Why Does My Ex Still Watch My Social Media?

We live in an age of near-constant connectivity, and people often write to me and ask what it means when their ex continues to engage with them on social media. In one instance, someone wrote, “My ex from over a year ago left me because he wasn’t happy, or so he said. He still watches my story and is one of the top viewers that responds to a lot of my stories with the reaction emojis. Does this mean we still have a chance?”

First off, I can’t read minds, so I don’t actually know why they’re still watching this person’s story. But I can make some inferences, and before I do, I want to address the qualifying phrase, “or so he said.” 

There’s so much in language, and adding this phrase into the mix makes it sound like the writer is questioning their ex’s feelings—believing they felt differently than what they said. 

When someone tells you how they feel, believe them. When someone says, “I’m not happy,” take it at face value. If they were happy, they would not have left. Why would someone take the steps to leave a relationship if they were truly happy? It doesn’t add up. Questioning it or implying that it was untrue means we’re disconnected from reality. 

The first step to answer the question, “what does it mean if someone you dated still watches your stories?” is to reconnect to reality, which is this: the person wasn’t happy, they left you, and the relationship is over. Perhaps it was easier to add a qualifier like “or so they said” to protect your heart from hurt, but pretending like there’s a caveat where there wasn’t any only continues your hurt. In not accepting what actually happened, you’re not allowing yourself to heal. 

Now that we’ve addressed that and we’re moving toward healing, here’s an answer to the question of what it means when someone reacts with an emoji to your social media story: Nothing. 

It means nothing. Nothing! If they send a fire emoji or those little heart eyes in response to a photo you posted of you in a swimsuit, it doesn’t actually mean anything. It is not an indication that you’ll get back together. 

Most people want to know what it means, and only a few want to know what to do. Although this particular person didn’t ask about next steps, here’s what I would recommend moving forward: block this person. Why? It’s clearly already derailing you. You’re not able to move forward with your life if, after a year, you’re writing to me to ask what it means that your ex still watches your social media posts and responds with emojis. 

And I sincerely appreciate you trusting me enough to ask, and giving me the opportunity to answer this, because you’re not the only one going through this experience. 

If you feel derailed when you see someone’s name or profile picture in your stories or the viewers list, or you’re even taking the time to check to see if they’re viewing, then you know you need to block them. You might’ve already muted them, but that doesn’t prevent them from watching your stories. 

If you have a relationship with this person you can set a boundary and say, “Hey, I’m gonna block you because it derails me when I see your name in my stories.” If it’s someone who simply sends little heart emojis every so often, then you have no obligation to notify them before you block them. Eff that. They’re not showing up. 

An emoji on a story does not mean someone is interested in you. It does not mean there’s a chance you’ll get back together. An emoji in response to a story says nothing about relationships. It’s just an emoji. To infer otherwise is to leap to conclusions and fuel hope and longing, when we should really be taking responsibility for our own healing. 

By continuing to long for someone, or read into breadcrumbs like emojis, or allow someone access to our lives, we aren’t showing up for ourselves—we’re continuing to abandon ourselves. Block them and start choosing yourself. 

Are you still healing? Check out my breakup recovery course!