A Guest Post on Orbiting – Why People Do it, and Why They Really, Really Shouldn’t
Recently, I was chatting with John about a certain Ex of mine and the topic of “orbiting“ came up. He had a very interesting perspective on the matter, and, at some point during this conversation, someone suggested that he write a guest post on the topic (it was me… I suggested it ?).
He agreed, though, and I’m really excited to share it with you guys today!
Not only is it my first ever guest post on this blog, it’s written from a guy’s perspective and by a guy who just so happens to be my love ?.
So, without further ado, here it is:
John’s take on Orbiting
Social media has made keeping up with your friends and family so easy. If you want to know what’s going on in their lives, just go to a browser or tap on an app.
This is great sometimes – like when you have loved ones that you can’t see regularly, but still want to know what their Christmas looked like, or when your best friend is on vacation and you want to make sure that the hotel they’ve been talking up is actually as badass as they’ve led you to believe.
That’s what going on Facebook or Instagram is all about! Checking up on the people who mean something to you. Life sometimes gets in the way of being able to see the ones you love as often as you want, especially in the days of COVID.
These platforms give everyone the ability to communicate their lives so easily. Keeping those lines of communication open is a great idea….in most cases.
Not so much with your ex romantic partners. Most of the time, we avoid them like a plague.
Still, we want to keep up some level of civility so they are lumped in the same boat as Uncle Joey who lives 2,000 miles away. Beware! This can lead to what’s known as orbiting.
What is Orbiting?
Let’s face it. We have all been a little guilty of this. One night we thought of an ex and (dare I say) missed them. No way are we going to let that *expletive* know about it! So what’s the first thing we do? You guessed it! Straight to Facebook!
While ill-advised, this behavior is normal. No harm no foul.
Let’s alter this, though.
Instead of just leaving after scrolling through a few pictures, you viewed their story or left a comment on their most recent post. You want to stay “friends” right? So why not give them a like when you see their status updates?
Bad news. You just landed in their orbit.
Orbiting Definition: Making it clear to your ex that you are looking at their life on social media while continuing to avoid contact by all other means.
Now, You probably have friends you haven’t seen in years that do this too – your old college roommate or that co-worker from 5 years ago. But in those cases, everyone is cool with it.
On the other hand, when you go through a breakup, more than likely one person wanted to remain in the relationship and the other did not. The expectations of communication are now gone and if you are doing things correctly, they should be non-existent. THIS INCLUDES SOCIAL MEDIA.
I know it doesn’t sound like much but it can really cause some issues. Let me explain by breaking this down for each party:
Orbiting as the Dumpee
If you are orbiting as the dumpee, this is a Terrible Idea!
You are NOT going to win them back by showing them how much you care about them. All this is doing is making you look like a desperate loser (harsh, I know, but it’s the truth!)
And don’t tell me that you just want them happy. They don’t care how happy you are so stop, get real and, if you haven’t already, please go read about no-contact.
“But John, I already did and I’m out of the no-contact phase. We haven’t talked in 6 months and this doesn’t apply to me.”
Oh really… Did you text them? Did you happen to run into them at the grocery store and strike up a conversation? Did you establish a non-romantic relationship prior to liking their most recent workout post? If the answer is no, I question your intentions.
On the other hand, if you are the one being orbited as a dumpee, it can be very confusing.
You will be left wondering whether they are having second thoughts. You were left on a cliff waiting and hoping for another chance.
And now, here it is.
You’re thinking, “This person threw me out of their life 2 weeks ago, but last night they put a laughing emoji on a meme I re-posted. Did they do it intentionally? If they don’t want anything to do with me, why are they still interacting? No-contact is working and it must mean they are….”
Let me give you a side note piece of advice here: ANYTHING short of them saying something along the lines of…
“I have thought it over and I would like to resume our relationship”
…is not worth giving ONE OUNCE of attention to.
What to do
If you’ve been dumped and are still orbiting your exes social media feed – STOP. Right now. Just, stop. Do literally anything else!
Now, if you are being orbited as the dumpee, the first advice is to unfriend and unfollow…hell, block them if you have to. Make sure they can’t see you and more importantly, you can’t see them.
It sounds harsh but your ex was not looking out for you when they broke it off. You have to look out for yourself and ensure that you don’t lie awake at night ruminating over “what was.” This perceived attention is only delaying your ability to heal.
Next, I would also talk to a friend about this as well. I know it can be embarrassing to admit that you still have feelings for someone that hurt you. That makes it even more important to get an outside opinion when confusing signals come flying at you. You may be surprised at how receptive and understanding they are.
Orbiting as the Dumper
Let’s say you dumped someone and they keep creeping on your Instagram. You might think, “Why are they contacting me again? What are his/her intentions? To be honest, I just want to be left alone for a while and this is making me a little uncomfortable.”
Unfortunately, their lack of self control is going to fall on you.
I know you made it clear and you were already the “bad guy.” But, if you genuinely cared for this person and have no intention of reconnecting, DO NOT ENGAGE!
In some cases it might actually be kinder to just unfriend them. I know this seems cruel and counterintuitive, but hear me out: You want this person to move on without you, right? They can’t if you’re still in the picture – even if that picture is just on Facebook.
If they think there is any chance of reconnecting with you, the orbiting will continue.
In the end, it’s much better for you and them to sever those ties – at least for now. Don’t get me wrong, they will be pissed! But in the long run it’s better than watching someone lead themselves on across your every turn on the internet.
In all honesty, you were already the bad guy by breaking up with them. All you’re doing now is helping them understand that.
On the other hand, if you are orbiting an ex that you broke up with you need to check yourself quick! Do you feel guilty for hurting them? Do you miss your conversations? Are you wanting to keep them strung along in case you can’t find someone better? Do you genuinely want to be friends? Are you just bored and scrolling through your feeds reacting to every post like some sort of social media Black Friday sale?
Whatever the answers, it doesn’t matter the reason and the same advice applies. DO NOT PUSH YOUR EMOTIONAL CONFUSION ONTO THE PERSON YOU LEFT!
If you had reservations, maybe you should have thought about that before bringing your relationship to a screeching halt. If you want to resume a relationship (friends, lovers, FWB, BDSM, etc.) with this person, you need to have a real conversation with them.
At the end of the day, we all want to feel respected whether in-person or on the internet. Orbiting is kinda like having a door cracked open and the orbiter is straddling the threshold. That door needs to close but deciding which side to be on can only come with open and genuine dialog between both people.
If that won’t happen, slamming the door on their leg can also be a satisfying option.
Message sent with Love,
Thanks for reading everyone!
It’s always enlightening to see what a guy thinks of certain issues and I just may have John back to write another post in the future.
As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments down below.