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88 percent stalk their exes on Facebook

A study by a Western University master's candidate suggests that many people, once they break up, follow their former lovers around Facebook, even going so far as to use aliases.

With apologies to a great band of the '80s.
Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

My engineer friend, George, got brutally stood up the other day.

"How did you react?" I asked, trying not to contort my face in fear, as he can get emotional.

"Well, I de-friended her on Facebook," he said. "She's dead to me."

It turns out he may be one of the healthy ones. Because Facebook is where all of love's stages are enacted. And one of those stages comes straight after the breakup. It is the stalking stage.

A master's candidate at Western University (which I don't think offers a master's in Love Studies) decided to examine the extent to which former lovers cannot let go, in the socially networked sense.

As Niagara Advance tells it, Veronika Lukacs discovered that a full 88 percent of lovers follow their exes around on Facebook.

What she really wanted to know was whether Facebook somehow contributed to an increase in post-love distress.

Naturally, she didn't come up with a pure answer for her thesis, titled "It's Complicated: Romantic breakups and their aftermath on Facebook." Certainly, 88 percent of people she studied stalked their exes and stared as they pursued novel excitements and pulsating experiences.

Lukacs tells me that the survey respondents were 18-35 and the interview respondents were 21 to 39. They were all people whose hearts had been torn asunder in the previous 12 months. It is always best to research on those whose feelings are near the surface.

But did this stalking add to their pain or were they in pain and therefore stalked the ones they'd lost?

May I offer you some details of this research that might add to your pain?

Not merely did the vast majority stalk, but 70 percent admitted to using a mutual friend's profile or even logging in as that mutual friend to do their stalking.

They creep around to see if their ex is having a sleep around.

Is that not painful enough for you? Well, 74 percent crept around the profile of their ex's new partner or someone they feared might be their ex's new partner.

Please don't think of these people as victims of love. For 31 percent admitted to posting pictures to try and make their exes jealous -- on the presumably logical assumption that their ex would be stalking them too.

A sturdy 33 percent also admitted to posting a song lyric or a quote about their ex as their status.

Some might conclude that most people's status is more messed up than the Portuguese economy.

It's quite natural to wonder what your former lover might be up to. It just doesn't do much good. If they don't want to be with you, please try and accept it.

There is no guarantee they will find someone better. There is no guarantee they were capable of giving you the love you need, just as there is no guarantee that they will ever appreciate you for the wonderful person you are.

Well, the wonderful person you were before you started stalking them on Facebook.