Swivel Away From the Computer: The Thin Line Between Stalking and Research

July 25, 2012  |  

In life you’ll learn that there are multiple extremes that are typically separated by a single “line.”  Though you try to be on the normal side of that behavioral line, there’s always a slippery slope into madness if you’re not careful.

Facebook is a weird online universe and its constant changes can turn its users into an inadvertent stalkers.  The moment you log in you’re bombarded with the immediate details of people’s lives.  Their new pictures pop up, their status updates alert you into what they’re feeling or accomplishing at that moment and you’re made privy to people’s birthdays who you haven’t talked to in years.  It’s easy to get lost in the minutia of your peers’ lives when it’s thrown at you and it seems all too interesting.  I understand, I’ve fallen in the trap too.

But where the “normal” slope gets slippery when you start dating someone new.  It’s understandable that when you get into a new relationship you’re interested in knowing as much as possible about the person you’re dealing with.  So if the person has a Facebook page, Twitter, or whatever Instagram is, you might spend a few minutes/hours “researching,” trying to find out as much information to fill in the holes of what makes that person tick.  While you’re, “researching,” the name of their ex might casually pop into your mind and you want to know “what does he/she look like” and “how do I measure up?”  Just know that you’re not alone in wanting information on who else is in your partner’s past, but don’t let it consume you.

I mentioned before that I got married sort of young.  My soon to be ex husband and I met at a job together. We worked at an after school program.

When I first started working, there was a girl who worked at a different program who was just incredibly rude to me.  We were around the same age. Being the gregarious person that I am, I was thrown off by her attitude; but knowing that you can’t make everyone like you, I just shrugged it off.  It wasn’t until a month later that I found out that before I started the job they were “talking.”  He told me that nothing happened, they weren’t compatible and he stopped talking to her about a week before I started.

I’m a person that can ignore stupidity very well, but things started going overboard when I would leave the room and come back and she would be up close to him and I once overheard her telling him that she “needed some man-meat” in her life.  Really?  Then to top it off, she would not only still text my guy, but she would text him about all of my flaws:  “Your friend’s thighs are getting fat.”

Confused on what was going on with her internally, I looked her up on Facebook.  Seeing her page didn’t resolve any of my feelings or answer any of the questions of what was wrong with her.  So I called a friend and told her to go to the page as well.  We dissected status updates, decisions on profile pictures and everything else until I started thinking, What’s wrong with me?  Why should I care?

In all honesty, I was looking at her page to try to find something to make me feel a little bit better about myself.  She spent a good portion of her time cutting me down at our job, and I wanted to find some info that I can internally hold in my head to remind myself that she’s just a sad, silly person.

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