Why Social Media & Ex-Boyfriends Don’t Mix

Facebook & Your Relationship

It’s estimated that nearly 300 million people worldwide use Facebook to check up on former flames. With a number that large, we’re betting that far fewer are willing to admit to their social media stalking. Surprisingly though, the problem doesn’t lie in a few harmless trips to your ex-boyfriend’s Facebook page. Instead, the real issue is the effect of social media on your healing heart.

A recent study done by Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking shows that remaining Facebook friends with an ex may disrupt your ability to heal emotionally after a breakup. Referred to as “interpersonal electronic surveillance” (we like to call it good ‘ole Facebook stalking), the act of excessively checking your ex-boyfriends’ social media profile has some unintended consequences.

Titled Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations with Post-Breakup Recovery and Personal Growth, the study researched the effects of continued online monitoring of a former partner via the social networking site.

Data was collected from over 400 participants to determine their Facebook usage as well as their personal adjustment post-breakup. The study showed that surveillance created greater current distress over the breakup, as well as more negative feelings, longing for the ex, sexual desire and lower personal growth.

“Just as real life contact with ex-partners may inhibit growth, healing and well-being, so may virtual contact,” says Brenda K. Wiederhold, editor in chief of Cyberpsychology.

In a sense, social media stalking is the virtual equivalent of running into your ex on the street (luckily, you don’t have to worry that he’ll judge your pajamas or lack of mascara). So while Facebook is great for keeping tabs on friends, it’s clear that the site works to keep you at an emotional standstill post-breakup. Instead of obsessively checking up on how much his hairline has receded since you last each other, we suggest turning off your laptop until you’ve moved on.

How has social media affected you relationship? How do you deal with ex-partners on Facebook?

Plus more from The Nest:

Would You Friend Your MIL on Facebook?
Facebook is Updating the Status of Your Marriage
Is Facebook to Blame for Divorce?