How do I deal with my ex-boyfriend's (who I dumped) new girlfriend being everywhere?
February 16, 2009 12:08 PM   Subscribe

I dumped my boyfriend about a year ago and even though things are amiable, I can't help but be annoyed by his new girlfriend. We haven't ever had a conversation, but for whatever reason, it boils my blood to see her all over Facebook, tagging him in photos and friend-ing all of our mutual friends. I don't think this is jealousy, but I'm not sure how to deal with my absolute annoyance. Is this normal behavior?
posted by patientpatient to Human Relations (38 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You're not annoyed by your ex's new girlfriend. You're annoyed he's over you.
posted by logicpunk at 12:10 PM on February 16, 2009 [29 favorites]

This a byproduct of Facebook. Spend less time there or block her so she's not visible.
posted by availablelight at 12:12 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

You dumped him and he's over you. You're jealous. I don't know what else you want us to tell you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:12 PM on February 16, 2009 [9 favorites]

You have absolutely no right to be annoyed by anything he's doing as he moves on with his life. You dumped him. He got over it; you obviously have not.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:14 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

It is jealousy - just not directed toward her as a person, but rather toward her as your replacement. You dumped him, now he's over you and you're jealous of that, with her as the more immediate target of that jealousy. This is entirely normal, though certainly not a feeling to encourage or cultivate.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:14 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Agreed with logicpunk - did he linger around after you broke it off, and now he's finally moved on?
If it's that much of an annoyance you can minimize the amount of updates of your ex you receive.
posted by helios410 at 12:15 PM on February 16, 2009

I had a eerily similar issues recently, so I just deleted them both off facebook, and purged all the feelings I had about the situation in a text file full of crap. Worked wonders.

I was mostly torn up about it because I couldn't figure out why I cared. I had dumped him (and felt great about it!) and loathed her already because of this. Objectively I felt they deserved one another, but I still couldn't 'get over it'. Imagine how I felt after the boyfriend I mentioned in that post ended up with the roommies SO? Kind of a shit show. Trust me, writing out all the unreasonable feelings and things I could never tell anyone because it just sounded so 'stupid', really, really, really helped. I saved the file to a remote corner of my portable HD and have never felt more free.

Best of luck.
posted by sunshinesky at 12:16 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

I second availablelight. I quit facebook (not quit entirely but haven't logged in for the past 3 weeks) for a similar reason. Facebook shoves this kind of information in your face all the time whether or not you want to see it. I would suggest one of two things:

a) Take a little time out from Facebook
b) Go to your privacy settings and set it to show (almost) nothing about your ex for a while.
posted by special-k at 12:17 PM on February 16, 2009

Is this normal behavior?

I don't think it's completely abnormal. Of course you know that you shouldn't really be feeling this way seeing as you ended it, but the fact is that you are. It does sound like some kind of jealously and, even though you dumped him, feelings aren't neat and tidy. I would recommend taking a break from facebook, in the real world this would be less of an issue for you, I'm sure.
posted by ob at 12:18 PM on February 16, 2009

This is one of the things that happens when you break up with someone. They move on. They date other people. You may or may or not feel jealous as a result. Them's the breaks.

You don't want that to happen, either 1) don't break up with them, or 2) don't date them in the first place. You don't get to choose "I move on but he stays crushed forever," because not only do you have no control over that, but wanting it makes you a bad person.

How do you deal with it? Use the "Less about x" option on your feed if you don't want to unfriend/block.
posted by valkyryn at 12:18 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

availablelight is right- this is a classic Facebook byproduct. Use your settings wisely, so that you don't scratch at those old wounds every time something new shows up on your newsfeed.
posted by lifeofthunder at 12:19 PM on February 16, 2009

It's hard to say without knowing why you dumped your boyfriend. Maybe it's not her... maybe it's him, and you feel like he doesn't deserve happiness? But honestly, from what little you've told us, this really sounds like basic jealousy. You can be over him and not be over the fact that someone used to be "yours" and isn't anymore. I suggest eliminating him from your Facebook friends, frankly. You can always tell him it makes you uncomfortable to see what's going on in his private life (or that he can see what's going on in yours).
posted by katillathehun at 12:20 PM on February 16, 2009

I don't think this is jealousy, but I'm not sure how to deal with my absolute annoyance. Is this normal behavior?

It is a little normal -- or at least understandable. It's pretty understandable that, even if you are over someone, that you still may not really be comfortable with the idea that THEY may also be over YOU as well. Secretly, we all kind of want to move on and be great ourselves, and can kind of get a kick out of the fact that we've left our exes behind pining for us. It's kind of an ego boost.

...Except your ex isn't doing that, and that kind of...smarts.

Plus, because we dated these guys, we have some intimate knowledge of what it is like to date them -- what it is like to receive that kind of attention from them. We know what they are secretly like when they are being all romantic and schmoopy -- and when we're with them, it's a secret side of them that only we are getting to see and that just makes us exclusive and special -- and then suddenly now someone else is in this exclusive club, and that just also feels kind of weird.

Mind, I'm not a psychotherapist, I've just been in this very position twice now; I've stayed friends with 3 of my exes now, and one started dating his current girlfriend only ONE MONTH after we broke up. Which sucked just as much as you think it does....but I realized, after a month of moping, that honestly, I didn't want him back, I just wanted him to shut up about talking about her every five minutes; and I figured out that this was why. In another case, my ex had a number of short-term relationships after me, and I was similarly hinky around them.

Fortunately, I can attest that it does go away. In both cases, we're all friends now; one ex is still with that girlfriend, and we're all cool with everything, and in another ex's case he's single again and those subsequent girlfriends all went on to other guys and it's all water under the bridge now. (One of those subsequent girlfriends and I discovered that we also had dated two OTHER guys in common, and now we joke about that.) But it took a little time and distance -- my most recent ex and I made a pact that we actually wouldn't tell each other about any kind of dating we were each doing unless it was getting really serious, because knowing about any casual thing would just feel weird. But in time we'll each be able to handle it; and in time you'll be able to get past this. But for now, it is normal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:23 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

You're not jealous, clearly don't want him because you dumped him. It's just that you don't want him to have anyone else- you want him to spend the rest of his life obsessing over you, and maybe be there as a backup if you're ever in need.

"Normal" is a big spectrum, and certainly a lot of people behave like this. I think the better questions would be "is this fair?" and "is this a mature way to feel?"- the answers to both of which would be "no" in my opinion.

But yeah, if you just don't want to see them on Facebook, block them on Facebook.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:28 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

You have absolutely no right to be annoyed by anything he's doing as he moves on with his life. You dumped him. He got over it; you obviously have not.

I agree with the general opinion that yes, you are jealous. But I don't think you "have absolutely no right." Emotions don't work this way. You're jealous, shit happens. The important question is: what are you going to do about it? Stoke the fire or make a real effort to decrease the visibility of those who annoy you (a.k.a. make you jealous)? It can be easy to provoke yourself into feeling jealous at the situation, like picking a scab, I understand. But if you don't want to be jealous it's up to you, not your ex-boyfriend or his new girlfriend. Nthing all the folks who say to tweak your Facebook settings so you see less of those two.
posted by dubitable at 12:30 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Upon further thought, maybe a good way to proceed would be to just not worry what it is exactly you are feeling...jealously, annoyance, anger, whatever...the point is really what you're going to do about it. In any case removing them from your view as much as possible is the only solution, really. That's my further 2 cents.
posted by dubitable at 12:32 PM on February 16, 2009

Lessons in humility never have a pleasant taste - but they're good for you. Swallow this one, privately wish them as much well as you think they deserve, then stop paying attention to them.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:40 PM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]

You have absolutely no right to be annoyed by anything he's doing as he moves on with his life.

I also disagree with this. You have a right to feel however you feel, and honestly probably not a ton of control over it either. What you do have control over is how you act in response to those feelings. You're absolutely allowed to feel the way you do (and incidentally, I'd say from my experience that those feelings are normal). On the other hand, you have no right to try to string him along to get back those feelings of being wanted. You have no right to try to mess up his relationship so you feel better. See the difference? What goes on in your head doesn't always make sense and isn't always fun. What you act out IS within your control, so be responsible about it. Part of this is limiting your viewing of them on facebook (as others have suggested) because it will give your emotions a chance to settle down.
posted by vytae at 12:41 PM on February 16, 2009

My ex-girlfriend unfriended me just to avoid this. There are plenty of options to get away from this - they're been posted up-thread.

Yes, this is normal. Yes, it's not rational. No, there isn't much you can do about it. Even though I'm getting married in May, I still have trouble with the idea that one of my ex-girlfriends is with some other guy. Will that ever change? Hopefully. Does it make it a bad feeling to have? No.

I just avoid that. I avoid picking at that old wound - and occasionally, I trip, and it reopens, because I see her name, or her face somewhere where I wasn't expecting it. Yeah, it sucks. But you know what? Each time that happens, it gets a little better.

I'm over her, but it still hurts. That's just the way we're wired.
posted by SNWidget at 12:42 PM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]

A year ago? nthing that this almost strictly a FB problem.
posted by fixedgear at 12:48 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I can't help but be annoyed...

Yes you can. You're not a slave to your emotions.
posted by desjardins at 12:52 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

It is jealousy, yet it is normal behavior. Not a fun place to be in, but I would do my best to put as much space as you can between you and move on. The amiable friends thing? Not a good idea.
posted by mgarnhum at 12:58 PM on February 16, 2009

I usually don't have a problem with this kind of thing but one of my friends exes set out to cut me out of all of our mutual friends lives and generally went all Single White Female. It took me a while to figure out why I was so irritated by her, but then people started asking me about stuff she'd said, for example that I wanted to move on and get all new friends. Then she moved into my old house and cut her hair like mine and suddenly it all became clear why she had bugged so much.......

So if your feelings are more about the girl herself than the ex, maybe you are subconsciously picking up some competitive vibes from her or noticing people's attitude to you subtly changing after they meet her.
posted by fshgrl at 1:23 PM on February 16, 2009

Something similar happened to me, with a bit of a twist. A once close friend "unfriended" me, but because we have mutual friends, I sometimes see his comments about their status, etc. on my home page. It was very hurtful. I could either unfriend all of those folks (seems a bit rude), or disable my account (not as drastic as deactivating it). I chose the latter, and I figure I'll give the wounds time to heal and log back on, or... not. I've found life is surprising livable without Facebook.

One thing: it was a pain in the ass, but I emailed everybody on my friends list and told them I was going to take a break because Facebook was interfering with work. I didn't want them to think I'd unfriended them (damn, that's a silly word). This took awhile, because Facebook only lets you send emails to 20 recipients at a time, but fortunately I didn't have that many friends to begin with (sniff).

Anyway, I'm positive I made the right decision for me.
posted by Evangeline at 1:25 PM on February 16, 2009

I blocked my ex from my Facebook. Problem solved. It's remarkably thorough, and the only time I have to see his name (and only his name) is when someone tags him on a note I'm also tagged on.

It's definitely jealously on your part. New girlfriends are supposed to have photos with their boyfriends, and tag them and post them and make friends with his friends. His friends (your mutual friends) probably don't mind, and might even (*gasp*!) like her. Get over it, or block him, but don't take it out on the new girl.
posted by booknerd at 1:42 PM on February 16, 2009

You're not a slave to your emotions.

This bears repeating and expanding on.

What this doesn't mean: "God you're a failure for letting yourself be stupidly and irrationally emotional."

What this does mean: "You no longer have to make yourself vulnerable to your own emotions."

Last year, I realized that I had an unhealthy relationship with my blog. (And more specifically, with people who read it.) So I tuned out. And I tuned into the real world. And I spent time doing things that were healthy and positive and productive. Recently, when I stepped back into the world of the interweb, I was much better equipped to set appropriate boundaries. I was no longer stuck dealing with whatever emotional fallout I decided to subject myself to on any given day.
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:45 PM on February 16, 2009

I occasionally have the sorta silly fantasy that facebook will ultimately make us all more mature because we'll have to deal with these kinds of feelings about things a little more often and more directly, and so we'll have to get over them... yes, it sounds like you're experiencing jealousy of a certain sort, and yes it can be annoying to feel something you don't think you would or should feel about someone, but emotions can be weird like that. That doesn't mean it's impossible to recalibrate, so to speak, and adapt to the new reality (to get over it, in other words) - it might just take a some time or introspection.

If you have time to give the issue attention, you can try to think about why it is bothering you particularly - perhaps some part of you liked the idea that you dumped him, and were therefore in control, and you don't like that you seem to have lost any control in his life now - etc. If you don't want to get into complicated psychiatry, you can always just defriend him or change the privacy settings you have with him.
posted by mdn at 2:14 PM on February 16, 2009

It's normal to feel this way. It's a huge punch to one's ego, as EmpressCallipygos mentioned. Put your feelings into words. It's not jealousy, but it probably is a blow to know emotionally what you already know logically: you aren't the only girl for your ex; you aren't the only girl who can be special and one-of-a-kind in a relationship, much less his. We all know these things in our heads, but our hearts usually need to see proof of this before we grumble and accept it. It hurts and makes us angry when we realize this, even if we are romantically over the other person. It's not a romance thing. It's an ego thing.

If because of your mutual friends, you don't feel removing him from your Facebook friends is an option, consider blocking his new girlfriend. You might also consider giving him a limited version of your profile, because--face it!--it's not this new girl you're angry at. You're angry at your pained ego and, really, at your ex. Even the most amicable of breakups have these feelings every once in a while, I think. Giving him a limited version of your profile would probably make you feel like you're taking a bit more control over how you're seen.

Really, though, I recommend just deleting him from your friends. If mutual friends say anything, tell them it's not their business or their ex-relationship. You can say that kindly, but assertively.

I'm really not sure why, in recent years, there has been a push to remain friends with exes. They become our exes for a reason--we ultimately really didn't like something about them! Unless you were great friends before, in which case a healthy friendship may be possible again, I'm not sure why you would wish to retain, much less maintain, a friendship with your ex, mutual friends or not. You don't have to be mean to an ex, but why bring drama into your life, unnecessarily? All of this could have been avoided if you (and many others like you who feel they need to be friends with an ex) would just cut ties when it's all done, and only talk when out with mutual friends.

It's over. You're not going to get back together. He's got another girl. Help yourself move on by deleting him from your list.
posted by metalheart at 2:40 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I don't think this is jealousy...

You thought wrong.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:53 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Just remove them both from your Facebook friends. You shouldn't have to see these updates every day.
posted by ye#ara at 2:58 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I had these feelings for awhile after I graduated college - it got me really upset to see people I was acquaintances with having fun, partying, etc. without me. I just went on a facebook break until they all graduated and now I feel a lot better. In your case, I recommend un-friending them. It's your right, nay your responsibility.

I also got really angry and jealous when this guy I dumped in college started dating another girl within 48 hours. It may not be rational, but in my experience it's completely normal.
posted by muddgirl at 3:08 PM on February 16, 2009

Totally fine, totally normal, take them both out of your facebook friends list. Or stop reading facebook.
posted by empath at 5:06 PM on February 16, 2009

I don't think this is jealousy, but I'm not sure how to deal with my absolute annoyance. Is this normal behavior?

Yes, it is jealousy. Yes it is normal behavior. We are animals. As animals we often want to control others we loved and with whom we were intimate. The good news is, you don't have to do a thing about it. Everytime you think thoughts, just remind yourself that those thoughts come from your animal side and accept them. There's no need to either act on them or emote when you have them. Just see them for what they are and move on. If you find you are having them a lot it usually means that you are trying to distract yourself from thinking about something else.

Next time you ramdomly check out his facebook page, ask yourself what you were thinking about just before you did that. Usually that's what's really bothering you.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:59 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yup, it's jealousy. And I suffer from the same thing. Since my ex and I had a perfectly amicable (albeit painful) breakup, I just called him once and told him that I was going to un-friend him on Facebook. He was perfectly cool with it. And three months later, we are still not friends on Facebook. If we were, it would be too much of a temptation for me to see what he's up to, who he's hanging out with. I know myself. So we chat on gmail occasionally and swing an email to each other every once and a while. None of that FB crap.

Unfriend him and tell him no hard feelings. Good luck!
posted by cachondeo45 at 6:21 PM on February 16, 2009

I think it's been said a dozen times, but you're jealous, he's moved on, and it sounds like you haven't quite moved on fully yet. It's absolutely normal. It'll pass. Or you'll go crazy, and be known as the crazy stalker ex, or something. Time will tell. Stop checking Facebook - maybe unfriend him temporarily - it'll help.
posted by talldean at 9:04 PM on February 16, 2009

I don't think this is always entirely jealousy. You may be judging her more harshly than you would another acquaintance because you see her as your replacement. When she is tagged in a stupid photo on Facebook, you imagine yourself in that same photo, and you're disgusted. When you see her write something sweet on his wall, you realize you can't imagine yourself writing the same thing and you feel inadequate and competitive. It might help to remind yourself that she isn't you.
posted by the jam at 10:07 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't think this is jealousy

Nope, i'm pretty sure this is exactly what it is. Just block him/her on Facebook and live your life. Really, Facebook is all kinds of stupid.
posted by chunking express at 9:14 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

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