When the big ex and I broke up in 2009, I was just starting to transition from account executive to community manager; so while social media was relatively new to my professional life I was already deeply involved in the space on a personal level.
That break-up was one of the worst I’ve ever been through. He cheated. I was devastated. At first I didn’t block him, I thought I didn’t want to sever every tie we had, I didn’t think I could. Eventually one of us blocked the other. Who am I kidding, he blocked me. He posted something about his new girlfriend, how much he loved her, how he wanted to scream it from the mountain tops… and it broke me. I’m sure I drunk texted something mean and from there our communication stopped. You can still find a picture of us on my Facebook if you dig deep enough, my hair is shorter, and I’m about ten pounds lighter, but it’s there. We look happy and it was my 21st birthday so I never thought to delete it. Facebook is a graveyard of ex-boyfriends if you dig down deeply enough.
Thanks to Facebook memories those embarrassingly twee status updates and kissy face photos always show up around holidays and birthdays.
Today Facebook announced a new feature that will make your social media break-up a little bit easier. When you end a relationship (oh, so publicly) you’ll be prompted by Facebook to try a new tool which will allow you to, ‘see less of’, your former partner.
If you choose to take a social break from your most recent flame their posts won’t show up in your newsfeed and their name won’t be suggested when tagging a photo or creating a new message. Obviously I’m a big fan of the message part, due in large part to the afore mentioned habit of drunk texting. If you don’t suggest that I message my ex Facebook… maybe I never will.
Taking a break from your ex is healthy, it allows you to heal, and it lets you remember who you were before you were Mr or Mrs so-and-so. But blocking someone who was such a big part of your life can feel permanent, and if you weren’t the one ending it, that can be incredibly difficult.
Ending it shouldn’t mean burning all your digital memories in a wine-fuelled bonfire, but it can. Maybe if this new functionality works, we can all move on a little bit easier.
If I could talk to the ex today I’d probably apologize for the 21-year-old who drunkenly messaged him, probably. But it sure would have been nice if Facebook had this feature back then…