This Essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
After two years, my relationship fell victim to the pandemic.
It wasn't amicable.
And while I have experience with dating culture in the 21st century, I lack experience in the "heartbreak" category. My dating life mainly involved me losing interest after the third date. Meaning I've never really had to remove someone so thoroughly from my life.
Turns out, it's a real b*tch after a long-term relationship.
From the way their musical taste has tainted your Spotify to the way social media has made it difficult to not see how they're living their life, technology has vastly changed the way we break up. Your ex's presence lingers on your accounts.
So, here are my six tips on how to erase your ex in this modern age.
1. Block them.
I'm not here to kink shame, but you shouldn't tease yourself with access to them.
Or give them access to you.
The temptation to message them or let them see how you're thriving on your socials is a strong one. However, it's a messy look that can only lead to more pain and heartbreak. So, rather than extend the grieving process, it's best to make that clean cut.
So block them on your phone and on your socials. None of this "restricting" nonsense.
Take it from me, you will have weak moments. You'll want to message them because you miss them. But, when you do, you'll just be drawn back into the mess and your heart will only be shattered further.
But don't do it.
You're better than that.
Instead, set a Google Calendar event a few months out. When you reach that date, you have permission to contact them. Until then, focus on you, boo. They already made it clear they don't want you in their life — don't have them tell you twice.
2. Scrub your accounts — including Netflix.
If you spent your time watching shows or movies on streaming platforms, you'll probably want to reset them. There's nothing like bursting into tears after seeing something you were in the middle of watching.
At the very least you can remove how their movie night picks affected your Netflix recommendations.
As for social media, you'll want to remove them from your feeds. You don't need Facebook reminding you that it was your anniversary a year ago. You also don't need their face throwing off your Instagram aesthetic.
Delete or archive the posts — it's up to you. I just wouldn't let them live on your accounts.
And most phones have facial recognition nowadays. So, when it comes to clearing your camera roll, it's easy to find and mass delete the over 3,000 photos you might have of them.
3. Go to therapy.
The theme of 2022 (or maybe even the past two years, what is time?) is "personal care."
So, if you can afford a therapist, you should definitely look into it. There's nothing more eye-opening to your choice in partners than paying someone to judge your life choices. The bonus is they discourage you from doing anything that you call "petty" but they deem as "acting out."
Mine has also been my reminder to not call my ex.
And, thanks to the pandemic, a lot of therapists are more comfortable holding their sessions over Zoom. So you can cry in the comfort of your own home.
If you can't afford therapy, you should still take time to focus on your mental health and reflect on your relationship. Better to process the sadness now than letting your ex haunt you down the line.
4. Reset your life.
Take a trip. Learn to scuba dive. Do something to break out of your normal routine.
From saying yes to every social opportunity that comes along to starting a new hobby, you need to do something that breaks you of your old habits. After all, you just suddenly lost the person you spent a good chunk of time with. You need to fill the gaps in your routine and break yourself of those patterns.
Eating frozen pizzas and binging Netflix is only cute for so long after a breakup.
5. Rebound, don't stay around.
Tinder, Hinge, Facebook Marketplace.
The internet has changed the dating game making your rebound options endless (as long as your profile game is strong). Finding a long-term relationship is a different story of course, but what's the rush?
Only take this step when you're ready though. Jumping back into the dating pool right after a breakup isn't the right option for everyone. You might even feel guilty at first, but, over time, you'll meet new people who re-remind you that you're an amazing, interesting person.
Enjoy the hunt.
6. Reconnect with old friends.
In any long-term relationship, you're bound to have grown distant from some people. Whether it was for lack of time or you drifted apart, there's probably someone you wish you could spend more time with. Throw in a pandemic, and there's bound to be a few people you haven't spoken to in years.
Well, thankfully, the internet has made it easier to catch up with old friends. Through these connections, you can rediscover the aspects of yourself you lost in the relationship while growing stronger bonds with the people who unconditionally support you.
At the end of it all, the internet has just sped up the steps I need to take to soothe my heart and take ownership of my spaces. However, it's also reminded me of how deeply engrained this person was in my life. But, I can't feel guilty for deleting them off my feed, untagging myself in posts, or redownloading Tinder to flirt.
I'm single now, after all.