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Scientists Advise Against Remaining Facebook Friends with an Ex-Lover

Scientists Advise Against Remaining Facebook Friends with an Ex-Lover

Facebook, ex-lover, ex-partner, breakup, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, research

You should trust your friends when they advise you to cut off all contact with your ex, especially regarding social media and, yes, including Facebook. But just in case you need an extra push, here comes science: New study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking suggests that ‘exposure to an ex-partner through Facebook may obstruct the process of healing and moving on from a past relationship.’ Just like contact in real life.

Researchers took a sample of 464 people who had recently broken up with their partners and monitored their behavior on Facebook and offline. They measured a series of feelings such as negative feelings towards the ex-partner, sexual desire, emotional longing and personal growth, and linked them to their social activity, mainly if they kept Facebook contact with their ex-lover or even just Facebook surveillance.

The conclusions? Here is what they write: ‘In spite of the need for further research, the take-home message from the present study is that keeping tabs on an ex-partner through Facebook is associated with poorer emotional recovery and personal growth following a breakup. Therefore, avoiding exposure to an ex-partner, both offline and online, may be the best remedy for healing a broken heart.’

If you want to know more about the study, I recommend you to actually check the paper, which is published online and is really worth reading. You’ll find the link at the end of this article.

Source: EurekAlert!

Photo: arinas74/stock.xchng

Tara C. Marshall (2012). Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations with PostBreakup Recovery and Personal Growth Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0125

Jaime Menchén

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  • M
    September 20, 2012, 14:58

    Science? You’re kidding… surely the researchers must have considered that the people least likely to move on from a relationship will be most likely to stay facebook friends?

  • maria
    September 24, 2012, 05:44

    By seeing your ex-lover on facebook, it could stimulate components of the limbic system. Inparticular, it affects the hypothalamus that regulates sexual activity and aggression. Also the amygdala which plays an important part in memory, emotion, and anger. All of these feelings would be stimulated by viewing and monitoring the ex-lover’s facebook. This is why studies show that having contact with an ex on facebook, getting angry, bringing back memories, and stirring up emotions makes it harder to move on.


  • Laila
    September 24, 2012, 06:10

    When people break up and see each other their hypothalamus is working overtime which is what causes them to experience sexual desires or a feeling of need toward the other person. However, if they do not see the other person it is much easier for them to move on because it allows them to heal and recover from the breakup.