You're not alone, at least according to one study.
When you're happy in your relationship, posting about it on social media seems only natural. Uploading pictures, adding your anniversary to your profile, and tagging each other on a regular basis is very common. One professor at UCSC calls these things "digital possessions." So what do you do with your virtual scrapbook when the relationship ends? Social media and break ups aren't a great combination. Looking at old social media posts and content can make it very hard to move forward in your new life. Here are some tips for how to begin to get over a break up even if you have social media connections.
Social Media and breakups make it more difficult to get over your ex.
In a study where 24 young adults were interviewed, researchers found that “… 12 of the study subjects deleted the digital reminders, eight were keepers and four were selective about what they kept or deleted.” Basically, half of the study subjects deleted all reminders of their ex, but the other half didn’t find it so easy to remove all digital reminders of the relationship. The study also found that some of the people who deleted content regretted it afterwards. Here are some tips for how to stop social media from making it hard to heal from your breakup.
Before you take any steps on social media that you might regret later, turn away from social media for at least a week or two. Deactivate your account, or just log out and clear your browser history so it’s harder to return to the site. This cooling off period will give you distance from the digital reminders, and prevent you from deleting everything which you might regret. It also gives you time away from all of the digital reminders that are like salt in a wound.
You can hide people from some news feeds, such as Facebook. This will stop pictures of your ex or his status updates from popping up without actually having to remove your connection. This usually won’t be enough, however, because it’s too tempting to keep visiting the profile. When you need to, unfriend your ex so that you can really distance yourself from his posts and pictures. It can be hurtful to see that he’s moved on, and you’re just reopening the wound every time you log in.
Save Pictures Before You Delete Them
It might be necessary to remove images with your former flame, because it’s just too hard to look through the albums. Save these images to a flash drive or external storage device, and then remove them from Facebook. This way, if you ever want the images you have a copy, but you are not continuing to concentrate on a negative memory of the past when looking through your pictures.
Digital evidence can make it really hard to move on after a breakup. At the end of the day, do what you need to do to move forward in a positive way. If that means untagging yourself in images, or even blocking people — the most important thing is that you’re taking steps to remain positive and start to heal.
What tips have helped you with social media break ups? Share in the comments below!
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653