Monday, 20 November 2017


Recently I spoke to someone I had dated a couple of years ago who enquired as to why I no longer followed them on social media. When I explained that I just wasn't one of those people who particularly wanted to know what their ex's were up to online, I was met with a look of bemusement and disbelief. Followed by the statement - 'but I bet you still look'. When I replied that no, actually I didn't, they responded with a laddish 'aye right' and so I swiftly changed the subject.

They didn't believe me. Which was fine. It didn't particularly bother me whether they believed me or not. However it did get me to thinking. Does everyone stalk their ex's online? Is it healthy? Does it mean that you still secretly yearn for the relationship? Or is it simply normal curiosity?

I don't know. The only thing I do know is that when I told the person in question that I genuinely wasn't aware that their sister had just got married and that I honestly had no clue they had just spent 3 weeks in hospital recovering from a virus they picked up on holiday, I was telling the truth. 

Because I don't look. 

But that's not to say I haven't...

I'm someone who feels strongly that the unfollow button is a personal and powerful tool that everyone has the right to utilise to it's full extent. I don't feel guilty for unfollowing people on social media if I don't particularly like what they post. Because I don't equate social media to real life. I see no harm in unfollowing people even if I I genuinely like them in 3D. I think our social media channels are personal to us all and that it is silly to force yourself to endure photos of other people's cats, children or dinner if you don't want to. So I unfollow. We already spend far too much of our lives being diplomatic, nice and polite. So I believe in making your timeline your own and something you enjoy switching onto. 

In short, when it comes to being online, fuck being polite. 

Follow what you enjoy.

And get rid of what you don't.

And the same applies to ex's. While apparently there are some 'I have totally got my shit together and am a mature and rounded person' people who have no issue with continuing to follow their ex on social networks, I am not one of them. I don't particularly want to know what my previous boyfriends are up to, have no interest in hearing about their latest relationship conquest and exude not a tiny bit of interest in reading their last inspirational quote. Most of the time, looking at an ex's posts online does more harm than it does good. So in the words of a very good friend of mine - 'why go looking for pain'? 

And so I don't. I delete. And I rarely look back.

Despite the fact that I work in social media, write a blog and have a borderline unhealthy addiction to Twitter, it's actually not that difficult to eradicate someone from your digital life. And if you have just split up with someone, I highly recommend doing so. During a break- up one of the first things I do (after spending a weeks wages on a psychic and getting so drunk I fall asleep in a nightclub), is unfollow and delete all trace of them from my online life. I'm aware this can be construed as immature, childish and often bitter. But the truth is I don't care. If I am hurting then I don't want to know what they are  up to. And you shouldn't either. 

Of course you still run the risk of still seeing their smug looking face popping up on your timeline every so often. It's sometimes unavoidable. But there are things you can do to stop it. If you have mutual friends you never really liked anyway then delete them also. Strike while the iron is hot and you'll never have to worry about them tagging on your timeline. If you are still on good terms with their friends and family on Facebook but don't want to appear mean, then simply unfollow. This allows you to stay friends with them but means you don't have to see what they post or when they change their profile picture. Meaning the chances of having to look at your ex's annoying face at their latest family BBQ are almost diminished.

I would be lying if I said that I had never looked. Of course I have. The initial few weeks after a break up are a crucial point and you would have to be super human not to want to know what your ex is up to. So don't beat yourself up if you sneak a peek. We all do it. Even now I have been known to spend the odd Friday evening in front of Graham Norton horizontally doing a bit of snooping on the sofa out of nothing but nosiness and boredom.  But the occasions I do this are extremely few and far between. And I can genuinely say without a shadow of a doubt that I haven't looked at a single one of my ex-boyfriends social pages in at least 4 or 5 months. 

And the result? 

I'm a much happier person because of it.

The truth is that I'm at a point in my life now where I can't think of a single ex I wouldn't happily go for a friendly pint with. And that's a good place to be. But do I want to be liking photos of their lunch, admiring their new fiancee's diamond ring or tricking myself into thinking I want them back just because they finally worked out what to do with the bench press at the gym?

Do I fuck.

And anyway, everyone knows that the real person you still love is the person whose star sign you still read.

Don't they ;)


wholelottarosie said...

I think I'm fortunate in the fact that neither of my two major ex-boyfriends are on social media AT ALL as I sure as hell would've snooped on them. Maybe they both had an inkling I had that kind of nature and thought better of signing up to Facebook/Twitter/Insta etc ;)

Dawn Young said...

I almost always end up with blokes who aren't really big social media people! I find it hella sexy when a guy doesn't give a toss about that stuff! xx