Our world is digital, and we depend more and more on technology to connect with each other. Those days of calling a friend to chat are almost over — now we communicate via social media. We have a distinct presence and identity on social media, using it to see what others are up to, and letting others see us.
Social media can be very beneficial. It can bring us together over long distances; it can help us have a sense of connection with others anywhere and at any time. It also sometimes helps us express things we would probably not express in person.
But what happens when we break up and are trying to move on from a relationship, and yet wherever we look, we see our ex? When, feeling anxious, we start to look for what our ex is up to only to see what a great time he/she is having without us, and then experience increased feelings of rejection that make us feel even worse about ourselves?
Here are some recommendations of how to deal with social media so that you can move on and stop hurting.
How to Let Go of Your Ex in an Era of Social Media
Some of think that holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it’s letting go.
– Herman Hesse
1. Set healthy boundaries about the information you share
It is very important that you process what is happening inside of you, and acknowledge the loss you are experiencing. This is a time when your feelings are very raw and you might feel vulnerable. Sometimes we want to vent about our ex. Stop yourself, because you might later regret it. Not everyone reading your post will be kind to you, and you don’t need to put your heart out there.
Take care of yourself. During these times, a healthy support system is important. Talk about your feelings with caring family or friends, and find groups of individuals going through what you are going though, and can understand you. Surround yourself with loving and caring individuals.
2. Find the courage to cut them out of your life
If what you are seeing upsets you and you find yourself obsessing about your ex’s posts or who they might be going out with, you need to stop. Cut them off, delete them from your friends’ list, or hide their posts if you think that would be best. Do not put yourself in the position of witnessing how happy your ex is without you. Also, remember that people can create a perfect image through social media that might not necessarily be true. Sometimes even, the more people post how wonderful their life is, the less true it is. They seem to be more focused on posting pictures of what a nice time they are having than on enjoying the moment fully, without distractions or the need for witnesses to their “happiness.”
3. Never post anything while you are angry, sad or hurt
The best decisions and the wisest words come from a place of calmness, not of vulnerability. You will probably regret it when you calm down.
4. Control your urge to get connected again
Sometimes we feel the urge to reconnect, either by liking or commenting on their posts, or by sending texts or messages. This can hurt you in the long run, and it is not healthy for you. It tells you that you are not over your ex, and that you need to heal the pain within you before you can start a healthy relationship. If you feel this urge, immediately call a friend, connect with someone else, or go for a walk until you feel calmer and more in control. Do not repress your feelings — be in touch with them, recognize them, express them — but do it in a healthy way.
5. Stop being curious, it’s negative!
We are naturally curious about the new person your ex might be seeing. How do they look? What do they like? What are they like? What do they have that I don’t? It is natural to be curious and to compare ourselves with them. Do not open communication with them. They do not know you; they are not in a place where they really want to hear from you. Maintain a distance with them.
Notice your inner world. Notice how you feel when you look at your ex’s pictures or the pictures of their new romantic interests. Notice what you are saying to yourself. If you find yourself comparing yourself to them, feeling anxious, sad and down, or having the compulsion to spend hours on social media, you need to stop and pay attention to what is happening inside of you. All this probably means that you are not over your ex, but that they might be over the relationship or are at least trying to be. Notice what that says to you and what that means to you.
Be kind with yourself. Love yourself. Do things that make you feel good. Fill your day with things that nurture you. This does not mean not to feel hurt or angry. Feel it, put words to it. Talk about it with others that care about you and who you feel safe with. Think of what you would advise your dearest friend to do and not to do, and then follow your inner wisdom and advice. It is probably good advice for you too.