Don’t stalk your ex on Facebook, it’ll mean you never get over him

Half of all Facebook users risk psychological damage from spying on ex-lovers

So, we all have Facebook and most of us would admit that life just wouldn’t be the same without it. We simply can’t imagine what we’d do when we’re waiting for people, using public transport, or have a free millisecond, if we couldn’t check our wall and notifications! It’s no wonder that FB has about 900 million users worldwide (doesn’t that just break your brain!). Seriously, how many people do you know who don’t use it?

If you think about why it’s so popular, it’s pretty simple; it’s great to keep in contact with people and also to see what all your “friends” are up to. And most users cite one of these two reason as why their addicted. Unsurprisingly, as many as a third of FB users also admit they use the social network to check up on the movements of former flames. And can you blame them? You’ve just broken up with someone and all you do is think about them and what they’re doing, so of course if there is a tool to track their every move, you’re going to succumb. But keeping your ex as a FB friend can majorly disrupt your ability to heal and move on after a break up, according to new research published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

While staying across what your ex BF is up to will satisfy your curiosity and help you feel strangely close to him (albeit in a bit of a stalker-ish way), it will also keep you too emotionally attached, hindering your ability to move on. During this latest study, 464 people were quizzed about their Facebook usage, as well as their break up, how much contact they have with their ex (and the type of contact), and their own self-esteem and adjustment post heartbreak.

Psychologist Dr Tara Marshall, who ran the study, found that people who regularly monitor an ex’s page are much more likely to draw out the hard recovery process than those who cut the virtual ties: "Analysis of the data provided by 464 participants revealed that Facebook surveillance was associated with greater current distress over the break up, more negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth.

"Overall, these findings suggest that exposure to an ex-partner through Facebook may obstruct the process of healing and moving on from a past relationship," said Dr Marshall.

So what to do? While it may seem too drastic to delete your ex all together, this will really remove any temptation from your newsfeed. But don’t cheat, you also need to delete or block his best mate, his sister and his work friends. If you have loads of mutual peeps and you can’t go barring them all then you will just have to exercise some self-control and stop trawling his/their pages – try and imagine if they could see how much time you spend on their profiles, this is a good way to cut stalker-ish behaviour. Then you need to go out and start enjoying your life again, back away from the computer screen, spend some time on yourself (exercise, shop, get a mani) and do things you love with you friends. You’ll start feeling better in no time, honest!