After Breakups, Facebook Users Love Checking Exes’ Profiles

By Justin Lafferty 

What’s the protocol for Facebook friendship after a romantic relationship ends? There’s not really one set rule. A recent study by a Western University master’s candidate revealed that even though the relationship is over, many people are hesitant to break ties on Facebook.

Veronika Lukacs, the student who wrote the thesis, “It’s Complicated: Romantic Breakups and Their Aftermath on Facebook,” revealed that 88 percent of Facebook users she polled admitted to checking out their exes on Facebook.

She explained her goal for the study:

I wanted to see how breakup distress is related to Facebook use … The more surveillance there was, the more distress there was, but it’s difficult to say why. 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.

Some other interesting stats from her paper:

  • 70 percent of people Lukacs polled over the 12-month study used a mutual friend’s profile or even logged in as a friend to stalk their ex.
  • 48 percent stayed friends with their ex on Facebook.
  • 52 percent said they were jealous of a picture posted by their ex.
  • 64 percent said they went back to old messages from their ex and reread or analyzed them again.
  • 74 percent didn’t stop at just checking out their ex-partner’s profile, they also visited the profile of the ex-partner’s new love interest.
  • 31 percent admitted to posting pictures in an effort to arouse jealousy from their ex.

Readers: Once you break up with someone, do you also unfriend them on Facebook, or do you stay connected?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.