After a breakup, you may want to scream and cry from sorrow, excitement or something between. Physically, you remove a few choice items that remind of your relationship and stow or throw them out, eat a little too much ice cream and dance the night away.
You want change. You want the pain to go away. You want to lash out. You want to move on. Along with the ice cream, you haunt social media a little too much, hovering over the photos of you two together and considering the power of the block button. While you can recover from too much ice cream, you can’t erase everything you’ve posted on social media because the Internet is forever — or at least as long as the Age of Technology.
What you think you will easily vent and delete later can get screenshot and shared among friends, potentially ruining a chance of friendships with your ex or friends that you share in common, if you want either of those things one day. Content can also move beyond friends to your employer. So, heal your heart with traditional, old-school pre-Internet ways. Here are seven things not to do on social media after a breakup.
1. Take a Second to Think Before You Unfriend or Trigger Block
If you have a toxic ex, unfriend or block to your heart’s content, especially if you feel unsafe. Hold off on unfriending and blocking if you have an inkling you may consider talking to them again. Don’t get trigger-happy early.
If seeing their content hurts, hide their posts for 30 days. Alternatively, you can also think ahead and send a brief email saying you need some time so you may place their view on public for a while as a temporary measure. Hey, at least you told them! Ultimately, you must do what’s best for you, but plan it out first.
2. Deleting Photos Too Soon
Just like throwing out memorabilia too soon, be careful about deleting photos and other social media memories too soon. If you’re trying to keep the breakup private, disappearing memories and photos will alert friends and followers into the truth quickly.
3. Don’t Post the TMI Status
Relationships by nature are intimate and private. Stay away from ranting or giving away too many details.
Start a journal, and let it all fly out of you there. One study followed 40 participants who got broken up with six months prior, asking them to bring a photo of a friend and one of their ex. Participants noted a higher pain response when staring at photos of their ex, rather than a friend. Researchers recommend writing down feelings in a journal and avoiding isolation, which keeps your emotions from spiraling.
4. “I’m Unaffected” Posts and Pictures
Your heart is broken, and your emotions are all over the place. You don’t want to let them see how much you hurt, but that doesn’t mean you should load up social media with the “I’m doing just fine, and everything’s great” posts and pictures. Upload one or two of those as those real moments happen.
5. Intentional Revenge Posts and Pictures
You’ve got better things to do with your time than to post intentional revenge posts or pictures to hurt your ex. It’s tempting, but it could get you caught up in even more drama. Don’t replay those horrible emotions. Channel them through yoga or martial arts instead.
Staying off social media in general when you’re hurting is a good idea. We all know the research shows how much social media use has affected political discourse recently. Social media functions as a news source for many, and you may not want to add to or take in any more negativity than necessary right now. Consider a social media cleanse for 30 days.
6. Love-Bombing a Friend out of Interest
Got your sights set on one of your ex’s friends or one of your own? Hold off on that, and give yourself time. Otherwise, you’ll carry all the negativity from your last relationship into your new one.
Avoid hitting “like” on all their photos and posts. Don’t flirt or private message them. Heal up.
7. Don’t Stalk
Do they feel as awful as you? What are they doing right now? Ninety percent of people keep tabs on their ex on Facebook after a breakup, but that doesn’t make it acceptable.
You may be a stalker if you find yourself spying on your ex’s social media too much. Checking up on your ex through third parties like friends and family or logging into their email are both examples of monitoring that could get you into trouble. It’s addicting, but if this happens, go ahead and hit the block button or deactivate your account. You could also make sure you only check social media when you’re with family or specific friends you trust.
Instead of these don’ts, focus on your new can-do attitude. Take care of yourself. Don’t post things that you’ll look back on and feel silly about later because it’s not worth it. It may not feel like it, but this will pass. Take the mature and higher road by simply spending time with friends and family, taking care of yourself and doing what makes you feel normal. You’ll get there bit by bit every day.