Wednesday, 10 June 2015

A Year Later, I Can't Stop Instagram-Stalking My Ex

A Year Later, I Can't Stop Instagram-Stalking My Ex

Like many women, I have an embarassing daily ritual: Google/Instagram/Facebook-stalking my ex. In fact, it's to such a degree that I recently discovered a new social media hiccup: Instagram Likes are no longer listed in chronological order. I won't bore you with why I care about the stupid order of Likes. I'm already ashamed enough as is, admitting that, a year later, I'm still following some guy's every digital move.


Here's the Cliff's Notes version: It was a long-distance relationship that lasted almost two years and he ended it abruptly and callously. Turns out, he had a girlfriend the whole time. But that didn't stop him from spouting I love you's, marriage proposals, and visions of our future children to me. (Expect to read more on this guy at a later date.)

A year after ending it, I'm still hardcore social media-stalking. At first, it was about keeping up the connection. Just feeling like he had some sort of presence in my life. Then, it was about uncovering clues about who he was dating. Then, it became a search for closure. Or maybe justice of some sort. It's like I'm trying to read the Instagram tea leaves to figure out why and how he could have hurt me like this.

To be honest, I want to witness the implosion that I know is bound to happen with his girlfriend. What he did to me and what he did to her will all come to a head—eventually. And I want to be able to say, "Ha! I knew it!" and feel less crappy about it not working out with me.

Plus, I find it strangely therapeutic, meditative, even calming in a weird way. I felt (and still feel) powerless and out of control in the situation and this small thing gives me something to do, even though I know it's not healthy or productive.

I felt addicted to him, I loved him, and this feeds that need in his absence. It helps with the withdrawal. I get my fix. But then every time I stumble across a bit of new intel it's like a tiny little blade to the heart. Don't do it! I want to scream to myself. But I'm just not ready to let go. Can't someone invent a patch for this?

I'm going to impose the same measures for myself that I'd suggest to a friend: a deadline. I'm giving it one more month, and then it's time to quit cold turkey, whether that means signing off the site temporarily or making myself do something heinously unappealing every time I peek at his page—like going a month without shopping or abstaining from my afternoon latte. That's one way to shock the system into giving up bad behavior.

Photos: Samantha Hahn

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