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.
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.”
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.