Oh, Facebook, Facebook! In how many strange ways have you affected our lives. We are now "friends" with people we haven't spoken to since third grade. One third of divorce petitioners name you as the other woman! And you sometimes make us call in bomb hoaxes on planes. In other words, Facebook, you drive us just a wee bit crazy. So it's no surprise to learn that Facebook is also giving us a permanent case of heartbreak. At least a third of us are keeping an eye on our exes via your walls, and it's stopping our hearts from healing! A new study says that all of that secret surveillance -- Is that the new girlfriend? He went to our favorite vacation spot! I can't believe how much he parties now! Wow, he's gained weight! -- is stopping us from GETTING OVER IT.
A researcher from Brunel University asked participants a bunch of questions about their Facebook usage regarding their ex, and how long it's taking them to move on. The study is called Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations With Post-Breakup Recovery and Personal Growth, which is a fancy way of saying, You're Stalking Your Ex and It's Holding You Back, Sistah!
The study suggests that Facebook stalking can stunt your healing process. I wrote about some of the lame reasons people don't defriend their exes. To be sure, there are some exes who are genuinely are good friends right after their breakup and retain zero romantic entanglement or attraction, and fine for them if they want to stalk each other. But it's not that way for most.
So if stalking your ex prevents you from healing, why do people keep doing it? Beyond the reasons I already wrote about, I think people get a "high" from negative information. Seeing your ex with another woman can devastate you, but it also floods your body with adrenaline, makes your heart start pumping faster, fills your lungs with air, makes the hair on your neck stand up straight, and sends the chemicals in your brain churning. It's almost like a drug high! And you can get addicted to that feeling, even though it's a bad feeling.
The best thing to do if you are trying to recover from a relationship is to stop all contact. If you have kids together, you can't do that, but that doesn't give you an excuse to spy on him on Facebook. Defriend, my friends, your heart will thank you.
Do you stalk your ex on Facebook?
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