Belfast Telegraph

43% use Facebook 'to confirm end of relationship'


By David Mercer

One in three young adults (34%) would delete all images of their partner on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter if their relationship broke down, new research has found.

Two fifths (42%) would "unfriend" their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend within a month of a split, while almost a third (31%) said they would extend the cull and remove all online contact with their ex-partner's friends and family, according to the study.

Behavioural experts said the findings showed young people were now using social media as "decisive means" to confirm the end of a relationship.

But the YouGov poll of more than 2,000 adults aged 18 to 34 also found nearly a fifth (17%) thought it was acceptable to "stalk" a former partner's social media page to check if they were in a new relationship.

Two in three (65%) said they would flaunt their new unattached status by changing their Facebook profile to "single" within the first month of a break-up, while one in five (18%) would change their status to "in a relationship" if they found someone new in the same period.

The research, by communications agency Diffusion, found nearly a third (30%) believed it was acceptable to upload and tag pictures with a new love interest within the first month of a split.

Psychologist Professor Craig Jackson, from Birmingham City University, said: "These findings confirm what many psychologists have suspected about those who have grown up surrounded by social media; that they fall in "digital love" quickly - that is, to provide online confirmation and validation of a new relationship.

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"But are just as capable of falling out of it quickly too, and with some clinical precision.

"When new romances form the digital confirmation such as a Facebook status is often viewed as the confirmation of the new relationship that makes it both real and public.

"It makes sense then that this method is also used as a decisive means of confirming to the world the end of a romance."

Belfast Telegraph Digital