By Chris Seiter

Published on May 19th, 2022

Today we’re going to talk about the most effective ways to stop the urge you might potentially have of stalking your ex.

Now, to be clear, when I refer to “stalking” I’m not actually talking about the kind of stalking that leads to restraining orders.

If you are engaging in that type of behavior my recommendation would be to see a licensed therapist or psychologist immediately.  

Rather, with this article I’m more focusing on a pattern of behaviors where you use social media to spy on your ex post breakup and it becomes unhealthy for your mental health.

In all, I thought the very best place to start was by asking people who are actually struggling with this. So, I ended up asking a question in our private group,

My thinking was simple. The no contact rule, which I’ve talked about ad nauseum on this website is something that a lot of our clients struggle with to get through. So, asking them how they did it might help with settling the urge to use social media to stalk on your ex and they didn’t disappoint.

63 participants answered the question. I took the liberty of compiling the very best answers.

  1. The Pain Shopping Phenomenon
  2. Delete Don’t Temporarily Deactivate
  3. Try The Swear Jar Approach
  4. The Battle Buddy System
  5. The Temptation Timer
  6. Hiding Your Phone
  7. Finding Support And Helping Others

As always, attribution will be provided to those who came up with the ideas in the group with one important caveat, to protect the identity of these individuals we are going to blur out names and pictures.

Let’s begin!

Tip #1: The Pain Shopping Phenomenon

First off, maybe I’m getting old since this is the first time I’ve ever heard this phrase. At 33 I’m no longer as “close” to the acronyms and truisms as I used to be.

However, I absolutely love this idea.

“I saw the phrase “pain shopping” on here somewhere and after that I stopped (facebook stalking) because that’s exactly what it is and I am not the kind of person who shops for pain.”

Sometimes all you need to stop a behavior is another perspective. As human beings we have a natural inclination to put blinders on. To hyper focus on things or individuals we deeply care about even if those things and individuals are harmful for our mental health.

Add in the fact that when we experience trauma, like a breakup, our minds can often get caught up in these self fulfilling cycles with an ex right in the middle of it.

Don’t go shopping for pain when you don’t have to, it’s that simple.

Now, I will acknowledge that technically this isn’t really anything actionable you can do to prevent the addictive behavior. Rather it’s more mindset based.

However, getting your mind right is sort of the underlying theme that we’re going to be hitting on because in the end that’s what’s most important.

Let’s move on.

Tip #2: Delete Don’t Temporarily Deactivate

I don’t know what your overall goal is post breakup. Our estimation is that roughly 60% of individuals who read our website are interested in fixing their broken relationships.

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To you it may seem odd that I’m bringing that up but if you really think about it, figuring out how to handle social media post breakup is kind of an important thing to settle.

Our research has indicated that it’s almost always better to not delete your social media accounts in response to a breakup because it puts forth two prevailing truths out to the universe,

  1. You are so bothered by the breakup that you are willing to deactivate all of your social media accounts
  2. Your ex will think they “won” the breakup which can make them feel like they are better than you

And one thing is for da*m sure, they aren’t better than you. Instead, I find it’s easier to remove the temptation of “stalking” them by simply deleting the specific apps from your phone,

Now, this commentor I don’t agree with totally. I actually think it’s better to delete the apps from your phone. Deactivating Facebook, as an example, is something that prevents you from logging in but still gives the appearance to everyone on the platform that you aren’t devastated by this breakup.

From a purely positional standpoint that’s the better play.

Tip #3: Try The Swear Jar Approach

I had never heard of this idea before this commentor put it forth,

Staying completely focused on me. I made a break the no contact jar similar to a swear jar. Anytime I feel the urge to break it, it would cost me $20. Knowing me, I hate to pay a fine for breaking the rules. It helped me complete no contact on my first try. Plus I really looking inwards to figure out what partner I wanted to be, not just for my ex but for anyone I might end up with. 

This is a really interesting idea but I actually think I have a better alternative.

Research has consistently proven that generally speaking those who pay, pay better attention.

What if instead of a “swear jar” we looked at it more like a consequence.

Giving in to your urge to social media stalk is sort of like an addiction. So, what if there was something that you could do that gave you a monetary consequence if you gave in?

Well, there actually is. It’s this website called Stickk.

Here’s how it works,

  • You define a clearly stated goal
  • You choose someone to watch your progress
  • You essentially donate a penalty to the website if you fail your goal in an escrow account
  • Then if you achieve your goal you get your money back
  • If you don’t then the website gets to keep your money

Technically I think you don’t have to use money. You can use some other incentive but the point is that it has to be important enough that you would rather achieve your goal as opposed to giving it up.

All of a sudden the swear jar approach is looking pretty effective, right?

Tip #4: The Battle Buddy System

Since the inception of our private facebook support group we’ve introduced a concept called, “battle buddies” run by one of our soon to be coaches, Shaunna,

So, I was tickled to death when I saw this as a response to my poll,

The way our battle buddy system works is that we try to partner you up with an individual that seems to be in a similar breakup situation as you and the two of you work together to help one another through the breakup.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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One of the great parts is that battle buddies are especially adept at talking you out of contacting an ex, especially during the no contact rule.

Obviously this can also apply to helping prevent bad habits of social media stalking. Any time you have the urge to spy on them you can reach out to your battle buddy and they can talk you out of it.

Additionally they might make for a great accountability partner with the stickk system I mentioned above.

Tip #5: The Temptation Timer

This was a unique idea,

When I felt the urge, I would set a timer. Start it with say 15 minutes or an hour. Then I would list what I could get done in that time. If at the end of the timer or the end of the task, whichever took longer, if I still wanted to check and was in a good place, I’d let myself. Otherwise, I had to reset the timer and come up with a new to-do list. 

If any of the tips I’ve suggested so far have seemed too harsh or hard this might be a good middle ground. However, it requires you to be brutally honest with yourself.

Here’s how it works,

  • Whenever you feel the urge to spy on your ex set a timer
  • The timer should be 15 minutes
  • In that 15 minutes start working on someone else
  • If at the end of the timer or task, whichever took longer, you still want to check then you can allow yourself to do so
  • However, only if you are in a “good place” emotionally

What constitutes a good place emotionally?

Well, that’s the rub, isn’t it?

Out of all the tips listed on this article I’d say this is my least favorite. Not because it’s a bad idea but because I think a portion of people won’t be honest with being in a “good place” emotionally.

Here’s my interpretation of being in a good place emotionally.

Good Place = You Cared More About The Task You Were Working On Than Your Ex

If not, then do another task in another 15 minutes until you do.

Tip #6: Hiding Your Phone

I would put my phone away. Put it somewhere hard for me to easily access and then do something more productive or a UG activity. Once the feeling has passed, I can retrieve my phone. 

I’m not really sure how much more there is to expand on this particular tip. I guess my only addition to this would be to ensure that your phone is in a really hard place to get to.

Particularly if you have a lock box or something that requires a key to open.

The more hassle it is to get to the phone the better the spot.

Let’s move on.

Tip #7: Finding Support And Helping Others

You are not alone.

In fact, we have a lovely community dedicated to individuals going through breakups,

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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7,000 members all probably experiencing emotions similar to you. One of the smartest things you can do is literally surround yourself with a community like this. Obviously you are welcome to join ours but there’s no pressure. Sometimes all you might need is a couple of incredibly supportive friends.

But talking to our actual members is enlightening,

Every time I used to get the urge to check, I would come to the ERP group instead and tell myself to comment on someone’s post. Re-wiring behavior.

So, instead of thinking about “me” this person made it about “we.”

I like this a lot because sometimes, even if there is no direct benefit to you, helping someone else who is going through a breakup is all you need to gain more confidence post breakup.

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