Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. Whether you’re addicted to TikTok videos, can’t stop scrolling through Instagram, or love laughing at silly Twitter memes, we’ve all been sucked in. However, it’s not just a tool for entertainment. These apps play a big part in people’s love lives, too, even after a relationship ends. Here are some signs your ex is trying to get your attention on social media.
How people use social media before, during, and after a relationship
While they’re still single
Generally speaking, single people tend to look for potential dates via online dating apps or in person. However, social media has become a dating platform in its own right. With more than 1.628 billion people on Instagram as of April 2023, it’s no wonder people are using the app to find love, per The New York Times.
Thirst traps are a popular way people try to catch the attention of romantic prospects online. Posting deliberately provocative/sexy pics in the hopes of getting a date has been around for a while now, and for many, it’s proven successful. However, some users do connect with others via shared interests, such as following the same band, author, or a love of a particular TV show. You never know what you might find in the comments section.
While in a relationship
How many times have you opened up your Instagram feed, only to see some loved-up girl (or guy!) posting couple selfies and going on and on about how lucky they are to have “this one” by their side? It’s incessant, obnoxious, and usually a front. After all, people who feel the need to constantly insist that they’re super happy usually aren’t. In fact, research has shown that it’s the couples who showcase their relationship online the least are the most content in their relationships, per Inc.
After they break up with someone
The title of this article says it all. It’s pretty common for people to use the likes of Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook to indirectly send a message to their former partners. It could be because they want to get back together. Or, maybe they want to get revenge on a cheating ex. It might be that they want to send the message that they’re over their previous partner and ready to move on.
Whatever the motivation, the signs are all there: Your ex is trying to get your attention on social media. You just have to be paying attention to notice.
Signs your ex is trying to get your attention on social media
- They’re suddenly posting loads of provocative selfies. If they rarely used their account before or only ever posted pics of their dog but now suddenly they’re posting half-naked several times a week, it’s pretty obvious what’s happening here. They want you to see them and realize what you’re missing, end of story.
- They’re going overboard about how happy they are. This is one of the biggest signs your ex is trying to get your attention on social media. Every day, it’s Stories or updates about how they’re living their best life. They feel whole and fulfilled. They’re on the right path and loving the journey of life. Is it possible that’s true and heartfelt? Sure. It’s more likely, however, that they’re sending you a message.
- They like all your posts. You’re not together anymore, but they still double-tap on your posts like clockwork, and usually pretty soon after you post. They might leave you the fire emoji under a hot selfie. Or, maybe they simply put “LOL” under a funny post you shared. Either way, they’re trying to be noticed.
- They’re always sharing breakup quotes in their Stories. Suddenly they’re a huge fan of existential poetry and share several verses a day. Their Stories are filled with inspirational postcards about healing from a broken heart or artsy pictures of a forlorn-looking artsy person being all dramatic. They know you follow them and will see, and they obviously want you to.
- They post things that reference your time together. You both love The 1975 and went to see them together in concert. Well, now your ex is sharing photos from the gig that “just popped up in [their] memories.” They take snaps of their coffee from the shop where you used to get your morning latte. They mention vacations you took together. Don’t you see? These are signs your ex is trying to get your attention on social media.
- They tag you in memes. You’d think you were buddy-buddy from all the (admittedly) hilarious memes your ex keeps tagging you in. They never say anything to you directly. They don’t even add anything to the tag. They just @ you and leave it at that.
- They follow and unfollow you several times. It’s not an accident, especially not after the first time. They’re doing it hoping you’ll see their name pop up and… who knows. Be nostalgic? Reach out to them? You may never know, but it’s probably better that you just ignore it altogether.
Why your ex is trying to get your attention on social media
You know they’re doing it, but why? You mutually agreed that your relationship is over. Hell, maybe they even initiated it. So, why do they seem desperate to get in touch?
- They want to get back together. This may be what you’re thinking (or hoping for), and it’s possible. If you’re the one who dumped them and they wanted to stay together, they might be hoping for a reunion. They don’t want to beg you to get back together directly, so they hope you’ll pick up on what they’re putting down on social media. It’s a bit cowardly and kinda immature, but it still happens.
- You’ve moved on and they can’t stand it. If you’re in a new relationship or simply very happy without them, they may not be able to handle it. This is especially true if they’re not in such a great place themself. If your ex notices signs you’re doing really well, they might try to get your attention on social media to guilt-trip you or let you know that they’re not. It’s petty and a bit sad. You don’t have to fall for it.
- They’re nostalgic. Whatever happened to break you apart, you did love each other for a while. You shared some great times together, and they’re missing them. They don’t necessarily want to get back together, however. They’re just taking a walk down memory lane.
- They’re bored. They struck out on Tinder and Hinge tonight and have nothing better to do. So, they’re reaching out to you (in a roundabout way). It doesn’t mean much at all, so don’t read into it too much.
Should you still be following your ex?
This is probably the most important question. Yes, you’re seeing all this stuff largely because you’re following them. Sure, they could still tag you or DM you even if you weren’t (unless you blocked them). However, you could be making things worse for yourself by continuing to have them on your friends list.
If you’re truly in a good place and have made peace with the breakup, there’s probably no harm in it. However, if it was an acrimonious breakup and you’re struggling without them, block and delete. You’ll never be able to move on if you have the constant reminder of their presence on your phone.