“It’s not real unless it’s Facebook official” — a young and very stupid version of myself.
I can’t decide if I want to laugh at myself or if I want to smack myself because that statement is so very wrong. *Insert name here* is in a relationship with *insert name here* means absolutely nothing. Why not? Because you’d most likely be able to tell that someone’s a relationship with someone else based on the pictures they’re tagged in. Even better than that, you could see them in person or talk to them in person to figure that out.
I’m not saying having the relationship status on your Facebook profile is a bad thing, but it definitely makes it more complicated when the relationship ends. The privacy settings on Facebook are somewhat confusing so if you make a mistake and don’t make your update viewable by only you, the whole world will know that you’re newly single.
I know some people that have been broken up with on Facebook and by know someone, I mean I was once broken up with on Facebook. This was actually a topic at dinner with some of my friends last night and two of us had the misfortune of seeing that we were single on Facebook and a few others knew someone that went through the same thing. It’s funny now but it was definitely not funny back in the day.
Social media platforms have changed how relationships work before, during and after you’re in a relationship with someone. You creep on them before you start dating (you’ve all done it). You put up pictures with them while you date (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook) so everyone can see how ~*happy*~ you are. After you break up, you deal with the awkwardness of seeing them on your social media feeds (Twitter timelines, Facebook news feeds, other people’s Snapchat Stories) when you really just want to go your separate ways.
I imagine that this is very different than back in the day.
You could go on an actual blind date and wait until they tell you about them to get to know them. Strange, I know.
During the relationship, there probably weren’t pictures plastered everywhere for the world to see back then either. Printed pictures hung on your wall (your actual wall, not your Facebook wall) is probably the closest thing to that.
I’m not completely saying breakups are worse now, but I’m kind of saying that. You could go your separate ways and other than the accidental run-in with your ex at a bar– which happens now– you could avoid them.
Sure, word of mouth is powerful and wide-reaching but for those of us with thousands of Facebook friends, I don’t think telling someone you’re newly single is as wide-reaching as going from “in a relationship” to “single” showing up on everyone’s newsfeed.
Social media has changed how others see our relationships, but the kicker is how they change breakups.
I’m going to speak in hypotheticals because if I was hypothetically going through a breakup, I would do these things…. hypothetically. I’m going to break it down by social media platforms so incase you are also going through a breakup– hypothetically, of course– you can make sure you cover your bases.
Facebook: As my classmate Emma pointed out in a her blog, the first step of a break up is to remove your relationship status from Facebook then change your profile picture. Especially if you recently changed your profile picture to a picture of you and your ex (and you happened to look damn good in the picture…. hypothetically), this can be tough. Sure, you can change it to one of your old profile pictures, but chances are you have close to 0 solo shots so get ready to have a profile picture from a while back. And a mean a whiiiile back.
Ugh. It sucks, but it’s necessary.
Then you’ll want to hide them from your timeline but even if you do this over and over and over and over, they’ll be tagged in a picture someone else puts up and you’ll be forced to be updated on their lives… hypothetically. Just unfollow them. Or delete them, whichever you prefer. Facebook knows who you spend time with (or spent time with), so it will show you what those people are up to. It’s a great algorithm in general, but not helpful during breakups. Facebook: do you really think I want to see pictures of my ex?
Twitter: Then you need to unfollow them on Twitter. If his or her account is public, you may see their tweets retweeted on your timeline every once in a while but that’s better than asking to see them. If any of their friends tweet stuff about them frequently, it’s probably best to unfollow them as well.
Instagram: Instagram is a little different: there is less content posted less frequently than Twitter. You don’t need to search through all of the people you follow to weed out who may post pictures of your ex, but if you see a picture pop up, that’s probably the best time to do it.
Snapchat: Delete them. And their friends. And anyone that may include your ex on their snap stories. You don’t want to see them appear in a snap story because:
Timehop: Remember that time I broke up with Timehop? Well, if I was hypothetically going through an actual break up, this would be the most annoying of the social media platforms because it’s a daily reminder of what used to be– good or bad. If you want to continue seeing what else you were doing in the past every day, go ahead. But proceed with caution because, believe me, you won’t want to start your day with a reminder of someone you don’t particularly enjoy right now.
Today I was ~*so lucky and blessed*~ that two, yes two, boys I used to date showed up on my Timehop: 1 year ago, 2 years ago, 3 years ago and 5 years ago. What a great way to start my Sunday!!!!!!! Oh wait, it’s not.
After I find the picture that I promised to show y’all of my injured face after face planting during NCA Nationals freshman year, I’m getting a restraining order from Timehop.
Back to my point–
Social media is great for showing off that super cute picture you took at formal or the cute trip you and your significant other took because a lot of people can see it in a short period of time, but it’s equally terrible for life after a relationship ends.
(I said hypothetically 9 times during this post.. sorry I’m not sorry).