The social media rules – after you have broken up

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In the age of Facebook and Twitter it is possible to know what is going on in someone’s life even if you never see them or have any direct contact. While this is great when you have relatives and friends dispersed around the world who you want to stay up to date with but rarely have a chance to call – it is not so great when you have broken up with someone and want to move on with your life. There are no rules as such but here are some useful suggestions which could help you move on.

Avoid creating a mental obsession

When you break up with someone – even someone you have been seeing for a relatively short time – it can leave many unanswered questions. How are they feeling? What are they doing with their time? Are they feeling as sad as you? Did the relationship mean anything to them at all? In some cases the question may be ‘Why did it end?’ or ‘Is there someone else?’

All of these questions want attention and answers. In the past – when the sole means of communication was through face to face contact or phone or letter – over time these questions would fade and life would fill in the spaces where the relationship used to be – you would move on. Use of social media can make that process much more difficult because you can watch – undetected – someone’s activity online. You can read their status updates and tweets – look at their timeline and see when they are online and what they are doing with their time – in short, you can spy on them. This does nothing other than create a mental obsession which may make it almost impossible for you to move on.

It is much better to unfollow them on Twitter, de-friend them on Facebook, ask friends to stop telling you about what they are doing and resist the urge to check to see whether they have put their dating profile back up.

Don’t try and get even online

As well as keeping tabs on exes another common modern day phenomena is to use social networks to exact revenge. This can be done in a number of subtle – and not so subtle – ways. Some people use their own status’ and tweets to flaunt a new relationship; vent anger at someone who they believe has hurt them or to have drunken rants revealing personal details about their ex. While you may feel that it is justified and understandable the reality is that not only will you be hurting yourself and your own reputation but you may also end up in trouble with the law.

It is one thing to have a good moan to your friends in private about an ex but when you are doing it online – particularly on Twitter – what you say is public knowledge and if the person you are slating decided to take action against you, you could find yourself in very hot water. By all means let off steam but not online.

Do as you would be done by

Whatever activity you engage in online stop and ask yourself how you would feel if it were being done to you. How would you feel if you knew your ex was following everything you said on Twitter but you didn’t know they were there or if they went through all you private photo albums and made comments on pictures of you. Treat people as you would like to be treated, let them have their privacy and move on with their lives – it will make you feel better about yourself in the end.

Don’t play games

The main reason people continue with social network activity after a break up is because there is unfinished business – instead of it being a real break up it is part of the push and pull that makes up their relationship. This is a dangerous game to play. If you feel there are things that still need to be worked out between you – even if it is painful and difficult – arrange to meet face to face and talk it through.

A clean break

If a lot of your relationship was conducted online and you are finding it really difficult not to spy, stalk or rant then maybe it is time to take a break from those sites altogether while you get over the relationship. Tell the people who are your friends that you are going offline for a while – 21 days is long enough to break a bad habit – and use that time to pursue other interests, lick your wounds and reconnect with people who love and support you.


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