Should you be married, and Facebook friends with an ex?

If you are single, the question of whether or not it’s okay for you to be Facebook friends with an ex has a simple answer: Who cares? You’re single. If you want to make yesterday’s ex today’s next with a text, be my guext.

The world is your Accept button!

If, on the other hand, you are married, then you know that being FB-friends with an ex is a whole other can of squirms.

It’s just so easy to bump into an ex in cyberspace, isn’t it?

There you are, alone at night with your computer, innocently scrolling through a Facebook group of your graduating high school or college class—when: Bam!

There, live and in living color, is your ex.


Looking good.

Cute as ever!

You instinctively look around the room real quick. You’re still alone.

You settle yourself a little more comfortably down into your seat.

And that moment, right there, is where you need to shut down your browser, Bowzer. Time for you to execute a Facebook about-face.

Shut ‘er down like a nuclear power plant that’s glowing bright green, walk right away, and do not look back.

Why? Because you are married. And chief amongst the simple, clear rules of marriage is that you never, in any way, invite into your life a person with whom you used to have a loving, sexual relationship.

And the reason you don’t do that has nothing whatsoever to do with you. This isn’t about you.

You don’t Facebook-friend an ex because doing so is disrespectful to your spouse.

Would you want your spouse to be FB-friends with an ex? Would you be okay with him or her reaching out to someone with whom they used to be in love, or with their opening the door when someone with whom they used to regularly cuddle and make love comes a’ knockin’?

I’m going to go out onto a limb, and guess that you wouldn’t be okay with that. Because everyone wants to feel that their spouse is so in love with them, that they can’t so much as remember the name of a single one of their exes.

You don’t ruin that dream of your spouse’s by going, “Hey, sweetheart, guess what? Remember that one girl I told you all about—the one I used to be so in love with? Well, she Facebook-friended me today! It was so weird, looking at all the pictures of her! I gotta tell ya’, she looks as good as ever. She’s still got it!”

And please don’t tell me that you simply wouldn’t tell your spouse that you’ve become FB-friends with an ex. Because that would make of you a liar. And there’s no way you’re not better than that.

Look: if you’re married, being FB-friends with an ex can’t be anything but a major fail. If you want relationships outside of your marriage—and you’re okay with your spouse wanting the same—then great: You’ve got something that you and your spouse need to talk about. A lot. (For a perhaps instructive take on this particular matter, see 1 Man, 2 Women In A Polyamorous Relationship.)

But if you’re not open to extramarital affairs, then … then what are you doing enabling a way for you and your ex to instant message one another?

The basic truths in life never change. So, you know: Do unto your spouse what you would have them do unto you. That’s all this is about. That’s pretty much all marriage is about. And that’s a lot.

A big part of “I do” is “I won’t.”

So don’t.

And when you don’t, don’t worry about hurting the feelings of your ex. If they’re in a real relationship, they’ll understand you ignoring them on Facebook. And if they’re not in a real relationship, and are, instead, sniffing around looking for the kind of emotional if not physical dalliances in which, alas, married people are forever allowing themselves to become entangled (and almost always for the same unremarkable reason, which is that they’re getting off on the drama of it all), then what can you possibly care for such a person anyway?

Let them go find someone else—someone who, like themselves, is a little fuzzy on who exactly they are.

You know who you are. The whole key to life lies in never forgetting it. Even at those times—especially at those times—when life seems to be tempting you with an easy and exciting reason to.

"You have the floor Pastor he said it as we all faced that product of ..."

The fundamentally toxic Christianity
"Save souls, nourish them as the devil roars for opportunity to steal, kill and destroy. ..."

My mom died late last night; ..."
"Sorry for your loss."

My mom died late last night; ..."
"We will see our loved ones but only those who had a relationship with jesus ..."

My mom died late last night; ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Anonymous

    Wow… I'm single, but have several married "exes" as facebook friends. I have often wondered whether she tells her husband that we're "poking" each other often.

  • onemansbeliefs

    I think it boils down to two questions…

    1. Do you honor your spouse?

    2. How do you wish to represent your marriage?

    How you answer these are key to the actions you would take in the scenario above.

  • Meredith: I'm not at all assuming that just because a person is an ex means there’s a chance of somehow rekindling those feelings simply by friending them on Facebook. That's not the point. You can know that your romantic feelings for someone are dead beyond rekindling, but it's unfair for you to expect your spouse to be okay with you keeping that relationship going because you feel that way. I utterly disagree with you that being "open and honest" with your spouse about your ongoing relationship can serve to make continuing that relationship okay. It's not fair to your spouse to ask them to be okay with that relationship, is all I'm saying. Of course marriage is about working through problems. But life brings up enough problems of its own to deal with, without having to put on both of your front burners something like this, which shouldn't be on the table at all. It's not EASIER to reject temptation as you move through life; it's harder. But (obviously) it's the right and honorable thing to do.

    The simple question is: How would you feel if your husband came to you, and told you about the ongoing e-relationship that he's keeping alive with an ex—and told you all the reasons that you SHOULD be okay with it?

    Matt: I think you write your exes, and tell them that you're married now, and then even though you and THEY understand the two of you are no longer an item, out of respect for your wife and her natural feelings you're going to shut down your relationship with them. No woman in the world wouldn't understand and respect that; that's what they'd want out of their husbands. And if they DO have a problem with that, it just shows they don't yet understand what real emotional commitment is all about.

  • That is completely ridiculous. Any mature adult can maintain friendships with their exes without screwing up the current relationship. I'm assuming you are not talking about high school kids here. Some of the most important friends in my life are past lovers and I can't imagine my life without these people.

    Does this opinion stem from a lack of self control on your part or is it that you imagine this lack of self control in others?

  • Willam: It comes from 30 years of being happily married. Are you married? (I see from your FB link that you're not. So … ..)

  • Meredith

    I don’t know that I totally agree with you on this one, John. I think you’re assuming that just because a person is an “ex” that this means there’s a chance of somehow rekindling those feelings simply by friending them on Facebook.

    I have an ex who is a Facebook friend, and while this person is an extremely nice person, and I love this person’s wife and I think they have adorable children, and I’m so very happy that his life has turned out so well, the ONLY “us” thing in my head when I view his posts on Facebook is “Thank GOD we’re not together anymore.” I don’t dislike him, but I see now that we were not good for each other and I’m glad that we broke up, even though it hurt at the time. I’m also happy that I’m able to still keep up with what is happening with him and his family, because they really are wonderful people.

    I think the best way to handle anything like this is simply to be open and honest with your spouse. Ask them if they have a problem with it–and if they do, then find out why and talk about it. Don’t just assume that there’s no way to get past it. Work at it. That’s what marriage is (or should be) about.

    There shouldn’t be any closed doors in a marriage. I do agree with you on that–if you can’t talk to your spouse about something, or feel uncomfortable talking about it…it’s a pretty good sign you NEED to talk about it. And if they just can’t figure out how to be comfortable with whatever it is, then commitment and love dictates you shouldn’t do whatever it is.

    But don’t take the easy way out by putting a blanket ban on something. That might be easier, but it’s not going to make a marriage deeper or help bring people (beyond just marriage) into healthy relationships.

  • Matt

    I think I agree with you.

    However, pretty much everyone 23 and below has a Facebook page and usually all their friends including their exes are on it.

    So when they get married all there exes will still be there. Unless of course they want to go through the process of blocking the ex from their Facebook page, which could be miscontrued by the ex as a malicious putdown. It’s one thing not to accept a friend request, but it’s another to actually block them, I think. Any thoughts?

  • Matt

    John, I totally agree with what you said.

    I think one can go too far with this line of thought however. I know their is a certain type of Evangelical who thinks it would be a really bad idea for a married man to even be alone in the same room with a woman (or vice versa). Maybe I’d think differently if I was irrestible to women and they were thowing themselves at me but I’ve never had that particular problem (if you could call that a problem). I’ve always been of the opinion that this type of thinking is a bit too paranoid. I mean there are all sorts of temptations everywhere, and if one truly wanted to avoid them all he wouldn’t even be walking out of his door in the morning. I’m single though, so maybe you’ve got a different opinion.

  • Matt: What?! No, of course I agree with you that it’s … well, insane for a married man to have a rule in his life that he could never be alone in a room with a woman. That’s … absurd. That’s … not my line of thought at all.

  • Matt

    I figured that was the case. It’s a shame that some people do believe that however – I can’t imagine they have much of a life.

  • Sarah

    I think this is one of those things that kinda has to be decided by each couple. I don’t think there’s a blanket rule about it. Some people can handle that kind of thing and some can’t. I don’t think that the feelings of your mate should suffer because of it though … no friend or ex should be that important. I WILL say this, though. I do have one old boyfriend as one of my FB friends, but I didn’t do it without talking to my husband about it first, and fully believing that he was really OK with it. And we talk about the few conversations I’ve had with the ex.

    One of the most interesting things that came out of my accepting a friend request from an old boyfriend was this: He wasn’t as smart or charming or wonderful as I remembered. And he made me so much more grateful than I already was that I married the man I did. So yeah, maybe sometimes people find themselves longing for those glory days with the ex … but it had the exact opposite effect for me. I wonder what I ever saw in him.

  • Denise

    John, I kind of disagree with you on this one. However, I do agree that if you are doing this in “private” without your spouse’s knowledge that is indeed a red flag. I think that Facebook can be an nice way to stay in touch with people who used to be a part of your life. However, if one is engaging in personal conversation that they need to hide from a spouse, it’s definitely not okay. One caveat, if it bothers your spouse, regardless of your intentions, you shouldn’t do it. But, I know that it wouldn’t bother me–unless, it was secretive. I don’t consider all of my Facebook friends to be people that I speak to on a regular basis, but it’s still nice to catch up and see how they are doing once in awhile. I think it’s the secrets that destroy relationships, not the past relationships. And, I know I’m not married, but I’ve seen my married friends maintain Facebook relationships with old flames and not have any problems.

  • Here's the thing …

    Why mess around with temptation? If I might wax mildly theological here for a moment, I seem to think that we all have this sinful nature. Why tempt it?

    How many people do we all know who play games with (figuratively) stick their hands in the fire just to prove that they won't get burned? How many of them wind up getting burned?

    I knew a kid who decided in college that he would go to a college bar and witness to the other college kids there. Then he started going to the night club, figuring that those people needed him even more. Do I need to tell you how that worked out?

    I do not have a friendly relationship with my ex-wife. (Granted, she's an adulteress who tried to drive me to suicide, but that's beside the point …) I wouldn't expect my wife to understand if I wanted to hang out with my ex-wife. I'm married, and that is more important to me than anything I might get from being in touch with my ex. We have a semi-cordial, businesslike relationship. That certainly doesn't include Facebook.

    I'm with John … there are enough temptations out in the world already. Why add to those the person with whom you used to sleep?

  • Melesa Garrison

    I totally agree with John on this one! Why would you even want to converse with somebody that you used to share everything with…How did that work for ya? Don't even think about it (unless you have small children to share) it's over! STAY AWAY!

  • Oh–right. I keep forgetting to say that. Shared children is the one factor that does make it okay to maintain your relationship with an ex. Righto. Of course. Thanks, Melesa.

  • RogerC

    I almost feel sorry for you today, John; taking a definite stand is always unpopular with somebody. Many people would never tell their spouse they object to the facebook friendship with the ex-even if they feel weird about it. If we ask them if it is okay and they say no, then we will ask why they don't trust us. If they feel weird about it and say yes, then they are forced to live with the weirdness while acting like everything is ok. The fact we all know we should discuss this with our spouse is evidence of our objecting conscience.

  • Roger: EXACTLY! See, now, if I would have put it THAT way, I wouldn't be being called asinine and immature. Thanks for the support—and the good phrasing! But, in truth, I knew I'd get some resistance with this. People LOVE them a little extra-curricular emotional buzz. I knew people would claim it's a mark of emotional sophistication/maturity that in their marriage its okay to maintain FB friendships. It's just … something people are really, really loathe to give up. Cuz very few things tickle your ego like innocently corresponding with an ex.

  • I’m okay with a blanket rule on this one, because all people are the same: They’re jealous of the affections of those with whom they’re in passionate love. If you’re in a marriage and it doesn’t bother you that your spouse is maintaining a relationship with their ex, that’s not a mark of emotional maturity. That’s a mark that you’ve got a problem with your marriage.

    Look: There’s no way you should be okay with your spouse emailing their ex: if you are okay with that, you’re not really in love with your spouse, and so don’t really care what they do. The only possible way for you to be okay with them having exchanges with their ex that you can’t possibly be aware of it is if you SEE every email that transpires between them and their ex. But how exactly would that work? Do they print out and bring you every exchange? That’s insane.

    You’re either interested in what’s going on with your ex, or you’re not. If you’re not, you can let them go. If you ARE, then why?

  • I think it can be okay.

    I would hope so, as I have “friended” an ex on Facebook. My husband also knows about it, and isn’t threatened by it. This particular Facebook friend is someone I’ve known most of my life (childhood and adulthood) and remained friends with even after our romantic entanglement ended. We both know we’d never have worked long term as a couple and neither of us is seeking to rekindle old flames that never should have kindled in the first place.

    As Freud would say, “sometimes a facebook friend is just a facebook friend.”

  • Denise

    Again, I'm still a little surpised that you are generalizing so much about marriages and how they are supposed to work. I think there is a BIG difference between emailing someone every day and being Facebook friends with them. Emailing definitely seems more intimate. I like to know and find out how people in my past who I don't communicate with on a regular basis, and I think Facebook acts like the annual Christmas letter–allows me a chance to see how they are doing and that things are going well. I've had friends on both sides of the fence–ones who have "secretly" been in contact with exes and ones who have just had them as Facebook friends. The ones with the Facebook friends don't seem to have any secrets and aren't trying to hide anything from their spouses AND their spouses don't care. I think there is a problem with a marriage if one is so insecure that they are going to be jealous of their spouse's ex(es). They exist. They are part of their life and always will be. Being a Facebook friend certainly doesn't indicate a "relationship." Cause I have over 200 Facebook friends and can honestly say I don't have a "relationship" with all of them. Maybe, it's because I KNOW without a doubt that I personally would never EVER cheat on someone or help someone cheat on their spouse that it doesn't bother me. I'd much rather have that own faith in my spouse than to spend my life worried that he might be going back to an ex. If someone is going to cheat, they are going to do so whether it's with an ex or not. They'll usually find a way. I think your all or nothing take on this seems a little harsh. I'd much rather have a little faith that my spouse wouldn't have an affair with an ex, than constantly be worried that he will.

  • Liz Edmundson

    You are right. Period.

  • RogerC

    I agree with you John, therefore you must be wrong!

  • Stephanie

    John, I think you were a little harsh with William. You probably shouldn’t creep around on peoples FB pages who have been kind enough to “friend” you and give you access to their page. And you certainly should not use that information against them in a way that can be as hurtful as a person’s relationship status. By all means continue the discussion but don’t be rude and have some compassion, please.

  • Freud (if he lived today, of course) wouldn’t have said that. He knew better.

  • Beth Guy

    I agree 100% with you on this one John.

    Steve Arterburn wrote a book titled “Every Man’s Battle”, whereas he does go into the reasons why a married man should never ever reconnect with a old flame. He fills up three chapters at least on the subject. A woman would do well to read this book too.

    Basically, if you crack open the door to temptation, you are leaving yourself extemely vunerable. Don’t most affairs start off innocent? Maybe right now you and your spouse are happy and getting along. Things are running smoothly. But all of us that have been married for years and years know the status quo can change on a dime. Illness, money woes, in-laws, job demands. teen agers, It doesn’t take long for there to be a shift in a marriage that strains the relationship and then…watch out.

    At that point, having a friend of the opposite sex that you find attractive, that understands you, that you share an intimate history with. One you can sit back and literately open the history book in your mind and reconnect with the images, sounds, tastes and feel of thier body with yours. Thats not imagination, or fantasy,,That is reality, and it is dangerous to the married couple. Period.

    God’s rules on this are very clear. It ‘s all over the Bible. Not just what we do physically, but with our hearts and minds. Satan is real, If you think that you are somehow immune from this tempation, you are being very foolish. If Satan wasn’t afraid to go into Gods own turf (Eden), and mess with God’s own people (Adam and Eve) and twist God’s own words, what makes you think he won’t mess with you?

  • Stephanie: William started his comment by saying that my post was “completely ridiculous.” That’s a pretty raw insult, and gives me permission to lean on him a bit. And he linked his name, right here, to his FB page: I hardly went “creeping” around it. And I wanted to know if he was married; because, frankly, if he’s not, what he says carries no weight. It just … can’t.

    If you don’t mind—what with it being my blog, and all—I’ll go ahead and keep handling people who comment on it (this is not Mr. Ely’s first commentary on my thoughts) the way I think best. Thanks.

  • Beth: Thanks—but I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep an old relationship alive because YOU’LL be tempted to transgress. I’m saying it’s not fair to ask your spouse to be okay with you remaining in contact with an ex. That’s all.

  • textjunkie

    They’re jealous of the affections of those with whom they’re in passionate love. If you’re in a marriage and it doesn’t bother you that your spouse is maintaining a relationship with their ex, that’s not a mark of emotional maturity. That’s a mark that you’ve got a problem with your marriage.

    Nope, gotta disagree with you there; it’s a mark of emotional self-assuredness. This “oh my god you talked to another woman/man you’re EVIL” jealous response makes no sense to me.

    I think a lot of it depends on what this “relationship” consists of–emailing every day with personal updates that you don’t cc your spouse on is yeah, weird and asking for trouble. The annual happy-birthday email, swapping Christmas letters or an occasional group outing with mutual friends, ok fine. If you’re not writing or saying anything to your ex anything you’d be ashamed to let your spouse see, what’s the problem? (and yes, I’ve been married 15+ years–not the 30+ you’ve done but give me time. 😉

  • Beth Guy

    I’m still in agreement with you John.

    My comments were more directed to the folks that seem to think its harmless. Its not.

    You are also right on target about our spouse’s feelingss. It’s not worth it. My spouse is my best friend. I care deeply about what hurts him. I’ve spent the last 18 years (yesterday was our anniversary) working on making our marriage last this long. Many times, I’ve had to sacrifice what i wanted to the best interests of us as a couple, and visa versa. Like you lasting 30 years, I’m sure you understand that comment too

  • Textjunie: How is being okay with your spouse’s continuation of a relationship important in their past a sign of emotional self-assurance? What does it say about how I feel about my wife if I basically don’t CARE if she has chosen to maintain her relationship with an erstwhile flame of hers? On the surface of it my being okay with that can masquerade as emotional self-assurance. But right below that can only be one thing: emotional detachment. I either care, or I don’t. There’s no way to be in love and NOT care. If I don’t care, then that can only mean that … well, that I don’t care.

  • Beth: Yeah, it’s so weird to me when married people say, “Oh, it’s okay that I’m still in contact with my ex. Nothing’ll happen there. That relationship means nothing to me.” I’m always like, “If that relationship really means nothing to you, why is it still happening?” And, most importantly, it’s not a matter of whether or not it’s okay with YOU that you keep that relationship going. Of course YOU’RE not worried about it. The point is: Why would you ask your spouse to be okay with it? If they ARE okay with it, then … you’ve got a whole other monstrous problem. Cuz that necessarily means that, at some level that shouldn’t be okay with you, they really just don’t care all that much. If they don’t care, that’s bad. If they do care, you shouldn’t be doing it. Either way, it has no proper place in your life.

  • If you are not capable of simple friendship with an ex, then you immature, period.

  • Meredith

    John, I think you are making some jumps in logic here.

    First, you are assuming that “all people are the same”–jealous about the affections of their spouse. That’s just simply not true. It may be the way YOU are, and the way many other people are, but it is not the way ALL people are. And to further make the statement that if you are NOT that way, then you have problems in your marriage is not only false, it’s also quite an offensive accusation. You don’t know anything about my marriage, for example. We’re coming up on 13 years, and our relationship is the joy of our lives as well as the envy of most of our friends. And it is completely absent of jealousy or possessiveness. More on that below.

    Second, you are assuming that when I said “talk to your spouse” I was meaning to TELL them what you are going to do and EXPECT them to be okay with it. That is not what I said. I said TALK–meaning you sit down with your spouse and say, “Darling, if I was to continue being friends with so-and-so, how do you honestly feel about that? I am interested in keeping up with them simply because they were an important part of my life at one point. I am not attracted to them or anything like that. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with it, then I won’t do it because you are so much more important to me than this other person.”

    And then you listen to your spouse without defense or protest, and you ask questions, and if you aren’t comfortable with what they’re saying, then you ask more questions, and you listen some more, and you keep on doing this until you both arrive at an understanding and a comfort level that you can live with.

    That is how you honor your spouse. That is how you build a close relationship. When you have that sort of open communication and honor and your spouse feels and knows and experiences that priority in your life, then there is no room left for jealousy.

    This is how my husband and I treat each other, and this is the reason that neither of us feels at all jealous or worried about each other’s relationships. It’s called communication, honesty, and trust, and it’s a far more mature and Christlike way to handle relationships than simply cutting yourself off from people in your past with an assumption that no one can or should be able to manage it.

    Your way–a blanket rule against even friending an ex on a social network online–prevents personal growth and doesn’t require trust in the marriage relationship. It also continues to splinter and fragment relationships and community. My opinion only–it’s a shortcut, an easy way to manage an awkward situation. But real life is messy, real life requires risk and honesty. Real life is not a bundle of assumption or blanket statements. This is a topic that matters to me greatly because I believe we humans have the ability to sort through this mess and have positive healthy relationships with each other–whether spouses or exes or men or women or anyone else. The fact that we usually choose NOT to is not an indication of lack of potential or ability. It’s an indication of either lack of maturity, lack of tools, lack of information, or lack of desire to make those choices–with a good dose of fear thrown in.

    And frankly, it doesn’t bother me one bit if you want to ban your exes from your FB page. Have at. But to lay down some sort of John Shore edict, claiming that anyone who disagrees with you is being unfair to their spouse or even has a marriage in trouble is asinine behavior. This is not universal truth or some moral imperative you’re dealing with here. This is your own opinion, and it needs to be kept within that boundary.

  • Sorry to sound so harsh and insulting, but I seriously cannot believe what I am reading here.

  • So, according to this post, if I were get married, I would have to give up ALL my female friends? All of them have been romantically involved with me at one point or another. That would leave my life rather empty in the friend department. Friends are VERY important and you should not have to give them up just because you are in a serious relationship. It is just not a reasonable thing to ask of your significant other. It shows a complete lack of trust.

    I am not trying to harass you here, I just think I am missing a piece of the puzzle. I do not understand at all. This idea of yours sounds a bit crazy and paranoid to me.

  • Meredith

    Couple questions:

    John said:

    >>Look: There’s no way you should be okay with your spouse emailing their ex: if you are okay with that, you’re not really in love with your spouse, and so don’t really care what they do. <>The only possible way for you to be okay with them having exchanges with their ex that you can’t possibly be aware of it is if you SEE every email that transpires between them and their ex. But how exactly would that work? Do they print out and bring you every exchange? That’s insane.>>

    Why should that be necessary? Why would anyone even WANT to police their spouse that way? The only reason I can think of is if they are so fearful and so lacking in trust and confidence of their spouse and their spouse’s love that they NEED this sort of control over the other person. But that’s not an indication of health in the relationship, in my opinion.

    I’ve done some marriage counseling, and if I was working with a couple that demanded–or even desired or needed–that sort of monitoring of the other person, I’d be suggesting that person work with a therapist to become healthier in that area of their life.

    John said:

    >>You’re either interested in what’s going on with your ex, or you’re not. If you’re not, you can let them go. If you ARE, then why?>>

    Um, because that person is a great human being who is worthy of being friends with? Because just because they are a person I no longer am with romantically doesn’t make them scum? Because there are already too many holes and broken relationships in the typical life that adding to them by choice makes no sense?

    And as a Christian, because cutting an ex from my life simply because he’s an ex does not seem like something Jesus would do. Granted, I don’t think Jesus had “exes” but I just can’t see him banning anyone from his life simply for that reason alone. I think following Jesus means looking at people differently and learning how to treat them honorably and with love, whether they are a spouse or a former flame. And that’s not something that can be handled with a simple rule.

  • Meredith

    One more point I tried to make but it didn’t post in the above comment for some reason:

    John said:

    >>Look: There’s no way you should be okay with your spouse emailing their ex: if you are okay with that, you’re not really in love with your spouse, and so don’t really care what they do. <<

    Wow! Really? That's news to my husband and I who are head-over-heels about each other. Huh. Who knew you could evaluate an entire marriage relationship based on that fact alone. I guess we've just been deceiving ourselves for 13 years that we are deeply in love and deeply satisfied and happy in our marriage when really we don't give a flying flip about each other. Fascinating.

    Okay, sarcasm tag off now. But are you serious? Is that really the criteria you use in your own marriage? It sounds like you equate love with jealousy, fear, and distrust. That's not really what you meant, is it?

  • missrose

    Hey John!

    I think you might have called out 90 percent of married people! Not for emotional adultery, but for FB friending an ex. These two are not always connected.

    I am friends with an ex… he came out as a gay man many years after we dated. My husband is not jealous at all! Can I get a waiver for this one?


    P.S. The scenario you described in your post is common, and I am glad you brought it up. I just think sometimes it is okay to be friends with an ex.

  • Hmmm. Apparently I’ve failed to effectively communicate about this. Lemme say this one more time, and hope it’s clear:

    From the point of view of the spouse who Facebook-friend’s an ex: They’re either–in any way, to any degree—interested in their ex, or they are not. If they are, why? If they’re not, then what are they doing? Either way something is wrong.

    From the point of view of the man or woman whose spouse is FB friends with an ex: They’re either okay with their spouse doing that, or they’re not. If they ARE okay with it, something’s wrong, because who’s okay with their husband or wife keeping open private communication lines with their ex? If they’re not okay with it, then why would the spouse keep doing it?

    Conclusion: If you’re married and Facebook friends with an ex, something’s wrong. There’s no way out of that.

    And Meredith, I am okay saying this is true for virtually everyone, because pure romantic love is universal in nature and experience. Love is love, everywhere and for everyone. Marriage is marriage. Personal commitment is personal commitment. Wrong is wrong.

  • Lisa

    Wow John…you sure got the fire goin on this one!

    Glad to see you think it's okay when there are shared children involved. Pheeeew. If you didn't…I'd delete my ex.

  • Meredith

    John, I think on this one, we are just never going to agree. You apparently have a much, much different experience about what makes for a good relationship than I do. You obviously feel very strongly about this, and if your relationship and marriage is such that something like a FB friend ex would cause problems in your marriage, then I think you are right to avoid it.

    I am a bit frustrated by the fact that you are refusing to acknowledge the equally valid testimony of several of us who have commented saying that we have a different experience on this topic. I also am a bit resentful that you insist that something must be wrong with my marriage because my husband and I have a far different approach on this than you do. If you could actually spend time with my husband and I and see how we live our lives, you would see that not only is our marriage INCREDIBLY healthy, but that we are falling more deeply in love every day–FB friends and all.

    It's one thing to have a deeply held belief of what your preferences are and what works for you. But to refuse to admit that others of us have a different approach that also is working well for us, and to blow that off by saying that there must be something wrong with us is not intellectually honest, nor is it respectful.

    The good thing in all of this is that we aren't bound by your opinions or your insistence that something is wrong with us or our marriage. We're going to continue on as we have been, and be blissfully happy together. Hope that won't disappoint you too badly! 🙂

  • No, no: I just got terribly busy this whole afternoon; right after my last response I had to drive some hour away to get some pretty major dentistry work done. But I just posted a new piece–which of course would now be at the top of the blog—about this, in which (at the end) I did in fact say that I understand the validity of what you and others have said.

  • Hi,

    For my two cents worth, I’ve asked my ex-girlfriend to be best man at my wedding (or civil union – thanks bigotted Christians). I think its rare in life to form a meaningful heart connection with someone. They are like a pearl or memory and experience that you string around your soul. Why throw them away?

    PS. Its just important to have absolute boundaries in yourself. It helps to maintain those boundaries with your ex girlfriend when you discover your gay.

  • lil

    I agree with you John. I am glad I am not the only one who feels that way, for a while I thought I was. I thought that maybe I thought this way because I am 21 and that I was being immature. Thanks for this post.

    What is your opinion on ex's remaining friends? I don't think it's appropriate, let alone them hanging out, but other people seem to think otherwise.

  • Hi, lil. Thanks. As you can see, you and I are about the only ones who see it this way. This is easily the post with which the most readers have ever disagreed. Almost NO ONE heard what I was saying here.

    Buuuuuuuuuuut whaddaya goona do. Anyway, I appreciate you saying what you did.

    I have no set opinion on the advisability of remaining friends with one's ex. I would say, though, that I think that in such relationships it's almost inevitable that (and, again, we're only talking people who don't have children between them) someone's bullshitting someone. Somebody's trippin. Something's not right. Something unhealthy is happening. Someone in that relationship has too much power, etc. It's just never …. right. It's always unhealthy. They're never really "friends' at all.

  • Shanny

    I think it may be carried a little to the extreme here. I have 101 "friends" 99 whom I actually know, 30 that I really pay any amount of attention too as far as posting goes and a whopping 3 that I would have a text conversation with if they popped up. I have an Ex who tries to pop up on text sometimes but I always have an excuse as to why I have to go after a couple of friendly banters back and forth. I'll tell you why I gave the okay at reconnecting on line with these ex's. It wasn't to rekindle anything – it was to show off my incredible pics, my beautiful family, my successful life and let them know what they screwed themselves out of. After that initial warm fuzzy feeling I never even look at their pages or respond to a text. They are there but not for any reason other than I wanted to get a passive aggressive "neener-neener" in there at them before smugly moving on with my life. I have a total of 2 ex's on my friends list- one who I wanted to get back at with my wonderful life (and it worked, he is the one I ignore when he texts) the other I never really was in love with he was a more of a friend and so there is no awkward feelings about it. He never texts or posts anything on my wall. So unless someone is posting on your wall or bugging you with chat i think it's natural for many reasons to accept them on your friends list.

  • Shanny

    I agree- it’s not about being “friends” it’s about a hundred other things- like I was talking about. Getting back at someone or showing everyone you are still accepted by them. If there was hurt between you – a facebook friendship isn’t going to heal anything but in my case it was kind of therapeutic- I could care less if he dropped me or I never talked to him again- my point was made.

  • John, this might be good advice for you, and it might be good advice for some others. But generalizing like this for everyone simply isn't true. I've been happily married for 10 years and I'm friends with ex-girlfriends on Facebook. My wife knows about my Facebook friendship with both of them. She and I went to lunch with one of my exes when she was going through a divorce. Neither my wife nor I think it's a big deal.

    My relationship with my exes don't mean NOTHING to me. We're friends, and we enjoy talking to each other, even if it's only on Facebook. TBut the romantic spark with both of them is completely gone; and I'm a different person than I was in high school and college and my early 20s.

    If you don't feel like it's appropriate for you to be FB friends with your exes, that's fine — and if it's not OK with your wife, that's for you and your wife to decide. But it never even crossed my mind that being Facebook friends with my exes was inappropriate until I saw this post.

  • Boricua

    Well. as for me I am cool with being friends with my ex's and or male friends (in a relationship or not) but unfortunatley their girlfriends, spouses or women in their life have a problem with it. I was friends with several men and no pokes or messages were sent or posted and next thing you know they are NOT my friend anymore and they have BLOCKED me from their page. What insecurity!!!!!

    FB is only what you make of it and what someone post doesn't always make it true. Its unfortunate for sooooo many immature persons in the World that they can turn something great into a War Zone!!!!!! Jelousy is a killer and FB should be a sign of exactally where you are at in your relationship especially if you cant have a female as your friend because who your with is insecure. If a man is gonna cheat, be friends or speak with another female FB is NOT the only option!!!! Your just blocking the option you yourself have access to. HMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!

  • Enrique

    William Ely doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he hasn’t been married. IF you respect your spouse’s feelings when they uncomfortable with your friendship with your exes, then you would defriend them.

    Speaking from experience, my wife, after 20 years of marriage and 2 children, was found on facebook by an old flame from when she was 18 years old. They had only lost touch with each other because he went to work in a different country. And it all started so innocently, unfortunately she never told me about this. Innocent facebook private messages escalated to online chats, to text messages, to hours of phone calls between them-all behind my back. It became a full blown emotional affair and it was in the process of being a physical affair as I later discovered evidence that she was planning to leave us and move to another country to be with him before I discovered the affair.

    This is becoming a VERY common problem. Simply google: emotional affair facebook old flame.

    You can be friends with an ex, BUT you must be totally open with your spouse about it and the moment that it starts crossing the line (being romantic, flirty, sexy), then you have to cut it off immediately!

  • Joe

    Coming from someone who was friended by an ex, I think that it depends on who the ex is. There are some who you can be facebook friends with and others who you cannot. It depends upon the motives of the 2 involved.

    In my particular situation, I have contacted by an ex-boyfriend over the years. via phone Phone calls each year, to just catch up and that was it. He always initiated the calls and I really never thought much of the calls. He found me on facebook recently, I accepted his friend request, out of curiousity – to see what he was up to. My marriage was in bad shape and his is as well. Right away, he started with talking about why we broke up in the past, our prior pregnancy together, wanting to get back to what was,professing that I was the one and that we should have gotten married, he wanted to meet and get pregnant and that he was going to leave his now 3rd wife. All very bad. Countless e-mails, phone calls, chats, pictures and webcams. I am now in the midst of a divorce (did not leave my husband for this guy but this situation definitely was the death nail in my marriage). I cut it off with this guy recently, blocked him from finding me on facebook again. I came clean with my soon to be ex. I guarantee that his spouse did not know, especialy since she walked in our webcam conversation. At times I feel bad for her but not really as this guy never changed and as they say, you reap what you sow!!

  • DotDonahue .

    Thank you. This blog post helped make up my mind about whether I should befriend an old ex. 🙂 The answer is no. I love my husband and I love our marriage.

  • Johen Joy Joy

    i am from uk now, I wish to share my testimonies with the general public again, about what this man called DR. molleye, He has just done for me again, this man has just brought back my lost Ex husband back to me with his great spell, I was married to this man called john we were together for a long time and we loved our self’s but when I was unable to tell are i want to get pregnant,he left me for 1 year and told me he can’t continue anymore then I was now looking for ways to get her back until a friend of mine told me about this man and gave me his contact email( then you won’t believe this, when I contacted this man on my problems he prepared this spell cast and bring my lost husband back, and after a month he slept with me and i go for a test and the result stated i am pregnant am happy today am a mother of a baby girl, thank you once again the great DR. molleye for what you have done for me, if you are out there passing through any of this problems listed below:

    1) If you want your ex back.
    (2) if you always have bad dreams.
    (3) You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4) You want women/men to run after you.
    (5) If you want a child.
    (6) You want to be rich.
    (7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be
    yours forever.
    (8) If you need financial assistance.
    (9) Herbal care

    CONTACT DR. molleye IMMEDIATELY Email…

  • lizzy benjamin


  • Joseph Anderson

    Reality is the intentions and motives for what we do are going to produce the results we get and the images we project, will always be forever preserved for us to behold ! Better get it right!

  • amy

    Dear John: So I saw in my husbands Facebook recent search history was his ex girlfriend. what should I do about that? I am praying for guidance on this because I am really unsure if this is a real problem? I am confident in myself and our relationship. But I have been taken aback by people before.

  • Ask him about it. That’s the first thing you have to do.

  • Jennifer

    So I felt that my husband was acting different for a few months and I looked on his phone and seen that he friended his high school sweetheart on facebook they messaged asking each other how things were in life she had made a comment about hope your wife doesn’t get mad that we are talking. His reply was she may get jealous but I’m not worried. Hmmmm. Really I didn’t like that answer. Im guessing she’s had a bad day or somethings going on with her and he said he would always be there for and both of them saying hun to each other sending hugs. This was in April. Now recently she said happy birthday to him his. birthday morning afew weeks ago I thought something was different about his attitude and they were texting while me and the kids are spending time with him on his bday. Sending hugs and calling each other hun seems not good to me. She even apologized about their breakup. It just makes me sick to my stomach. For her to say I better go because her husband wouldn’t like them talking makes it quite clear that maybe her intentions are not good. I want to bring it up to him but I feel bad for snooping. I do know if i friended an ex he would not Be happy. Uggghh help

  • Christine

    it’s interesting, That way, I prefer to monitor my husband’s facebook account, if you are not friend visit

  • Julie Haines

    This echos so much with me. My husband had had a number of exes as “friends” when we married, then along came FB and he acquired more exes and one in particular. Belinda who he Skyped, talked with on the phone, met up with once (found her to be old, fat and ugly). MSn’d, texted, FB messgaed the lot! He told her when I was out at work so they could talk, told her he needed her. that she wasn’t causing trouble, told her love you, etc etc etc. His FB is riddled with Exes and he wonders why I am upset and wanting to leave?

  • Victoria Lender

    My name is Williams Lender i
    am very happy for the wonderful work dr Aziza has done for me i got
    married to my lovely husband last year and we have a lovely son. things
    was going well with us and we are living happily. until one day my
    husband started behaving in a strange manner i could not understand, i
    was very confused with the way he treat me and my son. later that month
    he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i
    asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was
    saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see
    me again in his life, i was sad and also frustrated i did not know what
    to do,i was sick for more than a week because of the divorce. i love him
    so much he his everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i
    told one of my child hood friend and she told me to contact a spell
    caster that she has listen to one woman who testify about dr Aziza and
    she has been hearing about him that i should try him i never believe in
    all this spell casting of a thing but i just say i should try if
    something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Aziza for the return of my
    husband to me, he told me that my husband have been taken by another
    woman. that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want
    to divorce me. then he told me that he has to cast a spell on him that
    will make him return to me and my son, he casters ted the spell and
    after a day my husband came back home and started apologizing he said
    that he love me so much that he did not know what happen to him that he
    left me. it was the spell that Dr Aziza casters ted on him that make him
    come back to me,right now am so happy again. thank you Dr Aziza for
    what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for
    your great spell. this is to every one who is facing divorces or heart
    break by your lover i want you to contact him now because he can do it
    for you his powers is great and don’t have any side effect in the future
    contact him through his mail; contact him
    now and your problems will be solve for ever.once again thanks to dr

  • Dan

    In 2010 my wife contacted a guy she had a major crush on in high school. She told me in the past that he was everything she wanted at that age. He was in sports, played in a band and was gorgeous. She performed oral sex on him she says only twice, ( which is hard for me to believe), then he graduated and moved on. She found me and we eventually got married, had three great kids and a life. 27 years later my wife lost allot of weight and everyone told her how great she looked. Her confidence Levelland went through the roof. Now in 2010 she was scrolling facebook and happened upon this crush from high school. She messaged him and got a response. They spoke back and forth for a few days then he dropped her. Did not message anymore. She was hooked and kept him on her Facebook. Just so she could follow him and look at his picture whenever she wanted. He lived about three hours from us, but I still knew nothing of her secret obsession. Two years later we went on vacation to an area that was 30 min. From where he lived. We saw a band setting up at our vacation spot and she got excited and ran across the street to see if it was this guy’s band. She told me later it was just to say hello. The next day she asked me how far we were from this town where he lived. I said 30 min. ( remember I still don’t know anything) she told me there are cute little shops on the main street, that if we had time she would like to go there. We were leaving the next day so I told her maybe next trip. Now fast forward two more years and I happen upon her facebook page. I notice this guy, whom I know she had a major crush, and sexual contact with in high school on her friend list. I asked her why, she said that he contacted her and asked to be friends. (Later I found that to be a lie) she told me several lies about her friendship with him ( which at tye time I did not know to be lies). I decided to check this guy out. Once I found out where he lived, I put it all together. Then I found the original message where she contacted him. I confronted her with the lies and we fought for two months. At first she came clean and told me she contacted him because he was still handsome, kept himself in good shape, and was well endowed. Then she started changing her story at every turn. Nothing happened and she was just talking smack. We both attended counseling which did nothing to help. Both counselors were female and had a divorce behind them, so I was blowing everything out of proportion. I spoke to one of her friends who I have known longer then her. She confessed that my wife had admitted she was after sex. She also told her any handsome guy that would have shown her the right attention could have had her. Now I’m supposed to forgive and forget… but I can’t. It’s eating away at me. We don’t talk about it anymore because if I start to say anything she gets angry. I don’t know what my next move is, I am at my wits end.

  • pulte

    For over 25 years, PAIRS instructors around the world have presented these internationally acclaimed workshops that teach those really important skills we never learned in school: how to create and sustain happy, passionate, long-lasting marriages.

    Four years ago we started on this path and it is still working for us. It can and will work for you two also.

  • Ashley

    Hi Enrique, im curious did you and your wife end up getting a divorce?

  • Helvetica

    What ever came about with this?

  • Jennifer

    I confronted him and he got defensive and I told him I wasn’t comfortable with it. Then a few months later I seen he was texting another woman and deleting the messages and I confronted that and he acted the same and said it was nothing. Got frustrated angry with me because He said I was spying and snooping Which if it was nothing why were the texts being deleted. I don’t know I shouldn’t have even looked.

  • Helvetica

    UGH. Sorry you had to deal with that. The fact that she said her hubby wouldn’t like it and then he was deleting texts from another woman is shady as fck. How are you guys doing now? Everything better? I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

  • Jennifer

    Eh ”tis is life. He’s probably still doing it just being more cautious. I thought I heard him say hun on the phone the other night and he said it was work. I said something about and he said it was his boss and he wouldn’t have said that to his boss. So I was hearing things :/

  • Helvetica

    Sorry to hear that.

    I doubt he calls his boss, “hun.”

    I swear, some people!

  • Jennifer

    But he said he didn’t. I was hearing things. Ugh lol

  • Jennifer

    I was surprised anyone responded after this long.

  • Helvetica

    I just found it while searching online the topic.

  • Jennifer

    Were you having a similar problem?

  • Jennifer

    Hello Helvetica. Were you having a similar issue that you were looking for the topic. Just curious. You don’t have to share details.

  • Helvetica

    Yes. My guy is friends with his ex and it grates on my nerves. They are FB friends and occasionally chat. If this was any old ex, I’d not care. But it’s a woman he cheated on his ex with (before me) so I am always wary of it. He says it’s nothing/means nothing to us but it makes me uncomfortable. We recently lost a child so all my feelings are exacerbated x 10.

  • Jennifer

    Tell me about. I’m not allowed to do that but it’s ok if he does. Doesn’t make sense and is frustrating. I’m sorry about the loss of your child. Sending hugs your way.

  • V

    I would say, in most cases no. I am married myself and I have like a few exes who I really never talk to, more so just have them on there to see what they are up to. The ex I was in a relationship with before I met my now husband I haven’t talked to since we broke up, and have no reason to since the relationship ended bitterly and we have nothing tying us together (like children). I had a guy that I had a college fling with on Facebook, but I ended up deleting him since we never really talked much anyone and I just seemed to become upset when I saw his posts. Again, we had fun but there is no reason why I need to stay in any form of contact. It can only create drama and relationship problems. It can be difficult to move on, but needs to be done.