To unfriend or not to unfriend, that is the question


Let’s all be honest here: most breakups do not end well. There are a small number of people who break up with their partners because they’ve both “fallen out of love”, but that’s not common.

With that in mind, we have to understand that when partners decide to end their relationship, usually at least one side will suffer. Social media doesn’t help: any piece of news (or gossip) is just a few clicks and/or scrolls away, and sometimes we don’t even need to try to find this information – it finds us. The things you don’t want to see are right there, at the top of your feed. What can you do about it?

The thing is, this is all new. Ten years ago, all you had after a nasty breakup were the memories, maybe some memorabilia, and his/her number on your phone. You wouldn’t be able to accidentally see random pictures of them enjoying their single life, doing whatever they were doing at that moment. Back then, if you became too obsessive, a good friend or a family member would show up at your apartment to get rid of all the things that are toxic to you. Deleting a phone number is easier when you don’t have to see their face on a profile. Also, it used to be just a number, not a web of connections carefully woven such that accidental contact is almost inevitable. Most likely, you’ve used this to try and find some info about them, only to wind up hurting yourself even more.

So, if you find that you can’t deal with the information posted by your ex, their friends, and your mutual friends, and you’re wondering if it’s okay to unfriend them, here’s what I have to say:

-For those of you who are trying your best to not unfriend, there is a milder version of it, at least on Facebook: unfollowing. Their posts won’t show up on your feed anymore, and if that’s enough of a solution for you, great. Also, kudos on your self-control.

-If you find yourself stalking your ex’s profile, the best approach might be completely unfriending them – possibly even blocking them. If you go out of your way to find information about them, delete them. Do you keep checking if your ex is online on whatsapp? Are you worried they could be texting someone else? Are you one of those people who checks your ex’s status every two minutes? Do yourself a favor and delete them from your contacts. Nobody will judge you for deleting someone whose information is toxic to you. If they do, well, they’re not being considerate of your feelings.

-If the information is coming through social media in ways that are (REALLY) beyond your control, consider taking a break from the platform. Heartbreak is bad enough without constant news of your ex. You’re allowed to surround yourself only with good energy and supportive people.

Now, remember: Your ex might not be a bad person, and the breakup might have happened for a valid reason – otherwise I’d just tell you to just delete them already, right? But the thing is, we all need room to heal. I do not recommend staying friends with your ex if you still have feelings for them. The fact that you have easy access to their lives makes you a slave to this toxic emotion; this hope that will linger if you don’t cut the cord. If they are really worthy of your friendship, you can always come back later, when you’re fully (and I meant fully – don’t trick yourself here) healed. Maybe when you’ve finally healed, you won’t even want to be friends anymore – seriously, who knows? All I know is: for now, think about yourself and your healing process.

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