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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Breaking Up in Social Media age

Some weeks back, i had a girl friend sleep over. My last sleep-over was when i was 15 and that's where i learned to shave & put make-up. This sleep-over, however, ventured into talking about exes.

When we were in school, having a crush meant detouring to pass their classroom. Or staking out at his hangout places, which in my case, was the basketball court. Because the girl friends i share secrets with are in the same school, there was no need to describe how he looked or behaved like.

Today, when we share saucy stories with our female friends who not necessary move in the same social circle, we instinctively whip out our phone to show his Facebook profile picture.

That's what me and S did that night.

For the sake of having more to tell, exes mean puppy love, men we have gone out with, men we've dated disastrously, innocent holiday flings, and the flirted-heavily-but-never-touched. These, plus the legit boyfriends, are all still S's Facebook friends. 

As she flipped through her digital little black book, i could put a face to the names of the stories she was telling. Some exes still kept the photo albums that featured her, and she knew exactly how to reach it with one click. What an ego stroke to know her album was still kept in an exes's profile while the girls he dated after her did not manage to claim a permanent spot. 

Feeling a tinge to also show-off my fair share of romances, we compared our exes Facebook profile pictures. There was a time, that when two people break up, we would avoid them at all cost. Today, cutting ties ain't that easy when they continue to pop up in social-media newsfeeds. 

I'm fortunate that all the guys i've dated have always been fiercely private on the social space. They aren't social whores, so no update has made my stomach drop. Then again, i have never been a green eyed monster. Every now and then, i proactively go onto their profile page just to catch up on how they're doing. Despite no particular intent, there's that part inside me nagging to know how exes are doing. I click on the girls who tag them in photos, i want to know who these new people he's meeting. Perhaps fantasizing a bit still being part of their lives, perhaps an ego stroke if he haven't found someone new, or gloat if he deteriorated, or found someone new who's just like me (but there's no one like me).

I must admit, i have been bugging my earliest ex-boyfriend to be my Facebook friend so i could rub it in his face how much better i am 7 years after.

Social media makes people never really break up. Despite me and C not being Facebook friends, i know there're ways he's getting updates about me. I didn't bother asking him how. Maybe it's my blog, or my public updates. Social media has made my life an open book. 

Should i get jealous if the guy i'm going out with “likes” the pictures his ex posts? It didn't bother me but i had a gut feel he wasn't over her. There're exes who weren't significant enough till their birthdays are etched in my brain but automated birthday reminders gave an excuse to drop in. After all, we had "our time". 

The ex who appears in your Bang With Friends matches, do you reminisce with a triumph smirk of conquest or do you cringe your face & glad you don't need to return? I had an ex whose ex sent me a friend request (i didn't accept), & when we decided we aren't working out, she knew(she must have done her fair share of social media stalking)! She wrote me a message asking if i wanted to "heal together". I also had an ex who's ex used public information to sow discord or the ex who's ex introduced herself to me on Facebook. 

There's the ex i follow so i know if he's still available. And the ex i follow so i know how to avoid him in person, only to walk into him and his new girl at a movie premiere making out in front of me.  

An early ex disliked me posting couple pictures, that stuck with later exes. It was a good exercise, because there's nothing to clean up after each failed relationship. I would hate to go through my timeline, manually pressing "delete" than to just sleep over it. Perhaps to some people, manually deleting online photos could be part of a healing process.

For the exes of my girlfriends who are active in social media, they will continue being "in a relationship" with their exes. S's ex, a blast from the past recently wrote her a long Facebook message to diplomatically explain why he is going to un-friend her. She didn't know how to reply. I advised her to write back,"i understand, all the best." Short and curt. That's how it should be, with an ex. There is NO MORE between them. She was reluctant, because she wanted to keep him as a "friend". She wants to be able to continue being updated about his life. Social media has certainly changed our mindsets. 

Older generations didn't have this kind of thing—they couldn't have. 

Exes used to be a thing of the past, forgotten lives. Now they are part of the permanent present, a person you can follow for years in tweets or pictures. There ought to be a new descriptive for an ex. Because ex now contradicts.

One ex asked after breaking up if we could continue being intimate without commitment. I was flabbergasted, i wasn't that "open-minded." Today, he still gets into my pants. By Whatsapping me i mean. Phone, in my case i needed to explain. They usually occur unexpected and late at night. I like to decipher it signals loneliness (another ego stroke for me). Phones are intimate devices, with texts from an ex, it is easy to reminisce every once in a while together. In safe distance. With the multi-screen effect today, we have drama on a dozen screens playing at the same time starring me. Although i really don't know why i need to follow one on all different platforms. Few master the art of catering content for different platforms.

My exes never 'liked' my selfie(s) enough, an ex who doesn't reply until hours later is over me. An ex whose tweets whom my friends retweet is certainly popular. Self-conscious if an ex tweets and adds a #badrelationship. 

Is it a torture to continue being 'friends' with an ex? Yet you do not want awkwardness in 'un-friending' or 'un-following? S knows when an ex quietly un-friended her. Because their updates stopped showing up, or that when she proactively goes onto their profile, she sees. I had an ex who un-friended his ex because she kept Facebook messaging him. What is the right way to go about social media after a break-up? To prevent awkwardness  you could try these tools.

1. Killswitch is an android app that removes all content that your friends or you have posted about your ex. They just discreetly disappears from your profile or timeline.
2. Block your Ex is a Chrome plug-in that also removes all traces your ex on the Internet

Staying in touch with exes via social media isn't all that unhealthy. It has turned platonic, at least for (mature) me. Staying in touch provides amusement some times, reaffirms decisions most times (you've never changed), some catching up and then a reminder that i did create history.

  1. The study of past events, particularly in human affairs.
  2. The past considered as a whole.


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dqyas said...

I really enjoyed this post, however, it seemed somewhat familiar..
Did you gain inspiration from somewhere(maybe thought catalog)? It is driving me crazy, this feeling of de ja vu.

Anonymous said...

Surely inspired somewhere!not thought catalogue tho.

Anonymous said...

I think sometimes its nice to look back, reminding yourself about how the relationships that didn't work were really just a reflection of how you've grown up over the years (yes, character actually is more important than her nice face that goes with her nice assets. Who'd have thought??).

Its sort of a journal, a reminder of what stupid things not to do again and sometimes a little ego boost knowing your life has changed and improved far more than your counterpart has all rolled into one.

But I think if you can look at your ex's page without anything welling up inside you (laughter excluded), its a good indicator you've moved on.


Anonymous said...

Pinky! You encapsulated my sentiment in that short para. Bravo! Thanks for leaving a comment.

Anonymous said...

Welcome. One of the perks of being an English major :)


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