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Cyberstalking an ex? Click the 'unfriend' button

sex-and-relationships Updated: Sep 27, 2012 18:43 IST
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Attention spurned, jilted and heartbroken lovers: stop trolling your ex’s Facebook profile or risk delaying your post-breakup recovery and personal growth.

While not entirely surprising or unexpected, a new British study confirms what many broken hearts already know -- deep down, anyway: that the cyberstalking of an ex is nothing more than self-sabotage, disrupting a person’s ability to heal and move on with his or her life.

"This study sees again virtual life mirroring real life,” said Brenda Wiederhold, editor-in-chief of Cyberspychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, which published the study out of Brunel University in Uxbridge.

“Just as real life contact with ex-partners may inhibit growth, healing, and well-being, so may virtual contact.”

After collecting data from 464 participants, researchers found that staying Facebook friends with an ex-lover was associated with greater distress, more negative feelings, sexual desire, longing and lower personal growth.

The lesson? If you’re having a hard time getting over your ex, do yourself a favor and cut the virtual ties by clicking on the ‘Unfriend’ button.

With an estimated 900 million Facebook users worldwide, the social media platform has transformed the way people communicate, notably among couples.

A Canadian study published in the same journal in 2009 found that college students who spent a lot of time on Facebook were more apt to use the platform to monitor their girlfriend or boyfriend’s activities, fueling feelings of jealousy.