Ending a relationship in general is never easy, but figuring out how to deal with it on social media after you've shared romantic pictures makes it even more complicated! Once you publicly share those photos across your digital platforms, it's hard to keep a breakup private. This situation becomes even more intense for celebrities and reality stars who are open to way more scrutiny and embarrassment when trouble enters the picture (shedding a tear for you Scheana Shay and Rob Valletta)!
The brunette beauty made her love affair with Rob very public on this season of Vanderpump Rules, but the couple have since called it quits. However, both Scheana and Rob’s Instagram's are still dotted with photos of each other that they haven't taken down, which is pretty atypical after a high-profile breakup. Since there is no digital etiquette handbook, we turned to Michael Tommasiello, Director of Digital Strategy at Talent Resources, to find out how celebs and regular people can handle a digital breakup gracefully!
Michael handles social media for a variety of clients (including Dorinda Medley from The Real Housewives of New York City) and offered some tips and insight on the matter. He explained that whether someone takes couples pictures down after a breakup or leaves them up is fairly dependent on how the relationship ended. For a celebrity, scrubbing social media completely of an ex usually implies a messy breakup. “There is no way that doesn’t fuel speculation that something incredibly awful happened, or that one party acted in an insane way.” If you want people to forget your breakup, his advice is “to pretend it doesn't matter.”
Michael also encourages keeping the pictures up if the couple is no longer dating, but are still on good terms: “The last thing you want to seem is salty, or too out of sorts with the breakup. It takes a really bad situation to make people really want to erase their exes social media presence off their pages.” So, in the curious case of Scheana and Rob, it seems they handled it in the best possible way to mitigate bad blood rumors!
For celebs (or regular folks) who do go through a bad breakup and want to remove their pictures with their ex, the best trick Michael advises is to “gradually do it, as to not cause too much of a disruption or draw too much attention to it.”
Majority of the people we spoke with agreed that deleting all photo evidence of a relationship after a breakup depended on the reason it ended. Lauren C. of Texas says she always leaves the pics up, but she “changes the profile pic and unfollows/ de-friends immediately!” Shana Y. of New York says she leaves all photos up and “no deleting and no blocking” because it’s a part of her story. Jess F. of Texas says she “blocks from social and purges the pictures online,” but admits sometimes she keeps a copy of certain photos because she knows she will look at them later and laugh.
Michael says for non-celebrity breakups, “everyone’s state of mind is different, and they cope with things in different ways.” He believes that it's not rude to handle it how you see fit (deleting photos or blocking your ex) because it is important to do what makes you happy after a breakup; “If not seeing pictures of your ex does that for you, then by all means, unfollow them.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Brett D. of New York says as a rule of thumb he doesn't add pictures with anyone he dates ever on social media. He explained that it makes everything much easier since “all good things must (and do) come to an end.”
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