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Friday, February 19, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

It always has been. However, I find myself thinking lately about how much harder social networking sites like Facebook and even our blogs make it. We have had a number of friends and acquaintances in the last little while, for a variety of reasons, call it quits on their marriages or long-term relationships. Trev and I have tried very hard in each of these cases not to take sides and to just treat each individual with all the love and friendship we have always treated them with.

I am no stranger to divorce - I grew up in a divorced family. I know that life can be messy and complicated. I know there is usually blame for both sides. I know that this type of relationship dissolution inevitably changes the relationships of everyone even peripherally involved, friends, co-workers, neighbors...heck, even the mail man has to start forwarding and returning letters.

Still, it is jarring to me when couples we know and love split up. I feel weird about it. I feel even weirder when I notice that their blog hasn't been updated since the last happy thing posted months and months ago. Or that is has suddenly gone private and we don't have an invitation. Not that I am sickly curious and want to read about all the aching details and events of their breakup. I just hate feeling like I have been broken up with too in some way. And, as to the abandoned blogs, I don't know if I should delete them...then I feel like I am being the breaker-upper.

And Facebook is a whole 'nother story. It shouldn't feel like a little bit of a slap in the face when you are suddenly not friends with someone just because you exist as a part of a past life they are undoubtedly trying to and needing to move away from...but it does.

All of which makes me wonder, was life less complicated before we started recording our personal histories, insights and lives on the Internet where the smallest nuances of our days become a matter of public record and can never be taken back? Was it better when you just happened to hear about someone's tragedy (someone who you didn't really keep up with) through the grapevine rather than reading about their lives (even though you rarely talk) and feeling like you are intimately involved in their happenings just because you know what they did last Saturday and have seen pictures of the event? Are we really better off knowing so much about each other? Because how do you handle it when you suddenly don't want anyone to know what is going on anymore. Disappearance and deletion seem to be the conventional solution, and I am not sure why that feels so odd to me.

I will never forget going out with a boy on a second date and being completely alarmed when he said, "So I googled you before dinner." And I will totally admit that I am guilty of googling or perusing Facebook profiles looking for the names of ex-boyfriends or those girls I didn't really like in High School...but isn't it kinda sick and narcissistic in a way?

And maybe the real irony of this post is that these private thoughts on peoples' private lives are appearing here on my public blog. hmm.


Shalee said...
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Devri said...

I agree. Our very public lives as made manifest by Facebook and blogs makes for a two-edged sword. I love it when it means I can feel close to people like you who I've always looked up too but it does make things harder when there is a break up. One of my favorite families in the world (they're practically family) split up while I was on my mission. It was crazy because they were going so strong when I left. IT hurts when I go to see my friend (the wife) and her ex-husband (also my friend) is there. Not too much Facebook involved there, but that was my comment on divorce in general.

I'm just glad that I wasn't into Facebook when I went through my last break-up 4 years ago. Back then, you could only be on facebook if you were in college. That would have been so hard if I had been facebook friends with his family. I really liked them, and seeing them would have been like lemon juice in a paper cut.

As for keeping in touch with people who weren't nice in high school, I'm still not sure what to do about all of that. I like knowing what's going on with them, but sometimes, I just want to delete all of them from being my friends on Facebook. It's funny, isn't it?

I think that you are great. I wish I was better with words like you. I'm sorry for the long comments all the time. I think that you are awesome. Thanks for always being a friend, even though the years have taken us far apart.