How People Really Deal With Breakups On Facebook

The world of Facebook is an interesting one. It’s a place where we share our life experiences, but it’s also a platform that some people use to garner attention, either negative or positive. While we have those who use it to announce happy things like childbirths and promotions, we also have those who like to leave cryptic statuses about being “betrayed” or “let down,” and “you know who are,” all in the name of getting someone, anyone, to ask, “Are you all right?” In that same group, you can also find those who thrive on sharing their dirty laundry, especially if that dirty is involving a breakup. Although, at least according to a new study that latter group only makes up for four percent of what Facebook users do after a breakup, it still doesn’t make them any bearable. Is nothing sacred?

I’ll never forget the day I logged on to Facebook to see some guy’s status about his girlfriend having cheated on him, broken his heart, then dumping him. The comments that followed were words of support, as one does when someone is crying out for attention, but amongst his words of thanks, he proceeded to divulge the details of the breakup even more. It seemed strange to me that anyone would want to reveal the intimacies as to what caused their breakup in a place that, depending on your settings, can actually be pretty public. But as the recent study points out, Facebook has 890 million users every day, so with social media so ingrained in our lives, I guess for some, breaking up, and doing so for all to see just seems natural, maybe even appropriate.

Of the 200 participants of the study, 28 percent chose to take a “Facebook vacation,” hoping to keep their breakup off Facebook, which, I have to say seems like the sanest and less dramatic route. Twenty-three percent who, obviously, wanted some attention, but subtly so, changed their Facebook status to “single” or “it’s complicated,” and 8 percent didn’t change any of their Facebook behavior and just went about business as usual.

As for those who wanted to be proactive in moving forward, 9 percent removed their ex from their feed, 4 percent either blocked or unfriended their ex, as well as their family and friends, and another 4 percent used Facebook as a means to prove to their ex that they moved on and did so by posting lots of happy photos, or at least photos that weren’t meant to be interpreted as such. Surprisingly, only 10 percent went down the very dangerous rabbit hole of Facebook stalking.

Although the study examined how some people react to a breakup in a world in which Facebook is a constant source, the researchers have yet to pinpoint why. Why is it that some people crave the attention that comes with the demise of their relationship, while others just jump the Facebook ship and want to mourn privately without all the fanfare?

When Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook (after being dumped, mind you), he wanted relationship statuses to be a big part of it. He wanted users to know who was single, who was not, and who was dating whom. Since that was his initial purpose and because Facebook is such an inherent part of our lives that we rejoice in the fact that we get to announce a new relationship on it, I guess it makes sense that we would want to, at least some of us, make the ending of said relationship be known on Facebook, too. We’ve become a bunch of over-sharers, so this behavior isn’t entirely shocking, however, it is nice to know that those who prefer to keep something for themselves, even in this Facebook world, is still in the majority. But I don’t think it will stay that way forever.

Images: Shandi-lee Cox/Flickr; Giphy(2)