The Real Reason Facebook Stalking Is a Bad Idea

Sure, it's tempting... but it's not doing you any good. 

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Everyone can agree on one thing: Breakups are tough. Exactly how someone reacts to said split isn't always quite as universal though. Some reach for the ice cream, some cut off all communication, and others give in to the temptation of monitoring their ex's behavior on social media. If you're in the latter group, a new study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking provides reason to step. away. from. the. keyboard.

Though social networks, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, make it easy to keep tabs on a former flame, it can lead to an unhealthy use of social media known as interpersonal electronic surveillance (IES)—a term more commonly known as "Facebook stalking."

And, it turns out, the way people deal with breakups can actually predict how prone they are to stalking, according to study authors Jesse Fox from the Ohio State University-Columbus and Robert S. Tokunaga from University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honolulu. So who's most apt to snoop? People who feel great distress after a split are more likely to monitor their ex-partner's online activity.

But there's a catch: Facebook stalking won't make you feel better about the breakup. In fact, it's likely to make the healing process more difficult. "Maintaining contact with the partner after the breakup often impairs the process of post-breakup adjustment, slowing the decline of love and sadness and leading to a longer period of distress," the study authors wrote.

The takeaway? Limiting social media use—particularly for those who did not initiate the breakup—may take some self-restraint, but it seems to have real benefits in moving on.