I’m going to get a little personal here because I think what I have to say will resonate with more than a few of you. A few years ago, I was with a guy who I thought was the love of my life. I was home from college for the summer and I thought the long-distance thing was treating us well. However, as my heart grew fonder, his moved in a different direction entirely.
Thanks to a little site called MySpace, I soon discovered my perfect guy was cheating–a fact that I never would have caught onto otherwise. The relationship was over then and there but the pain sure wasn’t. Instead, it was exacerbated to the point of brutal, unflinching, immense agony thanks to some friendly little networking sites- I’m talking to you too, Facebook.
How so? Well let me break it down. Thanks to Facebook- I knew EVERYTHING about their relationship.
It started with images taken during the 3 weeks since I first discovered his indiscretion-images that were posted on the day Facebook introduced the beloved friend feed.
While I had spent those weeks analyzing every detail of our relationship, asking anyone within ear shot what I had done, what could have gone wrong, how this could have happened, he was in bed with someone else. I know this because I saw the pictures of it posted loud and clear on Facebook- a shirtless guy and girl laying on the sheets that I had picked out with the candles I bought in the background- (as I write this I still get goosebumps because THAT’S how thrown I was). And that was only the beginning. To make a long story short, Myspace, Facebook and even Twitter told me every sordid detail of their love story–when they said I love you, when they met each other’s parents, when they moved in together, and basically where they were and what they were doing at every waking moment.
As soon as the friend feed avalanche began, I tried my best to cut my losses by de-friending him, thinking it would mitigate the agony. Unfortunately both parties had open profiles so I could still find out what they were up to when the urge to stalk took hold. I wanted to block him, I really did, I just couldn’t summon the strength.
During those first few months, I was basically a masochist. No matter how much it hurt, I simply couldn’t stop myself from checking on the latest installment of their production of a relationship. I eventually hit a breaking point and decided this behavior was no longer healthy. From there, an even more unhealthy pattern emerged. I would summon all my strength and quit cold turkey. I stayed strong, started dating around, had fun with friends and right around the time that I started to feel whole again I would deduce there was no harm in tasking a quick peak at his profile. This never worked out well. Instead, I would find out about some new relationship milestone or see more PDA-filled pics, or sappy declarations of love for one another. Not surprisingly, these tidbits would cause my fragile house of cards to collapse back into a scattered mess. This pattern continued for quite some time, I’m talking like a year. And for reasons that defy all logic, I kept going back for more, knowing full well that it would only rip open old wounds and dump a bucket of salt into them.
I really wanted to blame him, and for a while I did, but in reality, he wasn’t the one hurting me anymore, I was hurting myself thanks to my inability to just let it go.
Eventually, I moved on. However, the pain I endured and the lessons I learned will never be forgotten, which is why I’ve come up with some tips to help all of you from falling into the same pitfalls as me- pitfalls that took a painful process and made it downright unbearable.
1. Recognize that checking up will not expedite the healing.
The moral of this tale is that heartbreak isn’t what it used to be. These days we have so much access to the most personal details of each other’s life and it’s become a common practice to just air your dirty laundry out for all to see- or smell (and I’m not throwing stones because I’m obviously doing a bit of the same thing!).
While ladies who came of age any time before the mid- 90’s only had to contend with the desire to call, today’s gal has way more means and much more temptations to resist. Had Facebook and Myspace never come to be, I’m sure my broken heart would have mended itself at a much more rapid pace.
I know how hard it is and if any of you are struggling with pain similar to that I have endured my heart goes out to you in the most sincere way possible. The first step is acknowledging that checking up on your ex will not get you closer to closure and will in no way help you move on. And…
2. You will not find any answers
In this type of situation, it is also important to remember that you will not gain any answers by checking up on your ex. Instead, you will be left with infinitely more questions than you started with.
I absolutely let my curiosity get the best of me with most things, I’m simply the type of person who needs to know everything about everything and even then, I don’t feel satisfied with the knowledge I’ve gained.
By constantly checking up on the ex, I think what I was really doing was trying to figure it all out, trying to understand where it all went wrong with us and why it seems so right with her. However, such answers could not be found amidst the plethora of personal information they provided.
The answers came later on- from personal revelations as well as straight from him (yes, after 2 years of no contact we’re on good terms again- stay tuned for a post on how to be friends with an ex).
3. Have fun!
The best I can do is offer my two-cents and in this case, you simply HAVE to train yourself to move on and NOT check up on your former guy. Live your life, have fun, dance with your friends, take too many shots and regret it the next day, buy a ridiculously overpriced pair of killer shoes that instantly make you feel like a million dollars.
Do this and do not be seduced by the masochistic little monster on your shoulder sardonically hissing at you to just take a peak at his profile because what harm could it do?
4. Punish yourself when you slip
You need to train yourself to recognize that checking up on your ex is BAD and to do this I recommend devising some sort of punishing system. I had a friend who would pinch me, like really, really pinch me, anytime I mentioned the ex’s name. Maybe you can try punishing yourself with something that will be rewarding in the long run- like you have to run a mile every time you scan his profile. Whatever it is, make sure you are drumming it into your pretty little head that checking up on him is NOT the answer.
5. Stop being in denial
I did this and a lot of my friends do it as well. That whole song and dance of ‘oh well I’m over him, I’m just curious to see what he’s up to.’ Remember- the more you check in on him, the longer you are allowing him to live rent-free in your head. I don’t think that’s very fair and neither should you!
The only way to really, legitimately move on is to weed out thoughts of him from your mind. When they appear, pluck them out, smooth and swiftly, and tell yourself ‘nope, we’re not thinking about that loser today. I have more important things to think about.’
I really wish someone had given me these tools when I needed them, but it is what it is and I really hope they serve you in some way.
– SABRINA ALEXIS