Why social media has made breaking up even harder

KATY HARRINGTON: 'Hit delete now!'

IN the 1960s, Neil Sedaka sang ‘breaking up is hard to do’ and he was right.

But they had it easy back then. Breaking up is an emotionally draining horror-fest, no matter the era in which you grew up, but, in 2013, we find out via Facebook that our ex is engaged, or we are subjected to stomach-churning pictures, on their Instagram feed, of an old boyfriend or girlfriend looking tanned and happy on holiday.

Social media has made a clean break-up impossible. Hurt or scorned lovers don’t have a reputation for behaving rationally, and now all they need is a phone or laptop to keep track of an ex. Before long, instead of moving on, you are obsessively following their every move through posts, comments and photo albums.

I know, from personal experience, that it is all too easy to indulge in a little unhealthy online stalking. One picture, tagged on my best friend’s Facebook page, of her, her fiancé, my ex and his new girlfriend, all smiling at a festival together, still haunts me.

First, I wanted to vomit, then cry, then sleep with his best friend ... and, eventually, when the insanity had subsided, I decided to spare myself any future heartache, so I took a deep breath, silently wished them all the best together, and deleted my Facebook account forever. How I wish I had known about ‘kill switch’ back then.

Apps like ‘kill switch’ redress the karmic social-media balance by deleting every trace of your ex from Facebook, with the click of a button.

It’s easy, costs less than one euro, and no-one is any the wiser (it can also be used to subtly delete a boss, colleague or frenemy from your friends’ list).

Personally, I am all for ‘kill switch’. Sure, you could just de-friend your ex, but that might look bitter or malicious. With ‘kill switch’, the dirty work is done for you. So, if you aren’t blessed with ironclad willpower, and are going through a break-up, my advice is download ‘kill switch’ now. Select your target, press ‘engage’, then breathe an enormous sigh of relief and thank the gods of technology — because you will never have to look at a picture of your ex and his new girlfriend on a beach in Turkey ever again.

DEIRDRE REYNOLDS: ‘Don’t be cruel’

ARE you one of those annoying people who over-shares the ins-and-outs of your love life on Facebook? Do you update your relationship status on a first date, plaster virtual PDAs on each other’s walls (‘No, no, no, I love you more’) or upload photos of the real thing? Worse still, did you sign up for one of the social networking site’s nauseating couples’ pages to prove how inseparable you are? If the answer is ‘yes’, and things have gone pear-shaped, allow me to be the first to say: ‘told you so.’ A new App allowing Facebookers to eliminate all evidence of their ex from their page has just hit the market here.

With 56% of people aged over 15 now on Facebook, there’s no shortage of recently-single users hitting the so-called ‘kill switch’. I’m against it, because anyone who is brainless enough to broadcast their private life online gets what they deserve. Everyone knows that gloating about your relationship online is the digital equivalent of putting an umbrella up indoors.

Many, like me, even keep their relationship status hidden to avoid such twaddle as ‘Aw R U OK hun?’ when it suddenly changes to ‘single’.

‘Kill switch’ co-founders, Erica Mannherz and Clara de Soto, don’t see it as “a vindictive tool, it’s a part of the healing process, an assertion of independence”.

How many times have you burned photos of an ex or binned their toothbrush? Oh, puh-lease, even if that is true, it’s unlikely that your house is so full of painful mementoes of your time together that you had to pay a professional to get rid of them.

In fairness, at 99 cents, ‘kill switch’ isn’t going to break the bank, and it’s targeted at lovelorn teens who don’t know any better.

But breaking up isn’t any more difficult for generation Facebook than it was for us millennials.

And, ‘in my day’, we didn’t have any fancy apps — just a good old-fashioned cry.

Interestingly, ‘kill switch’ doesn’t delete all those sappy statuses or loved-up pictures from your Facebook page, it just stores them in a hidden album in case you get back together — proving that some people will never learn.


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