A breakup is never easy. And it doesn’t help when you constantly see your ex’s smiling face on Facebook’s newsfeed and her carefree updates on Instagram. It’s a double slap on the face when you see that she’s out on a date. Then there’s the countless photos of the two of you posted by other friends that you can’t delete. Not only is she stubbornly in your heart and head, she’s also residing in your smartphone, weighing you down with at least 50MB of your memories. It’s like a virus that won’t go away. Consider the following to squash the little beastie:
Breaking it gently
The fastest and easiest way is to unfriend your ex. If you unfriend her now, you can always invite her back into your online life soon as you’re over the breakup. It’s best to completely sever all ties to get you started on your road to recovery without any speedbumps. If you see her name on your list, it will be easy for you to just say “hi” and send you spiraling back to heartbreak city. The harder it is for you to find her contact details, the more difficult it is to go running back to her.
But maybe you’re not quite ready for something that drastic. Besides, you don’t want to be in that awkward position where you befriend your ex after the storm. There are several ways to go about this. One not so drastic approach is the “Take a Break” tool on Facebook, an option given to you once you change your relationship status. The tool allows you see less of your heartbreaker on your feed without having to unfriend or block her. Inversely, you can also limit updates and changes she can see. Another great thing about this feature is that it will save you from seeing her name before you’re about to write a message or tag people. Without activating this feature, Facebook automatically suggests the names of people you interact with often when messaging or tagging.
You don’t necessarily have to delete all your photos together. The Facebook feature allows you to edit previous posts by either changing the privacy settings or untagging each post. This will save you from having to dig through all your albums. The good news is that you can undo these actions anytime (in case you get back together). It’s definitely a better option than burning old pictures.
To block or not to block
Unfortunately for Instagrammers, Twitheads, and other social media junkies, the “Take a Break” tool isn’t available elsewhere. But hitting the unfollow button is such a simple but liberating act. Painful maybe, but just like peeling a nasty one-week-old Band-Aid off your skin, it needs to be done, otherwise you would risk infecting your “wound” and doing more damage. Then there’s the mute button on Google Plus and Twitter, which silences your former flame on your feed.
Aside from unfollowing or muting, you may need to block your old flame to keep her from seeing your posts. An unfollow alone doesn’t stop your ex from contacting you, especially if she’s on the crazy side. Blocking her will make sure she doesn’t see and interact with your posts (unless you want to see “cheating bastard” commented on your smiling profile picture).
It may be a good idea to temporarily disconnect from her closest network, too. You may no longer see her updates but it’s inevitable for you to see her tagged by some of her friends. There will also be some “friends” who might throw in some insensitive comments (“Aww, you were so cute together!”) or even goad you about the recent breakup. You may not be able to do a clean sweep in one go, so every time you see a mutual friend on your feed that you’ve forgotten about just click on the arrow on the upper right and choose Hide or click Unfollow on his profile page.
When tables are turned
But what if SHE unblocks or unfriends you? Hurts doesn’t it? Maybe you’re not quite ready to move on, but she is. Respect her decision. It doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s less affected. It may be a clear message that she doesn’t want to have anything to do with you…for now. It could mean many things. But it may give you comfort to think that it probably hurts her more than it hurts you, so let her be. You’ll be doing more damage by confronting her about it. And it will definitely not get you unblocked.
You want to keep the whole sordid affair as quiet as possible. Keep it classy by staying away from the status box. Avoid the “subtle” memes, because people are smarter than you think (think “Life is full of disappointments and I just added you to my list” or “Game over. Thank you for playing.”).
Vent on your journal or to a friend and not online for everyone to see. Besides, you might regret it later. If you feel that you haven’t said your peace, a long email may work. With an email you can vent all you want without being interrupted. It’s also a great way to avoid getting slapped or assaulted with tears. But this isn’t to say that it’s alright to breakup with someone online. The long email is for unfinished business. Keep in mind though that this can be used against you in the future as there’s no way of deleting it.
Change your relationship status quietly so it doesn’t become news. After editing your “Relationship Status” click on the privacy option on the right (the one with the head icon) and choose “Only Me.” You can do the same when changing your lovey-dovey profile pic to your fabulously filtered solo selfie by clicking on the hide option once you see the update on your newsfeed.
Hiding your relationship status online also stops the targeted adverts, you know, wedding ads and bridal packages after you’ve ended your engagement.
You may have squashed the bug, but there will still be a few buzzing around that will eventually show up. It’ll get better. Meanwhile, go get yourself a whole gallon of ice cream. You deserve it.