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My friend has an analogy for the way I communicate with ex-boyfriends: I constantly open my “dusty books.” According to her, whenever I get a little bored in singledom, or I am feeling très vulnerable for whatever reason, I pick up said “dusty books” (that I have definitely finished reading) for a skim, just to make sure they are still there. Every time, it always leaves me in a social media tailspin of stalking destruction, questioning every heartbreak and every decision to break-up. Embarrassingly, she is 100% spot on.

There is one particularly dusty book in life that is categorized under everyone’s “one that got away.” The hardest of all to leave on the shelf. That ex-boyfriend or girlfriend that has a sixth sense for when you finally feel like you are just over it and at peace with the relationship ending. In most cases (but of course) they initiate contact completely out of nowhere and it sends you into complete crash mode, questioning every minute detail of the relationship and breakup. You already know nothing will change – you will end up sitting at a random bus stop crying on the phone again. But every single time that dusty book opens you get that little (unhealthy) hit of what might have been. Enough is enough! If that person wanted to be in your life, they would be.

In our ever-digital age, when a relationship is over it takes a LOT longer to get over it. To begin, if your ex is making new ‘friends’ you can see (and stalk) who they are on Facebook. If he is out all night partying, you can see all his shenanigans on his Snapchat story… if he is flirting his goddamn pants off, you can see the photos he has liked on the new Instagram search tool – don’t even get me started on Twitter, LinkedIn*, and every single DATING APP known to man! Breaking up is definitely not as simple as it used to be, you can see everything. This makes it super hard to move on whether you ended your relationship as friends or not.

The answer? Cut all communication. Unfollow, unfriend, swipe LEFT. Delete his number (and please try to let those memorized digits go). No contact, y’all. In a week, in a month, maybe in a year – you will feel better. You will heal. And it will happen a lot faster if you have no idea what he is up to.

I know this may seem harsh. After all, you are losing someone you have previously updated all day every day, from discussing Scandal the night before to whether you will have a turkey sandwich or salad for lunch. You know their life back to front, and they know yours. It is harsh. It is hard – but if you are deciding (for whatever reason) to end the relationship or get over a *sneeze-worthy dusty book*, it is necessary.

If you really aren’t ready to break all contact with that person, question why, and form a plan over a bottle of red with girlfriends. Otherwise, please leave your dusty books on their bookshelf. It is the only way a broken heart can heal – and both of you can move on.

*The deadliest of subtle flirtation, trust me.