By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 1st, 2021

Using social media after your breakup can be a bit tricky because you want to be on your ex’s radar without appearing too desperate for his attention.

Today we’re going to talk about the rules for handling Instagram after a breakup.

And oddly, before I get into the details of using Instagram after a breakup, I want to talk about a strategy that’s completely unrelated to Instagram – the no contact rule.

The no contact rule is a period of 21-45 days where you cut off all contact with your ex in attempts to make them miss you, while you figure out your life without them.

Most of my conversations about the no contact rule are about the merits and technicalities of life during the no contact rule, but I’m bringing it up today to show you how Instagram and other social media platforms have HUGE success during the no contact rule.

The FIRST thing we recommend to anyone going through a breakup is to implement a no contact rule.

However, we’ve found that the no contact rule applies differently to social media, and having a social media blackout towards your ex might not be the best idea.

In fact, social media is your indirect way of communicating with your ex after a breakup if you’re amid a note contact rule, and that is why we recommend carefully curating your social media to portray the exact image you want.

The remainder of this article is under the assumption that you’re in a no-contact rule where you’re purposefully ignoring your ex by pressing reset on your life.

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Interesting Statistics About Social Media

Before we get into the specifics of what you should post, let’s look at some key statistics about Instagram and other social media platforms that you might not have heard of:

  • 88% of people will use social media to check up on their ex’s
  • 70% of people have admitted to using a friend’s profile to check on their ex
  • 50% of individuals will delete pictures of their ex after a breakup
  • 31% of people will post photos in an attempt to make their ex jealous.

Now the one statistic that really stood out to me was the fact that half of all people will delete their pictures after a breakup.

More than half the questions I get every day are about whether people should delete pictures with their ex after a breakup.

We think you should delete your pictures, except maybe a handful.

The thinking behind this is, if you’re in the midst of a note contact rule, then you can pretty much only indirectly communicate with your ex through social media.

You’re basically taking risks under the assumption that they’re going to be paying attention to what you’re posting.

Think of it like this: if you delete all your pictures together except maybe one or two, your ex will see that and be super curious as to why you left those pictures there. They might even come back to stalk your profile, again and again, to see if those photos are still up, or if you’ve archived any more photos.

This constant back and forth addiction state where they have to see what you’re doing means they’re up to date with the latest posts on your page.

Congrats, you’re always at the forefront of your ex’s mind.

But now that you have their attention, what do you do with it?

Coming Up With An Overall Goal For Instagram

When it comes to Instagram or any other social media platform, you should always have an endgame.

We believe that the best approach you can take with your social media platforms is to beat your ex’s negative projection of you.

After breakups, we tend to remember the worst aspects of our ex’s personality and use those negative parts to cloud their whole nature. Your ex probably created a false projection of you like this too, and you can use your social media to challenge that.

Let’s say, your ex views you as a boring person, and that perception takes over their whole projection of you after a breakup. Well, what better way to challenge that projection than posting pictures or videos of you doing exciting things that your ex never thought he’d see you do? Your new social media presence might even make them challenge if they knew you as well as they thought they did.

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This also applies to accidentally running into an ex after a no contact rule.

If you’ve been on top of your social media game, your ex will have noticed that you reinvented yourself, so all their negative projections will be torn down, leaving way for you to cement a new, positive impression.

And to further cement this mindset we’ve come up with some pretty awesome rules that you probably need to follow with instagram.

Rule # 1: You Need To Be The Subject Of The Picture

If you’re the kind of person who has anything or anyone in your profile picture other than yourself, this one’s about to hurt.

I get so annoyed every time I see someone pop up on a Livestream on my private Facebook group, and their profile picture isn’t a picture of themselves because they’re clearly not putting their best foot forward.

I get it, we all have some favorite anime shows or pets, and the idea of having their pictures as our display sounds cute.

Here’s the thing, though: it’s classic deflection.

When you’re using social media with the intention of sending subliminal messages to your ex, what do you think sends a stronger message – a bold picture of you or a picture of your favorite anime?

A picture of you shows that you’re outgoing and having fun without being too broken up, whereas an anime picture creates the image of someone snuggling at home in their PJs watching anime and eating ice cream.

It’s okay if that’s how you feel, but is that really how you want your ex to perceive you?

Probably not.

So, take the stage and let your profile reflect YOU.

Rule # 2: The Photo Needs To Be Will Lit

Bad lighting in photos is definitely another pet peeve of mine because the lighting is SO important to the overall vibe of a picture.

No, I’m not asking everyone to buy a ring light or have an extensive outdoor photography session (unless you want to), but taking pictures in a dark rook with lots of shadows isn’t going to cut it either.

When you take poorly lit pictures, in bad postures where your face is barely showing, it puts forward an embarrassed and self-conscious image, and that’s not what we want to do during the no contact rule.

I was recently listening to this interview with a monk where the following words really resonated with me –”The genius is the one who is most like himself.”

It’s really that simple even when you’re taking pictures.

You have to put your most confident and bright self on camera, so the best aspects of your personality shine through. Good lighting can take a beautiful smile and turn it into a fashion statement, so don’t sell yourself short.

Also, a big part of the no contact rule is re-inventing yourself, so maybe its time to let go of your inhibitions about how others (especially your ex) see you so that you can see yourself in a new way.

Sometimes, taking a well-lit photo is the perfect ego-boost you need to love yourself (and it gets your ex’s attention too!)

Rule # 3: All Pictures Should Follow The Two Thirds Rule

This is relatively new to our process, and its an absolutely genius technique used by photographers called the two-thirds rule.

When photographers are trying to figure out where to position a subject, they imagine a three by three grid over the top of every picture they take, and they try to structure every shot so that the subject takes up two-thirds.

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No more, no less.

They make as many adjustments as necessary until the perfect two-thirds ratio is achieved. Here are a few examples of such “perfect photos”:

See how each of these photos is taking up no more and no less than two-thirds of the image, regardless of whether the subject is on the side or in the middle.

The magical two-thirds rule brings just the right amount of focus onto a subject, so it looks like there’s depth and personality to them. This rule also applies to selfies, so look for the grid option on your camera to get your perfect two-thirds selfies.

Rule # 4: Showcase Yourself Doing Things That Beat Your Exes Negative Projections Of You.

So now that you know HOW you should be posting let’s talk about exactly what you should be posting.

As I’ve stated already, your ex will have a negative projection of you, and your goal for Instagram is to challenge and overturn their ideas.

Your ex may think you’re boring or selfish or arrogant, but there are ways to prove them wrong with your posts.

Let’s say your ex accuses you of being selfish and self-centered throughout your relationship.

Well, one of the best things you can do to overcome this negative projection of you is to go out and invest time in your community.

You can volunteer at Habitat for Humanity or your local soup kitchen and post pictures of yourself doing it.

You’ll feel great for helping others, and you’ll impress your ex too – win-win!

Now, what if your ex perceived you as being the most boring person alive.

This relates back to my idea of the mystery vs. stability spectrum and how a little bit of each is necessary for successful relationships, and having too much of either is the most common reason for breakups.

If your ex thinks you’re boring, he views you as a stable force who’s unable to do adventurous or spontaneous things. So, maybe you can go skydiving and post pictures of it to shatter his negative projections.

So, there’s always something you can do and post that will challenge your ex’s negative projections of you. The hard part though, is recognizing what his negative perceptions are, where they came from, and how you can indirectly overcome them through your social media.

Rule #5: Don’t Be Afraid To Post A Jealousy Picture

Recently I’ve been talking about a lot of success stories on my youtube channel because I’m obsessed with finding patterns in people who get their exes back.

The two most common consistent trends I’ve seen are:

having a mindset change and using a bit of jealousy.

The mindset change is a big part of the no contact rule because it involves getting to a point where you honestly don’t care if your ex comes back or not because you’re living your best life. This is usually when your social media game is the best too because you’re doing amazing things.

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But if you’re not quite there, you can still stir a bit of jealousy by posting on social media. Jealousy and fear of loss are huge motivators for men because they think someone else might claim you.

You can take advantage of that by threatening their instincts with a ‘tasteful’ jealousy picture.

Notice how I said ‘tasteful’ jealousy picture?

I strongly believe that when it comes to jealousy pictures, less is more.

Think more of a low key date picture as opposed to a kissing picture.

Interestingly enough, our community’s private Facebook support group has become a fantastic resource for jealousy pictures.

The group consists of over 4000 people, all going through the same struggles of a breakup and coming together to help each other.

In an effort to help each other, the members have created an album called “jealousy pictures” where people share jealousy pictures for others to use to make their exes jealous! So, all the benefits of a jealousy picture without the effort of having to go out and take one.

Let’s look at two of my favorite examples:

Aah, yes. The classic romantic wine glass clink.

This picture indicates that you’re on a romantic date, and this will send your ex’s mind in spirals.

Now, you may even just be out for a drink with your girls (on in this case, you may be using a random stranger’s picture), but your ex doesn’t need to know that.

He can let his imagination run wild and get jealous.

This picture is a stroke of genius because, at first glance, you just see some food.

But if you’re an ex stalking your ex, you’ll notice that there’s an arm/hand in the top right corner.

Your ex will see that and wonder, ” who is that? Is she on a date already? Where are they?”.

So just with an “accidental” strategic placement of a hand in a picture, you’ve successfully managed to make your ex jealous.

How often should you be posting these type of jealousy pictures?

Honestly, it depends on your situation, but I only recommend doing it once a month at the most.

Remember, less is more. Your main focus should be to combat your ex’s negative perceptions of you but throwing in a jealousy picture every now and then helps keep him on his toes too!


Your goal of using Instagram after a breakup should be to challenge the negative perceptions your ex has of you, and here are five rules that will help you achieve that:

  1. Always be the subject of all your pictures.
  2. Lighting is everything.
  3. Pictures should follow the two-thirds rule
  4. Showcase yourself doing things that directly challenge what your ex thinks of you
  5. Use jealousy pictures

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12 thoughts on “How To Handle Instagram During A Breakup”

  1. Ashley

    June 26, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    My ex does not have social media. I’ve been posting on my WhatsApp status and he opens relatively quickly. He ended it after the 2nd date then reached out and said there’s something different about me and can’t lose me. We then dated for 2 months. He told me on Thursday he loves me and wants to marry me and ended it on Sunday. We had a short conversation over text after the breakup but he didn’t really give any concrete answers as to why he ended it. I saw him the other day but he ran away (we’ve almost been broken up for a month). Do you think we will ever get back together?

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      July 18, 2022 at 8:18 pm

      Hi Ashley so if you were dating for you only dating for a short time means that he cannot have any bad experiences with you this goes in your favour, however, you also do not have a lot of memories to use when you start your texting phase. Is there a chance he is fearful avoidant? I think him “running” away from you shows he is not able to deal with things like an adult.

  2. Mer

    June 16, 2022 at 8:32 pm

    My bf broke up with me a month ago. Two weeks ago we have the “closure” talk and yes, even though it was sad, it ended in a good way. We were even laughing. He told me that the reason was that we weren’t compatible in terms of “handling conflict”. The story is too long but, we haven’t talked for almost 2 weeks. We both agreed we needed space but I miss him and I am wondering if he misses me too. I uploaded things on IG but he doesn’t even seem to open them :,( .

  3. Anna

    August 23, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    I have some doubts: what if I’m not used to posting anything on social medoa? Should I start posting? I don’t post stories or post, my social networks were basically for work. What should I do? If I start posting, he’ll know it’s because of him, won’t he? Also, I was quarantined, he knows that me leaving the house and meeting other people will be completely abnormal. Should I start posting immediately after the relationship ends or wait any longer? Sorry for English, it’s not my native language

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      September 23, 2021 at 4:49 pm

      Hi Anna, so posting with social media, yes increase the amount you post – but make sure that what you post is great quality. Rather than posting “all the time” post things that is going to get your exes attention and make them feel that they have missed out on an amazing experience with you.

  4. Sarah

    October 26, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    During NC period, are we allowed to check on ex’s IG stories? Cause it will be shown as I read. And I have a feeling that my ex is trying to show me how happy he is without me (we were tgt for 3yrs n broke up almost 2 months), before breakup he was not a guy who will upload anything on IG.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 28, 2020 at 1:32 am

      Hey Sarah! No, do not check your exes social media at all during your NC period.

  5. Chanel

    August 27, 2020 at 1:38 am

    My ex and I broke up a few weeks ago. We have been on and off again for 5 years and this is the longest amount of time we have gone with little communication. So a few weeks ago I felt like he was acting strange. I hadn’t seen him in a month and everytime I would ask him when I was going to see him he would simply not answer. Typically he would apologize for being wrapped up with work and promise to make time for me. But one month turned into two and I still have not seen him (he owns his own business and his business was still running through the pandemic). One day he sent me a picture of him with a fresh haircut and I went off. I told him I’m sorry but I can’t pretend like things don’t feel different between us and I needed to stand up for myself and how I think he doesn’t respect me, my time of efforts in this relationship. And I accused him of cheating (During the pandemic he had expressed to me that he wanted to have a three some and I told him I wasn’t down for it). Instead of replying to my long message, he ghosted by not responding at all. I tried to give him a week to cool down and tried texting him that I wanted to talk but he still didn’t respond so I went into no contact mode. About 20 days into the no contact rule my grandmother passed away. Although I do not have him on social media. I do have him on whatsapp (we primarily communicated through that app). The app allows you to post status updates so I strategically had been posting there. So here is the thing, because he doesn’t have his read receipts on in the app I can’t see when he watches my status updates and he can not see when I watch his. So I posted that my grandmother had passed away on the 22day of no contact and he reach out sending his condolences and I simply said thank you. About a week later I reached out to him to because I lent him money and wanted him to pay me back, which we did. The conversation wasn’t bad it was very cordial and he thanked me for lending it to him and I thanked him for sending it back. Fast forward to now everytime I post a picture of me he sends me heart eyes and kissing face emojis. I haven’t really responded to them because I don’t know what to say or do. He mostly responds to sexy pictures of my body. I meant they’re tasteful but definitely thirst trap photos. I posted a late night meme the other day which basically said I was sexually frustrated. In which he responded my telling me that he was around if I needed some. When we broke up before I started sleeping with him and we ended up running into each other on a dating site. It became a little messy but eventually we got back together. I really don’t want to go that route this time, I want him to be scared he’s actually gonna lose me for good. What should I do next? Should I tone down the sexy photos? How can I get him to want more than just to sleep with me? I don’t know how to talk to him.

  6. Sofia

    July 18, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    Although I did use my social media after the breakup, I didn’t announce we broke up. I deleted our pics and relationship status without it causing any notifications. I didn’t talk to anyone about it anywhere public. I posted uplifting posts on my stories, things one could generally attribute to the current pandemic, although he may surmise them to be about him. I then did not post anything for two weeks. My first story was specifically about a hobby. I know he saw the older posts and this new one, on all my platforms: Instagram Snapchat and Facebook.

    Due to quarantine, it is unlikely I can go on dates, or show myself living a good life, which we honestly would both know is too forced and unreal, and I don’t feel comfortable posting that anyway. I’m hoping to post about my hobbies instead, and new hobbies I pick up. How can I judge from his views if that means something? Should I make an actual post instead and see if he likes it? If he doesn’t is that at all bad?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 9, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      Hey Sofia, I would not suggest that you change the way you post things too much. If you post something to your wall then post as a story too as you can see who has viewed them. As for not being able to date – that is totally fine if you feel that you are not ready. But make sure that you are doing things that are going to make him see that you are doing well, being social with friends and family and just enjoying life in general.

  7. Michelle

    July 9, 2020 at 2:27 am

    My ex and I broke up a few weeks ago for the second time. The first time we dated 2.5 months and the second time it only lasted about 1.5 months. We had some compatibility issues. He told his friend who is married to my friend that he still cares about me, but didn’t think it was going to work because our personalities are so different. He also said he didn’t think I could ever be emotionally independent like he needed me to be. I didn’t feel like I was asking for a lot (just some phone calls or maybe more affection), but he always said he wasn’t use to showing that. To me it seemed a little selfish. I think his last girlfriend didn’t care about that stuff as much as me. I also think we are different because of our attachment styles and of course personalities. Does this mean we are incapable of making each other happy? Also last time we broke up I used Instagram to my advantage and he admitted when we got back together that it worked. But now since he knows I used that last time could it work again?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 4, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      Hi Michelle, honestly I dont think it a relationship will work based on the information you gave me above. You are both have a different idea of how a relationship should be. And he clearly was not willing to change the way he was as he told you he wanted you to be more independent. If you wanted to prove to him that you are working on being dependant on yourself rather than someone else. Then you do this by working the Ungettable information, but keep in mind that he may not be an affectionate person in a relationship.