Monday, December 10, 2012

Post-Divorce On-Line Dos and Don'ts

Who can resist the urge to look at their ex's Facebook page? Admit it. It calls your name and whispers, Check it out…no harm done. An astute researcher in England would beg to differ. A recent study concluded that the more time you spend on your ex's Facebook page, the more psychological distress you experience, the greater your desire for your ex, and the more difficulty you have moving on.

Admit it. You are not really surprised. That's because most of us realize that the toxic connections we have with our exes are stoked by talking about, thinking about and looking at stuff about them. While lurking on their Facebook page may not morph itself into stalking, it's just not healthy.

Here are my on-line dos and don'ts:

·         Do not look at your ex's Facebook page, Twitter account or other social media presence. I often strongly suggest defriending them and unfollowing them. If you don't, you'll wind up seeing posts you don't need to see. You'll learn about people they are now friends with which will be upsetting. I'd include the ex-in-laws and ex-friends here as well.

·         Do not post things about your ex. This is just asking for trouble from them, their friends and their family. If you want to have a private conversation with someone about your ex, that's great. You just don't need to be doing it on a social media platform. Your goal is to decrease the time you spend ex-watching and ex-bashing, preferably sooner rather than later

·         Do not friend your ex's new honey or family members on Facebook, or follow them elsewhere. This may seem self-evident, but you'd be surprised. In fact, don't lurk on these pages. Doing so does make you start to look a lot more like a stalker. It's also about TMI. You probably get more information than you need already. Don't add to it unnecessarily.

·         Do consider getting off Facebook, and similar sites, entirely. If you know staying away is going to be really tough for you, it's a solution. I know it sounds radical, but do you really need to know where the high school friends you haven't seen in umpteen million years got drunk last Saturday night? You talk to or text your real friends, and maybe even see them in person occasionally.

·         Do use social media to advertise your singledom and to meet people. I'm a big advocate of on-line dating post-divorce. If you're feeling like this is somehow unfair or disrespectful to your ex or their family, don't. You're completely entitled to move on however you see fit, regardless of the circumstances of the demise of your relationship.

·         Do ignore postings you think are about you. Your ex, their friends and family may post things about some unnamed party you believe to be you. It may or may not be you. Even if you're 100% sure it's you, don't bother responding. You'll feel better taking the high road. Forgiveness is a virtue. Practicing it makes us happy.
Admit it. You know that if you want to feel better and move on with your life, surveilling  your ex is not the way to go. Besides, defriending is empowering. It doesn't whisper, it screams, WE ARE NEVER, EVER, EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER.

We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together, Taylor Swift

Originally published at YourTango in a slightly different form.

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree, de-friending is empowering and sends the right message. I can't believe how much Facebook is impacting relationships (before and post-divorce). In a recent article I saw it was reported that a spouse’s behaviour on Facebook is now cited in a third of UK divorce (