People check on their ex-partners online

People are using social network sites to check up on the activities of their former partners, new research has found. Published in Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Psychology, the study suggested such monitoring can disrupt a person's ability to move on with their life.

It was noted that as many as one-third of Facebook users have used the site to keep tabs on their ex - yet doing so can hinder emotional healing and make it harder for an individual to let go of his or her former partner.

Brenda Wiederhold, editor-in-chief of the journal, which is from the Interactive Media Institute, noted the findings once again demonstrate how virtual goings-on can mirror real life.

Ms Wiederhold stated: "Just as real life contact with ex-partners may inhibit growth, healing and well-being, so may virtual contact."

To compile their findings, the researchers evaluated a number of parameters related to Facebook monitoring, including negative feelings, sexual desire and emotional longing.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Lynne Jordan comments:

"Social networking exposes us potentially to access to friends relatives and virtual strangers' private relationships and activities like no other era! It has loads of positive fallout but some of the negative is evidenced in this research where the ability to let go, heal and move on is inhibited by tendancies to obsess over ex-partners lives even after breaking up. It keeps insecurity, rejection, disappointment  and abandonment feelings live where they would otherwise be able to settle, heal and reattach to potential new partners."