On (Socially) Moving On

I am completely over every girl I was ever involved with. From lengthy relationships to brief flings to tipsy tête-à-têtes, I no longer care about any woman that has ever left my life.

That said:

  • I’m worried my middle school girlfriend isn’t happy she’s coming back to Northern Virginia. She seemed to love Savannah and I think is a bit resentful her husband’s career forced her to move.
  • I’m glad my high school girlfriend is enjoying her first time at Oktoberfest, but I feel she should have left her child at home. It seems a little irresponsible to take a two-year-old to a raucous international beer festival.
  • I hope one of my former hookups is happy with her new boyfriend. Even though he seems a little sleazy and I’m certain she’s forcing the relationship.

So yea. Maybe I’m not as over them as I say. I can’t not continually keep tabs. I know when my 11th grade infatuation landed her dream job. I know when the first girl I hooked up with in college got engaged. And I know when my last girlfriend got back together with her ex.

Thank you, Tim Berners-Lee.

It’s utterly impossible to tell today when you’ve completely moved on. Not when you live a simple refresh away from seeing what bar your ex frequented on Friday, who a past girlfriend took to her college roommate’s wedding and where the love of your life threw her bachelorette party.

Virginia Beach. Who the fuck throws a bachelorette party in Virginia Beach?

Never mind.

Even with my obsessive awareness of everything my exes are doing, I do actually think I’m over all of them. It’s just that not obvious in this generation.

So what constitutes getting past someone when they can always be omnipresent in your online life?

You Can Control Yourself From Visiting Their Profile: There is no set time to go between visits. I just know that after breakups, I couldn’t physically stop myself from typing their names into the search bar at the top of most social media sites.

I had to know if they posted weepy Matt Nathanson lyrics last night. Or if they were coming back to town for Thanksgiving. But as I’ve moved from the relationship, that impulse naturally wanes. Eventually, it’ll have been four week and I’ll realize I haven’t checked once.

“I don’t even know if they like cherry ice cream anymore,” I’ll say.

And that will be okay.

You Stop Looking For Subtext: Every instance of online interaction after one of my breakups is fraught with incoherent, illogical psychoanalysis.

“She tweeted about going to the pool today. Is she trying to get me to think about her in a bikini?”

I manipulate the miniscule into the malignant.

“She liked his status today. She’s never done that before. They’re hooking up now. They have to be.”

And don’t get me started if I see someone using exclamation points within a month of ending things. I’ll assume they never loved me to begin with.

But eventually, ambivalence will take hold.

“Oh, they got gyros yesterday. That’s cool.”

You Don’t Expect Them To Respond: Immediately after a relationship ends, my social presence becomes a digital kabuki dance, designed to illicit responses.

I’ll write statuses so cool, my ex will be too excited not to say something: “Woot! Ticket to Geneva booked. Skiing in the Alps come February.”

Or I’ll scribe gut-wrenching posts that will force her to check on my emotional state: “Sometimes, when a heart breaks, even Staples doesn’t have enough glue.”

Or I’ll drop straight shots: “Laura? More like Whore-a?”

Everything I do is an attempt to incite contact. It doesn’t have to be public, but I just need to find out if they still are following me, paying attention, caring.

Then one day I’ll realize my last tweet had no bearing on my past relationship.

“Free Alanis Morissette tickets? Why the hell not?”

You Won’t Feel Compelled To Comment: Even though I rail against it, one of the more adorable aspects of any relationship is having a cute, mutual social media presence. The retweets, the ironic likes, it’s enjoyable. And when it’s end, it’s hard not to continue that conversation. The interactions become such an integral part of your life, you feel compelled to keep commenting.

“But the British don’t even like croissants.”

It’s creepy if you can’t let that compulsion go, and a clear sign you haven’t moved on.

You Stop Gauging Happiness From Their Photos: I once spent an entire week after a breakup watching every picture an ex posted on a trip, seeing which happy reactions seemed genuine, and which I could tell carried some latent sadness.

I always rooted for latent sadness.

Eventually though, you’ll find yourself looking and ignoring the emotions contained within. They become what they are, just pictures of other people.

You Ignore Their Friends: One of the more awkward elements of social media early in a relationship is when you begin interacting with your significant other’s besties.

Sure, they love it: “Alissa just liked Brandon status! Yes, my friends love him!” But it leaves open an odd connection at the end.

One I often abuse. After a breakup, I should let these go by the wayside, but I instead use them as an inlet to my ex’s world.

“Yea. I haven’t checked her Twitter stream in a month. Oh, what’s this, a tweet from one of her friends? Why yes, I’ll just click on her profile and oh, there’s an Instagram of her and my girlfriend. Grinding on some Latins. That was completely unexpected.”

Right. It’s one of the more pernicious ways to purse past paramours, and when you do it, it’s indicative of an inability to let go.

You Become Okay Not Knowing Everyone In Their Social Circle: I may be one of the more annoying people at the onset of a relationship, as every time I see someone unknown pop up on my girlfriend’s feed I morph into a collie answering the door.

“Who’s that who’s that WHOSTHAT?”

And after things are over, my fear and concerns magnify.

“Who fuck is this kid she said “LOL” to? That shit wasn’t even funny. They are fucking.”

“Why did she friend someone after a weekend trip to Georgia?”

But one day you’ll look at your ex’s Facebook page and realize you don’t know a single person on it. And that you don’t mind that.

Then you’ll know you’ve moved on.

6 Thoughts on “On (Socially) Moving On

  1. Sometimes I worry that you are misinforming the whole female population that all men are just as emotionally crazy as most women are. But I also love that you just put it all out there. Carry on!

  2. I have put an automatic parental restraint on my own computer so as not to stalk an ex on facebook. Just saying.

  3. holly golightly on October 2, 2012 at 10:12 am said:

    seriously.
    there should be a support group.
    someone could make a million dollars alone on advertising on a site designed to help you count the days of not checking your exes social media status.

    i swear my general happiness would increase dramatically if i could master this one. the stories in my head are so fantastic. too bad you can’t shoot twitter because that’s what i REALLY want to do right now.

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