As tabloid covers recently filled with pictures of singer Taylor Swift smooching and snuggling with Tom Hiddleston, the new James Bond-like British star of “The Night Manager,” an interesting development was happening online.
“If deleting photos of your ex helps expedite the healing process after a breakup, then do it.”
Swift and her recent ex-beau, Calvin Harris, went through a digital purge of their relationship.
One by one, photos of their time together were erased from their Instagram and Twitter accounts. It was part of the healing process, according to Treva Brandon Scharf, dating advice columnist and “The Late Blooming Bride” blogger.
“If deleting photos of your ex helps expedite the healing process after a breakup, then do it,” Scharf said. “Get rid of anything that causes pain and sorrow. I call it emotional triage. In time, when you’ve recovered and moved on, you can re-establish contact — or not.”
Mary Walter, who had a relationships advice show on the radio for 10 years, said deleting photos for fear of making a new lover jealous is not helpful.
“Personally, that’s a sign of jealousy and insecurity to me and may be a sign of trouble to come,” Walter told LifeZette. “When you love someone you accept the entire package, and that includes their past. That past made them the person that you love today.”
If you find the burden of doing a digital purge of your ex too daunting, you can hire social media consultants or use new features social media companies are offering to help deal digitally with breakups.
Facebook announced last fall it is testing tools to allow users to help them un-tag photos, limit what the ex can see and what others can see about past posts, and edit any mention of an ex on their news feed.
If you need more help, social media breakup coordinators are for hire. One breakup coordinator, Caroline Sanders, will help back up all of your memorabilia from all your social media accounts and then help you purge your ex from your digital world.
In addition to purging photos, Harris reportedly unfollowed Swift on Twitter and Instagram.
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When Gwen Stefani and rocker Gavin Rossdale ended their marriage after he was caught sleeping with the nanny, Stefani unfollowed Rossdale on Twitter. But he still follows her.
Her current Twitter photo is of new love and country star Blake Shelton. Stefani doesn’t just gush about her boyfriend on social media — she posts lots of PDA for her ex and everyone to see.
“Sure, you can purge them, but the stronger move would be to keep adding more photos of you looking fabulous,” Scharf said. “The world will know you’ve moved on and so will your ex. HAHA take that!”
When Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher divorced, she had to take the awkward step of changing her Twitter account from @mrskutcher to @justdemi.
Older generations are just learning to break up digitally. But for younger generations, it is and probably always will be part of the process — a normal life event to manage with the click of a mouse.
“Twenty-somethings live their lives online, so keeping the pics of their exes on their social media is no different to them than it is to us to have pics and mementos of exes in a box in our attic,” Walter said.” I know some friends — including my husband — who just purge everything. I’m more sentimental, and I keep everything.”
Some will find a digital purge healthy for the soul and part of the healing process. Some will want to have their breakup coordinators back up original photos in case a reunion occurs.
And some will “manage preferences.” They’ll shift photos to less-visible places. They’ll de-emphasize — but not eliminate. They’ll make their own peace with the images of them and their former lives.
Breaking up is hard to do, as the song goes. And thanks to the internet, we all get to watch how everyone handles it.