In another post, I gave you some ways to help you get through a breakup. Some might say I looked at it from a cynical angle. But right after you break up with someone you’re usually filled with a lot of unknown emotions. Maybe it’s happiness, maybe it’s sadness. Those emotions just sit with you and you make a string of bad decisions. Take it from someone who knows. Dan Savage says that there are couples who go through “conscious uncoupling” and for the most part there are no hard feelings.
I don’t know if that actually happens, but let’s assume it does. Let’s assume that no one gets their feelings hurt in a breakup. Regardless, you’ve broken up for a reason, but you don’t want to know what’s going on with them. Either you don’t care, or seeing it makes you feel worse about yourself. What do you do? As I always like to say, there’s an app for that. But in this case, it’s a feature in Facebook. The feature itself isn’t new, but it’s certainly handy. The feature allows you to:
- See less of someone: Limit where you see someone on Facebook. If you choose to see them less, their posts and posts they’re tagged in won’t appear in your News Feed and you won’t be prompted to message them or tag them in photos. To see their posts again, you can follow them.
- Limit someone’s ability to see your posts and posts you’re tagged in: Hide your posts from the person you want to take a break from. They’ll be added to your Restricted List and will only see posts you tag them in or share publicly.
- Edit who can see past posts: Limit who can see posts (example: photos, status updates, videos, etc.) you’re tagged in, or that you’ve tagged a person in by changing your privacy settings. The posts can only be seen by the people that are tagged in them. These posts won’t appear on your timeline anymore, but will still appear on other peoples timelines and search results unless the person who originally posted them removes them.
I like the idea that Facebook is providing a way to help you through this process. I have criticized Facebook in some of my other posts for not taking responsibility for the role they play in creating some of these issues. And again, this isn’t new, but it’s great to see them taking an active role in these kinds of scenarios. If you do decide to use this feature, Facebook won’t notify your former partner of your decision.
In general, being connected to your former partner on social media isn’t a great thing. It can bring up a lot of emotions, leaving you in a potentially bad place. When my ex and I broke up, I was still using Facebook. I didn’t go on very often, but one day I did. It had been about 3 months or more. This is kind of a funny story – his mom popped up as “someone” I might know. She wasn’t on Facebook before. For some reason, I clicked on her profile. I guess I was just being nosey? Under “connections in common” it said that we had two. I guess I just assumed it was my ex and someone else. Nope, turns out it was two other people completely. My ex had unfriended me on Facebook.
At the time I was kind of annoyed (among other things). But then I realized that he had done it to spare my feelings since he jumped into a new relationship right away. Read between the lines here. That said, he took the hard decision away from me (and maybe the only time he did this). While his motives were selfish, it helped me get through some of those feelings so I wasn’t always wondering. I realize this isn’t an option for everyone, but there is no rule saying that you have to be friends with your ex on social media. Unfriending someone or unfollowing someone doesn’t make you weak. It means you’re looking after your own mental health. And there’s nothing wrong with that.