- YouTubers keep making breakup videos – a video where two halves of an ex-couple explain in great and personal detail why they decided to end their relationship.
- They’re nothing new. But breakup videos have come into the spotlight this summer as a high-profile YouTube power couple shocked their audience by announcing that they had continued to make videos six months after they broke up.
- We spoke to YouTubers, who say that it’s all a part of building an authentic connection with their audiences.
- A relationship expert says that making these videos may not be the healthiest thing in the long run.
On June 4th, comedy vloggers Liza Koshy and David Dobrik – both superstars in their own right, and together considered a power couple by the YouTube creator community – posted a video that shocked their fans, announcing that they had broken up…six months prior.
In the midst of their breakup, the pair had continued to make videos together without missing a beat. That’s why it was so jarring for viewers when, in the six-minute video, Dobrik explained that “she felt like we’ve been kinda distant…we’ve just been so busy.” Today, more than two months later, that video has more than 40 million views.
Here’s the video:
If the thought of sharing your heartbreak with millions of viewers seems crazy, you might be surprised to know that, for years, thousands of people have been posting videos explaining their breakups for the world to see – a trend that’s bound to continue on, especially with Koshy and Dobrik making such a splash with their own breakup video.
We spoke to some YouTubers about why they would choose to turn their breakups into video content – as well as a relationship expert and psychologist who says this practice could be harmful to your mental health.
Representatives for Koshy and Dobrik did not respond to requests for comment on their breakup video.
Breakup videos usually tell both sides of the story
Breakup videos are nothing new on YouTube.
Simply searching for the phrase “We broke up” on YouTube will yield hundreds of pages of videos, many of which have several millions of views. Some are by influencers and YouTube stars, but many are just by ordinary users.
They’re a particularly common practice among influencers with a large following – especially if, like Koshy and Dobrik, they happen to share an audience with their significant other. A few other YouTube power couples who have announced their split via a breakup video include Jake Paul and Alissa Violet, Shane Dawson and Lisa Schwartz, and Lucy Sutcliffe and Kaelyn Petras.
Notably, these videos rarely include the actual moment of the breakup. After the fact, though, the now ex-couple records a video where one or both parties explain where the relationship turned sour and why it eventually ended. Often, it gets emotional, as people bare their vulnerabilities for the world to see.
But why do people post them?
To figure out why breakup videos have become such a fixture on YouTube, we spoke to three content creators about why they opened up to their audiences about their breakups.
“We felt like people deserved to know because we did share our life online for 2 years,” said Domo Wilson, a popular YouTube vlogger. She was half of “Domo and Crissy,” a YouTube channel centered around the couple and their adventures.
When the two announced their split with a 31-minute video posted on August 1, Wilson says their fans were “were sad, frustrated and confused.”
“Some people thought we faked our break up because we were so mature with it. Sorry, we’re not gonna bash each other online for other people’s pleasure…We are best friends, who realised that we were better off that way. We are just so grateful that we get to stay in each other’s life, because not everyone gets to do this,” she said in an email to Business Insider.
For his part, Crawford Collins has more than 300,000 followers on his comedy video channel – roughly 134,000 of whom watched his 14-minute breakup video, in which both he and his ex-girlfriend give accounts of what eventually lead to the split.
“A big part of what I do is sharing my life with my supporters. So I made a video to explain to them what happened between us in the best way I could and to show that not all relationships have to end on a bad note,” he explained, when asked what motivated him to post the video.
“The reactions for the most part were very positive,” Collins wrote in an email. “I even received lots of comments/DMs from people saying how the video helped them get through their own breakup.”
“Posting my breakup video felt like something I kind of had to do. I don’t mind being open with my subscribers. I do what I can to keep them in the loop, ” said Alexandra Goedecke, of the fashion and beauty channel “AlexandrasGirlyTalk,” who posted a short, emotional, solo video announcing her recent breakup from her fiancee, who was not largely involved in her YouTube presence.
“People were wildly supportive of me and my position. That felt really good. There was this incredible sense of trust, that although my subscribers don’t know the details, they trust that life will carry on for me and that there is something incredible on the horizon.”
It may not be the healthiest idea
So, is posting a breakup video a healthy way to deal with heartbreak?
“No. Of course not,” says Dr. Peter Pearson of the Couple’s Institute in Silicon Valley. “Making videos like this requires a level of narcissism, emotional disconnect, and insane marketing skills, none of which are useful in a relationship or a break up.”
It’s his position that breaking up on YouTube gets in the way of the healthy processing of “genuine grief” and regret that should come with any kind of uncoupling. If you’re focused on “theatrics,” he says, you’re likely disconnected from your own emotions.
That disconnect could have a “degrading effect” on your future relationships, romantic and otherwise, he says. It can also condition you to think of your relationship as a “product,” rather than a genuine human connection.
Besides, you might have trouble explaining that video to your next date.
“It certainly doesn’t bode well later when you have to explain to a new partner that your last break up got 35 million views,” he joked.
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