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My Ex Followed Me on Instagram; Should I Follow Back? [ANSWERED]

They followed you just because they wanted to know how you are holding up. If you want to know more about your ex’s life, you can follow them back. If they have a public profile, you can keep track of the person without their knowledge. Just don’t watch their stories.A woman surfing an Instagram profile

Contacting your ex, especially after a nasty breakup, is the last thing you want to do. You possibly have blocked them from every social media account you have. But you forgot about Instagram. Now, after all these peaceful months without them, they have started following you. And this is where your heart starts to weaken.

You have been in a romantic relationship with this person for a considerable period of time. You have made memories together— some were great, some were bad. The moment you see that notification, your heart will start beating faster, the memories will rush into your mind, and you (the person who blocked them from everywhere) will lose all rationality at once and think, “Should I follow back?”

Following back will send a lot of mixed signals to the person you have broken up with. Also, before following that person, you should think about the reasons why they followed you, and you will have to plan your next steps accordingly. Read on.

Possible reasons why your ex followed me on Instagram

Breakups are never easy. Even after the termination of a relationship, a person struggles to get the ex out of their mind. It’s a mixed feeling. 

You miss your ex, but you are still angry. You never want to see that person again, but you want to know how they are doing without you. That’s when people start following each other on social media.

However, there can be a few other reasons too. Let’s find out more about them.

#1 They miss you

They have started following you again because they miss you. The breakup was a momentary decision that is making them miserable now. 

Of course, there is a reason why you two broke up, but the hollow feeling of missing you has surpassed that reason. They probably know that you are trying to move on or have already moved on. But that doesn’t stop them from feeling the pain of losing you.

Instagram is a relatively happy place for many. The person you broke up with probably looks at your happy pictures and goes through a session of self-loathing over losing you. They regret breaking up.

#2 They still have feelings for you

Missing someone comes from the residual feelings left in one’s heart, for the person they broke up with. Your ex started following you on Instagram probably because they still have feelings for you.

That doesn’t mean they want to reconcile. They respect your decision to break up, as the reason was good enough.

A relationship between two people, after a point of time, turns into a habit. It’s the habit of seeing each other every day, waking up next to each other, watching movies together, and cooking for each other. A breakup terminates all of it. All of a sudden, you are left with just the memories of your good times together.

That ghost of a relationship haunts one; it makes you look for that familiar face everywhere, even if you hate it. And when one finds that one tiny loophole, the one social media platform from which they are not blocked, it becomes a ray of hope.

The person clings to it for one glimpse into the life of the person they were once in love with.

#3 This is just another way of stalking

There is no dearth of stalkers in the big wide world of the internet. Stalkers are everywhere. Fifty years ago, they followed you through the street to your home; now, they follow you around on social media. Your ex followed you on Instagram because they wanted to stalk you.

Your ex probably followed you around on social media and got blocked from everywhere. Instagram is one last try to get a peek into your life. 

They are here to judge you. They followed you to measure how happy or sad you are without them. And, if they find out you are happy, they might even drop a mean text in your inbox.

#4 They want a second chance

Second chances are not as bad as they sound. But when it comes to relationships, giving someone a second chance can be a bit tricky. 

You should always remember why you broke up with them. You don’t want to repeat the same mistake over and over.

Your ex just started following you on Instagram because they want to get back to you. All these months have been particularly difficult for them. 

Their life has lost meaning after the breakup. They want to come back; they are willing to rectify themselves. But you have blocked them out of anger from every social media platform.

While doing so, you somehow forgot about Instagram, and that’s how they have decided to pitch the idea of getting back to you.

#5 They want to know how you are holding up after the breakup

They won’t ask you direct questions. They will stay silent and watch your Instagram journey to determine how well you are holding up after the breakup. 

Such silent observation can be creepy at times, but unless you block them, this will continue.

Your ex has started following you on Instagram because they want to measure your progress. Maybe, later they will compare it to theirs.

#6 They want to know if you have started dating someone

They followed you on Instagram because they want to know who is filling their shoes. If they have started following you right after you started dating a new person, be sure about the fact that your ex learned about your date from someone else.

They don’t miss you, they don’t have feelings for you, and they definitely don’t want to get back to you. All they want to know is whether the person you are dating now is hotter than them or not.

#7 They want closure

When you broke up, there was a lot of shouting and throwing things at each other. It was a chaotic day. It was all a big fat blur. The person you broke up with now wants closure. 

Maybe that’s why they followed you on Instagram. Among all the fights, they must have missed out on the real reason for breaking up.

By following you on Instagram, they are trying to get closure. They are trying to come to a conclusion by viewing and analyzing your pictures. They are probably looking for faults in your life to make them feel better about the ugly breakup.

#8 They want to stay in your life as a friend

Staying friends with someone after breaking up with them is difficult, but there are more than enough examples of people staying good friends after their breakup. 

Take the example of Ross and Rachel from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Even after all that “We were on a break” fiasco, they stayed together as friends. The same happened with Ted and Robin from How I Met Your Mother.

Your ex followed you on Instagram just because they want to stay in your life as a friend. A relationship is made up of many things, and one of the most important ingredients is friendship.

For most, that is the most valuable aspect of a relationship. When you broke up, along with other things, the friendship ended too. They just want to reconcile your lovely relationship as friends.

#9 They need your attention

Your ex follows you on Instagram now just because they want to arrest your attention. If you have a public profile, they have already observed how happy you are without them in your life.

This is annoying them a lot, and that’s why they have started following you. They are not willing to let you forget them. 

Along with this attribute of being an attention seeker, your ex is probably also a jealous person. They just can’t stand your happiness.

What steps you can take?

Your ex has followed you on Instagram, and that’s a big deal. There must be some reason. To know that, you will need to interact with them. Following them back totally depends upon you and the circumstances.

This is a confusing situation. This confusion brought you here, and I will attempt to solve it. Keep reading to know more.

#1 Talk to your best friend about the incident immediately

Most of us share all that happens in our life with that one friend we trust with our life.

Therefore, whenever they start following you on Instagram, the first one to know about that will be your best friend. 

Talking to your best friend will help you get a third-person perspective on the matter. They could also help you in dealing with the situation where you are utterly confused and overwhelmed.

#2 If they text you, take time to reply

They have started following you on Instagram. Soon they will drop a text in your inbox. 

The main fiasco will start after that. If you are a polite person, you will want to reply. Even if you are not, the temptation to talk to the person you once were in love with will be immense.

I would advise you to stay strong in moments like this. If you really want to reply, take your time to do so. You can make them wait for a day before replying to their text. This will make you look less needy. 

If you reply right away, they might think you have nothing to do other than waiting around for them. Even if you are dying to talk to them, you should not let them know that. Always remember, you guys broke up for a reason.

#3 Ask why they are doing this

Whenever you reply, you should ask them why they are doing this after all this time. A few months have passed after the breakup, and you have already started to move on.

At this juncture of time, a follow request and a subsequent text from them might take you off your track.

You have spent a lot of time and energy to get over them, and just when you are getting back to a normal, happy life, this re-entry will be particularly difficult for you to handle. 

You should make sure to tell them that this relationship is over and nothing can be done to get back what’s lost.

#4 Follow them if you want to reconcile

However, if you are on the same page, and if you too want to reconcile and give this relationship a second chance, you can follow them back.

There is no harm in getting back with an ex. But you should always remember what went wrong in your relationship the last time you were together.

Communicate with them to set clear rules so that no one gets hurt this time. Recovering from a breakup can get extremely difficult. I am sure none of you want to go through that once again, and that too with the same person.

#5 If they have a public profile no need of following them back

If you intend to stalk them back and they have a public profile, there is no need to follow them. 

Let them follow you as much as they want. Always remember, they were the weaker ones. They started following you first. If you still want to follow them back, observe them first. And then, maybe after three to four months, you can think of following them.

Following them immediately after will make you look needy and clingy, and that is bad for the image you have built up with so much effort post-breakup. Keep your head high and never bow down to temptations.

#6 Observe them for a while

As I have mentioned in the previous point, observation is a key step to follow when they start following you on Instagram. 

If they have a public profile, that is great news. You can keep track of what they do easily. But if they have a private Instagram account, you will have to follow a slightly crooked route.

You guys must have common friends. Get in touch with one such friend who knows you both (but is more loyal to you) and ask them to look up his profile on your behalf. If your ex seems alright, you can think about following them back or replying to their texts.

#7 If you find them uncomfortable, block them

Being subjected to stalking can be the source of immense mental agony. If your ex is the stalker, the discomfort grows tenfold. 

You know the person you have dated for a while; you know how clingy they can get. You know how easily they can manipulate people; they had manipulated into thinking highly of them on several occasions when you guys were in a relationship. And, now, you want to avoid all that negativity in your life.

If you are uncomfortable with your ex following you on Instagram, feel free to block them once and for all. Make sure they can contact you in no way.

#8 If you don’t want them in your life, give them a closure

Some people crave proper closure, so does your ex-partner. They have started following you on Instagram to get a perspective of your life after the breakup. 

They want to know how well you are holding up. They are looking for closure, a reason for them to stop waiting for you and move on.

If they are convinced that you are happy without them, they will leave you alone, they might even unfollow you.

Nobody knows the person you were in love with better than you. You will know exactly what they want from you as closure. Work on that and help them move on.

#9 Don’t check their stories

That is the last thing you want to do. If you are trying to apparently avoid the person while secretly observing their profile, do not check their story, however tempting you find them. 

You are an Instagram-veteran, and therefore, you know that if you watch their story, it will show them your name.

That might portray you as someone who is interested in reconciliation, even if you are not. It will definitely send out mixed signals, and I am sure you don’t want that.

Check out their profile as much as you want but do it discreetly. Don’t (not even once) let them know about your true intentions. If you don’t intend to get back to that person, it will be better not to send mixed signals.

Summing up

Following someone on Instagram is the easiest and the most superficial way to keep track of their life. If your ex follows you, that doesn’t always mean they want to get back.

They just want to see if you are doing well or not. If you are not comfortable with this, you can always block them. 

A fight will take place between your mind and your heart, but in this case, go with what your mind says. There was a reason why you broke up with this person; always remember that.

Nirajana Mukherjee

Senior Writer

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