Social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, a delightful way to while away the hours scrolling through the wedding photos of your third cousin once removed in South Africa, on the other, a toxic way to keep you stuck in the past.
Breaking up used to be easy. A big argument, a few weeks of heartbreak - but essentially a clean break and a swift recovery. Nowadays, not so much. Regardless of whether you actually speak to an ex or not, the temptation to 'check in' on them is always there. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Extended virtual contact makes breaking up a long and painful process.
I'll be the first to admit I love nothing more that a glass of Pinot Noir and an evening of Facebook stalking. Why, if it were an Olympic sport I'd rival Mo Farah in achievement and if one could see how many times a Facebook page has been viewed I'd have been sectioned under the mental health act years ago. However, that is not to say I am not fully aware of the pitfalls and potentially detrimental effects of my chosen pastime.
Keeping channels of contact open with an ex not only means that you are in danger of wasting significant parts of your life observing their new found joy and freedom since leaving you but you are also allowing them the luxury of keeping tabs on you too.
There are a number of other reasons to cut all social media ties with an ex.
What exactly do you want to see?
Consider what it actually is you want to see on their Facebook page and how much seeing them having a brilliant time with their new girlfriend enriches your life. My guess - not a lot. Seeing an ex on Facebook at a great party, flirting with a girl on Twitter or posting pictures of a fantastic holiday on Instagram, will not only make you feel totally rubbish, it will also make it virtually impossible for you to put the past behind you and move on to something better.
Unless you are training to be a private detective there is no reason whatsoever that you need to know what your ex ate for breakfast. Online stalking is virtual self harming - the only difference to that and sitting outside your ex's house with a balaclava and a hip flask is that nobody can see you do it - which does not make it ok.
Your ex doesn't want to be your friend.
If you are virtually stalking your ex, the likelihood is that you were the one to be dumped. Sadly, the brutal truth is that when a person ends a relationship, they want out - and probably moved on well before they actually ended it. Regardless of them claiming they still want to be friends, I'd wager they don't, but think that by saying they still want you to be in their life, they are letting you down gently. Utter nonsense. They just haven't got the balls to make a clean break.
Being dumped is humiliating enough, do not allow them to add insult to injury by humouring you with a virtual friendship. Be dignified, move on.
Pictures of you having 'fun' will not make him jealous.
We've all done it. Posted pictures of ourselves on Facebook having the best time, huge grins across our faces, surrounded by friends clutching glasses of champagne. Who knew life could be so great two weeks after being dumped!?
What you want your ex to think when he sees your pictures is 'Wow, she's moved on quickly, I might try and get back with her because I had no idea she was such fun!' What your ex actually thinks is 'Ah bless, poor girl ... posting all those photos for my benefit' before he switches his phone off and goes back to bed with his new girlfriend.
Your ex dumped you, he doesn't care how much champagne you are drinking, spare yourself the indignity.
'But it's immature to de-friend him, it shows I don't care about it ending if I stay friends with him on Facebook!'
What your ex boyfriend thinks about your actions since he ruthlessly dumped you should be of no matter. So whether he things you're immature, or if you care or not, really shouldn't be at the top of your priorities when considering your mental health post break-up. What should be at the top of your priorities is what's right for you. And as we have established, knowing whether your ex went to the gym yesterday morning or that he was at a stag weekend in Prague two weeks ago, is not conducive to recovery.
Did he consider what you thought when he started shagging Dawn from accounts? Quite. Do not waste another moment consider his response to your actions.
So to conclude, by all means stay virtual friends with your ex - if you want to take three times longer to get over him, waste two-thirds of the coming year obsessing over somebody who doesn't give a crap about you and watch Fatal Attraction and lose sight of why boiling a bunny really is such a big deal.
However, if you want to leave the past where it should be with grace and dignity then delete, delete, delete.
... And for heaven's sake avoid Linkedin. Yes, you can see who's viewed your profile.