A new study released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 48 percent of social network users between the ages of 18 and 29 “check up on someone they used to be in a relationship with,” prompting every millennial on the internet to respond by saying “duh” and proceeding to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter-stalk their ex. The Atlantic’s response is perhaps a more hilarious and accurate assessment of this data, saying, “the other 53 percent are lying.”
The digital impact on dating has been an Internet hot topic lately, between the new numbers on online dating and the rise of Tinder. And while I can’t claim that I’m not part of the 48 percent, the idea that so many young people are taking the time to obsess over past relationships is troubling. If women's media is any indication, I sense that women spend more time pursuing relationships and obsessing over romantic partners than men do so we have to wonder — is it predominantly women that are doing this ex checking?
After all, women’s magazines dedicate whole sections to analyzing and catering to men, while men’s magazines might have a page on relationship advice and a whole section dedicated to ogling Kate Upton. Women’s TV programs teach us that relationships are an integral part of our identities and lives while men’s TV shows emphasize adventure. But is this media bias representative of the way women live their lives? Or is it just TV? Regardless of the gender breakdown of this study, the more time women spend obsessing over the things we are told to obsess about (boys, make up, our bodies, nails, Chris Helmsworth), the less time we have to live lives dictated by our own terms, and not in a bad mood because our ex has a new girlfriend.