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Rule for Life: Break-ups Don't Belong Online.
The best advice I've ever received on dealing with a break-up was to write a long, emotional letter to my ex, seal it up, and put it under my pillow. After sleeping on the envelope for a few days, I not only felt better about expressing my feelings (if only to myself), but I wanted to rip up the letter into a million soggy pieces and flush them down the toilet. I couldn't even bear to look my own hysterical, mortifyingly honest words.
Who writes letters these days? We let the world know how we're feeling through blogs, Facebook, Twitter feeds—and perhaps that's not always the best idea. The New York Times Magazine recently covered a conference that the Boston Public Health Commission sponsored on "healthy breakups" which helped over 200 teenagers deal with tricky issues like changing a relationship status and tagging photos of exes.
But teens aren't the only ones who need need pointers. When I heard about the conference, I immediately thought of a friend's friend who changed her last name on Facebook before she'd even filed for divorce, and another guy who had posted photos of himself on vacation with his new girlfriend while still married to his wife. So I asked Casey Corcoran, director of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Start Strong Initiative (which organized the conference) for advice on adapting my old-fashioned break-up rule to the digital age.
Voila! Corcoran's "Take 3" strategy for dealing with break-ups:
Take a technology timeout: Step away from the computer. Turn off the phone. Most crucially, log out of Facebook. "This allows you to think about how people might respond if you decide to post something online, and how you'll feel if they respond in a way that's challenging or hurtful." For example, how will you feel if your friends "Like" the news that you've dumped the guy they've always agreed was your soul mate?
Take care of yourself: Sleep. Eat. Pet a puppy. (Research shows that touching soft, furry things can comfort us when we're feeling down.)
Take responsibility for your actions: Both before and after the end of the relationship.
I'd like to add one more: Take out sushi: No one should be around knives or a hot stove in this state.
When our feelings are hurt, says Corcoran, we want to connect with others on social networking sites, but we don't get to see other people's body language or tone of voice. This can greatly increase the chance of more emotional distress. "The internet is an imperfect medium to share things that really matter," he says. Our advice: go back in time to ye old face-to-face conversations—with people you still love.
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