Written by Divorce/Break-up Coach Prudence Henschke
I love my phone as much as the next person. I need it close by to keep an eye out for important “work” emails; to capture the special moments in my children’s lives; to take urgent calls from family members, or is that what I tell myself?
The reality. I’m living on social media.
As a mom starved of real conversations and bored with some of the more monotonous parts of being a parent, social media is an always available and attentive companion.
But when you are going through a break-up, social media is not your friend. Here are a few reasons why:
Comparing our appearance, our friends, our holidays, our houses, and our daily routine to those we are connected with on social media is difficult to avoid, no matter how happy, self-confident and self-aware you are. When you are going through a rough time, it’s easy to forget that social media is a highlight reel. Looking at others on social media has the potential to make you feel miserable, and divert your attention from where it needs to be – on you, rather than on everyone else.
2. Stalking isn’t healthy
Even if you are no longer connected directly to your ex on social media, chances are you both share some mutual connections. You may find yourself tempted to look at the feeds of mutual connections to see if your ex is there. Be strong! If you recognize your ex in a photo on a friend's page or feed, click away and don't linger on it. There is also the possibility a happy snap of your ex will pop up in your feed tagged in a mutual friend's post. When this happens, follow the same advice as above and focus on your future. Be mindful that pictures and videos have the power to trigger our emotions. Consider taking a break from all social media for the first month following the end of any romantic relationship.
By all means vent to your family and friends. I recommend communicating face to face, over the telephone or via text message, not on social media. It is tempting to want to post to elicit sympathy, it is tempting to post to let everyone know the truth about your ex or your situation. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to reach out when you are lonely and hurting, but the advice of strangers should be no substitute for reaching out to the people who know and love you. The very best person to vent to is a professional support person. Whether it is a divorce coach, a psychologist or another type of support professional, they are trained to be able to offer you objective solutions, tips and tools that can help you move forward emotionally following a break up or a divorce.
4. Legal Ramifications
Once you post something on social media, even if you quickly reconsider and delete, it may be too late to save yourself from the legal ramifications. Posts on social media have become a big part of divorce cases. Posts when you are less than your best - think nasty words and language - do you no favors. In fact, they have the potential to make conflict worse. You may think your comments are innocent enough, but our posts on social media are subjective and can be perceived in ways the author may never have imagined.
5. Sometimes, the results can’t be undone
It is so easy in the heat of the moment to write something and post it, but because it’s instant, the effect of your words on your ex, mutual friends your in-laws, your family, or worst of all, your children may not be capable of being undone. If the goal is to move through your break-up as quickly and easily as possible and with your dignity and self-respect intact it might be a good time to take a social media holiday. After all, silence is golden.
Prudence is a certified divorce coach with over 14 years of experience as a family lawyer. In her role as a coach, she specializes in helping working mothers feel supported, calm and confident as they navigate the practical and emotional challenges of a break-up or a divorce. You can connect with her at www.prudencehenschke.com