Anyone who has dated anyone post 2004 most likely has had access to social media. Social media has worked to enhance our connection with people, this constant connection to other people can have its pitfalls, particularly when you break up with your partner.
So lets take a common scenario. You start dating a guy (or girl), you meet their friends and get along very well. You add them on Facebook and other social media. Then the chain of connections begin as all the other friends follow suit by adding you as a friend as well. You take many pictures together, you go out to restaurants and bars together. You like your partner’s friends.
Everything is going well… or so it seems. Then one dreaded day, you decide (or worse its decided for you) that the relationship has come to an end. You are devastated. The dilemma? You still have your ex on Facebook – as well as alllll their friends – and are contemplating whether or not to remove them all.
I’ve faced that exact dilemma, and come out the other side with my emotions more or less intact. And here is what I learned.
Will it look like I care too much if I delete them all?
At the age of 22 I had asked myself this question after a particularly bad break up. I failed to remove the ex and his friends because I was too proud to admit defeat. How could I let him think that I cared enough to delete him? Won’t his friends think I am a little bit mean deleting them? After all they had done nothing wrong. Removing any of them would only prove that I was not over it.
After a year I was still struggling with the break up. I couldn’t comprehend why I had not moved on. Although I never showed the effect it had on me, it still hurt. I considered counselling, as surely it wasn’t normal to feel as though we’d split yesterday when it was a whole year ago, right? He had clearly moved on so why couldn’t I?
The reason was social media, I realised. I was never getting a clean break from him or his friends. They were everywhere – on my newsfeed, smiling in photos, posting status updates, tagging my ex. I hadn’t allowed myself to move on because in a way, he was still in my life.
Ask yourself: what is going to help me move on?
If you are a curious person and your own worst enemy, you will find out of boredom, curiosity or maybe even jealously, that you inevitably check your ex’s page. Or maybe you come across one of their friend’s profiles, only to see a photo of your ex out and about. It stings doesn’t it?
While you may be well aware that your ex will be moving on, it’s different when the evidence is right in front of you. Instead of being blissfully unaware of whether they’re down the street or in the depths of the Amazon for all you know, by seeing this photo they’r right back in front of you. Probably with their arm around someone else. It’s awful, and you have now pulled yourself two steps back.