I’ve done it; you’ve done it; we have all done it! No matter how happy we are in our current relationships, there is always a part of us that wonders how those exes of ours are doing. Sometimes we wish them happiness, and sometimes we wish them… the opposite. Before the time of social media, if we thought about how these exes were doing we would discreetly ask mutual friends or friends of friends for any information. Now, we can go to the search bar of Facebook and enter their name and voilà, we find out everything about them. I can remember the first time I looked up my ex. He had commented on a post that one of my friends had made that I was also going to comment on. This was the first time I had really thought of him in a long time. I realized that this highlighted blue name was just asking to be clicked on. I must have stared at it for a full 10 minutes before I made up my mind to click on his name. When I did, I watched his new life unfold before my eyes. Right there was a photo of his family. I couldn’t help myself, I had to read all his posts and look at all his photos. A myriad of emotions went through me as I looked at this life, one that I used to be such a part of and now not. I was so embarrassed for myself at having looked at these photos of people I didn’t know and I was sure that somehow he would find out! I closed the computer and wondered, did anyone ever look me up?
I later found out that there is a term for what I had done. I had Facebook stalked my ex! The urban dictionary offers a few definitions which are all similar. The one I like says:
When an individual (male or female) scours another individual’s profile, frequently checks their status updates, or reads their wall posts to and from other people. This is usually done either because the individual wants to know as much as possible about the individual whose profile they are reading, or they’re bored and haven’t looked at that person’s profile yet after they’ve gained them as a friend on facebook. Some people admit to it, other’s deny they have been doing it, even when caught in the act.
Joe: “Dude what are you doing?”
Mike: *Looks up from ex-girlfriend’s profile, whom he is facebook stalking* “Nothing.”
Joe: *Sees ex-girlfriend’s profile page* “Quit facebook stalking that chick and come play Xbox”
Mike: “I wasn’t facebook stalking her!”
I am glad to see that I am not alone when it comes to checking the life of my ex and I am happy to report that I am not obsessed with it as some other people are! There was an article on huffingtonpost.com that referenced a thesis study done by a University of Western Ontario student, Veronica Lukacs. The thesis titled “It’s Complicated: Romantic breakups and their aftermath on Facebook” surveyed 107 people aged 18-35 who have had romantic breakups in the last 12 months. These are her findings (much worse than my 1 time slip looking up a long time ex):
• 48% of people remained friends with their exs on Facebook.
• 88% creeped their exs.
• 70% used a mutual friend’s profile or logged in as a mutual friend to creep their ex.
• 74% tried to creep an ex’s new partner or suspected new partner.
• 64% said they re-read or analyzed old messages from their ex.
• 50% deleted pictures of their ex from their profile.
• 31% posted pictures to try to make their ex jealous.
• 33% posted a song lyric or quote about their ex as their status.
• 52% said they were jealous of a picture their ex posted.
If you would like to read her entire thesis (173 pages!), you can do so by clicking here.
I also took a look on youtube to see if there were any clips on this subject and I was able to find one that referenced this study. The clip is from TYT University which is a blog and video blog that talks about college life from all over the world. The 3 commentators have all creeped their exes profiles and they list reasons why they did it. To watch the clip, please press play.
So, I am glad to say that I have only looked my exes up a couple of times and usually only because they commented on another post I was reading. I am happy that they are doing well and now have families of their own. In my case, I everything worked out for the best. I am wondering how many of you have looked up your exes profiles and were you happy or sad about how their lives have turned out without you?
Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=facebook%20stalker
Thesis by Veronica Lukacs: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1938&context=etd