Breakups in the age of social media

Break ups suck, of that I know for sure. Whether you are the dumper or the dumped or feigning a “conscious uncoupling” they are a weird and shitty time for all. But while once one could cut all ties, burn all photos and move on hopefully safe in the knowledge that you will never see your ex again – today in the age of social media this is no longer the case.

You can de-friend your ex, block your ex, unfollow their friends, you can even unfollow your own friends but yet still somehow some way there is still a chance you will find out exactly what they are up to. This digital nightmare is where I have found myself in recent times.

I broke up with someone last year. I say broke up because I don’t know how else to term it. We were forced to part because my visa had run out and I had to return to my home country. We stayed in touch and I was hopeful we would meet again, but as it would appear he was less so. Within a short amount of time he had become distant and cold and it was not long after that it came to an end. Stupidly I remained Facebook friends with him in the vague hope that there was in fact still hope for us.

Mama didn’t raise no quitter.

It was only after I went back for a holiday and tried to catch up with him that I finally got the message. I had tentatively sent him a text asking if he wanted to meet up which to my surprise he had enthusiastically excepted. I had told myself that I wanted closure, whether this was true or not I am still trying to work out. Either way 5 minutes before we were supposed to meet as I waited anxiously in the bar I received a message from him letting me know he was not coming. I had been stood up.

I was out of excuses, dead horses to flog and idioms. So I de-friended him.

I assumed this would be the end of it, now we were no longer social media friends I would be blind to what was going on in his life. I was wrong.

Shortly after returning home and beginning the process of healing my broken heart, I was rudely brought back to reality when I saw something online. It was a photo taken of  several of my friends when they had caught up for dinner, he had been there and so had a mystery girl who was photographed with her hand affectionately laid over his. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I wanted to throw up.

De-friending had not been enough, I had to take more drastic measures. I deleted all of my social media apps and decided I would be taking a break from all of it for as long as I needed to.

This lasted a week.

As empowering as it had initially felt, after a while my FOMO wore me down and I re-entered the digital conversation once more.

When I returned I was weary of being accosted again by any offending images so I unfollowed his friends that through my relationship had become my friends. This was not enough, so then I had to begin unfollowing some of my friends as well. It had become a weird game of cat and mouse, at every turn where I thought I had escaped him there he was again looking happy and successful and like everything was great in his life. I know social media can be a lie but sometimes it’s hard to remember this when your ex’s gorgeous smiling face is stalking your social media channels.

Probably the weirdest part of this story is that I am also friends with his mother on Facebook. I know this sounds strange and that I probably should’ve de-friended her too but I really liked her and it appeared that she really liked me too. I had spent my last Christmas in the UK with him and her and I almost felt like she and I had become friends separate from him. I would feel bad removing her from my friend list. In the end though I had to unfollow her too.

It has taken me a while to get over him, longer that it probably had to. Today I have  finally let go of the hope that there is any chance of a re-coupling with this person and I have  got to that point where I see him for all that he is and isn’t as opposed to all that he and we could’ve been. But it has been a tiresome journey and if I had my time over again I would have cut the social media ties a lot sooner. I have learned ignorance in these circumstances is most definitely bliss.


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