Last week I had a great time chatting with the folks at Exaholics. It’s a great community totally focused on helping you to break the addiction to your ex. We talked about how social media impacts breakups and all the ways continuing to check up on your ex and spy around online can keep you stuck. Undoubtedly, breakups have become much more difficult in the past 10 or so years because so much of our lives is spent and catalogued in our social media feeds. When a relationship ends, it doesn’t just mean that you and your ex don’t spend time together in person anymore, it also means that virtual ties need to be cut. I know you may feel like that’s a pretty drastic step to take but I really believe that if you want to give yourself a fair chance at healing from your breakup as soon as possible, in most cases, all ties need to be cut. Here are five reasons why it’s so important to unfriend, unfollow, and stop stalking your ex online!
1. Every minute you spend scrolling and clicking around on your ex’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feed is another minute not dedicated to making yourself and your needs a priority. Even though it may feel good temporarily to play lead investigator, ultimately the focus is still on your ex and their life. We want to change this so that the focus is you!
2. It’s highly likely that not only are you spending time snooping on your ex, you are also probably investigating anyone else you feel like they are dating or interested in. You know who I mean! The girl that appeared in 3 different pictures over the past 2 weekends that looked like she was smiling just a little too hard? You have probably cross referenced everybody who was in any of the pictures, found their Twitter feeds, and have now proceeded to compare her timeline to his to see if anything matches up. Do you see where I’m going with this? Behavior like this leads to very unhealthy feelings of competition, comparison, and jealousy that are not going to serve you well at all.
3. When you are scoping your ex’s feeds you are likely spending ungodly amounts of time trying to analyze and overanalyze messages that probably have nothing to do with you. Let’s take a little quiz. Let’s say you see the following message on your ex’s Twitter timeline 2 months after the breakup, “Best night ever!” What does this mean? A. He is having way more fun now than he ever did when y’all were together. B. He just had great sex with the hot girl he spent all night dancing with at the club. C. He just got engaged. D. Meek Mill finally dropped a diss track and it was wayyyyy better than Drake’s. What’s the answer? C. Of course it’s C! When information from a story is missing, like it typically is on social media, our minds go into overdrive trying to fill in the missing gaps and we often fill in the gaps with the worst possible version of a story which only heightens anxiety and is usually incorrect.
4. It raises your anticipatory anxiety. I know you’ve thought about it, so what’s the absolute worse thing you could see when you log on to your ex’s Facebook page? Probably a picture of someone they are clearly dating or some change in relationship status that let’s you know they’re really done. I hate to spoil this for you, but that day is without question coming! Continuing to snoop on your ex’s page only makes the anxiety about this event stronger. You know that sinking feeling in your stomach you experience right before their page finally comes up, that’s anxiety and that’s what we want to avoid. Not because I think you’re going to fall apart, but because it’s just a miserable feeling and who wants to live like that? I know that there’s probably some part of you that feels like if you can just check and see if the page is the same then it feels better, but what’s really happening is that you’re lulling yourself into a false sense of security and our goal is for you to be in an actual state of emotional security.
5. You may be spending more time trying to look like you’re doing ok for your online audience than you are actually investing in being ok. Of course we all do some level of impression management after a breakup. You don’t want your entire timeline to look like a sad story, but how far are you taking it? Are you more invested in staging photo opps with your friends so it looks like you’re feeling better or are you more interested in actually letting your friends be there for you so that you can feel better? No one ever really wins the breakup and it can be very unhealthy to even try.
What are your thoughts about how to engage or not with your ex on social media? Do you think it’s important to unfriend and unfollow?