We’ve all been there. One minute, you’re having fun with some friends at a restaurant or bar without a care in the world, and then it happens: he walks in. Your afternoon just went from lovely to terrible in the time it took for your ex to cross the threshold.
At times it seems nearly impossible to cut off communication with an ex thanks to technology and social media. I mean, it’s bad enough when you run into them in real life; you don’t need them in your cyber life too.
I have this one ex-boyfriend that I see every now and then at a pizza place downtown that we both love. And every time I see him it’s the same thing: awkward wave from afar, no communication in real life, and then a text once one of us leaves. The text is typically something really moving and emotionally charged like, “sup.” And I want to say “I’m eating the damn pizza you just saw me order,” but instead I say something like “not much, what about you” or something else that is equally as immature and meaningless.
And thus, a conversation is born. Through text. Without actually speaking. Inevitably, we remember that we can’t stand each other and we get into an argument about something from the past that couldn’t be more irrelevant at this point. But by then I’m too agitated to realize that it doesn’t matter anymore and I can’t even enjoy my delicious pizza. And it was all for naught because of someone I did not even verbally speak to.
There’s also the social media aspect. If you want to see what anyone from your past is up to, all it takes are a few clicks on Instagram to see their latest meal, or find out their inner most thoughts on their Twitter. Even if you unfriend and unfollow, it’s still there. Ripe for the plucking and/or stalking.
With all of this in mind, I’ve compiled a little list on how to avoid letting an ex slip through the cracks and re-enter your life without even realizing it.
- DELETE DELETE DELETE. If you break up with someone, do not keep your message thread. That only leads to one recurring thought that will haunt you day and night: I should have said (insert whatever it is you should have said here)… No good can come of that.
- Don’t be petty. If you see him in public wave, smile, and gtfo. It’s all about keeping up appearances, and while it may be over between the two of you, you can still be civil towards one another.
- Social media. If you’re a big enough person to stay friends/continue following your ex on social media without blowing a gasket every time they post something, I commend you. I, however, unfollowed my ex when I saw he uploaded a picture of the beach because I absolutely could not believe that he went…. to the beach… without me. But oh yeah, we’re broken up. Delete.
- Out of sight, out of mind. You don’t have to burn everything he gave you and refuse to feel anything for that person ever again. Just tuck the pictures and old notes away, and don’t leave reminders of him all over the place. Move on to the next one, dammit.
At this point, it simply comes down to mind over matter. It’s going to be there. It’s going to be tempting to send a harmless text or see what they’re up to after they come across your newsfeed. But typically, it will only lead to trouble. I can fully attest to that. Maybe deleting them is the answer, or even blocking them if your willpower is on the weaker side. Or maybe, just maybe, you are sane enough to realize that you don’t need to waste your energy or thoughts on them because they are truly and completely forever in your past. And if that is the case, I applaud you. As for the rest of us, we just have to remember to leave the past where it belongs.