Facebook recently announced a new way of removing the bad user experience that is your ex-partner from your life. On Friday, the company rolled out tools to hide your ex on Facebook after you change your relationship status.
While that’s all well and good, social media is the obvious place people go when they want to cleanse the Internet of any reminders of a once-thriving relationship. Facebook is really just speeding up a process that singles already take part in. We expect to see memories of exes pop up in our News Feed and Instagram timelines, so we actively try and avoid them.
However, there are a number of services in which the ghosts of exes remain, and frequently we forget about them until an address, notification, or payment appears to remind us that online connections extend far beyond just Facebook friendships. It’s not just social media, but all the apps and services that are connected through phone numbers, social profiles, and other personally identifiable bits of information that connect us to a person we cared about.
To help decouple yourself beyond hiding exes on Facebook, we’ve put together a list of services that should also be purged when a relationship is over.
With this social payments app, you can see transactions between your friends, including those happening between your partner and their new fling. If you forget to remove an ex from your Venmo friends list, you could login and see them splitting the price of concert tickets with their next date. Ew.
On-demand ride services let you designate a home address so you don’t have to type in the address each time you need it. While it’s efficient, it can also remind you of the home you no longer have when you move out of a place you shared with an ex. I’ve experienced the awkwardness after a breakup when using Uber or Lyft: it was painful to remove my ex-boyfriend’s apartment from my “Home,” designation. (One night when I’d had one too many cocktails, I accidentally tapped the unchanged Home, and wound up outside his house instead of mine. Oops.)
3. Food delivery apps
@selenalarson also let ye among us who has not accidentally seamless chicken tenders to their ex's apartment cast the first tender
— alanna (@alanna) November 19, 2015
Runkeeper and other fitness apps that have a friends list to keep you motivated and help track your progress can easily be forgotten about—until you get a notification at 8pm that your ex-boyfriend completed his four-mile run. (Although it can feel rather empowering knowing you ran six miles earlier that afternoon.)
5. Amazon and other online retailers
There’s nothing more awkward than when you forget to update a saved address and that package of books or lingerie you ordered from Amazon or Victoria’s Secret ends up delivered to your ex’s doorstep.
6. Cloud storage services
@selenalarson Dropbox auto sync phone photos… 😖
— James Seymour-Lock (@JamesSLock) November 19, 2015
With storage apps like Dropbox or shared iCloud photo streams, it can be easy to forget that photos you add can be viewed by your former significant other. Unfortunately, disentangling yourself from such accounts might require viewing photos or information a person didn’t mean to share.
7. Game consoles
Because you can see friends’ activities on gaming services like Xbox One and the PlayStation Network, you might unwillingly see an ex’s activity or new friends. If you want to avoid your exes seeing your latest information, update the privacy settings to lockdown what you share with friends.
That awkward moment when your ex appears in the activity feed playing “99 Problems.”
It’s never easy to go through a break up, and when so much of our lives are connected both online and off, reminders of interests, games, photos, and food shared together can pop up when you least expect it. Facebook is taking a proactive approach to absolve the awkwardness, but for many other apps and services, we have to disconnect from an ex on our own.
In a world increasingly digitized, it’s almost impossible to eliminate every trace of a relationship immediately—but perhaps it’s those reminders that can help us overcome heartbreak bit by bit.
Illustration by Max Fleishman