Is Your Ex Still Keeping Tabs? Understand the Love and Emotion Behind It

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The Curious Case of an Observant Ex

You’ve broken up with your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. To you, the relationship is over. Done and dusted. You’ve moved on or are in the process of moving on. Then, you suddenly feel they are keeping tabs on you. If you are not one of the hopeless romantics, the first question that comes to your mind is “Why?” Even if you are a helpless romantic and find that your former partner is keeping tabs on you, you will definitely ask, “Why?” at some point. Because let’s face it, you will be curious about why they are doing that.

There are so many reasons as to “Why” your ex is observing you. Some do it out of curiosity, others out of love, and others do it just to know if the other has moved on. It can be both positive and negative.

Many would say their ex is monitoring them because they have not moved on and still want to be with them, watching and waiting for the right moment to approach them and initiate that conversation. While that might be the case, have you thought about the fact that they may be doing that to know if you are in or about to go into a new relationship?

No matter what it is, we are all humans, and the feeling of being watched is perplexing and discomforting, especially from someone we know.

Understanding why your ex keeps checking up on you requires some detective work. Continue reading to uncover the hidden motives behind their actions.

Why Is My Ex Keeping Tabs On Me?

When you find out your former partner is monitoring or keeping tabs on you, one of the first things you want to understand is why. You constantly ask yourself, “Why is my ex-girlfriend or boyfriend monitoring me?” “What is the motive?” “Why would they put me in this situation?”

There are endless reasons why, but to get an idea, here are six solid reasons:

1. Unresolved Feelings

You may wonder, “How does having unresolved feelings warrant my ex monitoring me?” When there are unresolved feelings or unfinished business during and after the breakup, your ex might be trying to make sense of that, and since they can’t talk to you directly, they feel like looking at you from afar is the best option. 

2. Seeking Closure

When two people break up, one or both need closure to move on and when they don’t get it, there is this uncomfortable or pricking feeling inside. Getting closure is like the missing piece of a puzzle that everyone craves after a breakup.

As a result, your ex’s motive for monitoring might be to get answers to unanswered questions or resolve unresolved feelings they struggle to make sense of.

3. Jealousy

Jealousy, also known as the green-eyed monster, is one thing any ex will feel when they realize you’ve moved on. They are jealous of how you are doing, how okay you are after the breakup, or if you are in a new relationship, about you and your new partner. So they monitor you to find out the reason for that new-found happiness.

4. Curiosity

We will all be humans, and we will never stop being curious beings. When we are curious about something, the best way to get an answer is to check it out. This means that your ex may be monitoring you because they are curious about you, how you are, and many more.

5. Regret

When you regret letting something go, you tend to follow it to know if it’s okay on its own. This might be the case for your ex. If they are the ones who initiated the breakup, they feel sorry about breaking up with you and are monitoring you to see if you are alright on your own or to know if the decision they made was the right one.

The Signs Your Ex Is Keeping Tabs On You Secretly

The signs are there! You just don’t know it or want to believe that your former partner is secretly watching you.

One of the best ways you deceive or lie to yourself is to refer to it as “a romantic gesture” or “your ex still missing you.” While that might sometimes be the case, the fact remains that they are secretly keeping tabs on you, for good or bad.

Here are the signs your ex is secretly watching you:

1. Coincidentally or Not-So-Unexpectedly Showing Up Where You Are

This is where you have the “Oh! Hello there! Surprised to meet you here” statement. When you bump into your ex, or they coincidentally or unexpectedly show up where you are (especially places you frequent), then you are being monitored.

Your ex has learned your routine or schedule and knows what time and date you will be there. So, they wait and suddenly “bump into you.” Next, you hear, “Hi, what are you doing here? I am just here to do some stuff. Such a coincidence we would run into each other,”

If this occurs more than once, then they are monitoring you.

2. You Heard That They Asked About You

Another way to know if your ex is watching you is if they are asking people, that is your family, friends, or anyone about you. These questions could be personal, what you have been doing lately, and more.

Many who have been told this see it as their former partner not being over them or still missing them, and they think that it is a nice and romantic gesture. While it may be so, it doesn’t remove the fact that they are secretly monitoring you.

3. You Get Increased Social Media Activity from Them

This is one definite way to know if your ex is secretly watching you. Their social media activity on your social media page increases. Since social media holds many of our old and new memories, they begin to watch for new things you post regarding what you are doing, your romantic status, and those you hang out with.

Here are some things that show your ex’s increased social media activity on your page:

  • They comment, like, or share your post more frequently.
  • They are always the first to watch your stories.
  • The emotions or comments they display on your posts are usually strong, especially the posts that indicate you may be moving on to a new relationship or are already in one.
  • They begin liking or commenting on old posts or pictures that they didn’t see when you were together.

While these may be harmless or a sign they want you back, this is an obvious indication you are being watched.

Decoding the Ex’s Intentions: Interest or Obsession?

There are loads of reasons behind your ex’s intention of keeping tabs on you, maybe to find closure, to know if you are in a new relationship, etc. But you need to ask yourself, “Is my ex keeping a tab on me out of simple interest or obsession?”

It can be a bit challenging to understand or know the difference between both, as both are done in the same way, but the experience of one is way more than the other.

With benign interest, your ex just wants to know how you are doing and how you have been coping after the breakup. This stems out of genuine curiosity. They may want to reminisce about old memories, leading them to monitor you on social media.

Also, their keeping tabs on you might be because they are looking for an opening to talk to you, just to be friends. It might be scary for you, but for them, that is the only solution to knowing when they can talk to you.

On the other hand, obsession is ten times the level of interest. While benign interest stems out of curiosity, obsessive behavior is often driven by negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, or insecurity.

When your ex is obsessed with you, they have an intense and sometimes unhealthy fixation on you. They excessively check your profiles, show up uninvited, and more.

In many cases, it’s all about control. They want back that control and possessiveness they had over you. Even if they don’t want you back, they don’t want anyone to have you.

Confused by your ex’s mixed signals? Unravel the mystery at ‘Why Is My Ex Hot and Cold?

The Role of Social Media in Post-Breakup Surveillance

Social media is the transformative world of connection but is now one of the biggest privacy-breaching technologies.

Social media has become one of the best places to share good, bad, and ugly memories. As a result, your ex can still see what you’re up to without much effort. They might see your updates, photos, or where you’ve been, even if you’re not talking directly.

You need to understand that social media blurs the line between what’s private and what’s public. Seeing what your ex is doing can be tough emotionally. It might make you feel uncomfortable or like you’re not able to move on.

Curious if your ex is testing you? Recognize the signs at “‘Signs Your Ex Is Testing You.”

Navigating the Emotional Impact of Being Watched

Here are some of the emotions you will feel or how you will be impacted knowing your ex is monitoring you

1. It Keeps You Stuck In The Past

The fact that your ex is keeping tabs on you or constantly monitoring you can cause you to be stuck in the past. You will not be able to move on. You will always relieve the hurtful times, which can hinder you from moving on. In other cases, it might trigger feelings of longing and sadness.

2. You Will always be Anxious

Knowing you’re being monitored can make you feel anxious. It can put you on edge. You will always be careful about what you do, who you meet, etc. You may even be anxious about dating again because of your ex.

3. You Will Not Be Able to Heal Properly

Since your ex is constantly hovering over you and reminding you of the past, in one way or another, you will not be able to heal properly. In most cases, it may take longer than it should have. For instance, if your healing process was supposed to take 30 days, because of your ex constantly monitoring you, it may increase to 60 days or more.

Strategies for Managing Feelings of Violation or Betrayal

While it’s challenging to manage your feelings of being betrayed or violated by your ex, you have to. Not for anyone but yourself. Here are strategies to implement:

  • Acknowledge the betrayal
  • Sit with your feelings
  • Limit your contact
  • Focus on what you need.

Strategies to Address an Ex’s Unwanted Attention

You may have told them to stop countless times, and now, you are wondering what you have to do to get them to stop giving you unwanted attention, online and offline.

Here are some essential strategies you can try out:

1. Direct Communication

You may have tried this before, but it is sometimes the most effective way to stop your ex’s unwanted attention. Have a candid talk with them. Provide them with a clear picture of what is happening. Tell them how their unwanted attention is making you feel. You could say that as much as you appreciate it, you don’t want it.

This is where you need to clearly and honestly communicate and set boundaries to respect your privacy. Note: Be firm but polite, and avoid engaging in unnecessary conflict.

2. Adjust Your Privacy Settings

On all your social accounts, change the privacy settings. With the privacy advancement on all social media platforms, you can limit who sees your profiles and posts. This restricts who you don’t want from viewing your content.

3. Limit Your Mutual Connection

This may seem drastic and highly uncomfortable, especially if you know them personally. Limit your social media mutual friends/connections by unfriending or unfollowing them.

One way to make it not seem too drastic is by sending them a DM about why you are unfriending or unfollowing them. This reduces the likelihood of your ex gaining access to information about you through indirect means.

4. Document and Report

Document everything, no matter how little. When it becomes too much to handle, that is your piece of helpful evidence. You could write out their advances or take videos, with or without their knowledge.

5. Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for support and guidance. Talk to people you know who can offer you the help you need.

6. Do Nothing

The first thing that would come to your mind when you read this would be, “What the heck. dude?” or “What do you mean by do nothing while I am being secretly monitored or harassed?”

It can be hard to comprehend and even harder to do, but it is very essential. Doing absolutely nothing. can be your superpower. Ignore them. Paying them no mind when they do what they do, no matter how it affects you or sounds like, can make it seem like they are punching the air.

When your ex does things like this, they are trying to get a reaction out of you. But you need to know that it is a trap. The more you react, the more they misbehave, and the more things are sure to escalate and get out of hand.

The best thing to do is to do nothing. Wait it out. Maintain your cool. You can quietly take action. You just have to live your life no differently.

When to Worry: Understanding Boundary Crossing

There is a difference between the normal curious-tab-keeping and borderline stalking. Yes, it is normal for your ex to be curious about what you have been up to post-breakup, but when it goes from being curious to boundary crossing, that is when you have to start getting concerned.

Just as there are signs to know that your ex is keeping tabs on you, so are there signs to show when it is time to take additional actions for your personal safety.

Some of these include;

1. Excessive Monitoring

This is not hard to miss. It is clear to see that your former partner is monitoring you – way more than they should. The signs include repeated checks on your social media profiles, constantly showing up unannounced where you are, or constantly asking your mutual friends about you.

You need to know that it is one thing for your ex to ask about you on a normal level (which is quite understandable), but when it becomes persistent, that is when you need to start worrying because that screams stalkerish.

2. Manipulation and Guilt-Tripping

Many exes are extremely good at manipulating and guilt-tripping the other whenever they can to either justify their actions or make you look bad. They begin emotionally blackmailing you, making false promises to change and do better, or gaslighting you.

3. Unwanted Contact

If your ex keeps contacting you even when you have said countless times they should stop, then that is worrisome. This could be through calls, texts, unsolicited visits at your home or workplace, and other forms of communication.

What this means is that your ex is disregarding your desire for space and, if not addressed, can escalate to harassment or stalking.

4. Making Threats

Don’t just take whatever hurtful thing your ex says to you as a “They are speaking out of hurt” or “They are just angry” eye. Don’t shrug off threats. Any form of threat, no matter how little, should be taken seriously. Also, take precautionary measures if your ex guy or girl is intimidating you.

5. Sabotaging and Vandalizing

One of the motives behind the monitoring is to know if you are seeing someone new, and if you are, they start sabotaging it. They have this mindset: “If I can’t have him or her, then no one else can.” Or “I don’t want her, but you can’t have her either.” They start displaying this unhealthy fixation that you need to be careful about.

The bottom line here is that your safety is paramount. If you ever feel threatened or uncomfortable, take swift and decisive action to protect yourself. Trust your instincts and seek assistance from authorities, your family and friends, or support networks when necessary.

Moving Forward: Regaining Your Sense of Privacy and Autonomy

After the whole ordeal, the next step is moving forward. Although it can be challenging or slow, you can do it. You can regain your sense of privacy and autonomy, but do it at your own pace. Do not rush the process. Let your heart and emotions properly heal from the privacy breach you encountered.

Here are ways you can move forward to regain your sense of privacy and autonomy:

1. Think about You and What You Need

Take the time to carefully think about yourself and what you need in terms of boundaries, values, and preferences. Think about what makes you most comfortable and how you want to be respected in any relationship. Think about what you can and can’t take or tolerate. The key to getting the answer to this is by being honest with yourself.

2. Cut off All Kinds of Ties to Your Ex

This can be painful, but it’s extremely important. Cutting off all kinds of contact with your ex can be a step forward to regaining your sense of privacy. With your ex completely and utterly out of your life, it’ll be like you can breathe again – a new breath of air and hope.

3. Set Boundaries

Just as you reset the privacy settings on your accounts, you should also reset the privacy settings in your life by setting clear boundaries. The boundaries you set should not just be for your ex but also for your new or future partners and friends.

4. Prioritize Self-Care and Healing:

Make self-care and healing a priority. The fact that you were being monitored, especially by your ex, might have shaken you up. Your emotions are already in overdrive; as a result, to move on, you have to calm the sea in your mind.

You could engage in activities that nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, such as exercising, being out in nature, pursuing your hobbies, etc. The most important thing is that you have to treat your precious self.

Conclusion: Embracing Your Journey Beyond the Breakup

Your ex’s behavior can leave an unsettling feeling inside of you that you sometimes wonder what that next course of action would and should be. Well, the first step is acceptance. Once you can accept, you can let go. Once you do that,  you will be able to view your ex’s behavior as part of your past and not something that determines your future.

You need to know that you are your own helper. You’re your own superhero. You have to be strong for you. Don’t let the doings of your ex hold you back from having a happy future. Encourage yourself.

While their behavior may stir up feelings of discomfort, uncertainty, or even fear, it’s important to recognize that you hold the power to shape your own narrative and determine your future happiness. Do the things that would make you grow and rediscover yourself. At the end of it all, you would see a better version of you emerge.

Resources:

  1. “Learn to identify the telltale signs your ex is in a rebound relationship and how to cope.”
  2. “Discover the unmistakable signs that indicate your ex will never come back and find closure.”
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About Alex

Alex Bert is an esteemed relationship coach with a specialization in marital counseling. With over 14 years of experience, Alex and his team have developed multi-lingual online programs that have positively impacted over 180,000 individuals globally. His approach, known for its effectiveness and often counterintuitive advice, is grounded in extensive real-world experience rather than theory. 

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