Breaking up has never been easy to do. Even if you’re ready for things to be over, an unexpected and irrational fear of disappointing your partner may linger. And now, with social media involved, the whole experience can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s no longer just a separation of things or the splitting of friend groups.
In today’s hyper-connected world, the breakup extends beyond the physical realm and delves deep into the digital arena. Social media politics now has an impact on who we follow and unfollow, whose posts we “like” and whose we decide to ignore. Then, just when we think we have it all figured out, we’re left wondering if we can handle the unlimited access to our ex’s content.
Here’s a pro tip: if you find yourself constantly scrolling through and dissecting their feed, you should probably consider muting or blocking them. Putting the lid on Pandora’s box will help limit the risk of developing unhealthy habits. The last thing you want is to get stuck in a cycle of romanticizing your former flame that can lead you back to their doorstep. Let the past stay in the past.
This, unfortunately, is the world we live in now. And, while it may be difficult to navigate, there are people who have experienced this already and done the hard work for you. No need to wonder “should I unfollow my ex’s friends” or “should I continue to keep tabs on my ex through their friends” because we’ve got the answers. Here’s a short, but sweet list of post-breakup social media rules.
Chances are you formed some pretty close relationships with some of your ex’s friends. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if everyone can be mature about it. It may come down to who was friends with whom first which feels very ownership-focused, but everyone needs someone they can confide in, especially during a brutal breakup. You may have to let go of friends in real life, which can definitely impact how you interact with them online.
If too many of their life updates include your former significant other, unfriending may provide you with some instant gratification, but what would that mean in the long run? Total excommunication moving forward? That seems a bit extreme for the friend of an ex (that you were once close to and who is remaining respectful).
This is when muting and unfollowing become the best solution. Depending on the social media platform, your options will vary. Do some investigating – see what features are available to you and how to take one step back before taking ten forward.
“Checking up on” your ex via their social media profiles…
Now it may seem harmless to peek at your ex’s social media profiles whenever you’re online especially if you aren’t leaving any comments and only spend a few minutes looking through their latest posts. This is debatable – if it starts to take over your day or impact your mental health, then this is no longer a good idea.
Whether you agreed to separate or it was the decision of one party, creating space between yourselves digitally is necessary in this day and age. Maybe you want to unfriend them — putting into practice rules that are a little more extreme than that of their friends. Be sure that it’s worth no longer being connected to them or the level of embarrassment that you’ll risk if you decide to friend request them some time in the future.
Muting and unfollowing may be the best moves to make in this case as well. Making brash decisions during times of duress is never a good move, even if you’d already made (or been a part of) one in ending the relationship.
Oversharing about the breakup or your post-breakup life…
You may feel tempted to dish all the details about why and how you ended things with your former significant other. You may be feeling a sense of relief or a certain amount of rage (which can make anyone want to express themselves without any bounds). However, oversharing can cast a bad light on you, your partner and what you shared. It causes you to relive the pain of the relationship and prevents you from moving past the experience.
It may also feel tempting to post every single little thing you do throughout the day even if it’s just to keep yourself busy. This can also take away from your actual healing. Social media platforms have made it too easy to overshare and to overindulge in updating the world.
Remember that your path is yours and theirs is theirs — you have nothing to prove to anyone. Living your life for yourself while posting as you please, with maybe a tinge of discernment, will work in your favor.
Pretending to be okay when you’re actually struggling…
There’s no need to pretend to be okay even if you feel like your former partner is “doing better”. Feeling pressure to maintain a facade is a product of social media culture and can be even more tempting when we don’t want to face our true feelings. Nevertheless, making sure that we’re honest with ourselves in how we feel, how we act and move through the world is essential to healing and growing.
Whether you decide to unfollow, unfriend, mute, or block former partners (and/or their friends), be sure that you’re making these decisions out of what you need and what works best for you. Keeping tabs and pretending don’t need to be a part of your journey. Make your post breakup experience easier by getting in touch with your inner voice and disregarding external opinions/pressures.