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Social Media’s Impact on Going Through a Breakup

It’s no secret that going through a breakup sucks. No matter which end you’re on, feelings are hurt and dynamics are shifting. Change is hard, breakups are hard, and social media is making it even harder. Social media adds even more things to think about when going through a breakup such as changing your relationship status on Facebook or if you’ll have to see your ex on Instagram and Snapchat. Our minds lean towards negative viewpoints so having other factors contributing to a narrative you may be creating in your head can be very toxic. Social media makes it almost impossible to make a clean break from a relationship. While it’s not realistic for many of us to completely stop using social media when going through a breakup, it’s important to consider how we can move forward with processing the loss within the context of social media. Below are tips on ways to make a breakup more manageable in today’s world.

1. Unfriend/Unfollow Your Ex

Boundaries can be extremely containing and are necessary in order to function daily. When going through a breakup, it’s important to set healthy boundaries so you can move forward. When scrolling through Instagram or watching stories on Snapchat, it’s not productive to see your ex continually pop up. To prevent this from happening it’s important to unfollow your ex and potentially your ex’s friends as well. If unfollowing feels unrealistic, many applications offer the option to hide or mute someone’s posts which is a good alternative. Drawing these boundaries is not a malicious or intentionally hurtful decision to make. It is a step necessary to protect your own mental health and allow you to move forward.

2. Resist Stalking

Stalking has taken on a new meaning with the growth of social media. In this context, it refers to consistently looking at your ex’s and his friend’s pages to see what they’re doing and who they’re spending their time with. Access to an inside look at people’s days makes it that much more difficult to focus on yourself and how you’re spending your time. It also presents the opportunity to create false narratives based on things you’ve seen on your ex’s pages. When you’re calm, think of a couple of things you can use as a distraction when you feel the urge to start stalking. That way, when you need a distraction quickly you’ll already have potential options listed. As time passes so too will your urge to stalk.

3. Keep Things Private

Many people feel the need to tell others their relationship is over. These conversations should take place in person or over the phone where a healthy dialogue can take place. If the news is posted on social media you open yourself up to other’s thoughts and opinions without the ability to clarify and explain. Breakups are hard enough. There’s no need to bring a bunch of individuals you may not even know into the healing process.

4. Social Media With Intention

Research has shown passively scrolling through your Instagram or other social media feeds can cause individuals to feel more isolated, lonely, stressed, and depressed. Going through a breakup is a time period where people feel extra vulnerable and emotional which makes the negative risk of social media usage even higher. In addition, people typically do not post about their struggles on these platforms. Looking at people living their best lives while you feel down and anxious is an unhealthy combination.

5. Reconnect

Although you may want to curl into fetal position eating ice cream while watching the notebook, it’s important to try and continue making plans, going to work, and functioning the best you can in your normal day-to-day. Making plans doesn’t have to be something extravagant but spending time with friends and loved ones can make breakups much easier than isolating and ruminating alone. Rely on the people in your life to bring you joy and happiness and use this time to reconnect with them and with yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship of all.

If you’ve found yourself struggling with a relationship, breakup, or social media it may be useful to speak with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!

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