Breaking up is hard to do. It always was. But breaking up in the age of social media is harder. And if that’s not hard enough…breaking up in the age of social media in the month of December with songs like “All I Want For Christmas is You” in the air, must be excruciating. My heart goes out to ex-lovers who tried to make a go of it this past holiday season.
When I was a kid (I know, there I go again), we wondered—wondered where he was, what she was doing, who they were with. We deflected rumors. Sometimes our imaginations got the better of us. We could never be sure. But today, we have a front and center seat in the theatre of watch-your-ex-move-on and have themselves (what appears to be) a merry little Christmas…on Instagram. Without you.
Of course, this display could be for your benefit…or maybe not. It’s hard to tell. But whether it is or it isn’t, it doesn’t matter. It still sucks.
Sure you have a choice: don’t log on. Good luck with that. That’s like trying to quit smoking while an unlit cigarette is dangling between your lips…resisting a red velvet cup cake when the icing is touching your nose.
Chestnuts are roasting on an open fire but you feel so cold.
And so you check. There they are…the stranger. The one who was a stranger before they were your friend. And then they were your lover. But now they’re a stranger again.
And there’s your replacement. Real or imagined. It doesn’t matter. Cuz it stings just the same. They’re in the passenger seat (or the driver’s seat), where you used to sit. They don’t look anything like you—must be your antidote.
Well, I can’t help but muse—if someone chooses to share so publicly that their life is indeed moving forward, what does that say? Why isn’t it enough that they know it is? Why can’t it just move forward without all the sharing?
It’s been a while since I’ve had a broken heart. But when I close my eyes, I remember it well. I shared my feelings in the form of a popular song. It was personal. It was cathartic. I guess I was lucky to have that outlet. And looking back, I also believe I was lucky to live in a time when all there was, was a landline. That saved us all a lot of pain.
So my friends, whichever side of the broken heart you may be on, for the sake of how good it once was, ("think of all that we've been through"), and out of respect for all parties involved, how about this—Go Dark...on social media. Just for a few weeks—until everyone regains their footing. Until the wounds aren’t so raw. Until both of you can say:
I'm okay now. Time has passed. I survived Jack Frost nipping at my heart, sleigh bells in the snow and egg nog-infused carolers. I’ve endured the many sightings of couples kissing under mistletoe. I have wonderful friends who love me and were there for me. For all this I’m stronger. I’ve lost someone but I’ve found pieces of myself I didn’t even know existed.
And—I’ve survived Facebook. But it sure would have been a little easier without it.
And all the Christmas carols too.