It’s pretty fucking confusing when your ex broke up with you but still stalks your Instagram.
On one hand – it keeps her memory alive and fresh and fuels your desire to seek her – to check her Instagram, to investigate further instead of prioritizing your recovery. It raises more questions than it answers – sure you know she’s looking, but why?
And all too often, these unasnwered questions keep that brief kernel of hope alive – hope that the relationship is not over yet. Hope that you can still get her back if you have a plan.
The Curious Case Of The Burner Instagram Accounts
There’s one particular client I’m currently working with who has had this happen more than once. After his ex broke up with him, he went no-contact and his ex-girlfriend blocked him on Instagram. Without really thinking about it, he kept his profile public.
But as the weeks rolled by, something wasn’t adding up.
Every time he posted a story, he noticed several Instagram profiles that began regularly viewing his stories. Some of them he recognized right away – his ex-girlfriend’s sister, and some of her friends. But as he drilled deeper, there was one burner account that consistently watched every story he put up.
Through some clever (but not recommended) detective work, he deduced that at least one of the burner accounts was exactly who he suspected it was: his ex-girlfriend. The woman who broke up with him was stalking his Instagram.
This threw my client through a loop. On one hand, his ex-girlfriend had made no effort to reach out during the no-contact period, yet here was 100%, rock-solid proof that she was still keeping in touch – even if it wasn’t directly.
She was stalking his Instagram.
What could this possibly mean, my client wondered?
And to make things even more confusing, he found out she had unblocked his main account.
On one hand, she had given him every indication that she wanted nothing to do with him. She didn’t want to discuss the breakup. She claimed she had nothing to say. Moreover, she had told him that he needed to move on.
Naturally, my client was confused. His ex telling him to move on when she was the one watching all of his Instagram stories?
It didn’t make sense to him, and it probably doesn’t make sense to you.
If you find yourself in the same situation, I completely understand why you feel hopeful, confused, or even a bit angry.
So let’s dive into why she’s stalking your Instagram, what it means, and what you should do about it.
Let’s break this down.
How to Tell if Your Ex is Stalking Your Instagram
Going forward, we’re going to define Instagram stalking as any repeated, non-accidental attempt to gain information about your life through Instagram without your consent. Currently, there is no clinical definition of what is considered unhealthy when it comes to social media.
While it’s going to be impossible to say if many of these are true for sure, you can be at least reasonably sure your ex is stalking on Instagram if:
1: She Views All Of Your Instagram Stories Or Highlights
If you see her profile popping up on the list of people who consistently view your story, or your highlights – she’s stalking your Instagram.
This is the clearest and most definite of the signs, but it is far from the only one.
2: She Uses Burner Accounts To Follow Your Profile / View Your Stories
If, after your ex broke up with you, you notice multiple strange, fake, or questionable profiles pop up in your followers – one of them may be your ex-girlfriend, or her friends. More on that in just a minute.
Why is she using burner accounts to follow you or view your stories instead of using her main profile? It could be because:
- To avoid admitting she’s curious about you: If she broke up with you, using a fake profile gives her plausible deniability if you confront her. She can claim that she doesn’t care about you (when she really does).
- To distance herself emotionally: Burner account = separation. Because it’s different, somehow if she uses the burner (it’s not).
- Avoid awkward interactions: Especially if you see her in person, using a burner gives her a way to avoid you calling her out for continuing to keep tabs on you.
- She’s going to axe murder you: You fucked up, and she’s about to go full Kill Bill on your ass – and doesn’t want to leave a digital trail. I hope you’re a fast runner.
3: Her Friends and Family Follow You
If her Grandma comes out of the woodwork and starts watching your Instagram stories, you can be 100% confident that Grandma hasn’t replaced her shitty Fox dramas with some more refined viewing material.
Ditto for her friends. Even if they frequently viewed your stories and liked and commented on your posts before your ex broke up with you and the activity continues after the breakup you can be reasonably certain that someone is feeding her information.
Whether or not this is part of an NSA level information gathering program or not is up for debate.
4: She Follows Your Friends Or Family
It’s not a dead giveaway that she’s stalking you – but she may be searching for additional information on their accounts, especially if your account is set to private.
Pay attention, especially to your close friends. If you frequently appear in their stories and it just so happens she’s always looking when you do?
Use your imagination.
5: She Blocks Or Unblocks You At Random*
I added the asterisk because it isn’t always the case that her unblocking or blocking you at random doesn’t always mean she’s stalking your Instagram.
But it does go hand-in-hand with the behavior above.
Why Your Ex is Stalking Your Instagram
Now for the first slap in the face: just because she’s stalking your Instagram does not automatically mean she wants to get back together with you. In my course on how to get your ex back The Fundamentals, we discuss a concept called willingness to reconcile – which acts as a scale for how likely she is to get back together with you.
Passive engagement with your life (following you, viewing your stories, liking or commenting on your posts) does not move the willingness needle because it’s indirect. It does not demonstrate intent that she wants to be an active participant in your life. It demonstrates she is content to consume your content – and that’s it.
Why do I need to say this?
Because all evidence suggests that it’s pretty freaking common for your ex to stalk you. One study suggested that anywhere from 23% of people compulsively cyberstalk an ex after a breakup  while another study suggested that up to 88% will check at least once or twice. The study also suggested that up to 70% of those who are blocked resort to alternate means of stalking, including burner accounts and friends’ profiles. 
Why is that the case?
Let’s look at what the research says – because it offers some interesting conclusions.
1: She’s Hurting
Just because your ex made the decision to break up with you doesn’t mean she isn’t hurting. I feel like I’m a broken record when it comes to saying this, but breakups have a way of hurting both people.
One 2015 study found that those with an anxious attachment style, as well as those who are deeply traumatized by the breakup, are more likely to engage in Instagram stalking. The same study does also suggest that distress (and stalking behaviors) tended to be more common among those who believed they were dumped, as opposed to those where the breakup was mutual, or initiated by them. 
Stalking your Instagram can be a way of maintaining closeness, reducing anxiety, and feelings of doubt and anxiety – even if she was the one that ended it.
As I’ve said before – it’s almost guaranteed that at some point, she will miss you.
2: The Breakup Isn’t Clear Clut
It’s not always clear whether or not a relationship is over or not. You might think so, but that’s not always the case. Research suggest that greater levels of relationship uncertainty (especially right after a breakup) lead to an increased likelihood of stalking. 
In other words, if she asked for space don’t be surprised if she’s stalking your Instagram.
3: She’s Checking On Your Relationship Status
One of the most common reasons for her stalking your Instagram is to see whether or not you’re still single – as this study indicates .
But wait Jack – you say, she broke up with me! Why does she give a shit?
It likely stems from curiosity – to see how you’re doing, or because (deep down) she wants to believe that she had some kind of impact on your life.
4: She’s Curious About You
Just because she broke up with you doesn’t mean she’s not curious.
It’s natural for her to have questions like:
- Who are these new friends he’s with?
- What is he doing?
- Is he hurting like I’m hurting?
- Is he moving on faster than I am?
- Is he “winning” the breakup?
Stalking you on Instagram is an easy, low-risk way to sate her curiosity.
Her curiosity may also be activated by seeing one of your posts, or stories in her feed, or seeing related content from a mutual friend’s story or post – as this study suggests.
Now I’m sure you’re inclined to think – hey, it’s no big deal. She’s stalking me! If I’m not stalking her, what’s the harm?
That’s where you’d be wrong.
There Are Consequences For You When She Ex’s Stalks Your Instagram
Remember the client I told you about at the beginning of this article? When he found out his ex-girlfriend was stalking his Instagram, it set him off. Questions cascaded one after the other, and his own surveillance of her Instagram increased. And this led to some not so great consequences, including:
1: It Can Worsen Your Ex-Girlfriend Addiction
If she’s constantly watching your stories – or finding other ways to keep up to date with you it can call into question what she’s really thinking and feeling.
As I discuss in my article about whether or not you’re addicted to your ex-girlfriend – these questions, and can make it worse.
It can also drive you to act outcome dependent instead of outcome independent – where you’re purposely posting shit because you know she’ll see it.
Don’t do that. You’ve got better shit to do than posting shit just to get a rise out of her.
2: It Makes It Harder To Accept The Breakup
Having her stalk you on Instagram can also make it difficult to move on and heal from the breakup. When you are constantly reminded that she exists, somewhere beyond a thin curtain where you can’t access her – it makes it harder to let go of her and focus on yourself.
Plus, it also invites you to respond in kind and creep on her Instagram. If she’s doing it, it’s not a big deal if you do it, right?
But it is a big deal.
And you know it.
Do you ever feel good after you look at her profile?
Somehow – I doubt it.
And the science supports this – multiple studies suggest that the more you stalk her in return (or otherwise engage with her on Instagram or other social media apps) the worse you’re going to feel. 
And considering the whole purpose of this site is to help you build long-term, masculine happiness – that just will not do!
So think twice before you hit her with the tit-for-tat.
3: It Can Also Worsen Your Anxiety
If you’re worried about whether or not she’s stalking your Instagram, it can lead to a constantly feeling of worry or anxiety – anxiety that you don’t measure up, that you’re being judged, or even a feeling that you are being watched.
If this is you (you know if it is) you need to really think about this shit. Having her stalk you on Instagram can have a significant, negative impact on your mental health. It can lead to anxious, obsessive thoughts that make it harder to move on.
Even worse, it can damage the critical outcome independence which you need in bunches if you want to get her back.
So how should you handle your ex stalking your Instagram? Should you call her out? Block her?
A Simple Plan For Handling When Your Ex-Girlfriend Stalks Your Instagram
One of the best things you can do after a breakup is to take a break from all things social media.
Take a 30-45 day complete fast from social media. Go black – whether you want your ex-girlfriend back or not.
During that time you can focus on yourself instead of putting together a pretty picture for her and all the world to see.
If you need help doing that, I’ve put together a guide on 8 ways you can focus on yourself right now.
Instead of focusing on what everyone around you is doing – and putting together a pretty picture for them all to see, you should be focused on yourself.
TLDR: She’s Stalking Your Instagram Because Hurting Or Curious – Don’t Let Her Feelings Pollute Yours
To quickly recap all the good stuff we talked about today:
- Instagram stalking is relatively common – and not necessarily a sign she wants to get back together with you.
- She’s likely stalking you because she’s hurting or curious.
- Instagram stalking from an ex can have negative consequences on your mental health and make it harder to move on from the breakup. Don’t assume that just because you’re not doing it, it’s not harmful.
- IG stalking can aggravate your ex-girlfriend’s addiction, make it harder to accept the breakup, and worsen your anxiety.
- Taking a break from all things social media, including Instagram, for 30-45 days can be one of the best things you can do after a breakup. This allows you to focus on yourself instead of constantly worrying about your ex’s behavior and the breakup.
- Focusing on yourself is critical to building long-term, masculine happiness and moving on from the breakup.
Hopefully, that answers your questions.
So think twice about reading into when she happens to pop up on your Instagram stories.
Heck, think twice before even getting on Instagram in the first place.
You’re better off cutting the cord – getting out of the matrix, and getting back into your own life.
Think about it my friend.
PS: Yes, this is the first post where I’ve fucked around with DALLE-2. We’ll see if this becomes a regular thing as I restart serious content creation.
 – McDaniel, B. T., Drouin, M., Dibble, J., Galovan, A. M., & Merritt, M. (2021, July 15). Are you going to delete me? latent profiles of post-relationship … Mary Ann Liebert Publishers. Retrieved February 20, 2023, from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/cyber.2020.0714
 – Lukacs, V. A. (2012, July 7). Western University [email protected] – ir.lib.uwo.ca. Western Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies . Retrieved February 21, 2023, from https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1938&context=etd
 – Fox, J., & Warber, K. M. (2013). Social Networking sites in romantic relationships: Attachment … Retrieved February 21, 2023, from https://www.cs.vu.nl/~eliens/sg/local/cyber/romance.pdf
 – Knobloch, L. K., & Solomon, D. H. (2002). Information seeking beyond initial interaction: Negotiating relational uncertainty within close relationships. Human Communication Research, 28(2), 243–257.
 – Veronika Lukacs & Anabel Quan-Haase (2015) Romantic breakups on Facebook: new scales for studying post-breakup behaviors, digital distress, and surveillance, Information, Communication & Society, 18:5, 492-508