After breaking up with his live-in boyfriend online, writer Will Doig realized IM had become an intimate part of their relationship, and the fallout was crushing. "At the first hint of crisis, my response had always been the same"—instant message his boyfriend "for an impromptu therapy session," he writes in Nerve. After the breakup, Doig went through "IM withdrawal, pregnant with random notions, trivia, gossip and anecdotes"—and nothing to do with them.
Over time, "I began to relearn how to shut up and work," writes Doig, who admits continuing to virtually stalk his ex on his Buddy List. Two years later, he has moved on to a less codependent relationship—offline. "I don't think he even has IM," Doig writes of his new boyfriend. "I don't have any uninterrupted 24-hour conversation in my life anymore. Turns out, I like this way better."