I’ve been thinking a lot about my decision to quit Facebook. While I have enjoyed the peace and quiet of a life without the clutter of FB, it has caused communication problems with some of my friends, and many of them have asked me back.
Which is why I have decided to come clean about the central reason for me quitting in the first place; my divorce.
During a divorce people choose sides. The lines between those sides may blur eventually but in the very beginning most people are supporting one person or the other, not both. As for social events, it’s very awkward for people to know who to invite to what, how to handle mutual invites, how to not make the other party feel left out or upset. When it comes right down to it, divorce is hell on the friends of the former couple.
Without social media this is hard for everyone. With social media it is even harder. In my case the central friend group I had hung with for ten years sent the majority of invites to my ex-husband. This was understandable, however, that friend group didn’t stop posting about all of their parties and events on Facebook, and they didn’t drop me from their feed because they still wanted to be friends. This resulted in me getting to see, over and over again, every single thing I had not been invited to. It was like having my face rubbed into the rapid disappearance of my old life.
Frankly it hurt, deeply, every single time.
So I came to a decision point. I could stay on Facebook and grow to resent and perhaps even hate the people who were simply living their lives the way they wanted to live them, people who expressed love for me and went out of their way to do things with me separately, or I could get the hell off of Facebook.
I chose to leave Facebook.
As soon as I did it got better. I was able to handle the knowledge that things were happening that I wasn’t invited to because I wasn’t seeing pictures of all the people I love laughing and enjoying themselves without me. I could handle, with grace, being left out of things as the dust from the divorce settled and we all determined where and how we now fit together.
Social media can be hell on someone going through a divorce. It’s like an amplifier for all the sense of loss and loneliness that follows an already difficult decision and process. The problem with social media is that unlike social groups it doesn’t have a filter for divorce. There is no message that pops up saying “So and so are divorcing, which person’s feed would you like to keep?” or “Did you intend to show pictures of so and so with a smiling partner? Their ex is in your feed.”.
We wouldn’t whip out our cellphones over coffee and show a recently divorced person all the fun they missed at their ex-spouses birthday party because that would be a really shitty thing to do. Facebook does that for us. It turns out that Facebook is a complete asshole.
The dust is beginning to settle in my post divorce world. My ex and I have decent conversations and we have even been at a couple of the same parties. However, I am not sure I am ready to reenter the Facebook fray. There are still people I miss who have disappeared from my life. There are still events I do not get invited to. I believe I handle it all better out here, away from Facebook.