Should We Delete Digital Evidence of Relationships Lost?

The internet has become a virtual graveyard for past flings. Everything from facebook relationship status changes to pictures of you and your ex on that Hawaiian cruise serve as digitial memories of lost loves.

But should this evidence have an expiration date?

I once dated a guy who all but demanded I take down a picture I had on my Facebook of my ex. This created quite the uncomfortable situation as I didn’t see the need to get rid of it, and he took the picture as me still having feelings for old guy. It was a losing battle for both of us. I eventually took it down, thinking to myself, maybe this does send the wrong message, but I resented him for pointing it out to me.

When I break up with someone, my initial thoughts do not revolve around deletion. Sure we’ll cut off contact, but do I really go through my phone deleting every text message, defriending him on facebook? Absolutely not… because I have a life.

I can understand how if the break up is very painful or you were seriously hurt in the process, you might not want a person to pop up on your newsfeed – maybe you don’t need the constant reminder that someone you loved has moved on. I’ll give you that.

But how far is this supposed to go? A guy points out a picture that disturbs him, okay sure maybe it really isn’t a big deal and you take it down… but must we take inventory of any ties to past guys on social networking sites, photo sites, cell phone cameras? And what about email? Are you to sit there and search for any message, google chat, instant message that bears an old flame’s name?

I once dated a guy in the army and though we have ended things, I’ve kept every letter he’s ever written me in a little box. It’s not like I look at them all the time, but it was a special relationship, my first love in fact, and I can’t bring myself to throw them out. So it’s no surprise that when sorting the messy internet trail of my love life, I feel there’s an emotional importance in preserving digital memories as well.

Instead of going through this tedious process in an attempt to erase former suitors, maybe the key to the internet is to just stop doing any of this all together. No pictures, no relationship statuses, nothing that could tie you to another person indefinitely.

But let’s be honest, that is about as plausible as my new years resolutions: never going to happen.

So when it comes to ditching digital evidence of exes, what feels right? Do you have a timeline to get rid of said memories? Or maybe you don’t even care about this at all?

Happy deleting!
-Katy