It was just a typical Thursday night. I was laying in bed next to my boyfriend, bingeing on Netflix and white wine when my world changed forever. Like any millennial, I had my phone nearby, and I was surprised when I saw pink Instagram notification pop up. I hadn’t posted in awhile, and assumed I was getting notified about a direct message or being followed by a spam account. What happened made the blood drain from my face and my heart stop beating.
“@(redacted) liked your photo”
Even though this wasn’t an account I was following, I recognized the handle immediately. It was the first letter and last name of my boyfriend’s most recent ex-girlfriend. I mean, obviously, he never told me her name because he knew I would hire an assassin, but I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t figured it out within three weeks of locking him down. In a panic, I clicked the notification, bringing me back to Instagram. There it was – the photo that had garnered the like of my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. Underneath my Valentine’s Day flowers, there was the proof: “@(redacted) and 128 others like this photo.”
In case you missed this, Valentine’s Day was in February. Right now, it is the middle of June. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks: I was being hate-stalked on social media by my enemy.
Obviously, over the years I’ve done my fair share of hate-stalking. Boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, their ex-girlfriends, and extended family members were all fair game. Of course, the fact that none of them knew I was creeping on them completely validated my behavior. I was always super careful though – even though I hate my boyfriend’s exes with a burning fiery passion, I’m at least kind and cautious enough to make sure they never know they’re being discussed in a group chat behind their backs.
I looked to my right, and there was my boyfriend, still a couple hours deep into a West Wing marathon, completely unaware of the drama that was unfolding just eight inches to the left of him. My stomach began to flip over as I started running through scenarios. Is he involved in this in some way? What made her decide to look me up all of a sudden? She obviously got to me from his page, which means she was stalking him first. Why? Were they talking? IS HE CHEATING ON ME?
As I started to plot my next move, I realized that I had made a fatal mistake. When I received my original notification, instead of opening Instagram myself, I had touched the notification, making it disappear. I checked my iPhone notifications, and then my Instagram notifications. Wisely, she had immediately unliked my photo after realizing her mistake, but it was too late for both of us. She was caught, but I had no proof with which to catch my boyfriend.
All evidence of this indiscretion was gone forever. I was left with a couple of options: yell at my boyfriend (a clear frontrunner), bring it up to him in a humorous tone (“Hey, guess who just liked one of my Instagram from four months ago?”), or ignore it. While I was leaning heavily toward the one of the first two options, I knew that without proof, this could quickly backfire. I could get accused of starting a fight for no reason, distrusting our relationship, or mining for information (which, let’s be honest, all of which would be true). I knew there was only one option: I swallowed my pride, went to her page, blocked her from seeing my profile, and snuggled up to my boyfriend to keep watching West Wing. It’s not his fault his ex-girlfriend’s a psycho, and besides, I figured I’d just wait until he fell asleep, unlock his phone with my thumb that I’d secretly authorized in TouchID, and then block her from all of his social media platforms, which seemed like a good compromise. I gave my boyfriend a kiss, and felt proud of myself for surviving the hate crime of the century with poise, grace, and only having to spend a couple of minutes searching through his phone..