Birmingham AL Collaborative Divorce Law Blog

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Is Unfriending Your Ex a Good Idea?

Back in the good old days, when a couple broke up, they set about their individual lives. If they had kids together, they probably still interacted, but their personal lives were just that, personal. Sure, if you lived in the same town, you might run the risk of having awkward chance meetings. Worse case, you might find yourself on a date at the same restaurant where your ex and his new girlfriend were dining. Today, with the presence of social media, drawing the line between mine and ours can be a little more tricky. A recent article in Psychology Today points to the difficulties of breaking up in the digital age and poses the all-important question: Should you de-friend your ex?

Yes, you are divorced (or on your way there), but somehow de-friending seems, well, more definitive and personal. It says, “I dislike you so much that I don’t want you to see the cute dog photos I post.”

Un-friending may also feel like the ultimate break because once you click “unfriend” there is no going back — unless you send another friend request to your ex. (In which case, she would know you unfriended her.) So how do you decide whether you should unfriend or not?

“A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself this: Does having information about your ex influence your quality of life? If hearing about your him or her is highly painful or traumatic, it is probably in your best interest to unfriend your ex,” writes Cortney S. Warren, Ph.D. in her Naked Truth column for Psychology Today. “This does not need to be done disrespectfully — this is about taking care of yourself.”


Unfriending may be the best way to cut all ties and help you move on. But unfriending is not the only option.

Remaining Facebook friends with your ex may help keep communication open. If you have children together, it’s a great way to share photos and retain ties with your ex’s family from a respectful distance. But if seeing posts of your ex in Italy with her handsome boyfriend makes you depressed or angry, it’s probably a good idea to hide her posts for a while.

Hiding posts is simple, and the other person does not receive a notification that you’ve restricted their photos and notes from your feed. All you have to do is open the person’s page (or hover your mouse over their name) and click on the “Following” box. The little check mark will turn into a “volume” symbol and no one is the wiser.

Unfollowing is much less permanent than unfriending. You can always choose to “Follow” your ex, his mother, grandmother and cousin Phil again (but not in a stalkery way, please). And you can still view his or her page by clicking on their name or photo. Just remember, the people you’ve unfollowed are probably still “following” you.

Becoming more selective about who you follow and friend on social media may relieve some of the stress that comes with ending a relationship. In some cases, you might even want to take a break from social media all together. Getting on with your life after divorce can be difficult, and taking charge of your Facebook feed can be a positive step towards making a fresh start.

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