Modern Day Sherlock Holmes: Why We Stalk Our Exes


When it comes to being a facebook sleuth, you're a pro.

Let's be honest: when it comes to stalking your ex, your detective level is on expert. From creeping his latest pictures with his new girlfriend to going through his statuses just because they're readily available, you hardly notice when your digital stalking becomes a full-blown habit. Why is that? Even though you swear that you've moved on, there's a small part of you that can't help but wonder how he's coping without you.

Is it possible that there's more to this than curiosity or jealousy?


Intrigued by human behavior, University of Missouri School of Journalism's Kevin Wise set forth to crack this code through the use of facial EMG sensors which, when connected to the eye muscles, detect the levels of positive reaction stemming from visual stimuli. In his study, the assisstant professor of strategic communication closely documented the facebook activity of over 30 subjects.

In the results of his social experiment, he found that most of the participants used facebook to search through the pages of both friends and former partners; he believes that his findings show that people often experience an instant "emotional gratification" from connecting to fellow users through their personal pages. While Wise sees facebook "social searching" as a form of emotional bonding, other critics aren't as ready to accept this conclusion.

Psychologist Tara C. Marshall of Brunel University in England warns that constantly obsessing over the lives of our ex-lovers can actually be detrimental to our health. She conducted a study where she analyzed the Facebook activity of 464 participants after a breakup, testing out the hypotheses that "people who remain Facebook friends with an ex-partner will experience poorer breakup adjustment and growth relative to those who do not remain Facebook friends [and] Facebook surveillance of an ex-partner will be negatively related to breakup adjustment and growth." Marshall noted that a direct correlation was present between the amount of time the participants spent on their ex-partner's facebook pages and the increase in the level of emotional distress (coupled with a decrease in self-esteem and personal growth).

As if that isn't convincing enough to put our phones and laptops down, with the copious social media platforms available at our fingertips, keeping an eye on the people we left behind in the past has become much too addicting. For instance, the recently released app Split functions as an aid in tracking down your ex with the intended purpose of helping you avoid awkward run-ins. Sounds like a great solution to an uncomfortable situation, right? Conversely, this app can also act as the perfect wing man when it comes to keeping tabs on old flames. 

Take it from us: Our exes are in the past for a reason. Don't let a simple and innocent "peek" lure you into a love addiction you won't be able to break.

stalking ex meme

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