When actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced on her website that she and her then husband Chris Martin had decided to “consciously uncouple”, the Internet laughed. In unison.
That was in 2014, and Paltrow was ridiculed for months for coining the quirky term and also for taking herself too seriously. But my, how things have changed since then.
Today, on top of the regular cheesy vomit-inducing #isaidyes engagement/wedding/baby-on-the-way announcements, there is a new kind of post that keeps popping up on our timelines – the breakup post.
Modern Family star Ariel Winter hinted at her breakup from songwriter Laurent Claude Gaudette with this post: “Love doesn’t die, it simply evolves. We grow up, we realise what we truly want. I’m excited for this new chapter in my love life – love is all around.”
Couples are announcing their breakups to family, friends and even fans using social media sites and surprisingly, they are not at all cringeworthy. These aren’t your regular “so-and-so is a lying, cheating piece of scum. It’s over between us” kind of posts.
These are posts that are respectful of both parties, cherishing the time they have spent together but admit that they are unable to carry on the love.
“(Partner’s name) and I would like to inform you that we are no longer together. Our romance may have come to an end, but our respect for each other remains forever. We thank you all for being a part of this amazing journey but the time has come for us to move on individually” is an example of how these posts are written.
Such posts are important, especially if – for some reason or other – one has been invested in the relationship too. Creepy? Not at all – this happens a lot among social media influencers who have followers who root for couples they don’t even know in real life.
Australian model Ashley Hart took it one step further when she penned a whimsical poem about her breakup from then-husband and fellow social media influencer Buck Palmer. At the very least, it answered questions that her fans would have had about the lack of Buck-related posts in her timeline.
Some people might say that it is unnecessary to share such details of their lives, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise since we now live in a world where oversharing on social media has become the norm.
“These days, social media has made revealing such private info a lot easier because one can just post info without having to see the targeted audience in the eye. Of course, the primary intention is usually to get almost immediate emotional support, understanding, an ‘agreement’ from one’s closest ‘friends’,” says Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences Research Resources Centre director Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Najib Mohamad Alwi.
“One interesting observation is that on FB (or other social media sites), these ‘friends’ could only be an acquaintance in the real world, but in cyberspace, he or she may appear very close and supportive. And this is a very important support network for many people these days,” he adds.
But wouldn’t you want to know why we do not see pictures of the couple, or posts in which they tag each other anymore?
In fact, it could even stop us from making a social media faux pas of mentioning the (now non) significant other in the same post. It surely is a healthy way of communication, for the person who posts them as well as their cyber buddies?
“One can have no control on how their friends will be affected by the status. If many people liked or gave encouraging or supportive comments on their status as they hoped, couples can feel understood and perhaps even relieved. On the other hand, such status (updates) may also invite negative comments, which might make the situation worse for the couple,” says Muhammad Najib.
Whether these breakup posts are tasteful or not, what is important is that it gives us, their friends, family and followers, closure. We now know that the particular chapter of their lives has closed, and like them, we too have to move on.
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