Moving On After Relationship Splits

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Breakups are messier in this online age. You may have wrapped your world around your partner and when there is a split you begin to wonder what to do – what facebook status to put up? What pictures to take off instagram? There are many disturbing questions that may run through your mind.

This article will help answer some daring issues you may have to deal with after a breakup.

You are suddenly single again. Should you steer clear of social media?

In the early stages of a breakup, going online can feel like revisiting the pain. If there is any animus or unfinished business between you, looking at your ex’s profile is a form of psychic self-mutilation.

If the breakup was not your choice – i.e you were dumped, it’s best you take a temporal holiday from social media. If you’re seeing other people happy, or your partner moving on, that can be very distressing. But if you feel strong enough to venture online, Facebook lets you “unfollow” your ex so that their content doesn’t come up in your news feed. This allows you to create some distance, without the finality of unfriending, which removes them from your social media profile entirely (the equivalent on Twitter and Instagram is called “muting”). That way, you’re still friends, but you can’t see any of their information.

But if the relationship was abusive in any way instantly block them so that they are unable to contact you or view your social media profiles.

Should you cut all online ties with your ex’s friends?

Even if you have unfollowed or muted your ex, the chances are they will still come up in your feed if you remain friends with their friends. Again, do not be rushed into over-reacting. If you disconnect and reject all of your ex’s friends you’re probably doing that from a position of anger and hostility, which are feelings that can pass. It may be better to mute them instead.

Is it ever a good idea to like posts by an ex?

It depends why you are doing it. If you are liking your ex’s posts because you are on good terms and there’s no lingering romantic attachment, this is OK, but best saved for major life events. Unless you had a really solid friendship before you began dating, you should try and keep a little bit of distance. ‘If they’re an ex, they’re an ex for a reason.’

Even if you are truly over the relationship, ask yourself whether your ex is in the same place. “By liking their posts, you’re giving off some kind of message or expectation that you might reconcile,” says Kach (a psychologist) “And if you hurt them, it might feel painful for them to have you liking their posts when you’re not in their life anymore.”

Should you post about your breakup in the immediate aftermath?

Absolutely not! There’s something quite narcissistic in thinking that the world cares. Those who do care will already know, so a social media post won’t be relevant.

It’s not a good idea to be discussing the breakup on social media. It’s not fair on the other person, and it shouldn’t be there for public discussion.

How quickly should you change your Facebook status?

Although it is tempting to set your status to “single” immediately, it’s good you wait. You have to remember that there’s another person on the end of this breakup. You don’t have to be insensitive just because you might be ready and raring to go, and want the world to know you are single or because you have been chatting with a nice guy or girl, that can be painful for the other person.

How long should you take before flaunting new relationship publicly (on social media)?

If you go on social media immediately after a breakup and post about your new relationship, no one takes you seriously or respects your choices, and everyone thinks you’re the villain. And to some degree, you are being the villain, because you’re evidencing that you’ve been thoughtless to another human being. Flaunting your new relationship can also be upsetting for your former partner’s friends or family. You should think about collateral damage. Out of respect for your former partner, you should wait at least three months, but preferably six, before taking your new relationship online. That will also give you time to work out whether you have stumbled into a rebound relationship.

Is it OK to break up with someone by text?

There is no hard and fast rule, but if you’ve dated for a while, your partner deserves a better way of being broken up with. Breaking up face-to-face with your partner gives the other person the opportunity to explain how they feel. You both walk away understanding why that relationship hasn’t worked. You will also feel better about yourself. At least they’ll know you’ve given them the respect they deserved, challenging as it was.

Is it really a breakup if you never officially dated?

If you are upset and hurt by the breakup, those feelings are legitimate, regardless of whether or not the relationship was official. You can form a romantic connection with someone in a moment, a month, or a year – and having that connection terminated will always feel like a body blow. If you are the person doing the breaking up, tread carefully, and be kind – Recognise that the other person may be far more invested in it than you’re feeling.

Because, when we date, we hold the other person’s heart in our hands. Handle it roughly and it will smash into smithereens. Treat it carefully and, even if it breaks, they will be able to fix it so well that you would never even know.

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