Everyone knows navigating a break up on social media is difficult: the confusion about what to post, the doubt about when to check, the constant, consistent urge to sit alone in your room and eat only Thai food (which might have been a pre-internet problem, too). What’s less discussed, but equally as hard, is dealing with an ex getting engaged. Seeing that photo with her hand splayed across his chest, fingers spread wide, as though only the appropriate amount of gap between digits will allow us to properly appreciate her ring.
If there’s anyone who has dealt with this difficulty, it’s me. About eight of the past 11 girls I’ve had relations(hips) with have gotten engaged to the next person they met.
I guess that months (or years) of being with someone so full of internal misery and a desire to project it upon those closest to him leaves them leaping to, and subsequently loving, the next thing they see that has even the faintest approximations of normalcy.
“Not only has he never lied to me,” I can hear each one of them say as they stab their fork into the heart of a poached egg, “he… he looks at me after we have sex.”
But that’s not the point. The point is I have a penchant for self-loathing. So I follow these engagements so closely that I reach the point of wanting to smack myself in the head with my own cast-iron skillet simply to make myself stop.
Here’s how not to do that.
Don’t visit the wedding website: It’s nothing but a face punch of beautiful engagement photos where your old girlfriend is wearing her brown leather boots (which she looks great in, obvi) and a genuine smile that radiates the words “This happiness is not because of you.” And those sites are rabbit holes. Forty minutes later you are going over the menu of their rehearsal dinner restaurant, wondering if they went with the family-style chicken parm or penne alla vodka (please get both). After that it’s on to headshots of her bridal party, friends who used to like you until you realized it was simply because you were her boyfriend, and who are now breathing visible sighs of relief because she is with someone who is actually right for her and is “nothing like David.” Plus, you’ll find out where their wedding is. And… nevermind.
Don’t trawl the registry searching for moral victories: Ha. They want pint glasses. I have pint glasses. They must be struggling. A joke of a DINK family, putting their Solo cups in the dishwasher and getting in fights over which one of them forgot to turn off the heat dry, then—furious at each other—driving to Wal-Mart for new ones because the 100-packs there cost 18 cents less than the 25-packs at Kroger.
Don’t speculate on the why: It’s hard to admit she loves him, so it’s easier to pretend she got knocked up and he tried to save face. But then you are scouring Facebook to prove it. “Well, she does have a wine glass in her hand, but sometimes people like to drink water out of a wine glass so they don’t feel left out. But the bottle next to her says Chablis and that is a—
/Starts to Google “Chablis”
/Gives up on life
Don’t look up their fiancé on LinkedIn: I don’t want to talk about this one.
Don’t sit online the day of their wedding: Or the day after. Or the next week. The photos will be there to peruse at your leisure. There is something profoundly uncomfortable about remembering the time you refreshed and refreshed Facebook the day of your first girlfriend’s wedding. That shit lives with you.
So yea. Navigating this shit is… well, kinda easy if you aren’t depressed. But even if you are normal, it can still be frustrating. It can make you mad. It can make you sad. “I don’t want to see this shit. Fuck Twitter. Fuck Facebook. They’re stupid anyway.” But before you say that, remember one thing. Because of all this connection, the very day their marriage comes to an end—and there’s good hope it will—you get to publicly like that status update.
That’s good living.