NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Can't Stop Looking at Your Ex's Social Media Pages? Here Are Some Reasons to Stop

On some level, most people know that continuously reading their ex's Facebook page can be very upsetting, especially if you discover things about your ex--like he has a new girlfriend or, worse still, he got married--that you're not prepared to face.

Can't Stop Looking at Your Ex's Social Media Pages?

Over and over, I hear from psychotherapy clients as well as people in my personal life that they can't stop themselves from looking at their ex's Facebook page, even when they know it's really over.  For many people, it becomes an obsession.  They want to know what's happening in their ex's life and, more importantly, has s/he found someone new?

Although it might be tempting to keep looking at your ex's Facebook page because you feel that you just can't resist, there are some very good reasons to stop:
  • You're going to find it very hard to move on if you keep looking at your ex's Facebook page.
  • It can be a form of emotional self torture to find out that your ex is with someone new. And, anyway, what can you do with this information, aside from making yourself miserable and upset?
  • If you see her looking happy with someone new, it can make you feel awful about yourself, wondering why she wasn't happy with you (even though the pictures you see on the Facebook page might not reflect reality).
  • Like any obsessive habit, the more you do it, the more you want to do it, making it very difficult to stop.
Here are some tips that might help you the next time you feel the urge to look at your ex's Facebook page:
  • De-friend your ex.  As hard as it might be, it will help you not to have such ready access to your ex's Facebook page.
  • Try waiting 20 minutes, when you feel the urge to look, to see if the urge passes.
  • Ask yourself, "What do I hope to accomplish by looking at his Facebook page?"
  • Go out for a walk or distract yourself by doing something else.
  • Talk to a supportive friend who knows how to listen attentively to your feelings.
  • Take a break from social media and go out and do something nurturing for yourself.  
When You Don't Want to Let Go of Your Ex
Continually looking at your ex's Facebook page might mean that you're not ready to move on yet, and you might be harboring wishes, no matter how unrealistic, that the two of you might get back together again.  Be honest with yourself and ask yourself if this is what's going on with you.

Are You Avoiding Feeling the Emotional Pain of the Breakup?
Nobody likes to go through the emotional pain of a breakup.  But if you're holding onto unrealistic fantasies of rekindling your romance with your ex, part of this might be an unconscious wish to avoid feeling the pain.  Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid going through the pain in order to get to the other side so you can move on.

Getting Help in Therapy
Mourning the loss of a relationship is hard, but you can make it harder on yourself by holding onto what you know deep down is really over.  Everyone is different and every situation is different when it comes to mourning this type of loss.

No one can tell you how long it should take.  But if you find that, over time, it's not getting a little easier for you, you might consider consulting with a licensed psychotherapist who can help you get over your obsessive reading of your ex's Facebook page and also help you through the mourning process.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

To find out more about me, visit my web site:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Also see my article:
Stalking Your Ex on Social Media