How Millennials Deal With Breakups — On Facebook

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Facebook is one of the most popular social networks, with nearly 1.4 billion monthly users and approximately 890 million users logging in each day. While many aspects of people’s lives play out on Facebook, their relationships are a particularly central part of their profiles. And although Facebook can be used to display new or happy relationships, users often have to manage breakups on Facebook as well.

In a recent study, researchers collected open-ended data from over 200 young adults who had a romantic relationship end in the prior two years. Participants listed what they did on Facebook (with respect to their relationship) while going through their most recent breakup. The research team then coded the responses for themes. Here are the most common ways participants worked through breakups on Facebook:
Advertisement
· 28% minimized their Facebook use, took a "Facebook vacation," or tried to keep their breakup and other personal information off of Facebook

· 23% engaged in "relational cleansing" by changing their relationship status on Facebook (e.g. to "single," or "it's complicated") or removing or untagging posts and pictures that referenced their past relationship

· 10% stalked their ex (or their ex's friends/family) on Facebook
· 9% avoided their former partner's profile and/or unsubscribed from their ex's feed

· 8% didn't change their Facebook behavior and continued to interact with their exes by chatting, commenting on their posts, liking their updates, and tagging them in photos

· 4% actively mourned the loss of their relationship on Facebook by making emotional posts about their partner or end of the relationship

· 4% defriended or blocked their former partner (and/or their ex's friends/family)

· 4% used status updates or pictures to emphasize the new and fun things they were doing
Although this research clearly identifies what people do on Facebook during a breakup, it doesn’t address why they do these things — or whether these strategies are effective in helping people move on. With all the recent research on Facebook and romantic relationships, though, it’s probably just a matter of time before we know the best method(s) for coping with a breakup on social media.

How has a breakup affected your Facebook use?
Advertisement

More from Sex & Relationships

Aside from encountering creeps and starting conversations that just don't go anywhere, one major problem online daters face is catfishing. According to a...
A version of this story originally appeared on Shape. When it comes to female pleasure, there's enough misinformation out there to fill a book. One of ...
This article was originally published on December 18, 2015. According to stereotypes, men are the sexually voracious cheaters and women are the ...
Amber Rose doesn't do "off days." "I always feel confident," she tells us. "I never allow myself to not feel confident. I wake up and say, I’m going out ...
We're great fans of accessorizing in the bedroom. Au naturel stimulation is wonderful, but sex toys can do things that people just can't. The sex toy ...
Even as the sex toy market continues to expand, there remain a few vital "firsts" for the industry to tackle. This week, with the arrival of the Buck-Off...
The Halloween-costume-planning frenzy is officially in full swing, and we still have so many questions. Is our costume idea clever without being obscure? ...
(Paid Content) You don't need a degree in common sense to know getting involved with a coworker is a bad idea. Yet, we probably all know someone who has, ...
This article was originally published on April 2, 2015 and has been updated throughout. Lube is a little like masturbation. It's a big part of most people...
It would be an understatement to say that a lot of us love superhero blockbusters. Luckily, there's really no shortage of them, but should you ever need ...
The following is an excerpt from Asa Akira's recently released memoir Dirty Thirty. Another year of wasted eggs because I chose to whore instead. “Do ...
In the best-case scenario, you go on a first date with someone, and you hit it off. The chemistry is off the charts, and you're never at a loss for what to...
Even if you think you’re not kinky, there’s a chance your brain might be. And when it comes to getting turned on and orgasming, our brains deserve more ...
Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth's, became the first out member of the British Royal Family when he came out as bisexual last week. In ...