Toxic Break-Ups in a digital world. What have you experienced?

Breaking up is hard – whether we’re on the receiving end or the one finally admitting things aren’t working out. It takes strength and empathy to to break up well. However, with instant communication options, it’s much easier to distance ourselves from the bad news. And it can even get toxic quickly in the digital world when the bad news turns sour. Sadly, it seems, many of us know that to be true.

Statusonline.org conducted a poll recently to find out what 18-25 year olds think about the nitty-gritty of ending relationships. Unsurprisingly, 90% of those polled agreed they would want a face-to-face break-up. So why it is so common for break ups to happen in other, less considerate ways?

Here’s what we found: 41% of people had been dumped by text, 33% on social media, and 28% had experienced ghosting (the sudden ceasing of all communication without warning) by a partner. Why?

The internet, and social media specifically, provides anonymity. It is the perfect place to distance yourself from the words that you write. Breaking-up via social media or text may seem like the perfect way to avoid a painful argument or ease those guilty nerves, but does it actually create more problems than it solves?

The backlash from breaking up on social media can be so much worse than a face-to-face break up. The same anonymity and distance from emotion has a nasty dark side. According to the Status poll, 38% of people received hurtful private messages after breaking up, and 27% were frequently harassed online. 23% had hurtful comments or posts shared about them. Even worse, 14% of those polled had nude photos or videos shared publicly by their ex’s online.

It’s not surprising then, as we break up in a digital world, that 48% of people who took our poll said their breakups had a negative effect on their mental health. When we’re breaking up with someone over social media, we’re not thinking about how we would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.

Breakups are hard. But it’s important to remember that just as healthy relationships need good communication, a healthy break up needs the same to make sure you end well. Oh – and preferably in person!

by Blake Bramley

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