I’ve been avoiding having to write about how to stop stalking your ex, but I’ve gotten so many requests to write about it, I had to. So here I am, finally doing it.
Why didn’t I want to write about how to stop stalking your ex?
Because my answer to the “how to stop stalking your ex” question is not obvious or common. In fact, it’s the opposite of everything that’s out there.
If you Google “how to stop stalking your ex,” here are a few things that immediately come up…
- Delete/unfriend/block him.
- Ask your friends for some tough love.
- Implement a “stalk jar.”
- Stay busy.
- Instead of stalking your ex, stalk a celebrity.
- Find a habit to replace the stalking.
- Get out there and start dating! Get back in the game!
Let’s go through this one-by-one.
Delete, unfriend, or block him? Good advice but needs to be more specific considering that this is nearly impossible post-breakup.
Ask your friends for some tough love? Your friends are in your life to be your FRIENDS; your partners in crime. They’re not there to be your mommy, daddy, or the moral police when you’ve broken some breakup “law.” Friends are supposed to be protective – not parental. This sets the friendship up for resentment, deceit down the line, and just isn’t worth it right now. You are too triggered and emotionally fragile post-breakup.
Implement a “stalk jar.” I’m not sure a stalk jar is, but I’m assuming it’s the same thing as a swear jar? My advice: Please don’t. You may feel emotionally helpless, but you’re not a baby. You don’t need to reduce yourself to psychological infancy so that you can translate to yourself and the universe that you need to be treated as such.
Stay busy? IMPOSSIBLE. I don’t care if you’ve got the busiest schedule known to man. If your brain is set to “must stalk ex” mode, trust me when I say that you’ll find the time to cyberstalk. You could have every minute in your day accounted for, but as long as your not emotionally busy, there’s no point in trying to get physically busier. You’ll just end up feeling worse.
Instead of stalking your ex, stalk a celebrity? .. Why? So you can feel even more unattractive, unworthy, out of shape, and depressed? I’ll pass.
Find a habit to replace the stalking? I would advise against this because when you’re in a compromised emotional state, you’re most likely not going to find a constructive habit to replace a destructive one (stalking).
Get out there and start dating! Get back in the game! No. That’s the last thing you need right now. And even if you want to get back out there, until you heal and deal, you’re only going to meet rebound highlighters (people that highlight the absence of your ex), not erasers.
Whether you’ve just broken up or it’s been a while, stalking an ex on social media or in-person has devastating effects. You may want to stop, but no matter what ultimatums you give yourself… there you are once again, countless times a day stalking your ex, his friends, his family, his new girlfriend, her dog (+ every girl he follows).
It’s a full-time job in and of itself.
As time passes, you see your ex and all of these people that you don’t even know, moving on with their lives while you are on your last emotional leg, zooming in on screenshots and feeling more used, forgotten, rejected, pathetic, and abandoned than ever before.
You know it’s time for a social media intervention, but you don’t know where to begin. You don’t know how to stop stalking your ex. You’re not only obsessing over his social media (and everyone he follows), but you’ve also become hyper-OCD-paranoid about yours. You second guess everything you post and are in an emotional quicksand nightmare.
Here’s how to stop stalking your ex, put an end to the control it has over you and start living your life now…
Before we even get into how to stop stalking your ex, it’s important to know WHY you’re doing it in the first place.
When you realize the exact reason why you’re engaging in a habit, that realization immediately deactivates the influence that the habit has over you.
Even today, I’ll sometimes find myself bored and looking through photos of families that I don’t even know and exes that I truly am indifferent to. The difference between that and how I used to be, is that I’ll do it maybe once or twice a year and within a few minutes, I’m logged off and plugged back into my own life.
The desire to keep tabs is a normal human reaction (especially if you have low self-esteem), and it’s okay.
How to stop stalking your ex? Know why you’re doing it in the first place.
Here are the only 3 reasons why you social media stalk your ex:
- Because you can. Since no one really knows if/when you’re cyber creeping, the freedom that you feel to do so is maximized while consequences are minimized (who’s ever going to find out?). Jackpot.
- You’re Emotionally Cutting. You were so hurt, mind f*cked, and betrayed in the relationship, you’re more comfortable being in a state of pain than you are making the scary effort to move forward (and potentially fail/get rejected again). The only difference is that with cyberstalking, you can essentially control the pain that’s inflicted upon you (because you’re inflicting it). Yes, your pain is dependent upon what your ex likes and posts, BUT you get to control the exposure. It’s all about inflicting, controlling and re-inflicting pain. This dynamic is not only familiar, it’s all you know. You went from the uncontrollable mind f*ckery that was having your ex inflict emotional pain upon you, to now giving yourself that very same pain. Except this time, you’re in the driver’s seat.
- Connection. It’s the last little connection that you have to your ex. EVERY time you log on, you’re looking for one of two things: 1) You’re looking for a sign that he’s just as lonely, miserable and depressed as you are (so that you can run with that little bit of hope and remain invested). 2) You’re looking for any information possible to affirm that he has moved on, is happy, and is in a better relationship (so that you have a license to remain stagnant, blame yourself, and make more terrible decisions through the filter of shame).
My advice on how to stop stalking your ex? Don’t.
That’s right. You don’t have to stop.
If you’re doing anything like driving by his place, showing up at his work, calling him and hanging up, making up fake social media profiles and following him and/or his friends (been there, done ALL that)… if you’re doing anything in which you could potentially get caught or get into legal trouble… please, STOP.
You’re not that pathetic and no one is THAT irreplaceable, valuable, or special for you to jeopardize your reputation and livelihood.
If you’re checking your ex’s social media every minute and can’t stop, there’s no point in forcing yourself to quit. Seriously.
Trying to cold turkey it and placing ultimatums on yourself is only going to make you feel much worse. This is why many strict diets fail. If you feel like you are depriving yourself, the desire to satiate is going to be even stronger. And you will become even more desperate. Why is this bad? It’s bad because you’re human, which means you’ll eventually give in and when you do, it will be ten times more intense, painful, and potentially humiliating.
If you want to dedicate your life to checking up on someone else’s, have at it.
All I ask are 3 things before you do so (things that will eventually lead to answering the “how to stop stalking your ex,” question):
- Dead & Gone. When you’re looking at photos of your ex, realize that it’s okay to feel sad and cry as long as you’re mourning the death of a person that you know, does not exist. I’m not asking you to believe that the sun sets in the morning, I’m asking you to stop arguing with reality and accept that the person you thought existed is dead and gone. Look at your ex’s photos and understand that this is SOCIAL MEDIA. It’s a highlight reel. And not everything that glitters is gold. No one (including you), is going to post themselves swimming in the ocean of misery. If your ex posts photos about how happy he is or posts one big “look at me” post after the next, that just means he’s fishing. The more he uses an abundance of exclamation marks or posts admirable/inspirational quotes, the more he’s looking for a reaction from not just you, but from everyone. This means that he’s JUST as validation hungry as you because remember – we attract what we exude. Look at those photos and mourn. It’s okay to cry. Mourn the death of the person that you thought you knew. If he’s already posting thirsty photos, in a new relationship, etc., you can bet that he has not changed. The only person who has truly changed is YOU. You’re no longer willing to have an emotional jerk off session with your own projections. Don’t provide ANY kind of reaction or opposing force here. Stay on your white horse. You can’t claim to want to be “the one that got away,” while simultaneously, sabotaging that campaign by allowing your emotions to dictate your actions. It’s OKAY social media stalk as long as you’re viewing them through the filter of reality. You WILL eventually get tired of it.
- Wet Bathing Suits are GROSS. If you’re driving yourself up a wall, stalking the every social media move of his new girl, I want you to think about this: Imagine you got a new bathing suit and you put it on. You never quite felt comfortable or totally beautiful in it and it wasn’t constructed that well, but it grew on you and you loved it. You wore it proudly the entire day – in the ocean, playing beach volleyball, in the pool, on the sand, on a boat, back in the pool, when you peed in the ocean, etc. You finally get home, still wearing it and the bathing suit is dirty and still damp. It’s got ocean water, chlorine, sweat, and SPF all mixed in. You feel gross from being in it all day. So, you immediately take it off, hang it up on your shower rod and take a long shower to clean off. WHILE you’re showering, a new girl comes into your bathroom and PUTS ON (so gross), the wet bathing suit that you’ve been swimming in, sweating in, peeing in, and running around all day in. She may look way better than you did in the bathing suit; she may be able to fill it out in all the right areas and make it look sexier and more expensive and valuable than you ever did but… It’s your WET, DIRTY, and USED bathing suit that she’s wearing. When you social media stalk the new girl, have some empathy and be kind. Don’t hate on her. She’s wearing your wet bathing suit and has no idea just how dirty it is. She just thinks it was wet because it came fresh out of the washer. Yikes. Don’t hate on her because she doesn’t know what you already do. Feel bad that she’s wearing your old, wet bathing suit.
- Use the success, happiness, and resiliency that your ex portrays on social media, to drive you into your OWN. For REAL. The kind of success that you won’t need to announce because it will be known. LIVE those inspirational quotes instead of posting them. Leave the superficial posting to your ex. If you’re going to re-inflict pain, at least use the pain that you acquire to motivate you into action. Some of my greatest work has come from rolling in the proverbial mud with the pigs, choosing NOT to react for instant gratification, and making the decision to ACT on those painful observations. Instead of sticking your head in the toilet and then, crying because you smell, get to the point where you’re so dirty, you’re finally ready to flush the sh*t and take a shower. Stop being scared to flush and wash yourself off because you’ve convinced yourself the sh*t is the last token you have of a meal you once enjoyed.
Go MIA on social media for a while. It’s okay, I promise, the sky won’t fall. USE the dysfunction that you see on social media to motivate you out of your own. Feel free to unfollow whoever you don’t want to follow because it’s YOUR profile. If anyone wants to take your unfollowing personally, so be it. You’re no longer playing that game!
Since when did recognizing yourself, your needs, and your pain in a healthy manner become a shameful thing?
Figuring out how to stop stalking your ex is something that doesn’t really need to be “figured out.” Every time you stalk, you’re taking a huge deposit out of an already negative self-esteem bank account, but guess what?… YOU are doing it this time, not your ex.
You have the power to stop just as easily as you have the power to magically make time in your busy schedule to snoop. You’re clearly getting something out of the stalking or you wouldn’t be doing it.
Why not work toward getting a life? A life beyond your wildest dreams (due to the motivation that the stalking provided for you to finally get off your emotional a*s).
This is your opportunity to reclaim your power. You got this.
Written by: Natasha Adamo