“Should I unfollow my ex boyfriend on social media?”

This is a question that I get asked… a lot.

In the last decade, the “to follow or not to follow,” has become post-breakup, modern day Shakespeare, and I totally get it. It’s one of the first things you think of after a breakup because there are some serious pros and some serious cons to doing a drive-by unfollowing of your ex boyfriend or, continuing to be cyber “friends,” despite your heartbreak and agony.

It sucks because it hurts too much to THINK of him, let alone have to see his “I’m-so-happy-I move-on-so-easy-and-you’re-so-forgettable,” Valencia-filtered existence on your Instagram feed. No…but, yes…but, no… but f*ck. You feel like you don’t want to be Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. friends with him because you don’t want that constant, let-me-just-shoot-myself-now reminder, but then its like you also want to “be strong,” and remain friends as a potential slap in the face to him for what he’s missing out on (because you knowww you’re going to post hot pics).

So, there are clear benefits to both. What do you do?

Should you unfollow your ex boyfriend on social media?

Okay, let’s break this down. Besides the opportunity for your ex boyfriend  to see what he lost/what he’s missing out on, what are some of the other reasons we just can’t hit that unfollow button:

  • You’ve have the totally normal response of assuming the head position of the FBI-investigatory-unit, and track stalk the living sh*t out of your ex boyfriend and every little move he makes on social media. You’ve become the living (read: CRAZY, DELUSIONAL but totally justified), version of the ‘Every Breath You Take.”  If there was a video montage of the countless months of my life I’ve spent DEEEEEEP into the stalking, the soundtrack of the montage would be that song. It’s incredibly tough impossible to let go of and unfollow because of two reasons. One, it provides a passive window into the life of your ex boyfriend and it’s also is the.last.little.connection that you have to him and just like a kid that’s overgrown her binky, you don’t want to let go. Two, when you’re creeping, you’re either hoping to find something that hurts or disgusts you so much that you’ll “get over,” your ex boyfriend (you won’t, you’ll just get more sad and miss him more and embarassingly try to get validation from him. This will give you license to take no action in your own life because you’re now even more depressed, down on yourself and insecure), or, you’re hoping to find something, anything that shows that he’s just as miserable as you are and maybe… just maybe… he misses you too?
  • You’re trying to be “mature” and “a good person” and you think that if you unfollow your ex boyfriend, that will just prove to him and all of your mutual friends that you’re weak, not over him and that it hurts too much. You have way too many sh*ts to give and get anxiety over how other people (family, mutual friends of yours, etc.), will perceive you.
  • You didn’t have that bad of a breakup and don’t want to seem like you’re overreacting.

I get it, I’ve been there and there was no way that I could alleviate the pain and anxiety over it all. I obsessed over everything.

Even if you’ve had the most mature and friendly breakup known to man, both people still need time after the breakup to let the dust settle. Unless you are superhuman or you’ve already moved on, there is no way that seeing your ex boyfriend’s posts, likes, and comments on other girls photos is going to do any good. But then again, you tell yourself that it’s worth it because you really want him to see how hot and “happy” you are too.

Your breakup has now been reduced to who can out-fake, out-happy, out-mature and out-do the other and most of the time, your ex isn’t even aware that you’ve saddled him up to play in the competition (because he’s too self involved).

It’s taken me a lot of time and a painful amount of humiliation to finally get to a point where my words match my actions (that’s called having character), and now, if I do go through a breakup, that means that I break-up. I’m don’t get all Tony Soprano about it, but when the relationship ends, that means that access to my personal life in ANY kind of way is indefinitely shut down.

Every time I was in FBI-stalking-mode, it wasn’t the social media or my ex boyfriend that was hurting me, it was me. I was the one that kept reopening my own wound on the daily hourly and gladly filling it with salt and then crying over the inevitable sting.

In my opinion, the best thing you can do after a breakup is to unfollow your ex boyfriend on all social media platforms or at least hide his updates from your feed.

“Should I delete photos of my ex and I on my social media? It’s my history. I don’t want it to just be gone 🙁 “

Personally, I would suggest deleting all photos of your ex boyfriend on your social media. I share (and over-share) a LOT of aspects of myself, my life and my past, but I do keep who I am dating, my family and friends relatively private on social media. Maybe one day I’ll change, but I’ve always been a very private person in that regard. If you’re concerned about “losing” the memories, guess what? It’s 2015 and you can save those photos elsewhere and go look at them in the future when you’ve reached a place of indifference and peace, not every damn time you log on to anything. Also, I personally don’t think it’s respectful to the next guy you date.

Don’t worry about how you’re coming across to your ex boyfriend and to others. Worry about YOU and your own emotional health because if you keep neglecting it and obsessing over the social media movements of someone that is okay with you not being in his life, you are literally cutting at your own self worth and potential. 

 

When to unfollow your ex on social media:

  • If he’s a f*cktard. An emotionally unavailable ex boyfriend that treated you with a consistent lack of respect and love should inhabit no space on your friends list. Period. You wouldn’t continue to follow a friend, a classmate, or a coworker that treated your like crap, would you? Remember, you’re the CEO of YOU. Act like it and know when certain people need to be fired from the company.
  • When your ex boyfriend is using social media to get info on you/hurt you/create drama/create jealousy and/or when you are doing the same. There is nothing worse that feeling like you can’t be yourself. When you feel like you have to censor what you post and you think of your ex boyfriend before posting, liking or commenting on anything, your profiles are no longer YOURS and you rob yourself of the one thing that ATTRACTS people to social media profiles: authenticity. Your ex boyfriend, especially if he’s emotionally unavailable, will twist whatever you put out there and use it to stroke his own ego anyway. Why put the opportunity out there on a silver platter? And if you can’t stop won’t stop with the social media stalking, it’s time to unfollow. I KNOW how hard it is, I KNOW how addicting it is and I am telling you, I have wasted YEARS of my life staking the social media lives of exes (and girls I don’t even know!) instead of living my own life. Many of these guys are married now and all have, I am sure, moved on and so have I. What was the point? It’s hard because with social media, you can essentially assume the identity of someone that’s “classy and strong and moved on (like I did),” but you’re literally checking their sh*t every 10 minutes. And THAT is a sh*tty way to live because you’re not acting in accordance with your being.

Should I unfollow our mutual friends / his friends?

  • If your ex is using them to get info on you or get to under your skin, most definitely.
  • If they’re not really your friends, yes.
  • If it hurts you and causes added and unnecessary drama and pain, yes.
  • If you know they’ll go tell/show your ex what you post, YES. (I KNOW this can be fun, but build your self esteem by not engaging in these stupid games with pathetic people and stop validation seeking. Who cares if your ex boyfriend and his friends that couldn’t see your worth, sh*t stir and share your profile? Don’t engage. Yes, it’s hard but you’ll have so much more self respect and they’ll still have nothing reminiscent of what actually matters in life).

You have to decide if you want to do the hard work and reclaim your power, your self esteem and self respect or, if you want to willingly be the murderer of who you are destined to be. And let me tell you, who you are destined to be is so.much.more than a set of eyes, ears and fingers to type that are dedicated to monitoring the social media life of someone that couldn’t recognize your value because they can’t even recognize their own.

Did I every make my exes jealous when I remained friends with them on social media? Maybe. Was it worth it? Hell no.

I can’t tell you how amazing it is to post whatever the hell you want to without having to think at all. Do the hard work and gain the character and the self esteem by conquering the hardest thing (yes, unfollowing is HARD and it can be traumatic), and stick up for yourself by ACTING in your own best interests.

WHO CARES what other people think? ANYONE that is going to think you’re weak, or that you just want to start drama, or are making a big deal of nothing, etc., by unfollowing, is no one that you need to be close with.

Since when did NOT wanting a daily stab in the heart and doing what’s best for you mean that you’re weak?!?

You’re not in the relationsh*t anymore. You do what’s right for you. Be kind and let your actions speak.

If your ex boyfriend really misses you, wants to see you, know what you’re up to, and gain any kind of access to you, translate through your actions (by unfollowing!) that he’ll have to do a hell of a lot more that turn on his cell phone and log on.

You are worth so much more than this stupid crap.

Every time that you miss your ex boyfriend and you want to see what he’s up to, come here where you are safe, empowered and in such badass company. You’re part of a tribe 🙂

I’m going down to San Diego (my hometown) today for Thanksgiving! I’ll have 2 new posts up for you guys to read over the weekend.

So thankful for each and every one of you.

x Natasha

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22 comments

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Because of this article, I just (finally) unfollowed him and that’s it, no going back again. It’s scary but I know it’s the right thing. This was the push that I needed. My early christmas present to myself <3 I can't thank you enough times Natasha and this Thanksgiving I'm thankful for you. I don't know where I would be without your words and wisdom

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xoxo

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Right on! agree 10000000%

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So great!! I recently had a bad breakup and have still struggled with the lingering ness of what appears on social media. This was amazing. I need to send this to about 15 of my friends!

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Completely agree! It took me a few times to realize I was hurting myself and reopening the wound by stalking. Total cold turkey has been the best way to heal for me in the past. Thank you!!! Going to send this to my friends.

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What if his accounts are public? So far I have had no desire to be on social media because I want to stay busy with other things, but I do want to be back to normal. It would be easier to unfollow him, but his accounts are public and easily searchable. We hold no resentment towards each other and his account is mostly for business purposes anyways. But it is hard to see. I don’t want to block him and seem petty if we do become friends in the future.

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Hi Pricilla!

I totally understand. If it bothers you to see his stuff on your feed, I would unfollow. It’s your feed, your profile, your life. You do what makes YOU feel the best. xoxo

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I would add to this the need to search online dating sites to see if he is on them…. SO painful and so addictive. It’s like a “need” to connect and know yet it offers nothing but pain and insecurity when it’s confirmed that he is “moving on”

Turning to this for support instead of going into detective/search mode.

One day at a time….

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Hi Robin,

Yes, that’s a good one; you’re right. I totally understand. Proud of you for coming back here. Detective/search mode isn’t a good look 🙂 And don’t feel like you have to even take it one DAY at a time. Time it hour by hour. Be easy on yourself. You’re not alone xoxo

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What about snapchat? I have unfollowed him but he can see my story.

I kind of want him to see how well I’m doing / I keep checking if he’s viewed it. Thanks so much xxx

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Hi Jackie! I would need more details; this is why I can’t give advice on the comments. If it’s not hurting/costing you, I don’t see the harm in it, but do get rid of everything that hinders you moving on. You deserve the best! xx

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YESSSSSS Natasha! Thank you for such a powerful post! I was in a one-year relationsh*t with a disrespectful EU f*cktard. I had actually tried to end the relationship first at 8 months, but he (of course) swooped in with all the sweet nothings in order to keep control. When it did finally end 4 months later (on his terms), I didn’t resist – I first listened to his nonsense, then proceeded to pack up all the things I had around his apartment… and rode off on my white horse into the horizon of no contact.

Only… I didn’t go COMPLETELY NC. I let him continue to exist on all of my social media accounts. For the first 3 weeks, as I cycled through all of the NORMAL post breakup emotions of sadness, anger, pity, anxiety, disgust, etc., neither one of us posted on social media. It was an eerie silence, with neither person showing any sign of what they were up to. Now this didn’t mean that I wasn’t stalking the living crap out of him… I WAS. All day. Every day. Incessantly. I was looking for any sign of him being miserable or having moved on, who his next victim would be – something, anything. And oddly enough, the social media posting silence started to feel like a game, a competition, a battle… kinda like our relations*t.

I broke that silence after 3 weeks by posting a photo of myself with my family on a boat that was drifting along a harbor. We were drinking champagne and life looked easy and breezy and carefree. My ex knew that I was going to be visiting the fam for a celebration on this particular weekend – he had, after all, been invited to join us prior to our demise. IMMEDIATELY after I posted, he posted a photo of himself en route to London – a work trip that I also knew about. A day after that, he liked my family photo. And when I saw that, my blood froze.

His like on my photo sent me into a tailspin. He officially ended it, he disengaged in such a cold and emotionless fashion, and now he’s giving me a thumbs up?! I thought this was what I wanted (validation-seeking), but all I could think was…. HOW DARE HE. Knowing what I know about these b*stards, I knew he wasn’t happy for me, or missing me, or gently communicating, “no hard feelings… it wasn’t you, it was ME.” His like smelled of malicious intent. Of game-playing. Of mind-f*ckery. He WANTED me to overthink it. He WANTED me to torment over its meaning. He WANTED me to continue to crave for his attention and approval. He WANTED me to twist and squirm and stay caught and bleeding in his evil little trap. And it was working. I thought by him liking my photo, and by my ignoring his, I was “winning” this social media/post breakup game…. but I was back to feeling anger/rage/disgust/anxiety, back to dissecting and chewing over his intentions, and I was left even more drained and in a tailspin. And I was left feeling censored – I would now have to be choosy and selective of my posts (or not post at all) so he wouldn’t think it’s about him.

This was maddening. And sad. And pathetic. And weak. I didn’t want to remove him from social media because I didn’t want him to know how badly he was still under skin. And yet, there I was, stalking, playing into post breakup hovering mind games, censoring myself, and continuing to linger in his darkness and sickness. WHY was I doing this to myself?

And so I gave myself the best and greatest gift of all: freedom. 1 month after the breakup, and a few days after his ill-intended like, I unfriended and blocked the sh*t out of him. I cut off the damn supply – no more oxygen for him, no more poison for me. It was liberating! Freeing! It literally felt like I had exorcised a demon. My mental health and disposition instantly improved and, for the first time all month, I finally tasted sweet indifference.

And let me tell you – he didn’t like it. He IMMEDIATELY reacted by blocking me back (a favor to me since his account is public). I had feared that blocking him would show me to be weak and affected, but in reality he was weakened and affected by my decision… it proved to be a brilliant blow to his ego.

Game over.

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YAAAA 🙂 You go girl. Thank you so much for the love, sisterhood, support and for sharing. xxxx

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You’re incredible. And an inspiration. Don’t forget it <3

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Holy smokes Emma I know I am late to the game on this but you freaken rock! I love that post so much and you totally just validated and empowered me so much!
Natasha- I don’t even know what to say. You are my lifeline right now- what a beautiful blessing you are ❤️😍

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Right back at you Kara 🙂 Thank you for being a part of this tribe. I’m so happy to help! xx

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Honestly this blog is saving my life right now. Two years with a EUM who I work with and he finishes everything a month before I was supposed to meet his mum for the first time. Totally out of the blue, the typical “I’m unsure about my future, I need to be alone, I’m not ready for a relationship” despite the fact he practically lived with me (at my house) and met my whole family. Cuts me out, acts like nothing happened, and flaunts his life on social media like now he’s free from some oppressed regime despite still following my every move on instagram. Managed to block him on this, now trying to pluck up the courage to do it on Facebook…then I will tackle getting back to normality at work where I have to see his unsympathetic face everyday! Thank you soooooo much for this blog. It’s my new bible.

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Hi Jix!

I’m so happy and honored to help 🙂 Thank you for your love, support, and for being a part of this tribe. You are not alone in this (or ever!). xxxx

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Hi Natasha and tribe,

I’m ashamed to say that I am still struggling 16! months post break up and still heartbroken. We were only together 10 months but this relationship has screwed me up like no other. I’m still friends with him on Facebook and have his number in my phone and cyber stalk him like a crazy woman. Checking if hes ‘online’ wondering who he is talking to. He threw me some ‘crumbs’ about a month ago which I eagerly responded to and got my pathetic little hopes up ( even though I convinced myself I hadnt). I know that the relationship is over. I think I know I need to erase him completely (ie delete from everywhere) but I still can’t seem to make that final move…like it would be a mistake? I still work with him but I don’t see him all that often (apart from when he seeks me out!).
PLEASE can someone give me advice? I don’t feel I can talk to friends about it any more as they feel I should be over it now (which I know I should!)
Much love to all and Natasha thankyou for your posts which help immensely xxx

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Hi Lara!

I wish I had the time to write out everything that I want to but first of all – What you are feeling is completely normal. I have struggled getting over relationships for longer than the relationship lasted. It’s okay <3

I would definitely de-friend and flush so that you can move on. It will show him that you've got standards and those standards don't include room for anyone who has ever dishonored you or made you feel as though you are hard to love. You are incredible. Wish I had the time to write more and hope this helps.

Thank you for being a part of this tribe 🙂 All my love to you sister. xx

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Hi Lara,

I know this is a bit belated as you posted last year but I am now 12 months round from my break up. I am not on Facebook but have viewed my exes profile through friends like a crazy woman. I still have all his WhatsApp messages on my phone including the ones post breakup. I convince myself that I keep them there to remind me of how badly he treated me but if i’m honest they are the last link I have to him. I am ashamed to say that i’ve also looked on there to see when he’s online in a desperate, hopeless bid to see if he might be typing a message to me! How sad is that?!. He is with another girl now (a coworker) who is 20 years younger than him and me. I bumped into both of them a month ago and I felt physically sick but somehow managed not to react. I had my suspicions about her when he and I were living together and am pretty sure now that they were having an affair behind my back before he broke up with me. He has treated me badly and with no respect but has followed the same pattern in previous relationships however like a fool I thought I was different and that he’d changed. I found out recently that his goddaughter told him at Christmas that he’s a disgrace for dating someone half his age and who is only a few years older than her. That did make me feel a bit better but also made me feel angry that i’d not fronted him out when we were together and when I had suspected something was going on.

My reason for this message is that I completely understand how you feel..I, like you, try to not discuss this with my friends anymore as some of them feel I should move on and forget him. Easier said than done however I am getting to the stage now where I think that deleting his messages will be the best and right thing to do. I’ve still not pressed that ‘delete all’ button but am very close. I agree with Natasha in that if an ex really wants to make contact (ultimately to stroke his own ego or for his own selfish gain) then it shouldn’t be as easy as turning on his phone and clicking on Social Media. Natasha is also spot on when she says that we think by seeing photos/evidence of our exes happy with someone else it will help us get over them.. it doesn’t..it just hurts even more.

Don’t beat yourself up by thinking you should be over him, it’s different for everyone and you have to be ready in your own mind to move on. Don’t think you’re on your own either because there are others including me who are the same. I do now however want to feel free from the shackles of my ex. I live in the same town as him so sadly am likely to see him and her around at times but when I do, I want to hold my head up high and feel glad i’m free from his lies and bulls**t. She is welcome to him and his lies because he will do the same to her over time. He is not worth wasting anymore of my life on and by the sounds of it neither is your ex. I hope you find the courage to remove your ex from your social media and your life. You, we, all deserve much more.

Someone once told me that it you continue looking at the door that’s closed behind you, you won’t notice the one that’s opened up in front of you. ♥️X

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I love seeing this love, connection, and support <3 Thank you Helen. Love to you both. We are never alone. XX

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