By Annie Marron
A romance I was really enjoying had to end this Sunday. These past few days, as I slept too much and subsisted solely on ice cream and oatmeal, I have been so thankful that I wasn’t connected to this girl in the online world. Social media is brutal in the midst of a break up. It’s like you can’t get away. NPR’s All Tech Considered recently ran an interesting piece about the ramifications of social connection on your break up called, “On Digital Dating: Never Committing and Never Breaking Up.” A main focus of the article was all the apps that are available to erase your ex from the endless flow of information that social media throws your way.
Once you’re plugged in to someone online it’s hard to escape. And really, who wants to know what their ex had for brunch via Instagram, that their ex’s new girlfriend and his mom are buddies on Facebook, or receive endless status updates from a Twitter feed? It’s at best annoying and at dramatic worst, soul shattering.
The article outlines all the crazy, inventive apps that essentially insulate you from your ex. They whitewash your feeds so you can keep your online cool. No one wants the person that hurt their heart to think they actually care enough to “unfriend” them or, God Forbid, stop following them on Instagram.
To solve all these self-created problems, NPR says there’s “MuteTweet, which keeps your ex out of your timeline. Ex-Blocker, a plug-in that makes sure no reference to certain names appears in your Web browser. KillSwitch crawls Facebook photos, videos and posts to systematically delete anything that mentions your ex. Ex-Lover Blocker activates a phone tree of your best friends when you call your ex and Facebook-shames you if you do.” It’s almost as though we’ve taken personal responsibility out of our online relationships. If a romantic relationship is over, why can’t we just admit we don’t want to be online friends?
In “Dating Without Social Media: Awesome or Awful”, Jenna-Marie Warnecke talks about her choice to dump Facebook altogether and the boon it has been to her romantic life. She says, “There is a great freedom in just breaking up with someone and having that be the end of it. We go our separate ways and each pretend the other doesn’t exist.” The old-fashioned, civilized way.
I have a merry mix of ex sweethearts and varying degrees of online connection to them all. I honestly don't know what the best approach is. I'm curious what works for you. In the case of my most recent split, there’s no online trail at all. And for that I’m thankful. Last night, I met some friends out after two days of isolation, carbohydrates, working from bed, and watching Arrested Development. I hadn’t washed my hair in a while, and there was oatmeal on my sweater, but my makeup looked pretty fantastic. And I had absolutely no clue what she was up to or who she had eaten lunch with. And I didn’t even have to use MuteTweet for that peace of mind.
This story originally appeared in Ladyish.