Why You Should Quit Stalking Your Ex on Facebook + How to Stop
When you go from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated,” then finally to “single” on Facebook, and then stay connected to your ex online, you’re usually setting yourself up for major post-relationship trauma — even if you ended on good terms. You have to work at loving yourself again after a breakup, and scouring your ex’s profile every day for signs of new lovers is NOT the way to do it. While some people swear by tech tricks to get over an ex, maybe quitting social media (for a hot minute) is what’s actually in order, according to a new study.
In the most obvious finding ever (sorry, researchers), a study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that staying Facebook friends with an ex and monitoring their profile may increase feelings of distress, anxiety and jealousy, and could even prevent you from moving on emotionally. And isn’t the best revenge happiness (and maybe a hot rebound)?
Look, we’re not saying you check up on your ex daily. You’re, like, totally over it… completely. But Facebook is making it easier than ever for us to stay connected, and that’s not always a good thing. So here are eight solid tips to stop yourself from going all part-time Facebook private eye on your ex (just in case you need them).
1. Pause, take a breath and remind yourself you’ll always feel better resisting the urge to look them up. Name one time you’ve ever felt good after lying awake late at night, scrolling through your ex’s profile. Can’t do it? We didn’t think so. And remember: There’s a reason why you guys broke up, even if it’s not obvious right now.
2. Take a break. This is the simplest, most casual way to see less of your ex online, without having to resort to any awkwardness that could come from unfriending. When you change your relationship status, Facebook will prompt you with an opportunity to “take a break” from seeing your ex’s posts and having their name pop up in tagging suggestions. You can also limit how much of your activity they see, and end your “break” whenever you want. Be honest with yourself, though: Is this temporary fix enough?
3. If you can’t help yourself, just unfriend them. Unless you know that you’re 100 percent over the relationship and don’t care about seeing your ex pop up in your newsfeed, just get them out of your network. Here’s a test: Another girl tags them in a photo and hashtags it #relationshipgoals. Do you snap, or shrug and go have a snack? You know which one means it’s time to hit the unfriend button.
4. If you really can’t help yourself, block them. You can always undo it later, and chances are, they won’t even notice. Blocking means they can’t see your updates, and more importantly, you can’t see theirs. If you can’t stop yourself from entering their name in your search bar and letting morbid curiosity take over, this is a cold-turkey solution.
5. Temporarily unfollow posts from mutual friends. This is another low-key tactic your friends will never even know you’re employing (unless you’ve trained them to be used to you liking every. single. one. of their selfies). You might miss your buds’ online presence, but it’s a safe way to avoid your ex’s name popping up in their posts when you least expect it. Even the most mundane things, like your ex in a pic out drinking with mutual guy friends, can hurt right after a breakup.
6. Kill your newsfeed altogether. There’s an amazing Chrome web browser extension called Kill Newsfeed that allows you to log in and still see notifications on your posts and events but hides your newsfeed so that you don’t get sucked into that black hole vortex of endlessly scrolling through other people’s drama and humblebrags. That also means you don’t have to see your exes… or anyone else. This is a good tip if you’re experiencing Facebook fatigue and just want a break in general from social media too.
7. Get offline and go outside. Go out and do something fun by yourself, or with your friends. You’re single now! You can do whatever you want! Life’s too short to be hanging on some dude or lady’s every Facebook post. Use activities as a reward for not checking your ex’s profile — go for a hike or head to the movies instead.
8. Find someone new. We’re not saying rush into a new relationship, but more like… indulge a celebrity crush. Might we suggest following a Hemsworth brother (or more than one) on Instagram? Refocusing your attention on someone new IRL or online offers a simple distraction that’ll get you through the toughest time.
How do you get over a breakup? Tweet us your ideas @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)