How to Break Up On Social Media (After Breaking Up IRL)

It happens to all of us: At some point, we have a break up with someone and then we have to break up all over again on social media. Here’s some key things to keep in mind.

1. Delete them as a friend!

Delete?! But that seems so drastic! I won’t look at their profile, I swear, I hear you protesting. Really?!?! Can you put that in writing? I know—you dated for a few years or maybe a few months—but no matter what the timeframe, omitting someone from your life is tough, metaphorically and on and offline. But, this deleting must be done!

Ask yourself: What is the point of staying “friends”? To comment on or “like” each other’s posts? To check on their new love interests? To see how quickly they remove electronic remnants of you (if they do)? Why? Chances are, you’ll hear about it from people anyway, so why monitor for moving-on traces yourself? And what if one of you moves on before the other is ready to date again? What then?

The good thing is, you can always go back and “add friend” later, after emotions have lessened and you can talk about him or her without getting teary-eyed. And if you think they are still teary-eyed over you, the same rule applies. Why emotionally torture both of you?

2. Delete pictures.

The sooner, the better—just pull off the Breakup Band-Aid. You don’t have to “delete” them, per se. Instead, you can either “hide” the pictures and adjust your Facebook settings to “only me” as the viewer of such photos, or possibly save them elsewhere, like in a folder on your laptop or, better yet, a USB drive (but then I recommend hiding that folder or drive so you don’t look at the pics 24/7 and live in the past). You can always unhide pictures and posts later, but I bet you won’t miss them. (Besides, your Timeline and photo albums will probably soon be full of new posts and pics with your new guy or girl.)

3. Adjust your audience.

On Facebook, you can “limit the audience” for anything these days, so, like your personal email account, doing some social media maintenance is nice, not to mention crucial and healthy (especially when starting a new relationship). Instead of deleting pics and posts, you can have certain posts visible to certain people only

4. Talk to friends & family.

After her breakup, a friend mass-emailed a bunch of us who had once Facebook friended her ex (before he was her ex, of course) and asked that we please delete him from our friend lists. She said that she needed time to heal and didn’t want to accidentally see him pop up in her News Feed via her friends commenting on or liking his posts.

She also didn’t want to hear—second-hand—about his statuses or photos that her friends saw. After all, her friends were her friends first and will side with her, just as yours will (or should!) side with you, not the ex (and your family has no choice but to, right?!). You can leave it open in the future, whether or not they refriend your ex, or they may choose to friend your future beau, instead.

5. Do the “How would you feel?” test.

Simply put, “How would you feel if…?” For example, go through your old Facebook pictures and posts. Imagine you’re seeing them as your new love interest would. How would you feel?

Similarly, let’s say you go through your new guy’s (or girl’s) pics. Are there TONS of couple-y photos—not with you? Yes, some could be friends (which is usually evident), but:

  • When are they from? A few weeks ago? Months? Last year? Years ago?
  • Is their Timeline full of old mushy posts? (Personally, this doesn’t bother me as everyone has a past and it’s nice to see evidence of significant others so you know the person’s capable of dating, see how loving they were, etc. But, that said, you want to make sure the person is over their ex and that their ex doesn’t monopolize their Facebook existence—i.e., there should be pictures of them with other people, too, and plenty more of those than with the ex in question.)
  • Does your new guy or girl keep in constant electronic touch with their ex, commenting on posts and “liking” things? (And why?)

6. Talk about it with your current beau.

Basically, it comes down to you and your new partner’s comfort levels. If he or she was cheated on in the past, they may not like seeing a lot of “like”s or photos of your exes. For others, they may not think of deleting exes, but will be open to it once you two discuss it. Still others may not be bothered by this at all (but I’m sure you know people who are and you can have them read this article then).

7. Delete yourself.

Who couldn’t use a break from social media now and then?


Photo by CarbonNYC [in SF!]