If you’re dealing with a breakup, you have a big task ahead of you. You have to deal with the loss, reconstruct your life, and move on to a better you. After a breakup, Facebook can be either a tool for a healthy recovery or a crutch that will hinder the process of moving on. If you’re trying to get over a relationship and heal from a breakup, take care to avoid these five common post-breakup Facebook mistakes.
Broadcasting the breakup. You might think it would be a good idea to broadcast your breakup to your whole Facebook network and get it out of the way. You could do this by a status update or by ending your Facebook relationship without disabling relationship status change notifications (and in fact, beware – you might accidentally do the latter!). But don’t act before you’re ready. If the breakup ends up lasting only a few days, will you post an embarrassing “never mind” message? Moreover, are you ready to handle the surge of sympathetic, inquisitive, and potentially ex-bashing messages that will inevitably follow your update? Instead, consider quietly removing the relationship status (without updating everyone’s news feed) and allowing people to notice on their own and contact you if they wish.
Status venting. While a little venting is healthy after a breakup, try to keep from doing so in a public forum like Facebook. Angry Facebook status updates aimed at your ex will decrease the respect people have for you and burn the bridge you might one day want to maintain with your ex. Woe-is-me Facebook status updates will get you a little well-deserved sympathy to start with, but if you overdo it, you will just get on people’s nerves. Instead, use your status to update about aspects of your life that have nothing to do with your ended relationship.
Photo over-upload. After a breakup, you might be tempted to let your ex and everyone else know how well you’re doing by uploading photos to Facebook. You might doll yourself up and take some beauty shots to show your ex what he or she is missing. You might go out with your friends and take tons of pictures of yourself, cozied up to good-looking strangers, having a wild and crazy time without your ex. A few of these types of pictures here and there won’t hurt you, but if you find yourself in an uploading frenzy, you might want to back off. You don’t want to portray an image of yourself on your social network that is less honorable than you deserve. Instead, post occasional photos of the new, creative, productive, exciting, respectable things you are doing since the breakup!
Facebook rebounding. Facebook can be a rebound breeding ground after a breakup. Every old flame, good-looking friend from high school, and most distant acquaintance might suddenly turn into a potential future spouse. Try to avoid scouring through your friends’ profiles, hoping to find someone single and looking who might fill that void in your life. Re-appearing on an eligible friend’s Facebook profile after a recent breakup is only going to rouse suspicions. Besides, you should be taking time for yourself – not looking for your next relationship right away. Instead, use Facebook to reconnect with old friends you’ve lost touch with and begin to rebuilt your in-person social network.
Ex-stalking. If your ex is your Facebook friend, temptation abounds. You might find yourself looking through old Facebook conversations, tagged photos, and messages, trying to hold onto what once was. You might develop a nervous habit of checking his or her Facebook profile whenever your attention wanders. “Ex-stalking” will only make it harder to get over your relationship. You need to move on with your life and let your ex move on, as well. It will probably just upset you if you see evidence that your ex is doing fine without you before you’re feeling ready to be fine on your own, and holding onto the old memories will make it more difficult for you to make new ones. If the temptation is too much, consider blocking or removing your ex as a friend on Facebook so that you will have an easier time moving on.
For many people, the best thing to do after a breakup is to take a break from Facebook. If you foresee yourself falling into these five traps, you might want to give your virtual social life a rest and spend some quality time building your real life back up.