I love you Xemmy you have no idea! I know you’ll probably never see this email but I’m sending it anyway because any response from you would help me along the way. The problem will still affect my life by the time you ever see this so here it goes….me and my boyfriend have been broken up since May. He said he couldn’t deal with me knowing so many people here in Connecticut and always going back and forward with new people on Facebook. It bothered him that I would talk to “strangers” as he would call them or sometimes hangout with friends of friends that he didn’t know. My ex is a police officer that I also met on Facebook last summer of 2013 Xem, so it’s pretty crazy to me that he would constantly chastise me for having casual conversations with other people on Facebook as well. That’s exactly how he and I met. I always made sure he knew that I wasn’t flirting with other guys or having inappropriate conversations. I would even let him read my conversations but he would decline the offer. He just kept telling me that it got on his nerves but he never said he wanted me to stop or anything. My ex boyfriend is 32 and the type of guy or WAS the type of guy that would go to work, come home, eat food and just lay around. So even if I was at his place when he arrived home that’s what he would do. I would get bored slightly even though I loved being around him and that is when I would check my Facebook page just like anyone else. I just turned 24 and I enjoy doing things outside of the house and I think that’s nirmal. There isn’t a lot that goes on here Xem so to be able to reach out and meet people in other surrounding areas sort of opened opportunities for me to branch out socially NOT for hooking up. So when my ex would complain about it I would ask him if we could go out together or do something instead. His response would be that he was tired and needed to rest up for work. So okay! I wouldn’t complain about it. I just stayed on the computer or my phone. The thing is NOW that we are broken up my ex boyfriend is all over Facebook and has even opened an Instagram page. I found out about the Instagram page because his pictures are uploaded on his Facebook wall. And it’s like now he is a completely different person. He posts pictures of himself working out, I see him checking in at the movies on Facebook and doing stuff like going camping with these people he never introduced me to so they have to be new. It’s like now that we aren’t together he all of a sudden likes to have fun and update his pages practically everyday. He gets all of these likes on his Instagram pictures from random people but especially from this one guy who leaves the same winking emoji under EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. And the guy is someone I met on Facebook like 8 months ago that knows I was in a relationship with my ex at that time. I want to beat his ass Xem! I created a Instagram page but never post pictures on there. I do follow my ex on there but he can’t see my face or anything. I don’t even care about Facebook or being online like that anymore. I try so hard to stop myself from reading his Facebook since he never deleted me from his page. Even when I don’t go to his page specific his check ins and status messages pop up on my timeline. My stomach drops everytime I see pictures of him in new clothes or out with new people, but I’ll still look at his Instagram almost everyday. I get really pissed reading all of his flirty comments and sometimes I just want to say something but I don’t. He hasn’t replied to any of my text messages or phone calls since we broke up so its almost like going to his Facebook and Instagram is my only real connection to him. How do I stop myself from looking at his updates? It’s like even though I know its going to hurt me or upset me I look anyway. Does that seem crazy to you Xem?
There is absolutely nothing “crazy” about having an unyielding desire to read your ex boyfriend’s social media updates or wanting to see his newly uploaded photos. However, it is unhealthy for you to actually give in to those desires by actively visiting his Facebook wall or Instagram page on a daily basis. The two of you split up only four months ago. As a result, both of you still exist in the beginning stages of your healing process. By continuously texting and calling your ex boyfriend, you are seeking answers and explanations that weren’t made clear to you during the breakup. His approach to healing is to engulf himself in the online activities that seemed to steal your attention away from him during the time the two of you were together. Both of you are responding in normal, human fashion.
You are visiting his social media pages regularly for the exact reason that you stated: his Facebook and Instagram updates are your only present connection to him and his life over the past few months. Your longing to see him, to hear from him or to know how he is living is temporarily fulfilled when you read a new online post or see one of his recent pics. However, the fact that you know you no longer play a role in these changes and activities explains why that gut-punch feeling hits your stomach the moment you see that he’s doing just fine on the surface. As selfish as it may seem, it’s extremely painful to witness our exes living well.
Just keep in mind that people don’t post the photos of the moments they spend crying, sad or hidden beneath their blankets at home. Your ex may not be as carefree and joyful as it seems. In turn, you have lost your desire to post online regularly because it was that one habit that caused you to lose the man you obviously love.
Meanwhile, I do advise that you take the step of temporarily deleting the Facebook and Instagram apps from your phone. Sometimes, we check our social media pages by habit, and not necessarily because we want to know what our friends are doing every hour on the hour. Deleting the apps from your phone will at least aid in your ability to not visit your ex boyfriends Facebook or Instagram pages when you’re out and about. If you find that deleting the apps isn’t slowing down the rates at which you check his social media pages, it then becomes necessary to delete him from your Facebook page altogether. When we sign-in to Facebook, the individuals whose pages we visit the most will always appear at the top of our timelines. To avoid having his updates shoved in your face, it’s probably best that you remove him from your friends list. Once you do remove him, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll then request his friendship anytime soon. Also, because you don’t utilize Instagram for your own enjoyment, please get rid of the page you created to basically keep tabs on your ex boyfriends life. You are not emotionally ready to handle the level of newfound attention that he is receiving in the form of photo “likes” and flirtatious commentary.
Your ex boyfriend is thirty-two years old and you are now just turning twenty-four. He approached your relationship from the standpoint of someone who has obviously existed in numerous, romantic situations. An experienced man isn’t going to directly tell his partner to stop engaging in certain activities or to cease interaction with specific people. You stated that he, “never told you to stop communicating with random guys on Facebook”. Instead, he repeatedly expressed to you that it bothered him and made him feel uncomfortable that you communicated with strangers online and then spent time with individuals he had never met. It was his expectation that you would respond to his discomfort by changing your habits. Your compromise was to continue the internet behavior, with a side offer for your ex boyfriend to read your online conversations. For the sake of saving your relationship, you could have minimized your online interactions to simply communicating with people who your ex was already familiar with. Since you say the two of you met on Facebook, it is already ingrained in your ex boyfriends mind that you utilize social media as a platform to meet guys beyond the boundaries of establishing strict friendship. Men who exist in their thirties have usually endured so many relationship challenges, that they aren’t going to battle with their partners about issues that have repeatedly been addressed. If the problem persists, they will simply remove themselves from the situation without a great deal of explanation. His complaints, as he sees it, were explanation enough.
Now, it seems that your ex boyfriend is utilizing social media in ways that he didn’t take advantage of when the two of you were together romantically. He is updating his Facebook wall regularly and posting daily photos on a new Instagram page. This is common behavior of the partner who was constantly complaining about a specific issue or individual while existing in the confines of the relationship. When someone breaks off a relationship because their partner would not stop engaging in a certain activity or hanging around a particular person, that someone often becomes intrigued by those specific elements. They will place themselves in situations in an attempt to experience everything that seemed to be of overpowering interest to you. This is a part of their healing process; hence your ex boyfriend’s increased level of social media activity.
Because social media consumed a great deal of your time and acted as a distraction to the relationship, your ex is simply trying to figure out why Facebook was so special or even now, how Instagram could present the same or similar power. He may have also kept you as a Facebook friend to vindictively throw his “good times” in your face – in an effort to make you experience the same hurt or frustration he endured while the two of you were together.
Either way, his behavior right now is very temporary, but certainly a normal reaction for someone who didn’t understand why their partner was so consumed by a specific activity.
While we often convince ourselves that we can’t stop checking our ex’s social media pages, we very much have control over breaking the habit. Sometimes, it becomes necessary that we consciously remind ourselves of the pain that beats against our stomach the moment we lay eyes on their new photos. Other times, it’s necessary that we unfriend or block that individual from our page in an effort to force ourselves to not look at a post or pic that will negatively affect the remainder of our day. A large part of letting go of someone we love is having the strength to cease all means of communication. Since social media plays such a huge role in modern day interactions, removing someone as a friend on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram often gives us the space and time necessary to truly heal and move on with our personal lives. Only you have the power to take that initial step forward.