How To Deal With Your Ex, Online

You've just broken up with your boyfriend of two years. It wasn't necessarily abominable, but it was messy none-the-less (love being the slippery eel that it is, and all). Two weeks later, he Instagrams a too-close-for-comfort picture with a girl you've never seen before. There's a pang in your chest. You start looking at his photos. Then photos of you and him. Then back to the photo of him and the girl. Then just photos of the girl. Two weeks after that, it's his birthday. Do you: A) write on his Facebook wall? B) text him a party-hat emoji? C) abstain from all digital contact so he really misses you? Indeed, the post-mortem love choices are more confusing now than ever. Breakups — be they hurtful or "mutual" — are as old as time. But add in status updates, "likes," and total cyber transparency, and you're back to square one.
According to a study done at Western University, for individuals who had a breakup in the last 12 months, 88% of them stalked their exes on Facebook. And while this may seem like harmless web surfing, the Department of Psychology at Brunel University studied 464 participants and found that post-breakup surveillance of an ex via Facebook actually hindered moving on. Still, most of us are guilty of at least one several late-night stalking sprees.

So, we tapped two online-dating experts, Laurie Davis, author of
Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating
and founder of eFlirt Expert, and Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, to offer some advice on how to navigate the treacherous post-breakup Internet terrain. As Davis puts it, “We communicate differently on different platforms, so you should deal with them separately post-breakup.”

Scroll through the step-by-step infographic below to find out if it’s time to return the keys and hide the feed.

Illustrated by Gabriela Alford. Written by Kate Hakala.