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Am I wrong for stalking my ex’s social media?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DePaul chapter.

We broke up over five years ago, and I’m STILL looking at my ex’s social media. You know that Girl in Red song, “We Fell In Love In October”? For me, it was we fell OUT of love in October. There’s a sense of us being together in my mind when I look at her page, and that’s a feeling I’m forever going to crave.

It’s October 2019 and I surprised her at work. We haven’t seen each other in two weeks and I thought this would REALLY sweep her off her feet. I was wrong.

We went back to her place, hung out with her roommates and I walked out when she left our conversation right in the middle of it. When she realized I was gone, she chased down the stairs after me and told me that we should break up and that it wasn’t working out.

I haven’t seen her since in person at least. But the internet held my hand with constant healing from heartbreak videos, endless yearning Pinterest boards and her public profile on Instagram. 

Breakups are emotional and super difficult but they’re also the canon events to a much-needed personal change. Professor Christopher Carpenter of Western Illinois University showed in his studies “stalking your ex on social media is associated with having trouble moving on and getting over the breakup” in an interview with Newsweek

I stalked her Instagram for YEARS.

Moving across the country was one of the best things to happen to me, yet I found myself looking at her profile in the recent parts of my search. The dopamine that I felt when I saw she posted a new story or that her new post was liked by some of the friends we shared. But I knew the dangers that were on their way.

When I was getting ready for my move back to the city we were in love, out of love, broken up,, etc. I felt like I was at a loss because I knew that we would never see the skyline the same or return to any of our restaurants. This was the start of my self-revolution that I am forever grateful for.

I went to those restaurants by myself. I ordered what we used to share. I scrolled through her Instagram while I indulged by myself. I would end up walking home with tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face. I was home, my body was finally home. 

It felt right to let her go by doing those small things. I saw changes in my confidence and finally other users taking the top spot in my recent searches, I felt at home in my body and in the same old city, but this time was different. It just felt right. 

I haven’t seen her in person in almost five years and, I still look at her Instagram. I look to see if she was where we once were but I don’t feel the longing and yearning quite like before. This is what letting go looks like to me. And this is what being healthy feels like. 

JP (they/them/theirs) is a graduate student at DePaul who enjoys reading books, playing guitar, and telling bad jokes. When they're not behind a book or getting a tan from their computer screen, catch them planning their next tattoo. Check their 'gram: @hanson.jp