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#ZKLife: Break-ups in the Digital Age

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The digital world doesn’t lend itself to an out of sight, out of mind approach, and simply being on your phone might bring back memories that slow down the healing process. 

Ten years ago, if you broke up with someone, that was essentially it, you parted ways and, albeit wallowing in pain, were able to live in blissful ignorance of a former partner’s everyday life.  

Fast-forward to today’s social media-driven culture, and the chances of running into a former boo as you navigate your way through the internet are high, especially when visual platforms like Instagram continue to reign. 

Social media and breakups 

Social media can prolong the pain of a breakup because there is residue. In addition to photos popping up, you usually still follow all their friends. Seeing their posts and stories will constantly remind you of them — and the cycle continues. 

Breakups have never really been private: eventually your friends, family, and community will know but what’s changing in our digital age is that we have less control over how the story is told. 

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As soon as we include our relationship status as part of our social-media footprint — whether that be in an Instagram caption, a tweet, even a Snap with a funny filter — we set ourselves up for the prying eyes and assumptions of family and friends. 

Even more painful than having to revisit the subject with others can be choosing whether to cleanse your platforms of any trace of your relationship.  

The digital world doesn’t lend itself to an out of sight, out of mind approach, and simply being on your phone might bring back memories that slow down the healing process. 

You can handle the breakup how you want on your own profiles, but when it comes to your ex’s social media presence, you have pretty much no say. 

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Suffering through a public breakup doesn’t just affect your mental health in the moment. The experience also follows you through future relationships.  

For one, the way the relationship ended and appeared to end will affect whether you decide to share your relationship on your social media in the future. 

So, can you really break up in the digital age? 

The trace of social media is extremely challenging to erase, but it’s still easier than trying to erase that person from your memory or your heart.  

If a person was important to you at one point in your life, they will likely leave an imprint on you — and on your online presence. 

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