Social media has blessed us with tons of ways to keep in touch with our friends and family and share the happenings in our lives. But access to everyone’s life comes at a cost, especially if you’ve recently gone through a breakup.
It’s not an uncommon occurrence: You just broke up, you’ve deleted them from every account, but then they appear in a comment on a friend’s post. Or worse, a cute photo pops up on your Memories page from last year.
All these instances of accidental sightings aren’t just upsetting; according to a new study from the University of Colorado, Boulder, they’re making breaking up harder than ever.
Researching social media’s effects on breakups.
The researchers sought out participants who had reported a breakup within the past 18 months that involved an upsetting online encounter thereafter. Nineteen people were interviewed, with researchers finding that even when participants went to great lengths to unfriend and delete their exes, they kept showing up in various ways.
Doctoral student and lead author of the study Anthony Pinter says their work disproves the assumption many people make, “that they can just unfriend their ex or unfollow them and they are not going to have to deal with this anymore.”
Many of the research participants reported instances of ex sightings on their News Feed, from the comments and likes sections, to event pages, to new relationship announcements, and more. And of course the dreaded Memories feature. Even some of those who blocked their exes mentioned friends and family of their ex would occasionally make an appearance under the “People You May Know” section.