'I split with my boyfriend 6 years ago. I am completely obsessed with stalking his new partner on Instagram.'

Firstly, before anyone labels me a 'psychopath' – I would like to preface this by saying that stalking an ex’s new lover on Instagram is pretty bloody normal.

I dare say curiosity has gotten the better of you at some point in your life. And, if you have genuinely never felt the urge to even have a quick little peak at an ex’s new partner, well congrats on being an absolute saint (or a liar).

Humans are hard wired to be curious – I just so happen to be using my inquisitive nature to check what an ex’s new lady is up to occasionally. I’m well aware it’s not a sensible use of time, especially as well all try to cut back on our screen time. But, I simply can’t stop! Or, I can and just won’t.

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Well, at least I’m not alone. A Twitter thread posing the question. ‘Do you stalk your ex’s new flame on social media?’ was inundated with responses that verified that other people were also sleuthing on their ex’s new lover. Did she get some fresh highlights recently, a new car? I’d simply like to know.

It’s not that I am actively stalking her Instagram daily, I just like to keep sporadic tabs on things. Sometimes I’d click out a visceral need to see if they’re still happily together (update they are, and thriving). Other times, I check out of sheer boredom when commuting to work on the train, or more often than not, after one too many glasses of Rosé, oops.


It’s unlikely this is profound knowledge, but comparison is intrinsically rooted in almost all of our behaviours. Thousands and thousands of years ago it was used as a means of survival, now it’s a torturous way to see where we stand in social settings, workplaces and of course, online.

Feelings of comparison are only further exacerbated when there’s been romance involved.

Yet, despite knowing deep down that social media is a mere one per cent of a person’s life. The happy, exciting, filtered parts, it feels almost impossible to not equate even a small part of your worth with the faces on your screen. 

And, perhaps like me, you wanted to know how you compare to the hot new girlfriend of an ex from six years ago  – the only resource at hand: her Instagram.

Like a bruise, I delicately pushed and pushed – relishing in the discomfort that came with flicking through her photos at weddings, holding newborns and in tropical destinations; all with him by her side. I would sometimes wonder if things were different, perhaps that would be me.

I felt pangs of jealousy, of course – I am human. Initially, when I would flick through her photos, I would wonder incessantly if she made him happier than I did, if she was funnier (doubtful) and did he think she was significantly hotter than me. The thing is, the answer is probably yes to two out of three of those things and that’s a really good thing! 

As soon as I was able to come to terms with this, feelings of bitterness quickly drifted away, and in its place, I was filled with a sense of contentment. Now, I truly couldn’t be happier that my ex has found a gorgeous woman to spend the rest of his days with. Recently, I lurked her account and saw candid pictures of them smiling gaily in front of waterfalls in South East Asia. I didn’t feel even a pang of sadness. Actually, all I wanted to do was comment a few fire emojis because they looked so great.


In saying all this, do not, I repeat DO NOT do this in the midst of heartbreak! I guarantee seeing your ex and his new flame cosying up looking all hot and tanned at a music festival will make you feel very, very sad. It will fill you with a sadness that leaks into every part of your body and you’ll probably spend hours sobbing in your room listening to Lana Del Rey on repeat (I can confirm, I’ve been there).

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In this situation, I am completely fine because it’s been years; it ended on excellent terms and I now have a new boyfriend who is just wonderful. There is no part of me that wants to rekindle things, I simply want to know if she enjoyed that strawberry daiquiri she had last weekend at their anniversary dinner.

I can now engage with her content without reinforcing the insecurities I once felt, but instead, I can simply observe the one per cent of her life she chooses to share.

I probably won’t stop clicking on her profile from time to time, unless of course she reads this and blocks me because she thinks I’m insane (which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world).

And, who knows maybe on the odd occasion she finds herself on my Instagram too, browsing the eclectic collection of images I still have up from 2013.

Feature Image: Instagram @alisabittner_.

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