Is there a social media etiquette for break-ups?

It’s Valentine’s Day. A time for chocolate, flowers and romantic messages in cards – at least that’s the plan.

But what about when the relationship ends?

It’s almost impossible for celebrities to avoid the world finding out about break-ups when their every move is scrutinised on social media.

And it’s even more impossible when they dish the dirt on their ex themselves.

Take Megan Fox. Rumours she’s split from rapper Machine Gun Kelly started after she shared a cryptic Instagram post before deleting her account.

And some celebs aren’t that subtle. Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber had a very public Instagram beef, and Rihanna took a shot at all of her ex-lovers in a single post.

But what if you’re not a Hollywood A-lister and don’t have 10 million followers? Do the same rules apply?

One person who knows is etiquette expert William Hanson, who’s told Newsbeat his social media dos and don’ts after a split…

Mute, don’t block

“If seeing photographs of your ex pop up constantly is going to trigger you then yes, maybe do a mute,” says William, who is best mates with Radio 1 presenter Jordan North.

“I think blocking is a little bit harsh, quite frankly, and probably lets the other person know that you’re really taking it personally.

“And most people that have gone through break-ups don’t want the others to know that they’re even thinking about their ex.

“So a block perhaps gives off the wrong signal. [With] a mute, they’ll be none the wiser so you are protected.”

Go cold turkey

“I think you can do things too hastily. And I would just take a moment to think what you do,” William tells Newsbeat.

“I would almost be tempted to delete all social media.

“Just so you’re not tempted to post some sort of thirst post or an inspirational quote to show how miserable you’re feeling or to get attention from your ex or other people.

“I would be tempted to go cold turkey for a few days, just to really reflect and think about what the best course of action should be.”

Keep it to yourself

And what about a post or story calling out a partner in the heat of the moment? If we haven’t all done it, we’ve probably thought about it.

“It’s never a good idea to post publicly about your break-up, to bad mouth them,” William says.

“You lose the upper hand the moment you do that.

“However badly they may have treated you, two wrongs do not make a right.”

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Draft, don’t send

And what if you have suspicions your partner has been having an affair?

“If there has been a third party involved, I would not feel the need to send them a message unless, let’s say, they were a very close friend,” William says.

“If they were a stranger, getting involved and letting rip on them isn’t probably going to help the situation.

“By all means open a draft note on your phone and type that message that you desperately want to send. But then don’t send it.

“Writing it down on your phone can help, but actually sending it to them very rarely does and you can come across as a little bit weird if you do that.”

What about a thirst trap?

William doesn’t think it’s a good idea to post something that’s fishing for attention.

“The whole nature of social media is that we are trying to get attention from someone in some form,” he says.

“I wouldn’t suggest doing a thirst trap ever but I can understand the desire for people to get a little bit of validation from people online.”

And has William ever posted one?

“No, people don’t need to see that.”

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