Breakups seriously suck — that's just undeniable. No matter who ended things, or what the reasoning behind it was, breaking up is not easy on anyone. But perhaps, even harder than breaking up is just being able to move on. It takes time to get your ex's name out of your head, to stop picturing their face so often, and to quit typing their name into your Instagram search bar. If you're still keeping tabs on your ex’s Instagram activity, or wondering, why is my ex stalking my social media?, then you're definitely not alone. As it turns out, this behavior is pretty common.
But don’t just take my word for it (even though my ex broke up with me but stalks my Instagram to this very day). "In an ideal world, you wouldn’t feel the urge to stalk your ex at all," Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the Breakup BOOST podcast tells Elite Daily. "That said, most people will do this after a breakup." It's hard to not stalk someone when you know how easy it is to look at their Instagram posts and stories and see what they're up to. However, it's experts warn against this, because it has the potential to be truly unhealthy.
"If you are having a really hard time healing, you need to stop looking altogether," Leckie adds. Checking in on your past will keep you from fully moving on to your future.
Understand Where The Temptation To Stalk Your Ex Comes From
Figuring out the source of your craving can help you master it. Usually, people stalk their ex because they "want to see if their ex is happier without them or dating someone (and comparing themselves to this person)," Anita A. Chlipala, dating and relationship expert, licensed marriage and family therapist, and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, tells Elite Daily. "They may try to get answers to why the breakup happened. They still have feelings for their ex and maybe have hope that they will get back together. Also, the first few weeks after a breakup are particularly difficult because you have a big void. So stalking an ex on social media can help fill that void."
It's not uncommon to stalk your ex on social media, but that doesn't mean it's the best thing for you. "In most cases it means you are having a really hard time letting go and accepting that the relationship is over," Leckie says. "In other cases, it could just mean that you are curious as to what they are up to."
If You Can’t Stop Stalking Your Ex, Block Them
If you continue to check in on their social media accounts, then it's going to be even more difficult for you to truly move on. "It can become an addiction to keep checking, which then keeps your ex top of mind all day, and that clearly isn’t healthy," says Leckie. "You won’t be able to move on fully until you stop looking, so the sooner you stop, the better."
But of course, it's not that easy. Do guys stalk their exes on social media? Yes. Do girls check in on their former flames’ posts? Of course. Everyone does it for a reason — quitting is tough. The next time you’re tempted to stalk your ex, try going on a walk, taking a bubble bath, or seeing that new movie everyone is talking about. Try to get your mind off them if at all possible. That’s easier said than done, though, so consider using the block button.
“Block them. That’s it, full stop,” says Maria Avgitidis, CEO of matchmaking service Agape Match and host of the dating podcast Ask A Matchmaker. “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. Because you’re checking in on them constantly ... they’re still a source of anxiety for you, which can also be addictive. Anxiety is addictive. Blocking them is the best step in the right direction.”
Although banishing your ex from your feeds can be helpful, it might also stir up fears about how your ex will react. Will they feel sad or angry? Will they judge you for cutting the digital cord? “No, not at all,” Avgitidis says. “Maybe they’ll question it for two minutes and then they’ll also move on. People really overthink this, but at the end of the day, [your ex is] living their own life. You need to move on, too.”
Focus On Healing & Moving On
Most importantly, remember that stalking your ex isn't going to help you move on. "It really is serving you no purpose to keep looking... it’s only going to make you miss them and depressed," Leckie explains.
You deserve to move on and be happy again, so put your phone down. Hang out with your friends, go on a blind date, or learn a new hobby. Put yourself and your well-being first. If that means switching up your ex-stalking habits or blocking your ex for good, then so be it.
It might take weeks or months, but eventually, you’ll be on a beach trip with your best friends, sweating your face off at a kickboxing class, or even falling for someone new. Your phone will be across the room, out of sight and fully out of mind. The temptation to stalk your ex will have faded away completely, because being totally present in your new phase of life is all the satisfaction you need.
Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT, dating and relationship expert, and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love
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