Should You Friend Exes on Facebook?
Is it best to steer clear of former boyfriends on the internet?
-April Daniels Hussar
Back in the dark ages (i.e., before Facebook), the only way to spy on ex-boyfriends was to “accidentally” stalk them at work or “run into” them at their favorite watering holes. Not that I ever did anything like that, of course. I never had to because where I come from, a small town in Northern California, it was perfectly normal to stay friends with your exes. Imagine my surprise culture shock when I moved “back east” and fell in love with a Jersey boy whose circle of friends still ostracizes an old pal because he dated one of the group member’s ex-girlfriends… in junior high. Toto, we’re not in California any more.
Needless to say, the subject of exes has always been a touchy one for my dear hubby and me. When we met, he wasn’t “friends” with any of his old girlfriends; I was still “friends” with just about all of my old boyfriends. In the name of domestic bliss, I lost touch with my old flames – moving to a new coast and becoming a mommy made that pretty easy to do – even though there were some friendships I was sad to lose. All the same, when I started my Facebook account I steered clear of anyone who might be considered controversial. I assumed Darling Hubby did the same. But imagine my surprise about a year ago when I discovered a few familiar names on his Facebook page. Why, hello there, Ex-Girlfriend-Right-Before-Me and Ex-Girlfriend-Right-Before-Her! Is there some kind of loophole for an ex-girlfriend on Facebook?
Then again, maybe “friending” exes on Facebook really isn’t quite as threatening as keeping in touch with them in real life? According to a recent news article, quite the contrary is often true: Facebooking exes is just a gateway drug into illicit affairs and broken marriages. The article tells the story of “Ellen,” her husband, and her husband’s ex-girlfriend, with whom he reconnected on Facebook. Old friends catching up quickly progressed into old flames re-igniting, and the rest is a sordid tale that narrowly avoided becoming divorce court history. In fact, the article warns, “Facebook was mentioned in one in five of all divorce petitions filed through an internet service called Divorce Online.”