The real reason you shouldn’t follow your ex on social media

When you are fresh off of a breakup, certain habits are sometimes hard to break. You’re getting used to no longer being a prominent part of your ex’s life, and a consistent feature on his social media. Naturally, you can’t help but wonder when this transition happened, and why it still hurts. Whether the breakup was sudden or a mutual decision, being tempted to follow your ex on social media is normal. 

But that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. 

A study published by The University of Western Ontario found that 88 percent of Facebook users keep up with their ex’s posts. The study also explained that people who are still friends with their ex on Facebook are more likely to experience heartache and distress versus people who cut off all ties on social media. It’s completely possible that your relationship ended on good terms, and you’re checking your ex’s social media to see how they are doing. However, turning on your notifications so you can have immediate access to their feed may make the road to healing a lot longer.

You’ll constantly compare your reality to your ex’s highlight reel

Dr. Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist, explained the negative effects of constantly checking in on your ex. “The frequent reminders of the person, the tracking of their lives, keeps us from mourning the loss of the relationship…” he explained. “The result is an influence on emotions that is not fully grounded in reality. Time, distance and moving forward in new relationships can serve as a buffer, but it is very difficult to maintain a good sense of balance if contact with an ex is only through following them on social media.”

Conduct an emotional check-in with yourself: Do you spend time re-reading their captions in the hopes that they’ll want to get back together? Does your mood drop after seeing posts that hint that they may be moving on?

Use your answers to gauge whether or not following your ex on social media is delaying the healing process. It’s okay to be curious. If you’re devoting a lot of time to a social media deep dive, you need to do what’s best for your mental health.

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