Sometimes we like to imagine darker ages, when lovers parted, and if they wanted to hear from each other, they’d have to write an extremely intentional letter to be mailed and hopefully make it to its destination. Ah, simpler times.
Modern life has cursed us. We are haunted by the radical accessibility of everyone we’ve ever met, hooked up with, or dated via a tiny device we happen to keep on our person during all our waking moments (and for most of us, nestled close by during our sleeping hours, too). It’s no wonder we’ve made a daily—or several times daily, or every hour—habit of checking in our exes, and our exes’ exes, their new lovers, friends, acquaintances, and so forth. It’s not healthy, it’s not helping us move on, and unfortunately, it’s all too easy.
We’re so ready to be over him. Or her. Or them. We want to wake up in the morning, and not reach for our phones with the intention, nay, belligerent habit of going straight to their profile. But how do we cut out this filthy little habit? We thought Mark Groves, founder of Create the Love and the Breakup Recovery Course, was the right expert to break down this inner conflict.
Social media aside, he dives right into the substance part of the late relationship. “We have to be compassionate with ourselves in the breakup process. When our relationship ends, especially unexpectedly, our love for the person doesn’t just stop. It is the biological response to this severing of a relationship that has us often feeling even more in love with our exes than when we were together.” Oof. Quarantine heartaches hear this loud and clear.
“The same parts of our brains light up from rejection as cocaine addiction. So, in essence, what I’m saying is that we are battling with addictive feelings of longing, and this feeds the desire to check social media and see if they’re watching our stories too. I say all of this to bring forward the fact that we need to recognize the biological pulls that are present, which brings compassion to why we torture ourselves by checking what they’re up to, while simultaneously listening to Adele and doing shots of tequila.” Who, us? Are you spying on us, Mark?
Groves also mentions that a lot of the time when we break up, “We are afraid to create a clear and honest ending. Because we’re afraid to let them go, we’ll often let them hover in the friend zone or come back and forth as they please without drawing a line in the sand. Maybe they said something like, ‘This just doesn’t work for me right now.’ They leave the door open. Step in the door, or close it—don’t block the flow of someone who is willing to show up fully.”
This clarity is crucial closure. Say that five times fast. Groves explains, “Not choosing to get clarity is a sign of poor boundaries, and poor boundaries and not honoring ourselves and our own healing are our greatest sources of pain post-split. The way out? Get clarity. Get an answer. Stop letting people be ambivalent about being in a relationship with you. When we tolerate shitty behavior and inconsistency, we start to believe that’s what we’re worthy of.”
“The stalking of our ex is not prioritizing our health and our healing. It keeps us stuck. We’re not only living in the past, but we’re also hoping for a certain future with them in it, thereby never fully present and choosing our lives in the now. If you want to heal, and they keep showing up on your feed, or you seeing them watching your stories derails your day and maybe even your week, unfollow them, block them. Do whatever it takes to take control of your life and show up for yourself. Worried how they’ll feel if they see that you unfollowed them or blocked them from seeing your stories? Then you’re still prioritizing their feelings over yours.” Boom, there it is.
Groves always see breakups as a gift, which is a different perspective for many. He tells us that it’s because they are “often the birthplace of recognizing our worth and standing up for ourselves. A breakup can be THE moment our lives change, if we’re willing to wake up to what we’ve tolerated and allowed, and start to stand in our power, use our voice, and claim our worth.”
The obvious solution is to block them … from yes, all of your accounts, your finsta, your biz account, etc. You must remove the temptation to stalk altogether. But it’s important to understand that it’s not for the sake of cold turkey, and it’s not tough love. It’s knowing that you’re prioritizing your feelings over theirs and allowing yourself the space. Block their IG to unblock your heart—that’s the formula.