Facebook Post-Breakup: Bad For Your Heart?
He broke your heart. She dumped you and ran. You’re miserable—and you never want to see your ex again.
Except there he is, looking good in that new profile picture splashed all over your news feed. And hey, who’s that guy leaving emoticons on her wall? There’s no doubt Facebook has complicated modern-day breakups: Out of sight, out of mind? Not so much, these days. And no one’s clicking “like” on that.
A study published in September in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that stalking an ex on Facebook—or frequently checking his or her profile and friends list—is linked with “greater current distress over the breakup, more negative feelings, more sexual desire, more longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth.” Indeed, experts say Facebook can prolong post-breakup pain, while delaying emotional recovery.
“When a breakup is still raw and painful, being exposed to your ex-partner through Facebook is like pouring salt on a wound,” says study author Tara Marshall, a psychologist at Brunel University in England. “Seeing photos, reading his or her updates, and finding out that he’s involved in a new relationship may intensify distress. Distance—online and offline—allows emotions to cool enough to develop a meaningful narrative about what went wrong in the relationship, which facilitates recovery and growth.”
Marshall surveyed more than 450 Facebook users, who responded to questions like: How often do you look at your ex’s profile? How often do you look at his list of Facebook friends? They were also asked how sad they were when they thought about the breakup, whether they still had sexual feelings for their ex, and how much life change they’d experienced since splitting. The verdict: Continuing to keep tabs on an ex via Facebook was linked with longer-lasting heartache.
Image Credit: (destabyn.org)