After a breakup, there’s a lot of questions you have to ask yourself: Perhaps the most important question is “Should we stay friends?” In the digital age, it’s easy—you just have to remain connected on social media. But, if you’re still Facebook friends with your ex, here are five reasons you may want to consider deleting them:
1. It’s intrusive
While simply being Facebook friends with an ex isn’t crossing any lines, it can become a slippery slope into cyber stalking.
According to a study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, “Monitoring an ex-partner’s Facebook photos and other forms of covert provocation (such as writing a status update to make an ex-partner jealous) is associated with an increased likelihood of engaging in offline obsessive relational intrusion (e.g., showing up at the ex-partner’s classroom or workplace).”
2. It holds you back
When you’re still Facebook friends with your ex, it may keep you from being able to move on. In the same study, “Analysis of the data provided by 464 participants revealed that Facebook surveillance was associated with greater current distress over the breakup, more negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth.”
3. You’ll be happier
Really. According to data taken from Match.com’s Singles in America study, which surveyed more then 5,500 single adults in 2015, people who do not keep tab on their exes via social media are 73% more likely to be happy than those who do.
4. You won’t feel pressured to move on
It’s the “social media” effect. People only post about things that make their lives look great and exciting; nights out with friends, tropical vacations, career promotions. What you don’t see is the boring parts, the terrible parts, the unflattering parts. Intellectually, we know this. We know that no one’s life is that glamorous—except, of course, Beyoncé’s—but, when you’re bombarded with pictures of your ex, smiling and having fun without out you, it’s hard to remember that.
It’s also hard to keep from playing the game yourself. If you remain Facebook friends, you may feel obligated to act like everything in your life is perfect and to move on before you’re ready to.
5. It may be a sign that one (or both) of you is a psychopath
Why are you staying friends with your ex? Is it because you think it may be useful in the future? Well, in another study—this one in Personality and Individual Differences—psychopaths and narcissists are people who try to benefit from their relationships long after they’re over.
In this study, participants were asked why they remained friends with their exes. Some said it was for a sense of security or sentimentality, others said “sex and practicality.” Of the “sex and practicality” set, some were found to exhibit psychopathic and narcissistic behavior.
According to the researchers, “Individuals who score higher on measures of dark personality tend to choose friends for strategic purposes. Thus, it is likely that these traits will be associated with valuing friendships for utilitarian or instrumental reasons, such as to maintain sexual access.”
So, congratulations, your ex may really be a psycho.