There is simply no denying that breakups are the worst. Whether you ended things or you're the one sobbing and clutching your pint of ice cream, it's never easy to split from someone you once cared about. While there is plenty of advice out there about post-breakup dos and don'ts, it seems people still make the same mistakes time and time again, particularly when it comes to what not to do after a breakup on social media.
Stalking exes online is more than just a bad habit: It's a legitimate trend amongst Millennials. Though it can be hard to resist monitoring your ex's every virtual move when you're stuck in a rut post-dumping, it's almost always bad news for you and your mental health. How are you ever going to recover and let your heart heal if you're wasting hours worrying about what his or her latest tweet really meant? Whether your go-to tactic is silently panicking over their online content or broadcasting your post-split feelings on your own accounts, both can be equally harmful in the wake of a nasty breakup.
If your feelings are hurt but you simply can't stay away from your phone altogether, here are seven post-breakup social media faux pas to avoid. No judgment on my part — where do you think I got the inspiration for most of these? (Hint: my own mistakes.)
1. Constantly Updating Your Snapchat Story
It's easy to see the appeal of this strategy: If you live stream your post-breakup escapades with 10-second videos of you giggling drunkenly with your BFFs, your ex is bound to see how happy you are...right? Wrong. More often than not, these thinly veiled attempts to make an ex jealous come across as pathetic, like you're putting on a brave face just for the sake of appearing like you're not hurt. It's OK to hurt after a breakup — no one expects you to go out that night, totally over your ex, and belt "Man! I Feel Like A Woman" at karaoke. But hey, if you genuinely feel that good afterwards, more power to you.
Ugh, the ye olde arte of subtweeting. Since Twitter is a bit older than some of our current beloved social media platforms, subtweeting has obviously been around longer, too. First of all, your Twitter should only be somewhat personal: Showcasing your humor and personal brand are totally different than using it as a 140-character diary (Early College Me would have done well to know this sooner). We all know how cringeworthy it is to see someone venting on Twitter, saying passive aggressive things like, "I never thought you could do something so shady" or else quoting sappy song lyrics. Bottom line: Being a mature adult online pays off, so stick to ex-bashing via text or over cocktails with your friends.
3. Checking Instagram Likes
It's one thing to casually browse their feed and see what they've been up to, but when you're reading between the lines and overanalyzing their likes, you know it's really time to calm the eff down. When you're so distraught that you scroll through and checkwho is liking your ex's latest 'grams is Insta-stalking taken to a whole new level. It's never good news, and will probably lead you to form irrational, spiraling thoughts like, "Why did his best friend like this photo of him shirtless? Were they hooking up behind my back?!" (Answer: No.)
4. Blocking On Facebook
Of course, every relationship and every breakup is different, and if your ex is in some way harassing you, you should without a doubt block him or her on Facebook (and all other social media). However, if you're only hitting "block" as a vindictive way to feel more powerful in a situation that left you feeling hurt and vulnerable, I would advise you to think twice. Not that you should hold out hope for reconciliation, but there might come a time when you regret that you totally cut off contact with your ex. Putting aside your pride and unblocking/re-adding someone is not an easy feat — if you're at all unsure, it's best not to hit block in the first place. If you're upset by seeing your ex's Facebook updates, though, you can simply unfollow his or her posts, that way you're still "friends" but their day-to-day activities are out of your face.
5. Untagging All Your Photos
Similar to the rationale above, if you prematurely delete or untag yourself from all your photos together, you might really wind up regretting your rash actions. I know those happy memories can be painful to look at when you're freshly heartbroken, but A) It's a lot of work to get rid of them and B) You might miss them in the future. I personally haven't been in a super long-term relationship, but it always strikes me as odd when I notice that a now-ex Facebook couple have both completely eradicated all evidence of their relationship from their individual profiles. If you really can't stomach seeing your ex on your profile, consider filing all your pictures away in an album and hiding it deep within your hard drive rather than just furiously pounding the delete button.
6. Public Flirting
I hope and pray that no adult human is immature enough to still do the very 2005-style act of posting a bunch of winky faces on someone's timeline, but I've been proven wrong on this count many times. If you are truly trying to move on with someone new, you shouldn't need to showcase your affection: Studies have shown that couples who are lovey-dovey online are more insecure. Similarly, getting into flirty banter with someone on Twitter while you know that your ex still follows you is sure to reflect poorly on you. Not that you shouldn't be able to conduct your love life how you see fit, but public flirting right after a breakup reads pretty plainly as a "screw you" to the ex, which isn't a good look. I hate to say this, but sliding into someone's DMs might just be the way to go if you want to chat up someone online after a breakup.
7. Tindering The Pain Away
This may not technically be a form of social media, but it's nonetheless a very real temptation after going through a breakup. There are plenty of reasons to consider a rebound: It can boost your self-esteem and distract you (temporarily) from your heartache. However, if you have just been broken up with, it can be really depressing to start chatting with or casually dating a few people, solely because of the tendency you'll have to compare them to your ex (trust me on this one). As with all things, do whatever works best for you, but don't feel obligated to start swiping just to "get back in the game." You're allowed to take a breather post-breakup, and there are plenty of other ways to get over a breakup than obsessing over some rando on Tinder.
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