Life was simple before Mark Zuckerberg decided to give everyone in the world the opportunity to constantly be connected to people from the past and present.
Before Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and even Twitter, both dating and being single were pleasant. My news feed is now a constant stream of “I’m engaged” or “look at who I’m dating now” photos. Of course, I could just make my life simple and remove myself from social media, but it’s addictive and the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
I love being able to have a place where my friends can share photos with each other and I can graciously look back and laugh at the one time I accidentally dyed my hair bleach blonde (more like orange, but okay) many moons ago (WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS I THINKING?) but the miserable part of social media is when you are no longer a part of someone’s life.
In the 1950’s break-ups were simple. You ended things, you avoided the same social circles and you probably rarely had to see them again. In pre-internet movies, the rituals of how to deal with a breakup are well-documented (see – 10 Things I Hate About You.) You gather up everything your ex gave you, put it in a box, and either bury it or burn it. After that, the only times you have to be reminded of them are if you bump into each other in public or if “your song” comes on the radio.
But with the advents of social media, dealing with breakups is far less cut-and-dry. You don’t just break up with someone’s physical self — you have to break up with their social media presence, too. And between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat — hell, even LinkedIn — getting rid of reminders of your former beloved is much easier said than done.
“Don’t Broadcast Your Heartbreak — but Don’t Lie About It, Either.”
You are, of course, the only person who can decide how public you want to be about breakups, but lying about a breakup and pretending it never happened can only come back to haunt you. This is most often the route of jilted lovers who haven’t yet accepted that they’ve been dumped, but whatever the case, acting like you’re still coupled when you’re not has never been a good look.
Anyone who’s dated as much as me (but seriously, 3 relationships in 6 years – I don’t feel like I’ve dated all that much!) knows that not all breakups are created equal. There’s the amicable, “this isn’t working but I still care about you” breakup, and then there’s the “I curse you and your entire bloodline and never want to see you again” breakup — and, of course, tons of circumstances in between.
To judge just how far you need to go to avoid your ex online, you need to be brutally honest with yourself about how much they hurt you. If you underestimate your pain or anger, it will come back to haunt you when you don’t take the necessary steps to cut your ex out of your digital life.
Now there’s always some avenue to stay connected with people you’d rather have nothing to do with. Hence the ever serious dilemma of blocking someone from social media. As extreme as it may seem to block an ex, it’s much less so than seeing their face, name and comments all over your feeds. With the block feature (on Facebook and Twitter, at least), their comments and replies will be hidden even on posts from mutual friends – they’re literally non-existent. Sure, you might notice some “missing” replies now and again, but it’s better than seeing the words and face of the person who broke your heart.
On other platforms, like Instagram and Snapchat (and even Pinterest,) blocking can often be the only way to “unfriend” and not see posts or updates by your ex. Beyond just blocking you from seeing their posts, this feature also keeps them from e-stalking (or fixating on) your posts as well — a common post-breakup tactic regardless of who did the dumping.
“Breakups hurt. But losing someone who doesn’t respect you is actually a gain. Not a loss.”
I decided to remove someone from all avenues of social media and it weirdly was a rather stressful decision. I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing I couldn’t handle seeing them be happy in their new (or previous, whatever) relationship. I didn’t want them to know they had that power over me and the truth is I didn’t want to admit it to myself on some level. In the face of self-preservation, I decided to block her.
“Everyone is allowed to be in love with the wrong person at some point. In fact, it’s a mistake not to be.”
There’s no shame in blocking someone, especially someone who hurt you on a fundamental level like the way she hurt me. By blocking her, I’m choosing me. I’m putting me first and making it pretty clear that there is no remote reason for us to ever to be in communication again.
I’d only be hurting myself staying in the same space as her (via the ever expansive virtual world.) I’m not being dramatic. Life is just a matter of perspective and my perspective needed to be 100% free of her from my life.
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
I have ZERO self-control and no shame in admitting that the wound is fresh and the only way to move on is to take a chapter from the generations before us and walk away cleanly. Yes, I am one of those fixating people.
Girls seem to hate this simple click of a button that is blocking someone but the truth is those girls are trying to tangibly hold on to some way to stay tied to these people who don’t deserve to be tethered to them.
By blocking someone, you’re making a conscious decision to erase that person from your life and that’s absolutely A-Okay in my book!