According to a study released by the Pew Research Center on teens, dating, and technology, teenagers going through a breakup aren’t creating digital shrines to their exes or pining for them on Instagram at the end of a relationship.
In fact, severing ties or “pruning connections” (that is, erasing any sign of their ex-partner’s existence from their phones and lives) is a common post-breakup ritual for teenagers. The statistics are especially striking for girls: 48 percent reported deleting their ex’s number from their phone, 38 percent untag and delete couples photos, 37 percent have blocked an ex on social media, and 30 percent have blocked an ex from texts.
The reasons why are wide-ranging. Some teens recognize that social media makes it much harder to get over someone, so they unfollow as a mature, self-preserving tactic. Others do it out of spite, or out of respect for their new partner, Pew reports.
And some do it because they understand that once you break up, your social media past and future cease to matter. Said one wise young woman who was quoted in the study: “I delete the statuses and stuff. I’m just like this is irrelevant now.”