Should you drop each other online when you ditch each other for real? Yes, says Jo Adnitt, who insisted her man make the Facebook BIG break…
When Russell Brand stopped following Katy Perry on Twitter, four months after she’d stopped following him, he was making a statement about their relationship. He’d accepted it was well and truly over.
Sometimes cutting each other off is the only way to move on. That’s why I made my boyfriend digitally dump his ex.
When I met Tim in May 2010, he’d been single for eight months after his four-year relationship ended. He was ready to meet someone else, while his ex already had. But they had mutual friends, got invited to the same parties, but more importantly, were friends with each other on Facebook – meaning at all times they knew what the other was up to.
She and Tim would comment on the same posts and “like” the same photos. The comments were innocuous, but it felt like there was a hidden dialogue between them. When I saw them both comment on a photo from a festival they’d been to three years before, I wondered if they’d browsed nostalgically through their old pictures. Although they weren’t speaking directly, by commenting on the same posts they were subtly reminding each other they were still there.
I didn’t feel our relationship was threatened, but a part of me was jealous and irritated. I didn’t like thinking my man was checking his ex’s Facebook page, and I hated noticing what he commented on. I even looked at her profile sometimes.
I’ve always been firm about keeping my exes just that. We’re not Facebook friends. Sure, there have been times when I’ve checked their open Facebook pages, feeling a sense of nostalgia, and jealousy, that they were happy without me.
But even though I didn’t want to get back together with them, it was harder to move on when I was constantly analysing every new girl in their photos.
I needed Tim to appreciate how it felt for me. Initially, I opted for the subtle approach. “Don’t you think you might find it easier not knowing what each other’s up to all the time?” I asked. The reply was a solid: “No, I don’t have an issue with it. She’s still my friend.”
A month passed and it started to eat away at me. “You can’t move on while you’re looking into each other’s lives all the time,” I shouted one night after a glass of wine too many. “You need to dump each other on Facebook. It’s not fair on me.”
I could see on Tim’s face that the penny had dropped. He hadn’t realised the impact it was having.
There’s no manual for social media ex-tiquette, but after messaging her and explaining how it was affecting our relationship, both Tim and his ex agreed it was the right thing to do. And I noticed the difference. We began spending more time together and I felt more secure, like he’d made more of a commitment to me.
While social media is a great way of staying in touch, and some couples such as Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are comfortable following each other after they’ve split, it can also mean painfully clinging on to the past. Being digitally dumped might feel brutal at the time, but it’s the way to stop looking back and move on.
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