True Story: Unfriending My Ex-Boyfriend On Facebook Was One Of The Most Empowering Choices I’ve Ever Made
I did it. I actually did it.
What may sound unsubstantial, I experienced with a great deal of deliberation ending in elation. I felt heroic even. What I had always imagined was simple for others felt practically impossible to me. Yes, I’m talking about the ex-boyfriend unfriend.
I broke up with my boyfriend a few weeks ago. I will save the details for another time but, needless to say, the breakup was a long time coming. We’d broken up and gotten back together maybe a dozen times throughout our year-long relationship. A pretty good sign of an impending ending, I know. But I’m terribly indecisive and averse to cutting ties. It took me about 10 months too long to take the leap permanently.
I don’t like endings. They are far too final. And I tend not to trust myself — always wondering if I was just being dramatic or rash. But I knew it wasn’t the right relationship for me and I knew I needed to escape the breakup-get-back-together drama we’d been playing out all year.
So, I made a choice. “Click.” That was it. It was over.
My usual breakup strategy involves dragging out terribly damaged relationships that weren’t working (and would really have never worked to begin with) until the bitter end. I seem to wait it out until we’ve said every horrible thing we possibly could say to one another, until things are so bad there is literally no other choice but to end it. At least if I have no other choice, I don’t need to wonder “what if.” If there were a Cosmo quiz called “What’s your breakup style?”, I would get “nightmarish emotionally traumatic drain,” not “empowered, rational decision.”
I was always jealous of my friends who could rip off the band-aid. They seemed to just cut ties and move on, seamlessly and immediately. This was the behavior of emotionally healthy people, I thought. And they made it seem so easy!
But me? No. I keep fighting, keep crying, keep sexting. I have trouble letting go, even when I know deep down that it’s the right thing to do. Even when my friends tell me to end it. Even when lines are crossed and boundaries are broken. Even when words are spoken and names are called that should never be uttered.
But this time was going to be different. No dwelling, no wondering, no second-guessing, no fake casual sex that isn’t casual at all, no internet-stalking and unnecessary jealousy. No wondering Who was that woman he just added as a friend? No staring at that little green dot that shows he’s online. Remarkably, I didn’t need or want any of that information. I didn’t even really want to be his friend. I just wanted to move on. And I was tired – so tired – of wasting my precious energy feeling sad about breakups with men who were either terrible or simply not good enough for me. I was committed to putting as little energy into this breakup as possible. I had better things to do with my life.
And I know, it’s just Facebook. But it feels like a big deal. It feels like when you delete them on Facebook it’s really over, like there’s no going back. You are saying: I really want nothing to do with you anymore. I don’t want to see your bad punctuation and the extent to which you don’t understand how capitalization works. I don’t want to see your ugly photos of trees and craft beer. It says: I don’t care what you think about my life and I don’t care to think about yours.
And honestly, I’ve never felt so thrilled by a breakup — not the actual breaking up part, but the cutting off on social media. I’ve never felt so empowered by an ending. A tiny choice — that tiny click ‚ felt like I chose me. I did something I thought I wasn’t capable of doing, something other people could somehow manage, but not me. I changed that story and my life with one click.
I knew I needed to breakup with him, but the click was what made it real. And it was more liberating than I could have imagined.
Meghan Murphy is a writer from Vancouver, B.C. Her website is Feminist Current.
[Image of Facebook via Shutterstock]