What Is Orbiting? - It’s When Your Ex Constantly Watches Your Stories

Last updated by Lauren Hart

In the dating world, there's a word for everything. That's how I learned the name of a very unpleasant thing I had experienced several years ago. I had had several Tinder dates, that went well, but at times, from one day to the next, I’d find myself being ghosted. I wasn't in love, so it was fine. Nonetheless, I had a hard time moving on, because some of my dates couldn't stop looking at my Instagram stories and following my every move on social media... And this practice is known as orbiting. So, why do people do this? Plus, how should you react to this behavior?

What Is Orbiting? - It’s When Your Ex Constantly Watches Your Stories

What is orbiting in dating?

Journalist and author, Anna Lovine, coined the term in 2018, after being ghosted by a man she met on Tinder. While Anna hadn't heard from him, that didn't stop her ex from continuing to follow her life through social media, especially via Instagram stories. This story reminds me strongly of my own 🙄...

In fact, orbiting is just that. Stopping a relationship by no longer interacting directly with the person (via messages), while still keeping up with that person's doings. It is true that we easily put our lives on the internet without thinking too much, but this is no excuse for orbiting. This behavior is perfectly toxic because it's hard to forget someone when you see their name pop up all day long on your phone 😅.

Why do we spy on our ex’s social media?

The first thing I asked myself when I saw the person pop up in my Instagram stories was why act like this? That's right, if this man didn't want to be with me, it was strange to keep up with my life. Is this harmless behavior, or does it reflect something more unhealthy, like something a narcissistic pervert might do? It can be both answers 😯.

Inaction and ignorance

Indeed, this is what Rachel O'Neill, a specialist in dealing with relationship problems on social networks, explains. The person does not necessarily want to engage, they do not know how to continue the private conversation. On top of that, social networks offer us a voyeuristic look into the lives of others, including people we reject. This is not an "unhealthy" behavior, since everyone will tend to want to satisfy their curiosity. There are indeed people who love to spy on people they hate 👀 !

A means of control

However, you have to stay wary and keep in mind that this behavior can be a red flag 🚩. Some people do this because they don't want to completely break contact, so they can better come back into our lives when it suits them. All they will need is a simple comment or a reply to our story to barge back into our daily lives 😥. It's a bit of a way to use us, whenever they want. Except that it's a sign of a toxic love relationship...

How do we react if we are being orbited?

It may seem harmless, especially for people who are in a permanent digital detox and who are not on social networks 😬. Nevertheless, this loving behavior is harmful and does not do us much good. Orbiting is not a way to stay friends with your ex, since there are no private interactions. So, how do you react?

I remember suffering from this situation because I was in a state of frustration and constant questioning. Following my life, while not wanting to be a part of it, made me angry 😡. At one point, I was even a little obsessed with it. I was desperate to see if the person was watching my stories. Spy the spy, to get a sense of control 😩…

A simple and effective solution

Being in constant verification, as I was able to do, is absolutely not a good solution. Just like over-interpreting, we shouldn't tell ourselves that this is an absolutely toxic person doing this. The best way to react, if we have a problem with it, is to set our boundaries by blocking the person on all social networks. Most of the time, nothing more will happen. However, if the person comes back at you, it is better not to respond. This will avoid getting into an unhealthy game that will most likely hurt us 💔.

⚠️ The last point, one should never neglect what one shows on social networks, even outside orbiting. It is necessary to keep a private living space that is not shared in the virtual to be sure to sufficiently protect yourself from stalking and other toxic behavior...

Editor’s opinion: A harmful behavior not to be tolerated!

Have you already experienced this situation? What did it inspire you? Tell us all about it in the comments, we love to read you. Keep in mind that this behavior is absolutely unhealthy, do not hesitate to block your ex. so that he can not see anything more of your life. And if this separation is too painful and seeing him watching your stories every day prevents you from grieving and distancing yourself, don't hesitate to make an appointment with a psychologist to talk about it.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... It's here and now!


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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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Wengood's playlist


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  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
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  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

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"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde