New Study Shows More than A Quarter of People Log in to an Ex's Social Media After a Breakup

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A revealing new study of digital sharing revealed that over one quarter of Americans continue to log in to an ex’s social media accounts after a break-up.

Cyber security company surveyed 2,568 participants from across the country and found that we still like to know what’s going on with our exes online. The most common account that respondents admitted logging into is Instagram, with 69 percent saying they have done so within the last week. Fifty-eight percent of respondents have logged into an ex’s Facebook account in the same time period.

Most respondents (58%) claimed they have logged back in only to see if an ex has met someone new, according to the study. Twenty-four percent admitted that they had “curiosity/just can’t help myself,” and 7 percent said they logged in to see if their exes blocked them from seeing posts or photos. Unfortunately, 11 percent admitted that they logged in to seek revenge and to talk to others while pretending to be their ex.

More to the point, the study also found that engaging in this behavior made those surveyed feel worse than they did after the breakup. Eighty-seven percent said they felt depressed after logging into their old partner’s accounts. Tellingly, 62 percent said that logging in to see what their exes were up to had become an “obsession” and 43 percent felt it prevented them from moving on to another relationship.

They’re not alone. A recent study from Western University found that 48 percent of people remain friends with their exes on Facebook, while 88 percent browse their ex’s page to see what they are doing. Thirty-one percent post pictures to try to make their ex jealous. It seems we can’t help ourselves when it comes to social media.

Fortunately, this behavior doesn’t last. Most respondents said they stop checking up on their exes about ten months after a breakup, but still, 17 percent said they continue to check in even after two years apart.

Ann Heathcote, a psychotherapist from The Worsley Centre offered this advice: “Social media has made it easy to snoop on your ex and the temptation to look becomes too much for some. There are two main reasons as to how this snooping can damage your mental health. Firstly, seeing your ex’s name appear is enough to experience that knot feeling in your stomach. Although these knot feelings are a physical experience, it’s actually the enteric nervous system. This system consists of millions of neurons that communicate with the brain and let us feel the emotions that our brain is dealing with. The second reason this action is damaging to your mental health is that focusing on your ex doesn’t enable you to emotionally distance yourself or focus on your personal growth. You must focus on healing yourself and practise self-care instead of focusing your energy on the past.”

Another suggestion might be to refrain from sharing your passwords with any romantic partners.