Shocker: Stalking Your Ex On Facebook Is Bad For Your Mental Health

Photographed by Rockie Nolan
We've all been there: You're poking around on Facebook when you see your ex tagged in someone you sort of know's post. Or maybe you just woke up pissed off at your ex and you want to see if they've done something dumb or gotten a stupid haircut. You click. You look. You scroll through the last month, week, or day (eep) of their life (because they don't know you do this, and if they did, they'd block you). After obsessing and maybe texting a friend or two, you stop and go about your day.
The big question here is: Did this make you feel happy? Probably not.
A study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that staying Facebook friends with an ex — including refusing to be the first to unfriend — and checking their profile can cause upsetting feelings and distress. This can also cause feelings of sexual longing and regret.
So, exactly what you'd expect.
What's important to figure out is why you want to stay friends with your ex. Tara Marshall, the lead researcher on the study, told Mic that people normally have one of two reasons for keeping connected. They either can't let go and still have feelings or they don't care at all and haven't bothered to unfriend them.
Facebook-stalking an ex may increase feelings of anxiety and jealousy, which you do not need in your fresh single life. "The more you can minimise exposure," Marshall said, "the more space you have to move on."

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