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Facebook has had an impact on the lives of users around the world. Reconnecting old flames and long lost friends, providing a place to meet new people, and making break ups a little more difficult. Break ups have always been complicated, but thanks to Facebook, things have become a whole lot messier.

Breakups Before Facebook Era

Breakups used to take place in person, on the phone, or email. After the breakup, the former couple would cut ties with each other, avoid their once favorite haunts, and do their best to pretend the other did not exist or at best, was wallowing somewhere in self-pity because of the separation.

The injured parties could always get closure by removing all evidence of the past relationship. Burning their old clothes, throwing away their left over belongings, and cutting up photos were somewhat drastic, but satisfying, ways to get rid of the old to make room for the new. Perhaps after some time had passed, one party may have “accidentally” shown up where the ex was known to be, looking fabulous and letting the ex-know how great they were doing without them.

Breakups After the Invention of Facebook

Today, people are using Facebook to initiate the breakups. People are dumped through messages or public wall posts, or the unlucky simply find out through a notification that their significant other has changed their status from “In a Relationship” back to “Single.

Facebook users are suddenly faced with the decision of whether or not to de-friend the ex. Some race to their computers to be the first to de-friend the ex, as a way to get the upper hand. While others keep their exes as friends so they can torture themselves everyday by checking their pages to see what they are doing.

Friends or not, Facebook has made it impossible to remove the evidence of the once happy couple. The broken hearted can de-friend the other, remove all wall posts from or about them, and maybe remove a few of the other’s friends from Facebook. They can even unceremoniously un-tag themselves from pictures of the two of them, but the photos will still remain in friend’s albums on their Facebook pages.

Many have even turned to Facebook as a way to get revenge on their exes. The most popular way is to keep the former flame as a friend so that the revenge taker can bombard them with photos and status updates about how fantastic life is without them. Many have resorted to posting derogatory comments about the other on their walls, or posting embarrassing photos. Others don’t stop there. Several instances have been reported of people starting hate groups about their exes, or even fake profile pages to further tarnish the ex’s reputation.

Etiquette for Facebook Breakups

Breakups are never a happy situation, but trying to get revenge on Facebook will only prolong the unpleasantness. Here are some helpful rules of etiquette to follow when dealing with a breakup on Facebook.

  • Break up in person, not on Facebook.
  • Never post embarrassing photos, videos, or comments about the ex. No matter how tempting it is.
  • Do not start groups or fake pages to make the ex-look bad.
  • If it was a terrible break up and will never want them as a friend, feel free to de-friend them. Wait a few days until things have cooled down to make that decision.
  • If friendship with the ex is possible ex someday, keep them as a friend on Facebook. Just be sure to hide their posts until enough time has passed to be able to see status updates or photos of their new flame without breaking into tears.
  • Keep relationship statuses as private. That way if the status has to change back to single, Facebook friends won’t be instantly notified.
  • If one knows the ex’s Facebook account password, don’t use it.

Social networks like Facebook will continue to connect people around the world, and change the dynamics of our relationships. While we enjoy the endless possibilities of this, we also have to learn to adapt to the downsides such as the inability to remove unwanted people from our lives. No matter what technology has in store for us in the future, one fact will always remain true: breaking up is hard to do.

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