Love in the Time of Algorithms

The Jig Is Up: Study Reveals It’s Your Anxious Attachment Style That Compels You to Facebook Stalk

We're just shocked.
LOL. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

LOL. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Do you find yourself obsessing over every interaction on your significant other’s Facebook page? A new study (uncovered by Slate’s XX Factor) suggests that you’re obsessing over your boyfriend’s most innocuous “likes” not because the foundations of relationship are crumbling, but because of your “attachment style.”

Might want to chill, in other words.

Researchers at Ohio State and Wittenberg University recruited a bunch of undergrads and evaluated their attachment styles (for instance, whether they tend to be anxious about their relationships), how stable their relationships were and to what extent they monitored their partners on Facebook. Guess what?

“Likely due to their high levels of relationship anxiety, preoccupied and fearful individuals experienced the highest levels of relational uncertainty and engaged in the highest levels of IES ["interpersonal electronic surveillance"]. Previous studies have noted the prevalence of using Facebook to monitor partners and this study shed light on those findings.”

What’s really shocking is that that’s not even the most obvious finding in the study. Brace yourselves: Did you know that it’s harder than ever for the “preoccupied and fearful” to move on? That’s because “Maintaining this virtual connection with one’s ex may enhance feelings of uncertainty about the future of a relationship that, without social media, may have had a clearer and more certain ending.”

Guess Facebook has made us all Taylor Swift watching Harry Styles at the VMAs.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com