The Social Media Afterlife of Failed Relationships

photo: Eylül Aslan

I don’t believe in airing my dirty laundry in public. I know how unconvincing that sounds coming from someone who writes a dating column that heavily features her private life, (shut up! You know you love it) but after having the issue resurface several times over several months, I do have to give the issue of social media hygiene a personal treatment.

Sometimes I wish Facebook had a “your ex is not going to this event” feature. Or better yet, there should be a feature that lets you confirm events and then the designated persona non grata would be unable to confirm, or even see, the event.

“Sometimes I wish Facebook had a ‘your ex is not going to this event’ feature.”

There were times in my life where I digitally asserted dominance over parties and spaces in Berlin like a territorial wolfhound with a bladder issue. To some extent, dividing the city between your exes and yourself is kind of fun. It’s a race in which you will be “attending” the most obnoxious events possible to let them know that you’re now totally into making vegan cheese using your own vaginal fluids. Or letting everyone (including your former bosses) know that you’re going to the private hipster orgy in Wedding, just because a former flame is also in that Facebook group.

On the other hand, I personally believe in practicing good social media hygiene. I’m not much for lurking on the Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter of anyone I’ve booted from my life, be it past lover or friend. As the only bible quote that features both dogs and vomit says: “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” Since every relationship now has digital debris, taking out the trash is a bit more public. By which I mean: you have to make sure the trash notices.

photo: Eylül Aslan

I’d like ask a simple question:

What the fuck is wrong with people? We all know that social media is for the edited version of your new life after you were left, but what’s the real deal? To my petty delight a recently published study on social media habits revealed the fact that people who turn their relationships into a public display, feel much more insecure in that relationship than people that don’t force their edited happiness onto the world.

I’ve recently been informed by Facebook that one of my former long-term boyfriends, whom I left in a way that is best described in the Wikipedia article on the role of heart-extraction and sacrifices in Mesoamerica, has fallen in love again. And very publicly so. What is tragic to see is that even the social media version of the new couple is, well, quiet plain. Of course I wish them nothing but the best, I am no monster, I’m just wary to see that their deciding to get married after a year of dating and possibly having a child will not enrich my social media experience in an enjoyable or even entertaining way.

“Since every relationship now has digital debris, taking out the trash is a bit more public.”

“Not everything is about you!” I hear you scream, my dear reader. “But, oh how wrong you are my darling!” is my answer. I dated these people. I know how petty they are. When people that never used Facebook in nearly a decade decide to suddenly flood your feed, something is afoot. With their cutesy-couple-profile-picture and Instagram shots of inedible organic food suitable for all their shared food “intolerances” they seem less like a couple in love and more like a suddenly impoverished bunch of pre-industrial farmers that can’t afford separate Facebook profiles.

My favorite experience so far is a has-been trying to communicate with me via Pinterest (I know, no wonder I left them). I’ll admit that painting of the IKEA Monkey did get to me for a second but, well, didn’t they just put him down in the end?

Text: Alix Berber, Photos: Eylül Aslan

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Alix Berber is iHeartBerlin’s newest dating columnist. The Tattletale Heart tells stories of desire, infatuation and the ghosts of lovers past. They are the dating-chronicles of a hopeless romantic with serious trust issues in the capital of the notoriously unattached.

You can follow Alix on Twitter and Facebook.


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