It seems everywhere you turn there are pieces about dating in our modern age: tinder dates gone awry, slip and sliding into someone’s DM, ghosting, and everything you need to know about singlehood. Dating is undoubtedly different and difficult today, but what about breaking up?
Breaking up is hard to do and the 21st century is no exception. Some may argue it’s even more difficult considering we now deal with some features that weren’t available for our iPhone-less parents. The concept of “winning” a break up is one I first heard through the popular sit-com How I Met Your Mother. The theory goes as follows: the first time you meet up with your ex post-breakup there is a clear, yet unspoken, winner and loser. It’s a competition; who gained the dreaded fallen out of love 15 lbs, who has scored themselves an upgrade or even more satisfying – a down grade?
These days though, you don’t have a choice whether or not you want to compete in the break up wars and spectators are every friend, family member and acquaintance you’ve had since middle school. If you exist on social media of any type than you have willingly or not, received your singlet and entered the race.
However, the competition grounds have changed from empty coffee shops to Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as you are confronted with your exes every move post-break up. You may find yourself in the middle of a packed Tequila Jacks at 2 a.m. starring down at your screen in disbelief at your ex’s latest conquest, thinking to yourself, “What the hell am I doing here?”
With the blue light illuminating your flushed face, you panic as you realize that it’s NOT just you who’s watching your very recent ex partner fall in love with his Tinderella. It’s everyone and you may feel as if you are literally drowning in a sea of club rats, and with your shoes stuck to the dance floor you have become the loser of your departed relationship.
Breaking up and moving on is difficult enough without social media reminding you that you are alone and that your ex is in the honeymoon stage with someone new.
Reminders of this can find you at any time: newsfeeds, group chats, stories etc. Social media doesn’t care that you are in your 3-hour poli-sci lecture, or that your sitting in your cubicle or that you are desperately trying to mend your heart by dancing the night away at that ever-classy Tequila Jack’s. It will let you know, without your consent and take your breath away.
So I guess your only real option is to bow out of the race for a while. When you can clear your search history no more and you are done torturing yourself with their pictures, it’s time to cut your ex out of your social media sphere. You might still hear through friends and you might find yourself searching their profile in odd hours of night via your best friend’s accounts, but I promise it will get easier. For a while you’ll post pictures purely in the interest of not looking like a mess sans the hot, but eventually this will subside and you will care less and less about what that a-hole is doing.
I guess that’s the upside of the breakup war — when you’re ready you can let the world know that you are still here, winning on your own.