Most experts would agree that it's best to maintain a safe distance from an ex following a breakup. But with social media being the clickbait that it is, keeping many of us tethered to our devices at any given minute, it's that much harder to resist the temptation to engage in risky business after a breakup (i.e. lurking onto our ex's social profiles). Aside from the infringement of privacy into our ex's day-to-day activities, staying digitally connected can stunt our own process of healing.
1. AVOID Doing The Mostdoing the most love and hip hop GIF by VH1 Giphy
It may take some time to get back to your normal self after a split, and in an attempt to prove that you're OK, you might head to social media to show that you're all smiles. This behavior has the potential to backfire and it can actually do more harm than good. Avoid looking overzealous, eager, or like you're trying too hard to seem happy. Now, if you've always been a social butterfly, then it's OK to proceed as usual, but if you're typically a private person, then it wouldn't make sense to all of a sudden start broadcasting your life, now would it? Keep it cute---and normal. If you start going live or posting every other hour, then you're oversharing and it might come off as desperate.
Breakup tip: Remember that the same way your own posts might make you and your life appear better than you may feel, the same could be true for your ex. Much of what you see in their online photos may simply be their own social media front. Keeping this in mind can help offset feeling upset that they seem so happy without you.
2. AVOID The Revenge Post
Imagine you're having one of those really good days post-breakup: You know, when your hair is flourishing and your skin is glowing and you feel so good that you decide to check your ex's Insta. It's been two whole weeks since the two of you have talked and you're completely healed, right? Upon scrolling through their feed, you find out your ex posted someone new just days after your breakup, which causes you to have a knee-jerk reaction of wanting to post something that you'll probably regret. Remember, while your goal may be for one particular person to see it, once you post, it's out there for the entire world to have an opinion on. Keep in mind that when you post publicly, you open yourself up to opinions from other people in the comment section unless, of course, you turn off the comments.
3. AVOID The Thirst (Trap). It’s Realthirst trap GIF by Jasmyn Lawson, Editor Giphy
First of all, let me state the obvious: Instagram is one big-ass thirst trap, in and of itself. All I'm saying is, try to avoid falling into the "hot girl" cliche of posting semi-nudes and OnlyFans content for attention unless of course, you've always been into that sort of thing. Otherwise, don't get out of your character, no matter how attention-starved you feel. Besides, is it really worth having the usual creep squad in your DMs afterward?
Breakup tip: Determine why you're choosing to put yourself out there in this way before posting. Understanding the reasons might help you decide if you want to follow through with it.
4. AVOID Giving TMI (Too Much Info)
It's one thing to post a daily status of what you're up to, but it's quite another to give the world a play-by-play of your life, literally letting people know your every move. In case you're not familiar with social media data policies, these platforms obtain certain information like your location and active status so others can see when and where you're logged on or when you were last active, so if you happen to be creeping on demon time, then they may be able to see that.
Breakup tip: Update your privacy settings so your location and active status don't show.
5. AVOID Subliminal (Breakup) MessagesSad Love & Hip Hop GIF by VH1 Giphy
This goes for posting them and checking to see if your ex is posting them. I have to be honest, sub posts are the worst because they're so obviously intended for an ex. Unless you're someone who regularly posts about relationships, it's painfully obvious to the general public when you're posting because you're in your feelings.
Breakup tip: If it's something you just really need to get out of your system, but you fear that you may regret it later, might I suggest posting it to your least favorite social platform. For example, I have no idea how to work my Twitter feed so I reserve this medium for venting and an occasional rant with four-letter expletives.
6. AVOID Viewing Old Pics
Most people will remove all traces of an ex from their accounts immediately after a split. For some people, this will be changing a profile picture or their name. If your relationship took the step of being FBO (Facebook Official), then it's bad enough that you have people in your business speculating on your relationship status. And God forbid FB sends you a memory from one of your date nights with your ex-bae. Things like this won't help you in your efforts to let go of the past, so if there is a digital footprint from your time as a duo, it's time to retrace your steps.
Breakup tip: Get ahead of those FB memories popping up on your timeline by changing your settings so you're not caught off-guard. See Facebook's section on how to turn off notifications for Memories here.
7. AVOID All Social Media For A While.Scrolling Social Media GIF by HannahWitton Giphy
Why? Because it's a constant reminder of your ex and it can make it feel impossible to get over them. You'll read way more into anything they post, trying to get clues or put together pieces of a puzzle that might not exist. There are too many triggers which means scrolling through a feed can stir up old feelings. And unless you have some hella restraint (i.e. emotional discipline), you won't be able to refrain from venting about you know who. Immediately after a breakup, it can feel like there's no escape. And research has shown that engaging in such behavior can contribute to greater distress over the breakup, negative feelings, sexual desire, longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth.
Breakup tip: If you have the guts to go cold turkey with a social detox, then go for the gusto, otherwise, start small. Commit to uninstalling the app for 24 hours, reminding yourself that it's only temporary. Who knows? If all goes well, then you may decide that you can do without it even longer.
8. AVOID Mutual Friends, Too
While unfortunate, it's likely that at some point you'll fall down the rabbit hole of lurking, stalking, and creeping on your ex's page or anyone close to them, which ultimately turns out to be a self-torture chamber. If you don't go through your ex's page, then you may find the new love interest (which is even worse) and start sizing them up and screenshotting for your girlfriends. This is why I suggest not only muting your ex but any of your friends you two had in common so you're not as tempted to spy.
Breakup tip: Block, delete, repeat. Even if you unfriend your former flame, you may still receive notifications from friends in common that give you insights into your ex's post-relationship routine, so it's best to take a break from their family members and mutual friends, too. If you're not ready to commit to blocking them entirely, then Facebook offers the Snooze feature which allows you to take a break for 30 days, 60 days, or until you turn off the option.
How we choose to handle the transition of a relationship goes a long way toward shaping our potential for success in future relationships. Instead of comparing your singlehood journey to your ex's, focus on becoming the best you can be for yourself and your future partner.
A final breakup tip: Be genuine. There's absolutely nothing wrong with getting some good news and wanting to share your excitement on the 'Gram but always be clear of your own intentions. If you are truly happy, it's important to be present and embrace the moment. And yes, it's a natural reaction to want to share your moments of happiness with others, but it's even more important to be content within yourself, preferably off of social media and in real life.
Featured image by Getty Images