The Breakup Coach

September 29, 2009 / 0 COMMENTS

Breakover (Breakup Recovery) Tip #5: Dealing with Your Life Online

I'm posting this as Breakover Tip #5 because I'm counting some earlier posts as tips #1-4:
(By the way the No Contact for 60 Days advice is more of a commandment than a tip!)

This tip is about how to be online while going through a breakup and avoid 1)impulsively making contact with your ex in a moment of weakness and 2) spying on your ex online, which can be oh-so tempting yet always manages to make you feel worse--there are few things quite so effective in sucking up your time, energy and self-respect as monitoring your ex online--if you listen closely you might be able to actually HEAR your own life draining away.

Tip #5 is kind of an expansion on tip #4. They share a purpose in helping you avoid contact with your ex, especially the kind you're most likely to regret (like when you're in panic mode after your much younger cousin announces her engagement, or when you've had one (or four) too many mojitos).

So, how do you keep from drunk (or any kind of unplanned) emailing, IM'ing, facebooking, tweeting, and whatever other online communication routes you have that I've probably never even heard of? How do you keep from getting yourself sucked into soul-killing online stalker mode?

In an ideal world you'll detach from them completely. You'll erase any of their email addresses as well as all of their email messages. You'll de-friend them on Facebook and unfollow them on Twitter. (If we lived in the days of smoke signals I guess you'd be throwing away your kindling and pouring water over the logs). And of course you'll delete them from any instant messenger lists (IM monitoring is an especially good way to torture yourself during a breakup). Full erasure and un-linkage is the online equivalent of quickly ripping off a band-aid or wax strip: it's much better in the long run to just do it and get it over with!

But ok, let's say you're not quite ready to do that. You're still trying to be "just friends" (good luck with that by the way), you need to keep some kind of contact with them because you work or have kids together, or for some other reason you're just not quite ready to let go.

In this case, hiding is your friend. And no, I'm not talking about hiding under the covers, waiting for this whole mess to blow over. I mean online hiding. If you feel you must stay friends with them on Facebook (for now), at the very least you must hide them from your feed so you're not reminded of their existence every time they post a photo or "become a fan" of swiss cheese. You can do this by floating your curser to the right of one of their updates and a little HIDE box will pop up--you probably knew that already but just in case. There's usually an option to do something like this for IM programs too--though seriously, please, if at all possible just delete them from those. I don't know if there's a Twitter equivalent, so if you're not ready to unfollow it's a good idea to take a break or seriously limit your t-time for a while.

In fact, it's generally a very good idea to keep your time online within limits while you're in breakup recovery mode. I know I sound like your mom, but try getting up from that monitor and going outside. Read a good book. Learn to knit or something. And if you can, release yourself for a while from any mobile tethers you have by temporarily deleting any Facebook-like applications from your mobile device. Allow yourself some time for escape from all that stuff while you work on moving on with your life. You can always re-install them later.

Whether you choose the rip-off-quickly method or gradual disengagement, the idea is to get yourself unstuck from the past and into a new phase of your life. So don't let any relationship ghosts lurk too long in your laptop--you need to make room in there for bigger and better things.

Love from your Friend, Fan and Follower,

The BreakUp Coach

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