How to deal with social media after a breakup: The Do’s and Dont’s

Breakups are hard and so is to isolate your life from your social media. Chances are that the effects of a breakup may spill over and leave an indelible digital footprint which you may not desire at a later stage in life. Read on to understand the do’s and don’ts of social media after a breakup.

You feel unloved, unsure and unwanted. It literally feels like life cannot go on after the relationship has ended. Therefore it is only natural that you react to that situation in a highly emotional manner. The immediate response may be to cry, vent, rant and even try to re-establish the relationship. All of these are to be expected and no one should judge you for them. But now, because it’s so hard to isolate your life from your social media, there are chances the effects of a breakup may spill over and leave an indelible digital footprint which you may not desire at a later stage in life. And you don’t want Facebook to pop up with a reminder of what you did while you were at your most vulnerable 5 years later, do you?

Social media strategies to deal with a breakup:

1. Stay Away

The first and most important strategy when it comes to social media and dealing with a breakup, is making sure that you are actively not on social media. You may think that an abrupt declaration on Facebook can be deleted and undone from history. But that is really not the case with social interactions on a digital platform. Once you have created a stamp of your activity there are multiple ways to could come back and haunt you. For instance, somebody could screenshot the said rant, or it could be shared by someone and reach a lot of people by the time you decide to delete it. So, stay away from social media immediately after a breakup. In fact this is the time to get busy on the offline platform. Distract yourself with a day out with your friends instead of staring broodingly at your ex’s social media updates.

The other reason for staying away from social media immediately after a breakup is to create distance from your ex. It’s so easy to follow the other person’s activities on social media, that there is no time to heal and forget before you communicate with them. There is no research yet about how long one must stay away, so follow your instinct. If you feel you can stand the idea of seeing your ex with someone else, that’s probably a good time to get back to social media. Being bombarded by information about your ex — either because you’re ‘friends,’ following each other, or because you see them tagged by other friends and friends of friends. prolongs your recovery. We need to take time away from our ex to start creating a ‘new normal’ that isn’t defined by the past relationship. Staying away from social media is very important to achieve this. Dr Courtney Warhen of Exholics, in fact believes that without creating this space the relationship does not truly end. There is no closure.

You can deactivate your account temporarily and choose to come back whenever you want.
To deactivate your account:
Click the account menu  at the top right of any Facebook page
1. Select Settings
2. Click General in the left column
3. Choose Manage your account and then scroll down to click Deactivate your account
If you deactivate your account your profile won’t be visible to other people on Facebook and people won’t be able to search for you. Some information, such as messages you sent to friends, may still be visible to others.

If you’d like to come back to Facebook after you’ve deactivated your account, you can reactivate your account at anytime by logging in with your email and password. Keep in mind, if you use your Facebook account to log into Facebook or somewhere else, your account will be reactivated. This means your Facebook profile, including things like your friends, photos and posts, will be completely restored. Remember that you’ll need to have access to the email you use to log in to reactivate your account.

2. Unfriend and Unfollow with caution.

Once you make your way back to social media, be cautious about who you are severing ties with as a result of the relationship. Go through your friends on your various social media accounts and decide on who gets the axe.

When you are trying to get over someone, it is not exactly helpful to see their face cropping up every day. Therefore, it will probably help to just be selective and hide how much you see of them – which you can now do on most social platforms. Facebook lets you remain friends but hide their updates from your feed, for example. You can also mute people on Twitter without them knowing.If you would rather not unfriend or unfollow anyone then, explore the next step to create some space and distance between you and your ex.

To Unfriend someone on Facebook:

  1. Go to the person’s Timeline.
  2. Click the Friends button.
  3. A menu appears that is for assigning people to Friend Lists. The last item in this list is Unfriend.
  4. Click the Unfriend link.
  5. A window pops up asking if you’re sure you want to remove this friend.
  6. Click the Remove from Friends button.

To Unfollow:

  1. Go to the person’s Timeline.
  2. Click on the Following button.
  3. Choose the last option. Unfollow friend.

On Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat simply go to the person’s profile and click on Unfollow.

3. Use your privacy settings wisely

Once you end a relationship, the knee jerk impulse is to unfriend/unfollow your significant other to sever ties completely. It’s also quite common to erase any trace of the relationship by deleting photographs and memories associated with that person. But what you are effectively doing with this activity is announcing to the world that you have ended your relationship. It’s easy for friends and loved ones to notice when all traces of your significant other vanishes abruptly on social media, making a private moment extremely public.

Instead, phase it out. Make sure what you post is not public information. Notice if friends of friends are privy to your updates, because you may no longer want your ex’s friends to be aware of what you are upto. Unfriend some of his/her friends who may bring up unpleasant memories or conversations. It may also be a good idea to hide updates from your ex if you don’t want to unfriend/ unfollow them for fear of being perceived as petty.

4. Don’t Bring Your Dirty Linen Out

It is not unheard of for breakups to bring out the worst in your ex and you when it comes to social media. Heated Twitter wars, trolling on Instagram and Facebook and feverish messaging on Whatsapp must be avoided at all cost. At the end of the day these are all public forums. Blaming and shaming your ex is never a good idea and it is only going to haunt you later.

What not to post on social media after a breakup

  • It’s extremely tempting to be passive aggressive after a relationship. Posting self destructive sad messages or insanely happy updates as a mechanism of sending a message to your ex is dangerous. It means you are focussing all your energy on a relationship that has ended.
  • Do NOT post negative things about your ex. This is childish and immature and can affect your reputation.
  • Do NOT flirt with people publicly on social media just to get the attention of your ex. It makes you seem desperate for their attention.
  • When you breakup with someone, others may view it as an opportunity to sling mud on their character. Take the moral high ground here and stay away from conversation about your ex with people you don’t count amongst your close friends.

How to Deal with your Relationship Status on Facebook after a Breakup

  • On Facebook, handle your relationship status with care. If your relationship status is listed and public, make it private before you change it. Facebook has a help page on how to do this. This way it won’t pop up for all your friends to notice and comment on.
  • Only do it publicly if your ex and you have agreed to do so.
  • The other thing to consider here is your collective memories together. I mentioned phasing it out. You could also put your photos together in a separate folder and restrict access to that folder or even hide it. Check out how to do this here.

Now the timelines on how to phase this out depends on how soon you are using social media after a breakup.

  • If you are not taking a break from social media, put all your photos together in a hidden folder. Try not to look at these photos at least for a month. At the end of that month, examine how many of them you would like to keep. Removing them entirely is your choice.
  • But if you have taken your time with getting back on social media, you have given yourself and your friend circle to deal with the immediate aftermath of the relationship.
  • Slowly start segregating your photos together into different folders.
  • If it’s photos of just the two of you keep it in a hidden folder. A month later if you feel that you need to remove them, delete them completely.
  • Photos with friends can be given restricted access. If you feel the need to remove them entirely, hide them before you delete them. You may want to revisit them at a later stage. After a few months if you still feel the need to delete them do so.
  • Use social media for what it’s actually meant for. Connect with new people. Find a new hobby. Make friends. Focus your energy on developing new bonds rather than holding on to a past experience.

All in all, staying away from social media after a breakup is the best plan of action. Focus on yourself, your hobbies, and your friends, and have some serious you time, and things will start to feel a little more normal every day.

Take it one step at a time and don’t use social media as a crutch to stay on in the relationship. Give yourself the much needed closure before you venture into the frankly unpredictable world of social media. And when you do, use social media for all the pluses it can give you post a breakup. So nay to stalking, shaming, blaming and moping. Be social media savvy and come out of your breakup a total star!

If you find yourself struggling to maintain a ‘No Contact’ policy with your ex after a breakup, do not hesitate in reaching out for help! It is indeed a difficult time for you and speaking with your counsellor can help you manage yourself better.

Talk to your counsellor now anonymously on and get over your breakup more efficiently today!

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