By Chris Seiter

Published on October 18th, 2023

I’ve put off writing this article for ages simply because I didn’t think people would be interested why their ex suddenly stopped watching their stories.

Well, I was wrong.

Turns out that there are loads of people asking all kinds of things about exes and their stories our community,

And this one,

And this one,

So today I’d like to show you six of the most common reasons for why an ex boyfriend would suddenly stop watching your stories,

  1. Trying To Get Out Of The Negative Feedback Loop: Every time he watches your stories it leaves him feeling more saddened and addicted. He could be trying to quit cold turkey to get out of this feedback loop.
  2. Avoiding Temptation: He might be trying to resist the urge to reach out or rekindle the relationship. By not watching your stories, he’s reducing the chances of being tempted to reconnect.
  3. New Relationships: Your ex-boyfriend might be in a new relationship and feels it’s inappropriate or disrespectful to his current partner to keep tabs on an ex.
  4. Aware Of The Fact That You Can See: And they want you to feel like they no longer care about you.
  5. Monitoring If You Have Moved On To Someone Else: He might be curious or anxious to know if you’ve started dating someone new, and by watching your stories, he can gauge if there’s a new significant person in your life. Then if you moved on he’ll stop watching the stories or if he thinks you’ve moved on.
  6. Got What They Were Looking For: To see if you were hurting after a breakup. They see you are and like a drug addict, they got their high and leave.

Let’s start from the top.

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1) The Negative Feedback Loop:

To understand this, we must first accept the fact that anger often makes us feel better, which is somewhat strange.

But there’s a great article on Psychology Today about anger, arguing why you might secretly enjoy getting angry.

I’d like to quote an excerpt from that article because it helps explain how the negative feedback loop operates after a breakup. Here’s the quote by Leon F Seltzer PhD:

“Over a decade ago, I wrote a piece entitled ‘Why Your Anger May Be Hiding.’ One topic I discussed was how anger could be seen as a shortcut to self-empowerment. Not only can it help you fend off emotional pain linked to lingering self-doubts from your past, but it can also counter immediate feelings of powerlessness.”

There are many ways anger achieves this.

  • It can help you get your way by intimidating others,
  • Aid in negotiations
  • And if clearly feigned, can energize your system, enhancing the vigor of your actions.
  • It can make someone pay more attention to you, though such forcefulness might scare and alienate them.
  • It can also help you protest against perceived injustices or obstacles.

All these are benefits of anger.

In today’s interconnected society, a breakup can lead to one party portraying themselves as the victim on social media. Even if your ex initiated the breakup, they might grow angry with you.

They’ll watch your stories, become angry, feel better, then stop watching, only to start again. This cycle of watching, growing angry, and feeling better repeats endlessly.

Social media platforms, recognizing this pattern, might keep recommending similar content. They’ll push the Instagram stories and feeds, intensifying the negative feedback loop’s addictive nature.

This reminds me of a criticism of one of my favorite TV shows, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” set in a dystopian future post a second American Civil War.

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While many praise the show, some label it as “torture po#n,” likening its addictive nature to movies from the Saw franchise.

Similarly, an ex caught in this negative feedback loop might recognize it and attempt to break free by blocking you on social media or avoiding your stories. So, one reason an ex might stop viewing your stories is their effort to escape this negative feedback loop.

2) Avoiding Temptation

After a breakup, there’s often a lingering emotional connection, and seeing an ex-partner’s daily life can stir up old feelings and memories.

He might be trying to resist the urge to reach out or rekindle the relationship, especially if he believes that reconnecting might not be in the best interest of both parties.

By not watching your stories, he’s creating a protective barrier for himself, ensuring he doesn’t get swayed by nostalgia or momentary emotions.

This act of self-preservation can be crucial for those who are genuinely trying to move forward and establish new boundaries in their lives. It’s a conscious effort to prioritize emotional well-being and avoid falling back into patterns that led to the relationship’s end in the first place.

3) New Relationships

When someone enters a new relationship, there’s often a desire to fully commit and give their best to the new partner.

Your ex-boyfriend, now in a fresh relationship, might be focusing on building trust, understanding, and a strong foundation with his current partner. Watching an ex’s stories can be perceived as holding onto the past or not being entirely present in the new relationship.

Out of respect for his current partner and the bond they’re forming, he might feel it’s inappropriate to keep tabs on an ex.

This decision can also stem from wanting to avoid any potential misunderstandings or feelings of insecurity in his new relationship.

By not viewing your stories, he’s demonstrating commitment and ensuring that past relationships don’t interfere with the present one.

It’s a gesture of respect towards his current partner and a way to maintain clarity and trust in their budding relationship.

4) Aware Of The Fact That You Can See

Okay, so this one involves a bit of reverse psychology and passive-aggressive behavior, but it’s something I’ve observed.

Many people, especially my clients, are often focused on why their ex is watching their stories. They notice their ex viewing every single story they post. So, it becomes a significant concern when the ex suddenly stops watching.

However, what they often overlook is that their ex is aware they can be seen viewing the stories. Some exes will engage with the stories, getting caught in that feedback loop.

But there’s also an element of them engaging repeatedly, knowing you see their engagement, and then abruptly stopping.

This can be a tactic to make you feel like they’ve lost interest in you. This behavior can be exacerbated during strategies like the no contact rule. If you’re employing a no-contact strategy and your ex, having tried to reach out to you without a response, might resort to these passive-aggressive tactics to prompt you to break the silence or to seek some form of revenge.

Additionally, if you’re in the midst of a no-contact phase, your ex might think you’ve lost interest. To test this, they might engage with several of your stories and then suddenly stop to see your reaction.

5) Monitoring To See If You’ve Moved On To Someone Else

This reason is probably more common than you might think, especially after breakups. Essentially, your ex is watching your stories out of curiosity about your activities.

Studies consistently show that post-breakup Facebook stalking occurs at an 88% rate. This suggests there’s almost a 90% likelihood that your ex will spy on you through social media.

With the introduction of stories, you can now identify who’s watching, which is an intriguing feature, but it can also become addictive. I digress.

If you’re implementing the no-contact rule and maintaining complete silence, your ex might become anxious. They might fear you’re moving on. This anxiety can lead them to obsessively watch your stories to determine if you’re seeing someone new.

If they perceive that you’ve moved on, or even suspect it, they might stop viewing your stories, either out of anger or other emotions. That’s another possible reason.

6) Got What They Were Looking For

This point delves into the realm of narcissism. I’m not labeling your ex as a narcissist, but it’s noteworthy that narcissists seek something called “supply.”

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This supply can be admiration or anything that elevates a narcissist’s self-worth. Typically, a narcissist engages with you when they feel a depletion in their supply and need a boost.

Another form of supply emerges post-breakup, especially after a tumultuous split that might have bruised your ex’s ego, potentially a narcissistic one. They might desire revenge or take pleasure in seeing you in distress.

Recalling the “Handmaid’s Tale” torture porn analogy, they might relish your suffering because it alleviates their pain.

When I mention “they got what they were looking for,” I mean they derived satisfaction from witnessing your post-breakup pain. It’s akin to a drug addict getting a high. You might observe this behavior when you post emotional content typical of post-breakup sentiments.

They engage with such content and then abruptly disengage.

Their sudden withdrawal can be likened to a drug addict who, after achieving their high, departs. Their ego is satiated from seeing you struggle without them.

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