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Saturday, December 20, 2014

#RelationshStatus: Social Media Warfare: 'Tweet at will?'"

@JoshuaDolin

In the dating world, your ex’s social media accounts are like a drug. You can’t help but look at them, but you know they are bad for you and only make you feel worse about yourself.

So why do we look at them? We simultaneously hope there is a new picture or post, but if there is, we only get frustrated that they are out having a good time while we are stalking their Facebook at home between Netflix movies.

Social media is the biggest game changer that has rocked the relationship world since people were able to send love emails instead of love letters. Whether it is on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, as soon as breakups happen, social media becomes the platform to promote your new, happier life.

After breaking up with my last boyfriend, Bradford, I decided that I never wanted to see anything from him again, so I blocked him on all my social media accounts. He then began posting on my friends’ walls. In the world of social media, if you break up with a boyfriend, are your friends obligated to delete him from Facebook as well? My friends did.

“If you block someone on Facebook, it’s almost like they never existed,” my friend Ashley said. “Unless you run into them in person, you can forget that they ever happened, and I like that.”

The only problem with this arrangement is that he can’t see anything I post, but I can still see his when I search for him. I make myself avoid looking as much as possible, but today I couldn’t stop myself, and I saw the worst.

The one thing no one ever wants to see after they break up with someone — they have found someone else. There it was, right on my iPhone.

An Instagram picture of him kissing another guy.

My heart stopped and I did not know what to do. I couldn’t help but feel angry. Why did I look? How could he? Why am I still single? And most of all, who is the new guy?

In our modern dating atmosphere we now have the ability to not only check up on our exes, but we can actually learn everything about their new relationships as well. This situation was already toxic, but I couldn’t stop myself from continuing to look.

Why did my ex-boyfriend post this picture? Is he really in love, or did he do it because he knew I would look? We all know that our exes will look at our social media, so was this a trap? Why are there so many games that we play on these sites?

“You really need to stop looking at his Facebook,” Collette told me over lunch the next day. “I used to do that with my ex-boyfriend and it only made me more upset.” Collette was right, but it is easier said than done.

Social media is one of the greatest assets our generation has for expanding our networks and communicating, but in relationships, is it healthy? How can we stop ourselves from hurting ourselves?

My former roommate and best friend Max recently texted me because he was having the same problem. After he discovered that his boyfriend had cheated on him, he declared war. His weapon of choice? Instagram.

“Hey go like my picture on Instagram! I have to make sure everything I post gets more likes than my ex-boyfriend’s,” Max texted me one day.

Historically, love has been a common reason to go to war, but it used to be fought on horses using guns and swords. Now it is fought on iPhones using “likes” and Snapchats.

“When one of my boyfriends broke up with me, I purposely posted a status about how I was going out on another date,” Ashley said. “Just to show that I didn’t need him anymore.”

We have all been guilty of this behavior, but does it really make us feel better? Social media is supposed to broaden communication and friendships, not to be used to passive-aggressively attack your ex.

From my experience, both boys and girls do this after a breakup to make sure they are the “winner.” Should we call a ceasefire? Can someone stop the hashtags and the madness?

Alice said she has participated in the same behavior as well, but she wasn’t proud of it and wouldn’t do it again. Maggie, however, doesn’t participate in this behavior.

She doesn’t use most social media sites regularly and doesn’t feel the need to post her feelings or activities. Is she setting an example that we should all follow?

I need to stop looking at Bradford’s posts, but the only way to do that is to truly be happy on my own. Until that happens do I need to post pictures in retaliation? Why are tweets now used to break hearts instead of update friends?

And in the world of social media, does an ex-boyfriend’s post really have to be hurtful? Or do we hurt ourselves in this #socialmediawar?