11/07/2013 20:38 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Heartbreak Is Harder In The Digital Age, Says Study (Er, No S*** Sherlock)

Relationship status stalking, laughing through tears at his tweets, obsessively monitoring Instagram. A study by the University of California Santa Cruz has discovered heartbreak is worse in the digital age. Er, well yeah - no s*** Sherlock.

At the grand age of almost 30, I've loved and lost in both the pre- and post-social media age and the latter makes getting over someone - getting away from someone - almost impossible.

heartbreak in digital age

When I split up with my first real boyfriend via a screaming match at a party, I was 17 and didn't have a mobile phone. My friend Gavin picked me up after school and drove us down the coast for ice cream blasting the Foo Fighters' The Colour And The Shape until we reached our destination (Nardini's in Largs, in case you were wondering).

We sang our hearts out, ate mint-choc-chip sundaes, and by the time he dropped me home three hours later, I was over that ex and feeling great. There was no texting, no status updating, no tweeting, no smug see?-I'm-fine selfies.

High on sugar and post-grunge rock, I was blissfully switched off from the whole break-up situation. It was over, yes, but I had friends and ice cream and Dave Grohl. In short, I was okay.

Fast forward seven years. I am 24 and I've just been dumped for the first time. By email. On Valentine's Day. By a boy who says I'm "not complex enough" for him.

I forward the email to all my friends with the screechy introductory line of "WHO DOES THIS TO SOMEONE???" and spend the journey home from work morbidly looking forward to analysing his Facebook page for clues of a new girlfriend.

For the next six months, I'm never off his profile until I confess all of this to my mum and she tells me to stop being such a loser over a stupid boy.

In truth, I'm getting bored anyway. His status updates are super braggy and the links he posts are kind of cringe. The obsessive checking and analysing has become habit more than anything else, and honestly, I need to move past this if I'm ever going to have sex again.

So, the difference between heartbreak in the pre- and post social media age? Three hours spent, mourning, moaning and moping compared to five months, fourteen days and 21 hours checking, analysing and stalking. Yep, social media + heartbreak = mentalist.

But how do you avoid that crazy digital stalking phase? How do you get that I'm-free-and-I've-got-ice-cream feeling, instead of the my-vision's-blurry-from-looking-at-pictures-of-my-ex-too-much slump? Here's what I learned...

1. Come clean and talk about it. My mum made me feel embarrassed for being an online stalker and my friends demanded I show them his profile so they could tell me in no uncertain terms that my longed for ex was a chump. There's nothing like a bit of face-to-face reality to get you putting away your laptop and heading to the bar.

2. Stop following him on Twitter. Okay, so this one's a bit Pippa Tips, but you might think his name popping up in your feed now and again will be fine. It won't be. It will lead to splinter stalking of people he's tweeting at. Very time-consuming.

3. Go out post break up. I'm talking filling up your time like a demon. Want to stay at home with a blanket and his Instagram account? NO! You need to be outside doing things with friends who'd never ever dump you, because you know who gets dates after a break-up? Girls with social lives who are meeting new people and of course you'll meet someone else, because you, my friend, are awesome.

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