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How Instagram worsens breakups

Expert insight:

You can thank a concept called algorithmic insensitivity for these unwelcome intrusions, says study author Anthony Pinter, a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Algorithms essentially don’t care if someone who was once your everything is no longer a part of your life. Your past clicks and relationship statuses will continue to determine the posts you see on your social feed today, Pinter explains. In turn, it’s highly likely that you’ll see stories and photos that your ex has either commented on or been tagged in.

The bottom line:

Physical, mental, and emotional distance are important in coping with and healing from a breakup, says Pinter.

When you’re blindsided by a triggering post, put your phone down, practice a calming breathing technique for at least four breaths, and consider calling a friend who can help you work through the emotions, says Noam Dinovitz, LCSW, a mental health therapist in Philadelphia.