For the last 29 days in a row, I have picked up my phone, opened my Snapchat app, and stared at the name of a guy I dated. This guy follows me, but I don’t follow him back. And every single day, my thumb hovers over the “add” button as if slowly contemplating if I want his attention back.
Because let’s be honest, I do. I do want it back. I just don’t really want everything else that comes with it. I don’t want the whole scenario of him trying to decide if he wants to talk to me or his ex-girlfriend with the tongue ring. That wasn’t exactly preferred. But, I do miss his attention. He was funny and sweet and charming as crap.
So that’s where I am every night, thumb hovering over the “add” button and me wondering what life would be like if I pushed it.
Would he notice that I pushed it? Would he even care that I pushed it? Does he want me to push it? What if I add him and he texts his ex and they laugh at me. What if I add him and he thinks that I’m in love with him and proposes to me. What if I add him and he blocks me because he didn’t realize that he was still following me?
Yeah, go ahead and laugh at me, but you are just as psychotic, boo boo. We all are, to a point. Sometimes I look at the lives of people who literally have no idea what’s going on in the world around them and have zero intuition into the lives of other people, and I envy them. I envy their ignorance. Ignorance is truly, truly bliss. Unless you’re me, and you’re insatiably nosy, then ignorance is torture. But blissful torture, to be sure.
So, I did what all level headed adults would do- I added him back on Snapchat. Right now my friends and family are reading this for the first time, and they are annoyed with me, and that’s fine. I can be super annoying. I mean, in the defense of my annoyed friends and family, this guy was a buttwipe and kinda flung my feelings around like toxic confetti that is bad for the environment or something.
So why am I telling you this? Why am I informing you that I added this guy back into my life who is not right for me, nor who has done anything to try to be right for me? Because I want to show you that I am dumb and stupid with exes…just like you.
So what did happen when I added him back? Nothing. I kind of laughed at it because I really had created this entire scenario in my head about him messaging me and then us starting to converse again, and me knowing that it was wrong but feeling so drawn to him, and then something growing in our hearts, only to be brutally slaughtered by the knife of reality but then reconnect on a cruise ship when we are 70 and both of our spouses have already died, or in my case, my cats. Ya know…something like that.
But nothing happened. Nothing happened at all. I just now simply follow him and he follows me, and he doesn’t post anything on Snapchat, and I post 320 things a day. Everything is how it was 5 minutes prior to that. And I feel a tiny bit dumb for adding him back, but there’s another part of me who’s like who cares. Clearly I am excellent at deciding on a feeling a sticking with it.
I realize that I have these little psychotic breaks about twice a month, which I’m sure is making me sound incredibly date-worthy to any single guys who are reading this. But really, about twice a month I get a little bit crazy. I begin to rationalize really irrational things in my head and eventually talk myself into making ridiculous choices. Thankfully I am no longer a wild child like I was in college, so my irrational choices include eating 12 pieces of pizza or buying a kayak. But still, they are irrational.
I like to put on a front that I am super strong when it comes to exes, but I am a huge softy at heart. It’s hard for me to cut ties with people. It’s just something that I’m not good at. I look at people who are breakup experts and I just sit back and watch them work. How do they do it with such skill? Is there a night class I can take?
So while I wait for a “Not being crazy” night class, I continue to be crazy and do crazy things. It’s a nice feeling, ya know, when you know you’re being a huge weirdo and just can’t seem to stop. So how do you stop? How do you stop yourself from spending hours upon hours thinking about exes and stalking their Aunt Patricia’s Facebook album from Cabo and most importantly, is there a cure for Hovering Thumb Syndrome? (HTS…it’s a thing.)
How do you stop being psychotic? Well, here’s what I’ve come up with.
Cut yourself some slack. The people who can move in and out of relationships with ease and no residual feelings probably are going to break down weeping in the cereal aisle one day. It’s okay to feel obsessed at times. Your exes were a part of your life. But are they still? And should they be? Are you obsessing over something that doesn’t exist? If the answer is yes, go on to step 3. If the answer is no, go on to step 3. Basically, just keep reading because I’m so smart.
Get them off your social media. This is the hardest one for me, and I think for a lot of people because in our heads we have somehow equated deleting someone off of our social media accounts as us being bitter old hags. Uh no, that’s not the case. It’s okay to admit to yourself that it’s not healthy for you to see their stuff and to take action for it. Remember that your perception of yourself is just as important as their perception of you.
Stop trying to be cool. If you are stalking your exes social media or have HTS, like so many Americans do, let me be the first to break it to you: You are not cool. You are not calm. You are not collected. Let’s stop trying to be these uber in-control versions of ourselves and just start each day admitting that we will need a lot of self-control to get through the day without Snapchatting him your most dazzling smile while trying to look super breezy. That’s okay. Take it a moment at a time.
Learn to recognize patterns. When are you wanting to text him? When are you stalking his Linkdin profile? For me, it’s on my lunch break. Apparently lunch is a really nostalgic thing for me. So on my lunch break, I try to keep myself busy. Generally this has meant eating more food and gaining weight, but it does help. Pinpoint when you are your most susceptible to crazy outbursts and be proactive.
Remember why they’re an ex. Maybe he messed up. Maybe you messed up. Maybe he plays too much Pokemon Go. Maybe you listen to Beyonce’s Lemonade Album and ain’t got time for no man. Whatever the reason, there, in fact, IS A REASON why you guys broke up. Remind yourself of that when you’re feeling nostalgic and mushy.
Listen, this is not a clinically proven list, but really just more practical steps that can help you to go from 100 mph on the crazy scale back down to like a solid 45. But remember- while what you’re doing might be borderline crazy, you’re not. You are a human with a tie to someone. These steps might seem silly, but they’re all focused on breaking a tie that isn’t healthy. Your mental health is dependent on how much time you give to that person, whether they realize you’re giving them time or not.
So excuse me while I go clean out my Snapchat friend list…
Leah Barterian works as the Youth Program Director at Grace Christian Church in Metro Detroit, Michigan. She is extremely passionate about singleness, Red Wings hockey, social equality, and late-night snacking. She loves baked cheetos, puppies, and laughing at videos where people slip on the ice. She inexplicably hates black beans and humidity. Follow Leah on Twitter and Instagram @Leahbarterian. Explore Leah’s blog HERE.
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