Do you feel that there is a certain impossibility to "breaking up" nowadays?
I just ended a "fervid" two year relationship with the woman I thought was going to be the "soul mate" for the rest of my life.
I don't know why it happened.
It probably had something to do with my being older.
You know... dealing with the dilemma we face every day where our important decisions are now defined by our fear of our finite mortality.
Do I fight for (or settle for) what I have now or can I find something better?
Every decision you make reduces your chances for new and possibly better experiences in our abbreviated futures.
Or, maybe it was the accumulation of all of the unhealthy neurosis I have developed over the years, that brought about this painful end.
I catch myself saying a lot: "I may be 58 years old, but I still feel 18."
Well, that is probably because I still haven't grown up emotionally.
I still don't know myself.
I still don't know what I want out of life.
I really don't know what I want out of a relationship.
I know I am a hopeless romantic.
But I can't reason how that is supposed to be defined.
I want my freedom and personal space, but I still want complete and utter trust and commitment from my partner.
As I write this I see how irrational that is.
Sometimes it does suck to be older.
Although, I am a good judge of character and can easily read people's emotions, that is a talent that I only seem to have in a business environment.
When it comes to close relationships I am blind.
I don't understand how I affect my partner.
I have been told I am manipulative and arrogant and sarcastic and yet inside I feel like a child, scared and unsure and hoping for direction.
I guess it will just take me a while to work through it.
But it will be harder now, in this world of advanced technology and social media exposure.
Let me explain why I feel this way.
In our distant past it was hard copy world.
Mementos, memories and pictures of your relationships that ended could be torn up or thrown away.
The physical evidence of your partnerships and romances could be discarded and forgotten quickly.
Today, I would have to rummage through dusty boxes of aging photos stored in a back utility closet to find any proof of the life I experienced during my first marriage back in the early 80's.
Because of that, those times are just a faded, distant memory.
As technology progressed, this became more difficult to do and breakups became more painful.
For instance, after my second divorce in 2011, the history and memories of my marriage are found on discs and hard drives and maybe a few scattered pictures posted on the internet (when it was still in its infancy).
Though more accessible, these memories too, are fading quickly.
But, now I am trying to rationalize and adjust to my most recent breakup.
Does it make sense that our relationship was such a powerful thing that I wish I could just forget about it?
Unfortunately, it is documented so heavily across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and the rest of the social media that it would take months and an act of Congress to remove the physical memories.
We were a very social couple.
We were vibrant.
We traveled a lot.
We attended concerts and festivals and shows and ballet.
We readily socialized with friends and neighbors.
And we took a lot of pictures and we posted those pictures on all of the social media sites.
We loved to post "happy pictures."
That's the kind of couple we were.
That's what Facebook was for.
Our love was intense and wonderful.
And, ironically, the pictures are still there as fresh as the days we posted them.
At the time, I never realized that I would be facing our history alone.
Every day, I am reminded of the great times my partner and I shared and then lost.
I mean, they were great memories.
When I run across the pictures online (which is often) the pain is immediate.
I scan still feel the blind fire of our budding romance when I look at our early pictures.
If I was emotional, I would cry.
I can still feel the warm bond and communion we developed as we became more comfortable with each other in the later pics.
It's almost as if I can relive every day we spent together.
I never realized how extensive (and invasive) the record of our short time together was.
And for all intents and purposes, I will never be able to block it out completely.
If I do attempt to remove the two years of pictures from my "face" of the Internet, there will still be "live" files that friends or family have.
Hell, even total strangers can have our pictures from when they thought a photo was "cute" and they commented on it.
It is no longer as simple as tearing them up and throwing them out.
So, what should I do?
What is the proper protocol these days?
Is the declaration of the end of our relationship not properly finalized until we change our Facebook "status?"
Do you have to "unfriend" each other and all common friends?
Do you have to go back and delete all of your pictures together?
Do you have to make a formal announcement with a witty meme?
You can't hide when something like this happens.
Everyone knows what is going on.
There are constant questions from friends because you haven't posted together in weeks.
I never bargained for this part of deal when I first became involved.
I guess I only have myself to blame.
At the time, posting our life online seemed like the fun thing to do.
But, when it's all said and done, maybe, this is not a negative?
Maybe this is a benefit of living in this day and age?
Maybe, seeing all of the positive aspects of your relationship right there in the "picture window" of the world wide web, helps put a clearer perspective on why things didn't work out?
Maybe this forces a couple to admit that there were "good times" as well as struggles?
Maybe this forces a couple to focus on what was/is most important in their lives?
Maybe this helps with the healing?
Do I really want to remove all traces of our relationship?
What do you think?