The study surveyed around 464 college-aged women (because guys never get their hearts broken?) and asked them questions about how often they checked their Facebook, how they felt about their exes (angry, sad, yearning for them, etc.), and how much their lives had changed because of the breakup.
According to the study, “In analyzing the responses, Marshall found that those who Facebook-stalked their ex more frequently were more likely to be hung up on the breakup, with greater distress, negative feelings, longing for the ex-partner and lower personal growth.”
This makes sense, the more you obsess about something the more that thing is going to affect you. Especially when you’re only lurking and speculating about things. “Who’s that girl in the picture? Is he with her? How did he get over me so fast?” When in reality you have no idea that the girl in those pictures is really his cousin. Unless she is Karen from Mean Girls you probably don’t have much to worry about. Plus, staring at all those pics will make you miss your ex-honey’s hot bod.
The only unexpected finding was that un-friending your ex may not help much either. “Former partners with whom we are no longer in contact, by contrast, may remain shrouded in an alluring mystique, suggesting that remaining Facebook friends with an ex-partner may actually help rather than harm one’s post-breakup recovery,” wrote psychologist Tara Marshall.
If you never hear from your ex again, you’ll only imagine that they’re doing awesome stuff without you (like dating Taylor Swift, hanging out with Josh Hutcherson, and becoming an astronaut) whereas if you can see their boring status updates you’ll be less prone to a rapid imagination. I don’t think you’ll feel like you’re missing out when all your former-boo posts about is eating sandwiches and playing X-box in his mom’s basement. Unless he posts pics of a really, really good sandwich without saying where he got it from.
What this study proves is that we need studies about more important things, but also that it’s hard to find the balance between obsession and completely shutting someone out. I guess that means only lurking a couple of times a week. What’s most important is to know that as much as you are stalking your ex they are definitely stalking you. Facebook would go out of business if both parties weren’t making up scenarios about the new cousins and sandwiches we are supposedly hooking up with.
What do you think about stalking or un-friending your ex? Let us know in the comments.