real life

Everyone Facebook stalks their ex. Admit it.

Let’s talk about Facebook-stalking our exes.

And don’t pretend you haven’t done it – we’ve all been there. Some of you more times than you’d care to admit, I’m sure.

I’ll put my hand up. Hell, I’ve even Google-stalked an ex. It felt a bit like looking at online porn: a great idea at the time, but afterwards I just felt silly. And didn’t tell anyone about it.

I tell myself it’s a journalist’s natural curiosity. But really, I’m just nosey as hell.

Let’s face it: there’s no reason to be Facey friends with an ex we have nothing to do with in real life. Remember how it worked in the days before social media? Mostly we’d avoid them at all costs. Or drive by their house.

And really, that’s what Facebook-stalking is: the online equivalent of doing a late-night drive-by.

No, you can’t bring yourself to hit that “unfriend” button because you live in hope that every humble-brag status update and photo of you looking hot drives the knife a little deeper. Plus, you need to keep secretly checking that you’re still winning the break-up.

Watch the Mamamia team reveal what they’d say to ‘the one who got away’. (Post continues after video.)

Instead, the savvy among us take advantage of the magical “unsubscribe from status updates” button, many usually reserve for “new mum” friends, thus keeping the door open to casual surveillance.

But what happens when you discover that person is killing it in life – or, God forbid, that little red love heart with “engaged” pops up with their name? Oh, the agony.

And that’s exactly what new research has discovered: Facebook-stalking your ex can hurt like hell and stop you from getting over the relationship.

“Therefore, avoiding exposure to an ex-partner both offline and online may be the best remedy for healing a broken heart,” say the researchers.

You don’t say.

So why do we do it anyway?

Every time we scroll through their photos and read their updates, the last thing we want to see is that they’re married, or have a baby, or look super hot – yet it’s exactly what we’re looking for. I have no idea why we do it to ourselves. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when the pain is self-inflicted.


A few weeks ago I saw that an ex-boyfriend just had a baby. This is a bloke who used to smoke while sitting on the toilet and turned out to be a petty thief. Finding that a character like this has created life with someone and you haven’t, ain’t so good for the ego.

Another old boyfriend now seemingly leads an excellent life: married, successful career, hot wife. Had I not made that discovery, I’d still be blissfully in denial, assuming the karma bus had caught up with him. And mowed him down.

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Another old boyfriend now seemingly leads an excellent life: married, successful career, hot wife. (Image via iStock)

Now I don’t harbour any residual feelings for these guys in the slightest, and good luck to them, but seeing what’s going on in their lives did burst my belief that great things don’t happen to dickheads.

Of course, before you even reach the stalking, there’s the issue of changing your relationship status post-break-up. Who goes first? In a perfect world, you’d organise to both be online, standing by to erase that little broken heart straight away, like nothing ever happened.

But in reality, one of you is left hanging, that symbol of failure sitting on your wall for the world to see, until you log on to find that it’s been there for 22 hours. Sitting beneath it, cries of “I’m here for you babe! Mwah xxx”.

Life sure gets complicated here in the first world.

So in light of these lessons learned, I’ve decided to take a deep breath and press that “unfriend” button. And I reckon you should, too, because really, it’s exactly what these people are: unfriends.

Cassie White is a Men’s Health magazine journalist and freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter here.

Do you Facebook stalk your exes? Do you think it’s a good idea or just self-inflicted pain?