Once upon a time, I was home alone on a Friday night. I might have been baking brownies and planning to eat all of them. Was it my highest point? No. Naturally, I opened up Facebook…
What is David up to? I wondered. David, as you can probably guess, was a male from my past.
“David Blahblahblah,” I typed into the search bar. I clicked Enter.
“Caroline is… David Blahblahblah!” announced Facebook. Because as it turns out, I didn’t search for him — I had inadvertently ENTERED HIM INTO MY TIMELINE. So everyone — including David — could see I’d been stalking him. I quickly deleted the error, then resumed consuming my brownies.
Beyond the risk of embarrassment, technology makes it difficult to truly let go. You can see your former flames hamming it up on Instagram and follow along as they take their new love on an enchanting trip to Joshua Tree. You can virtually peruse their wedding photos and meet their tiny offspring. It can be hard not to compare your own messy, relatable life to their spotless digital one. Your exes, if they are so inclined, can do the same with you.
That’s why Facebook’s “On This Day” feature now offers a filter where a person can be “erased” from your virtual memory. You tell Facebook whom you’d rather not be reminded of, and it won’t present you with updates or nostalgia about your former flame. Embarrassed stalkers the world over can only hope that Instagram will one day follow suit.
In a quest for mental stability, I have given up the habit of stalking exes online. Sometimes I stalk the person I’m actually dating. But he finds that endearing. I think.
Have you ever stalked an ex online? Have you stalked an ex’s current flame? Share your stories, if you’d like. (We won’t tell.)