There are so many rules when it comes to dating. If meeting new people wasn’t complicated enough in itself, there’s also a whole set of rules, etiquette, and considerations when it comes to exes. Pre-social media, it was easy enough to avoid an ex — you could just stop calling them and switch up your hangout spot for a while. Now they are literally e v e r y w h e r e. So what’s the right thing to do: block their ass, or “be cool” and stay friends? The short answer: it depends. The long answer: the rest of this article. Instead of giving you a one-size-fits-all rulebook on how you should manage your relationship with your ex, we’re going to give you a few questions to ask yourself to help you make the decision that’s right for you. Disclaimer: this is going to require some deep soul-searching and self-awareness.
1. What were the terms of the break-up?
If it was a mutual break-up, there might be a healthy way for you to stay in touch over social media and maybe develop a friendship over time. If it was more one-sided (particularly if it was not your decision), there’s a high chance you’re going to struggle to have a healthy relationship with your ex on socials. It’s very easy to go from “I’m over it and we’re just friends” to “I cannot believe he was hanging out with her so soon after we broke up.” Keep the jealousy at bay and give yourself time to heal so that you don’t turn into a stereotypical stalker ex.
2. How long has it been since the break-up?
You should never linger at a crime scene. Give yourself some space and then come back. It’ll help prevent you from playing the comparison game — we know it’s tempting to keep tabs to see who is “winning” the break-up, but the truth is, NO ONE wins when you play that game. Your ex might immediately jump into another relationship, which might confuse you into thinking you made a mistake. It’s important to remember that the break-up happened for a reason; maybe “winning” for you right now is taking some time for yourself to be the best version of you. If it’s been a while since you ended things, you might find that seeing their social posts is actually no big deal! Which brings us to our next point.
3. How do you feel when they pop up on your socials?
Get real nerdy with this and actually try and document what you feel each time you see one of their posts pop up on your social, or you see that they watched your stories. It’s easy to deny the impact seeing your ex is having on you (because you want to convince yourself that it’s okay and healthy to keep stalking their socials), but it’s much harder to deny documented truths.
4. Are you changing your behavior or what you post on social just hoping an ex will see it and react?
Do not let an ex dictate your life. If you can treat them like any other follower on your profiles, then go ahead and follow them and let them follow you. If you feel the pressure to constantly present a specific, perfect version of your life just to make them jealous or feel like you have the upper hand, then maybe block them for good. And please do us all a favor and avoid posting that deep quote that’s clearly meant for your ex – that passive aggressive B.S. isn’t going to work on anyone, and is so 2005.
5. Are you currently in a relationship? If so, how does following your ex on social media impact your relationship?
Hopefully the answer is that it doesn’t impact your current relationship at all (because if it does, you might not be ready to be in another relationship just yet). Now we are not at all about that toxic, controlling relationship where your partner gets to decide who see you, follow, and interact with in your life. But at the end of the day, exes = drama. If you’re in a committed healthy relationship, it’s worth thinking about what dynamics you want to bring into that mix. If you’ve taken the time to heal and developed a healthy friendship with your ex, then stay true to that friendship and make sure you’re with someone who trusts and supports your decisions. But if you have a messy ex who keeps messaging you inappropriately and stirring the pot, ask yourself if that’s a true friendship and if they really have your best interests at heart.