The Ex-File

Opening up facebook is like opening up your very own ex file.

No matter where you look, even if you’ve unfriended your ex, they will somehow barge their way onto your computer screen.

You’ll find them lurking on the most unexpected of profiles; hugging lots of super attractive, prospective partners, gallivanting in the Lake District with their new lovers and writing cryptic messages on people’s walls that they know you’ll read. But facebook paranoia aside, why do we hunt for ex-tra evidence that we should still be with them? Back in the day, a break up was a break up. You probably never saw them again, reducing the recuperation period to half of the length of time you went out. These days it’s double that. If we’re not seeing a status update about their lad’s night out, we’ll see a tweet or a peep from them. Not ideal. Of course, the intelligent thing to do would be to remove the boy/girl from your home feed. And even (in very brave circumstances) delete them altogether. But that’s never going to happen, as most of us have some inexplicable urge to know exactly what is going on in their “post-us” lives.

Now, I don’t want to generalise, but I’ve found that the most successful stalkers are normally those of the female variety. We have a relentless urge to know what his new bird looks like, where he has been eating out since we broke up and whether he still wears those trainers we bought him. Guys don’t seem to want to know.  Deep down I know it’s for the best if I don’t “accidently” stumble across a photo album of his newly-single summer spent in California. However, my stalking stats are inadvertently very useful in determining how well I’m doing in the break up stakes.

Here are the stages broken down for you:

Phase One. It goes one of two ways. We either delete them altogether, eradicating any chance of future rendezvous with his new partner. OR, I will check their profile on a daily basis, annoyed when there is no movement but utterly devastated when there is and it’s something I don’t want to see. I’ll then call them up, shout at them for getting with someone despite their single status. And swear never to speak to them again.

Then there’s phase two. Protect my own facebook. So I finally realise the perks of singledom and engage in flirty facebook action which I don’t want him to see. I tell him I’ve blocked him because “I don’t want to see what he’s up to”. Sneaky, yes. Silly, no.

And finally, phase three. You’ve got to the heavenly stage where you rarely to never check his facebook and one of your besties says ‘have you seen that *insert name here* is in a relationship? Much like phase one, this can go one of two ways. You will either log in using your pals account, check out the photos and resume phase one-type stalking immediately. Or, the better option. You actually feel happy for him or her. For the first time in a long time they’re genuinely happy. You’ve both officially moved on.

Although most of us are friends with our exes online, the rule of thumb I’d stick to is only do online what you would do in reality. So, would you stare blindly into the face of his new flame? No. So don’t do it in the comfort of your own home. Would you ever poke him for his attention in the street? I sincerely hope not. So refrain. Would you ask him how many people he kissed in France this summer? Absolutely not. So don’t go searching through albums to find out.

Much like a real-life friendship with an ex, maintaining an online link with them always sounds like a much better idea than it actually turns out to be.  An old school box of cards and ticket stubs which collects dust under your bed, only to reappear at yearly intervals is a nice keepsake. A cold-blooded, daily update of their suggested happiness without you is not.

Go on, press delete. You’ll feel better for it.

The Break Up

large (11)I watched ‘The Break Up’ last night and felt totally cheated.

Before you download it, you should know that that it’s more of a Rom Con than a Rom Com. I wanted rain, maybe even a bit of snow. I wanted an exhausting sex scene or a fireworks display to declare their love for one another. But, no. I got ‘see you around’. For once, real life is more exciting than the movies. My break up history, on reflection, could probably make for a pretty good script.

Having been through only two major break ups in my life, I feel a little inadequate on the discussion of relationships falling apart but I reckon the first is always the worst. Not because you love them more than any later lovers, just because it’s so new. At the age of around sixteen, you find yourself completely falling for someone with the entirety of your heart, body, mind and soul. So when the inevitable happens and the relationship crumbles due to conflicting university choices, travelling, or worst of all, cheating, your whole world seems to fall apart. Once you’ve been through The First Love Break Up, whether you are sixteen or forty-five, a lot of things are put into perspective. It makes you a little colder, a little more guarded and far more cynical about the future…

But once the first is somewhat behind you, you follow it up with what is normally The University Break Up, or as I like to call it, ‘the early twenties freak out’. You get to twenty-one, final year of university and think ‘I have one year left to go wild. What am I doing?’ You call it off, there are tears, a lot more break up sex than you could ever possibly imagine and then that period where you decide that it would be a good idea to see who can hurt each other more to make yourself feel better. This is the worst phase of all. It is the numbness of this break up which is the scariest because it is nothing in comparison to the childish hurt you felt from the first. You think you don’t really care as much as the first time. But you do. You just have to hope that when you realise you made a mistake, it’s not too late.

The Long Distance Break Up isn’t much better I’m afraid. This one appears to be all about how much effort you put in, how much you love each other or the amount of distance between you. In reality, it isn’t any of the above. Instead, it is simply just really really hard to be away from the one you love. The whole reason you are with someone is because you enjoy their company, you find them physically attractive and because your life is much better when you’re around them. You can’t experience any of these things to their maximum potential over Skype or through text messaging which is why these relationships generally fail. Think about it. How many long distance relationships that you’ve experienced, first hand or not, have actually worked out? I don’t know any that have. If there’s an end in sight then it might be worth the struggle, but if not it might be time to think about the cut and run.

The thing you need to remember until you find ‘The One’ or at least ‘One of the Ones’ is that “Love always begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop”. No matter what you do.

As long as you know this, you can only live for the moment.

But is it all worth it? I think I’ll leave that one up to you…