By Chris Seiter

Published on May 25th, 2023

I want to have a frank discussion on the major reasons for why an ex would block (or remove you) from their social media account.

The reality is it boils down to six main things,

  1. It’s in line with their avoidant programming
  2. Seeing you is painful
  3. They are driven by anger or revenge
  4. They are in a new relationship
  5. It’s their pattern
  6. You are one of the unlucky 37%

But after really digging in I realized that understanding the reasons alone for why something like this would happen wasn’t going to be enough. So, I’m going to be giving you a little bonus with this article.

I’ll also be talking about,

  1. Why your ex is blocking you on social media (but doesn’t block your phone number)
  2. What to do if your ex has blocked you on social media

A lot to cover today so lets dig in.

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Reason #1: It’s In Line With Their Avoidant Programming

As I’ve consistently emphasized throughout our site, we’ve observed that a significant proportion of our clients’ exes exhibit avoidant tendencies.

Once again, I bombard you with the following poll,

Essentially, these individuals harbor a deep-seated fear of abandonment. This is considered their “core wound” and any stimuli that provokes this fear prompts them to enact avoidant behavior.

So, for avoidants, circumventing any interaction with you is fairly typical for them.

This is primarily done to prevent potential future disputes. To further articulate this point, I referred to my preferred source of research on avoidant behavior, Free To Attach,

Avoidants end relationships because they are uncomfortable feeling beholden to someone else. So they can be extremely cutthroat with contact for this reason too.

In this context, their relentless nature is manifested not by contacting you, but rather by removing you from their social media – an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach.

If your ex displays avoidant tendencies, blocking you aligns with their behavioral pattern and is fairly standard.

Reason #2: Seeing You Is Painful

Blocking you on social media your ex dodge the pain.

Now, I’ve got a personal story on this.

I was about 19, fresh out of a breakup.

This was back in 2008, when Facebook was just gaining momentum. And believe it or not, its main rival back then was MySpace.

I had profiles on both, including being ‘friends’ with my ex on MySpace.

After the split, I found myself kind of stalking her online, checking out who she was chatting with, if she was seeing someone new.

Eventually, just logging into MySpace felt like a punch in the gut.

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So, I figured, enough was enough, and I blocked her.

But here’s the twist: blocking her wasn’t the magic fix I thought it would be.

A few days would pass, and then this nagging feeling would creep up on me.

This led to what I call the ‘pogo stick effect’.

I’d block her, then unblock her to sneak a peek at her profile, and then block her again. It was a constant back-and-forth.

And the honest truth?

It made everything way more painful.

The root of all this was every time I saw her profile or what she was up to, it was like ripping off a band-aid. I thought having her out of sight would make things better, but it backfired.

I kept falling into the trap of the ‘pogo stick effect’.

Reason #3: They Are Driven By Anger Or Revenge

Okay, let’s dive into the third reason, which is a complete departure from the first two.

Your ex might be motivated by anger or a desire for revenge. They’re aware that blocking or removing you on social media can cause you pain or confusion.

Here’s how this usually plays out – it’s the age-old disconnect between words and actions.

They’ll assure you that they still want to be friends right after the breakup, and you trust their words. However, their actions following the breakup tell a completely different story.

Their behavior suggests they’re more interested in causing you pain than maintaining a friendship.

They might not be outrightly rude to you on social media, but they’re saying unkind things to your mutual friends.

By blocking you, they’re preventing you from seeing what they’re saying about you and what they’re up to. It’s all rooted in pettiness.

They’re driven by a misguided desire to ‘win’ the breakup.

Sadly, this kind of behavior still exists.

Instead of dealing with the breakup maturely, they’re acting like a petulant teenager or a child. Their behavior is vindictive, immature, and they know that blocking you will hurt you.

Strangely, they find comfort in this because causing you pain makes them feel better about the pain they believe you’ve caused them.

Reason #4: They Are In A New Relationship

Let’s unpack the next reason: they’re in a new relationship.

They’ve embarked on a new romantic journey and decide to block you so as not to jeopardize it.

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This is something I’ve personally experienced.

When I met my wife, Jen, I had female friends on my social media. However, when I realized Jen was ‘the one’, I started to quietly remove these women from my social media accounts, or even blocking their numbers, because I didn’t want anything to disrupt my burgeoning relationship.

So, if your ex has moved on and suddenly embarks on a ‘social media cleanse’, as I call it, removing old flames or friends that could be perceived as threatening, this could be the reason why.

I don’t want to dig too much deeper here because the fifth reason kind of goes with this one.

Reason #5: It’s Become A Habit

With this one it’s helpful to have some insight into their past relationships. They may have a recurring pattern where they block or remove their exes from social media in the post-breakup phase.

This habit is absolutely linked to the ‘new relationship’ reason I mentioned earlier.

They consistently remove you and their previous exes to avoid disrupting any potential new relationships. What came to mind when considering this pattern was this:

They’re doing this to preserve the peace for their future romantic endeavors.

From my decade-long experience, it’s quite common for exes to reach out and warn the new partner about the person they’re dating. What might have happened to them in the past is that they treated their ex poorly, failed to remove them from social media, and then their ex reached out to their new partner, causing friction and confusion.

So, they’ve established this pattern of a post-breakup ‘social media cleanse’ to prevent any potential disruptions to their new relationship. Therefore, the concept of a ‘pattern’ is closely tied to the ‘new relationship’ reason.

Reason #6: You Are Part Of The Unlucky 37%

I’ve been very open about my belief that the area of breakups doesn’t receive enough research.

I’ve been in this field for a decade and I’ve searched extensively for relevant studies, but they just don’t exist. Most research tends to focus on the aftermath of breakups rather than on breakup behavior itself.

However, I did come across an insightful study conducted by the Pew Research Center that will be particularly relevant to our discussion.

This research found that approximately 37% of teens unfriend or block their exes on social media after a breakup.

This statistic gives us a ballpark figure to work with – roughly 37 to 40% of exes are likely to remove or block you on social media. Sometimes there’s no clear reason for this behavior. It might not align with avoidant tendencies, nor stem from the pain of seeing you.

It’s just the way things are.

Unfortunately, you might just be dealing with an ex who’s part of that 35 to 40% likelihood of blocking you.

Why Your Ex Blocks You On Social Media (But Not On The Phone?)

While researching for this article, my initial aim was to outline six reasons why exes block or remove you on social media.

However, I stumbled upon another peculiar behavior that exes sometimes exhibit.

Some exes block you on social media, but they don’t block your phone number. I’ve discussed in the past this concept of a ‘hard block’ versus a ‘soft block.’

  1. A ‘hard block’ is when they block you everywhere conceivable – on social media, your phone number, even your email address. You’re completely cut off unless you resort to sending them a letter, which, let’s be honest, isn’t a practical option.
  2. Then there’s the ‘soft block,‘ where your ex blocks you on one communication channel but leaves other channels open. I became intrigued to understand why an ex would block you on social media but not block your number.

After some thought, I identified four distinct reasons.

  1. Social media detachment
  2. Differing levels of intimacy
  3. Practical considerations
  4. Emotional ambivalence

Let’s take a brief moment to discuss each of these,

Social Media Detachment

Your ex might want to avoid seeing your activities, posts, photos, or new relationships on social media, but they don’t necessarily want to sever all communication.

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It’s a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ but with an option to reconnect built in.

Blocking you on social media enables them to avoid potential triggers while maintaining a communication line.

Differing Levels Of Intimacy

Social media and phone conversations represent different levels of intimacy.

If you’re skeptical about this, consider my ‘value ladder’ concept in conjunction with the 7/38/55 rule,

value ladder

I often discuss the value ladder when advising those who want to win their exes back. It’s about using different communication mediums to gradually rebuild value.

I’ve pointed out that not all communication modes are equal using the 7/38/55 rule.

If you aren’t familiar with that then I recommend checking this video out,

It argues that communication is broken down to the following percentage.

  1. 7% of communication is conveyed through written word
  2. 38% through tone of voice
  3. 55% through body language.

And if you look at how my value ladder concept is designed you can see it literally follows this rule,

For instance, text messaging differs from phone calls, which differ from in-person interactions, which differ from a romantic date.

And of course, social media has its own level of intimacy, differing from a phone conversation.

It’s often public and less personal, while phone calls or text messages are more private and direct.

So, your ex might prefer maintaining a more personal connection with you, but publicly, they want to display a certain image – that they’re the ones who initiated the breakup, that they’re ‘winning’ the breakup, and so on.

Practical Considerations

Then, of course, there are the practical considerations.

There might be valid reasons for keeping your phone number unblocked.

For instance, you might have shared responsibilities or mutual friends. We often see this with people who live together or work together. They can’t merely block your phone number because there may be instances when they need to contact you.

We’ve also observed ‘pogo-sticking’ behavior where an ex will block and unblock you intermittently, which can be quite challenging to deal with.

Later in our discussion, we will delve into how to handle an ex who blocks you on social media.

But first, let’s discuss the fourth and final reason why exes might block you on social media but not your number:

Emotional Ambivalence

Emotional ambivalence means they might still have feelings for you and are unsure about how final the breakup truly is.

Therefore, they choose to keep one line of communication open. This concept aligns with what I previously mentioned regarding social media detachment.

Some exes might not be entirely over you or may be uncertain about their feelings. This behavior is consistent with what we’ve observed from those with avoidant attachment styles.

From my experience, those who are emotionally ambivalent often block your phone number, and then, once you’re out of sight and mind, they start feeling nostalgic.

That’s when they unblock you.

(Again, I point to avoidant nostalgic reverie for this one,)

Of course, the million dollar question you are probably dying to have answered is,

What The Heck Do I Do If My Ex Blocks Or Removes Me On Social Media?

All right, we’re aware of the statistics.

Roughly 37 to 40% of exes are going to block you on social media. But the question remains: what should you do?

Well, the recommended action at this point is to continue posting on social media as if you weren’t blocked or removed. This approach might seem counterintuitive, but let’s delve into some more statistics.

A few years ago, a woman working on her graduate study at the University of Western Ontario found that nearly 90% of Facebook users check their exes’ profiles after a breakup.

That’s an astonishing figure, and as far as I can tell the percentage includes exes who have blocked you or removed you from their social media.

To support this further, one of our unique advantages is that my team and I have access to a multitude of people going through breakups, many of whom have been blocked.

A couple of years ago, I posed a question to them: ‘For those of you who’ve been blocked by an ex, how many of your exes ended up unblocking you?’ The answer was staggering.

68% of those who were blocked reported that their exes unblocked them without them having to do anything.

And if you look at the graphic above you’d see that roughly 17% of people cite the “pogosticking effect.”

So, as peculiar as it might sound, sometimes the best strategy when blocked is simply to wait it out. This isn’t a popular answer, but the statistics back it up.

But, I know that answer won’t suffice so here’s what I would do, be actively posting on social media. I can’t stress this enough. If you’re skeptical, all you need to do is go to our podcast and listen to the success stories of people who were initially blocked but managed to turn the situation around.

But if you are too tired or not in the mood to listen to a success story let me save you the trip,

People who have been blocked often report, after they get their exes back, that their ex admitted to still spying on them. They either used a friend to keep tabs on them or intermittently unblocked them to check on their activities (once again the pogo sticking effect makes an appearance.)

This is why I always advise my clients to cycle through five categories with their social media posts.

  1. A health based post
  2. A wealth based post
  3. A relationships based post
  4. A magnum opus based post
  5. A free for all post

You should continue to post as if you aren’t blocked or removed, because if you play the odds, it’s likely your ex will still pay attention to you. Even if they don’t directly pay attention, the key aim of social media posting is to build a groundswell of support, to get other people to notice you and create social proof, which will eventually reach your ex through the grapevine.

And yes, before you roll your eyes I have seen this happen.

So let’s talk more about these five categories?

I frequently discuss these in relation to social media posts.

I’m a firm believer in the Holy Trinity concept, which I developed. It entails dividing your life into three distinct aspects—health, wealth, and relationships—and elevating those areas in any way possible.

Additionally, I often discuss the concept of the Magnum Opus on Ex Boyfriend Recovery. The Magnum Opus is supposed to represent the intersection of health, wealth, and relationships—the one thing that can positively impact all three areas of your life.

Finally, you have the freedom to post whatever else you want.

To recap, I recommend posting about five different categories every week: a health-based post, a wealth-based post, a relationships-based post, a Magnum Opus-based post, and a post of your choosing.

The idea is to maintain consistency and interest in your posts while also improving yourself in the process. Sticking to this schedule and gradually working up to one post per day is likely the best strategy for dealing with an ex who has blocked you on social media.

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