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In the era of social media, you are bound to bump into your ex. Most probably, they remain in your social media circle. They might retweet your latest meme, like your insta posts and go through your Snapchat stories, and that too after a breakup. This behaviour is called orbiting. Coined by writer Anna Iovine, orbiting is when you break up with someone, but you continue to check their content on social media.
“I met this guy on a dating app. He was in Paris studying at University and I was in Delhi. We hit it off well as we were the alumni of the same school. We met for a couple of days but it soon fizzled out. The funny fact is that he still views my stories on Instagram. I find it unusual that he watches all my stories,” admits Deepika Rajput, a banker.
They seem to be watching you, and after a while, you will start to wonder why. There is no simple math to this behaviour. Maybe they think the unfollow button is too harsh, or maybe they are just that curious.
After all, it is human nature to want to look back at our past or it might be just out of plain curiosity. But this can get addictive with time and be harmful to both parties. “Honestly, if you don’t wish to go back to your ex you need to stop. By hanging around you are indirectly giving them and yourself hope of getting back together in the future. So the best is to unfollow them as out of sight is out of mind. If you think that is extreme then giving yourself a social media detox is magical. Only the best part of our lives is out there on social media, so stop hurting yourself by being connected to your ex. It is time you take control,” says Rishita Makhija, life coach.
Orbiters can be of different kinds so you can deal with them depending on the level. “Establish a line of contact if one’s even necessary. It’s a break up not a legal contract,” says Anuj Bhandari.
Remember to be conscious about the way you react as social media is a platform where you don’t want to portray yourself in a bad light. “If you are liking the attention let them be. If you think they are harmless then just ignore their actions or confront them. If you feel they are emotionally and mentally affecting you then just report abuse and let the authorities take over,” suggests Makhija.
One way to deal with an orbiter, is to ignore them and not feed into their ego and confront them, because that is what they want, attention. “As long as you are safe, ignore them. If it gets to a point that you cannot ignore them and is affecting you, send them a clear message as to why you’re not interested and they are making you uncomfortable,” says Able Joseph, Founder and CEO, Aisle.
Be calm and not impulsive or defensive in your confrontation. Don’t let technology take over the person you are. Keep your value strong and work from a mature perspective.
Practice what you preach, don’t orbit and don’t get orbited, limit the contact you allow or else it’s going to be a toxic cycle.