The beginning of any classic 2000s rom-com often depicts the heroine as sad, lonely, and understandably upset after the end of a relationship. You know the opening montage of post-breakup cliches all too well: eating ice cream, watching comfort movies, ordering takeout, getting bangs, having a wild one-night stand, or taking an impulsive trip.
And while all of these are valid ways to deal with a split, I can’t help but realize I’ve never seen a breakup scene where the protagonist does something actually realistic, like spending an entire Saturday afternoon unsubscribing from countless emails addressed to their former partner, deleting all 200 photo albums on iCloud, and changing the passwords on their joint Netflix, Hulu, Max, and Amazon profiles.
Beyond the obvious chore of getting your stuff back, there are a bunch of extremely annoying administrative tasks after a breakup we don’t ever think about. Forget Eat, Pray, Love — my post-split memoir is Cancel, Delete, Unsubscribe.
Task Number 1: Change ALL Of Your Passwords
Imagine this: You just got dumped. You’re devastated for weeks. One day, you wake up and you’re no longer crying every few hours, denying the fact that future plans are for a party of one, or imagining scenarios where you get back together (never a good idea). It’s a miracle! Then, you go to log in to your bank to pay your bills and realize your password is London2018, aka the city and year you met your ex.
Weeks and months after my last boyfriend and I called it quits, I was STILL logging into various accounts with triggering passwords that reminded me of different points in our relationship, or updating my info on streaming service accounts we used to share.
Of course, in the immediate period following the breakup, I’d be so stung that I’d immediately move on without actually dealing with the issue — by, you know, updating the passwords. It ended up taking months to get through all of my login info.
Additionally, as a freelancer who moves locations often, I am a frequent user of two-factor authentication. So cue a mental breakdown every time I log into online banking and get hit with the stupidest security question of all time: “Where did you meet your SO?”
Oh, you mean the one I don’t have anymore? Thanks, Bank of America!
Please don’t do this. Instead, pour yourself a big glass of your favorite comfort drink, and go through those passwords and security questions. Your heart (and checking account) will thank you.
Task Number 2: Updating Your Emergency Contact
Is it possible that updating your emergency contact could be even worse than the first task? Seriously, how many lists am I on?
I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times I’ve had to text my ex asking him to please update his emergency contact info for his flights. Sorry, bruh, but maybe it’s time we untangle our lives for good, starting with no longer putting me down as the person you’d like to be there if you woke up in the hospital.
Okay, so I’ve updated all the accounts, passwords, bills, and contact info, surely, surely there are no more surprises, right?
My phone and iCloud: Lmao, think again, bitch.
On this day in 2019…
Task Number 3: Clear Your Photo Library
We’ve all received a “suggested album” or “new memory” notification. Usually, it’s a sweet montage of that scenic hike with your dog while visiting your parents or the road trip you and your bestie took a few summers back.
You know what isn’t so cute? Reliving the (admittedly nice) trip to Barcelona my ex and I took four years ago while I’m texting him multiple times just trying to get my stuff back. I don’t want to see happy memories of me in one of the shirts I’m trying to get express mailed!
When you’ve been together for any length of time, but especially years (in my case), there are so many photos to go through. And honestly, I don’t think anyone can actually go through and delete every single photo from years of their life in one go. Who is that strong? If you are, more power to you (and please send the rest of us your secrets)!
I mean, even the most problematic relationships had some nice moments. I personally don’t want to delete entire memories from my brain or iCloud storage.
Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a few months and you make some questionable decisions regarding what to keep. There’s no playbook for this.
Task Number 4: Clean Up Your Social Media
Finally, social media. Sure, deleting Instagram posts of the two of you is less intimate than your photo library, but there’s something still weird about deleting photos from a public space, even if your profile is private. Suddenly, people you don’t really talk to message you things like, “Oh, did you guys BreAKuP?!?”
So, yes, breakups absolutely suck, but in between your own main character moments of crying, junk food consumption, and binge-watching, try to tackle one admin task every few days. If anything, at least you can add all these skills to your resume.