The Social Media Breakup

 Image source: Markramseymedia

We all try to maintain an air of social media nonchalance, but let’s admit it – at some stage we’ve all used some kind of social media platform to show everyone else how great our lives are.

Of course, we also want to keep people updated with what is happening in our lives. We want to share photos with friends and family; we want to keep in contact with old friends and connect with new ones.

Breakups are the most awkward ‘you-want-to-watch-but-want-to-look-away’ facet of social media, and they can play out spectacularly (and entertainingly) in the case of a fresh break up. Here social media becomes the ultimate revenge platform for broken hearts. Sure, sometimes we just want to have fun and we’re out and about more than usual experiencing a new (or different kind of) freedom. But sometimes in a messy breakup, social media posts can aim to serve as a big “fuck you” to an ex.

First there’s the actual “single” Facebook status. You can always spot the messy break up; up it comes on the feed and suddenly all the significant parties’ friends will like the status. The more immature of them will celebrate with rude comments. That just exacerbates the beginning of the break-up war. After the likes comes the break-up proper.

Top of the list are the selfies showing a new and improved body/beach shots. Often after a break up we amp up the fitness regime both because we have more time and we are more active. I often wonder if this is because of a natural instinct to propagate procreation and further our species (creepy.) This isn’t a universal response however – often others of us will just stay fat and girls just wear more makeup.

Then there’s the not-so-subtle pictures of the opposite sex. Craaaazzy nights out. Late nights, booze, drugs, girls, and boys. I should make a note here that all these tactics do NOT work unless the other person actually cares, (or unless you have real great selfie game).  Let’s admit it – this hurts the first time, especially if you tended to hang out with their friends. Until you remember that actually, you hate rock and roll, pingas, and spending $300 on a bag of coke and sitting in a dirty apartment in Bondi chain smoking inside for 5 hours drinking goon and having dumb conversations with some guy who is over 30 and been working in a bar for 10 years. So maybe this one isn’t quite as cutting as it seems. 

More glamorous are the holiday shots. So much more time for fun when you don’t have a significant other! This one can actually cut pretty deep, especially when you’re the ex left behind working in drudgery. But then again, almost anyone’s holiday photos will serve to inspire jealousy in the hearts of pretty much all their friends, foes and followers. I know friends who have dropped off the grid altogether, purely out of the desire to avoid seeing friends’ holiday photos.

Also in the glamour avenue are the posts about your fame, fortune and job prospects. These updates are meant to show that you’re moving onwards and upwards in the world since you left your ex. These are also the most soul crushing. They serve to show your ex that you have better things to do than sit around putting up pictures on social media because – unlike them – you’re actually are doing positive things and moving on and, most of the time in this case, you are. Ouch.

Potentially more publicly damaging, and certain a little uncomfortable to witness, are those photos/comments meant to directly reference the ex. These can vary – they range from the plain embarrassing to, if done well, the really funny.  If they’re somewhat less than fantastic, they serve as nothing but a reminder to every single friend in your given social media circle that you still care about your ex. Awkward. I had a friend whose ex burnt his clothes and posted all the pictures to a dedicated Facebook page.  Yes, I’ll concede – kind of funny. But also really mean, and I’m sure she regretted it afterwards because she looked like an asshole.

Finally, there’s perhaps the harshest option of all – writing pieces like this. The less said on that, the better…

Much as we’d like to pull our friends back when these passive-aggressive exchanges happen online, it’s so much nicer to just sit back and watch. You can still be a friend, go with the flow and take their full body shots and snap chats. Send scathing texts to their exes for them and stem their tears with alcohol. The important thing to learn is that it will pass. In the meantime, just enjoy the show.