By Leah Sheppard
Facebook is one of the greatest inventions of our time, but it can be a real tough gig when you’ve just been through a breakup. The main source of our communication with the world suddenly becomes a horrifying reminder of the life we once treasured, and now no longer have.
First there are all your private messages to one-another from when you were first going out, and you couldn’t wait to get that little red notification saying you had received something from them. Then there are the loving selfies you posted with your partner, or pictures of places you’ve both been that proudly display the fact that you were ‘In a relationship’. Maybe there are pictures of parties, festivals and family events. Your whole life together is documented for everyone to see.
After the breakup however, it seems like a cruel form of torture revealing all the hopes, dreams and experiences you will no longer be a part of, and your personal documentary takes a heart-wrenching turn. You change that status to ‘Single’, with Facebook broadcasting to the World that you are ‘no longer in a relationship’, and now have to suffer through all the pitying comments, and possibly gleeful haters who always had a ‘thing’ for your ex. Worse, it’s a window to what looks like the wonderful new life your ex has without you. Why do they look so happy without me? Who is that girl? Why am I the only one that feels miserable???
Maybe your Ex is having a great time, maybe not; but the fact that it is not your business anymore is possibly the hardest thing to grasp. We spend so long caring about, and being interested in the lives of our loved ones, it is only natural that we would find it difficult to suddenly change the way we feel, and switch off.
What you are going through needs space, care and perspective, and you need to create an environment for yourself that allows you to heal properly. Watching the constant updates from your ex or your mutual friends, and guessing whether they are truly having a good time or not is not what you need right now; you really need distance to get better.
But what exactly does that mean? The list below is the best way to navigate the next few weeks/months (/however long you feel is necessary) as a sure-fire way to get a handle on things. It may be hard and seem over-the-top, but believe me it is what you need right now.
- Delete the field that shows your relationship status: Like, for real. No public updates/statements saying ‘[You are] no longer in a relationship’; just take it off. You don’t need to have the barrage of ‘oh no!’ statements from your 800 Facebook friends on your feed for the next month, and it’s really no one’s business what your status is. The people who will support you will have known outside of Facebook anyway.
- Unfriend your ex: As hard as this can be, and permanent as it sounds you need to put some space between the two of you in order to start your healing process. If they are the type of person you still want to have in your life eventually, they will understand the need for distance, and you can re-friend later.
- DO NOT stalk your ex’s page: I cannot emphasise this enough, at least for the first couple of months. If you really want to get better you need to give your brain and emotions a break and constantly viewing their page will keep you in limbo forever. When you are stronger, it can actually be a good exercise to view it again, as it can help you put things in perspective; often the person we had been crying over doesn’t really fit the dream of who we want anymore.
- DO NOT talk about your ex on Facebook: Another ‘hard no’. It doesn’t help anybody, least of all yourself. I know it’s hard, and you are hurting, but ranting and crying over them publicly will make you look like you are attention-seeking and will not solve your pain. (NB: This also includes making supposedly non-specific passive- aggressive posts about them…Everyone knows you are talking about your ex). Find someone safe and supportive to talk to about it privately. Don’t worry; you will be out of the quagmire in no time!