Facebook and Breakups

Posted by: Center for Growth Therapists

Facebook and Breakups

Have you recently broken up with your boyfriend/girlfriend? Do you find yourself checking your ex’s (X-boyfriend, X-girlfriend, X-wife, X-husband, X-lover, X-partner) Facebook page daily? Looking for clues through Facebook of your ex having moved on, or hoping maybe that he/she is still pining over you?For many out there who have experienced a breakup, it can be a complicated process to let go of a failed relationship and to let go of the memories of someone you once cared deeply for. When it comes to trying to move on with your life and put an ended relationship behind you, the process and the difficulties in doing this have changed immensely in the past 10 years, thanks to a social networking phenomenon known as Facebook.

Ten years ago if you wanted space from your ex, it was much easier. It took more effort to stay informed of what your ex was up to in life, or who he/she was seeing. Unless you did the occasional “Drive by” of your ex’s home to see who’s car was in the driveway, or try to purposely run into him/her out at a mutual friend’s gathering, or favorite bar; the chances for run-ins were much more slim. Maybe you held onto photos of the two of you, or pieces of your ex’s clothing as a way to remember him/her. The difference here is these are items that connected you to the past, not pieces of information about your ex’s present life or future. Even holding on to a shared favorite CD, kept you linked to a memory of something that happened, even while your ex moved on with his/her life without you.

Technology, Facebook and Breakups . . . 

Today the difference with Facebook is it informs you of everything: the past, the present, and the future. From picture albums from when the two of your were dating last fall, to status updates about people and places that you have never heard of before, to the inevitable “relationship status update.” Today, even when you eventually store away old keepsakes of a relationship, or delete an ex’s phone number, Facebook is your gateway to stay up-to-date of your ex’s new life without you. What’s even worse (or what’s great, depending on how you look at this) is that you can stay up to date and in the know of your ex’s life without ever being found out! 10 years ago, if you wanted to know if he/she was dating again, if they moved, etc. you would either have to get the guts and call your ex directly for the news, or inquire through a mutual friend, risking your ex finding out. Today, you can find out practically every detail about your ex’s new life: if he/she began a new job, met anyone new, re-located, etc. You can get all of this information without having anyone find out. With really no effort you can stay connected to your ex’s life repercussion free.

While there aren’t any repercussions, there is concern that without experiencing the full impact of a breakup, can this impact your ability to grow from the breakup? An essential part of a breakup is having the space to reflect on the breakup and your ex: “How do I feel about having my own space now? How do I feel about how the relationship carried out? How do I truly feel about my relationship being over? What was missing? How do I feel about my ex moving on? How can I learn from this break-up? And what role if any do I want my ex to play in my current life? What kind of connection am I comfortable maintaining? ” When we reflect on the ending of a romantic relationship, the process allows us to have an opportunity to take inventory of what we learned both good and bad and to make intentional decisions about what we would like to bring forward into our next romantic relationship. The reflection process helps us grow from the relationship and learn from them. However, the danger of Facebook is that it can make the lines of separation for some more blurry. Now people have to ask how much information do we really want to have about how our ex is moving on? Is the extra information helping me do what I need to do to move on with my life?  How is Facebook helping me set the boundaries I want with my ex so that I am comfortable? 

Facebook and breakups create new issues.  For some endings will be easier, for others harder. If you are struggling. Help is available. Call a counselor 267 324 9564 and schedule an appointment to meet with a therapist at the Center for Growth, located in Center City Philadelphia.