Breaking up in the age of social media is a fascinating foray into the psyche of mankind. That person you once thought was everything may now be slandering you in 140 characters or less all over the cyber highway. Don’t worry fellas, I don’t feel the need to air our dirty laundry, and you can keep reading with the utmost confidence that I will keep what happened between us, between us. Clearly not everyone feels that way. I’m really sorry if you have recently broken up with someone who feels it necessary to open every emotional wound and bleed out all over Facebook and/or Twitter. I’m really extra super sorry if you were dating someone who’d do it on Myspace, but you can rest assured that no one has seen it. Well, Tila Tequila has, but who the hell is she anyways?
Break ups can be ugly, painful, and everything bad. I don’t think they have to be, but sometimes they just are. Been there. Sure, occasionally there’s that urge to let the world know that person has been publicly masking Erectile Dysfunction by telling their buddies about how they flipped you this way and smacked it that way, but is that the mature thing to do? Letting his mom know via the place she “likes” Marianne Williamson quotes and “shares” Smitten Kitchen recipes that her son is a short-noodled softy? Sometimes I think that icy glare of “I got your number, motherfucker, and don’t you forget it” will suffice. But that’s just my opinion.
As a social media user, I’ve had the opportunity to witness what have turned out to be mangled love collisions. Sure, I’ve watched, and to be truthful I wasn’t just rubbernecking it. I’ve actually put the car in park, gotten out and investigated the wreckage. I’m only human. I like to think of these moments as valuable PSA’s on what not to do the next time I feel wronged by Mr. Right. If I’ve picked one thing out of the interweb carnage, it’s that this shit needs to be kept private. Here is my list of why:
1) No one looks good at his or her worst. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want people to know how many nights I spent crying into my Raman, watching Love Actually whilst wearing that shirt he left behind. Your main focus during this phase should be to salvage any shred of dignity you have left. And for the love of Jobs, stay away from your computer. You’ll thank me later.
2) The only person looking crazy is you. Ever notice how that person who broke your heart has remained suspiciously mum on-line? Of course you have. It’s the reason you ate three pints of ice cream while listening to the song you had already chosen for the bridal march in your head. Still wearing the shirt. And crying. Put your phone down. Don’t think I’ve forgotten about cell phones. Text messages are hardcopy evidence of your maniacal sadness. And no one memorizes phone numbers anymore, so have a girlfriend delete it from your phone when you’re busy Timelining your way back through the relationship looking for signs of trouble.
3) You might be alienating the next best thing. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but until there’s a ring on this finger, I’m always going to leave my options open. Nothing slams the door to a future relationship quite as swiftly as blatantly hostile status updates about your ex. When you choose to type things like “I guess some people are just selfish assholes who couldn’t get a Velcro shoe off” into the universe, you’re barking up the tree of guaranteed loneliness. Ever see that tree? It’s located down the way in the field of Six Sexless Months. Don’t go there if you don’t have to. The best way to get over someone is to get under someone. Word. Two snaps and a hip bump. Someone on your “friends list” wanted to boink you when they thought you were taken, so don’t be the incensed morality mayor of the internet, because no one wants to put on their Bell Biv DeVoe playlist and get freaky with that. No one. Actually, I do know of one dude that gets turned on by people’s weakness, but trust me—it isn’t worth it. I’ve gotten more satisfaction watching an episode of the 700 Club. Learn from my lessons.
4) Shamelessness is not a unique, or desirable character trait. Look, we can all be shameless during a break up. Have I posted a sad song to garner boatloads of sympathy? Yup. Did it work? Yup. Did I delete it the next day because I realized I was parading my bruised ego around like Honey Boo Boo? Sure as hell did. You know why? If for no other reason, I’d have to say that my pride was being challenged. That’s right, I’m just too damn proud to let that toolbox get the best of me. At least publicly. So yeah, I listened to Jazmine Sullivan busting out windows on repeat, and I hate to admit that I know every single word to Carrie Underwood’s breakout, crossover hit “Before He Cheats.” That Okie was singing my pain, but I sure as shit didn’t want you to know that. That’s sad on a vast number of levels.
5) You’re making everyone (who can read) uncomfortable. That’s it. This one’s pretty simple, actually.
Let me just stress again that I feel you. There were nights when I thought it best to go put my computer in my car as to avoid the impulsive urge of purging my turmoil on unsuspecting coworkers and family members. The best way to manage the hottest mess of a break up is to call in the support squad, order some pizza, get super drunk and cry (Yes, you can still wear the shirt), as they try to get a brush through that hair and tell you how they never trusted him.
Just know that the glow box on your lap isn’t going to help you heal, and that the hug of your best-friend is the easiest way to derail the binary beating you want to hand out.
Oh, and you’re going to be okay. I just know it.