Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
There are few worse feelings than when your ex deletes you from social media.
Last week, one of my girlfriends noticed that her ex had unfollowed her on all of her social media accounts.
It was right out of one of those old western movies where the bad guys come and level the entire town in 15 seconds flat. This was a massive, rapid, drive-by unfollowing. She was in a complete freak-out-lockdown panic mode.
Last year, this particular ex (who she thought she was going to marry), had lied to her, cheated on her and completely broken her heart. She knew that the damage done was irreparable, so they broke up and she cut contact with him. After some time, she slowly but very surely, began to move on.
Fast forward to now – She’s dating, enjoying herself and not checking her ex’s social media every hour, or even every day for that matter. They both still follow each other, trying to falsely prove to themselves and to everyone in the social media world that they are “mature adults” and are still “friends” (even though they never talk). She’s still heartbroken on many levels and finds herself getting angry every now and then; analyzing the crap out of whatever he posts.
If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, it sucks because due to social media, you can essentially appear to be happy and have moved on, but, how can you really move on when you’re still getting a (very exaggerated and filtered) view into the life of the one person you compare everyone else too?
First, if your ex disrespected you in your relationship, why are you assuming that you’ll attain respect after the breakup?
How can you tell everyone that you won’t put up with disrespect, yet still have the room on your social media profiles (and in your heart), for anyone who consistently disrespected and took advantage of you?
But I get it. You don’t want to come across as the immature or the weak one and you don’t want him to feel like he won. You want to win, you want to be chosen and you may be a bit of a people pleaser too. You’re worried about how it will look to everyone on the outside and truthfully, it’s the last little connection that you have to him and if we’re going to get really real here, you want to see what he’s up to. I get it.
So, after a few days/weeks/months following the breakup, he unfollows you. If anything, you should have been the one to unfollow him first and you beat yourself up over it. You take it personally.
Him unfollowing you is a good thing though. I know it’s not a game, but let’s be real it means you won. You won because you finally get the chance to move on. You won because you’re not with someone that’s incapable of a mutual relationship. You won because if he wasn’t thinking of and affected by you on some level, he wouldn’t have to unfollow.
If you’re the one that didn’t unfollow first, this is a huge blow to your ego. As if once wasn’t enough, it feels like being rejected and dumped all over again.
When your ex deletes you from social media, it’s impossibly hard. What makes this so hard for you is that the “unfollow” not only activates the old feelings and wounds from the relationship you shared, it also activates those triggers that we all have: fear of abandonment, rejection, being discarded, being forgotten, not being good enough, etc.
There are two main reasons why your ex (who consistently treated you poorly), unfollowed you on social media:
- He just can’t.
He’s hurt either by you or by having to see your photos. Basically, it’s just too painful for him/it bothers him/he doesn’t want to see photos of you or know what you’re doing/he wants to get the image of you out of his head. The kitchen got too hot. He’s gotten to a point where he’d rather not subject himself to it and he’s trying to move on with his life. Because he is trying to move on with his life, that in NO way means that he is rejecting you or that you’re not good enough. Him unfollowing you isn’t about you at all. It’s a reflection of him and where he’s at. And that’s okay. What it does mean is that you have had a big enough impact on him that he can no longer bear to look at your profile because it hurts too much/gets under his skin/annoys him/angers him and is obviously hindering him from moving on. He wants to move on with his life (and this should be a big red flag signaling that you need to move on too).
- Yanking your chain.
Yes. Believe it. I don’t care how old he is or how mature he seems or what degrees he has or how much volunteering he does or how often he visits his grandmother. Sometimes an ex will unfollow you to: a) See how fast you notice and b) When you do notice, he wants to see the level to which you freak out. It’s all about how much reactivity he can command because reactivity = control. Some guys even do this RIGHT when they start talking to or dating a new girl. They want you to notice that they unfollowed you because the second that you address it, that gives them an open door to: a) MAKE IT KNOWN that they are dating someone new and you have been “replaced.” b) Act like they’ve morphed into someone that is now capable of respect and explain that you were unfollowed you because it wasn’t “respectful” to his new flame.
Now, of course, there could be so many other reasons. I’ve had people bring up the above example and say: “Come ON Natasha! Couldn’t it mean that he’s dating someone new or in a new relationship and he really doesn’t want to be disrespectful to his new girl?”
Yes. If he had proven through his actions that he wasn’t toxic and had treated you well in the relationship, yes. The problem is, he’s already proven to you that he’s incapable of respect.
He hasn’t just suddenly morphed into Don Juan, The Ambassador of Respect. Him acting like he’s being “respectful,” is an attempt to convince himself and others that he has changed, is capable of respect, and isn’t the guy that you (and I am sure others) know he is.
What you need to do when your ex deletes you from social media:
- KNOW that this is a good thing. It is. This is a chance to move on and put an end to the immature era of your dating life for good.
- BE NON-REACTIVE. Do not react. Be the classy, powerful, peaceful, non-reactive person that you’ve always admired other people for being and wished you could be (this is your chance). Reacting in ANY way would be like handing over the pen for your ex to write your story. Know that if you so much as HINT to him or ANY of his friends or your mutual friends that you are even aware that he unfollowed you, that’s ALL he needs and he will then know that it got to you and that it “worked.” The problem is, we are so baffled, so shocked and so hurt when we realize we’ve been unfollowed, that we immediately get taken over by our egos, throw logic out the window and unfollow back in retaliation because we take it as such a personal hit. NO NO NO. This is nothing personal. It’s a reflection of him and his state of being. Remember- You’re too busy to notice any unfollows! I don’t care if you only have three followers. You’re too busy! Do not unfollow him. For the time being, just wait (and I know it will take a lot of willpower at first). Even if you’re not there yet, you MUST give the impression that you are so busy, you don’t even keep track of or notice who unfollows you. Then, after a few weeks pass, you can unfollow him and throw yourself a party afterward for finally flushing the toilet. You are simply too busy to notice. It takes you weeks, months even to notice these things. Remember that.
- OPPORTUNITY. Take this for the great opportunity that it is: a chance to reclaim your power, validate yourself and for once, and tear down that destructive rear-view mirror. Never tie your worth to an “unfollow,” “follow,” “block” or “like.”
– Natasha Adamo
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