Huffpost College

Nearly 90 Percent of People Facebook Creep On Exes: University of Western Ontario Study

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Your ex is probably a Facebook creeper.

A recent study found 88 percent of those who have cut ties with a romantic partner in the last year check up on their exes on Facebook.

University of Western Ontario graduate student Veronika Lukacs conducted the study as part of her Media Studies Masters thesis, which she named "It's Complicated: Romantic Breakups and Their Aftermath on Facebook."

Lukacs, 25, told The Huffington Post that between October and February last year, she gave the same approximately 50-question survey to 107 individuals that asked about their post-relationship habits on Facebook and about the nature of their break-ups.

Participants were required to have experienced a break-up within the last 12 months, and all respondents were between the ages of 18-35. Lukas said 74 percent of the participants were college-aged.

Using the surveys, she and her thesis supervisor, Anabel Quan-Haase, were able to deduce a number of statistics on Facebook users' level of surveillance on their ex. She also conducted 10 private interviews, which were condensed into summaries using pseudonyms for the interviewees. Lukacs' interview questions asked 10 individuals about the nature of their break-ups and how Facebook impacted their ability to cope with their relationship's end.

"What I found was that whether you were on Facebook all the time or not, your distress level changed based on how much surveillance you were doing [post break-up]," Lukacs told the Digital Trends news site.

Her study found 48 percent of people remain Facebook friends after a break-up.

For those who want to creep, but were deleted, 70 percent said they used a mutual friend's profile to creep on their ex, with 50 percent of respondents keeping busy by deleting photos of their couple days.

"People seem upset and really embarrassed by their Facebook [creeping]," Lukacs said. "There was one guy I interviewed and he hacked into his girlfriend's Facebook. He found out exactly what he had suspected when he hacked, but he was still really embarrassed, saying that just because he was right doesn't make what he did okay."

That man Lukacs was referring to was a 26-year-old lawyer she interviewed. He had logged into his ex-girlfriend's Facebook in order to confirm his suspicion that she had moved on and started dating a co-worker.

"I found it really interesting that this issue wasn't necessarily just a young person thing," Lukacs said. "These are people who are really educated."

Lukacs said many people identified this creeping behavior as unhealthy and knew it was against their better judgment, but did it anyway. Lukacs told HuffPost her motivation for doing the study came after watching a lot of her close friends go through tough situations.

"One of my roommates in undergrad had been dating her boyfriend for three years," Lukacs explained. "She went through this really tough period of wanting to see what he was up to on Facebook all the time. Then, she decided it was too hard, so she deleted him. Then, when she thought she was feeling better they became [Facebook] friends again. She sort of went through the same thing again."

You can read the rest of Lukacs' study statistics here.

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