Heartbreak has never been easy to deal with, but in the age of social media—where relationships start and end both online as well as in real life—they’ve become even harder to survive. Even if you’re trying to get over an ex, social media can make it nearly impossible to stop obsessing over their life without you, and unfriending or blocking them outright can feel too cold or harsh a step to undertake right away.
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, there is even more reason for heartbroken folks to avoid social media, as seeing other people’s expressions of loved-up happiness can make your own lack thereof feel even worse. These digital displays of affection can be even more damaging than the real life version, as they are an idealised version of other people’s joy, unmarred by the more mundane realities of being in a relationship.
In fact, new data from Facebook’s research team—which is released to help marketers better reach their intended audiences—found that traffic to an ex’s profiles seems to spike post break-up, rather than decline as you might expect. As Mashable reported, “There was also an increase in Facebook visits immediately before and after the broken-hearted updated their status to ‘Single,’ which we can only assume is a result of the subsequent intense stalking of the ex’s profile every hour on the hour.”
However, the good news is that if you’re nursing heartbreak on February 14th, you don’t have to spend it idly scrolling your ex’s vacation pictures. There are some tech tools that can help you get over the heartbreak faster by mitigating your post-breakup social media habits without going offline completely.
Use Facebook’s break-up tools: Facebook is aware that sometimes you need to “digitally distance” yourself from your ex post-break-up, which is why they rolled out tools to help you do so. As TechCrunch explains, you can “tell Facebook [you] would like to see less of the person in question – meaning you won’t see the person’s posts in your News Feed, and you won’t be prompted through auto-suggestions to message them or tag them in photos.” Most importantly, your ex won’t know you’ve suggested these changes, so they never have to know you took this action—and you can reverse it down the line.
Mute on Twitter: If your ex is a prolific Tweeter, this platform can be an emotional minefield as their frequent updates can provide an even more intimate window into their daily doings than other networks. Fortunately, there is a solution that allows you to avoid their tweets for a while without making a permanent decision. As Twitter’s help center reminds us, “Mute is a feature that allows you to remove an account’s Tweets from your timeline without unfollowing or blocking that account. Muted accounts will not know that you’ve muted them and you can unmute them at any time.”
Instagram: Instagram can be a tougher network to get over heartbreak on as there are fewer filtering tools as compared to other networks. While they are sorted by relevance, users still see every photo of people they’ve followed. Technically, your ex will not notice if you unfollow them unless they’re keeping tabs. Unlike Facebook, someone can still follow you on Instagram without you following them. However, an awkward moment may arise later on if you want to “re-follow” them. For that reason, Instagram might be a good network to avoid in the aftermath of a breakup. Or, at the very least, avoid watching your ex’s Stories.
Snapchat: Snapchat is a space where it’s totally okay to “unfollow”, as it’s one of the only networks where it’s very difficult to tell if someone has chosen to do so. So, if your ex is a prolific Snapper and you’d rather not get notifications of their antics via their stories, do yourself a favour and opt out.