Breaking up is hard to do. We all know that. And if severing the ties with someone that you once trusted isn’t bad enough as it is, Facebook had to come along and seriously complicate everything.
Before Facebook, things were much simpler. Things didn’t work out with someone? Whatever, just lose their phone number or kick them out of your apartment. The worst that could happen was that you’d run into them at the grocery store and exchange awkward pleasantries. Or maybe your buddy would tell you how your ex-lover had moved on and you’d spend a night buried in cheap whiskey and screamo records.
Those were the days.
Now, there exists an opportunity to not only check in on your ex’s activities post-breakup, but also do everything you can to screw with them/make them jealous. And it’s there constantly. With over 900 million people on Facebook, there’s a good chance that you’ll unearth something of worth about your ex with minimal effort.
Veronika Lukacs at Western University decided to look at how breakups are handled on Facebook for her Masters’ thesis. Why she chose this topic, I don’t know. But her study, “It’s Complicated: Romantic breakups and their aftermath on Facebook” shows us that everyone really is as big of a creeper as you think they are.
Out of all the participants in her study, 88% copped to “creeping” on their exes. And nearly threes quarters of them said that they even creep on their exes’ new love interests.
Here are some more interesting stats from the study:
- Only 8% of people remained friends with their exs on Facebook.
- 70% used a mutual friend’s profile or logged in as a mutual friend to creep their ex.
- 64% said they re-read or analyzed old messages from their ex.
- 50% deleted pictures of their ex from their profile.
- 31% posted pictures to try to make their ex jealous.
- 33% posted a song lyric or quote about their ex as their status.
- 52% said they were jealous of a picture their ex posted.
One thing Lukacs is sure of: Higher levels of post-breakup distress are tied to Facebook stalking.
“The more surveillance there was, the more distress there was, but it’s difficult to say why,” Lukacs said. “Does surveillance make you more distressed, or are you distressed so you do more surveillance? My hunch is that it’s a bit of both.”
Although we all know deep down that using Facebook to prolong the end of a bad relationship is rarely a good idea, at least this study confirms that you’re not the only one out there making that mistake.