In an attempt to reach beyond my own self-interested and self-centered experiences, I want to try and reach out through the very self-indulgent surface of memory to extract some value for you.
My experience with all this can be summed up into this.
After a breakup, social media is the devil.
Cut all ties.
Don’t go where you don’t belong.
Let’s break this up into parts.
Part 1) What is true does not matter. What matters is what is now.
- This is the first thing I must learn to reconcile with the breakup. After we broke up and I read those posts about her and her ex, my reality was upended. I questioned what I believed and what I knew. I remember all the sweet words and promises she and I made to each other. I remember all the things she told me about him and what she needed and was not getting. Was it all lies? Because if it was true, then I must be worth even less than that. I was wracking myself with worry and self-doubt. How could she want him again? Didn’t she tell me this, and that, and didn’t it all mean he was bad and I was good? I concerned myself with the possibilities. Either a) she lied to me about him or b) she told the truth and ultimately it just didn’t matter to her. I never considered c) which is…
- It doesn’t matter. What you have to understand now is that whatever she said before, whether it was true or not, is the past. What matters are the words she says right now. It is not your job to investigate the truth. It is not your job to convince her or yourself of what is reality. The reality is that you two are not together, and the words she speaks are now not for you anymore.
Part 2) There is nothing here left for you.
- The second part of social media and breakups is you sometimes wish to see some sort of signal from your ex. You want to see some sad post about how poorly they are taking it. Or maybe see some clearly over-compensating pictures of some crazy party they went to to try and get over you. You want to believe that there is still more to the conversation and that your ex will somehow convey to you that this was all a mistake. So you spend more time on their social media than you did when you were together. Every picture, every word, you wonder if it was somehow meant for you.
- It wasn’t. It isn’t. It won’t be. You know what, in fact, leave social media altogether for a while. Let the little buzzing of third-degree acquaintances gorge themselves on the corpse of your relationship while you go out and remind yourself of the things you did before the relationship. The truth of the matter is there is no secret code to get someone back. No one is going to get back together because of a tweet. And the more you visit, the longer you stay, the higher the chances of you seeing something you shouldn’t, or wouldn’t want to see, and it causing more harm than help. Believe me, because this leads us to
Part 3) You are better off unfollowing each other on social media. Because
- No matter what happens, you’re going to feel like crap. Is your ex’s life going terribly? Is their feed now filled with despair and sad memes? Are they going out each night trying to drown their feelings in cheap vodka and even cheaper thrills? Do you think this is going to make you feel better? You are watching someone you once loved and cared about self-destruct. You will either feel shitty because it hurts to see someone you care about hurt themselves or you’ll feel REALLY shitty because of the brief moment you let yourself actually enjoy watching that. You’re better than this. You’re a good person.
- You lack the genuine capacity to be happy for them. The truth is, in a breakup, what is essentially being said is that these two people will have better lives separately. And the truth is, usually at least one of you does not want this to be true. So you do not want to see how happy your ex is with their new job. Or that they are moving to a new city. Or even worse, you do not want to see them happy with someone else. I know this from personal experience, but even from third party observation. One of my friends is friends with her ex. Who recently got into a new relationship. Do you know what we talked about that day? ‘God this is so typical of her. She’s not good in a relationship. It’ll end in flames. But I wish her the best.’ Yo. No you don’t. Don’t kid yourself or me. Noble gestures need noble actions. If you want to honestly wish your ex the best, do so and then never concern yourself with what her best becomes, because it isn’t you.
Listen, do as I say and not as I do. I wish I could tell you that I do not still sometimes check her blog to see what she says. I wish I could tell you that I do not sometimes quietly relish that while I am trying to move on (albeit recently with much trouble) she is mired in regrets of the past, even though her writing also reveals how little she is cared for. It does hurt me that the man she has lost herself to did not even remember her birthday and that it characterized her special day more than the efforts of her friends, family, or even me. I wish I could say that I do not still sometimes think back to the words she only spoke to herself and compare them to the words she so freely shared with the world about him. I am a work in progress. And if you take these words to heart, I promise you I will too.
Social media is the devil.