When Twitter knows you’ve split before you do…

It used to be a little simpler to pick up on the signs that your relationship was coming apart at the seams. A gradual drift apart, longer working hours at the office, a moving van appearing unexpectedly at the marital home….

In this era, it is entirely likely that social media is likely to register your impending relationship implosion before you do, and everything you needed to know about your couple-doom will be delivered by this chirpy little fellow.


For the uninitiated, prone to some new-age rookie mistakes, here are the five twitter clues that might indicate you are headed for #splitsville.

Early warning visuals

Body language is a funny thing, right? A reliable but subtle indicator that all is not well – and Twitter conveniently dishes this right up to you in photographic form. Take these examples….

kardashian body language

At the point you become more interested in holding your handbag with both hands rather than one of your boyfriend’s hands, disaster looms.

It is no defence to cite the fact that said handbag cost you more than a small luxury car.

Slightly further north on the scale of awkward body language is something like this.

body language

Death-ray stare from Katie, something between fear and sheepish from Tom and even the kiddie knows she doesn’t want to be there.

The warning signs need not be pictorial. Some of us have very predictable behaviour around a breakup. Daily infusion of Lindt almond chocolate anyone?

Despite her youth, no one demonstrates more entrenched breakup response behaviour than Taylor Swift. I give you:

  • ‘I knew you were trouble’
  •   ‘Better than revenge’, and
  •  if you were any doubt about potential reconciliation ‘We are NEVER. EVER. getting back together.

So if you were entangled with her and you saw this status

taylor swift-studio

you know its over and another #splitsvillesong is about to hit itunes.

Aberrant behaviour

Next step along from the early warning body language signs are the deliberately posted images of defiant behaviour.

A clear sign that perhaps you are not the same people as you were when you first coupled up is when you wake to a tweet that shows your significant other has morphed from this

hanna montana

To this

aberrant pic cyrus

…potentially in a bid to deliberately move away from the image they knew you fell in love with. If you hadn’t detected the subtle hair and wardrobe change, they are now visually bludgeoning you with it with all the subtlety of a Donatella Versace spray tan.

Alternatively it may come in the form of a reminder that they have joined a new crowd that you are no part of.

miley and the twerking kids

It could even be the simple donning of an outfit/coat of armour that screams I NEVER WANT YOU TO TOUCH ME AGAIN.

aberrant pics kardashian

Cryptic Tweets

Nothing says its over like not saying its over.

The twittersphere abounds with quotes from the vintage sayings of relationship gurus such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, to new age chaff that spews forth from the google relationship quote generator faster than you can brew a pot of tea.

obsucre tweets marilyn

obscure tweets - taylor

A touch of obscurity there. With any luck you may be less in the dark if you are on the receiving end of something more robustly obvious like Seal simply tweeting #theend.

Radio silence

There are risks in dating someone who needed to go through tabloid humiliation to learn that flirty texts to someone other than your partner are messy when made public. That said, you might feel that the risk is mitigated when he went on to reform himself into a bit more of a monogamist and moved onto twitter knowing that everything said was public. Hello Shane Warne

If you then proceed to play out your entire lovefest on twitter, the way you will recognise its demise as  this


Complete radio silence –thus proving that someone is obeying Mamma’s advice that if you have nothing nice to say……………

You are unfollowed

Unfollowing someone is the overt gesture that demonstrates that you don’t care to hear from them ever again, even digitally. (although there is nothing to stop you from routinely checking his twitter postings anonymously every hour thereafter. No evidence, and no stalker charges under ANYONE’S  jurisdiction)

If your twitter following is limited to your immediate clan only, it may equate to a number where you will probably notice you’ve lost one and can reciprocate immediately in the hope it gives an air of mutuality to the decision.

If you are Liam Hemsworth, with a following of 443,403, you won’t personally notice a decrement of one, but the entire world media will let you know.


If all of this seems to be overwhelming and you feel you lack the savvy and commitment to apply these learnings to your twitter feed, close your account and go back to Facebook.

There’s no room for doubt the day you see this little icon pop up in your feed from your now-former flame.


Four Stages of Breakup Grief – aka don’t wear hotpants

When the impact of the demise of a long term relationship hits you in your 40s, your reaction to it is likely to be somewhat different to your experience when you last transitioned to single.  Whilst the younger version of you still wailed about the loss of your three-month-strong relationship with your gothic moody boyfriend, and you felt that as a tender 20-something you life was indeed now over, you were likely to have been somewhat resilient and onto a new thing with a second year university student faster than you can say Beer Pong.

In your 40-s however, despite the significant life experience you have under your calf-skin Fendi belt, and the strength acquired from career limiting moves, fashion faux pas, credit card shocks and family meltdowns, this breakup is going to be more painful than the combined physical and financial pain of a production line of root canals.

root canal

ie – it will suck.

Thankfully, this too will pass, although you will want to give a thorough bludgeoning to every well-meaning acquaintance that tells you so (hence I’m telling you this from the safety of an anonymous blog with full moderation power over any written bludgeoning you might post in the little comments box)

In the spirit of the tremendously compassionate Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who neatly parcelled up bereavement into five stages of grief, let me offer you the four stages of recovery from the mid 40s relationship breakdown (yes, I realise I’m one short, but seriously, no one has died….)

 One – it begins with a Breakup Song

 Every breakup worth its salt has an accompanying anthem.  It needs to have characteristics that embody anger, jealousy, bleakness and despair.

Just as every 90s wedding I attended was accompanied by Shania Twain’s ‘From this Moment On’, I’d venture an opinion that 90% of the last two years’ breakups will have aligned themselves to the musings of Adele.  (who in turn picked up the mantle from the bleatings of Alanis Morissette)

combined morisset and adele

At all costs however, ensure that you choose the breakup song and that it DOESN’T CHOOSE YOU.    This is for the simple reason that a song, and indeed the complete works of that artist, may be ruined for you forever if associated with your breakup.

So you must venture beyond your favourite genres to something completely disposable given the risk your nasty breakup becomes associated with it for all eternity.

Even if you have a twin love for The Smiths and The Cure, a team of chaps with nary a joyful theme in their entire back catalogue, don’t go there if you would like to allow them an ongoing position in your playlist.

combined morrissey and cure

Instead I would personally recommend Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ as, once you have moved on, releasing this song from your life will be as insubstantial as the loss of a cluster of fairy floss after an ill-advised spinny ride at the local carnival.

 Two – It progresses to Dietary Dysfunction

This can go either way.

You may well dive head-first into a bucket of Ben and Jerry’s with the enthusiasm of a kid in one of those ball-rooms at Ikea.  From there you will progress to taking a large block of Lindt White Chocolate (the one with the almonds) in conjunction with your daily multivitamin in the firm view that both are equally essential to your wellbeing.

Alternatively, you will attempt to wrest control over your emotions by inflicting a vice-like hold on your eating habits to the point that you:

  •  Only eat foods of one particular colour (and let me tell you it won’t be white as CLEARLY all refined carbs will appear to you to represent poison)
  • Juice everything within reach with the objective of being reincarnated as that relentlessly joyful Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Make your way through the A-Z of diet books, from Atkins to Zone.

Either way, it can’t last, and you can expect a very Lindsay-Lohan moment as you arrive home one day to an intervention assembled in your lounge room – albeit in your case pushing a somewhat voluntary trip to a health spa rather than anything court-ordered.


 Three – Alcohol becomes a food group

Its misleading to depict these as phases as this and the dietary dysfunction phase are interchangeable, and in extreme cases occur in parallel.

In discussion of this phenomenon with one of my BFFs she recognised it immediately as ‘Ohhh, the divorce diet, ie open the mini-bar – I’M COMING IN’

Another described it as ‘Its OK Mummy, we might not have milk but your vodka is  in the freezer’

Thankfully, there is not a prescription drug on earth that can counter the nausea of a true divorce-hangover so you will eventually tire of losing your weekends to endless horizontal hours trying to ingest Gatorade and get upright.

You will, therefore,  move on.

 Four – Relentless Reinvention

Possibly more positive, but still ever-so-slightly dysfunctional, is the procession of steps you will take to try to reinvent yourself.  This can include, but is not limited to:

Clearin’ this house out of joy that I borrowed
From back in the day
Threw away my old clothes
Got myself a new wardrobe
I got something to say

 as long as you understand that gold hotpants are NOT FOR YOU now.

kylie m

  •  Taking on an extreme physical challenge. This might, hypothetically, entail you training for the New York Marathon, a feat so bizarre that even the universe laughs and feels compelled to intervene by sending Hurricane Sandy to save you from that fate.
  •  Getting new hobbies.  Ballroom dancing, Cross-fit, Knitting, Volunteering, Cycling, Blogging, Macrame.  Just understand that these are not an end in themselves and are only necessary so you can Facebook-check-in at all associated venues and give an air of someone having a riotously full life.

Don’t let it come to this

. two warnes