BY MELISSA DRAKE
In the 1996 movie “Eraser,” Tony Fontana describes the plot as follows: John Kruger works for the witness relocation program as a U.S. Marshal. His job is to remove all traces of the identity of any witness in the program and to, as called for, eliminate threats against any of those witnesses.
In today’s world, do you think it’s possible to delete someone’s identity? More importantly, is it wise?
I’ve noticed this as a practice in today’s dating world, and I’m troubled by it.
First, I’ll acknowledge I’m new to the dating scene, so I’m not coming from a place with a lot of experience. My husband and I separated in 1997, and later divorced in 1999. After that, I focused primarily on taking care of my son. I also worked full-time, finished a Bachelor’s degree while attending night school, and cared for my aging parents who passed away in 2010 and 2011.
Meanwhile, I was majorly depressed (and heavily medicated) during most of that time, so dating was not a priority. However, when my son left for college in the fall of 2014, I started to take care of myself, got serious about self-love, and re-entered the dating scene, albeit awkwardly. Now that I’ve had a few years under my belt, I want to address something I’ve observed. It’s the expectation and compulsion to delete all traces of former relationships from social media accounts, as soon as a relationship ends.
These actions are even more concerning if the former relationship included children, as parents must continue to be in a relationship (in a different manner) for an indefinite amount of time, as their children grow up and navigate the world.
I simply don’t understand why men and women are so quick to erase history.
This is especially bothersome to me when starting a relationship, and the new partner insists you delete photos with an ex from Facebook.
Behaviors like this scream insecurity to me. And I mean insecurity for both people—the person asking for the photos to be removed, and the person deleting them.
If you’re comfortable with who you are, and who you are in relation to your partner, their former relationships shouldn’t be an issue—except to draw on as a learning experience.
It is my belief that no experience is ever wasted. There’s a reason the relationship existed, and there’s also a reason the relationship ended. Deleting all evidence of the relationship does not make the relationship “unhappen,” nor does it negate the significance of the connection you had with this person at one time.
Then again, who am I to judge? I literally had a bonfire with all the physical remnants of my last significant relationship, while leaving the electronic ones intact. Maybe clearing the digital files is equivalent to a physical bonfire.
I understand with Facebook in particular, the “On This Day” reminders can be troublesome, as anniversary dates roll around. They often stir up reminders, and sometimes emotions that are not always welcome.
I’m not certain what the answer is. What I am certain of is this: I’m grateful for every relationship I’ve had—even those that ended badly. I have no desire to delete the evidence they occurred from social media.
Also, if a new partner asked me to delete such evidence, I’d be more likely to delete the new partner, because they’re asking me to delete a part of my history.
That history makes me who I am, and I’m quite proud of every experience that brought me here (especially the difficult ones). If that partner chooses not to accept me wholly and fully, (social media memories and all), they are not for me.
It’s important to own our worth. Our history is the single biggest contributor to the worth we’ve earned to date. While not every experience or relationship we had was perfect, or even good, the lessons we earned were invaluable. I’ll be damned if I let someone attempt to dismiss any one of them.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom.
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