Have you spent a lot of time since your break-up checking up on them via social media, wondering what they are doing and who they are doing it with?
You probably know that it’s not a healthy thing to do, but you wonder when it’s the best time to unfollow. You don’t want to be seen as having a breakup tantrum and unfollowing to make a point, but if you hang on too long, it can be unhealthy and even obsessive.
Fortunately, there are signs that you can look for that indicate that the time has arrived for you to let go and move on.
5 signs it’s the right time to unfollow your ex on social media.
1. It is interfering with your life.
Are you finding that you make choices about your day because of stalking your ex on social media?
Do you get invited to the movies but decline because you don’t want to risk not being there if they reach out to you? Do you keep your phone at hand at all times so that you can check every alert that buzzes in? Do you stay up too late, scanning social media, desperate for just a whiff of what they are up to?
If you answered yes to any of the above, or something similar, then following your ex on social media is having an unhealthy influence on your life, one that could profoundly affect your present and your future.
As I was writing this article, I decided to check on an ex (from 5 years ago) and see what he was up to. And doing so has brought me into a downward spiral. We had some unfinished business that I have pretty much learned to accept but seeing him living his life made me mad. And it has pretty much destroyed my beautiful summer day.
So, if you are noticing that your time on social media is starting to affect the quality of your life, it is time to stop following your ex.
2. It’s keeping you from moving on.
I have a client who broke up with her boyfriend of 8 years. She didn’t want to but she knew that the relationship was going nowhere, no matter how hard she tried. They broke up, she moved out and she was ready to get on with her life.
Unfortunately, she could not resist the temptation to continue to follow him on social media. And what she saw was BAD.
Within a few weeks, he started dating a friend of his sister’s. This friend was very active on social media so there were pictures of them everywhere. Then she learned that he was moving to Texas and then she learned that they were pregnant.
And, with each piece of news, she was devastated.
My client was trying to move on. She was dating and being active and traveling but she wasn’t getting anywhere. Her obsession with her ex was interfering with her ability to let him go and move on and live a good life. She was so busy watching his life change that she forgot to change her own.
Are your interactions with your ex preventing you from moving on? Are you dating but only half-heartedly? Does every time you see something about them on social media send you into a tailspin?
Back in the day, before social media, when a relationship was over it was over. You could physically stalk your person but that was dangerous so, with time and space, we got over our ex and moved on. Things just aren’t that way anymore.
So, pay attention to whether or not stalking your ex on social media is keeping you from moving forward. If it is, it’s time to unfollow them.
3. It’s affecting your mental health.
Breakups are horrible. Social media gives us FOMO. The combination of the two things can lead to only one thing – depression.
I am 57 years old and, whenever I go on Instagram, I feel depressed, for a variety of reasons. As a result, I have gone off Instagram. I know that if I was on Instagram and saw everything that my ex was doing I would be consumed with questioning myself. Questioning how he ever could have cared for me if he moved on so quickly. I would feel less than and wonder if I would ever love or feel loved again.
I know that these feelings would lead to feelings of hopelessness that are the hallmark of depression. And, for me, once I am depressed, I have a very hard time getting out of it.
So, how about you? Are you questioning who you are in the world? Are you feeling unlovable? Are you being consumed with FOMO? Do you believe that no one will ever love you again? Are you starting to isolate or is your work being affected?
If you answered any of these questions with a YES, then you might likely be depressed and it might be time to get help. At the very least, if you are feeling depressed, it’s definitely at sign that it is time to unfollow your ex on social media.
4. You find it’s a habit instead of a need.
So, this is a tricky one.
When we break up with someone, stalking them on social media is not unusual.
We are on our phones all day anyway so why not just see what they are up to. So, we do it. Regularly.
As time goes on, however, sometimes the compunction to check to see what your ex is up to on social media becomes more of a habit than a need. And it’s a habit that you might not have noticed or a habit that might be hard to break.
Many people have a social media routine. They pick their phone up before they get out of bed and check Instagram and TikTok. They check again at breakfast, on the commute to work, etc. And most people have a sequence they use to check things. And checking on their ex is one of those things that they check.
So, ask yourself. Do you really want to still be checking on your ex or is it just part of your social media habit? Do you maybe not really care what they have going on but you just do it, like you check your horoscope and the weather every morning?
If the answer to the above question is yes, then checking up on your ex on social media is a habit, not a need.
And, the easiest way to break that habit is by unfollowing them on social media!
Do it now! Break the habit! Look at some cute puppy videos instead!
5. You have too much stuff to do.
This is the goal after a breakup. That we start living our lives fully, traveling, working, spending time with friends and family, and maybe even dating again. And, as our lives get fuller and fuller, there is no space left in them to waste even one moment on our ex.
I hope by now you have gotten to that place, where you are fully living your life, not being held back by the past. Even if you don’t feel like you are fully reaching your potential you know that you are trying hard every day.
I know that after my break ups, the best way that I could move on was by living – traveling, building my business, hanging out with my kids, and putting myself out there to meet new people. And while I was still on social media, I knew that the time that I spent looking at my ex was time wasted, time that I could spend building the life that I wanted.
As you can see, there are many signs that it is time to finally unfollow your ex on social media.
As a life coach, unfollowing your ex on social media is something that I recommend doing right after a breakup. Going ‘no contact’ is the best way to be able to move forward. Every day that you know nothing about them or their lives you are one day closer to healing.
That being said, I know that doing so is very difficult for some people. And I am guessing that it might have been difficult for you since you are reading this article.
I 100% encourage you to embrace unfollowing your ex on social media RIGHT NOW. Life is too short, there is too much fun to be had and love to find to waste even on more minute on an ex.
After all, your ex is your ex for a reason – the relationship just wasn’t working.
Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.