holding handsBreaking up is hard to do. But with Facebook, Twitter, and an iPhone full of old (filtered) photos, it's even harder. According to a new study, people have a tough time erasing the digital mementos of former flames.

We've all been there. You and What's His Face have decided to end things once and for all -- for real this time -- so you scroll through your contacts, intending to delete his phone number. But when you get there, you just ... don't.

And then there are the emails. The G-chats. The photos. And the cute things you wrote to one another on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The rational part of you wants to erase this digital file you have of Him, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-style, but you can't. You guys look so damn cute in your matching (ironic, of course) Christmas sweaters. And you can practically taste the salty air in that Instagram pic of both your feet at the beach. And the sexy G-chats you exchanged -- well, you don't want to delete those, do you?

See, but, you do. You guys broke up for a reason. And all your PhotoShopped digital memories aren't going to show that. They're going to show the good times. It's the Internet, remember? It's your highlights reel.

Even though the subject of the web -- social media in particular -- being one giant Lie Fest is one that's been beaten to death (and debated!), it's true. We get to edit our lives online. Leave out the bad stuff. Include only what's good and funny and enviable. Odds are, you don't have a file on your computer labeled "Petty Fights", where you keep transcripts of arguments you and your ex had about texts that weren't returned and trash that wasn't taken out. That stuff is omitted. So what you're left with is a beautiful archive of shining faces, artisan drinks, and good times. What you're left with is a lie.

I personally am not one to hold on to things from former flames, but I certainly see the reasoning behind why some do. Relationships are a big part of our lives. If you want to keep an old t-shirt, a photo, or a card, so be it. I see no harm in that. But I think it's a problem when the memories are strictly digital -- and they're taking up a gig on your iPhone. Because you won't remember things how they actually were, and odds are, you'll be tempted to go back to something that didn't work out for a reason.

Which is why, at the very least, you ought to delete that phone number.

Do you hold on to old photos, etc. of exes on your phone or computer?


Image via __LisaMarie__/Flickr