Researchers Want You to Know that Facebook Creeping on Your Ex Is a Terrible Way to Move On


Tracking your ex’s every move on Facebook is probably not the best way to move on with your life, and if that sounds like sort of a no-brainer to you, then you definitely have no idea how to write a grant proposal. As evidence — admittedly tangential evidence — that the best way to get over exes is to find a gypsy sorcerer who will agree to put the Lamia Curse on them, researchers at Brunel University in England have determined that Facebook-stalking an old flame is probably the worst way to get over that person. They also figured out, however, that completely ignoring an erstwhile lover’s existence only makes that person seem more alluring and mysterious, like Zorro or Darkwing Duck.

In a strictly Facebook-oriented study, psychologist Tara C. Marshall asked 464 participants (mostly, notes LiveScience, college-age women) to evaluate their Facebook perusing and “emotional recovery” following the end of a romantic relationship. Participants were asked questions such as, “How often do you look at your ex-partner’s Facebook page?” and “How often do you look at your ex-partner’s list of Facebook friends?” and “Do you listen to TLC’s “Creep” when you’re shuffling through the emotional underbelly of Facebook?” (that last one isn’t for real but I imagine the number is pretty high). After analyzing the responses, Marshall found that people who “Facebook-stalked” — hardly a generous term, but this is science, so we sort of have to roll with it — their exes, tended to be emotionally stalled, experiencing greater distress and more longing for the person they used to snuggle under the covers and share a pint of ice cream with.

The answer, then, clearly seems to be that one should cut off all contact with an ex, but Marshall assures us that this is so not the case:

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.

Um, okay. Then I guess the best thing to do is find some other emotional outlet while simultaneously maintaining a civil Facebook equilibrium. Wrong! That would also be terribly stupid because even people who remained Facebook friends with an ex had trouble moving on, which suggests that even if one fragile tendril still connects you to your ex, you’ll have trouble getting on with your life. The only thing to do, in that case, is just wilt like flower that’s about to be plunged into an interminable winter because once you’re romantically intertwined with another person, that person is part of your life, consciously or unconsciously, forevsies. Or until, as a cosmic reward for your emotional forbearance, you’re reincarnated as platypus who’s really into group sex.

Facebook Stalking an Ex Won’t Help You Move On [LiveScience]

Image via iconico/Shutterstock.

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