Modern Love

Should You Re-Follow Your Ex On Social Media?

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Finger on smartphone - instagram colorsI have a hard and fast rule about ex-boyfriends. If you don’t sleep in my bed, then you don’t creep in my social media. It isn’t rocket science for me. I believe in a complete cleanse of the ex after the breakup. It is a hard thing to disconnect all of your digital connections from one another’s lives. I like to think of it as the modern day division of the cds, but instead of a battle over who gets retain Pearl Jam Ten, it is who gets to stay friends on Facebook with Molly and Larry, that couple you met on the Appalachian Trail.

I routinely unfriend, unfollow and unlike as a courtesy to both of us. There is nothing more unhealthy than watching an ex rebuild their life without you.

Of course distance from a relationship can make a difference.

Celebrity ex-wife Rebecca Romijn, no longer Romijn-Stamos but Romijn-O’Connell, recently tweeted:


Obviously she is as excited for the Jesse and the Rippers reunion as we are. Romijn and Stamos divorced in 2005 and she has since had twin daughters with her new husband Jerry O’Connell who has gone on to have a very successful career on television but will always retain a warm place in our hearts as Vern Tessio in “Stand By Me.” Rebecca and John have had plenty of time and space, so maybe it was ok to want to follow him.

This obviously got me thinking. What is the statute of limitations on social media linkage with exes? I chatted with Dr. Jenn Berman of VH1’s “Couples Therapy” about the etiquette and what is really best for our souls in this situation.

“I think it is healthy to unfollow once a breakup has happened because when a relationship ends your number one developmental task is to work on letting go of that person,” Berman told me. “Every time you have contact it tears open the scab and you start bleeding again emotionally speaking…to be reminded of them on a daily basis is not good for your healing. It is generally best to unfollow.”

I have a hard and fast rule about ex-boyfriends. If you don’t sleep in my bed, then you don’t creep in my social media.

In the midst of their 2011 breakup Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher famously unfollowed one another. Moore even changed her Twitter handle from @MrsKutcher to @JustDemi. Now two years later, with Ashton happily cohabitating with Mila Kunis, they follow one another again.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries still don’t follow one another after their acrimonious divorce. Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey don’t follow each other either.

Just when is it ok to follow an ex again?

“Never delude yourself into thinking you can go from lover to friend in a nanosecond! Emotional detachment will save you a lot of heartache!,” says 30 Second Therapist Dr. Gilda Carle.

Berman suggests the dinner party test.

“It is ok to follow them again when you have a friendship. The measure is that if your ex is dating someone would you want to go to dinner with him and his new girlfriend and would you be happy that she is lovely?” Berman proposed. Otherwise, she says. “You’re not ready.

So I gave it a shot. I backtracked to my college ex-boyfriend, figuring ten years seems like enough space. Alas, accourding to Twitter and Facebook he does seem to be married and he is a new dad. The truth is she does seem lovely. I haven’t decided if I want to go to dinner with them yet.

Jo Piazza (@jopiazza) is the author of the novel Love Rehab: A Novel in Twelve Steps.

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