I feel like I’m posting to prove something to him

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Hi Meredith,

I met "Sam" when I was in high school and he was in college (we were only two years apart) and we dated for several months. I was pretty miserable the entire time because he constantly made me feel like I was too young for him and like I was a burden, and I was putting myself in pretzels to prove that I was enough for him. He was also very controlling. He never let me take pictures of him or us together, never told his family or friends about me, and he even made me get a new, shorter dress for my prom the week before because he didn’t want me wearing heels around him (he was shorter than me).

Then, after dragging his feet to the prom and complaining he wasn’t "drunk enough to be there," he dumped me over the phone. I was shattered. It was my first relationship and first breakup, and I had poured so much of my self-worth into it.

We only spoke one time since then, when he texted me a year later to apologize. I responded with clear boundaries to not contact me. I unfollowed him on social media immediately after we broke up, and moved on to seeing other people. But he still follows me, viewing and liking all my posts. I feel like everything I post now is just to prove to him that I'm not a dumb kid. It’s maddening and I can’t help myself from checking that he's seen it. It’s made other relationships really hard and I don’t know how to heal from it, even two years later and in college myself now. What do I do?

– Still hurt

Block him. On every account, in every way. Unfollowing isn't enough. You have to sever all social media ties.

First loves often stick with us, but first rejections do too. He was not your love – but boy did he make you feel bad about yourself. Those insults and insecurities are so hard to dismiss, even years later.

He apologized (good for him) and you set boundaries (good for you), but now he's refusing to respect them. Or maybe he doesn't understand them. You can make everything clear – for him and for you – by making sure he can't see what you do. Once he's blocked, you'll have the opportunity to post for yourself.

I understand why this pain has gone on for so long, but you've made it worse by allowing him to be in your audience. I promise that as soon as you really let go, you'll start to heal and enjoy what's in front of you.

Treat social media like a party, even when you're isolated because of the coronavirus. If you wouldn’t be comfortable with someone at your happy event, they shouldn't be allowed to see the specifics of your personal life. Don't think for a second that the block will make you seem rude or immature. All it says is that he isn't invited. Understanding that makes you the grownup.

– Meredith

Readers? Have you ever found yourself posting with one person in mind as audience? Would you consider it rude to block?