Heartbreak in the Time of Social Media

Heartbreak in the Time of Social Media

social media exes

"Did you hear so & so broke up?"

"No way? I wonder if..."

A couple of weeks ago Chris Brown and the model Karrueche Tran seemed to be on the 'offs' of their on again/off again relationship. How does the media know this? Instagram. Maybe a month or two ago the same thing happened between Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez. Big buzz because pictures were deleted.

But this isn't just something celebrities do. 

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter.

You scroll. And scroll. And scroll. iPhone out. Laptop on. You examine their profiles. Hmm. Their relationship status isn't displayed on Facebook, wasn't it, before? Is that a passive aggressive tweet or do they really want us to know they believe the 'grass is greener' adage? Oh, no... wait. Jackpot, Instagram. All the cute pictures of them together are gone.

I've gone back and forth with friends over what the 'right' thing to do is when you break up with someone, as far as social media goes. Do you unfriend them, what about their family? Do you wish them a happy birthday? Should your friends unfriend them, too? And what about all the pictures? Do you delete, un-tag, or make them private? There are no guidelines. Someone's going to get hurt and chances that it shows on social media are high. 

And this is all fun and games for onlookers but you know... if it's you...

Your friends and acquaintances will draw to your social media profiles like moths to a flame. It's the car crash we all know is terrible but we crane our necks to see. Everyone is wondering why you broke up, who broke up with who, who's going to move on first, who's going to make the first social media post with a new person, etc. Your breakup has shackled you to the middle of town square and everyone has crowded around. But this is about you, of course, and social media becomes your own personal guillotine every single time you let yourself wonder. Did they ever really care? Are they seeing someone? It's been two days but what have they been up to? Wait, did they get hotter? Who is that next to them?!

Thus begins the post-breakup stalking. It's a terrible habit, I'll be the first to admit it, but sometimes you tell yourself you've just gotta know. There's always going to be SOMETHING you can read into, too. There could literally be nothing and you'd somehow manage to tell yourself they're off meeting hot people. Like I said, torture.

"HE LIKED HER PIZZA PICTURE... oh my gosh... do you think they're dating, now?!"

"She tweeted lyrics about BEING IN LOVE, that has to be about me, you think?"

"He changed his profile picture and he looks terrible, right guys? Right? Right he looks terrible, RIGHT?"

"She was out to dinner last night at that new Italian restaurant... I bet it was a date. I bet the waiter hit on her. I bet someone bought her a drink. She never even cared about what we had."

"And just who the heck is this user5007 listed as their BFF on SnapChat? Are you joking me, who is this?!"

Honey child. Deactivate. This is honestly the most logical choice for someone post-breakup. To be really honest there should be some type of Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat 'pre-relationship option' that allows you to have all your social media outlets block your ex from your sight for a couple of weeks to cool down. I'm joking but not, some of us just need a little help, right? It's hard to check up on someone when you can't. Is there an app for that?

But, at what point should you assess the situation for what it is?

Deleting the pictures doesn't delete the memories.

Passive aggressive tweets only perpetuate your own misery (you know why you tweeted it, so really you're building a sad internet shrine for your pain and you're absolutely better than that)

Unfriending them doesn't make it any less awkward/painful/emotional when you accidentally run into each other. 

Obviously each breakup has its own remedy for moving on but it is absolutely worth mentioning that it wasn't all bitterness and wasted time. Not all things were bad and that face didn't always make you uneasy. You've just got to move on when you're ready. Time will heal it, absolutely, but social media can (and will) make it a lot harder for you. Chin up. Phone down. You'll be alright.

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