Should you follow your ex on social media?

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020 11:00 |
Eric Mutunga still checks on his exes on social media. Photo/PD/Jasmine Atieno

Jasmine Atieno @sparkleMine

In this day and age, the biggest connecting point remains to be the social media.

And social media is an entry into a person’s life and a chronicle of sorts. Should you follow your ex on social media?

Well, Timna Kadzo, 32-year-old business woman and mother of one, shares that her relationship with her ex boyfriend ended because he cheated on her with an ex.

As much as they had a child together, it became terribly hard to trust him enough to want to work things out.

And the insecurities led her to stalk both her ex and the woman he cheated on her with for nearly two years. 

“The reason I started stalking the woman is because my ex never posted anything about her. So, I never saw it coming.

But I checked her out and there were so many photos of them together on her timeline.

He was with her all this time while building things with me too. I have to say it was bad for my mental health.

He never claimed our son even once on social media and it bothered me. Well, a lot of things bothered me until I swore to never look again. I think this is the point where it started to feel better.

I blocked both the accounts. The temptation still comes, but I know I don’t need to know because so much time has passed and I need to heal and be okay just as much as he is ok and unbothered about my life.

Definitely, it is not healthy to follow an ex on social media. It’s tormenting and the sooner you are able to close that door, the better it is for you,” shares Timna.

For 26-year-old security officer Eric Mutunga, not even his marriage has caused him to block or un-follow any of his three ex-girlfriends on social media.

In fact, he even communicates with them once in a while to check on them. Although he has to always delete these chats so his wife doesn’t bump into them and feel insecure about this communication. 

 Unhealthy habit

“We do talk, but there are definitely no feelings involved. It’s not like we had bad terrifying break-ups.

Most of these relationships ended mutually. Just wasn’t meant to be and one of them is even married too.

I have no bad feelings towards any of them. In fact, I wish all of them the very best, I guess that’s why I still check on them.

The reason I delete these chats is not because I am cheating or anything. But I don’t want my wife to bump into the chats and for it to become a threat to my marriage, because she does use my phone and go through things, especially the social pages. I don’t want her to start questioning my loyalty,” says Eric. 

According to psychologist Sigana Loyce, when it comes to following your ex on social media, it is often strongly advised not to.

This is because it gives birth to unhealthy psychological and behavioural habits that impede the process of moving on and or healing, which is fundamental after every relationship.

These may result in depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), paranoia and low self-esteem.

“Factually speaking, no one wants their ex to move on before them. Imagine seeing your ex in a healthy, stable and happy relationship.

This affects the body, mood and thoughts and the way a person eats and sleeps.

People who tend to keep up with their exes on social media have a greater risk of depression because of the constant need to remind self of an ended relationship.

You might start to question whether you were the toxic element in your equation, which increases ones vulnerability to depression.

Secondly, PTSD,  a type of anxiety, which is a set of reactions that develop in people who have been through traumatic events, which threatened their safely or lives, in this case individuals who left relationships that scared them often fall into unhealthy behavioural coping habits such as substance abuse, sleep and eating disorders among others,” shares Sigana. 

According to the expert, when individuals become paranoid, they often lose their ability to reason and assign meaning to things.

People with paranoia often have delusional ideas about themselves as central figures or the main cast in unrealistic scenarios. This explains the concept of stalking,

“The fixation on others”. Whereby someone has several fake accounts to stalk their exes.

The need to have a fake account to keep up with an ex often shows there is some type of gratification acquired from having them in their lives virtually, if not physically.

Online stalking can lead to real life stalking and often end up “accidentally” running into them.

This often seems harmless at first, but may often escalate to life threatening situations.

People who keep up with their ex’s on social media often mask their esteem challenges in the name of seeking closure, which is an unhealthy habit.

Social media is and is evolving to be the benchmark for happiness and people who constantly post for all the wrong reasons are in retrospect seeking validation indirectly from their significant former other. 

“Whatever your reasons, it’s very important to develop healthy communication habits.

Social media may be used as one of the channels of communication in modern day. However, calling when you want to reach out, and meeting in public spaces is a better option.

However the more you minimise exposure, the more you have space to move on,” shares Loyce. 

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