Question: My ex has a fearful avoidant attachment style and suffers from depression. He shared a sad story on Instagram about someone at her work having a difficult day and how friends helped her through it. Was this a bid for emotional connection and should I have reached out to say something; turned towards her bid for connection? Is it ever a good idea to watch or like my ex’s Instagram stories?
Yangki’s Answer: It is possible it was a bid for connection. Most people on social media are sharing information with multiple people; sometimes they are bids for connection, and other times they are not.
Is it ever a good idea to watch or like your ex’s Instagram stories? Social media is a gray area. Sometimes watching or liking your ex’s Instagram stories can re-open the line of communication; and other times it shuts down all communication. Some exes see you going into their social media; a kind of boundary violation.
The general rule is: Unless your ex shares something directed towards you in “I want to connect with you” a personal way; it’s safe to assume that an ex is merely sharing information (with multiple people); and not necessarily trying to (emotionally) connect with you.
Whether or not you should have reacted to their story depends on your ex. Use what you know about your ex to navigate how you engage your ex on social media. If you are not sure how your ex will respond to you watching, liking or commenting on their social media; use this general guide that I developed and have found to be quite accurate for most of my clients with:
- Secure attachment – don’t mind/neutral/responsive.
- Pre-occupied attachment – feel excited/overthink it/project their feelings onto it.
- Fearful attachment leaning avoidant – will be suspicious/apprehensive/over-analyze it.
- Fearful avoidant leaning anxious – will be be happy/confused/conflicted.
- Dismissive avoidant attachment – will be uncomfortable/disapproving/turned off
Social media comments put off even a securely attached ex, anger an ex with a pre-occupied attachment style and scare off an ex with a fearful attachment style if it feels like you are stalking them or directing attention away (distracting) from what they are trying to share in their social media posts.