actually have a little fun as well.
Remember how you felt the last time you crept on his pages. You felt pretty crappy, didn’t you? Don’t keep torturing yourself because it’s going to make you feel bad every time. Even if he’s heartbroken and miserable, he’s not going to post pictures of himself crying on his kitchen floor on Facebook. It’s only going to be pics of going out with the guys as if nothing happened, hanging with new women, and getting in the best shape of his life. There’s literally no chance that stalking him will bring you any joy.
Block his pages if you have to. You might need a little help from Google (or a techy friend if you’re lucky enough to have one) but you can block his pages from your computer if your stalking has gotten that out of hand. Think of it as you parentally controlling yourself, because sometimes we all need a few healthy boundaries.
When all else fails, take a break from social media. You can take a time out from social media and beat this bad habit, cold turkey. With a little space, you’ll be able to process the breakup and get back to using social media responsibly, with no stalking.
Why you can’t stop stalking your ex online
You know this behavior is normal even though it’s problematic, but why is it happening to begin with? Here’s what could be going on.
You’re not over him. This one seems pretty obvious and that’s because it’s the most likely answer. You can’t stop stalking your ex online because you’re still pining after him and looking at his Instagram feed or seeing what memes he retweets on Twitter or his status updates on Facebook is the only thing keeping you connected to him. Of course, this is a false intimacy since it’s one-sided and doesn’t give you the full picture, but you’ll take what you can get.
He moved on before you. If you broke up and it wasn’t very long before he started dating other people or even got a new girlfriend, it’s natural that you’re going to feel slighted. What does she have that you didn’t? How could he move on so quickly? Did he ever truly love you? This obsession with seeing who he’s with now and comparing yourself to her is enough to drive anyone crazy. Don’t let it.
You’re lonely. Again, it makes sense that you can’t stop stalking your ex online when you’re used to being in a relationship and now you’re on your own. You miss that companionship, that physical affection, and even that presence of another human being who actually knows you deeply. You have friends but it’s not the same. By going through all of your ex’s accounts, you can sort of wax nostalgic for a while and revisit all the wonderful things about your relationship in an effort to self-soothe. It doesn’t work, but you don’t stop chasing that feeling.
You want to feel vindicated. If he screwed you over, you’re probably feeling angry and hoping he gets his comeuppance somehow and in some way. You could be stalking him online because you’re waiting to see if anything bad happens to him. Does he get screwed over by someone else? Does he lose his job? Is he feeling depressed and lonely like you? You hope so.
You want to know if he misses you. By scrolling endlessly through his Insta feed or his Facebook timeline, you find yourself constantly looking for signs that he misses you. Will he realize that letting you go was the biggest mistake he’s ever made? Will he start posting pining lyrics from songs that indicate how much he’s missing you? The likelihood of this happening is slim to none — it’s 1998 and you’re not teenagers anymore — but that little sliver of hope keeps you coming back for more every time.
You’re bored. You’re pretty much over him and definitely don’t want to get back with him, but you keep stalking him online because you have nothing better to do. You’re not dating anyone at the moment, nothing exciting is going on in your life, and you just want something to occupy your time. Trying to parse out the details of your ex’s life as he presents it on social media is a fun way to pass the hours so you keep doing it, albeit absentmindedly.
You’re hoping to get back together. If it wasn’t you who initiated the breakup and you definitely didn’t want it to happen, maybe you’re so obsessed with trying to find out what he’s up to on social media because a part of you is secretly hoping it will help lead to a reunion. Maybe he’ll mention on Facebook that he’s going to a concert that you can buy a ticket to so that you magically “bump into” him. Maybe he’ll mention you in passing or somewhere you used to go and you can take it as a sign that he wants you to make a move to get back together. Again, you’re kidding yourself. Time to delete and block ASAP.
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