The obsessive desire to keep tabs on and be privy to information about one’s ex is a very real phenomena and one that’s been discussed at length by outlets like Psychology Today, and Science Direct, who both name these toxic fixations as “obsessive love.”
One might argue, however, that it would be hard to classify anything obsessive as “love,” especially when so many post break-up traits seem either depressing, compulsory, or just downright scary. And when dealing with a breakup, there’s often questions folks may have about their former significant other: Did they move on? Are they seeing someone else? Were they talking to them while we were still together?
Questions like the aforementioned could very easily put someone in a proverbial spiral, and while understanding these behaviors, and forcing oneself to not indulge in them by redirecting obsessions into other more creative avenues, seems like a much healthier alternative than wallowing in a cavern of misery and thinking about a past relationship, there are people who ignore these coping mechanisms and instead choose to fall prey to these mental demons.
Like the behaviors that TikToker Laura Picadillo’s (@laurapicadillo) ex exhibited after their breakup. Well, it’s actually one recurring behavior that he engages in monthly. For the past five-and-a-half years and counting.
Picadillo divulged, in a viral TikTok that amassed over 1.9 million views before being deleted, that every single month, without fail, her ex boyfriend will attempt to gain access to all of her social media accounts. What’s more is that she said he works in cybersecurity for the Department of Defense, leading her to wonder if he’s using any special types of software to attempt to gain access to her accounts.
She begins her video with her hand placed over her chest. She looks earnestly into the camera and states: “Truly from the bottom of my heart I hope you are spared from having an ex with technological and computer-ational abilities. I was out with my friend when my phone just started going off like crazy. And I asked her to pick it up and look and see what was going on. And she was like you’re getting so many emails and texts from all your social media, like saying that you’re trying to reset your password or confirming a password reset and I went, ‘It’s the monthly check-in.'”
Naturally, Picadillo’s friend was intrigued as to what she meant by the statement, and the TikToker told her pal what she meant by that. “I forget that she hasn’t unlocked all of my lore yet,” she says. “So I explain that every month my ex tries to hack into all my social media accounts. And of course my friend is super concerned, but I reassure her I like change my password every two weeks my password (by) just me slamming my arm onto my keyboard. He hasn’t been able to hack it in years. And she goes ‘Years?!’ and I go yeah this has been happening once every month ever since April 2018. And she was like wait but you said he hacked, so he has hacked you before?”
The TikToker said that there was only one instance where her ex was able to access a social media account of hers. Which either says a lot about the security protocols of many of these social media accounts or the lack of technical acumen that Department of Defense cybersecurity workers possess.
“And I was like yeah one time he did manage to hack into my LinkedIn, but all he did was unblock himself and send me an essay saying that he missed me and also calling me a fat ugly b*tch,” she says. “And she goes, ‘He doesn’t, he didn’t do anything else?’ And I was like no as far as I know he just wants to unblock himself so he can subject me to his own personal conundrum of do I hate Laura or do I miss her? And she goes, ‘That’s horrible, but also this is kind of crazy there are like 150 requests from like all the social media accounts all at the same time.'”
Picadillo went on to explained to her friend that she’s become so used to this “monthly check-in” that the rampant buzzing, signaling her ex’s attempts at obsessively trying to communicate with her for years, really doesn’t faze her all that much these days. “And I go yeah you know I’ve always wondered he does work for the Department of Defense in like the cybersecurity department, so I always wondered if he’s been using government technology to do that since it happens across all of them all at the same time or maybe it’s a coding thing you code? Is that a coding thing?”
The TikToker continued, stating that she “found out” her ex wasn’t using some special software or some secret kind of algorithm. “It’s not a coding thing I found out, but also my friend was so concerned but I have genuinely been dealing with this so long, once a month, that I see it the same way as I see my period at this point.”
She finished her video with a final warning message/romantic advice to her viewers: “Anyways don’t date people who are good at computers.”
Picadillo posted several video responses to other users on the platform, who had a slew of questions about the situation. A recurring query that was oft-repeated throughout the comments were exhortations from other TikTokers who wanted to know why she didn’t attempt to get him fired from his job.
In one video, she said that she did, in fact, contact his work, the police, and a lawyer regarding the situation, but it still hasn’t stopped the cacophony of login attempts every 30 days or so from sounding off on her mobile device.
However, there were also remarks from several users on the app who seemed genuinely concerned and worried for her safety. “This…is restraining order level,” wrote one user.
Someone else echoed Picadillo’s sentiments regarding dating nerds. “‘Date nerds’ they said. ‘It’ll be fun’ they said,'” the user wrote.
There was one TikToker who wondered why her ex wouldn’t just use the time he spent to try and hack into her social media accounts to try and suss out some of his obsession issues with therapy instead. “Why would he spend all of this time doing this instead of just going to therapy,” they wrote.
While Picadillo seemed fairly nonchalant about the fact her ex has been harassing her online for some 67 consecutive months and counting, one commenter remarked that her just shrugging off the alarming behavior is something many people do, even if it’s probably not the smartest way to go about things: “Desensitized to a threat. I feel its so common, that people have trouble gauging how big a problem is.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to the Department of Defense via email and Picadillo via TikTok comment for further information.