Navigating your way through a breakup is difficult at the best of times, but navigating your way through a breakup in the age of social media can feel impossible.
If you’ve ever wondered how soon is too soon to change your relationship status to single, or whether it’s normal to stalk your ex on Facebook, you’re definitely not the only one. Researchers have actually studied this exact behavior, picking apart how people most commonly use Facebook during a breakup.
In a recent study, more than 200 young adults who had been through a breakup were asked to list what they did on Facebook when their relationship ended. This allowed the research team to come up with the most common ways young adults (like you) deal with a dying romance on social media–and we bet you’ll surprised by what they found:
- 28% reduced their Facebook use, took a break entirely from the site, or tried to keep their breakup and other personal information off Facebook.
- 23% engaged in “relational cleansing,” doing things like changing their relationship status, and deleting pictures or posts that reminded them of their ex.
- 10% Facebook stalked their exes and/or their exes friends and family. We assume the other 90% were lying.
- 9% completely avoided their former partner’s profile or unsubscribed totally from their feed.
- 8% didn’t change the way they use Facebook at all, and continued to be friendly with their exes. This small percentage continued to like posts from their ex, comment on photos, and chat online.
- 4% used Facebook to publicly mourn the end of their relationship, posting emotional updates and comments about their ex and the breakup. Hint: This is never, ever a good idea.
- 4% unfriended or blocked their former partner (and/or their ex’ friends and family). Cold!
- 4% took cues from Taylor Swift and decided to just shake it off by cultivating a cool, fun life on social media. This group made it look like they were having the best time ever, posting status updates and pictures highlighting how awesome their new single lifestyle was.
Obviously there’s no one right way to deal with a breakup, but it’s still really interesting to see how the majority of people approach the issue of social media and an ex.
Do any of these behaviors sound familiar? What do you think is the right way to deal with a breakup on Facebook? Let us know in the comments.