Breaking up is hard to do, especially when there are numerous public profiles where we can check in on everything our ex does. Looking at how the person you dated is filling all their days without you is a bad idea, but often impossible to resist.
Fortunately, there’s a way to surreptitiously keep tabs on them without bumming yourself out in the process. Here’s how.
Writer Dana Hamilton over at The Cut was going through a break up, when Instagram, with its siren song, became a bit of a problem for her recovery process.
Hamilton found herself checking in to see what her former boyfriend was doing, and it was setting her back emotionally. So, she passed her phone to a friend — and soon found herself laughing instead of crying.
“The last eight weeks are all pictures of him in the woods,” she told me. “That’s an alarming amount of time, Dana. He’s also writing poetry now. So I guess what I’m trying to say is I think you accidentally dated Bon Iver.”
Having a friend look at your ex’s social media feeds and describe them to you with as much sarcastic commentary as they can muster is a great reality check. You’re not imagining their life as bigger and better, but you’re also not actually seeing them and staring at their face with longing.
You’re getting the truth from someone who has no lingering feelings for the person. Hamilton checked in with a therapist to see if she was onto something:
“Having a friend play social-media intermediary works because it gives you a little distance from what’s going on with your ex — without leaving you wondering what they’re up to and imagining it’s wonderful,” explains Jill Whitney, a marriage and family therapist based in Old Lyme, Connecticut. “You get the broad overview without bogging down in details … The key is creating some online distance between you and your ex, just as there’s space between you now IRL.”
Ask your friend to be a buffer between you and your need to know. Another thought I had while reading this story is that if I had to ask a friend every time I wanted to look at an ex’s Instagram, it might hold me back a little. There’s nothing like someone yelling, “Again?!” to make you take a long hard look at your obsessive behaviour.
You can and should read the full story here.
Aimée Lutkin is a freelance writer who blogs a lot about dating. She is currently travelling the country and going on a date in every city she visits.