Keeping virtual tabs on your partner isn't doing you any favors.
A recent article in Cosmo tells us that it "just got easier to stalk people on Facebook" in a rundown of the social media platform's newest features.
While the new Facebook features mainly involve selecting whose posts show up in your feed (and whose don't), this could mean it IS easier to keep tabs on your partner, your ex, your crush, or even the competition! It will now be quicker and simpler to stay informed about what particular people are posting ... and to do so secretly.
But is this a smart idea?
We've all been there. Doubts creep in. Suspicions and trust issues build up until you just can't take it anymore. You have to know what your partner really thinks or what he or she truly wants. You can't stand all of the questions running through your brain causing you to fear that your relationship is actually not OK and that your partner is either lying to you and having an affair or is on the verge of being stolen away by someone else.
Jealousy makes you say and do things you later regret. But, in the moment, stalking on social media feels like the only option to reassure yourself and find out what's really going on. When the urge to stalk or spy on your partner rises up, it can overwhelm and take over. The images running through your mind are upsetting and anxiety-producing, and they can literally RUIN your relationship.
The tricky thing about the urge to stalk is that, usually, it's not something you just made up. There are real reasons why those worries and fears are there — whether they are or aren't truly rooted in your current relationship.
When you're not caught up in an urge to stalk your partner, get clear about the difference between jealousy and signs the trust is breaking/broken. Everyone's different, but here are some general guidelines:
- Experiencing emotional intensity that's bigger than the situation means you might be jealous.
- When questions come out of your mouth in the form of demands or accusations, you may feel jealous.
- Doubts and fears that obscure everything else in your life may indicate jealousy.
- Certainty that you're somehow defective and that your partner is "destined" to lie and cheat may come from jealousy.
The most important guideline to follow when trying to differentiate between jealousy and signs that your partner is lying or cheating is to rely only on reliable, verifiable facts.
And so, here's the tricky part.
Stalking or spying on your partner is, potentially, a way to obtain facts. If you notice a troubling change in your partner's behavior or in the way he or she interacts with you, it's possible that it's in your best interest to check it out. This could mean you look more closely at your partner's social media activity as you investigate.
But here's the danger: Checking up on your partner — whether it's online or offline — is habit-forming, especially if you're prone to jealousy or you struggle with low self-esteem. Stalking can become the way you cope with your insecurities. For some people, it's an obsessive cycle of worrying and scrolling through his Facebook page.
It's never smart to stalk or spy when you're in a panic and "sure" that your partner is doing something wrong. Notice when red flags for lying and cheating crop up, but try not to take action from a place of fear and worry.
Calm yourself down FIRST and then decide what your next best step is. Use these seven strategies to deal with your overwhelming urge to stalk:
1. Call Your BFF And DON'T Talk About It
It's OK to let your bestie know that you're in a rough place, but don't dig yourself deeper into angst by going over every minute detail. Ask your friend to really support you by telling you it's going to work out or even distract you with humor.
2. Go Outside
The idea here is to clear your head and chill out. Wise decisions don't happen when they're made while you're confused and overwrought. Step outside and just stand there and breathe the fresh air. Look at the sky. Feel the ground beneath your feet.
3. Hit The Gym
Want another way to get out of your head and forget jealous worries? Move your body. Shift your attention to exercising in whatever way appeals to you. Not only is this a great stress-reducer, the endorphins released will lift your mood too.
4. Remember What's True
Review the facts you have before you choose to stalk or spy on your partner. Get out a piece of paper and only write down the information you can verify. Leave out your guesses and any rumors you've heard.
5. Return To The NOW
Recognize when you're reacting from something that happened in the past (either with your current partner or an ex). Come back to your literal surroundings and review what's true right now in your relationship.
6. Re-Connect With Yourself
Often, a jealous attack is the result of insecurity and distance between your jealous self and your secure self. Make regular time to re-connect with yourself. Find out what you enjoy (and what you don't). Get curious about what interests and excites you (and what doesn't). Above all, cultivate appreciation for yourself, wherever you are now.
7. Re-Connect With Your Partner
Distance from your partner can play bad head games and lead you to stalk or spy. If there's emotional or physical distance in your relationship lately, get clear about why that is. If you need to re-prioritizing your time, do that now. Create agreements with your partner that will help move the two of you closer together and build trust.
Don't let jealousy be the monster that kills your relationship! Our No More Jealousy program can be your guide to re-connecting with your partner and to a return to happiness. Get started today with our free 7 Jealousy-Stopping Secrets eBook.