Breaking up is hard. You divide up your friends. You don’t go to places that belonged to the “us” you no longer are. You don’t go to his places. You only go to the places that are yours, only yours, that were yours before him. Breaking up was probably still hard before the Internet, but it seems to me it’s gotten worse.
In the olden days of, I guess the 80s, you just had to avoid the person until you’d eaten your ice cream, gotten on the treadmill, put cucumbers on your eyes to hide the puffiness from crying, and you were ready to make him regret the leaving. Just stay home and unplug the phone. Phones go everywhere now. The Internet goes everywhere. It’s a world wide web. You stay home and the world is still with you.
The Internet is big. Getting lost should be the easiest thing in the world. It should be a crowded street, filled with strangers calling themselves SpyGirl989 and TooSexxy4U.
The Internet means you can go anywhere, be anybody. You can hide. Not that anybody does. Not that anybody would want to. We want to be seen. We plaster ourselves onto Facebook pages, twitter accounts, blogs we started, blogs that will have us there for a day. I deactivate my Facebook account for at least a week when heartbroken. It’s a rule.
Looking at perfect pictures of a face you woke up to yesterday but not today, tomorrow, ever again, is counterproductive to the healing process, and nobody wants the endless stream of sad girl status updates and repeated video posts of Love is a Battlefield. There is no dignity in getting dumped. It’s no use fooling yourself into believing you have self control. If 250 pictures of him are available: you will look at all of them. Remove temptation.
I’m less than 24 hours into the ritual. Twenty-five years is plenty of time to learn the fastest way to normal life after breaking up. I am the Man Vs. Wild of 21st century romance. I deactivated Facebook. I’m invisible on GChat. The condom wrappers are in the dumpster out back, not in the wastebasket by the bed. The pizza is ordered. There isn’t enough alcohol. I go the places that are mine only mine, forgetting that somewhere along the way they became ours.
On my favorite blog today: The boy who broke up with me yesterday. These things happen, I guess. People who have broken up run into each other — online and off now. I’ve had my heart broken before, and worse. He wants to live his life. It will be better without me in it. He will be published without me in it. He will wake up without me and go to bed without me, and never remember that when I got back into bed each morning holding a cup of coffee, that he would respond to the movement of the mattress, rolling to me, curling around me, pressing his forehead into my hip, kissing the hem of my underwear and staying asleep. He will never know that he loved me in the moments when he wasn’t thinking too hard. He will only know that he is happiest on the Internet, seeing and being seen.
The Internet is a big place, but it works the same as the world outside of it. All the same people go all the same places. Everybody knows everybody. I need to start unplugging the wifi. I need to find another coffee shop where all the boys look almost just the same as the one I’m avoiding. I need a new place — online and off — that’s mine, all mine.