Facebook's New Controls Mean You Don't Have to Unfriend Your Ex

How Facebook is making breakups easier to handle in the age of social media.

— -- Getting over a breakup was easier before social media: You delete their number, throw away photos and remove every trace of the person from your life. In the age of social media, moving on can be a bit more complicated.

Facebook announced today it will begin testing a new set of controls available to users in the United States for when relationships are no longer "Facebook official." While some people may opt to unfriend or block an ex after a breakup, Facebook's new tools give users the options to stay friends but control how much they see of their ex or their ex sees of them.

Beginning today, when a user in the United States changes their relationship status, they will be prompted to try the new tools, which will give them the option to see less of their ex's name and photo on the site without having to unfriend or block them.

"We'll do our best to not show their posts in News Feed, or suggest their name when people write a new message or tag friends in photos," Kelly Winters, a Facebook product manager, said in a newsroom post.

The new controls also allow users to decide how much of their profile they want their former partner to see. For those who may have bad feelings triggered by going back in time on Facebook, there's also an option to untag any posts with an ex or edit who can see them.

"This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives," Winters said. "We hope these tools will help people end relationships on Facebook with greater ease, comfort and sense of control."