Relationships die, but feelings linger. At least initially. Breakups would obviously be a lot easier if they didn't. But until you master the art of not caring, you'll wonder what your ex is up to. Nowadays, because of social media, it's easier than ever to turn that wonder into action, release your inner Sherlock Holmes, and compulsively check his or her latest Facebook status update, Instragram story, or tweet. Once you sneak some peeks and feel the rush of adrenaline that accompanies the snooping, it can be hard to stop.
But with a little help you can end this unhealthy habit. With some self-control, mindfulness, and a liberal use of the unfriend and block buttons, you'll not only regain your dignity but also some peace of mind. We spoke with relationship experts, dating coaches, and therapists about how to keep your eyes off your ex's social media. Here's what they recommend. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Total Detox? There's an App for That
If you're unable to resist the urge to check your ex's social media and you want to take a drastic measure, a social media detox may be in order. There are apps and browser extensions that will help you limit your ability to go on certain websites and apps by time of day and even your location. I love the app AppDetox for this. If you know you are more likely to do this late at night or while you're at work, you can get ahead of it and not allow yourself access. If the detox is not enough and you keep breaking it (the app will tell you how many times you've tried), delete and block your ex's profiles for good. —Ravid Yosef , Relationship Expert
Recruit an Accountability Buddy
If you can’t pull the plug and unplug on your own, get together with a friend who will make you accountable. Soon you can start healing and be open to meeting someone so amazing, you’ll forget your ex’s digits. —Julie Spira, Online Dating Expert and Dating Coach
Replace Bad Behavior with Good
If you want your ex back or you wish they were still in your life, you're actually pushing them away every single time you look. Once you stop checking their social media, within days you'll finally start to become free and feel alive again. Replace the bad behavior with a new good one. Focus on your health, friends, or moving your life forward. Focus on your interests and passions. Don't worry about jumping into the next thing and trying to replace the person. You can't. What you can do is refocus on your life. —John Keegan, Dating coach and expert
Awareness is the first step in stopping behavior which is not healthy for you. Be realistic and remember why the relationship didn’t work out. Trying to get information from stalking your ex's social media will only bring you back down the “rabbit hole” without gaining any actual information, as you’re only seeing a sliver of their life. Return to your best intentions and focus on healing by addressing your feelings and your loss by moving forward and reinvesting in your new reality. Breakups can be rough, so when feeling the urge to check their social media updates, distract yourself with other interests. Connect with friends, marathon a series, or workout. Go back to doing something that you gave up when in the relationship or make a list of everything that irked you about your ex. If you continue to ruminate and can’t cut back on the number of times you check every day, consider getting professional help with a licensed psychotherapist.
Decide what is best for you regarding unfriending, unfollowing, or deleting your ex. Remember, friends will offer a lot of advice but at the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you to heal and recover from the breakup. Create the boundaries that are best for you. —Sarah Mandel , R.N., L.C.S.W., Psychotherapist and Relationship Expert
One Day at a Time
Commit to just one day of not checking. Then another day, then three days, and so on until you feel less need to, which you will. Taking it one day at a time is easier than vowing to never check again. Do something else that enhances your healing instead. Go for a walk, listen to your favorite song, read, just sit still and breathe, call a friend––anything that comforts you. Try to be aware of the times you feel more triggered, vulnerable, or when you're more likely to jump on your ex's social media and have something more positive ready to put in its place. Stay dignified, put healthy habits in place of the social media checking, stay strong, and put yourself back at the center stage of your life where you belong! —Laura Yates, Breakup and Heartbreak Coach and Writer
I highly recommend unfollowing or unfriending your ex's friends and family. Knowing what your ex's people are doing is a gateway to seeking more information. It would also be helpful to delete reminders of birthdays, anniversaries, and future plans on your cellphone calendar. All reminders will only emphasize what you are no longer privy to know. —Lisa Brateman, Psychotherapist and Relationship Specialist
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