The More Past Relationships a Person Has, The More Interests They List on Facebook

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Do your interests listed on your Facebook page reflect how many relationships you’ve had?

A new study finds the more past romantic relationships a person has, the more interests they list on their Facebook profile.

Conducted by researchers from Western Illinois and Cornell Universities, the study found relationships breed new and sustaining interests with each new partner.

Involving 276 respondents, each answered a series of questions on past relationships and social media activity. A subset of 149 participants were given questions about current romantic partners.


“The more past relationships a person has,

the more interests they list on Facebook.”

Soon to be published in the July 2013 issue of Computers in Human Behavior, the study was authored by WIU assistant professor Christopher Carpenter and Erin Spottswood, of Cornell University.

Carpenter, a member of the university’s communications department, studies human interaction on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which he said offer a unique window in our lives.

“When we develop a relationship with someone, we take on some of their interests and traits and, in many cases, hang on to them long after we break up,” he said. “Facebook offered a unique way of examining the extent to which those traces of past relationships remain in our profiles.”

Carpenter received considerable media attention last year for a study that explored a “dark side” of Facebook. That study compared Facebook activity with narcissistic or antisocial indicators.

“We can see how often people interact with their romantic partners on Facebook,” he said. “We can’t follow people around with a tape recorder getting a record of what they say all day. Facebook, on the other hand, offers us the chance to see one part of that record.”

Source: Western Illinois University. Photo source:

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