Why You Really Shouldn't Be Friends With Your Ex On Facebook

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Whether or not you can or should remain friends with an ex is of course entirely dependent on how you feel about your relationship. But should you be deleting your ex off of your Facebook friend list?

Well according to a recent study from Kansas State University, being friends with your ex on social media could have some repercussions on your new relationship. For the study, researcher Joyce Baptist, PhD, examined nearly 7,000 couples who use social media regularly. Baptist found that couples who were more accepting of "boundary crossing," i.e., sliding into the DMs of someone they find attractive or have had a relationship with, the more harmful it was for their relationship.

However, Baptist said, there's a difference between boundary crossing and boundary violation, the latter of which involves emotional or physical infidelity.

"Social media can enhance romantic relationships when it's used to stay in touch throughout the day or honor your partner's achievements, but there are pitfalls to avoid that could damage the relationship," Baptist said in a statement. "Couples should be on the lookout for boundary crossing and discuss when a crossed boundary becomes a violation. It's an important conversation for couples to have as a preventative measure."

While her research showed that some people accepted that their partners interacted with an ex online, it didn't necessarily indicate that they were 100% confident in their relationship.

"Although they may say, 'I trust you and it's OK,' they are not happy about it," she said. "They eventually perceive that their significant other is spending too much time connecting with others on social media rather than paying attention to their own partner."

Baptiste said that these situations can decrease relationship satisfaction. While that may be the case for some couples, levels of relationship satisfaction based on interactions with exes obviously will vary from person to person. After all, it's really down to you and your current partner whether or not following an ex on social media counts as cheating, and if being friends with an ex makes your partner uncomfortable, that's something you may have to work out between the two of you — whether or not Facebook is involved.
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