There are a lot of things you will want to do right after a breakup — scream at the top of your lungs, cry your eyes out, call your ex to get back together, or smile because this is exactly what you wanted. Whether it’s cutting your hair after a relationship ends, or putting all of those lovey-dovey photos away in your closet — you want some kind of change after your heart is broken. And while change can be a good thing, make sure the changes you're making aren’t permanent. For instance, your hair can always grow back or be dyed another color, and your photos can be taken out of the closet one day to reminisce. But not everything you do can be taken back, especially when it comes to social media.
You may think posting an emotional status on Facebook could easily be deleted and unseen from your friends. However, all it takes is one friend screenshotting that status and sending it in a group text to every one of your other friends. Things you put on social media can spread faster than wildfire, so think twice before you hit the send button. Being a relationship expert with a master's in counseling psychology, I know how hard it can be on your mind and heart after a breakup. So, heal the old fashion way, instead of looking to social media to mend your wounds. It will be better for you and your followers.
1. Emotional Unfriending
It’s OK to unfriend or block an ex if they are toxic in your life. However, if you know one day you two are going to want to be friends, it may not be the best way to go. If there’s a chance you are going to follow or friend them again, then put down your finger and take a step back. One unfollow can cause a whole world of drama that you might not want to begin. Instead, just change your settings to limit the posts from your ex-lover.
2. Deleting Too Soon
After you hear the words, “I think we should just be friends,” it’s hard not to picture yourself deleting all of those albums on your Facebook of you two together. But going through old photos on Facebook and Instagram too soon can not be undone. Especially if you want to be private about this breakup, people will start to notice photos disappearing and voila — mystery solved.
3. TMI Status
Relationships are private and intimate. Thus, breakups should be as well. When you’re feeling extremely emotional and rocking out to the best of Kelly Clarkson’s empowering songs, it can be easy to write up a status that shares all. This is today’s version “shouting from the rooftops,” I think. However, not every one of your social media friends needs to know these intimate details of your life. Instead, maybe put your energy into sharing how you feel with your friends or even a therapist.
4. “I’m Fine” Pictures/Posts
The worst thing you can do while you aren’t doing fine while having a broken heart is pretend you are fine. It’s OK to feel broken, sad, or scared. That’s normal. What’s not as normal is being 100 percent unfazed after you and your partner split up. Furthermore, people can sense when you’re being genuine, even if it’s through a phone/computer screen. Save those happy pictures and posts for when you are actually feeling that way.
5. Intentional Revenge Pictures/Posts
Posting a picture or a status that you know is going to hurt your former lover is just plain harsh. As tempting as it can be in the midst of horrible emotions, it’s something that will shape how this breakup will play out. Once one of you does this kind of play after a breakup, it can be game-on. And trust me, breakups are already hard enough without things getting nasty.
6. Going For A Friend
A huge no-no after a relationship ends is romantically going for a friend, especially over social media. Let’s say you secretly had your eye on one of your ex’s friends — you keep that to yourself and your fantasies. The are solid rules that (good) people follow after a breakup, and this is one of them. Once you hit send on that flirty Facebook message, you may have just started World War III.
If you’ve started stalking your ex like there’s no tomorrow, then you’ve probably gone down a dark road already. Stalking is like a drug, where at first you feel real high off of those new pics he or she uploaded, but then you realize you start out every morning looking at his or her feed, and then you can’t go a day without checking up on it. You’ve gone down the rabbit hole and it’s hard to find your way out. Soon enough you’ll be stalking each and every family member of your ex and it can only get worse from there. Save yourself the time and the emotional toll that stalking can have on you.
All in all, staying away from social media altogether after a breakup is the best plan of action. Focus on yourself, your hobbies, and your friends, and have some serious you time, and things will start to feel a little more normal every day.
What would it take for you to unfollow someone on social media? We discuss unfollow horror stories & more on the latest episode of Bustle's The Chat Room. Listen here: