For a lot of people seeing an ex in public is as appealing as drinking a warm beer at a party — you don’t want to it, but you will if it’s the only option. There’s a certain stress that can come from running into a party or coffee shop and running into your ex. Of course, with the growth of social media, it seems your ex doesn’t need to literally see you to see what you’re doing. And when your ex is still liking your pictures, it can be confusing to know what’s up.
Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent dating and relationship therapist in Los Angeles, attests, "Much of the answer to this depends upon why the relationship ended, who ended it, and how it ended." If you and bae left on good terms, maybe it’s NBD for them to show you the Insta love. But if things ended badly, you may not want your ex following your social media, let alone liking everything you do. When talking social media and breakups, it’s important to remember: Your social media is yours. If your old boo liking everything you post makes you feel uncomfy — you don’t have to stand for it.
From blocking to unfollowing, there are lots of ways to get your ex off your Insta. But what does it mean if your ex likes literally every pic you post? "If it ended well, and both of you have truly emotionally moved on, then it could simply mean that they still are happy that you are in their life, even if just digitally, and that is enough for them," Dr. Brown shares. "If it is just sporadic, it may mean that they are casually watching you from time to time and it may not be a big deal. If they haven’t blocked you, then it is likely that they still want to feel connected with you in some way."
Of course, if your relationship ended badly, or if you just don’t want your ex following you, you’re completely allowed to establish healthy boundaries or even take them off your follower list. Sometimes finding the most comfortable way for you and your ex to navigate social media is to put the phones down. "The only way to really know is to ask them privately and then decide whether or not you trust their response," Dr. Brown adds.
If your ex is in your friend group, your class, or your workplace, seeing them around may be inevitable. And when they won’t engage or talk to you in person, but are still liking everything you do on the internet — it’s natural to be confused. "It means they have unfinished feelings about you and they have not sufficiently moved on with their lives." Dr. Brown states. "There are a number of ways to deal with this. First, maybe consider having a conversation with them — preferably on the phone and not via text. Try to get some clarity about what all of this means to them — and to you. Depending upon how the conversation goes, they can continue to click "like" if you are comfortable with that, or you can unfollow or block them." If you see your ex around a lot but don’t have in-person convos, it can be frustrating to see them in your notifications. If you’ve tried to open lines of communication in person, but they prefer talking with their phones, it’s OK to tell them you don’t want them following you, or to block them.
When questioning what it means when your ex is liking all your Instagrams, remember that all that matters is how you feel about it. If letting your ex see your amazing #outfitgoals and #foodporn feels OK, then by all means, let them like away. If your ex coming into your phone notifications feels icky, you don’t have to feel bad about blocking them or asking them to stop. When it comes to Insta, you know your best angels more better than anyone, and you get to choose who sees them.
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