Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (on the Web 2.0)


From the archives and for new friends:

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We have all been through a breakup and felt the inevitable pangs of pain, surges of tears and very real mourning period following the end of a relationship.  In today’s world, where social networking and social media can be a significant part of many of our lives, old fashioned heartbreak can be compounded by the “Internet breakup”.

Breaking up with someone with whom you shared your likes and dislikes, sent xoxo’s and matched compatibility quiz results with on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and of course the uber-popular Youtube, along with the many other social networks brings forth an entirely new set of issues.  For instance, how long does one wait to remove from one’s page the comments, photos, and “gifts” (sent while in the often delusional. blissful cloud of love) that stare back and now haunt you? This person was your No. 1 spot in your top friends for heavens sake! What is one to do?

Once these are removed and the STATUS in the profile changes from any of the oh-so-charming descriptions ranging from “it’s complicated” or “in committed relationship” to “single”, what is the proper etiquette for well wishers and others who will invariably ask how you are coping, what happened and other questions that may be sincere but can burn through the screen like molten lava?  What to do with the bevy of comments left to make sure you “keep your chin up”, that they are “thinking of you” and whatever other trite phrase  delivered in glitter loitering in cyberspace like floating bullets in a Matrix-like freeze frame. Makes one want to pownce directly into a gaping void.

As in the traditional break up there is always the division of “friends”.  The Internet makes that division a blatantly public and often childish process.  Do they “De-friend you?”  Do you “De-friend” them?  Who does what and how long until someone takes action?  There is always that one first friend that is brave enough to make the friend switch. This person simply enjoys the new friendship more than the original friendship, yet inevitably puts themselves into the center of what may turn into a battle of loyalties, criticism and of course the unbearable insult of being De-friended (they also risk negative posts and g-d knows what from the slighted party).  These friends that once felt Linkdin may experience the pain of being blocked, ignored or even… dare I say… spammed.

So as you sit there and ponder the thought “OMG” this could happen to me and your heart goes all a twitter, feeling like drinking a tumblr of whatever is readily available in the house, I ask you, what are the new rules governing this era of Internet everything? How should this go down and how can you emerge relatively unscathed from all the added remnants now gathering in the cloud? How does one go from being the couple of Web 2.0 to …Web no.0?”

I hereby offer a few initial suggestions and I am sure I will come up with many more, but I need to know what you, the tech-lover, thinks.  Perhaps together we can come up with some basic framework for keeping our net presence intact as we navigate the treacherous on-line break up?

Rules of Disengagement for Internet-related break ups

 

1. Do not post a breakup blog explaining the gory details.  Such things should be private, even in today’s voyeuristic world.

2. Removal of ex should be done gradually. i.e. they did not disappear from the face of the earth, just perhaps from your life or more visibly, your vlog.  This should be adhered to in order to avoid the inevitable onslaught of queries about your separation. Do it for the other person, if not for yourself.

3. Do not post new pictures of yourself with an ex, a new whatever or overtly salacious images in an attempt to inflict additional pain on your ex (no mater how much you think you hate them).4. It is not recommended posting hourly, self-involved mood updates that will not only indulge the voyeurism of others, but cheapen the anguish you both feel. In a nutshell, don’t twit a twitter.

5. While sending angry emails/IM’s in the wake of your break up, do not digg yourself a hole you cannot climb out of.  This means that words on a screen are forever. Permanent. Nothing is ever truly erased from the web.  So pick your jabs wisely and don’t stumbleupon your own immature cruelty.

6. Do not badmouth your ex. You are an adult..

7. Avoid “tracking” your ex’s web activity. This can only lead to obsession and worse, web stalking.

8. Do not refer in any way to your suddenly, even remarkable renewed sex drive, virility, or promiscuity. This is so far beneath you as to be found somewhere deep in the Earth’s mantle.

9. Take a break from social media. We could all use one.

10. Eat, drink, be merry and do not let the bad experience disillusion you as to the viability of another Web-based relationship – we all benefit from social media, both platonic-socially, and if we are careful and a bit lucky, we may fall for another Tech-god  again, with markedly better results.

Written in collaboration with Michelle Oshen

Copyright ©2008 Veronica Romm

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First love, the sequel.


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First love is torturous.  When it is also true love and presents itself at a very unfair age, it is a romance that will be tested… Who could possibly imagine that at seventeen, eighteen the high school boyfriend, the first love is the love? A love so strong and true it haunts her, always there in her heart and that place where nothing else will ever reside.

She lives and loves, enjoys fulfilling relationships with other people from various backgrounds who teach her the lessons she was meant to learn. Those loves can not be diminished for they help define the true love that is lost. With each bond extinguished the emptiness of the loss of him multiplies, grows when it should dim.

What if then he is once again there, wherever there may be? So close in proximity his presence is a constant tug on that place in her heart once she glimpses his face again. He is angry, still very angry, and again very angry. He says that she changed him, made him callous, and made him fear. The idea stabs her heart and that place where he still exists as he was, an idea that has been lost.

What if he is still that same boy who wants to free himself from fear and open up the place he says she destroyed? When he looks at her and the eyes, the eyes that haven’t changed the eyes she fell in love with, convey emotions that make that place in the heart tear a bit further, hemorrhage slowly. 

She sees in those eyes the only man she ever met who she would want to be the Daddy. She sees in those eyes, in utter disbelief the man she has never let go. The one she would tell her best girlfriends about late nights, tears streaming down their cheeks, for the friend always believed too.

What if there is no chance he will ever trust her, ever let him get to know her as she is now? Never letting her show him how he loved her, how he taught her to love and because of fear and anger, lock away that place in his heart that only she had been given. Locked in a safe with the combination a faint memory.

All he sees when she looks in his wondrous eyes is the one that caused pain she cannot ever understand. He only wants to turn his back on her, walk away; speed away for it is dangerous to not speed full throttle out of her midst.

What if he goes against all that he thought he knew and lets her in? What if he takes the supreme chance and lets a love he can’t deny still exists, enter his life? What a chance he would be taking. He was once a gambling man but the odds, are hardly worth it?  Or maybe the only risk worth taking?

What if he lets her in and she can put her guard down just long enough to show him how much love she has to offer him? What if they are as they should be perhaps, if things like that happen? Can they happen? Would he take that chance because he is like her and can’t deny that they are the most real he will ever be?

What if he never lets her in and wonders always if maybe she was who she claimed she was, the one that he loves just as she loves him? How will she stop the bleeding of her heart? How will he live knowing that she bleeds for him? With steely resolve? With regret and resentment?

What if they live happily ever after?

Copyright ©2008 Veronica Romm

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