A few years ago, if you broke up with someone, you would take down their pictures and try your best to avoid their calls. But today, social media and digital technology have become a cornerstone of our reality. You probably have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, and instant messaging, at the very least-all of which are linked in with your ex. This creates a dangerous situation, as it is extremely tempting to keep these accounts linked so you can look in from time to time and see what your ex is doing.
These fast-moving methods of communication also create a digital space where you and your ex can communicate without really speaking. For example, you might enter a simple Tweet or Facebook post such as: “Just met an amazing person at the grocery store… WOW” or “I’m moving on with my life, leaving the past behind me.”
These are very bad ideas.
Being passive-aggressive, or speaking to your ex through social media, are traps that you should avoid at all cost. Although it may feel good at the time of posting-and you may receive emotional support from other members of your network-it will almost always come back to bite you in the ass. As easily as you can post something, your ex can as well. You are then faced with the nightmare of watching your ex’s new dating lifestyle become your reality.
The very first thing you need to do is block, un-friend, and stop following your ex on ALL social media platforms. This includes removing them from your instant messenger list, as you do not want to be reminded of them each and every time they log in.
It is completely possible that you have a network of shared or mutual friends on these social media outlets. The last thing you need right now is to see a picture posted of your ex doing a body shot off some half-dressed person. Remove them, delete them, get all toxic material out of your sight, and eliminate any way for it to cross your path.
The goal is not to go wild and delete everyone from your accounts; this would only create additional drama. Besides, you may want to keep some mutual friends around for the future. Your best strategy is to create a social media blackout. Hold on, before you go flipping out on me; remember, this is only temporary and you can return in 30 days. Most, if not all, social media accounts allow you to temporarily cancel them. Essentially, what you are doing is deactivating them. You can always go back and reactivate them at a later date.
Once you have removed your ex from all social media accounts and temporarily deactivated your accounts, you will need to clean up your phone. Pictures, text and linked social media in your smart phone comprise another silent trap that will snare you over and over again. Part of your social media cleanup is to unlink all social media accounts from reporting to your phone. This will usually occur when you deactivate your accounts, but to reduce the temptation to reactivate, remove all icons and accessibility.
Online dating has become a part of every single person’s reality. Maybe you met your ex on an online dating site. Or, perhaps it’s your goal to put yourself back on the market and rejoin the world of online dating. To date or not to date is a subject we’ll cover in a later chapter, but for now a word of caution: If you met your ex online, there is a very good chance that your paths could cross again. Except that, this time, the person cropped out of the pictures is you! Or worse yet, their profile may include the fact that they are seeking someone with qualities completely opposite to yours. This can be a very painful yet unintentional dig, further irritating your already sensitive emotions. So, be careful and step lightly. In fact, I would recommend not returning to that area until you are certain you can handle any run-in with your ex.
Next, we address the digital pictures. You remember that sexy bathroom mirror pic that your ex sent you? Yup, that has to go. All digital pictures in your phone, as well as anywhere else you will have quick access to, need to be removed. You don’t have to delete them; you can burn them to disc or store them on a flash drive and bury them in the highest reaches of your garage. Better yet, give them to someone you trust for safe keeping.
The next-to-last step in removing your ex’s digital footprint from your existence is to delete all old text saved in your history file. You have no use for that old text where they declare how much they love you or how sexy you are. You have no need for that garbage. Simply remove all history.
The final step is to remove your ex’s contact picture and change the name in your phone. This simple step is extremely powerful. When I was going through my break-up, I changed her name to read NEVER AGAIN. Every time she would call or text, I was reminded of the path I was on, and that I needed to avoid returning to dysfunction at all cost. As time went on and I passed the initial 30 days and had established new habits, I changed her name to THE DEVIL. Now, every time she calls or texts, I am reminded that being with her I was living in my own personal hell. These simple reminders set the tone and correct my thoughts. And as we learned before, our thoughts control our actions, habits, and ultimately our lifestyle.