Think that remaining friends with your ex on Facebook post-breakup is a good idea? Think again. A new study from Brunel University in the U.K. found that even if you don’t interact with your ex (opting just to stalk him digitally), your recovery can be impaired.
Researchers surveyed 464 people — primarily American women — about their self-esteem and a recent breakup. Here’s what they found:
Participants who remained Facebook friends with the ex-partner, relative to those who did not remain Facebook friends, reported less negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the former partner, but lower personal growth. All of these results emerged after controlling for offline contact, personality traits, and characteristics of the former relationship and breakup that tend to predict postbreakup adjustment. 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.
Put another way, staying friends with your ex might desensitize you to him or her, but you’re gonna have trouble truly getting over him and on with your life. And after a breakup, those are the things that are most important.
Trust us on this one: De-friend and don’t look back. If you need some help with the process, here are a few handy books on the subject:
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