By Julia Rabar
October 08, 2012
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STALKING an ex on Facebook isn’t just creepy, it’s unhealthy.
New research by British psychologist Tara Marshall showed that keeping online tabs on a former flame might delay recovery from the breakup.
The report listed the symptoms as “greater current distress over the breakup, more negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth”.
The mean age of people involved in the study was just under 22 and the average length of the relationship was 18 months.
Melbourne University senior lecturer in social science Dr Lauren Rosewarne said achieving closure from a former relationship is more challenging if you have access to your ex’s activities.
“If they look happy, you look sad; if they are in a relationship, you are sad,” Rosewarne said.
She warned against gauging an ex’s state of mind by their Facebook posts, because the site deals in extremes — those photos of them having a giddy old time don’t tell you about the reality of the rest of their day.
Marshall noted in her research that a person who was already hung up on an ex might be more inclined to cling to the relationship online — a notion Rosewarne supports.
“If you were insecure in the relationship you were probably already exhibiting signs of insecurity and distrust,” Rosewarne said.
But she pointed out that individuals can take control over disengaging from a past love.
“You need to pre-empt and think: ‘What things do I need to put in place to ensure that transition happens less painfully, more smoothly?’ ” she said.
She suggested having a break from Facebook in the aftermath.
“We don’t have to be passive dupes and sit back and let Facebook dictate to us.”