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Why Breaking Up Is So Hard for the Millennial Generation

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couple kissing in grass
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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

Facebook homepage
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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

Broken heart
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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!

Posted on on January 19, 2014 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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7 Responses to “Why Breaking Up Is So Hard for the Millennial Generation”

  1. 1
    January 19th, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    An app to get over an ex? Really?

  2. 2
    January 19th, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I wonder is it just harder nowadays anyway?

    My ex wasn’t on any social media and I deleted his number on “good” advice and yet 18 months later I’m still miserable.
    I would hate to think how I’d feel had he been on Facebook! I think I’d be a woman possessed!!!

  3. 3
    January 19th, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I think breaking up is hard no matter what, unfortunately. But social media definitely makes it even harder. Sometimes I wish there was just a magic button we could press so that we could get over exes. But the best we can do is stay strong and focus on other parts of our lives.

  4. 4
    January 19th, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    When my ex broke up with me, he deleted his Facebook altogether, but I cant say it would’ve made much of a difference. He hardly ever used it anyway, and all things that mentioned the two of us were on my Facebook. The hard part was having to live next to him, hearing his car come and go, seeing unfamiliar cars in his driveway, while I was too upset to even eat.

    And although it is much easier said than done, one day I simply realized I had to stop defending him from my family and acknowledge that some of the ways he treated me were unacceptable, and I didn’t deserve to have a jerk like that running my life. It’s a hard realization to come to, but the best way to get over a break up, social media involved or not, is to decide that you’re not going to let this control you, and let yourself be free from that stress.

  5. 5
    January 20th, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you for this. I just got out of a 5 year relationship and it’s been really hard. The worst part? He created a facebook a week after we broke up. Now I have to work hard to block everything and try not to think about him on there.

  6. 6
    February 17th, 2014 at 9:49 am

    This article was already written for NY Mag last summer…

    http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/07/texting-exes-social-media-generation.html

  7. 7
    February 17th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Hello Gracie! Thank you for calling this to my attention. First and foremost I want to say that I would never intentionally plagiarize anyone else’s writing. I’ve had my writing plagiarized before so I am very sensitive to the issue. When writing academically or otherwise I always take care to cite sources and give credit where credit is due.

    When I read your comment on the article I was genuinely surprised and hurt that anyone would accuse me of plagiarism. After reading through the New York Magazine article you linked to I began to piece together what happened. I did in fact read this article way back when it was published in July of 2013. The article really hit home with me and I could relate to a lot of it, so much so that I wrote about the subject in my personal journal. Some of the inspiration I have for my articles comes directly from my journal, and in the case of this particular article I pulled several direct quotes from my journal. Because it was my personal journal I didn’t cite the NY Mag article, and when I was composing the article for College Fashion I honestly had forgotten that my journal entry was inspired by this particular article to begin with.

    I assure you that if I had remembered that my article was in reference to the NY Mag article when I was writing it I would have linked directly to the article. It was never my intention to compose an article this similar to someone else’s writing. I truly apologize to you and the other readers.

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