Back in the olden days, before social media ruled, when you had a falling out with a friend, quit or got fired from a job, or ended a relationship, that was it. Everyone went their separate ways. We moved on. Life went on.

Now, we are more connected than ever. That boy who pulled your hair in kindergarten is now your Facebook friend. You and the prom queen from high school follow each other on Instagram (And honestly you cannot believe how she has let herself go!). You follow President Obama and your seventh grade art teacher on Twitter. Everyone you’ve ever met, as well as many you’ve never met, are weirdly present in your daily life.

People meet, start relationships (and affairs), fight about politics, and air grievances online.

In our cyber driven lives, changing your relationship status from “in a relationship” to “single” on Facebook is the modern equivalent of the old Dear John letter, only worse because there are 4,000 “friends” reading that letter with you.

So the question is: How to handle a break up in the era of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.?

Many of my clients admit to cyberstalking their exes. In fact, I recently read that 48% of people continued to stay friends with their exes on Facebook, and 86% of those admitted to cyberstalking or “creeping.”

Against their better judgment, my clients feel compelled to see if their ex is thriving or crumbling in the wake of the break up. If there are unresolved or unexpressed feelings, cryptic status updates abound, making everyone else on the newsfeed aware of your situation (if they somehow missed the relationship status change newsflash) and uncomfortable. We write stories and scripts and make ourselves crazy.

Any of this sound familiar?

I’m sure there are many books in the works about the rules of dating and splitting as it relates to social media, but as someone in the trenches with clients dealing with this reality daily, I can boil it down to this:

Opt Out. 

Un-Friend.

Stop following.

In the past, when a relationship broke up, you could choose to end all contact and get on with healing. How can you move on while getting daily updates that will invariably cause you pain? If they are doing well and you are heartbroken still…PAIN. If you dumped them and their updates are depressing and filled with quotes from Kierkegaard…PAIN AND GUILT. Nothing good comes from staying un-naturally connected to an ex in cyberland. Take control and choose to protect yourself.

I encourage you to have the courage to opt out, un-friend, and un-follow. Think of it as creating space and emotional privacy to get on with your life.

I am sure many of you have experienced this, so please share your thoughts in the comment section. Let’s get this conversation rolling.

I hope you have an amazing week, present in your real world life and, as always, take care of you.

 

Love Love Love

Terri

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  1. Terri – I am glad I found this today. My husband and I have been disconnected for years and we just shut each other out. He recently asked me for a divorce and was pushing for one quickly. I soon discovered he was having an emotional (as far as I know and he’ll admit) affair. My eyes and spirit really opened up to the damage we were causing each other and I have been making every effort to forgive myself and live in the present. We have been going to counseling and learning how to reconnect. I know that I can only do so much in the relationahip and I am still waiting on him to get to this place as well. Things have been moving along peaceful and our connection is healing. The downside is – the other woman – she continues to harass me through her facebook pages turning anything I post into a personal assult on herself. He told me he cut her out of his life and blocked her from facebook and I am doing the same. I’ve been printing out these comments and threats for my protection but I feel really terrible for this woman. I have no hate for her – even despite her painful assumptions. I realize that my husband and I didn’t get to this point because of her and understand what he was looking for by trying to connect with her. My current dilemma is that she is threatening to write a book about their affair and share it with all of his friends and collegues. I’m not concerned for my sake – her opinion of me isn’t founded on knowledge, I know who I am – but my husband would. I’m not sure if I should tell him because that would just fuel her drama but I’m unsure of what path to take. I’ve never personally addressed her or contacted her in anyway – should I to resolve her issues?

    1. Denise,
      Since what you put your attention on GROWS, I say let it go. Block her, forgive her and release her. If she writes a tell all anything, that is for your husband to handle. If it was simply an emotional affair, it will be a very short and boring read 😉
      If you feel compelled to tell your husband than do but if he has blocked her etc that might just open up a can of worms better left sealed. Thank you for sharing your story here with us. I have no doubt you have helped many other people with this share xo

  2. Hi Terri,

    I am envious/jealous of my brother in laws wife, she is the favourite daughter in law of my in laws and
    I keep on checking her facebook. I feel embarrassed for doing this but yet I continue. I have deleted my
    profile, in hopes to not see what the all doing together. But I then went to create another profile, with no friends but still check their wall and pics 🙁 I also belong to highly sensitive pages, self help etc pages on my profile so I don’t want to delete the account. But I almost always keep checking her and the rest of my in laws profiles 🙁 I think I should just delete my profile, in hopes to not check all the time…

    1. Dear Lucy,
      If you can understand why you feel envious of your sister in law, it would help. Where have you felt this way before and with whom? I suspect the dynamic of not being the ‘favorite’ or the ‘chosen one’ is somehow familiar. Figure out where that started in your life and may be able to free yourself from the compulsion to check on your in laws on FB. The compulsion to check will abate as you understand the origin of your limited beliefs about your worthiness. You deserve to feel accepted and valued because you matter. Thank you for sharing here with us. I am cheering you on like a wild maniac!

  3. Terri,
    How can I keep my distance with an ex when there is a child in the middle? I am going through a painful break up and it is so hard for me to see or talk to him. I am doing what I can in order to heal but sometimes I wish I could remove him out of my life forever. I have stop all communication with his family and I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing.

    Hugs

    Cecilia

    1. Cecillia-
      I am sorry for the tough transition you are going through. But know it is a transition and will get better. Until you are feeling less raw it seems that limiting your contact to the best of your ability is the right course of action for you. If his family is toxic stay away if they are loving and interested in the best for your child re-connect when you feel ready. It does not have to stay painful, if you do your own work to heal. Know that we are sending you healing energy right this very minute!

  4. Yup, but. Iam aware when doing is harmful to myself. Also I need to remember that what Iam seeing can never be completely the truth. While looking with in my heart I can never be objective! Statements like..” See they have completely forgotten me…See they are allowing the entire world except me…They are totally happy without me. I find these statements that endorses feelings that can not be true…So why go there? Maybe Iam looking for ..Statements, pictures…taken out of context…Just so I can feel bad! My issue, my actions, my projected thoughts placed on some thing I know nothing about!ya…Not taking Good Care of myself! Love you…

  5. In the past I unfriended and blocked my ex along with my friend who ended up with him, it kept me from being totally depressed. I have chosen not to advertise and/or announce any other relationship in a public forum of any kind. Facebook is the only one I waste my time with and as far as it is concerned I am single. I am considering deactivating my account at this time. I would rather not know when friends/family drive right by my door and don’t stop. Sometimes the less you know the happier you are.

    1. Vicky,
      I applaud your good instinct to de-friend and choosing to stay private is certainly your right. If being on FB inspires feelings of sadness or being left out then spending lees time there will be helpful. Before we all became voyeurs in this new world, if someone were passing our house but decided not to stop we would never know it and maybe they were just tired. It’s easy to write scripts about other people’s motives but I find myself happier when I don’t. Thank you for being here with us and for your comment! xo

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