Stalking 'the ex'

It's a running joke to be eight months deep into your partner's ex's Instagram trying not to accidentally hit the 'like' button. Your friends will also spend a bit of time telling you that you're way prettier than they are. Why has social media become such an instrument to inflict this torture on yourself of stalking 'the ex'? Label discusses the worries of the effects this kind of behaviour might have. 


A few weeks ago, my sister was telling about her new boyfriend, who seems extremely kind and likes her a lot. 

‘But’, she said, ‘his ex-wife is a model.’

‘So?’ I asked. ‘She must be his ex for a reason!’

‘Yeah’, she replied, ‘well, I’m going to look her up on Instagram.’

I wondered: why do we do this to ourselves? Why? WHY?

Internet stalking has become a relationship phenomenon with the dawn of Instagram and Facebook. While these can be great social platforms, they have become a bit of a tool to search out people who we would not call our friends. It has given us the power to view peoples’ lives incredibly intimately from a distance. Essentially, it has allowed us to find out information about our partners’ exes, when a kind fate would usually never allow our paths to cross. 

Finding out what they look like usually, no matter what their appearance or your own, results in us comparing ourselves to them. They become a mysterious figure of beauty, with every quality we wished we had in our own bodies. From there, we might delve further and reach snippets of their personality. They look more fun, sexy, happy, and interesting than we think we are.

I myself, a few years back, began to realise that periodically looking at my boyfriend’s ex’s Instagram was becoming very unhealthy. She had become a living embodiment of everything that I thought that I was not. I would obsessively wish that my body looked like hers, until I realised - that’s not really her. What I was seeing was a heavily edited, one-sided glimpse into the best parts of somebody’s life, somebody I felt like I knew but actually didn’t at all.

Why does it even matter? If we are happy in our relationships, we should be accepting that this person might have an ex, but that that ended for a reason and we are the person in their life. If we feel so insecure, we should be turning our attentions and questions to what is happening inside our relationship, and not outside of it. Either way - internet stalking is not a relationship answer.