Megan Fox recently deleted her Instagram – but not before leaving us speculating about her relationship status with fiancé Machine Gun Kelly.
“You can taste the dishonesty / it’s all over your breath,” Fox posted on Instagram, quoting lyrics from Beyoncé’s “Pray You Catch Me.” The post included a series of photos sans her beau; she removed some – but not all –photos of him from her Instagram before deleting it. Reports have since swirled around their relationship status.
The notion that Fox may have soft-launched her breakup left people curious about the move – regardless of what transpired. Soft-launching a breakup, experts say, isn’t necessarily a good or bad idea – it ultimately depends on what someone’s intention is behind their social media posts.
“You always have to be prepared for the unfavorable responses, or maybe the lack of response,” says Cecille Ahrens, a licensed clinical social worker at Transcend Therapy in California.
What social media teaches us about breakups
Eagle-eyed Instagram followers are used to scouring celebrity posts for clues about someone’s relationship. But they do it in their personal lives, too. Have they posted a picture with their boyfriend recently? Why has his wife not commented on his photos since last year?
“There’s this unwritten – almost expectation – to confirm on social media, whether you’re together or not still with this person,” Ahrens says. “Not that you have to, but I think it is kind of implied, because of our culture.”
This goes for celebrities and non-celebrities alike.
“Among non-celebrities, sudden breakups can be very disruptive to family, for example – with rippled effects for one’s parents, children or friend network,” says Maryanne Fisher, a psychology professor at St. Mary’s University in Canada. “So, a soft launch might be a way to gently signal that a breakup is coming, or at least that there is serious discord.”
It might be better to wait until a breakup is “official official,” before dropping clues. Unless, of course, that’s the intention.
People – celebrities included – may opt for this route if they’re trying to send a message to their significant other, or are working through their anger or pain. Ahrens says it can come off as passive-aggressive, and as a therapist, she likes to explore options with clients. What are the benefits of saying something versus not saying anything at all?
How to soft-launch a breakup
If it’s time to break up, and you plan on soft-launching, here’s what to do:
- First, figure out if you’re ready. Ahrens recommends people “check in with themselves to see if they’re mentally, emotionally strong enough to handle questions or comments that may not be favorable or supportive towards them,” she says. “Because once you open it up to the public, you’re really opening yourself up not just for support, but also for scrutiny, and criticism.”
- Clue in your inner circle first. “My best advice would be to directly tell those who are close to you – friends, family, colleagues,” Fisher says. “Share the news with those you care about, and who care about you. You might need sincere support from others.”
- Keep in mind that people are watching – so post wisely. “Gossip travels fast, and information can be easily distorted,” Fisher adds. “It is best to tell a genuine account when the dust settles, rather than post something to gain sympathy, or attention from others, or in an attempt to make the other party feel guilty and unsettled.”
If the soft launch is helping you process something and you’re prepared for the consequences, go for it.
Delve more into breakup culture
New relationship term alert:Is your ex popping up out of the blue? Careful, they may be ‘paperclipping’ you.
‘I’ve invested too much time’:Reasons we stay in relationships longer than we should
Sigh:Why am I still hung up on my ex? The answer is more complicated than you realize.
Good to think about:Thinking about getting back together with an ex? How to know if they deserve a second chance
Story Credit: usatoday.com