These days breaking up with someone is no longer just a case of saying “it’s not you, it’s me” and, as Gotye put it, having someone collect your records and then changing your number. It seems that Gotye was due more sympathy than we gave him. He is still singing about an ex of some 10-plus years ago. In the new digital era, breaking up with someone has created a whole other plane of memory-triggering minefield. Here are five steps to ensure that opening up your laptop or swiping through your phone doesn’t cause many a night’s worth of “but we were so good together” tears.
1. Freedom from Facebook
Following a breakup it is tempting to go out with your friends and then stage hundreds of photos which you immediately upload onto Facebook to prove how life is so amazing now that you’re single. It is even more tempting to check up on your ex who most likely is adopting the same strategy. Questions such as “who is that they have their arm around?” “why are they standing next to that person?” and “how can they be smiling?” will soon ensue followed by a two hour in-depth investigation into a stranger’s/possible suspect’s whole timeline worth of photos and wall posts. The best thing for you to do is delete your ex as a Facebook friend — no more poking temptations, no more debating whether to casually write “how you doing?” on their wall and no more skipping heartbeats every time their name appears on your newsfeed. And best of all, no more relationship status updates.
2. Tackle Twitter
If you’re not a celebrity, MP or generally an important person, then Twitter is the space reserved, nay created, for telling the world what mundane activity you are embarking. Making people feel less lonely in 140 characters or less is a fundamental feature of the Twitter business model. It is your right and important aspect of the healing process to tell your friends that you are getting on with your life by “curling up with microwave meal 4 1 and channel 4 documentary #laissezlebontempsrouler.” Your ex, however, does not need to be following your retreat from society. Nor do you need to worry about the cryptically short messages @what’stheirnameis is sending them. Therefore the same strategy must be applied with Facebook: DEFRIEND, or in twit speak BLOCK and UNFOLLOW.
3. Degunk Your Phone
First and foremost, get rid of the cute “stinky poo” pet name in your contact’s list and change it to first name followed by last name (or DO NOT CALL, depending on your likelihood of relapse). Unlike deleting their existence off the internet, deleting their number seems a bit childish, and as my diarrhea prone friend said, you never know when you might need to call them in case of an emergency. Next, take away their name from the favorite’s list, remove any speed dial option and strip off any tailored ringtone or photo which transpires when they call. On the off chance that they do give you a ring, you want to be calm, cool and collected, not misty eyed due to some sensory triggers taking you on a trip down memory and heartbreak lane. Most importantly, however, is to delete your text history. This will ensure that on lonesome commutes home you do not have the urge to implement a fully blown psychological analysis of the ratio of how many “X”s you used compared to them and use punctuation errors as a means of pinpointing exactly “where it all went wrong.” Ditto with a facial expression postmortem of photos. Delete all photos of your ex off your phone (or back them up first if you think they will one day hold as evidence for something). Just make sure one isn’t set as your wallpaper/screensaver.
4. History, What History?
It’s Saturday night, the only good thing on TV is on BBC 3 and so you turn to your laptop for refuge. As you are about to type the “b” of “bored” into your browser-turned-search-engine the phrase “beach holiday for two” turns up as a bright suggestion — you know the one it’s talking about, that holiday you were planning to go on to that sunny place where you’d be laughing together on the beach as you stare out to the blue, promising horizon stretched out ahead of you instead of gaping desperately at the empty white hole of a google task bar. Best to get rid of your browsing history, cache and cookies and remember to always use incognito when in a relationship.
5. Filter out iTunes
Unlike Gotye, neither of you probably use records anymore. But there’ll be a hell of a lot illegally shared music. There’ll probably be some songs which you quite like or can’t remember whether it was from them or not and so you’ll probably leave it. But there may be a few sneaky playlists which need to be obliterated and you’ll have a “couple’s song” which definitely needs to be axed. And you know that album you pretended to like and even payed $100 to see performed live? Delete! And make sure you write a Facebook status detailing in no uncertain terms what a crappy band they are, just in case, you know, your ex, like you, has also decided to make a fake profile and keep an eye on you.