Things That Matter

After A Breakup, This Woman Went Back And Edited Her ‘Perfect’ Instagram Photos To Tell The Truth About Her Ex

Regular people do it, even celebrities do it: you break up with someone and cannot fathom seeing their face all over your social media. All those happy-go-lucky photos of you two together trigger hurt feelings or maybe you just don’t want to give them the satisfaction.

 A 22-year-old named Rosie decided to rewrite history in her own way. Rather than deleting all of the remnants of her exes, she decided to tell the truth about them. An assortment of her edited photo captions went viral with 57,000 likes on Twitter this month. Vice sat down with Rosie for an interview to discuss her process. 

Rosie was going through her Instagram archive one day when she noticed a pattern.

“Decided to unarchive all the pictures I had with shitty guys because I look cute but updated the captions to be more accurate,” Rosie said in a Twitter caption. 

In one photo Rosie is kissing her smiling beau on the cheek with the original funny caption, “like if you think I can do better.” The same photo now has the addendum, “he broke up with through Facebook messenger so yes, I can do better.” 

Before this, Rosie had tucked all her past relations away in Instagram’s archive. One day, while browsing through the old photos she noticed that the reason a lot of the pictures were hidden was because her exes were in them. 

“I cherish the memories, so I didn’t want to delete the photos nor the original caption. I wanted to keep these pictures that I love while acknowledging that I no longer love the people in the picture with me,” Rosie told Vice.  “Instead, I decided to edit the caption with a short phrase indicating that things have changed since. And then, I tweeted about it because I thought it would make a funny, lighthearted post about something that can be — and was, for me — very painful!” 

Rosie’s revision goes viral and garners a mixed response. 

“Girl you’re not alone. Mine broke up with me through text while I was in labor with our child,” one Twitter user wrote in response. 

Other users decided to use Rosie’s methodology to approach photos of their own exes on Instagram and social media.

Some got their own inspiration from this move of bravery.

“I truly appreciate this!! I don’t want to delete my IG photos of my exes bc they’re a part of my life, but I can EDIT them to show what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown. Thanks, girl,” another user said. 

While there was a wide swath of support on social media, Rosie also had her detractors. Many felt she was bullying her exes. Although she did note that she didn’t add new captions to photos of all of her exes, just the bad ones. 

“There are others who find the post immature and vengeful, and I can understand where they’re coming from too. Everyone copes with a breakup in different ways. An edited Instagram caption isn’t for everyone,” Rosie said.

Many women felt empowered by Rosie’s captions, especially those who overcome abusive exes. 

Rosie pointed toward another user’s response named Cass in the interview. Cass was engaged to an abusive man before eventually leaving him. Her edited captions, in particular, are a gut punch. 

In a photo of her smiling with her ex on their two-year anniversary, Cassie wrote, “I had to post things like this or else he didn’t believe I loved him and he would cheat on me because he felt ‘insecure.’ This was the third time I dyed my hair red because I was desperately seeking attention because things weren’t OK.” 

Rosie believes that deleting the photos of exes, for many women, is a coping mechanism to deal with trauma, however, it doesn’t really work. What happened really happened, no matter how good or bad, and there is no way that you can delete real-life events from history or memory, at least not yet. 

“So we find strength and healing in keeping these pictures and memories, but acknowledging how we have changed from them,” she said. 

For Rosie calling her exes out also allowed her to realize what she learned from each failed relationship and gave her the space to grow from it. She believes it is important not to give up on love, but to also realize love doesn’t just have to be romantic.

“Every heartbreak teaches us a little about ourselves and helps us understand what we want and what we deserve. I’m thankful for every experience I’ve had because I’m happy where I am today and those experiences helped me get here,” she said. “I also want to tell others to keep believing in love and know they deserve it, despite experiences that have made them feel otherwise.”

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