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Healthy Relationships
June 12, 2023
Why You Need to Unfollow [@YourEx]

Julieta Strugo

woman sitting on a couch in a dark room, looking sad while scrolling on her phone.

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Navigating the World of Social Media After a Breakup

Whether you love or hate social media, it’s part of our reality nowadays and plays a significant role in how people stay connected. But what about after a breakup, when we’re actively trying to disconnect from our ex rather than stay connected. 

Here are the three most common options for navigating social media following a breakup:

Social media break

Taking a full-blown social media break and deleting the app off of your phone (and logging out of your computer browser!) in the days, weeks, or even months after a breakup can be helpful as a way to avoid feeling unnecessarily overwhelmed by posts from friends, ex, or even going down your own memory lane on your feed.

Why should I consider this?

  • Give yourself time to focus on feeling the feelings (something my clients hear from me probably once a session). 
  • When we see so many posts giving a million different ways to “get over them,” we may inadvertently take it as a sign that “I already need to be over my ex.” And while yes, that moment will eventually come, it’s okay to give yourself time to sit in the sadness, anger, and grief before you make a move to move forward

Unfollow your ex and/or block them

Remember that who you welcome into your social media world is your choice, and you don’t need to keep people on there. The same thing goes for who you follow – social media can be hard enough, so ultimately, you can choose whose content you want to see on your feed and cultivate a more positive social media environment.

By not following your ex, you can open Instagram without holding your breath, worrying that you’ll accidentally see a post or story of them when you’re unprepared to see it.

Why should I consider this?

  • Especially for folks who need a clean break from their ex, this can be a really direct way to remove them from your life (and routine, especially if they have private profiles - removing the urge to check in on them from the root)
  • While there are ways to mute an ex, especially if you’re anything like me and sometimes have a hard time with self-restraint, this is a way to really make sure that you’re stopping temptation in its tracks because there’s just no way to check


For some folks, unfollowing an ex can feel like a drastic move. Sometimes muting your ex and their friends can be a middle ground so that you’re not worried about how it will come off while also reaping the benefits of not being blindsided and seeing a post on your feed. This can give you control of when you may see pictures of your ex and updates on their life and give you a chance to make sure you’re in a comfortable place to seek out that information more intentionally.

Why should I consider this?

  • This can be a middle ground if you do not want to make a more “permanent” decision
  • It still gives you some distance from posts
  • With this strategy, it’s essential to be mindful of how often you go into their profile to check “What have I missed?”
  • Risking checking more often than it would pop up naturally on your feed and heading into potentially more harmful territory
  • If you’re noticing this, it may be time to re-explore if this is really working for you 

After a breakup, navigating social media can be quite a journey. Just like any wellness decision you make, it's crucial to prioritize what makes you feel comfortable and safe, ensuring your well-being stays top of mind. Brace yourself for the rollercoaster of extreme emotions that follow a breakup—sadness, anger, hope, and change can collide in a whirlwind of intensity. In this transformative phase, granting yourself the gift of self-reconnection becomes so important.

So many individuals I've worked with express a sense of disconnection from their true selves. That's when taking a bold leap and going on a full-on social media hiatus comes into play. By freeing yourself from the pressures and expectations, you can indulge in well-deserved moments of rediscovering old passions, exploring new interests, and nurturing the most important relationship—the relationship with yourself. Who knows, this break might just introduce you to an exciting new version of you!

With this in mind, even if you’re taking a break from socials, that doesn’t mean you need to take a break from being social – friends, family, therapy, and other connections can be so important to lean on in transitional times. The end of your relationship does not mean the end of opportunities to connect meaningfully with people in your life. 


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