There exists a certain stigma around deleting your former significant others from your social media networks. It might seem unnecessary or even childish.
Personally, I usually don’t bother to remove most people I’ve dated from Facebook, Twitter, or the like. However, in a couple of cases, I’ve either deleted exes or they have deleted me. When relationships end on messy terms, it’s sometimes most healthy to just grit your teeth and disconnect:
1. You publish photos, status updates, or Tweets with the back-of-the-mind hope that they will see what you’ve been up to and notice that you’ve been having fun without them.
2. Similarly, you hope that your social media activity will remind them of the fun times that you shared. The truth is: your latest Instagram of a pumpkin-flavored beer is probably not going to remind them of the time you road tripped together to New Jersey. Most likely, they’re too busy leading their own lives to check up on yours.
3. Whenever you see that green dot pop up next to their name on your chat list, you struggle to decide whether or not you should message them. Don’t.
4. If you do contact them, you stare at the message window until the read receipt pops up. Afterwards, your neuroticism continues until they’ve responded.
5. Though you’ve hidden them from your feeds, you still view their profiles with all the overeager vigor of a caffeine-drugged six-year-old. You take online lurking to a whole new level.
6. In fact, you realize that you’ve become more pathetic than Mark Zuckerberg at the end of The Social Network when you find yourself visiting and/or refreshing their pages several times a day.
7. Each time you inadvertently see a photo of them out with friends or with a potential new romantic interest, you feel as though your best friend has sucker punched you in the gut.
8. When you see your friends, you open conversations by overanalyzing or complaining loudly and semi-hysterically about any such photos.
9. If your friends dare respond to these histrionic fits with something like, “Nah, bro, chill out — it’s just Facebook,” your frustration grows tenfold as you wonder why and how they can’t see that that pictures of your ex posing next to someone in a cow costume are a big deal.
10. When you get drunk, the temptation to passive-aggressively “like,” favorite, or comment on their social media items is all too real. You want them to remember that you exist.
11. You tell your friends you haven’t deleted them because it seems petty to expunge someone from your social media networks — even though you’ve already removed them from every other aspect of your life. Really, however, the idea of clicking that unfriend, unfollow, or (in dire situations) block button daunts you because it means severing the last connection you two have.
12. The primary reason you’ve hesitated to delete them is because you hold onto the hope that they will one day become relevant, in any capacity, to your life again. So, even though you’ve broken up IRL, you still refuse to break up on the Internet.