#mentalhealthmatters: stalking your ex on social media

the #mentalhealthmatters series deals with common and uncommon things that may affect your mental health – including triggers, tips & tricks, and information.

I don’t know about you, but I’m friends with a lot of my exes. That being said, after that initial recovery period post-breakup – I do reach out, and I do want to be friends. Some sources say that’s unhealthy though. Other sources say that might make me psychopath or a narcissist.

Now, given my birth chart and astrology – whether you believe in it or not – I embody a lot of my signs’ traits. The magnetic, obsessive Scorpio; the enthusiasm and playfulness of Gemini; and the need for routine for a Virgo. Needless to say, I keep a mental dossier on everyone I meet – moreso my partners, as for me to actually choose one and stick with them requires some filtering. But what happens when we break up?

First of all, I don’t get dumped. I can list exactly three people who have ever broken up with me. That being said, given that some of my exes are vindictive bastards – there are some that I’d never want to run into ever again. There are some that I would cross a street to avoid. I still want to keep tabs on them.

It never starts off as something malicious. It usually starts with “Hey, Hannah – so you know, [name] has a new girlfriend.”

I get curious. So I do my pre-requisite social media stalking and find out things on my replacement. I’ll check out my ex’s socials if they haven’t blocked me. It goes on to me working backwards to create a timeline in my head: when they started dating, significant milestones, etc. It gets obsessive. It gets unhealthy.

From Elite Daily, “Stalking keeps you in a mental (and sometimes) physical relationship,” said Dr. Fran Walfish. “You end up thinking obsessively about your ex and he or she fills up all of the front and center space in your mind. This unhealthy process does not allow you to let go, grieve, and mourn the loss of the actual relationship.”

I’m the type to compare. Now, I don’t know if it’s because of my unique concoction of mental health issues and past traumas, or just because I’m human and therefore conditioned to do this; but I will compare myself to the new girl. I even do this in current relationships where I will compare myself to the girls they’ve dated before to see if I fall into a ‘type’ or I’m a pattern interrupt.

Experts say stalking does more harm than good. You’re not allowing yourself to heal.

With my fluid self-worth, it’s hard not to compare and pick out the little flaws I see in myself and compare them to other people. I have to remember everyone is different, and Instagram only shows 10% of your life – the 10% that’s perfect, happy and beautifully styled. My friends have suggested muting, blocking or unfollowing these people – the exes I’m not on good terms with, their new girlfriends – but I can’t stop myself.

Self-care begins with being kind to yourself, and what I’m doing is not kind.

Do you stalk your exes on social media? Why? Let me know in the comments below.

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