Your romantic partner may be spending a lot of time on your Facebook profile. Though Facebook won’t confirm or deny it, two Ohio communications professors just released a study on which types of people are most likely to use Facebook to creep on their romantic partners. Could your partner fit into one of these personality types?
Researchers Jesse Fox and Katie M. Warbe found that your partners are likely to creep on your Facebook if they exhibit particular attachment styles. An attachment style encompasses a person’s self-esteem and attitudes toward relationships. Since attachment styles are good predictors of how people behave in relationships and breakups, it’s no surprise they’re also good predictors for Facebook creeping.
Here’s the breakdown on who uses Facebook to creep on their romantic partners:
The Ex Creeper
Facebook makes breakups weird. Before Facebook, your exes could likely have avoided having to see you post-breakup. Today Facebook gives your exes constant updates on your life. Seeing details of your cat’s medical problems and photos from your grandma’s house constantly popping up on their News Feeds can make your exes feel like an intimate relationship still exists between you. If your Facebook updates confuse your exes about just how over things are, your exes may obsessively scour your Facebook page for clues to your current life.
If you don’t want your exes creeping on the juicy details of your life, you’ll have to hit the “Unfriend” button and make your statuses private.
The Insecure Creeper
via Stefan Tell
The partners who are insecure in their relationships are the ones who think they’re not good enough for you. Because these partners are worried you’ll eventually reject them, they monitor your Facebook page to give themselves a sense of control.
Fox and Warbe point out that the Insecure Creeper is also a bit clingy:
Preoccupied individuals tend to elevate the partner because they feel that they are inferior or not worthy of their partner. Due to this insecurity, preoccupieds then attempt to control the relationship because they are anxious that the partner may reject them. Preoccupieds tend to be high in anxiety but low in avoidance. Thus, they may cling to their partners.”
If you’re dating one of these types, give him lots of hugs and pep-talks – but don’t expect him to stop creeping your Facebook.
The Scared Creeper
via Jahlearn studio
Some people are so scared of getting hurt they’re afraid of getting close to others. Just because these types do not tell you about their fear doesn’t mean they’re not worried about the relationship. Instead, they find a way to address their anxiety that doesn’t involve confronting you. This search often leads them to Facebook, the epitome of non-confrontational technology.
As Fox and Warbe state, the Scared Creeper avoids relationship issues at all costs:
Fearful individuals are uncomfortable in close relationships because they are worried about being hurt by others. They experience high anxiety and, because they lack assertiveness, tend to avoid or nullify relationship issues.”
In this case, start posting some supportive statuses – you can be sure your partner is reading them.
The Confused Creeper
The Confused Creeper is tricky. Offline, the people most likely to monitor or stalk their partners are those in ambiguous relationships. Ambiguous relationships are those that haven’t been officially labeled as “open,” “friends with benefits,” or anything else. If people can’t tell whether they’re in a serious relationship, they may monitor their partners to see what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with. Fox and Warbe therefore expected that people in ambiguous relationships would be serious Facebook creepers. According to their research, though, it turns out those in ambiguous relationships actually weren’t the biggest creepers.
Regardless, Fox and Warbe still suspect their data may not be the final word. This is because their research subjects were college students, a population that’s pretty comfy with ambiguous relationships.
In other words, if you’re in an ambiguous relationship and you’re past college, don’t get complacent; you may be dating a Facebook creeper.
Many people may not mind dating a Facebook creeper. Chances are, they don’t know they’re being creeped, and creeping is sort of what Facebook is for anyway. We haven’t set clear boundaries for how much online monitoring is appropriate, so two partners may be comfortable with different amounts of Facebook interaction. Unfriending is a drastic step, after all. As Facebook takes on a bigger role in our social lives, we might have to start talking to our partners about how much Facebook monitoring feels okay.
Have you been Facebook creeped by a romantic partner? Did it affect your relationship?
Featured image via striatic