I Stopped Stalking My Exes Online & Unfriended Them Instead And It Feels Amazing

We’ve stalked our exes on social media at some point and generally speaking, it’s short-lived and no big deal. However, it became an unhealthy addiction for me and it wasn’t until I discovered the joy of just unfriending the guys I’d broken up with that I finally felt free.

  1. It started off innocently but it turned psycho pretty fast. In the past, right after a breakup, I used to check my exes’ profiles on a pretty regular basis. It was actually a straight up pattern for me. Every time a relationship ended, it was just something I did for a while with every single guy. I justified it with the fact that we weren’t speaking anymore and I wanted to know what was happening in their lives. Soon, it became less of a brief update and more of a need-to-know type of thing. It started out as a quick glance at their Instagram accounts once a week or every few days but it quickly started to become an everyday occurrence then every hour. Yes, seriously.
  2. It seemed weird because it was weird. I wish I’d stopped at just stalking my exes themselves but embarrassingly, it gets worse. If they didn’t post anything for a while, I’d start checking out their friends’ and family members’ profiles to see if they’d posted any pictures of my former boyfriends. Before I knew it, I was scrolling through their roommate’s girlfriend’s sister’s profile or something like that, trolling for information. It wasn’t pretty.
  3. When they started dating someone new, it made it so much worse. Seeing pics of your ex with their new babe is so excruciating, but if you’re anything like me (or how I used to be), once you see one, it’s like a curse and you have to see them all. As I grew more skilled in my expert stalking, I uncovered more and more details about my exes’ new girlfriends. I could feel my insecurities growing and growing. I started comparing myself to them, wondering what they had that I didn’t, and scrutinizing every little detail of what our relationship had been and what it never would be. This act served absolutely no purpose whatsoever and did nothing but leave me feeling inadequate and stupid.
  4. That’s when I finally realized it had to stop. Who knows how many hours I spent delving into my exes’ lives without me or how many miles my thumb actually scrolled. What matters is that at some point, I was awakened to the craziness of what I was doing and finally realized, this needed to come to an end. I couldn’t waste my days pining over a relationship that had died and would never reignite. It’s good to learn from your past but what I was doing was living in the past. I was refusing to move on by obsessing over an ex-boyfriend and I needed to walk forward and leave him behind once and for all.
  5. I discovered it went so much deeper than a breakup. Soon after that, I realized that it wasn’t really ever about them. It wasn’t about their lives without me or even their new girlfriend—it was about my own fears. If I knew exactly what was going on in an ex’s life, I could pretend he and I were still connected. Losing people we’ve shared so much of ourselves with sucks but sometimes it’s the best thing for us. Replaying the past over and over again doesn’t do anything except hinder us from what could be an incredible future.
  6. I unfriended and unwinded. I decided to go through my Instagram and Facebook and unfollow all of my ex-boyfriends. It was hard but once I did, I felt so refreshed. I’d been a ball of nerves and anxiety when I was stuck in my past relationships and once I took away my ability to see what they were doing, it was amazing how quickly I forgot about them.
  7. So many insecurities I had seemed to just disappear. It honestly pained me whenever I saw that one of my exes was succeeding because I was jealous. I wanted to be killing it at life too. I used to think that seeing their happiness, as painful as it was, was motivation to put extra effort into my own life. In actuality, all it was doing was bringing me down and causing me to constantly compare myself and feel like I didn’t measure up. Once I unfollowed, I was able to focus on myself and I became my only competition.
  8. I was reminded why we broke. Once the obsession was finally over, I was able to see the relationship from an outsider’s perspective and it looked completely different. All of the red flags and problems were suddenly visible to me in a way that showed me that these relationships were never what I thought they were. In a lot of ways, I put the guys on a pedestal and made excuses for completely inexcusable behavior. What I thought was such a great loss turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Now I’m free to find the person that I’m actually meant to be with.
  9. It’s made all my relationships since better. When I was so fixated on my exes, I was unknowingly sizing up every guy I met after that to them. Once I unfriended and removed them from my life officially (virtually), I was able to see future partners for who they were and appreciate them for their own qualities rather than counting all the ways they were different from my exes.
Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.