Instagram and breakups: They don’t mix, folks. When you go through a split, you’re inevitably faced with all kinds of bizarre questions like, should it bother me that my ex still has pictures of me on Instagram? Is it weird that my ex still follows me on Instagram? And perhaps, most notably, why is my ex posting so much on Instagram? After a breakup, it’s not uncommon to feel like your old flame is all TF over your newsfeed, but if it’s not just in your head and they really are posting up a storm, then there may be a good reason for that.
As Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching, tells Elite Daily, “It’s important to consider your ex’s personality and connect that to their actions. Don’t make assumptions about what they’re thinking.” But while the multiple Stories they’re suddenly posting every day may have nothing to do with you, it’s also possible they’re hoping you’ll notice. By sharing tons of pics and videos, your ex might be trying to show you just how A-OK they’re doing without you in their life. The question that remains then is, how do you react, if at all? That depends on whether seeing their content hurts or not.
Should You Unfollow Your Ex On Instagram?
If you’re still following your ex on IG, then it’s possible they’re posting 24/7 in order to get your attention. Whether they’re looking to inspire pity, envy, or longing, seeing your ex’s posts will likely stir up feelings in you, even if it’s unintentional on their part. “It's important to not see everything your ex is doing because it is very likely only going to prolong your pain and suffering,” prominent couples' therapist Dr. Gary Brown previously told Elite Daily. “Being constantly exposed to them on social media is likely to be extremely hurtful to you — and especially if they are now hooking up with, dating, or now living with someone else.”
According to Dr. Brown, if seeing all those pics of your ex partying, hanging with friends, or possibly romancing someone new makes you uncomfortable, then it’s best to click that unfollow button. "Blocking your ex on social media after a breakup — particularly a very painful breakup — can certainly help you move on," he added. "Breakups can be traumatic for both partners, no matter who ended it. It helps to not have constant reminders of your ex, and one of the best ways to do that is to block them." But if their frequent posting doesn’t affect you in any negative way, then it’s probably fine to keep following them.
Why Does Your Ex Still Follow You On Instagram?
Though only you can know whether it’s a good idea to follow your ex or not, the answer for why they still follow you isn’t as simple. According to Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, it could indeed mean they're not over you — and because of those residual feelings — want to “keep tabs” on your life. Another possibility is they’re too proud to tap unfollow, as they don’t what to give you the satisfaction of knowing they unfollowed you. It’s also important to factor in their social media habits. If they rarely check Instagram, the reality is they may not even have noticed they never hit unfollow.
To determine why your particular ex is still following you, Trombetti advises asking yourself: What is the context of your current relationship with them? Are you still friends? Or did you end things on brutal terms? If you know your ex makes it a habit to scroll through Instagram on the daily (and if they seem especially active after your breakup), then there may be a hidden reason why they’re still following you. “Sometimes they do it as a way of validating their lives,” she explains. “They once cared for you so curiosity is normal. It's natural to look from afar even though they may not be commenting or even texting you.” Do they make it a point to watch all of your Stories? Then chances are, they still care.
Can Instagram Tell You Whether Your Ex Wants To Get Back Together?
It’s possible your ex has been posting pics on a daily basis because they want to send you a message. You may even think their IG follow means they want to keep the door open for reconciliation. But if that’s the case, then there will likely be other signs beyond just that, so you shouldn’t rely on their social media activity alone if you’re hoping to reunite. For example, you might hear from mutual friends that they’ve been asking about you, or they might reach out to you to see how you’ve been doing. Or at the very least, you’ll probably notice some likes or comments rolling in on your selfies.
As Martinez explains, “If you want to get back together, you may be seeing them following you as a display of affection. I’m a strong believer of communicating your feelings. Unless they have already clearly communicated they are not interested in you, you won’t know until you try.” And if you don’t want to get back together, then don’t feel obligated to give them a follow. If their frequent posting or even the fact that they follow you is bothersome, then Martinez says it’s totally cool to straight-up block them, since asking your ex to unfollow you will likely start unnecessary drama. “You don’t have to give anyone access to you,” she points out.
Navigating IG after a breakup is always going to be a bit awk, but it’s up to you to decide if you can handle the awkwardness — or if you would rather just block your ex into oblivion.
Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching
Dr. Gary Brown, couples' therapist
Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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