Why Certain People May Be More Likely To Facebook Stalk Their Exes

Academic studies can be fascinating… and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.

The Background

When Neil Sadaka sang the 1962 hit “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” he probably didn’t know that technological advances in the next half century would make romantic splits exponentially harder. Breaking up today means more than just separating from your partner — it can mean having to watch him or her seem totally over it on social media. While you’re at home moping, your ex is seemingly out enjoying an Instagram-worthy brunch or attending what looks like the most fun party ever on Facebook. Even worse, your ex could find someone new and document their trysts for the entire Internet (read: you) to see. Now you’re not only alone, but you think you’ve lost the breakup.

Studies have shown that maintaining contact with an ex can prolong the distress of breakups. So why do we keep tabs on our exes if it only makes us feel worse? A new study out of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Ohio State University looked at which types of people tended to Facebook stalk former partners in the wake of a breakup.

The Setup

Researchers gathered 150 men and 281 women between the ages of 18 and 42 for their survey. Participants had all experienced a breakup within the last year, and they could see their ex’s profile on Facebook. The survey measured participants’ attachment styles — whether they had an anxious attachment style (“associated with a diminished sense of self-worth” and “related to feelings of uncertainty about relationships“) or an avoidant attachment style (“associated with diminished trust in others, resulting in a tendency to avoid —> Read More