How to Disconnect, by Disconnecting the Computer

Brittney Kiholm

It was 4:32 A.M. on a Sunday. Why wasn’t I asleep yet? Why was I looking up page after page of his asinine profiles? Why was I letting myself lose sleep over the possibility that he was posting things about me, or the "not me" that could be in his life? These were the questions I was asking myself as I "stalked" my ex-boyfriend’s social media accounts. We had just broken up that June, after almost 4 years. I had decided that I deserved better. Here I was losing sleep over the deadbeat boyfriend I had cut off. Reflecting back, I could have easily not cared about him posting stupid pictures of us with lovey-dovey captions saying that he loved me. It shouldn't have mattered that the world see that we were together. But it did. It really did.

Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. That is what our generation is. Who is with whom and who is traveling where. Whose life is more fulfilled, and whose life is falling apart. Then there’s me, using it as my own form of personal torture. As I continued to search, I found more than I bargained for. Daytime, there were pictures of him on dates with girls I knew, and nighttime, there were pictures of him at parties with girls I didn’t know. It was the fact that there were pictures at all that cut me to the core. Even though we were broken up, social media was making it difficult to disconnect from the relationship. Social media has made it near impossible to fully get over someone. In the past when you broke up with someone, you didn't have the luxury of stalking them online. You would have had to meet them in person to reconnect a fallen relationship. I was now stuck with a relationship that had changed, with no way to fully disconnect.

In Teen Vogue’s "The Never-Ending Breakup: How Social Media's Making It Harder Than Ever to Call It Quits," Elizabeth Kiefer explains that "in the age of social media, the breakup talk is often just the beginning. Getting over a relationship requires time, mental forward motion, and—most importantly—space. So when your former flame doesn't stop invading your Instagram feed in all their gorgeously filtered glory, getting the distance you need can be a serious challenge.”

I was searching my ex's pages to validate our breakup. To make sure that he was as miserable as I was. I wanted my life to be perceived as being better than his, rather than moving on and making my life happier. Social media is what you make of it. I let it control my feelings and actions, and I was none the better for it. I have now blocked, deleted, and untagged myself from any and all interactions with him. But, at night, I still find myself thinking of him and don’t always have the strength to keep him locked away. There will always be times of desperation where you look up an ex, but keeping them at the correct distance is how you learn to move on and live your life.