Science says we should probably stop following our exes on social media

It can be really hard to cut ties post-breakup — no matter how long you were with a person, you shared a part of your life with them and probably got pretty vulnerable and intimate. It’s likely that you thought your relationship would last longer than it did, and even if the breakup was mutual, it still always hurts. During your time together, it’s also likely that you followed each other on every social media platform known to humankind: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are the biggies, but you’re also likely linked up on Venmo, LinkedIn, and all the other various ways you can receive notifications of how a person is doing and who they got tacos with (and when!).


At first, it can feel like you don’t want to delete your ex from social accounts — even if they hurt you deeply, it can feel like you’re taking the high road by not showing your pain, or you might just want access to their every post and photo. But then, it starts to hurt. Every time their name and avatar pops up, you feel a little twinge and almost hesitate before looking — are you going to feel jealous at what you see? Is it going to be better than what you’re currently doing, are they winning somehow? Is their tweet funnier, should you workshop something in your drafts? You’re then forced to ask yourself — is this healthy? 


Turns out, that question has some merit — because science says it’s not. This article from Psychology Today sites a long list of reasons why it’s a bad idea to continue following your exes, possibly the scariest of which is the potential for stalking behavior. It may also impede current relationships, make you feel lonelier, or help you feel as though you’re keeping them on the back burner — which truly isn’t fair to either of you. This study of 464 participants also showed that continuing to be friends on Facebook showed greater signs of distress after a breakup, lower personal growth, and more negative feelings, among other things. People who chose to disconnect reported a lower instance of those feelings, and healed from the breakup quicker and with more feelings of closure. Also — while it’s not technically social media, deleting your exes number can also be incredibly helpful, FYI.


Personally, I’ve found that the best way to get over someone (and, depending on the situation, the hurt they’ve caused you) is to remove them from your life in every way possible. While you may share mutual friends and still live in the same area, taking them off your social media and asking friends to not mention them to you is a great start. It’s a good way to begin the healing process and get your mind off the past while focusing on the future, and what’s most important, yourself.