Sometimes relationships were meant to end. That doesn’t mean the breakup process is always a smooth one. Facebook makes things even more complex. Should you stay friends with your ex? How about the friends that you and your ex shared? Who should get to keep seeing those friends and on what terms? Also, who is that person that keeps showing up in photos with your ex? Learn the ins and outs of Facebook breakups in this guide.
After you’ve broken up with your ex, it’s important to take steps to protect your emotional well being. Prior to giving an overview of some of the standard paradoxes of Facebook breakups, we thought it was important to highlight the first steps you should take after breaking up with an ex.
Step 1: Immediately Take Note Of All Your Ex’s New Friends
I don’t know the relationship you had with your ex but if it’s anything like the ones my friends have had, there’s a good chance that your ex is going to unfriend you. It’s not because they don’t care for you though. It’s because they care so much and they don’t want to feel the pain of knowing the life you’ll have without them. Knowing that there’s a good chance you won’t be friends with your ex anymore, keep an eye on any new friends your ex builds in the days following your breakup. This will provide you with more stalker material to draw false conclusions from.
Step 2: Start Posting Photos With Someone Of The Other Sex Immediately
You may not be over your ex but you can pretend like you are just to rub it in their face, right? That’s what being a “good sport” means! Go out to a party with your friends and pick a fake “new lover” to post pictures with. Alright, maybe this one is a bit harsh, but there’s nothing so sweet as revenge. By posting photos with others, you demonstrate that the relationship meant nothing to you (even though it clearly did).
Step 3: Apply New Privacy Settings For Your Ex
While you may want your ex to see photos of you with a cute new romantic interest, you probably don’t want them to see the photos of the drunken stupor you got into last night … a result of the post breakup depression. Put your ex in a new friend list or apply custom settings just for them. You can learn more about how to do this in our Facebook privacy guide.
General Post Breakup Experiences
While each relationship differs from the next, there is a standard set of experiences that we each go through after a relationship has ended. On Facebook that is no difference. Below are a few of those experiences that we’ve heard from others but please feel free to share your own experiences in the comments!
The Potential New Lover Tagging
Your ex couldn’t already be over your relationship, could they? After an unsuccessful night at the bar, you return home and log on to Facebook. The first thing you do is visit your ex’s profile to find some sort of sign that they are also experiencing the deep feeling of loneliness that you are also going through. However rather than also being signed on (as the Facebook chat window illustrates), your ex was tagged in a photo with a new person.
They aren’t as good looking as you though, right? For some reason we imagine all the worst possible things that could have happened with this person we have no relation to.
Your Friend Gets Tagged
Perhaps your ex has already moved on, but you at least have your old friends to rely on! After spending many more nights alone in your bed you wake up to check out what your friends are up to. Immediately you notice it: an album from your friend has pictures of them partying with your ex. What the hell?!?!? After feeling a deep sense of betrayal you envision your ex hanging out with your friends on a daily basis.
You were the one who originally became their friend so why on earth would they keep hanging out with your ex? This is something I’ve experienced personally with a good friend, and rather than addressing it, my friend decided to ditch Facebook all together. The “Facebook reality” is not the reality we live in unfortunately. It is a random sampling of points in our lives when we were either updating our status or getting tagged in images.
If your friend is tagged with your ex, the best thing to do is to contact them directly. If they’ve become good friends of your ex, that sense of betrayal you experienced is justified, however your conclusions are probably way off.
Confirmation Of Your Ex’s Pain
While both partners in a relationship are often hurt in a breakup, most mature people try to avoid posting things that express our pain. However deep inside of you there is a side of you which wants confirmation that your ex is suffering. So everyday you refresh their Facebook profile, hoping that there will be some sort of sign. Then one day it shows up: a photo of your ex, months after the breakup. Your ex has gained weight! Hooray!!
Unfortunately things aren’t always so smooth though. Often times your ex will be better off without you … that’s why you broke up in the first place. They’re looking better and they appear to have built a new life without you. The fact remains: breakups suck. The best thing to do is to defriend your ex as soon as the relationship ends. Otherwise you are only causing yourself (or the person you once and maybe still love) more pain whether or not you intend to.
Unfortunately, no matter how fun it is to laugh at the quirks of breakups, Facebook has made the breakup process more complicated. Should you defriend your ex? Should you play games in order to get back at your ex? Some things don’t have straight-forward answers as relationships are not exactly straight-forward. If you have Facebook breakup experiences that you can share, please post them in the comments as we’d like to update this guide with standard things that take place on Facebook after a breakup.
Also check out our article on the Post Breakup Facebook Effect