Ending a problematic relationship has never been easy. In today’s world it’s tougher than ever, with the complications presented by social media and other digital era technologies. That said, if you’re stuck in a bad relationship that’s not going to get better, breaking up could be one of the most important and meaningful things you can do, as it frees you up for a less stressful and more fulfilling relationship in the future.
If you wanted to break up before the internet came along, you could simply tell the person you were dating that it was over, and then box up all the old pictures and mementos and toss them in the trash. Out of sight, out of mind. Breaking up still wasn’t easy, of course, and sometimes there was quite a bit of drama. But you knew the relationship was over and you could move forward.
In 2017, things are not so clear-cut, as breakups can be muddled and befuddled by technological twists and turns that weren’t even dreamed of a few years ago. For instance, if you’re on Facebook, you’re probably familiar with the program’s tendency to “share your memories” with you. So yeah, you’re likely to be hit, out of the blue, with a picture of you and your ex from three years ago when you were very much in love and having a great time. And that can make letting go and moving on a lot more difficult.
It is, however, possible to successfully and sanely break up in the digital age. Avoid these four things, and you’ll be on the right track.
1. Ending a relationship via text or social media.
Ending a relationship via text or by changing one’s relationship status on social media is just plain rude. Plus, with an in-person breakup you and your ex can move toward healthy closure. You can also set some ground rules about interactions moving forward.
2. Posting nasty comments after your breakup.
Posting nasty comments makes you look bad, not your ex. It also opens you up to a he-said, she-said flame war, and nobody wants that. If you must complain about your ex, do it privately with close friends or a therapist.
3. Don’t stay friends with your ex on social media.
Do this even if you’re hoping to be friends with him/her at some point in the future. This helps to clearly establish the fact that you’re broken up. Plus, it shields you from all sorts of hurtful online interactions. After some time has passed and your breakup no longer feels painful, you can think about re-establishing social media ties.
4. Stalking your ex online.
Online stalking is just as bad as in-person stalking. If your relationship is over, it’s over, and you need to accept that fact. So you don’t get to snoop or spy, even if it’s only online.
Unfortunately, you can’t control the behavior of your ex (and his/her family and friends), so even if you’re being a perfect angel you might still face some digital unpleasantness after breaking up. If so, the best thing you can do is to unfriend and/or block these individuals and anyone who provides them with digital access to you. In the interim, keep your side of the street clean.
If others want to behave badly, so be it. They can be online trolls and people will judge them as such. The good news is that after a breakup most people want to move ahead with as little pain as possible rather than creating unnecessary drama. In such cases, the suggestions above can really help.