Why Breaking Up Is So Hard for the Millennial Generation

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Katarina - Florida State University
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Ask yourself this: how many friends do you have on Faceboook? More importantly, how many of those friends have you had any range of romantic encounters with? A fair amount, am I right? And that's not even taking Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter into account.

My point is, thanks to technology, we're constantly exposed to any and everyone with whom we share personal history of any kind. Gone are the days when you could break up with someone and never have to see or hear from them again.

Now that social media is so ingrained in our culture, it's nearly impossible to escape the ghosts of boyfriends or girlfriends past. Whenever that ex-someone pops up on your news feed, likes something you posted, or sends you a message, your stomach drops. Sound familiar? Welcome to the 21st century, where social media rules our lives and our relationships.

Here, inspired by the New York Magazine piece on this very subject, I'm going to explain why it's so hard for our generation to cut ties with exes, as well as list several apps that can help make the breakup process easier:

Stuck in the Past

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Cutting ties with someone, from a hookup to a serious ex, is more difficult than ever. Nowadays it's the easiest thing in the world to gorge ourselves on information about the personal lives of our exes via their social media profiles. For better or worse.

Try as you might to avoid clicking over to a certain person's page, human curiosity seems to always win out, and cyberstalking has become a guilty pleasure of sorts. A picture of your ex and their new significant other. A check-in at the restaurant you both used to love. A tweet about how much fun he or she is having (without you). A late night Snapchat they "mistakenly" send you. All of these things will bring you back to said relationship. As if that isn't enough, old pictures and comments from when you were together are forever associated with your profile, haunting you with a constant reminder of what once was.

With the internet, you can view your exes' lives as they unfold before you, lives parallel to your own - paths not taken. It's nearly impossible not to start thinking: what if...? What if you had never broken up? What if you were still together? Would you be happier?

In 2014, our ex-relationships are immortal - they have a shelf life longer then the one you ever had together. They are embedded in our past, and stuck like glue to our future. And not only is it just our exes, it's their exes, and those exes' exes, too. The population of a metaphorical small European country virtually exists on your cell phone or laptop.

Moving On

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Now I know what you're thinking, wouldn't it be nice if we could just go back in time to a pre-Internet world where breaking up with someone was cut and dry? If only. But until time travel is an option, thankfully there are a few tools that have been developed to help solve this issue.

Aside from just deleting or blocking your past significant other from your social media, here are several apps that can more permanently and completely cut your exes out of your life.

  • Killswitch: A smartphone app that removes nearly any trace of you and your ex from your Facebook profile, including photos, videos, wall posts, and status updates. Available for $0.99 in the iOS and Android stores.
  • Eternal Sunshine: A Chrome plugin that blocks mentions of your ex in your Facebook newsfeed. Free in the Chrome Web Store.
  • Block Your Ex: A free web plugin (supports Firefox and Chrome) that more thoroughly blocks your ex from all social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and blog URL's.
  • Ex Lover Blocker: Another smartphone app that alerts your friends and publicly broadcasts your shame on Facebook if you try to call an ex. Available for free in the iOS store. (Note: The app is currently only available in Portuguese, but is easy enough to figure out.)

Your Thoughts?

Have you used any of these apps before? How have you moved on from a particularly difficult-to-get-over ex? Let us know by leaving a comment below!