Moving on emotionally after a break-up is hard, with or without social media. But the easy access and speed of social media sites, like Facebook, can make it easier to torment yourself and harder to move on.
When relationships don’t go as we expected, planned or hoped, we want to know why. Sometimes this is easy to answer, but most often it’s not. Our desire to understand is very basic instinct hardwired into the human brain. Throughout evolution, understanding how things worked—such as where the good food grew or where the sabre-tooth tigers hung out—-increased our chances of survival. We still have that same urge to know.
We are also driven by a need to connect socially and interpersonally. Historically, being ostracized or excommunicated from one’s ‘tribe’ was the worst form of punishment. It’s also why a ‘Time-Out’ can be effective parenting tool.
Facebook may look like a place to get answers to the burning questions about why a relationship didn't work, but it's not. Facebook is about being social, putting our 'best foot forward,' as my grandmother used to say or dressing up to out for a date. It's not about truth or hard questions.
Break-ups are hard because they are a primordial double-whammy — uncertainty and a loss of meaningful connection. Every one of us wants to be know the reasons why so we can be reassured that the world makes sense and that we are desirable. It takes conscious cognitive effort and time to restore a sense of ‘order,’ to relieve our emotional brain and sometimes to reclaim our sense of self.
Social media or not, a break up is a break up. The rules of disengagement are the same as they have always been. But social media can help you move on or slow your progress and depress your mood, depending upon how you use them. Don’t be tempted by the ease of access to beat yourself up over something you can’t change. Dealing with loss hurts. It just does. No matter what you find out, it won’t answer those larger cosmic questions you yearn to know the answers to. You may not have had a choice about the break-up; you do have a choice about how you handle the aftermath!
Five ways social media can help you get over a breakup: