The art of unfriending and untagging

Facebook: Keeping yourself updated with the rest of the world, including your ex
Source: Internet
Over the past few months, I've been keeping myself busy with one of the biggest projects of my life: decluttering.

To most people, decluttering means going through your belongings piled up at home and getting rid of things that you no longer need. It is a cleansing process not only on a material level - you are also mentally weeding out stuff that is blocking you from moving forward.

But decluttering does not stop at the material level. There is a lot more work to do in the digital realm.

Social media plays a major part of many of our lives. We share out thoughts in our status updates, write things on other people's walls, share news feeds and post photos of friends and tag them.

Then of course, some people just have this thing of posting photos of flaunting their intimate moments with their boyfriend or girlfriend in social media, shouting out loud to the world: "Hey look at me and my (happy) relationship!"

It might be alright when the relationship is good. But when things turn sour, what do you do?

I accidentally came across this 2012 study conducted by Dr. Tara C. Marshall, from the department of psychology at the School of Social Sciences at Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK. Entitled Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations with PostBreakup Recovery and Personal Growth, the analysis studied data from 464 participants on their online/ offline contacts with their ex. The survey found out that staying "friends" with an ex on social media like Facebook -- receiving their status updates, tagged in old photos, etc -- causes much "greater current distress over the breakup, more negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth".

"Overall, these findings suggest that exposure to an ex-partner through Facebook may obstruct the process of healing and moving on from a past relationship".

I don't need an academic study to tell me this. In fact, I learnt it the hard way.

It's never a good idea to post anything - status, photos, etc - about your relationships on your social media. Relationships are private and personal. If it's good, I'm happy. And I have this glow on my face and those who know me can see it. If it's bad, then I'm sad, and I most certainly don't want the whole world know about it. Friends who are real friends will know, and they will reach out to comfort me regardless.

Only immature people flaunt their intimate relationships on social media.

So the decluttering project also includes going through my social media history. I went through my photos to see what have been posted - either by me or someone else. I hid those that were posted by myself, and untagged myself from a number of them posted by someone else. I just don't want a certain part of my history to be publicised in social media.

But hiding and untagging myself from old photos do not mean I'm erasing my history. What happened has already happened. The memories are mine and they stay with me until the day I die. Memories are private, and the only people I can and want to share these memories with are those who were there to create these memories together. Anyone who wasn't there need not to know - and most certainly not to see them in old photos that pop up right in their faces, particularly perspective new partner(s), whose existence in my life is to create new memories.

It's simply rude, disrespectful and inconsiderate of your current partner's feelings when you keep flaunting your dating history on your social media page. And I do not want to do that to the person I'm currently dating.

You might argue that unfriending an ex is "uncivilised". But seriously, exposing myself to unnecessary emotional trauma is way more uncivilised than unfriending someone who is no longer part of my present life.

As Facebook is introducing a new function to limit your exposure to your ex without unfriending them, looks like there's a new "civilised" way to handle the matter. But the conclusion remains: stay away from your ex on social media after breaking up.

So for the sake of myself and my future, I declutter thoroughly, both in the material world and in the digital realm.

Related post: Dating with Whatsapp


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