Is it fine to still be friends on social media after a breakup?

lady looking into phone

The parallel life on social media

There has been a partial migration if you could call it that, of life, online in the last decade or so. Social media, which began as just a platform of communication has mutated to a parallel life. We find dates, food, parties, sex, entertainment, jobs, services, news, information all of it on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Is it cool to still be friends with your ex online?

When so much of our life is spent online, how do we navigate it with real life? I’m speaking specifically about breakups. Is it cool, to still be in touch with your ex online after a breakup?
Well, the answer is – it depends.

Distance from social media

Some people can differentiate clearly between social media profiles and real life. For them, there’s a certain sense of distance that exists between your twitter account let’s say, and your day to day life. These are often the people who don’t post every single detail about their life online. They might post a picture that they felt like sharing but you might not see selfies of every outfit of the day or #ootd as it is lovingly called on social media. For them, social media is just one aspect of life and staying friends with their exes online doesn’t particularly mean anything.

A window of information

Then there are those for whom social media acts like a window of information. They might have broken up but still want to know the comings and goings of their ex’s life. I’m not talking about online stalking here. These people don’t necessarily want to talk to their ex or get back together but they want to have the option of keeping up with them. For these kinds of people staying friends with their ex is a matter of pragmatism in a way.

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The archivist of their lives

Then there are those who archive their lives online. A Youtuber for example, who posts content about their life online for themselves and others to consume. It’s an odd kind of exhibitionism and voyeurism, similar to what you find in reality shows. For these people, their social media presence reflects their life’s events. They want to be as authentic as possible and thus if their ex-lover is out of their lives, they might just be out of their social media circle too. They’ll unfollow each other on Twitter and Instagram and rarely mention each other again.

Painful reminders on your feed

An Instagram photo of your ex showing up on your feed can sometimes be a painful reminder. It can remind you of the good times. It can also remind you of the very worst of times. In this case, you might not want this constant reminder and want to make sure that you are not confronted by their presence everywhere. Not staying friends with your ex online is a way some might protect their heart like in this case.

It’s a public announcement

However, since social media now encompasses such a big part of our lives, unfriending of your ex is not a simple decision. Sometimes there’s a sense of finality there. Some people have way too much time on their hands and will notice if you have unfriended or unfollowed your ex. Since it is called the social network, remember that this activity will be a public display of your break up. While there’s nothing wrong with that, you have to make sure that you are prepared for any questions you might get from others. I get it, you wish people had enough tact to not ask you about your break up, but sadly they don’t, so while this may seem frivolous, you still have to think it through.

Friendly exes

Then there are the friendly exes. Whether you have children together or have remained friends, you are someone who saw the relationship as a beautiful experience. You also have been lucky enough to retain the friendship and while face to face meetings with your ex can be awkward in the beginning no matter how friendly you are, social media can act like a perfect bridge here.

It depends on how you look at love and social media

Staying friends with your ex online then depends on a lot of things. It depends on your attitude towards social media. It also depends on your equation with your ex. If you are facing this dilemma, remember that there’s no correct answer and you have to do what is best for your broken heart.

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1 comment

Neha Sharma
Neha Sharma May 26, 2018 - 2:24 pm

It actually depends on person to person. If you are really emotional and attached to your ex then probably you should not be friends even on social media. You will not be able to move on. and if you are kind of hilled out and pretty cool about your break up remaining Facebook friends with an ex might help rather than hinder emotional recovery following a romantic relationship breakup.

True: “there’s no correct answer and you have to do what is best for your broken heart”.

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