Framing this issue as a compulsion suggests that it’s beyond your control. In other words, it’s as though you’re saying you can’t stop yourself from spying on your ex-girlfriend. If you can’t stop yourself because it’s beyond your control then it’s akin to saying it’s not your fault.
I don’t think there is a deep, psychological reason for your behavior. Perhaps you’re hurt about the breakup and want to know if she was being truthful about why she wanted to separate. Maybe the real reason is because you suspect that she left you for someone else.
A breakup is a breakup. It’s simple but it gets complicated when someone tries to place it in a bigger context. The context is not important. It is a simply a breakup. She wanted it and you didn’t, so you are hurt. If you wanted it and she didn’t she’d be hurt and relatively you would not be hurt in the way that you are now.
I mention this because you are now doing things that you are not proud of, like checking her social media. You are doing it to test her real feelings toward you. That’s because you really don’t buy her story about needing to focus on her degree. I don’t quite buy it and I would think neither do you. You shouldn’t come second to a degree for her. Your presence in her life should not be a hindrance to her. How many people do you think have graduated from law school and medical school while in a committed relationship?
Is it the norm to break up with someone when you enter graduate school? Of course not. Breakups happen and there is no nice way to do it but there are nicer explanations for why one does it. Basically they all fall into the category, “it’s not you, it’s something about me. You are not to blame and I still love you.”
Forget about the context surrounding the breakup or the explanation given. A breakup is a breakup. Somebody just told you that right now they don’t want you. It’s over. Maybe later they might change their mind and want you back but then again maybe not.
Consider it as being over. It was her choice. Move on and break all ties with her. That includes reading her Facebook page or private messages.
Think about it this way. If she caught you reading her private emails and letters, she would probably be upset. It’s a breach of trust. You’re hoping that the two of you will get back together but you risk completely sabotaging your chances. You don’t want to jeopardize your future with her, if there is any all. Walk away with your head held high. Give her her freedom. Respect her as much as an ex-girlfriend as you did when she was your girlfriend.
Also, the possibility exists that you could misinterpret her written communications. Picture a scenario in which she has a phone or text conversation and then follows it up with an email. Since you were not privy to the phone or text conversation you’d only have the email, only a portion of what was said. You might then attempt to draw conclusions based upon incomplete information. What was meant as a joke might be misconstrued by you. You could easily form inaccurate conclusions in the absence of the full context.
I think you already know how to correct this. Make a clean break. If you struggle with this, then you may want to ask a friend or family member to assist you. For example, when you feel the desire to log into her private accounts, call someone and ask them to talk you out of it. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog