If you’re wondering how to stop stalking your ex online, chances are you’ve taken the first step towards eliminating this habit from your life and moving in a more positive direction. As with any habit that we are looking to cut back on, the first step is self-awareness of the fact that this compulsive behavior is something that needs to change.
Definition of Online Stalking
When learning how to stop stalking your ex online, an understanding of what is considered online stalking will help you know when you are crossing a line. Online stalking or cyber-stalking can be defined as the unwanted and repeated digital surveillance and/or contact of a particular person or group. Stalking predates the existence of the internet, but participation in stalking has increased exponentially with the creation of tools like social media and the internet. Cyber-stalking is a serious matter and is attributed to creating a sense of fear, stress, and helplessness within victims.
Why Does My Ex Stalk Me Online?
It’s human nature to be curious about other people, whether they are part of our lives or not. But when this curiosity develops into habitually checking up on someone digitally, it’s usually time to do some self-reflection. Most people in this age have asked the question ‘why does my ex stalk me online?’ at one point or another. If you discover that your ex is stalking you online, this can often mean that they are looking to re-initiate communication with you, or that they are curious about the status of your well-being in relationships, finances, and more. This type of behavior can occur around significant life events, or in more serious cases can develop on a more routine basis.
How to Stop Stalking Your Ex Online?
If you have realized that you are, or have been stalking your ex online, know that this past behavior doesn’t define your future actions. If you feel like you can’t stop checking up on your ex, understanding that this is a form of addiction will help you to take your recovery very seriously.
Modern online social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are built to give users a large boost in dopamine levels, which can lead to a depleted state once the initial boost has subsided. The human brain also provides dopamine when we see familiar faces, especially with people we care deeply about. The combined effect of these stimuli can lead to highly-depleted states of dopamine, especially if you feel that there is no reciprocity in your feelings towards an ex, and will lead you to feel like you just have to check on their profile again to feel better.
In order to kick this behavior, it’s best to find other activities that can provide your brain with positive feedback and replace the old bad habit. Instead of sitting around thinking ‘don’t stalk my ex’, start focusing on new activities, hobbies, friendships, and ideas to occupy your mind. Relationships are always tricky, and if you’re feeling down about a relationship you’ve had, just know that you’re not alone and people have been going through what you’re currently feeling for millennia. Speaking about your struggles with a trusted friend or colleague can also help to alleviate negative feelings and strengthen new relationships.
If you’re feeling unsafe because someone is stalking you online, you don’t have to go through this alone. Here at Digital Investigations, we highly recommend reporting any complaints to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). If a minor is involved you can contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) for support. If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening situation, call 988 for immediate help.