It’s about to be my one-year breakup anniversary. Had this been a “normal” breakup, I probably wouldn’t notice such an anniversary. Because I probably would have seen my ex multiple times since the breakup, and possibly slept with him a couple times / thrown his belongings back at him in an emotional post-breakup – “now we’re really done!” – fight, or found myself outside his house, chilling in my car with a boombox sitting shotgun, wondering whether I should blast Dashboard Confessional or Britney Spears to most accurately convey my love.
But this wasn’t a “normal” breakup.
I don’t actually know what “normal” breakup means, but I’m using it “in quotes” to mean that, for every other breakup I’ve been through, there have been unhealthy post-breakup conversations involved. Previous exes have wanted to see me or talk it out or try to get back together or stay friends or whatever people do. But this was a clean, rip-the-band-aid-off sort of breakup. The healthy kind? I don’t know.
Obviously people have different rules about how much time is enough time, and how much space is enough space. People disagree about the feasibility of being friends with an ex. And that’s all fine and dandy. We’re all entitled to our own opinions. Personally, this is the most space I’ve ever taken And it’s weird.
What makes it weirdest, though, is that it’s not really space.
My ex-boyfriend went and blew up on twitter after he dumped me. Like, thousands of followers who like him for his jokes. What. An. Asshole. (Note: when you live in LA / work in Hollywood / dream of being a #webceleb, blowing up on twitter is probably the biggest revenge an ex could possibly get ever, even if there are zero malicious intentions involved.) We may not be speaking, but he’s tweeting up a storm out there and I’m just doing my usual thang, sitting on my couch in my writing outfit (read: pj’s) bloggin’ about the politics of love and lust and Game of Thrones.
The world wide web has completely changed the dynamics of post-breakup-space-taking. No matter how much literal space you put between yourself and your ex, Internet stalking takes the idea of “personal space” to a whole new level.
And it’s not even that satisfying! Like, unless he’s posting Savage Garden lyrics about how much he misses you on Facebook – which probably hasn’t happened since high school – it’s not really relevant to your life. But it’s a bad habit, and we all do it. Sometimes a little too much.
1. Your phone still autocorrects to his/her name when texting, or auto-completes his username when searching on Twitter or Instagram.
2. You google his/her name more than once a day. (Seriously. Stop it.)
3. You consider showing up to events where your ex will be to “coincidentally” run into him/her.
4. You log onto friends’ / relatives’ various social media who are still friends with said ex in order to stalk his/her photos.
THEN: You are over-stalking.
So be a single lady. Be an independent woman. Be Beyonce! And keep yourself from stalking with the below tips and tricks:
1. First and foremost, remove your ex from all passive viewing areas of the Internet that you tend to peruse. You don’t have to block if you’re trying to be diplomatic about it – although some people find this necessary and it’s really all a matter of personal preference – but you do have to stop that familiar name from popping up everywhere you look.
Facebook: Remove from Newsfeed. No updates. Twitter: unfollow. Gchat: Never show. Instagram: Oh hell no woman remove from feed ASAP. Following on Spotify is allowed if your ex has really good taste in music. Unless it’s going to make you cry when you listen to it or something. If you use tumblr or pinterest or Second Life, figure out a way to get him out of there too.
2. Get into a new website/online community. Something that’s not related to his interests. Consider getting really into Reddit. There are so many subcultures! You have to like at least one of them, right?
3. Get really into selfies. I’m serious. Just be really vain and make your online activity all about you for a while. If your pictures look amazing, then who cares if that girl he’s maybe standing with in the background of a picture a mutual friend took a) has cute shoes or b) is flirting with your ex boyfriend? You just gave yourself a massive dose of faboosh – all it took was red lipstick and the “Valencia” instagram filter. Who needs him?
4. Get a non-Internet related hobby/activity. I know, this is difficult, most of us sit on the Internet all day for work anyway. Consider downloading self-control and blocking social sites for part of your day. Or, you know, go on a hike.
5. Finally, stop flattering yourself. The best and most effective way that I have found to stop stalking is to tell myself, “chill out, Grace. He’s not stalking you. He is taking his space.” If you tell yourself that your ex isn’t Interneting-fawning over you, it’s easier to dig your heels in and stop your own behavior.
6. If nothing else works, listen to a Taylor Swift album on repeat until you’ve felt all the feelings out of your system.
It may have taken a year, but I’ve successfully quit Facebook stalking. Still working on Twitter and Instagram, but hey, it’s a process.
That being said, if he develops an app, I’m so totally quitting the internet.
Grace DeVoll is currently working as an assistant on a TV show about superheroes, and sometimes confusing it with real life. When she isn't pretending she's Wonder Woman, she enjoys making lists, late night adventure-driving, and dressing up like a princess. You can follow her on twitter @offtothegraces, which would really make her day, or learn more about her here.
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