I’ve decided to get a little Emily Post up in here considering there is no current Emily Post and she made it all up anyway. My first order of gauntlet throwing: the social media + break-up connection: what do you do with all those photos after the relationship is no more?
I think we need to handle this on a case-by-case basis, which I’ve outlined below. Obviously the real answer is do as you please, but if you can’t figure out what you please, here are some thoughts.
If it is a grueling, miserable break-up: Scrub the whole thing clean. You don’t need those images reminding you of all that bad, and you owe the relationship nothing. Yes it will be strange when there is a gaping hole in the photo evidence of your life, but you can say, “I went through a difficult break up,” to explain it away.
If it was a really amicable break-up: Scrub moderately. If a marriage was involved the wedding and honeymoon albums can go but you don’t necessarily have to remove all photo evidence of that other person, especially if you remain friendly. What will future dates think? That you were with someone before them, which is true. What will your ex think? That it was sad and so you modified the profile.
If you want your ex to scrub but they won’t: I’m sorry but there is nothing you can do about this save from un-tag yourself. This is the risk we run in the Facebook/Insta/Twitter era. You can ask nicely or beg, but your ex is under no ethical obligation to remove the photos.
A few more thoughts:
- Worried about new dates seeing all the photos? Make your profile super private and don’t friend them until you’re comfortable.
- Worried about offending your ex with the full scrub? You can send an e-mail letting them know you’re doing this to help yourself move on if it makes you feel better.
- What about friends you only friended because of your ex? Un-friend and let it go.
And with that just a few more mysteries of the world are resolved. Next time: is it best to face the person or offer them your butt shot when exiting an airplane row?