Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Erasing an Ex: To unfriend, or not to unfriend on Facebook?

We've all been there. You meet someone, you fall in love, at some point you fall out of love, and the relationship ends (or sometimes the love doesn't end, but the relationship implodes). The question is: what happens next?

In a pre-digital world, erasing all traces of your ex was a pretty simple endeavor. A few shoe boxes of cards and photographs got ceremoniously burned and then voila, you're free.

Alas, things are no longer so simple. There are the initial steps of removing the physical traces which are easy enough, but then comes the digital hurdle. The digital photographs that take up half your hard drive, the thousands of e-mails cluttering your gmail account, the phone numbers in your cell, the bbm pin....

Assuming you go through the trouble of cutting down your jungle of digital memories, there's still one think left to do: decide whether or not to "unfriend" him on facebook.

And here is where things get really tricky. All the other steps you have taken can be taken privately. Your ex will have no idea that you donated the teddy bear he gave you to the salvation army, or that you put his valentine's day card through your paper shredder. It doesn't matter if you delete all thousand e-mails he sent you: he will have no idea.

The minute you "unfriend" him, chances are your ex-erasure will no longer be private. He'll know. Hell, everyone on facebook will know. Breaking up on facebook is in fact probably more public than your real breakup was.

The thing is: if you're no longer friends in person, why should you be friends on facebook? Why should you have access to each others pictures, thoughts, connections?

If you've deleted every other trace of your ex, is deleting your "ex" off facebook the logical next step?

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