- Facebook Knows How Often You Stalk Your Ex
- What This Page Is About
- What About That Rare 1 out of 10 Who Isn’t A Stalker?
- The Importance Of A No Contact Rule To Your Facebook
- Deconstructing The Perfect Facebook Profile
- The Profile Picture
- Cover Photos, Do They Matter?
- Surviving The “Photo” Scan
- Status Updates & Hurt Feelings
- Repeat After Me- “I Now Have An Active Social Life”
- Facebook = Jealous Haven
- How To Know If My Ex Has Been Stalking Me On Facebook: Is My Ex Looking At My Facebook Profile
- 1. It’s natural to want to see what an ex is up to…
- 2. …but you’ve got to own up to your motives.
- 3. You may get a second chance at love.
- 4. Even if you’re single or divorced, you still need to think before searching.
- 5. You can begin to make amends.
- 6. Realize that you may not be seeing things realistically.
- 7. Sexual attraction can trick your brain into thinking it’s love.
- 8. The urge to connect is often just wistfulness for the past.
- 9. There’s a greater risk of having an emotional affair.
- 10. Images of a happy ex can haunt you like a ghost.
- 12. You may be prone to inappropriate cyber etiquette.
- 13. Your heart can get your heart broken—again.
- Why You Can’t Stop Stalking Your Ex on Social Media
- Of Course, For Some, It’s Toxic
- 38 Awesome Things to Do Instead of Stalking Your Ex
- Stalking Your Ex on Social Media Is Normal, But You Seriously Need to Stop
- The TRUTH Behind Why You Facebook Stalk Your Ex (Thanks, Science)
- This Is An Essay About Facebook Stalking My Ex-Girlfriends
Facebook Knows How Often You Stalk Your Ex
When you creep on others on Facebook, Facebook creeps on you. Not only does it know where you live and what your favorite movie is, but it watches and records your every move — including every time you obsessively stalk your ex. And it makes sure to show this person to you everywhere, from your search results to your News Feed.
Facebook knows whose profiles you visit frequently, and since September 2012, it has recorded your entire Facebook search history. That’s right. It has documented every search you ever conducted through the site, along with the date and time. It may be reasonable for Facebook to have some idea of whom you search for, but it is incredibly creepy to see evidence of their data collection. Every time you searched for your middle school bully, your high school crush, or your attractive coworker is on file. And yes, this includes every obsessive search you conducted of your ex, including his ex, his current flame, his mom, your mutual friends, and so on. Want proof? Go to your Facebook profile, click “Activity Log,” check “Include,” and voilà! Observe your entire Facebook history. Graph search has only made this worse, as now Facebook has a record of your searches for things like, “pictures of me and .”
Not only does Facebook know and record whom you stalk, it also promotes those people in your search results. Let’s say you periodically search for your friend (or ex), Damien. The next time you type “Da-,” Facebook will automatically assume you are searching for Damien, and not, say, as David, Dalia, or Daniel.
The final proof that Facebook knows too much about you comes from one of the precious and complicated algorithms about which it is most secretive: EdgeRank, which selects what goes into your News Feed. While we do not know exactly how Facebook determines what shows up in your feed, we know that it serves up content based on whom you interact with often, and whom you’ve been engaging with recently. According to Lars Backstrom, Facebook’s engineering manager for News Feed ranking,”For each user, we try to come up with a final score to determine how relevant that particular story is to that particular user …. In the end, those scores build your personalized News Feed.” Facebook tries to balance what seems important to other people (i.e., items that are being shared, and have a number of comments and likes), and what it believes is important to you (i.e., friends with whom you interact, and the people you stalk the most). Because Facebook knows how many times you went through your ex’s profile, it serves his or her pictures up in your News Feed.
Facebook also recently announced some new features that will potentially increase how often your News Feed shows the people you stalk. The Story Bump feature will promote older content that you haven’t seen, but which seems relevant to your interests, and the Last Actor feature will fill your News Feed with stories about the people you interacted with that day.
Facebook learns about you over time, from who you want to see more of, to what stories you might find interesting. While it seems creepy that Facebook knows and records so much about you, it is only using the information you provided to it. This is not to say that you should be completely paranoid about your wildest secrets being revealed. Your data is still private, and you can always change your user settings, delete your history, and so on. However, the next time you stalk your ex, be aware that Facebook is maintaining a record of your activity, and that the more you look for certain people, the more Facebook will try to deliver them to you.
Lately, I’ve had a lot of women coming to me and asking if they can use Facebook in any way to get back with their exes. I will admit that when I did all the research for this site it never occurred to me to dive that deep into the ex recovery process. I did think about it but I never really thought it was important enough to research.
Boy, was I wrong.
According to a recent study conducted by a Western University student completing her Master’s thesis nearly 9 out of 10 Facebook users keep an eye on their exes profiles. Let’s take a step back for a moment. That means that literally 90% of Facebook is obsessed with cyber stalking their exes.
What This Page Is About
I wanted to create a page on how you could best optimize your Facebook profile to give yourself the best chance to get your ex boyfriend back. Since I am a guy I have a pretty good idea on what the perfect Facebook profile should look like to give yourself the best chance to reignite your exes feelings and ultimately get your ex boyfriend to come back to you.
However, I do feel it is important to mention that while I think I am a pretty good indicator of the “average” male I would be a fool to not point out that some guys have completely different tastes than I do. So, don’t be offended if you try out the tactics on this page and they don’t work. There are still a lot of things you can do to improve your chances of getting your boyfriend back.
Speaking of getting your boyfriend back,
What Are Your Chances of Getting Your ExBoyfriend Back?
What About That Rare 1 out of 10 Who Isn’t A Stalker?
In this section I am going to talk about some of the things you can do to improve the chances of your ex stopping by your profile. Unless you completely skipped the first few paragraphs of this page then you know that there is pretty much a 90% chance that your ex boyfriend is stalking your profile ;). So, the chances are already good that his eyes are on your page. However, by doing the things below you will raise those odds even more:
Do not contact him via Facebook- Not only could this be viewed as desperate but as you are about to find out, actually not contacting your ex is a smarter strategy.
Do not unfriend him- I hear from women far too often who are contemplating unfriending their ex, because “it hurts too much.” I can understand why it hurts to see him. However, you need to start looking at Facebook as a tool that can be used to further your chances of getting him to have those romantic feelings towards you again.
Implement A No Contact Rule- I actually recommend doing this in almost every situation to get your ex back. One of the many reasons it is so effective is that it makes your ex go a little crazy. When it is really working you can bet that he will try anything to get a hold of you. I have heard stories of exes getting family members phones to get a hold of you, showing up at doorsteps and even spamming your FACEBOOK!
The Importance Of A No Contact Rule To Your Facebook
(If you need more explanation of how the No Contact Rule works into Facebook please read my system.)
So, I want to take a moment now and discuss how important the no contact rule can be to your Facebook efforts. Obviously, the no contact rule is exactly what it sounds like, having no contact with your ex boyfriend for a set amount of time (usually 30 days.) The question is, why is it so important when it comes to Facebook?
Well, to answer that we have to back up a little bit and go inside the mind of a guy.
Lets pretend that you and I used to date. Unfortunately, we broke up and now you want me back. Your first order of business is to implement a no contact rule. Around day 12 I decide to check up on you via a text message. I am eagerly waiting a response… but I don’t get one. Slowly but surely I am starting to get frustrated and a bit angry. I decide to text you again, “surely this time she will respond.” Only you don’t. Ok, now I am angry. After I am done with my initial rant I decide to log onto Facebook to see if you are still alive.
Ok, let’s hit the pause button here for a second and dissect what you have done.
By essentially ignoring your ex boyfriends texts, you have forced him to come over to Facebook and check your profile out. You have him right where you want him. The focus now becomes, what you should have been doing during your NC period.
What You NEED To Do During No Contact
I am going to be extremely harsh now. Men are very visual creatures. We often will judge a book by it’s cover before reading the actual book. I know that it is unfortunate to hear but it is the truth. There have been a lot of times that I have looked past a girl because she didn’t meet my “looks” requirement. I know that is a horrible thing to say BUT if you truly want to get your ex boyfriend back this is something you absolutely need to understand. Guys can often be cruel with their thoughts about how women look (if they aren’t at their best.) Your ex boyfriend may have gotten tired of the way you looked and it contributed to the breakup.
You can often hear this from guys:
“She is just a little too pudgy.”
“She never gets dressed up for me anymore.”
“She never cares about attracting me anymore.”
“She has gained 60lbs since we have been together…”
During no contact I want you to focus on two big things. Figuring out how to become the sexiest version of yourself that ever existed and NOT contacting your ex no matter what. The second thing is pretty self explanatory but lets take a moment to focus on what you can do physically to become an uber hottie!
- Cleaning up any skin problems you may have (acne)
- Losing weight (sometimes this may require you to lose a significant amount.)
- Updating your wardrobe.
- Getting a haircut.
- Looking your best… always!
The key point I am trying to make here is that your Facebook profile is a reflection of you. So, when he stops by I don’t want him going “Oh, same ol’ same ol” I want him to go “OH MY GOD, she looks amazing!”
Deconstructing The Perfect Facebook Profile
I am going to be completely honest with you, using Facebook to get your ex back isn’t ideal. I could give you all the rules about how to approach the situation but it isn’t ideal. So, from this point on I am going to be defining how your Facebook profile should look like to him when he comes stopping by. That is really the most powerful thing that Facebook can do for you, paint you in the best light possible. If you are interested in a truly in-depth method to getting him back then I suggest you visit this page and this page.
So, what does the perfect Facebook profile look like?
Well, I suppose that everyone has a different perspective when it comes to a “perfect profile.” It’s that whole eye of the beholder thing. Nevertheless, I like to think that I am a pretty good indicator of the average guy (or in this case your ex boyfriend.) I decided that the best way to approach this was to go through the friends on my personal Facebook profile and jot down some of the women that stood out to me. Now, here is the criteria I looked at:
- Her profile picture had to be appealing.
- Her cover photo had to be interesting.
- Her profile really had to catch my attention.
- The girl had to have multiple guys commenting on her wall.
- She had to have a minimum of 500 friends.
- She had to have a minimum of 30 pictures.
- She had to be single.
Here is the deal, if I find the girls I chose to be attractive then you can bet your ex boyfriends would be as well. My goal is for you to take the information I provide here and “pimp out” your profile. I want your profile to not only make your ex go “WOW” but I want other guys to give you the attention you deserve! I am looking for trends here. So, if a lot of the attractive women I chose did something then you should probably do it too.
I ended up choosing 20 women, I will not be giving you their names though so don’t go fishing around here because you will be disappointed.
The Profile Picture
I am starting with the most important section of the Facebook profile first. I don’t think it takes a genius to recognize how important your profile picture is to catching someones attention. Without a doubt, all the women I chose for this case study had excellent profile pictures. The big thing I began to realize right off the bat was how important it is for you to take a close up of your face. The thing that caught my eye the most was women who had the confidence to look at the camera for a close up. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about:
(Disclaimer- I did not choose any photos from the women I did the case study on. These are pictures I found on the internet doing random searches.)
Good Profile Picture
Now, I know what you are thinking, “that woman is a model, I can’t take a picture like that..” Your wrong! When I go through my friends pictures there were some women who had profile pictures that rivaled this one. Let this be a lesson, women who went the extra mile with their profile picture will catch a mans attention.
Also, I want you to notice that whoever took this picture caught the sun perfectly to give it a sort of “too beautiful to be real” look. As I go back I count three women who I chose for this case study who employed that very method. Interestingly, those were the three women who I voted as having the best profile pictures (HINT HINT.)
It might also be helpful for me to explain some of the things that turned me off of including some women on the “list.” If they had a profile picture of them with their friends, if they had other guys in the picture or if were drinking alcohol I did not want to include them because it lowered their value in my eyes.
- Make sure you profile pic is tastefully done and it is a closeup of your face.
- Aim to have a “too beautiful to be real” type of look.
- Avoid taking a picture of you with friends, other guys or drinking alcohol.
(Funny Fact- The profile picture on my profile is atrocious. I should really take my own advice 😉 .)
What do you need help with?
Getting My Ex Back
Knowing Exactly What To Text
Cover Photos, Do They Matter?
Yes and no. Most guys will tell you that they don’t matter. In fact, when I was pre-writing this page I almost skipped the cover photo section because I thought it was insignificant. However, my mind changed when I logged on to Facebook and started screening my women friends. Some of them just have horrible cover photos and it reflects really badly on them. Of course, it is like hitting gold when you click on a girl who has a tastefully done profile picture and her cover photo reflects really positively on her. Rather than rambling on and on I am going to give you an example of what I considered a bad cover photo and a good one.
Bad Cover Photo
I actually took this cover photo from one of the women who I did NOT include on the list. Yes, it’s space, its actually kind of pretty but it is a completely missed opportunity. Here is the problem I have with it. This particular photo can not go hand and hand with a profile picture. The girl who had this as her cover photo was actually very pretty. However, not only did she miss on her profile picture but the cover photo made her profile unattractive to look at.
Good Cover Photo
This is another example I took from a girl who is on my friends list. While she didn’t have the best profile picture I think she knocked her cover photo out of the ballpark. Yes, it may be a little goofy but her cover photo truly says something, it has meaning. The only missing component for her was that she didn’t find a way to make her great cover photo and her profile picture to work together.
- Cover photos matter more than you think.
- The best cover photos are ones that work together with your profile picture.
- You want your cover photo to mean something. Bland images like space aren’t good enough.
Surviving The “Photo” Scan
This is the section where I may get a little…. mean. Guys are the most shallow creatures you will ever meet. I want you to get that through your head. I don’t care how nice a guy is, somewhere, deep down, he is thinking shallow thoughts. This is especially true when it comes to your Facebook photos. Oh, and don’t think that I am immune to the “shallow disease,” I can be just as mean as the rest of them. Let me give you a glimpse into the mind of the average male looking through Facebook.
Rick (our designated male personality) is looking through Facebook. Immediately he sees someone he deems as “hot” and clicks on her profile. Now, most women I speak with think that Rick will read their wall, see if they are single or see how many guys are commenting on their status updates.
Ah, but they forget something that is even more important. Men are very visual oriented so while all that other stuff matters to us the first place we go is to check out your other pictures. The profile picture alone was enough to capture Ricks attention but there is a problem. It seems as if this “hot” girl isn’t so hot anymore. He saw the first picture she had to offer in her album and it did not paint her in the best light. It seems as if this “hot girl” needed to lose some weight. Rick had seen enough, it was time to move on and find the next potential prospect.
I am not kidding when I say that, the mock story I told above (shout out to Rick 😉 ) is exactly how 99% of men operate. I am not afraid to admit that I did exactly that during my scan through my friends. Literally just one bad picture is enough to turn a guy off. However, we are dealing with an ex boyfriend here so are the rules any different?
In my mind, they are not. You want your ex boyfriend to scroll through your pictures and say “God #$%$ why did I ever let her go” not “She looks more horrible than I remember her.” The point I am driving home here is that really the profile picture is just there to show off the “bow” of the present. The rest of your pictures are the rest of the package. You want to make sure that you strut your stuff in the rest of the pictures so to speak.
So, any bad picture that you have, toss it. Any bad picture that you are tagged in, toss it. I want you to look amazing in all of your pictures so by the time your ex comes around his jaw will literally hit the floor.
- Guys are shallow and will judge you based on one picture.
- You should look amazing in all of your pictures.
Status Updates & Hurt Feelings
What usually happens after a breakup? Perhaps I should rephrase that, what usually happens to women after a breakup? Well, I am one of the few men that could actually tell you that because I deal with so many women on a daily basis. In my experience this is what the average girl does after a breakup:
- She cries.
- Gets overemotional.
- Texts, emails or calls her ex way too many times.
- Unintentionally acts so desperate that she totally turns her man off.
Now, here is the scary part. Almost all guys expect this kind of behavior after a breakup. Let me be a little more accurate here since we are discussing Facebook. Almost all guys expect some overemotional status update talking about your “feelings are hurt.” I know that may sound mean but let me tell you a story.
I log on to Facebook pretty much every day and without fail I am greeted by some girl posting about how her now ex boyfriend “hurt her feelings.” Usually these status updates go something like this:
It sure would be nice to have an escape from my life and the jerks in it.. Even if it is just for one night..
(It literally took me a minute to find that and I literally just grabbed it off my Facebook dashboard in the middle of writing this page)
It is obvious to everyone and their mother that this is a status update about a boy who did this particular girl wrong (probably a boyfriend or an ex.) Of course, this “bad boy” is going to see this update and know immediately that his actions are having an effect on this girl. That is a really bad thing because it means he is in a position of power and he knows that anything he does is going to have a certain amount of sway over this girl.
Why would you even give an ex the satisfaction of knowing that his actions are hurting you? That is just dumb and has no benefit at all to you. I wouldn’t even acknowledge it. The smarter thing to do is use your Facebook updates for interesting and important things.
Speaking of Facebook status updates..
Repeat After Me- “I Now Have An Active Social Life”
There was one amazing trend that I saw when I did my Facebook study. Each person I picked looked like they had fun and interesting social lives. Think about that for a second, I went out searching for women that I straight up found attractive and each one looked like they were having a blast in their photos with friends. Oh, and just so you know, I am not a hardcore party guy at all. I actually probably need to get out more. Nevertheless, I don’t think it was a mistake that I found women attractive who all looked like they had active social lives.
And since I am the voice of the average male, I think it is safe to say that your ex boyfriends would also find these women and their active social lives attractive as well. This means, if you don’t have an active social life I think it is about time for you to get one.
Now, it is probably important to point out that there is a right way to display your social life and there is a wrong way to.
The Wrong Way
- Drinking alcohol while dancing/grinding with guys at a club… to most guys this is a total turnoff and it will definitely be to your ex boyfriend.
- Making out with other guys who aren’t your ex boyfriend.
- Making out with one of your girl friends. Actually keep that photo up… No I am kidding.
The Right Way
- A lot of pictures out with your girl friends.
- Sprinkle in pictures with some of your guy friends (see jealousy in next section.)
- Taking a photo of the crowded event you are at (a party at Vegas for example.)
- Photos where you are out on a boat with a group of people and showing off your hot body in a bikini ;).
- Show you are well traveled by taking pictures of places you have been.
Facebook = Jealous Haven
I saved the best section for last. Now, doing the things outlined in this section are completely optional. People respond differently to jealousy. However, I can tell you that if you use Facebook for jealousy in a tasteful and smart way the results can be tremendous.
I hope by now I have convinced you that the chances are very high that your ex boyfriend will be visiting your profile at some point in the future. So, what if when he stops by he sees you getting cozy with some other guy? Most likely, he will get jealous. The true point of this section is to show you the correct way to take a picture with another guy to:
A. Not completely send your ex boyfriend off the rails with anger.
B. Make him extremely jealous.
Have you ever heard the phrase, less is more? Well, in this case that certainly holds true. It won’t take a lot to make him jealous if he still has feelings for you. However, if you do something like this:
I think you can pretty much kiss (no pun intended) your chances of getting him back goodbye. Not only is that poor taste but your ex will view you as trashy and once you get that label it is really hard to shake it. Not to mention it is a total turnoff to see some stranger guy macking on your ex. I wouldn’t go back to an ex if she did that right after a breakup.
Instead, you need to shoot for a picture like this:
Notice how in the picture it is hard to tell if this is a couple or if they are just a couple of friends. You need to aim for something like this. Something that says, I MAY like this guy but he is clearly into me. When your ex sees this picture he won’t be turned off. Instead, he will be angry that another guy is impeding on his woman.
How To Know If My Ex Has Been Stalking Me On Facebook: Is My Ex Looking At My Facebook Profile
Faith XimenaFollow Dec 19, 2019 · 6 min read Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
How to know if my ex has been stalking me on Facebook — Is my ex looking at my Facebook profile.
This Tactics Is Manipulative! Please Be Ethical!
Before we continue, I need to let you know that the tactic you are going to learn is considered manipulative.
Manipulative? Yes! Effective? Of Course!
The reason I am sharing this tactic with you is because it is extremely effective. Of course, I am not going to say that it works for everyone or every situation.
For example, if your ex broke up with you because you cheated, then this tactic is obviously not going to work. It will only make the situation worse.
However, in a lot of situation, this tactic can work really well.
Ethical or Not! It Is Really Up To You!
As mentioned, this tactic is quite manipulative. However, that does not mean it is unethical.
At the end of the day, it depends on your intention.
If you truly love your ex and want to take care of them forever, this tactic can help you achieve your goal.
If you are just using this tactic to get your ex back and dump them again for revenge, this is obviously unethical.
I really hope you have the right intention before you read on to learn more.
How To Use Your Ex’s Curiosity To Your Advantage
It doesn’t matter whether it is your ex who dumps you or you who dump your ex, you can actually use Facebook to get your ex back.
First, you need to understand that human beings are curious by nature. If you have just broken up, you are advised not to contact your ex for the time being. Sooner or later, your ex is going to start thinking about you. Your ex is going to be curious about what is going on in your life and why you are not contacting them.
And when your ex is curious, what do you think they will do? Well, they are going to ‘take a look’ at your Facebook account.
What if your lover has moved on? Here’s how to get them back.
You Need To Show Your Ex That You Have Moved On Using Facebook
I know it may sound a little bit counter-intuitive. You may think that if you want to get your ex back, you need to be focusing on them.
Unfortunately, that is not true. Sometimes, the harder you try, the faster you push your ex away. Therefore, a much better way to get your ex back is to move on.
Go out with friends. Socialize more. Participate in more activities. Do all the things that you haven’t been doing while you were still in that relationship.
And of course, you want to take photos and post those photos on your Facebook account.
When your ex visit your Facebook account and see this new side of you, they will be surprised. In fact, they may even have a tinge of regret for breaking up with you.
This is what you are trying to achieve. You want to make your ex regret breaking up with you even if it is just a little bit.
How to Make Your Ex Jealous And Crazy
Here is the manipulative part. You can take a photo with another guy/gal. However, please use this tactic with caution. It can backfire on you if you do it wrongly.
Take Group Photo! Not Individual Photo!
Some people may recommend that you just take a photo with another guy/gal and use it as your profile photo on Facebook.
This can really backfire on you for several reasons.
First, your ex may think that you are in a new relationship and totally give up hope on getting back together with you. Second, your ex may realize that you are just trying to make them jealous and feel disgusted with you.
Therefore, I advise you to take a group photo with a group of friends instead of individual photo with just you and the other guy/gal.
Of course, in all the group photos, you want to make sure that the other guy/gal is standing beside you.
Just this alone is enough to make your ex jealous. At least, your ex will not jump to conclusion that you are in a new relationship or you are just trying to make them jealous.
In fact, these group photos will cause your ex to think whether both of you are in a relationship. They will come chasing after you before you are snatched by the other guy/gal.
Pay Close Attention Here-
Now listen carefully! Take 2 minutes to read the next page and you’ll discover a stunning trick which will have your ex begging you to take them back. There is a set of easy to follow psychological tricks which will make your ex crawl back to you within a few days guaranteed. I strongly urge you to read everything on the next page before it’s too late and time runs out-
Social media has opened the door to instant updates on former S.O.s, ex-lovers, and the proverbial ones who got away. It’s only natural that you might want to find out more about their current life and loves, and check in to see how life has treated them. But curiosity and accessibility may also inspire those of us who do not have professional detective skills to advanced levels of snooping, lurking, and occasionally obsessing over photos of an ex’s current life.
Reconnections with former sweethearts can be fun and may sometimes lead to a second chance at love. But there is a whole other cyber can of worms you might open each time you enter the name of a former flame into a search engine—especially if you or your ex are already spoken for.
Of course, the internet makes it so tempting to peek, but most experts agree you should thinkbefore you snoop. “The urge to cyber-stalk an ex can be unbearable,” says therapist Mary Beth Somich, MA, EdM. “You have to weigh in your mind whether or not the reward is worth the risk.”
We asked experts about the pros and cons of searching for an ex in social media. Here’s what you need to know about the rules of engagement:
1. It’s natural to want to see what an ex is up to…
In other words, you are not a crazy stalker. “From an evolutionary perspective, it is honestly pretty normal behavior to cyber-stalk an ex, especially if you are looking for information about his or her new potential partner,” says Somich. “A woman’s natural instinct—talking cavewomen—is to look after her babies and partner and to fight anyone threatening that.” Kids or not, some women tend to want all the information they can get and social media makes that easy, she says. “The good news is that once you’re actually over an ex, the urge to cyber-stalk significantly reduces.”
2. …but you’ve got to own up to your motives.
There’s a vast difference between satisfying your natural curiosity about whatever happened to so-and-so and searching for the partner who was the best sex you ever had because you think the grass is greener on the other side of your committed relationship. “Too often people are driven to reconnect when they are bored, lonely, or frustrated with life,” says cognitive therapist Paul DePompo, PsyD, ABPP, author of The Other Woman’s Affair.”If this is the case for you, it is not the right time, even though it may seem like the ‘best option.'” DePompo and many experts suggest that you communicate directly with the person you are in relationship with—and spend time making changes, rather than trying to avoid problems by fantasizing about an old flame. “I have seen many affairs emerge due to online searches and reconnecting to past exes,” he says. “It often starts innocent and ends horribly.”
3. You may get a second chance at love.
That said, sometimes the timing is right. There are many tales about former sweethearts finding each other years and decades later. “It’s only been about ten to 15 years that we’ve been able to easily look for an ex-lover,” says Michael Arn, PsyD, an expert in relationship psychology, intimacy and communications. Reaching out is a great idea if both parties are open to it and free to pursue. “The ability to reconnect with an ex when the timing is right for both of you, has led to many former couples rekindling a relationship and making it last,” he says.
Jennifer Waller was curious to see how her high school “Prince Charming” was doing when she noticed his name pop up as a possible connection on Facebook. “We were high school sweethearts in 1984 to 1985 and my parents adored him,” says Waller, who is the founder and CEO of Celtic Complexion Luxury Artisan Skincare. “We broke up shortly after he graduated from high school and lost touch.” In 2010, they reconnected but timing was off because they were both in relationships. When things ended with other partners they found each other in 2013. “The entire whirlwind romance felt like something from a movie, and for this reason I’m indebted to Mark Zuckerberg,” she says. They finally reunited at an airport and ended up spending five days in the penthouse suite of a swanky hotel, talking and reminiscing about the time that had passed. “By the end of those five days, we knew we wanted to be together,” she says. “On the way to the airport, we stopped at a jewelry store and he had me pick out a ring, and he proposed in my car.” They were married in 2014 and are now business partners, too.
4. Even if you’re single or divorced, you still need to think before searching.
When you locate a past love and your heart goes pitter patter, it is easy to get excited. “If you are single, free, ready for a relationship and you feel you have learned from the past, then there is nothing wrong with reaching out to see if the flame can reignite now that you have grown,” says DePompo. But it is always gamble that can possibly trigger regret, he says. It’s important to keep the rose-colored glasses off so you can see clearly who this person is today.
5. You can begin to make amends.
For some people, finding a sense of completion or forgiveness for ways they may have hurt an ex is important. “Reaching out to say you are sorry is appropriate, if you are sorry, and if you don’t expect something in return,” say Dr. Gail Saltz, MD, psychiatrist and host of “The Power of Different” podcast. “It can make a very big difference to the lasting impact of hurt, to apologize and if you are estranged, social media may be the only mechanism.” She says to lead with, “I am sorry for…” But be warned: Social media can allow two people to set things right, but it’s not the place to send a message saying you want to get back together or to have the entire apology conversation. “While you may start that way, if things get complex, a conversation is no doubt better,” says Dr. Saltz.
6. Realize that you may not be seeing things realistically.
Consider the possibility that the one who got away… got away for a reason. “If it didn’t work out the first time (or second, third or fourth), it probably won’t work out the fifth,” says relationship expert Allison Abrams, LCSW. She says we hang on to old loves that have long expired because our selective memory tends to kick in. “Suddenly all of the ugly, negative parts of the relationship that made us leave in the first place, get suppressed, no longer exist, or are minimized,” she says. Our skewed memory of actual events leaves us with recall of only the positive aspects of the person and, she adds, “Oscar-worthy scenes in our heads of the good times.”
7. Sexual attraction can trick your brain into thinking it’s love.
The allure of an ex can lead us to believe our former flames are better than our current loves, says Love Biologist Dawn Maslar, author of Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind, and Finding True Love. “If they find the person and the attraction is still there, this can trigger the release of norepinephrine,” she says. “That’s what gives you feeling of attraction such as sweaty palms and rapid heartbeat.” Physical reactions and sexual desire can be mistaken for love. “This can be compounded especially if it’s a first love or very emotional love, because norepinephrine causes those memories to be more dominant in the brain.” In real time, the good ole days—and your ex—may not have been as great as they seem now.
8. The urge to connect is often just wistfulness for the past.
Just as we enjoy seeing movies that remind us of certain times of life, an ex can conjure memories of a more carefree, romantic, or sexy time. “People are often driven to reconnect by nostalgia,” points out marriage and family therapist Talia Wagner. Sometimes we wish we could go back and do it better. “Time serves its part in our ability to reflect on old relationships and hindsight allows us to think about things that we could have said or done differently.” The desire to return to former loves especially heats up when our current lives do not materialize the way we would have liked, she says.
9. There’s a greater risk of having an emotional affair.
Inappropriate bonds can form way before anyone takes their clothes off. “It is just too easy to reconnect and remember only the good feelings, the lust, the feeling appreciated without being reminded of the lousy times,” says Saltz. “This is why leads to a seemingly intense emotional connection quickly—because of the romantic history, an increased likelihood of flirtation and movement into a romantic attachment.” She and so many experts advise not looking up an ex if you are in a current relationship that you don’t want to ruin. “It’s just a slippery slope,” she says.
10. Images of a happy ex can haunt you like a ghost.
Swimwear designer Jennifer Lowe wishes she’d never accidentally stumbled on her ex’s page. “You don’t want to make that first click because it’s a downward spiral and it’s not going to make you feel any better,” she says. ” his new girlfriend looks awful, is 50 pounds heavier, and is much older,” she points out, seeing it with your own eyes can lead to jealousy or wondering what would had been. “I’ve already mourned the loss once,” she says, which is why she looked away and never looked back. Arn adds, “It’s human nature to compare ourselves to other people and even to compare our current dating life with our ex’s.” But don’t linger in their world. “Make sure to be getting out there and to be living in the present moment with the people in your real life,” he says.
12. You may be prone to inappropriate cyber etiquette.
Don’t take the bait if it seems like an ex is posting things to make you feel bad on purpose. “At least do yourself a favor and resist the urge to comment, post, call, email, message, or express any jealousy or anger based on what you’ve seen,” says Somich. “If you are afraid you might react this way it means you are not ready. Your ex deserves privacy. If they are posting things just to provoke a jealous reaction from you then they are not for you.” Be the bigger person, she says, ignore it, and move on.
13. Your heart can get your heart broken—again.
And it may take longer to heal. Jesse Fox and Robert S. Tokunaga researched breakup-related “interpersonal surveillance,” which they also referred to as “Facebook stalking,” and shared their findings in the September 2015 edition of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. “Analysis of the data provided by 464 participants revealed that Facebook surveillance was associated with greater current distress over the breakup, more negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth,” they wrote. Frequent monitoring of an ex-partner’s Facebook page and list of friends, even when one was not a Facebook friend of the ex-partner, was common. And certain information “intensifies heartbreak, such as news that the former partner is involved in a new relationship,” they wrote. The research showed that people who constantly monitored their ex via Facebook found it harder to move on.
If you are still in love with—or grieving over—an ex, the best approach if is to stay away from his/her social media pages, advises therapist Abrams. “Cutting off contact completely with the person you are trying to get over is the most effective, and quickest, way to move on,” she says. “Though communication through social media may not necessarily be interactive, it is still communication and will make the healing process that much harder. It may be time to de-friend the memory altogether.”
Tara and her husband, Michael (not their real names), recently came to see me after — as she described it — “infidelity.”
He was searching for other women online, she said. Yet Michael claimed that he hadn’t done anything wrong and that he would never cheat on his wife.
When I began asking the couple more questions, it became clear that Michael had not been seeking a new partner. Instead, he’d been Googling some of his exes and looking them up on social media but hadn’t reached out to them.
It’s natural to wonder about past lovers, but the Internet makes it easier to combine a thought or urge with a behavior. And that’s where things can get tricky. While Michael simply viewed his actions as curiosity, Tara saw them as real threats to their marriage.
It’s an argument I often see these days: Partners are in disagreement over what it means to cheat.
In fact, a recent survey commissioned by the Deseret News found that although more than three-quarters of Americans believe that being sexually intimate with another person is cheating, there’s more confusion surrounding other types of contact. For example, only about half view “sexting” as infidelity. So what really does constitute cheating, especially in this digital age?
How do we define cheating?
There’s no doubt that the Internet has provided people with more chances to stray than ever before.
“What counts as cheating has changed because other folks are so accessible,” clinical psychologist and couples therapist Sue Johnson said. “The rules are not as clear, and the opportunities for flirting and various levels of sexual engagement have multiplied.”
So-called digital infidelity also appears to trigger specific moral reactions in some people, according to research by psychologist Dylan Selterman and others.
“People who have concerns about purity and sanctity — such as those with overly religious upbringings — tend to have harsher moral judgments about sexting and other digital acts,” Selterman explained.
Interestingly, the Internet may also offer couples a way to stay loyal to each other — or at least that’s how many people rationalize their use of it.
“I’ve found that many couples use pornography and social media to maintain monogamy, not betray it,” sex and relationship expert Tammy Nelson explained. “Staying monogamous, in their mind, means not sleeping with another person, and being online is a way to find variety and excitement without actually straying in real life.”
Of course, the problem is that both partners need to decide what infidelity means to them and then respect those boundaries.
“The ‘cheater’ shouldn’t be the one who decides what’s kosher and what’s not. To find the answer, look through the eyes of the hurt partner,” clinical psychologist Janis Abrahms Spring said. “If your partner were in the room looking at you and feeling very uncomfortable with what they’re witnessing, you might consider you’re doing something hurtful or something that violates them.”
On the other hand, said psychotherapist Marty Babits of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, “I am wary of falling into the perspective in which one of the two is clearly the victim and the ‘victimized’ on the basis of what they call sexual infidelity. … The term ‘cheating’ often becomes a way in which partners obfuscate their need to work through primary issues related to guilt and shame.”
Is it ever OK to snoop?
While modern technology offers constant opportunities to cheat, it also offers constant and tempting opportunities to check up on your partner.
The biggest issue many couples have, in my experience, doesn’t necessarily involve the behavior itself but the secrecy around it. For instance, research suggests that women whose partners lie about viewing porn are more dissatisfied with their relationships than those whose partners are honest about it. And this dissatisfaction can often lead to the urge to see what the secrecy is all about.
“If people get scared, they will snoop because they can’t bear the anxiety,” Johnson said. “If you have injured your partner and want to mend the bond, it’s in your interest to make it unnecessary for them to snoop, to be transparent and show them you aren’t hiding anything.”
But it’s also important to understand the distinction between secrecy and privacy, sex therapist Michael Aaron explained. “In my mind, privacy refers to things that are important to us as individuals but don’t necessarily affect the relationship, while secrecy is something that affects the other partner, usually in a nonconsensual way,” he explained. “For example, a dream about an ex-girlfriend is something private, and the partner doesn’t need to know, while an affair is secretive, since it affects the partner and the relationship.”
What can couples do?
When it comes to protecting your relationship against infidelity, communication is key. You need to have conversations about how you both define cheating — whether it’s talking to an ex, visiting a strip club, sexting someone or more — and what that would mean for your relationship.
“Talk your partner about what you see as cheating. In areas where there are differences, focus on what would bring the greatest emotional safety and intimacy to the relationship,” therapist Scott R. Woolley advised.
In my experience, when behaviors occur that trigger vulnerabilities and anxieties, it’s important to lean into those moments and treat them as opportunities to discuss, debate and even disagree. Disagreeing and knowing where you each stand in relation to a particular behavior — say, watching porn, or connecting with an ex — allows you to understand your partner’s belief system and hold your partner’s mind in your mind.
That knowledge comes the power of a secure attachment. Too often, we turn away from these difficult moments and opportunities to inter-relate, and from there, it’s a slippery slope to engaging in behaviors in secret, prevaricating when the issue comes up and even lying in order to not make our partners upset. But at this point, the lies and secrecy overshadow the actual behaviors in terms of potential damage.
Strong relationships consist of strong individual who are allowed to disagree, hold their ground or compromise in some way in the bigger interest of the relationship. Relationships are a constant negotiation between individuality on the one hand and togetherness on the other, but if you don’t have these difficult conversations when they arise, you’re depriving your relationship the opportunity to learn and grow.
In her seminal book on emotional infidelity, “Not Just Friends,” the late psychotherapist Shirley Glass implores readers to “maintain appropriate walls and windows. Keep the windows open at home. Put up privacy walls with others who could threaten your marriage.” That’s sage advice, no matter how you define cheating.
Dear Amy: Is it appropriate for my wife to look up ex-boyfriends on Facebook? And am I wrong to ask her to stop?
When I asked her to stop doing this, she said, “I will not stop. I would not cheat.”
I find it disrespectful that she is doing this. I also think her response is disrespectful.
Am I being too morally rigid? Am I just acting jealous? Or do I need to find someone else who is on the same page as me?
— Social Media Trouble
Dear Amy: My family tries to be close, but when it comes to me (the youngest) and my oldest sister (eight years older) — we just don’t click.
Despite being born to the same people and raised in the same household, we have very different views, opinions and beliefs about nearly everything.
I don’t recall having a good relationship as children; she was always yelling or angry at me.
I was always closer to our brother (middle child), who played with me and let me tag along with him and his friends.
My sister never seemed interested in being close, though we did have our moments of getting along.
As adults, this feels unchanged and strained; she’s made it clear she doesn’t approve of my career, schooling, spiritual beliefs, and she was openly skeptical about my marriage (until the ceremony), because my husband is older than I.
She always talks down to me, and once stated out loud that she can’t respect me as an adult. That hurt more than she’ll ever know.
She seems to believe that I don’t want to be her sister, when in reality I just don’t want to be around someone who makes me walk on eggshells. My parents wish we’d get along, but I can’t force myself to pretend anymore.
I will be civil, but I don’t feel we can be regular friends.
Is this awful of me? Should I keep trying? I just don’t see the point.
— Youngest Of Three
Dear Youngest: One of the most challenging aspects of the sibling relationship is the struggle to cope with a less-than-ideal dynamic. We all have this idea that siblings should be best friends, but it often doesn’t work out that way.
The fact is, you and your sister were NOT raised in the same household with the same parents. By the time you came along, your parents were eight years older and had two other children. There is a high likelihood that your parents raised you very differently than their older children.
It’s also likely that your older sister actually had a hand in helping to raise you. She just didn’t get the memo that it’s time to stop.
I interpret some of the behavior you describe as stereotypical “oldest child” stuff. She can’t respect you as an adult because in her mind, you’ll always be the baby of the family. Passing judgment on you is the purview of the bossy eldest.
Insight into the dynamic created by birth order will NOT help you to get along better with your sister — but it may help you to see some of her behavior in a new way. This insight should help you to cope.
Read: “The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are,” by Kevin Leman (2015, Revell). Dr. Leman’s book is a great first look into the fascinating topic of birth order.
Dear Trouble: Facebook seems tailor-made for looking up exes. Doesn’t everyone do this?
Context is important. Is your wife doing some benign lurking and gloating? Or is she connecting and communicating with her exes? There is a big difference.
I agree that, “I will not stop. I would not cheat” is not a great response. Her choice to bring up cheating is pretty incendiary. But then again, so is your knee-jerk response to maybe find another partner.
You two are obviously at a relationship impasse. I suspect that this social media dustup is more a symptom than a cause. I hope you can work things out.
Dear Amy: “Struggling” said she didn’t want to attend a wedding with her right-wing relatives.
Why do you always insist that politically conservative people are “boorish”? I’m so tired of this consistent bias in your column.
Dear Tired: I’ve encountered many left-leaning people who are closed-minded, reactionary and “boorish,” and have tackled questions regarding same in my column.
In this case, I described the behavior as “boorish” because “Struggling” referred to this relative as an “insulting bully.”
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
Why You Can’t Stop Stalking Your Ex on Social Media
Sure, the connotations of stalking someone you’re not with anymore is a little dark, but it’s actually a way to help you heal from the breakup and move on in many cases. Trust me. I’m just as surprised as you are by this news, y’all. Isn’t it nice to know we don’t have to worry about our sanity while we’re trying not to “LIKE” our ex’s post from 63 weeks ago? It’s the little things, really.
Of Course, For Some, It’s Toxic
Not everyone is in this boat. For some, it really is a spewing garbage fire of self-hatred and feelings of inadequacy, “Some people stalk their exes because they are completely not OK in their current life and are trying to fill a really big hole with emotional candy cane,” says Dr. Freed. “It may be a momentary sugar tooth thing to see what they are doing but it comes with a sugar blues afterwards.”
“The basic rule of happiness is that if you have great things to do in the present you probably won’t be glued to social media.”
Meaning, stalking your ex may feel good in the moment, but it may come back and bite you in the ass. Just like all things, you have to be mindful of your actions or you could get screwed. “The basic rule of happiness is that if you have great things to do in the present you probably won’t be glued to social media,” says Dr. Freed. “You will be out living a great life.”
This is a great rule to live by. If you’re obsessing over your ex on social media, you may need to re-evaluate your circumstances. Ask yourself why you’re doing this. Monitor how much you’re engaging in this behavior. Dr. Freed advises that you not to allow it to become compulsive or a habit.
This takes self-awareness. You may need to take a look in the mirror and figure your sh*t out. Sure, it may be your way of moving on from the breakup, but it’s a slippery slope. Just be sure your social media stalking isn’t a crutch for the unhappiness you feel in your own life. No amount of bringing down your ex from afar is going to make up for unhappiness with yourself.
38 Awesome Things to Do Instead of Stalking Your Ex
- Call your best friend. Tell her you were considering Internet-stalking your ex but decided to call her instead. Ask her to tell you something funny.
- Call your mom. Ask her about her day. Thank her for bringing you into the world. Tell her you love her.
- Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Make a list of random things that you would like to learn more about. Jobs working in the wine industry in Champagne, contouring, Jessica Biel’s new restaurant, how beef is dry-aged, proper growing conditions for avocado trees—whatever you want to learn, write it down. The next time you resist the urge to Internet-stalk your ex, grab your list and learn something new. Google to your heart’s content!
- Make a vision board. Grab some old magazines and start cutting out images and words that speak to you. Glue them together in a pleasing formation.
- Turn on your favorite song and have a dance party.
- Write down some affirmations. You are strong. You can find happiness in any situation. You are whole, complete, and perfect just the way you are. When you feel like texting the ex or stalking the ex, refer to your affirmations.
- Go to a workout class. If there are no workout classes that start in five minutes, search Tracy Anderson on YouTube. Do one of her amazing dance cardio workouts!
- Go on a walk. Put your phone in your dresser drawer and leave it there while you walk.
- Figure out something new to try. It could be something big like tennis or something small like a different route to work, or a coffee shop that you’ve heard about but never been inside. Then go try it!
- If you haven’t done so already, unfriend, unfollow, and block your ex from all social media channels.
- Order a package of star stickers from Amazon. Every day that you don’t Internet-stalk your ex, place a star on your calendar. When you’ve got to 30 stars, treat yourself to blowout or manicure/pedicure.
- Do some online shopping. There’s nothing like a little retail therapy!
- Think about getting a side gig. You know that workout studio you’ve been obsessed with for the past four months? Inquire about becoming an instructor.
- Make yourself something comforting and delicious to eat. Nobody can be sad about an ex while eating a perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, oozing-on-the-inside grilled cheese sandwich!
- Plan a trip to Disneyland. It is the happiest place on earth.
- Practice yoga.
- Take up a new hobby, like sewing.
- Paint your nails your favorite color.
- Write in your journal.
- Read something, even if you just do it for 10 minutes to take your mind off your ex. Grab a book, magazine, or newspaper.
- Meditate. Be mindful of the things you have rather than dwelling on the things you lack.
- Get an adult coloring book. Every time you think about your ex, pull out the markers and start to color.
- Watch a TED Talk or listen to a podcast.
- Go to Kinko’s and print out a giant poster of your ex’s face. Pin it to your wall and use it as a dartboard. Yes, I’m serious!
- Call your most fun friend. Ask her to meet you at your favorite bar. Give her your phone to ensure that you don’t do something stupid. Order two martinis and have a grand old time flirting with the cute bartender.
- Play a game on your phone or computer. Solitaire, Angry Birds, whatever is easy and distracting.
- Punch something. A pillow, the couch, the air.
- Watch the television show Revenge on Hulu.
- Take a bath.
- Book a spa treatment.
- Take an online class.
- Stalk a celebrity instead. What is Leo up to now that he won an Oscar? Did you know that Alicia Vikander’s boyfriend is Michael Fassbender? Wait, did Kendall Jenner really change her hair color from brown to blond?
- Take a nap.
- Plan a dinner party. Go to Paperless Post, send out an invite, and then figure out the menu.
- Look at pictures of adorable rescue puppies online.
- Start a stalk jar. Every time you want to stalk your ex, put a $5 bill into the jar. In a couple of months, use the money to treat yourself to a new dress or dinner at a much hyped-about restaurant.
- Bookmark this page. Refer to it when you feel like stalking your ex.
- Remind yourself that stalking your ex is a waste of your time. It will only upset you and make you crazy. When all else fails, take a break from social media. Delete the apps from your phone.
Stalking Your Ex on Social Media Is Normal, But You Seriously Need to Stop
It’s just a fact of life: Breakups totally suck, especially when it comes to your mental health. Lots of people opt for a clean break, which is a super smart idea. But even if you’re not talking to your ex, you might still be friends with them on Facebook or Instagram. After all, most of us are pretty addicted to social media. And while we all like to think that we can resist the temptation to virtually catch up on everything going on in our ex-boo’s life, that’s often not the case. That’s why we decided to check in with relationship experts about why social media stalking your ex is so hard to quit, plus how to stop ASAP.
The Reason You Do It
In short, the desire to check up on your ex is absolutely normal. “Long before the existence of social media, people stalked their exes,” explains Toni Coleman, LCSW, who’s a relationship coach and divorce mediator. “Back then, this was done by driving past their residence or calling on the phone and then hanging up when the person answered to see if they were home and/or someone else was there.” While some people still do things like this, cyber-stalking someone’s social media profiles is way easier and WAY more tempting, probably because you don’t even have to leave the house to do it. All you have to do is pull up their profile on your phone and you’re good to go.
Even though all of these behaviors tend to make people feel worse, they “do it because of a compulsion to know, even if part of them doesn’t want to,” Coleman says. In the end, it’s a response to the loss and grief of losing your relationship — even if you’re the one who wanted to call it quits.
Why You Should Stop
Though social media stalking is normal, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. “From a mental health perspective, you shouldn’t keep tabs on your ex via social media because you can’t have a genuine, clean break and really move forward while you’re still staying in your ex’s life, even if it is remotely through social media,” says Yvonne Thomas, PhD, a Los Angeles-based psychologist who specializes in self-esteem and relationships. “As I tell my clients, social stalking is like taking the scab off of the wound that’s starting to heal from the breakup and then having to start the healing process all over again.” In other words, it creates a vicious cycle that becomes more and more frustrating and hurtful as time goes on. Ugh.
Thomas also brings up that being too connected to your ex can deter any efforts you’re making to meet someone new.” You might be comparing every new prospect with your ex since you’re keeping some aspect of your ex and that relationship alive,” she says. Not to mention the impulse to compare where you are in your life with where they are. “Social media frequently can be positively slanted in a way in which people post just the good things happening in their lives rather providing the whole picture. As a result, you can feel quite demoralized and bad about yourself in comparison to what your ex may be posting online.” Yikes!
How to Cut The Cord
If this is all sounding a little too familiar, don’t worry. There are several strategies you can use to help yourself from checking in on your ex and, in the process, feel much better. First up, “Tell as many family and friends as possible about your plan so that you are accountable to these people and to yourself,” suggests Thomas. “I also advise my clients to have a go-to list of what to do instead when the temptation hits them to look at an ex’s information on social media. These can include exercising, watching a funny movie, or listening to your favorite uplifting music.” She also says reaching out to those same family and friends instead of turning to social media can be helpful.
Another strategy? “Cut down on your overall use of social media for a while,” recommends Coleman. If you only check your social channels once or twice a day, it will be less tempting to spend that time looking at your ex’s profiles. “Tell yourself there is someone out there that is that right someone and you just haven’t met him or her yet and will not if you hang onto what is gone and wasn’t good for you,” Coleman affirms. She’s definitely got a point.
Have you ever social media stalked an ex? Good decision or bad decision? Tell us about it @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)
The TRUTH Behind Why You Facebook Stalk Your Ex (Thanks, Science)
When it comes to being a facebook sleuth, you’re a pro.
I’m going to be completely honest here. When it comes to Facebook stalking, my detective level is on expert. From creeping his latest pictures with his new girlfriend to going through his statuses just because I can, I sometimes hardly notice that my digital stalking has become a full-blown habit (there’s a reason why my friends call me Sherlock Holmes). Why is that even though you swear that you’ve moved on, there’s a small part of you that can’t help but wonder how he’s coping without you after your ugly breakup?
Better question, is it possible that there’s more to this than curiosity or jealousy?
According to science, the answer is yes! Intrigued by human behavior, University of Missouri School of Journalism’s Kevin Wise set forth to crack this code through the use of facial EMG sensors. When connected to the eye muscles, these sensors detect the levels of positive reaction stemming from visual stimuli.
In his social experiment, he closely documented the Facebook activity of over 30 people. He found that most of the participants used Facebook to search through the pages of both friends and former partners—Surprise, surprise. Wise concluded that the reason why we spend so much time creeping Facebook pages is because we experience instant “emotional gratification”. Say what?!
While Wise sees Facebook “social searching” as a form of emotional bonding, other critics aren’t as ready to accept this conclusion. In fact, psychologist Tara C. Marshall of Brunel University in England warns that constantly obsessing over the lives of our ex-lovers is detrimental to our health.
Fellow stalkers, you may want to prepare yourself for what she found.
She conducted a study where she analyzed the Facebook activity of 464 participants after a breakup, testing out the hypotheses that “people who remain Facebook friends with an ex-partner will experience poorer breakup adjustment and growth relative to those who do not remain Facebook friends Facebook surveillance of an ex-partner will be negatively related to breakup adjustment and growth.”
Ironically, Marshall noted that a direct correlation was present between the amount of time the participants spent on their ex-partner’s Facebook pages and the increase in the level of emotional distress. She also saw that there was a decrease in self-esteem and personal growth, which just proves that keeping tabs on someone when you really shouldn’t be is emotionally exhausting.
As if that isn’t convincing enough to put our phones and laptops down, with all of these social media platforms available at our fingertips, keeping an eye on the people we left behind in the past has become way too addicting.
Take the recently released app Split, for instance. It basically tracks down your ex so you can avoid awkward run-ins. Sounds like a great solution to an uncomfortable situation, right? That is, until you start using it as the perfect wing man to stay updated on your old flames.
So take it from us: Your ex is in the past for a reason. Don’t let a simple and innocent “peek” lure you into a love addiction you won’t be able to break.
This Is An Essay About Facebook Stalking My Ex-Girlfriends
Pretty much the only thing I’ve ever done on Facebook is try and win back my high school girlfriend.
Not in any active sense, which is what you’d (rightfully) automatically assume when I say something like that. No. She’s married now with two kids and we haven’t spoken in eight years. I’m not, like, liking her statuses or PMing her links she’d enjoy or writing sappy, coy, poignant statuses that try to twist her heart. It’s so much more benign than that. It’s, with every status and photo, with every link shared, I’ve wondered immediately before doing it, “What will Jay think of this.”
It comes into my mind right before I hit send, without fail, a sort of debilitating spell check for trying to make someone love you again.
I wind up deleting a lot
For all I know, she blocked me years ago. Maybe she watches wistfully. Why would she? I’ll cop to it, I do, having seen every posted moment of her life without me. Followed a relationship that blossomed from a beguiling status about a concert where I think they met to pictures, arms around each other, looking at each other, both smiling broadly. They traveled together and moved in together until one day one summer I saw that her best friend had written the word, “WOOOHOOoooHOoo” on her wall.
She looked great on her wedding day, bucking the popular, late 2000s trend of strapless dresses, instead opting for a plunging but classy embroidered V-neck gown.
I know there’s no way wherein you can recite from almost perfect memory every activity your exes have had since they left you – the olive green dress one wore to a spring college formal, the vacation to St. Thomas another took with her sister – without coming across as unhealthily obsessed and maybe not completely sane.
I wanted to be there with them, not alone the way I was. Even if they long ago wanted me gone, to stop being there, I could. I could always be there. I was. I checked Jay’s Facebook page almost every day for however long it was between Facebook’s inception and her engagement, which, fuck, was maybe four years of constantly wanting some sliver of hope.
Looking made me sad, though, and maybe that’s also what I wanted. That’s why I kept checking after college. Not with Jay, but another. We were dating at the time. Sort of. And I looked, always looked, never feeling good after. Such a visceral reaction to a virtual thing (it’s funny lol, but it was also the feeling that made you not want to eat because why would you bother doing things that kept you alive). It was what I saw, obviously. Her, dancing closely with someone, sitting in that same person’s lap later on in the night, photos she posted, and me, watching from afar in more ways than one, seeing as she stopped loving me.
Which is what happens after college, when you (we) do that tenuous, flimsy, half-hearted long-distance thing, the one driven solely by the fear of not wanting the only person you love to fall in love with someone else. They always do. Ours was only the first generation that got to watch it happen.
I watched it happen. Although that wasn’t the end. Elle and I went through a lot more breakups in the years following that. Fits and starts, loves and hates, three years of it, until one day one June when we broke up, the last of our attempts to “this time really” end things. The next day was her birthday, and the last thing she said to me was “please don’t call.”
A month earlier, I started a job as the social media director for a lobbying firm. I vaguely knew you could theoretically block people from appearing in your News Feed – a feature they’d maybe just rolled out, this being the beginning of summer in 2010 – but I couldn’t even pull up her profile to take that step. To go through with it would be to bring upon myself a finality I couldn’t bear. But I just couldn’t see her in my feed. Not once. Her name, her picture, anything would be enough to drag me in, clicking through to her profile, scrolling, looking, wondering, feeling, subsequently texting. In the face of those seemingly impossible to reconcile imperatives, I came up with only solution that made sense. Every time I pulled up the site, I held a piece of computer paper over the screen, blocking everything except the search bar, so I could navigate where I need to go, then lowering it once I knew I was on a work page where she certainly wouldn’t appear. I spent a whole summer doing that. Three or four times a day. Avoiding it all.
I dated this guy from 2010 to 2012, and everything ended amicably. Even after the breakup, we hooked up twice that summer. Well, in November 2012, he got into a relationship, as did I. He and I remained friends on Facebook, and occasionally I would like a funny status he posted or whatever. In April 2013, his girlfriend attempted to add me on Facebook. I declined, and told her I wasn’t going to add my ex’s current girlfriend and she had no reason to worry about anything. She accused me of name-calling and all this crazy nonsense, and said that I needed to grow up and leave her man alone even though once he was in a relationship we stopped talking. To this day, I still haven’t met this girl. Fast-forward to October 2013 and I found out she was stalking me on Twitter and I called her out on it. She then said, “OMG, my boyfriends ex is stalking me, LOL.” Well, ever since then, she’s been copying me on Instagram, still stalking me via Twitter, etc. She and my ex broke up, and he and I have actually started talking and rekindling our relationship (I’m single now). However, now the stalking has gotten even more severe. I could block her, but when people are crazy, they will find plenty of ways to snoop. I want to address her and tell her to quit and leave me alone, but I don’t know how to go about it. Or if I should even talk to her in the first place. I’m 24 and she’s 22, but she’s acting like a middle schooler in all this nonsense.
When dealing with any sort of Internet harassment, there’s only so much you can do. My basic advice is always: Adjust your privacy settings; don’t feed the trolls.
This jealous woman is trolling you because she craves attention. So don’t give it to her. Don’t engage. Ignore her. Like a dumpster fire, eventually she’ll burn herself out.
You might as well block or mute your troll on each service. Yes, she may still be able to stalk you, but you don’t have to make it easy — I block people all the time, just because I don’t want them to pop up in my mentions and interrupt my procrastination when I’m watching romantic viral videos online. You can also consider adjusting your privacy settings so that only your friends can see your posts. I don’t generally recommend ceding the Internet to trolls, but, if this gets exhausting, you can always log off and limit your exposure for a while. You can always log back on later.
That said, if harassment rises to the level of disparagement or hate speech, you can report her account to an admin. But, frankly, the probability of receiving a satisfying response from any social-media service is horribly low: Twitter and Instagram are awful at banning accounts and mostly powerless to stop banned users from setting up new accounts.
My boyfriend gets mad at me because I wear heels at work. He says I am asking for attention if I wear them, and there is no reason I should want to wear them or need to. I explained to him that I just love shoes and fashion, not attention, but I stopped wearing them to stop the fights. He also didn’t like my job, so I quit my job and got one that we agreed on. He said he was OK with any job that no longer required travel. I found a job I really wanted with only two overnight trips a year, but he said no. I found two jobs with no travel, but he didn’t like the one I wanted to take because it was “too corporate” so I took the smaller one. Now he gets mad at me for having a 9-to-5 and thinks it means I don’t care about other things as much as work. He’s constantly making little comments about me needing attention, loving my job, etc., to jab at me and I tell him it bothers me, but he still does it. He’s always mad at me for “being too social” even though I have only seen my best friend three times in the six months we’ve been dating and my mom less than half as much as I did previous to our relationship. I explained to him that he’s being too controlling. He says he’s not controlling at all and that all of his friends would agree that I shouldn’t dress nice or try to look good, and that it is obviously a red flag that I do. I wear loose-fitting clothes and never show cleavage — I rarely even show my arms. I would be considered a modest dresser compared to most women my age. He’s constantly shooting down ideas or plans of mine as if he’s the one in charge, and I have no say in our future or even our daily schedules. I sent him several links to credible resources regarding controlling and abusive relationships, and tried talking calmly about needing change, but he says that I am taking it out of context, he’s not controlling and he would never be abusive. I fell in love with him extremely quickly, and this has progressed into the most serious relationship I have ever been in, far more serious that my previous engagement, but I can’t be controlled. My friends and family label me as fiercely independent and headstrong, and don’t understand why someone like me is even with him after his control issues. They feel like I’m being a hypocrite and are disappointed in me for not taking my own advice. I know he loves me and that this is his first real serious relationship. I know he can learn to be in a healthy relationship without being controlling. I just don’t know how to help him realize it.
Sometimes, readers’ letters set off alarms. Yours triggered four-alarm sirens, foghorns, flashing lights, the Bat Signal, weird flashing lights on my iPhone, and car alarms on my block. I agree with your friends and family so much that I will take this one step further: Break up with this guy. Now.
The relationship you describe is based on an almost total lack of respect for you, your feelings, your career, your desires, and even your most inconsequential preferences. This is not some boyfriend who has a couple of hang-ups. This is a man who is telling you that you don’t matter, that your opinions, small or large, are illegitimate.
You don’t bargain with a guy who says he wants to change who you are. You draw the line. When someone is this controlling, there’s no compromise that will ever be enough: He didn’t like the way you dressed for work, so you started wearing baggier clothes. Then he moved onto your shoes. He was threatened by your coworkers, so you quit your job for him. Now he wants you to work from home or quit working altogether. He’s threatened by your social life, so you stopped seeing your friends and mother so much, which only makes me wonder what’s next? He’s “constantly shooting down ideas or plans” of yours. Worst of all, when you rightfully show him articles about “controlling and abusive relationships,” he tells you that you’re the one who’s wrong.
This won’t stop. Continue down this course with this guy and you may end up isolated from your friends and family, perhaps while wearing a head-to-toe Snuggie. If so, he’ll be upset that you talked to someone else at the Snuggie store.
Think hard about why you love this man. In abusive, controlling relationships, people often mistake obsession for love: When someone focuses that intense, paranoid, jealous energy on you, the sheer amount of focus can feel flattering. He notices; he pays attention; he’s watching everything you do, “every step you take…” But his relationship with you is utterly inward. He sees you primarily as a reflection of himself. He doesn’t even try to empathize with you. He doesn’t stop to imagine how this all might make you feel, because he is so convinced of his own righteousness. So, when he’s criticized, he tells you that you’re wrong: He’s doing all of this for you. But he’s not. This is all for him.
Please, get out of this relationship. Don’t fool yourself into thinking he’s suddenly going to become a fundamentally different person. Instead, find someone who accepts you and respects you, exactly as you are.
My man is frustrated sexually because I don’t like giving him head. He’s threatened to leave our relationship because I won’t please him in that area. He’s also said if I don’t do it, I can’t get mad if he goes elsewhere to get that one specific need taken care of, so my question is what do I do or where do I go from here? Honestly, when he says all this, I get annoyed, overwhelmed, and in a bad mood. I’m ready to let go but deep inside, I don’t want to. We’ve been together going on six years.
A few basics: Fuck any guy who says he can cheat on you if you don’t do something — anything — sexual. Of course you get “annoyed, overwhelmed, and in a bad mood.” But please let yourself get angry too because he’s being a dick. Tell him to fuck off.
He can tell you that he would love oral sex. He can ask for it repeatedly, even. But he can’t disrespect you like this. Most guys love oral sex, and he should be free to be honest about his dissatisfaction. But no guy is entitled to whatever sexual servicing he wants. Not in any of the 170 billion observable galaxies of the known universe is it even remotely OK for him to tell you that you’re not allowed to get upset if he cheats on you. That’s straight-up manipulative disrespect, no chaser. Don’t take it.
I know you’ve been together for a while, but you need to either push back and set some very hard limits so he knows such talk is unacceptable — or think about why you’re dating a guy who feels like it’s OK to threaten you like this in the first place. The problem isn’t his desire, it’s his disrespect.
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Logan Hill Logan Hill, a veteran of New York, Vulture, and GQ, has spent twenty years covering the arts for outlets including Elle, Esquire, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, This American Life, TimesTalks, Wired, and others.