In the age of social media, it's hard to just cut your losses and run after a breakup. Previously, breaking up with a partner was just a matter of purging your home and soul of any remnants of them.
But when it comes to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, there is no rule book on how to end things gracefully with an ex. Do you unfollow them? How many days before changing your status to "single"? And how long before flaunting your new lover on IG with the caption "couple goals"?
In the interest of social media etiquette, I consulted a few relationship specialists on what the best approach is when it comes to breaking up in the age of social media. Here's what they had to say:
Kas Naidoo, professional matchmaker
In the age of social media, our lives have become so much more public. When a relationship ends, however, it should never be splashed all over social media. It’s a private matter.
It’s in really bad taste when someone badmouths their partner on social media. Breakups are painful enough without having to deal with being humiliated for all your friends, family and colleagues to see.
If the breakup is amicable and both parties still want the best for each other; there’s no harm in occasionally “liking” or commenting on an ex’s post.
However, if the breakup was as a result of arguments that were impossible to resolve or ended with two people despising each other; going “no contact” is the best way as both people need time and distance from each other to heal and find themselves again.
It really depends on if you want your ex back or not. If you were the one who was dumped and you want your ex back, it's important to follow the no contact rule, even on social media.
It's important, in this case, that your ex feels your absence because a breakup is about not being together. That's kind of the point. In order for your ex to really know if he/she wants the breakup or not, you have to let them feel your absence so that they have an opportunity to miss you.
When you apply no contact to social media and you take a complete break from posting anything at all on social media for a time, it's called radio silence and it allows your ex to completely feel your absence. It shrouds you in mystery in that your ex has no idea what is going on with you.
This can help usher your ex into the first stage of dumper's remorse in that they are curious about what is going on with you. That sets up the other stages that you want your ex to go through if you want him or her to come back to you. It starts with them having to go cold turkey on what is going on in your life.
If you were the one who did the dumping and you don't want your ex back, you need to be careful about leading her/him on or making it harder for them to move on. I usually suggest to clients who initiated the breakup that they wait at least a month before even liking a post made by their ex.
If you don't like the thought of being that far out of your ex's life, maybe there is some unfinished business between the two of you and you should reconsider their place in your life. Otherwise, try to make the breakup clean by not being a regular on their social media.
That certainly doesn't mean that you be rude or petty, but if you know that your ex is having some difficulty with the breakup, it's best not to confuse or torture them. If your ex wants you back, they are likely to read into even the smallest things such as liking a photo or a simple comment.