real life

Breakups in the age of social media: we've never had it so bad.

There comes a time, probably at around 2am on a Thursday morning, when you’re covered in a pathetic mixture of Doritos and tears, unsure of whether it’s been 20 minutes or three hours, scrolling through pictures of your ex-boyfriends new love interest on Instagram that you think:

“This really would have been a whole lot easier 60 years ago.”

Do you think I want to know how many beautiful women my ex-boyfriend has added on Facebook since we broke up?

Do you think I want to know that his new girlfriend is a goddamn vegetarian? Which I believe in philosophically but practically I just can’t stop eating meat, which just makes me feel particularly bad about myself.

Do you think I want to know that she is kind-of-a-legit model and has an online modelling profile which is totally stalk-able, and is on the front page of a magazine this week wearing a dress that a) I could never afford and b) Would look like a f*cking muumuu on me? Huh? Do you think I want to have discovered all those things?

No. The answer is no.

Breakups in the world of social media are torturous in a way our ancestors could never have imagined.

Listen: Psychologist Leanne Hall and love guru Osher Gunsberg give advice to any woman whose boyfriend hides them from his social media identity. Post continues after audio. 

We have been thrust into a world of unbridled access, and have to practice a style of restraint that we are not yet evolved to handle.

The new partner can become a source of unquenchable curiosity. What does she do? Is she like me? Is she more beautiful? Funnier? Smarter? Are they happier? What does she have that I didn’t?

I’ve had friends delete Facebook for months on end to avoid the dreaded search bar, or unwelcome intrusions on their news feed.  To not ‘check’ a toxic and painful Facebook profile is akin to expecting an alcoholic not to reach for the bottle of vodka under the kitchen sink.

In 2016, it’s never over. It can’t be, because they never quite disappear.

In 1956, you were probably dumped by…I don’t know…a carrier pigeon. Or a message in a bottle. It probably took so long to actually receive news, that you were healed by the time it hit. And you never had to see their (stupid) face again.

"Okay, tell me honestly. Do you think she's hotter than me?" Image via Netflix.

In 2016, it can go one of two ways. It can hit you like a bolt of lightening - a text or a phone call seemingly out of nowhere. And that's the kinder of the two.

The second, well, never happens. You're ghosted. Or benched. They stop replying. Maybe they reply intermittently. Or they upload pictures with their new girlfriend. The following weeks/months consist of you stalking their Instagram profile...and the girls who are liking their photos. FOR CLUES. 

In 1956, in order to forget them you just had to distract yourself. Maybe you...played marbles. Or hula hooped. Or read a book made out of actual paper.

Wow. It looks like reading was really fun in the 1950s. Image via iStock.

In 2016, the breakup gives way to an extensive administrative to-do list. In order to erase them from your life you must be sure to delete them off Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, LinkedIn, etc. BUT, you must also be sure that your friends don't delete case you ever need to do some, um, research. Also, you should probably leave your Facebook and Instagram account on public, because then once you take a hot AF selfie, they can still see it.

In 1956, maybe you ate a small 'treat' in front of the, er, fire. And cried with your mum and your great aunt Pearl.

In 2016 you hire someone for a professional photo shoot, so that he is reminded of what he's missing out on. You will obviously then post the (gorgeous) pictures bi-weekly on Instagram. During peak time (5pm - 8pm week nights) as to garner the most amount of likes. You will also use a number of hashtags in order to optimise your exposure.

"I'm thinking something along the lines of this..." Image via Victoria's Secret.

In 1956, everyone probably told you to get over it. There were things to do, like tend to the farms. Or play a family game of Monopoly.

In 2016, you spend six hours browsing the perfect revenge hair cut. You settle on the Kylie Jenner bob. You then take up bikram yoga, book a two week holiday to Bali, and see a counselor so that you can finally learn to properly love yourself.

In 1956, in order to find another suitor you had to go to a 'dance' - which in my mind took place in a barn.

In 2016, unfortunately there is no barn dance. Your options are going to 'the club' where men and women ignore each other, except for the odd moment where a strange man gropes an unassuming woman. Or you hop onto Tinder. And Bumble. And Happn. And maybe even eHarmony. All at once. SWIPE, SWIPE, SWIPE.

In 60 years, the experience of dating has completely transformed.

Millennials are the first generation to deal with this new form of heartbreak, where our exes are perpetually within arms reach. And the image we are left with is an entirely false representation of their lives, manufactured for an audience. It doesn't show their (countless) flaws. We are just constantly reminded of the most perfect version of a person we once loved.

So next time you find yourself scrolling through the Instagram profile of your exes new love interest, rolling your eyes at her perfect avocado on toast breakfast and impossibly toned upper arms, know that we're all in this together.

And maybe, quietly whisper to yourself...

"I wish it was fu*king 1956."