Breaking up stinks. And nowadays, the heartbroken not only have to handle the in-person suffering, but they also have to go through a virtual breakup. We imagine this is especially difficult for those going through their first break-up. Well fear not, young scorned lovers. To help the wounded make it out alive of their first (of probably many) awkward and hurtful digital splittings, in this week's New York Times Magazine's Benoit Denizet-Lewis, among other news organizations, has some useful advice from digital-love experts for the dumped in a digital age.
Easy on the Facebook status updates. When a relationship ends in person, it also ends online. For 17-year-old Roberto, that means changing his Relationship Status to single immediately. "When I’m done with a relationship, I’m not going to wait a day, an hour or even 10 minutes to update my status," Denizet-Lewis reports. "When it’s over, it’s over. I’m done with you." But, maybe that's not so healthy. Take a moment. "Is that really healthy? Breaking up shouldn’t be a competition," a fellow teen explains to Roberto.
A status update does not suffice as an official break-up. That's not cool. "And is it ever ethically defensible to change your relationship status to single without first notifying the person whose heart you’re crushing?" asks Denizet-Lewis.
And statuses are just the beginning of Facebook romances."Can my relationship be official if it isn’t on Facebook? What do I do if he unfriends me after we break up?" These are just a few questions that kids face on Facebook, explains the Boston Globe's Laura J. Nelson. Her advice, "The answers: Yes. Let him have his space. Don’t start a public spat, but ask her privately to stop."
Take a "technology timeout." The newly single shouldn't rush to the Internet to proclaim their breakup. The group "suggested Roberto consider taking a “technology timeout” the next time he felt compelled to race home and publicly declare his singlehood," explains Denizet-Lewis. A technology timeout means doing the dirty work in person, Denizet Lewis continues. "We know (face-to-face is) the most effective and best way to have a conversation about (breaking up)... "Face-to-face (is best) because you get the nonverbal cues and you can understand how people are feeling." psychologist Jennifer Hartstein told CBS News.
Use your cellphone wisely. Social media isn't the only technology that has transformed the break-up. A recent study found 30 percent of teens have been dumped via text, reports CBS. While texting may not be appropriate, the cellphone can facilitate a meaningful conversation. But maybe talking is better than texting. A summit that helps teens deal with romance online offers a panel titled, "U R Breaking Up, a tool that uses cell phone reception bars to help teens think about the best way to be heard/have maximum reception during a break-up, explains the MetroWest Daily News.
Teens, you're now armed with an arsenal of break-up tips for the 21st Century split. But, be warned, whether online or in real life, breaking up still stinks.