Is Your Ex Orbiting You? Here Are The Signs

Orbiting makes tough breakups even harder to move on from because it means you can never truly get away from your ex. Thanks to the widespread use of social media, you might be being orbited as we speak. Here’s how to tell if it’s happening to you.

  1. You’ve been ghosted recently. The person you were “talking to” or even properly dating just dropped off the face of the earth without a word. Unfortunately, this behavior is often a precursor to orbiting—they won’t talk to you but are happy to engage with you on social media by throwing you an Instagram like or even commenting on your Facebook status update. According to Anna Iovine, who coined the term, it’s all about “keeping you in their orbit—close enough to see each other, far enough to never talk.”
  2. They’re always watching your Instagram stories. You know that handy feature where you can manually scroll through a list people who have viewed your story? Well, you start hating it once your ex’s name keeps popping up. And yet you keep checking it, refreshing to see if maybe—just maybe—they still care enough to take a peek into your life. What will probably drive you nuts is the fact that you don’t actually know whether or not it was intentional. So many of us mindlessly scroll through Instagram stories and since they autoplay, you’ll never really know if they meant really to or if you were just next in line.
  3. They still like your posts even though you don’t even talk anymore. Why? What’s the point? By passive-aggressively letting you know they’re still around but basically just ignoring you in every single way that doesn’t involve the internet, they’re proving themselves to be a total a-hole. The more positivity and happiness you portray on social media, the better. Your ex already knows they broke your heart but they don’t deserve the privilege of knowing you now Netflix and cry.
  4. They leave comments that don’t invite further conversation. I’m talking about those exes who comment purely in emojis or worse, hit you with an empty “haha!’ What does that even mean?! According to dating expert Persia Lawson, it’s about keeping the communication channels open without actually using them. “It’s all about having one foot in and one foot out,” she says. ‘It’s a way of them showing you, ‘Hey, I’m still here’, but not getting into a relationship.’ Greaaaat.
  5. They seem to think you’re still friends—but only online. If your ex hasn’t unfriended you on Facebook or unfollowed your Instagram account, chances are they want to keep you on the shelf for later, almost like a backup plan that can be revisited if they get bored or lonely. This is a sure sign they’ll be sliding into your DMs within the next year, unfortunately.
  6. It feels like they’re trying to make a power play. If your ex was a fan of mind games or being in control all the time, then it’s no surprise they’d want to control when and how they communicate with you now. However, just because they’re trying to define the parameters of your relationship post-breakup doesn’t mean you have to accept them.
  7. They’re nosy AF even though your life is no longer any of their business. It’s like even though they’ve opted out of a relationship, they still want to be privy to your quality content and amazing selfies. Nope! Breaking up means butting out of your amazing life too, ya feel? FOMO isn’t a valid excuse to keep reminding someone of your presence when they’re trying to move on.
  8. They come off like a social media amateur. Most people know how to use social media these days, so there’s no excuse for not knowing what you’re doing on any of the numerous platforms. Is it feasible that your ex has no idea what they’re doing by still liking your photos even though you’re not talking? Maybe, but then you’d have to accept that you were dating an idiot.
  9. They don’t realize or care that what they’re doing is unhealthy and abnormal. Being orbited seems like a joke until you realize that it can actually stop people from moving on with their lives. If your ex insists on hanging around and being a constant reminder of your past relationship, it’s time for you to take matters into your own hands. Maybe that means going on a (temporary) hiatus from social media. At the very least, it’ll keep you from stalking your ex’s accounts every time they pop up in your feed.
Adrianna is a twenty-something-year-old writer, who is never seen wandering the streets of Sydney sans coffee in hand. A self-confessed sugar addict, she is a lover of sweet treats, sweet words and even sweeter fashion finds. When she isn't hitting the gym or buried in a horror film of some sort, you'll definitely find her on Instagram at @adri_zapp.