The Dating Game
The Urge to Purge
Tips for “x’ing” your ex electronically (and emotionally)
It ain’t over till it’s over.
Until, it is.
And when all you have left of your most recent relationship is a couple of mis-matched gym socks, a bootlegged CD of a Journey cover band and several ill-fitting pieces of gifted sports paraphernalia, you know it’s time to purge. And fast.
Not only is it time, but most likely, it’s long overdue. Don’t beat yourself – unfortunately the purging part of the break-up process can take (sigh) months of painful discarding, and the unexpected discovery of tucked-away, tear-jerking cards, outfit receipts from those big nights out and the e-mails you actually printed out because they were that special. And, if it couldn’t be any worse, as 21st century gals we are also faced with the endless world of e-purging, with countless text messages, e-mails, digital photos and social networking Web site connections that felt oh-so-right at the time.
I know, I’m starting to experience the side effects of the single-girl slump too just writing this, but let’s remember – the urge to purge is natural, healthy and — most importantly –necessary.
After all, the single best part of the purge is clearing out your heart and mind for the opportunity to merge with someone else. Check out these tips for some of the fastest, easiest ways to get him off your mind, and out of your inbox, for good.
1. E-mail: Probably the worst offender just in terms of sheer volume. With most Web-based e-mails offering extensive storage space, why would you have deleted even the most banal of daily e-banter between the two of you? And honestly, sorting all your e-mails by name (before highlighting all of his and boldly pressing ‘delete’) might open the door for easy browsing of (and potential bawling over) old exchanges. But if you can resist reading them, do this immediately. And don’t forget to delete them from your ‘trash’ after or it doesn’t count. Um, what e-banter?
E-mail auto-complete (when your e-mail politely saves you the trouble of typing in an entire address by automatically popping up options) can also be an hourly reminder of him. With most Web-based e-mails, it’s a simple matter of going into your contacts and erasing him from your list (even if he was never an official part of your e-address book). Your contacts typically store every address you’ve ever sent to. In Outlook, type in his address until auto-complete does its magic, scroll down to highlight it and press ‘delete.’
E-mail folders – a forgotten enemy. You created one long ago labeled with his initials and now it’s a treasure trove of times past. Turn forgotten enemy into forgotten and get rid of it.
2. Cell phone: I know this is pretty obvious, and that your girlfriends have been telling you this for weeks, but you gotta delete his number. You gotta. Even if you’re vigilant about not calling or texting, I guarantee that a few ‘beer tears’ will weaken your defenses. And why make your hangover any worse?
Text messages, like e-mails, are a little harder to handle. As long as you’re purging though, consider deleting all your texts (it feels great) – both sent and received. Luckily, most cell carriers automatically delete text data after a certain amount of time, or you might have to activate a setting on your phone. A quick call to your cell phone’s customer service line to find out is way worth it.
3. Social networking: Luckily, you can “remove a friend” on Facebook just as easily as you can add one (view your entire “friends” list and scroll over the “x” next to his name to “remove friend”). Don’t forget about any of his friends or family too (unless of course, they are truly mutual). He won’t receive notification that you’ve done this and the only way he’ll know is if he searches for you on his “friends” list. Even Lois Lane wouldn’t have been able to resist checking out Clark Kent’s profile and status updates, and she’s Superwoman. So do yourself a Superfavor and “remove.”
Don’t forget to block or erase him from AIM, Gchat, MSN Messanger, Twitter, etc. And do it all in one swoop – the faster his screen name is off your screen, the faster he’ll be off your mind.
4. Digital photos and songs: Once you get going it can be easy to delete a bunch of text, but erasing the digital photo album of your weekend getaway to Martha’s Vineyard might work better with martini in hand. Start with deleting them from the most accessible places (your computer, iPod, and whichever social networking and photo sharing sites you use). If you must, limit yourself to a few of your favorites, but only keep them on your external hard drive.
And last, but certainly not heart-breaking least, songs. You can never anticipate when it will haunt you on the radio or a movie soundtrack, but you can keep it from shuffling up your emotions on your iPod. If there’s an artist or whole album that you shared and still adore (yes, even that Journey cover band) keep it around, along with a spare tissue, until your heart heals. And believe me, it will.