Should you Facebook Friend an Ex?

BY: - 14 Jul '10 | Relationships

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by Aja Dorsey Jackson

Yesterday Harriet wrote a great post about avoiding danger zones in marriage. Today I want to talk about the place that I see as one of the most potentially dangerous hot spots for couples right now. That place is Facebook.

Picture this. I get a friend request from someone I used to date that I haven’t thought about in years. I leave the request sitting in the friend request box because I always feel bad ignoring requests. At some point as I’m clearing out those people that are lingering in friend request purgatory, I hit accept. And that’s when I get sucked down the rabbit hole and land in Facebook hot lava.

Wondering what he is doing now I look at his information page and see that he is now married. Knowing that he is now married I wonder what his wife looks like (and if she’s cuter than me..don’t act like you don’t think about that ladies!). So I start to look at his photo albums. Before I know it I’m all in his house, on his family vacation, in the club for his birthday and finding out that he had Denny’s for breakfast without stepping foot from behind my computer.

The curiosity never went beyond that point but I had to think about my thought process. I had no intention to do wrong but having constant access to those exes, high school crushes, and old flames opens up the opportunity. If he had just crossed my mind I probably would have thought “I wonder what he’s doing now” and moved on. If I had seen him walking down the street, we may have caught up quickly and kept it moving. But by “friending” that person on Facebook I had the opportunity to interact with him daily and it just felt wrong. So I deleted him as a friend.

I don’t believe that most people go in to a marriage believing that they will ever cheat. However temptation is real and even things you never thought of can appear enticing if you are dealing with marital problems. As solid as I feel my marriage is, we don’t get along every minute of every day. I don’t need to get into an argument with my husband and have my ex be the one that pops up on Facebook chat.

One of the best ways to avoid failure is minimizing your opportunity to fail. Guarding yourself against infidelity is similar to protecting yourself from eating unhealthy foods. I never eat or even think about eating chocolate chip cookies unless they are in my house. Yet if they are in front of my face, while I can still avoid them, I have to battle mentally against the temptation and that is a battle that I don’t need.

If social networking sites like Facebook and others keep everyone connected, how do you set boundaries between who you should or should not be connected to? Is it ok to be friends with an ex? Is Facebook a relationship danger zone?

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and public relations consultant in Baltimore, Maryland. Find out more about her at www.ajadorseyjackson.com or follow her on twitter @ajajackson.

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2189 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.

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90 WordPress comments on “Should you Facebook Friend an Ex?

  1. Mahedi

    Nice post. Friend on any platform need to remain friends. Temptation is as strong from an EX as it is from any acquainted friend. What matters is the true love we have to the person we are married to, this calls fro respect and honor. we ought to tell the truth on the EX to those whom we love because what if nature bring one to be in the same office with EX! what if we find ourselves in the same prayer-house! ,or any similar situation that we don’t really choose so.
    If we truly love our present then no other person can destruct us no matter the nature of the encounter. We ought to be one body and one spirit.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    This is an interesting topic, and my general comment is that you have to know yourself. If you think you would be tempted to re-engage, leave it alone, if not, I don’t see a problem. If it makes your spouse upset or uncomfortable, don’t do it (but at least acknowledge you have deeper issues to work through. IJS)

    I joined FB 30 years after graduating high school, so the reunion aspect of the media has been wonderful. I have friended my high school sweetheart. We were together from age 17-19, then went on to marry other people, and between us have 5 grown children. The point is, we were friends in high school, and I have friended hundreds of others who were part of my life back then, so why wouldn’t I want to reconnect with her? She’s been married to a nice man for nearly 30 years, and my wife (of 29 years) and I have a great life together.

    Reply
  3. Myrasfriend

    I was wondering the same thing. Why would you marry one man while still being in love with another man? That doesn’t make sense. It’s not surprising that you are having trouble in your marriage when you entered without being 100% committed to your spouse. You shoule have resolved all of your feelings with x before getting married. I feel sorry for anyone who would marry someone who is in love with someone else.

    Reply
  4. Linda189380

    Can I ask a question here? What if an ex of my husband continues to send friend requests via Facebook, LinkedIn and emails? I trust him….not her. Doesn’t the new social media just erase all boundaries? Before this new age it would have to be a phone call or a casual running into each other.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Exactly, before media it would have been a simple running into each other. Facebook gives front row seats into lives now.

      Reply
  5. Peaches

    Am sorry…but if you fall that fast because you seen someone old on a social media site.. then you need to check yourself. We are grown people, what ever happen to being responsiable for what you do as a person. Its not any media social site or old flame who poped up on my site gonna make me go left in my marrage inless I wanted to from the start. If you dont want that kind of company from a old friend..express it…dont blame the media site… just sayin …

    Reply
  6. Hope

    You could accept the friend request, no biggie. But you do need to ask yourself, is it really worth any problems that it may cause in the future? To me, I’m good, no need to add any uneccessary stress to my life. I have compelete faith in my ability to be faithful to my husband however I think that I am more concerned about his feelings on me friending an Ex. I really don’t want him to have to ever ask me about another man, let alone a man that I’ve had relations with. Yeah, that guy was in my past but me accepting that friend request puts him right in my present. I’ll pass on that one.

    Reply
  7. LOVE

    This post is very REAL, very TRUE and I can 100% relate. I personally did not think accepting someone in my past whether it was an ex or someone I dated and once had great interest in would affect me but it did…greatly. I did exactly what this post said! It started off very innocent, you know – just flipping through the pictures and was genuinely happy for him. What got me was the resurfaced hurt I felt when he deceived me and lied to me. Do you know that hurt I felt back in 2008 came right back and this time it came back stronger than it was in 2008!!! I’m married now, but that hurt carried on into my marriage and its affected my marriage. Now I’m to the point where I don’t want to be bothered with social networking because there will always be someone who tries to lurk in, or their name may drop into your mind and you find yourself being curious about “I wonder how they are doing” and you start off being innocent and then you find yourself being mentally or emotionally attached all over again. I can honestly relate to this article on so many platforms that it scares me that I ran into this.

    Reply
  8. Brittany

    I’m so glad I ran across this article. I’m dealing with an issue similar to this now, my spouse has 2 children from a past relationship that we are raising. Their mother has lost her rights, and sadly, she has never really made them a priority. He doesn’t let her have his phone number, because when she’s had it in the past she just caused drama. But, she does have the ablility to contact him on Facebook to ask about the kids, and… who knows what else, like someone else says, I trust him, but I do not trust her. She never cared to see how the children were doing UNTIL we got married, and I feel like she’s only doing it to start problems. I’ve expressed these feelings to him, but he just says “well, that is their mother, she has the right to know how they’re doing, regardless of her past mistakes.”

    Reply
    1. shirletta

      Brittany, you experienced this hurt in 2008?? You know say your’re married? That’s the problem honey to soooooooon. I was devastated by a relationship gone bad in 2005 after the death of my children’s father. I was dating a guy who literally was insanely jealous of a man dying. After the death of my children’s father we eventually split. I was very hurt thank god my children were young adults with the exception of my youngest who was 15. I am saying that to see this after that bad breakup. I refused to become intimate with another man unless we would be married. I abstained from sex from 2007 until i met my husband in 2009. You should have taken time for yourself to heal. I have gone on my ex’s Facebook page and looked at him and his new companion. I thought thank God for my wonderful, loving, compassionate, giving husband. My husbands favorite song is give a toast to the fool who let you go. Because i allowed my self to hurt and heal i have been able to be a wonderful wife to a wonderful man. I also communicate with another ex on FaceBook he’s married as well but we are respectful of each other and our families when we communicate on facebook. Good luck Brittany and Mahedi

      Reply
  9. Greg

    This is a very good topic. Most of us immediately go on the defensive or take the position of your love for your spouse should be where befriending a ex shouldn’t matter. Most infidelity starts off innocent and can go on for years till a moment of vulnerability. You and your spouse go through a period of disconnection and discontentment. You are on facebook or any other avenue of communication with an ex and slowly little stuff is shared. A bond is built. We have to understand that the enemy works very cunningly. Let’s remember the garden of eden. The enemy was always in the garden but, this particular day Eve was physically distant from her hisband and Adam was distant from her. Meaning they were obviously in different parts of the garden. The enemy used that moment of opportunity to seduce Eve xausing the greatest fall of mankind till we are yet paying for the bad decision made in the garden. 2 mistakes happened in the garden that led to the fall. Obvious, other mornings, Adam and Eve were together where she could not be seduced. This particular morning she wandered off on her own and Adam wasn’t paying attention…sounds familiar? Adam didn’t know where his wife was. If he was in close proximity he would have been able to see that she was being seduced and could have intervened. However, he was busy doing what he was doing to the point he didn’t know she had wandered off and didn’t know what part of the garden she was in or that she was being seduced. Now they communicated with God daily and yet fell. What makes us think we can handle temptation? Before she knew it, she fell and didn’t even realize she fell because she came back and shared with her husband. Needless to say, I agree with the author of this originally post. The bible tells us to leave no space to the enemy. The were an ex. You have been doing great without them, your marriage is vital. Marriage is more serious and more spiritual than we think. We must guard it closely.

    Reply
  10. Gary

    I don’t think keeping regular conversions with any person I have slept with is healthy for my marriage.

    Reply
  11. Denise

    Befriending your Ex is hard pill to swallow. We can all say what we won’t do until the opportunity arises and when you back is up against the wall, what do you do? Don’t do it people.

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    I AM A SUBJECT OF FACEBOOK WICH KILLED MY MARRIAGE. Now I realize how insecure some people can be.
    In my case my wife is deceased and I’ve always remembered to post something about her. Whether is was suppose to be her birthday or mother’s day then all hell breaks loose between my wife (now ex) and I. I still don’t understand the reason over a dead person.

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    You can exactly move on from the person as long as you did the leaving. The person that was left usually will hold on. Since they never understand why they were left. True story. I was given the opportunity to met up with an x to only find out I will always love him. I except that we would never be together mentally or sexually again. I can say thank you to him for not wanting better for himself and showing me why my husband is the better man for me.

    Reply
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