Breaking up is hard, but breaking up in public is worse

Click. “Pamela Hughes is now single.” There are few reasons to hate Facebook, but it making you cry is certainly reason enough. Status updates are not supposed to be painful.

Click. “Pamela Hughes is now single.” There are few reasons to hate Facebook, but it making you cry is certainly reason enough. Status updates are not supposed to be painful. They can however prove to be fatal, one woman’s husband murdered her for changing her status to “single”.

I suffered a Facebook break-up a month ago. I can assure you that neither now nor then did I harbour murderous sentiments. However, to say that my physical response to this public declaration of destitution was painless would be a lie. Lying about break-ups can be tempting, especially as everyone seems to be interested in who did what to whom. Prying questions used to always irritate me. The beginning and ending of relationships are subjects that people of all ages find innately interesting. Ironically, both are times when staying silent is often the wisest option.

My break-up began with the best of intentions; “being friends” afterwards and so on. I have since realised the impossibility of that aim. It seems that even the most amicable break-ups are fraught.

The opening drama was easy to handle, but afterwards, when the genuine reality struck, my situation worsened. The temptation to bottle it up is ever-present. Of course you can be civil, go for coffee, speak normally, but there is a constant worry that this, post break-up, will have a negative effect, one that you are unaware of. Brief periods of civility might prove disastrous if they prompt you to reminisce or worse, hope that you can get back together. No one with a busy college life to juggle should allow himself or herself to turn into a Carrie Bradshaw, indefinitely soul-searching and fighting off thoughts of an ex.

If you cannot save the relationship, then you must move on. In this case, dignity and poise seem to come with speed and steadiness. While the new singleton should receive plentiful sympathy and understanding from the most unexpected of places (mainly from those with previous break-up mileage, they remember the pain), there is no good in dawdling in Planet Misery. After recovery, patients should leave hospital, leap into the air and start back into life.

Disliking crying and clichés, I did not find the break-up process at all to my liking. The only fun part was the post break-up party. This involves an impromptu gathering of close single friends, ample alcohol and unsupervised action. There is no course in “how to maximise your break-up recovery”, and there is no society that offers the recently singled tissues, sweet tea and hot rebound dates. This is a task you must set yourself. How to move yourself on. Realistically speaking, the recently made singleton is unlikely to be someone with no prospects. Once upon a time, you too were one of the many Romeo and Juliet couples lounging about campus, and if you really want to you could probably join their queasy ranks again. Try something new, indulge yourself, and move on. The future looks an awful lot brighter once the tears stop and you hang out with your other best friends. Begin to notice those interested glances in your direction. Feel inspired. Most importantly stop thinking about the ex, take some space. If they are that wonderful, then you can become friends in time, if not, it’s their loss. Now you pity those Michaelmas couples. Come Trinity term they will be in your position, and it will be approaching exam time. Ouch!