What Has Digital Dating Done to Us? Breaking Up in the Online Era


How’s your brain feed supposed to chill out when your news feed won’t give it a chance?

You’re sat at home, trawling through Facebook just minding your own business (and of course, every one else’s) and suddenly a categorically horrific and fantastic idea pops into your head. I wonder what [insert name here]has been doing since we parted ways? Of course, you know that this is a terrible idea. Absolutely, positively, categorically hideous. Yet before you know it you’re watching yourself type out the letters which spell his name and bam – you’re on his profile. How the hell did I get here?


It’s okay – I’m an adult. I’ve lived through 23 tough years and I can handle this.

Whatever it is you see from this point on will definitely a) piss you off, b) send you into a frenzy of nostalgia, or c) send you into a downward spiral into pre-relationship 2008 photos of him and his sister, who you know, but whom you’ll probably still accuse of being his new girlfriend. What I’m trying to say is that whilst playing with Facebook fire is hardly a new activity, it’s certainly symptomatic of the, quite frankly, buggered-up technological age that we live in.

Here’s the dilemma: We’ve broken up, finished, kaput. So I should delete him from my friends list, right? Rationally, yes. Irrationally, absolutely not. How will you ever know if he has a new girlfriend, or if he has a new job and is looking really shiny and happy in his new car? How have we managed to get here? It’s pretty shameful.

It seems that even for the most resilient of hearts, breaking up in person is just not quite enough. You have to break up with their online persona, too. Yet breaking up on Facebook too just seems plain aggressive, doesn’t it? It’s a constant struggle of wanting to be the person who seems to care less. Yeah, we can totally stay friends on Facebook. Pah, it’s not like I look at your profile every day. Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha.

We’ve been screwed over by the ‘ease’ of technology. No one in the 16th century was struggling with their inner compulsion to stare at a painting of their former other half with his new lady friend, and if you wanted to drunk call him you’d have to send a letter. And let’s face it, by the time you’ve navigated using a quill and ink the message would probably have been even less coherent than trying to battle against autocorrect after 5 too many tequilas.

It’s a strange one – it’s almost as if we’re willingly putting ourselves through the pain of seeing the exact thing that we don’t want to see. Perhaps it’s easier to know, rather than drive yourself wild wondering. Or perhaps, we’re forging an ‘existence’ – a place – in a world which no longer actually includes us. That, surely, is never going to end well.


I write things.

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