In the wake of a breakup, it’s tempting to hang on to any threads still connecting us to our former paramours. Even though we’re hurt and angry, we somehow still want to see them — and even though we have nothing to say to them, we somehow believe we have EVERYTHING to say to them.
The painful truth is that distance is really the only thing that is going to help you recover from a breakup, and that rule of thumb also applies to social media. Remaining friends on Facebook is only asking for trouble, and following them on Instagram is an especially masochistic move. Though it may be counterintuitive to distance your self from your former S.O., it will actually ensure that you hurt less in the long run.
Here are a few decent reasons why banishing an ex from your social media accounts is just good practice:
1. It makes it SO much easier to ignore them.
After a breakup, there’s a decent chance that your former paramour has earned themselves a spot on your Shit List for the foreseeable future. As such, seeing their posts, photos, and general life events is only going to irritate you — and may even cause you to engage in conversation with them. Backsliding into regular communication with an ex only leads to misunderstandings, shot expectations and hurt feelings. You’re vulnerable right now, and seeing your former significant other all over your newsfeed isn’t going to help you heal.
2. You won’t convince yourself that they are having more fun than you are.
Social media’s primary use is providing the world with a totally unrealistic and altered highlight reel of our lives. Essentially: it’s exceptionally great at making everyone jealous of everyone else. The same holds true for ex-lovers. Do you think you’ll be able to see a beach snapshot of your ex, complete with the Valencia filter, and not feel pangs of jealousy? Once they’re off your social media account, you won’t feel the need to perpetually compare your lives and decide who is “winning.”
3. It will become easier to focus on your own needs.
A significant other occupies a fair amount of our daily brain space, causing us to constantly think about ourselves in terms of a duo. Once a relationship is over, it can be difficult to turn off that “Us” switch and start thinking in terms of “I” again — especially if you’re constantly inundated with photos of your ex. Once you’ve unfriended them, it becomes easier to reset your thought patterns and focus on yourself and what YOU want. It’s important to foster that newfound sense of independence!
4. You won’t feel the need to censor yourself.
If you know that an ex is still looking at your Facebook posts, it can cause you to feel especially self-conscious about what you’re sharing with your friends. If you share an article, are they going to agree, or will they think that it’s stupid? If you’re tagged in an embarrassing photo, are they going to think it’s funny, or will they roll their eyes? These questions could plague you endlessly. Do you really want to constantly second-guess yourself? Axe them from your friends list and just go back to worrying about whether or not to engage in an online political discussion with your conservative cousin (hint: don’t).
5. They won’t get the privilege of knowing what you’re up to.
If you’ve decided to live separate lives, then it’s important that you actually do so. Being privy to your life events, both great and small, is a privilege reserved for your actual friends. If you aren’t on especially amicable terms with your ex, why allow them the benefit of peering into your social life on a regular basis? Plus, you may even get a tiny sliver of satisfaction knowing that they’re probably extremely curious about what you’re up to these days.
Eat your heart out, sucker.