Facebook – a painful daily reminder?
Once upon a time you could remove all physical traces of an ex-partner from your house by removing all photographs and mementoes. You could choose to distance yourself entirely from your ex, by not answering their calls or texts and telling well-meaning, but often misguided, mutual friends that you don't want to know how your ex is coping, or how their life has moved on. However, the world of social media makes this increasingly difficult.
Could you be bothered to remove all photos of you and your ex from your Facebook profile? Whilst you could decide you would not look at that particular album anymore, what if the 'timehop' feature inadvertently calls up a photo of you and your ex spending a romantic day together exactly twelve months previously? Not to mention the pain of the daily reminder on your Newsfeed that the ex is clearly 'just fine' whilst you are struggling to cope with the relationship ending. Ladies, we have all been sat at home in jogging bottoms eating a tub of Ben & Jerry's and posting 'amusing' images which all revealed some variation on "the only guy a girl can depend on is her daddy" whilst receiving constant reminders on Facebook that the ex is out enjoying the single life, or, just as painfully, having a great time with mutual friends at an event that you have not been invited to. In addition to all of this angst is, taking the step to officially declare to the Facebook world that the relationship has ended, by changing your relationship status. One of the most depressing things about Facebook is the little icon of a broken heart that appears when this step is taken.
It was announced earlier this week, that Facebook are trialling a new feature in America that will allow people to manage how they interact with exes on Facebook after their relationship ends. A change in relationship status will prompt users to use the feature which allows you to hide a person's updates from your Newsfeed without removing them as a friend (allowing for ongoing Facebook snooping for those who like to indulge every once in a while). Crucially, you can then also limit the information that your ex can see about you.
I think this is a fantastic idea. As a Family solicitor, I often receive calls or emails from clients who are distressed by something they have seen on Facebook. The breakdown of a relationship is difficult enough without technology sending you daily reminders, and I wholeheartedly support this trial in the hope that it will find its way to the UK.