Breaking up is getting harder to do in the internet age. Sure, you can de-friend an ex-amour on Facebook if you’re so inclined, but that doesn’t mean you can’t check their Twitter feed or creep them on Instagram or whatever other site offers a virtual peephole into the lives of people with whom you’ve once (or countless times) been intimate.
And if Instagram or Twitter fails to come up with something interesting, you can always go the retro route and simply type their name into Google. In a matter of seconds you can see that the former love of your life recently completed that marathon he always talked about running when you were together.
Social media’s influence on our love lives — past, present and future — has been discussed variously online. In a post for The Cut, Maureen O’Connor wrote about her view that the social media generation never really breaks up anymore as a result of its influence.
This isn’t really a bad thing, suggests O’Connor, because it keeps the door open for reconciliation in some instances, or simply for ‘thank god it didn’t work out’ reflection. For the hookup generation, this kind of ‘maybe we’ll get back together in a few years or months’ feels comforting and safe.
But it isn’t really a great thing either, she explains. All that bumping up against your past loves, mistakes, and whatever you call that guy you met in Jamaica, can get a bit intense, a fact that suggests that the human heart has yet to catch up with the Internet when it comes to the amount of information it can absorb without suffering.
While some choose to break up with social media — to quit Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and SnapChat — to heal a broken heart, there are other options. Like our social media-less grandmothers, mothers, and aunts before us we can simply accept that breaking up is neither the end of the world nor a blissful new beginning but simply a fact of life, and being so it comes with its (un)fair share of pain and laughter.
Skeptical about the laughter part? Check out your high school boyfriend’s Twitter page.