Social media after a break-up: the dos and don’ts


social media breakup

Before the digital age it was generally accepted that when you left someone’s life you would have little or no contact unless you had agreed to stay friends and a break-up meant there was a clean line drawn. Things are more complicated now: the more ways we are involved in each others lives through social media, the more connections there are to break at the end of a relationship. Some can even remain in place without the other person being aware of it.

The trouble is that social media can prolong the pain of a break-up and make it more difficult to move on. Here are some suggestions to bear in mind when you break up in the real world but remain attached in the virtual.

Do . . .

– Unfriend them on Facebook and stop following on Twitter and Instagram. Even though this may seem harsh it’s better in the long run because it will help resist the temptation to cyber stalk. If you are friends with a lot of his or her friends, it may be worth culling those you wouldn’t keep in touch with were it not for your ex

– Resist going through their photos and status updates trying to track their movements or find answers to unanswered questions

– Give yourself a complete break from social media if you find the compulsion is too much

– Treat people as you would like to be treated. Imagine how you would feel if someone was keeping tabs on you without your knowledge or telling all your Facebook friends how much you hurt them. In the long run you will feel better knowing you have behaved with dignity

Don’t . . .

– Use your own updates as a means of revenge or as a tool to hurt your ex’s feelings

– Make personal remarks, especially ones that could be regarded as defamatory. The laws of libel draw little distinction between publishing on Twitter or in a newspaper and you could be liable. Moan to your friends as much as you like but keep it off public platforms

– Under any circumstances log on to social media while drunk

– Make your break-up into a public soap opera – retain your dignity and have those difficult conversations in private if possible

– Play games. One of the main reasons people continue with social network activity after a break-up is because there is unfinished business – instead of it being a real break up it is part of the push and pull that makes up their relationship. This is a dangerous game to play. If you feel there are things that still need to be worked out between you – even if it is painful and difficult – arrange to meet face to face and talk it through.

And finally . . .

If a lot of your relationship was conducted online and you are finding it difficult not to spy, stalk or rant – or that you have a lot of mutual friends and their status’ keep you in touch with what is going on with your ex, maybe it is time to take a break from those sites altogether while you get over the relationship. Tell the people who are your friends that you are going offline for a while – 21 days is long enough to break a bad habit – and use that time to pursue other interests, lick your wounds and reconnect with people who love and support you.


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