Last week I was talking with a friend regarding her ex-boyfriend that just doesn’t seem to be leaving the picture anytime soon. He’s graduated, moved out of town, and yet his presence in her life is just as prominent as ever. It’s not a physical presence though; it’s via social media – most specifically Instagram. Seeing pictures of girls that he posts, and even girls that he follows, irks her like no other. There’s always the option of unfollowing him, but we all know that seeing exes on social media is like watching a car crash. In theory, you really don’t want to see it, but when you do you just can’t look away. Thoughts and memories come rushing back and all of the sudden you find yourself on stalking mode. And even if you decide to cold turkey erase them from your lives, they always manage to pop back into your newsfeed when you least expect because unfriending him doesn’t prevent his friends (that were once your good friends) from tagging him in a photo or a silly post that makes you roll your eyes.
When my mom has told me stories of ex-boyfriends and break ups, when they were gone, they were gone, for the most part. Maybe some one called up the other at a time they were feeling alone or vulnerable, but other than that, the chances of seeing anything current about that person was likely impossible. Today, there’s going to be a post, a picture, a “gram,” a snapstory or tweet that we just can’t escape, which in my opinion proves extremely difficult for young adults in the dating world. Now, the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” can never truly be a reality so long as we are tapped into social media. The sporadic reminders with which social media so kindly provide us only leads to thoughts of that person, which in all honestly, just prolongs the time it takes us to get over that certain someone.
Social media is enhancing our social networks and communities that encompass vast geographical distances, however it is also responsible for the ruining of other interpersonal relations. That ex that you swore you’d be friends with because you always got along so well can never really be your friend because social media will always expose realities that years ago, you’d never knew happened.