It’s easy to understand why checking an ex's social media is so common. Even if your willpower is herculean, there are very low barriers to social media stalking. Because there is little cost in the form of actual interaction, it seems innocuous enough; but as most of us know, other costs such as jealousy and anxiety can be high.
This leads us to that most common of questions: how do I stop keeping tabs on my ex's new relationship?
An article by Scientific American sheds some light on how our earliest attachments to our caregivers might play into romantic relationships down the line. Though most people’s attachment profiles are quite nuanced, we know that there are four basic types of attachments.
Secure attachments, whether between an infant and a caregiver, or to a romantic partner later on, are based on reciprocal understandings. This is the kind of attachment we form when communication is clear enough for us to feel and know that most of our needs are being met.
Anxious-ambivalent attachment is the kind of bond that results in anxiety without the object of your attachment, but also an inability to be comforted by them. This suggests a lack of trust, perhaps caused by unclear communication. This is the kind of attachment that is most likely to land you on an ex’s Facebook page.
Anxious-avoidant attachment is a result of needs not being met, and is associated with emotional unavailability.
Disorganized attachment means that there is no clear pattern in attachment behavior, which essentially points to there being no attachment. It’s not so clear how this form of attachment plays out in adult relationships.
In a digital age, clearing your ex out of your life is no longer as simple as burning a box of photos. If you’re trying to cut back on unproductive social media stalking sessions (no judgment, we’ve been there), knowing how attachment attitudes that you probably formed early on in life may give you the insight you need. Before we can change our behavior, we must know ourselves.