Five Tips for Winning the Breakup

Breaking up is hard to do, especially in the digital age. Basically, your relationships are out in the world for all to see. So when you breakup, your breakup will be public, too. And you should consider what you want people to see on Facebook or YouTube or Instagram or whatever media you use. Your reaction to your breakup—and your ex’s—will be forever captured in cyberspace.

It’s always good to take the high road, but sometimes it’s just hard. Pettiness, jealousy, and anger are emotions as timeless as Adam and Eve. No two people feel exactly the same about a breakup. One will have wanted it more than the other. If you are the more injured party, it’s difficult to summon forth your better nature.

But the phrase, ‘Winning the Breakup,’ has been in the Urban Dictionary since 2012. It’s there because it’s important to behave well when undergoing the stress of a breakup. When you do, no matter how you felt about your ex, you win. So here are some guidelines for weathering a breakup on social media.

    1. Never post when angry. Or when you’ve had too much to drink. Or when it’s three in the morning and you can’t sleep and your mind is not clear. Wait. Do not share that incriminating photo of him passed out with a beer in his hand. Do not rant about what a bitch she is. Just stop. Take deep breaths. Calm down and delete. You will feel better in the morning.
    2. Don’t try to fake it. It’s okay to feel bad. You don’t have to share how you feel online, but it might help to have a private conversation with a friend you can trust. Posing like everything is fabulous will not seem genuine because it’s not, even if you wanted to end the relationship. If you say you’ve never been so happy in your life the day after a breakup, it will either sound mean or phony. You can be quiet for a time while you regroup.


  • No stalking. And no obsessing. The relationship’s over. Try to move on. Yes, you’re curious about his new girlfriend. And if you see her now and then online, fine. But don’t follow her every move and waste your time comparing yourself to her. Remember, it’s over. So that means you don’t need to like and tag every person of the opposite sex to make him jealous. Or don’t relentlessly like everything all his friends post to make it look like you are closer to them than he is. It will just make you look desperate.
  • Use the delete button judiciously. Yes, you may want her out of your life forever. And if you want to delete albums and photos and unfriend her and delete all her comments, go ahead. Just remember that this relationship is, and will always be, a part of your history. Something you may want to own in the future, regardless of how you feel now. You can severe all ties, but is it necessary? Will it make you happier? Just take a little time to think about it before you do it.
  • Have the breakup conversation. When you breakup, talk about what you expect post-relationship. If you’ve both said you’re ‘in a relationship’ online, agree to update it to single status at the same time. If, heaven forbid, your ex has compromising photos of you, agree to delete these to both party’s satisfaction. Of course, it’s always better to avoid lewd photos being taken in the first place. But if you’ve been indiscreet, take steps to make sure those photos will never see the light of day.


In the end, breaking up online or off requires compassion, compromise and courtesy. Make sure you treat your ex with the thoughtfulness and consideration you’d like to be treated with yourself.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: