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Source: HuffingtonPost.com, Published September 22 2012

Hot Topics: Facebook stalking your ex won’t help the healing

Probably not surprisingly, constantly checking your ex’s Facebook profile isn’t going to make the breakup any easier.

New research shows cyber stalking often delays emotional recovery and personal growth once you’ve split.

In the study, reported this week by the Huffington Post, psychologist Tara C. Marshall of Brunel University in England asked 464 participants (mostly college-age women) to evaluate their Facebook usage and emotional recovery following a breakup with a romantic partner.

The participants answered questions like, “How often do you look at your ex-partner’s Facebook page?” and “How often do you look at your ex-partner’s list of Facebook friends?”

They also were asked to rate their current distress over the breakup as well as their lingering sexual desires and negative feelings toward the ex-partner, including anger, disappointment, confusion and hate. Furthermore, the study participants assessed how much their lives had changed as a result of their breakup, such as whether they’d developed new interests.

In analyzing the responses, Marshall found that those who Facebook-stalked their ex more frequently were more likely to be hung up on the breakup, with greater distress, negative feelings, longing for the ex-partner and lower personal growth.

“In spite of the need for further research, the take-home message from the present study is that keeping tabs on an ex-partner through Facebook is associated with poorer emotional recovery and personal growth following a breakup,” Marshall wrote Sept. 4 in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. “Therefore, avoiding exposure to an ex-partner, both offline and online, may be the best remedy for healing a broken heart.”