I will not likely ever forget the pit in my stomach. It was in the wee hours of the morning when sleep evaded me. After a recent break-up, my thoughts were not yet managed, nor healed. I rolled over in bed to open my laptop and before I knew it there he was in a tuxedo looking better than ever. A tear pricked and my stomach rolled as I tried to process something that I simply could not.
How was he smiling a few weeks after our break up when I hadn’t even been able to attempt that feat? Where was he? WHO was he with? Why wasn’t he at home, unable to sleep, with restless unavoidable thoughts of our wonderful times together?
I dare say we have all been guilty. Our curiosity creeps into our fingers and types the name into social media before we can stop it. Down we fall into the rabbit hole of exes, new boyfriends, new girlfriends, the exes of the exes, until we are depleted and yet mysteriously still dissatisfied.
Post-divorce or post-breakup, what we seek is evidence that their world without us in it is not nearly as good. We seek validation that we were highly valuable to them and that our contribution to their lives through marriage or partnership still exists. Of course we don’t find this. In the world of social media perfectionism and both figurative and literal filters, we are bound to fail in our search.
Worst yet – this initial punch in the gut can lead to regrettable action. Calling the ex immediately after spying that smile (in my case), looking for another past fling to start up a flirtation, posting a scathing comment publicly – you know the list. In our weakest moments, we are unable to reel in our rightful reactions.
To avoid common social media mistakes, add this list to your phone as a post-breakup tool:
Hide. Hide. Hide. Hide. Hide the exes on social media (or unfriend if you must). Hide mutual friends, hide former in-laws, hide mutual social groups, hide mutuals of mutuals. Deny yourself access to comparison, to a heart-breaking reaction, to any exposure that hinders your healing.
Hibernate. Take a social media break. Spend the time you would otherwise be online on a jigsaw puzzle, a good book, journaling – something that will quiet your mind and serve to restore you. Change your social media password and give it to a trusted friend. Allow in this support of accountability until your heart has built back its resiliency reserves.
Heal. Feel your feelings. Talk through your sadness. See a counselor. Acknowledge your part and find your learnings for next time.