Facebook's new breakup feature is the conscious uncoupling of social media

Nov 20, 2015 at 1:15 p.m. ET
Image: Yagi Studio/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you've ever updated your status to "in a relationship" on Facebook, you know how much it alters your online world. Not only is the update broadcast across all your friends' news feeds, suddenly your account only seems to know one thing — you and him.

His status pops up on your feed all the time, he's always the first suggestion when you're tagging photos, and your mutual friends start looking like your only friends, at least online. But what happens if that relationship ends? Before now, not a whole lot. Despite you having reverted your status back to "single," Facebook didn't seem to acknowledge the huge emotional shift that just occurred. You would have to actively untag yourself from all your photos together, and, in some cases, block your ex's activity completely.

However, thanks to a little sensitivity over at Facebook, the act of breaking up online just got much easier. The powers that be have now put a whole new set of preferences in place so you don't have to continue to be bombarded by your ex's social media presence. Breaking up is hard enough, and there's no reason it should be all on you to build up some social separation when you need it most.

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You'll still have to face the "oh no what happened?!" comments from your friends when you make the status change, but from there, Facebook will jump in and give you a hand. You will be prompted to edit how much you want to see of your former significant other, and this includes status updates, photos and event attendance. So if he just friended six new ladies at the concert you and he were supposed to go to together, you don't have to know about it.

Image: Facebook

The greatest thing about this new feature is that it allows you to see less of your former partner without them being any the wiser. So it's not like you're outright blocking or un-friending them, just electronically uncoupling from them, as Gwyneth Paltrow might call it. Of course, if you want to keep stalking your ex online, Facebook gives you that option too, no matter how unhealthy it may be.

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Facebook will also do its best to stop suggesting you tag your former sig-o in your photos. The last thing you'd want when you're uploading your first picture of you and your new beau is for Facebook to assume it's your ex, right? Although I suppose tagging him as your new main squeeze would be a pretty full-proof way to show him you've moved on and make him crazy jealous. Not that I'm trying to give you any ideas! Plus, if you want to untag yourself from all the old photos and posts you had with your ex without going through them one by one, Facebook gives you that option too.

You can also limit what your ex sees of your posts, both past and present, regardless of his current privacy settings. Or you can still decide to go the old route of picking and choosing which posts he sees and which ones he doesn't, so he knows you finally got that promotion, but not that you spent all last weekend drinking wine alone and watching Gilmore Girls reruns with your cats.

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Now if only we could edit accidental run-ins at local restaurants and parks like this, then everything would be just perfect!