Life Advice From Zayn Malik: Should You Have A Social Media Purge After A Break-Up?

He's followed the example of Jenna Dewan and The Weeknd and deleted all evidence of Gigi from his Instagram...

Life Advice From Zayn Malik: Should You Have A Social Media Purge After A Break-Up?

by Georgia Aspinall |
Published on

You know when you’re all in love and happy and think ‘aw that’s such a cute pic of me and insert future-ex's name here, I should post that on Instagram’. It’s a cute declaration of your love, something to look back on next month and remember how adorable you were. That is, if you’re still together next month. Inevitably, you’ll break up and then scrolling down your feed isn’t so adorable anymore (can you tell I’m single yet?).

That’s why many people, including our favourite recently single celebrities Zayn Malik, The Weeknd and Jenna Dewan, have deleted all evidence of their ex on social media. Admittedly, Zayn has deleted every picture in a clear Taylor Swift style publicity stunt with his album dropping soon, but for many of us, deleting pictures with an ex is a go-to move post-breakup.

There are a number of reasons to do it, mainly that you don’t need the reminder of your old relationship while you’re trying to move on. According to Dr. Jesse Fox, who co-authored a study called ‘Romantic Partner Monitoring After Breakups’, looking back at old images of happier times only heightens your need to get back together.

‘You have a higher desire to be back in the relationship because you’re looking at the best times,’ he says, ‘you’re getting this rose-colored view of what your relationship was like, and if you’re constantly reminding yourself of it, it’s going to be harder to move on.’

However, speaking as someone who never deleted any evidence of my previous relationship from social media, I have to disagree. It’s just as easy to scroll through your gallery when you want to torture yourself as it is go through your Instagram, and Lord knows there’ll be MUCH more PDA pics hidden in your camera roll. Of course, you could delete all these too, but what about the memories?

Perhaps you don’t want to remember the relationship, fair enough if your ex is a full dickhead, but there will come a time, months down the road, when you can look back even on the worst ex and remember the happier times without breaking down. Even if they were the devil incarnate, it could still serve as a reminder to how far you’ve come.

Personally, I didn’t delete pictures of my ex online because it just seemed like far too much effort. Can I really be bothered to scroll through three years of posts deleting every scrap of evidence of when I was happy? No, but I’m lazy. There’s also the message it sends when you DO do that.

Not that it matters what people think about your now deceased relationship, but surely it only reminds people how not over it you are if you feel the need to delete every shred of their existence? Either that or they’ll probably assume you’re being petty, attempting to piss off your ex as some of my friends have admitted to doing.

It’s similar to unfriending your ex or deleting them from your life altogether. While there’s a certain time period where you should probably avoid contact to help yourself move on, the idea that we should NEVER be friends with an ex, someone you we’re most likely best friends with for months to years, who knows everything about you, is ludicrous to me. Of course, that too depends on how mutual and healthy the break-up was.

When it comes to The Weeknd, we can kind of see why he wanted to delete all Selena-related evidence from his social media, if his new single Call Out My Name is anything to go by. However, seemingly healthy relationship endings, aka Zayn and Gigi Hadid, Jenna and Channing Tatum, these aren’t the relationships you would expect a social media purge to be necessary for. We’re guessing Gigi feels the same, since she still has all her pictures with Zayn and continues to follow him despite him unfollowing her.

That’s the other side of all of this, what if one of you deletes all posts and the other doesn’t? What was a friendly breakup suddenly turns awkward. They may understand if they’re the cause of the relationship breakdown, but if it was mutual, is there really any need in doing it? Of course, many would say yes, perhaps also because it can make a future partner feel uncomfortable, as more of my friends dubbed the reason they deleted theirs.

To that I would say my new partner would have to get over it, we all have past relationships, and how happy you were with an ex doesn’t have an impact on any future relationships (unless you’re not over them of course, that’s another story). I would hope my partner was secure enough to see those images and not bat an eyelid, after all, you can delete the pictures but the memories will always be there.

For the memories you would rather not be reminded of, aka the super PDA posts, the ones that are too difficult to look at, that I can get on board with deleting as an exercise in self-preservation. However, deleting the last month or more of your life purely because you’re feeling quite shit right now just doesn’t seem healthy to me. Then again, stalking your ex on social media doesn’t seem healthy and Lord knows I do that more than I should.

So, are you a Zayn or a Gigi? A Jenna or a Channing? An Abel or a Selena? Asking the all-important questions today on The Debrief.

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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