Why Do We "Hate Stalk" Our Exes Online?

It's like an itch. You can't help but scratch it. 

You’ve just ended a relationship with your significant other. What’s the next logical step? To go online to find out how their life is without you, of course.

Giulia Rozzi and Will Miles are the real-life lovebirds behind the comedic relationship podcast Hopefully We Don’t Break Up, where the thirty-something, Brooklyn-based couple conducts frank interviews about dating and love. Giulia and Will have both cyber-lingered on their exes’ online profiles, and agree it’s a natural and normal reaction after a breakup.

“It’s a very human thing to do,” says Giulia. “An ex played a significant role in your life for some time. Giving that up entirely doesn’t happen overnight. You want to see if they are OK, even if your relationship wasn’t good.” 

She adds that seeing if they are happy (or unhappy) now with someone else should give you the closure and strength to move on to another, more successful relationship. Giulia shares she’s drawn to exes and frenemies that are especially shameless online or overshare. Which perfectly describes one of her ex-boyfriends.

I have an ex, and I told him I was removing him from all my social media,” she explains. “But he is such a character that my friends who are still connected to him will text or email, and say ‘I’m so sorry but I have to show you what he just posted.’” That includes his plethora of humble bragging and his support of a certain political candidate.”

For Will, the reason to check on an ex is more primal. 

“I look at exes to make sure they are still alive,” he shares with a chuckle. “Everyone posts online, so I don’t have to talk to them. I can just see if everyone is doing OK.”

Will advises limiting the amount of time you spend peeking into your ex’s life “to once a month.” That allows for one to be “fully caught up on your ex’s life, and now you can move on.” He understands it can be hard to actually make that move, so he suggests checking again a month down the road. Hopefully, the need to check “will spread out enough to where you’ll have skipped a month or two and you realize you don’t need to check on that person anymore.”

Giulia warns, “If you feel that checking out your ex’s life online is negatively affecting yours, then block them or delete the app entirely. If you’re single and trying to find someone new, that negative energy is gonna interfere, even if you’re not talking face to face.”

As for their current relationship, Will and Giulia prefer to keep it off social media. 

“We haven’t gone that extra step in our Facebook profile and put we’re ‘in a relationship,’” Will says. “If you know us, you know we’re in a relationship.”

Giulia says if you have to air your dirty relationship laundry on Facebook or Twitter, “to me that’s a sign not in good relationship. Literally roll over and talk to that person.”

Or save it for the podcast.

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