Why you MUST 'unfriend' your ex: Are we risking psychological damage by spying on former flames on Facebook
00:49 GMT, 1 October 2012
Not only can it waste hours of your precious time, but according to research, Facebook can be bad for your emotional health, too.
A recent study conducted at Brunel University has revealed that as many as half of Facebook users — that’s more than half a billion of us — are risking psychological damage from using the site to spy on former flames.
Even if you only joined the social networking site to look at your niece’s wedding photos or pictures of your colleague’s new baby, it is hard to stop yourself keeping tabs on an ex-partner when their face pops up on your timeline.
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Clicking on his profile to see him with his arms around another woman, or even simply enjoying an evening out with mutual friends can feel like a knife through the heart.
Before the advent of Twitter and Facebook, or photo-sharing sites like Instagram, it took serious dedication to spy on a former lover, prising information from friends, or hanging hopefully around their favourite haunts.
But now you can keep up continual surveillance, checking where they are, what they’re doing and who they are with — and it makes it all the more difficult to move on says psychologist Dr Tara Marshall, who led the study.
In her survey, Dr Marshall and her team found that those who remained Facebook ‘friends’ with an ex experience more distress and took longer to move on compared with those who immediately clicked ‘unfriend’.
She explained: ‘Overall, these findings suggest that exposure to an ex-partner through Facebook may obstruct the process of healing after a relationship.’
Face it: it’s time to prune that friends list.