Help me stop e-stalking my ex
November 8, 2012 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Will you share some practical tips on how I can stop e-stalking my ex.

I am having a hard time stopping myself from checking my ex's blog.

I've blocked the ex in my IM and if we were on Facebook I'd put a block there too. But I have the blog address memorized and I am not aware of a way to block it on my iPhone browser. I've already dial back on playing on my phone and hide it in my purse when I'm at the office. But whenever I have to go online for something and the browser is opened I have to fight an intense urge not to type in the blog address.

I'm looking for practical tips for stopping myself when I feel compelled to check. For example I read that some people keep a rubber band around their wrist and snap it when their ex comes to their minds. More tips and tricks like this, perhaps less sadistic, would be great (rather than "just don't do it!" or "don't ever go online on your phone" because that's just not realistic).

General advise for stopping other forms of e-stalking or obsession is welcomed too. For example to establish and sustain NC I removed my message app from the dock at the bottom and replaced it with a count-down app in the old spot. Every time I feel the urge to text the ex or read our old history I see how many days I've gone NC instead and it helps.

Thanks in advance.
posted by feastorfamine to Human Relations (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Instead of going to his blog find someone else's blog to read that is more interesting. or you can come to this site and read and give advice instead :)
posted by Autumn89 at 5:06 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

Echoing Autumn89's advice: I have always found that the best way to kick a troublesome addiction is to acquire a new and better one.
posted by three blind mice at 5:10 PM on November 8, 2012 [9 favorites]

How about an iPhone app for parental controls? I bet you could get one which will let you make a URL blacklist, and will delay you just long enough when you're tempted that you might be able to break the habit.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:12 PM on November 8, 2012

Sign up with a dating site, such as OKCupid. Whenever you get the urge to visit your ex's blog, go to OKCupid instead, browse some profiles until you find someone who is interesting and attractive, and send the person a brief email commenting (insightfully and in favourable terms, of course!) on the profile, and inviting the person to check out yours and get back to you if interested. You will find this way more rewarding and productive and even more interesting than trying to keep things going with someone who is history.
posted by orange swan at 5:21 PM on November 8, 2012 [16 favorites]

Echoing Autumn89 and three blind mice's suggestions, I actually joined MeFi in the wake of a major breakup, oh so many years ago... Since this is mostly happening on your phone you could also get a fun app that is easy to pick up for a minute (like a puzzle game) or buy a light e-book to read on your phone at spare moments.
posted by telegraph at 5:31 PM on November 8, 2012

One thing to know is that he can probably see that you are doing it. Most blogs have basic analytics tools that would show that a specific IP address (or two or three - your home, work, and phone) are repeatedly arriving straight at the page multiple times a day.

That knowledge would keep me from checking it often.
posted by amaire at 5:32 PM on November 8, 2012 [22 favorites]

Blocking programs and apps exist. For your computer, some options are discussed here. For an iPhone, the best app I know of is Self Control.

Blacklist his blog on all your devices.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:56 PM on November 8, 2012

Seconding Amaire's point. Anyone reasonably savvy with their own blog or website can see the device, browser, browser version, city, state, and the "domain" of the visitor — which could just be your ISP like or it could be your place of work, like They can also see search keywords, and know whether or not you are a new or returning visitor. If he's smart, and paying attention, he probably knows.
posted by amoeba at 5:56 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

As others have suggested, pick another site that makes your brain happy and feels like a guilty indulgence (except a good one!). Now, go to that site on your phone and bookmark it, but under a different name: his blog's URL. Clear your browser's history and commit to yourself that if you do type his URL, you won't hit "enter" but will instead tap on the bookmark. Just make a promise, to you from you, that you'll do this one little thing; the part of your brain that handles physical habits will hardly even notice such a tiny little deviation from routine. Then eventually, when you find yourself hankering for the yummy new site itself, change the bookmark to its proper name and be done with this.
posted by teremala at 6:08 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am wondering what, specifically, you are getting out of it. If the blog is genuinely interesting to read, go find more brain food. If it is just some sort of virtual romantic Hit, find a new online flirtation. If it is Habit, do some of the habit substitute suggestions above, like getting a little game.

When I did stupid stuff like this, it was typically loneliness/looking for some virtual romantic Hit. In the past, I sometimes found Craig's List to be a good substitute. These days, I surf Texts from Last Night for romantic junkfood for the mind online. The crazy stuff other people do and live to text about meets some need of mine without me having to text about my own arrest/ER visit/other drama after the fact. Then I get to feel clean and smug and holier than thou afterwards instead of wondering "what the hell is wrong with me??" and "do I need yet MORE therapy???!!" Win-win.
posted by Michele in California at 6:33 PM on November 8, 2012

I know you already said you're not on Facebook, but I've cut down on Facebook time in general simply by logging out when I'm done instead of leaving it logged in all the time on my computer and phone. It takes more effort for me to log in which gives me a "hey do I really want to do this or am I just wasting time?" check. Can you do similar for the blogging site you use vs. blocking specifically that address?
posted by jorlyfish at 6:36 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go to the interwebs, and each time you want to e-stalk your ex, open up this animated gif instead. Then rejoice!
posted by kellybird at 7:05 PM on November 8, 2012

Nth Blocking program. but ALSO Hand the phone and/or laptop to someone else tell them to type in a password.

Don't let them tell you what it is.

When in doubt outsource self control. Once it is good and truly not an option (instead of just kinda a hassle) your brain will ease off.
posted by French Fry at 7:25 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

As a general matter, mechanical solutions to this problem are not the best solution. The best solution does not lie in blocking yourself technically: rather, the best solution is developing a new interest.
posted by Mr. Justice at 8:07 PM on November 8, 2012

Start tracking how many hours/weeks/days you don't give in to temptation. It's easier to say no when you'd be breaking a really good streak!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 9:20 PM on November 8, 2012

Yeah, what do you think we're all doing here answering strangers?

More seriously: habit-streak building programs are boss for this sort of thing.
posted by ead at 10:16 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does your phone browser have private browsing? Clear his blog from your historyand only go to it in private browsing mode so that you have to type the whole url each time. Hopefully that takes long enough that you can stop yourself from hitting enter
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 10:27 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Every time you think of visiting his blog, go look at cute cat pictures instead. Seriously. I did that after a break up once. Every time I was going to e-stalk I thought "well, that's only going to make me feel worse, so let me look at instead, because that is guaranteed to make me feel better."
posted by at 7:26 AM on November 9, 2012

Snapping a rubber band or other forms of "thought stopping" does not always work to break an obsession--it can actually make it worse since what you're essentially doing is saying OMG LOOK AT THAT THING YOURE DOING WOW WHAT A THING and you just end up thinking more about it.

Nthing a blocking program--I use LeechBlock for Firefox but any option will do. And a new online hobby, preferably one that is incentivized, for which you gain reputation or points or some other feel-good thing.
posted by epanalepsis at 9:04 AM on November 9, 2012

Sometimes I used to look up my ex (the one with whom I had the longest relationship and the most painful breakup). I don't know why. If asked, the reason I'd give was that I was looking for answers, that I was trying to understand why they left, because they kind of lied a lot during the breakup and I wanted some sense of closure, I wanted to understand.

It helped to eventually admit that there was more to it than that and that whatever urge was going on there, it probably was not a healthy one.

The other thing was this: They had a blog or whatever, and whenever I'd look at it, either they wouldn't say anything about me and I'd feel like shit because I knew looking them up was a bad habit, or they would say something about me and I'd feel like shit because it was never what I hoped they'd have to say about me.

That realization helped a lot - that there was no positive outcome for me, and the only way to get away from that was to stop.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:50 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

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