Days after it was announced that she and Pete Davidson had broken up, Ariana Grande said that she would be saying "bye bye" to the internet for "just a lil bit." In a since-deleted Instagram story, she wrote to fans, "time to say bye bye to the internet for jus a lil bit. it’s hard not to bump news n stuff that i’m not tryna see rn. it’s very sad and we’re all tryin very hard to keep goin. love u. and thank u for bein here always."
It's unclear if the "news" she mentions is specifically about her breakup, but it can actually be a good idea to take a little social media break after a relationship ends.
Susan Bartell, PsyD, a psychologist who works with couples, says that the internet can definitely make it harder to get through a breakup, especially if you're still following your ex on social media.
"I tell everybody that when you break up with someone, you have to block them on all your social media," she says. "Do whatever you can so they're not seeing you, and you're not seeing them."
That may sound harsh, but Dr. Bartell says it's ultimately for the better.
"It's not just hard if you see them moving on with their lives, it's hard for you to know that they can see you [moving on]," she says. "Knowing that they're watching you makes you feel like you have to behave in a certain way."
You might be tempted to keep following someone in the hopes you'll remain friends, but Dr. Bartell says you should avoid social media landmines even if your breakup was friendly.
"Even if you end it on good terms, there's still a loss, and there's going to be pain if you see them start to date someone else, or put anything on their social media that makes it look like they might be dating someone else," she says. "The other thing is that it keeps you so engaged with the other person that it's harder for you to move on."
Of course, if you really are trying to be on good terms and be friends again someday, it might be good courtesy to give the person a heads-up if you want to block them. You can try something like, "Hey, just so you know, I'm going to block/unfollow you on social media, and it's not because I hate you, but I need time to heal."