Hello Facebook, Goodbye Old Boyfriend

I have jumped in feet first, head first, and tapping fingers first into the social media phenomenon.  I have worked with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, HootSuite, and TweetDeck.  (No, I haven’t tried Google+, but who has time to learn an entire new system?!)

The beauty of social media is being able to connect across miles, states, countries, continents, and oceans.  It affords the immediate gratification of reconnecting with our second grade best friend, keeping up with our church and work friends, sharing photos and news with relatives across the country, and chatting it up with people who’ve never met but who share similar interests.  I actually feel a surge of giddiness when I receive a notification that a long lost friend or someone in South Africa wants to follow or chat with me!

Facebook.svgThen came the day when I received a Facebook friend request from an old boyfriend.  Well, not merely an old boyfriend, but one who had intimate knowledge of me in my premarital, not-on-God’s-plan days. 

It’s been years and years.  Our physical relationship feels like a lifetime ago.  We are each married with children.  We have several mutual friends on Facebook.  So what’s the big deal?  Shouldn’t I just click “Accept” and see what’s up with him? 

But I hesitated.

I was interested in how things had gone for him; I certainly wished him the best.  I had no romantic interest whatsoever in this guy from my past; I’m happily married.  And like Brandon Heath’s wonderful song, I’m Not Who I Was; so I didn’t think of myself as that wayward gal anymore.

I paused again.  Then I declined the invitation.

One of the reasons I ended up squarely on God’s plan for marital sexuality is that I established some hard-and-fast boundaries.  Some time ago, I explained about The Rule I have for myself — that I don’t spend time alone with a man who is not my husband or related to me.  It isn’t that I consider myself capable of cheating on my hubby.  He truly is THE guy in every room and every crowd whom I want to be with.

But men and women can have unexpected chemistry with one another.  They can find themselves in unintended flirtations.  They can reveal too much or get too cozy.  They can bask in the attention of another when their spouse is being a little irritating or neglectful at the moment.  I know what people are capable of and I’m people, so I keep the hedges. 

Another reason for passing on even a Facebook friendship with an ex-lover is that I wondered how that would make my husband feel.  If he were chatting late into the night with an old flame who had traded inappropriate gropes years ago, I’d be…well, hurt.  Logically, I’d know that he’s my guy, not hers; they are just friends now; they’re merely touching base; blah, blah, blah.  But I’d be lying to say I was okay with the thought of any woman but me having intimate knowledge of my husband.  God has united us in one flesh, and everyone else needs to get their own flesh, thank you very much.  Thus, out of respect to him, I didn’t think that catching up with some guy from many years ago was worth making my husband uncomfortable in any way.

So I wonder what readers think.  Have you connected with former lovers via Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media platform?  How does your spouse feel about it?  Have you declined invitations?  What were your reasons?  What boundaries have you established to keep yourself only unto your husband or wife?

It’s worth considering in our easy-to-connect Internet world.  What steps can we take to protect physical intimacy with our spouse?

“Therefore a man will leave his father and mother, and will cling to his wife:

and they will be one flesh.”

Genesis 2:24

23 thoughts on “Hello Facebook, Goodbye Old Boyfriend

  1. Heather

    I have connected with several male friends on FB. Many were there before my husband and I were remarried, and he wasn’t concerned about them. Since we have been remarried, I have asked his permission to add certain people; and others I have just declined. But even some of those I have declined have been for different reasons – mainly men who are trying to friend me now when they wouldn’t give me the time of day in high school or college. Gotta wonder why… Also, I use FB a little differently. I am not on it checking up on everyone on my friends list; and I don’t chat. I do check the feed once or twice a day and comment on a few things. Other than that I use it to post my blog posts, inspirational videos/photos, and a few political things. Since I also post photos of my kids, I am a bit more discerning as to who I friend – I don’t want casual male acquaintances to have access to photos of my daughter (or son, for that matter). For that reason I also have my settings set so that only my friends can see my photos. I do not allow friends of friends to see them because you just don’t know.

    Now there is one person on my friends list who does know me a little more personally, but my husband knows him and knows he’s there. I think he’s ok with it because it was kind of a competition in college and he now has bragging rights! LOL

  2. Anonymous

    Past loves are meant to be past. No good can come from “reuniting” with a former love on facebook. You are right. You are also right to acknowledge the hurt you’d do to your husband. social networks are cool but they are also dangerous. They are yet one more tool to live our lives under the cover of darkness. If we find ourselves looking, peering and wondering about our former loves, nothing good will come from it. Come into the light. Stay out of the dark places.

  3. togetherforgood

    I had an ex contact me on facebook last winter. He didn’t try to add me as a friend, he just sent me a message. I didn’t respond. It was nearly half my life ago. We were together 3 months. I’ve been married 11 years. But I still feel sick to my stomach when I think about our relationship. There was just no reason to go there, you know?

  4. Anonymous

    I agree that we need to be really careful. Even the best of people can fall so why put yourself into that situation. Both hubby and I have decided that being alone with the opposite sex is not something we will do. Just from personal experience, I know it makes my hubby feel a little insecure when I have thought about catching up with ex’s. For me, its better to just keep them out of my new life.

  5. uk Fred

    Less than two weeks after my wife and I had “We need to talk about whether we are going to change this relationship into a marriage or getting divorced” I had a friend request on facebook from a woman with whom my relationship had not been exactly as God would have wanted which included the line “I’ve been divorced for years”. I was tempted, for about a nanosecond, before I said “Thanks, but No Thanks”. I believe that I would not be married to my wife right now if I had taken the alternative offered. I just wonder if we are tempted to see whether our resolution is as strong as we think it is.

  6. Ed

    I don’t use Facebook but I do think it would be awkward to be friends with an ex or even to have to see them person in a chance meeting.

    I have only one women who would really qualify as an ex. To see her would not tempt me in any sense, but we would probably both feel odd if we found ourselves in the same social situation. Perhaps that’s just one more reason why it’s best to have one partner; it means you don’t have to feel awkward around previous ones.

    That said, there is no reason why they can’t be “just friends” once all is finished, it just takes some will-power.

  7. trish

    My husband (now ex) added his college girlfriend and they decided that they were long lost soul mates. They both left their spouses and moved into together. The people that hurt the most is the children, we have 3 young children. So it is not a good idea to.add that old flame. You never know where it can take you.

  8. damiafolabi

    I absolutely agree with leaving the past as past. Its dangerous to go forward safely staring into the rear view mirror.
    There’s an adage where am from that says ‘something you don’t wish to eat, you don’t go smelling it’

  9. Jocelyn

    I am Facebook friends with one of my ex-boyfriends from college (and that was definitely in my “God who?” days). We remain Facebook friends, but like the majority of my other 500 or so friends we never chat or comment on each other’s pages/pictures. But, we became Facebook friends prior to my getting married. When he requested to friend me, he was already married. I didn’t think much of it especially because things did not end on a bad note and even after breaking up (when we lived in the same city) it was no big deal to see him around campus or chat it up in the hallways of buildings at school. After college we just both kind of went on with our lives. It was what it was and now we’re both married and moved on. While I have no real desire to know what’s going on in his life I just haven’t removed him from my friend list. Our communication is so limited on FB…I’m not even sure he’d realize I was gone. My hubby knows that we are Facebook friends but after reading this…there’s no real reason for it. I think I’ll remove him and start sorting through those other friends I hardly ever talk to either. Great post…I do agree…we have to protect our marriages and keep ourselves solely for our spouse. I guess I’ve never thought about this because it’s always been such a non-issue.

  10. Jenny

    I’m Facebook friends with an ex from college, but I’m also friends with his wife. I ‘talk’ with her, but not with him. She is an awesome lady and I enjoy hearing what they are up to, especially since they just moved overseas to serve God. My husband doesn’t have any issues with it, because he knows that I just talk with her.

  11. Bob

    I have friended or been friended by all but 2 of the girls I dated before I married my wife. I was, and remain, a pretty picky guy when it comes to who I spend my time with so those girls were all pretty solid folks that I still carry a great deal of respect for.

    My wife is aware of it and she has a number of old boyfriends on her friends list.

    I don’t see an issue with it for the most part. Is it more dangerous than the guy my wife dated who attends our church and taught our daughter’s VBS class back this summer? I’m OK with it.

    I guess I view Facebook like I do guns. Facebook doesn’t cause anyone to cheat anymore than having a gun causes someone to shoot someone else and I believe that where there is a will to do something, there is a way.

    Which is not to say that I disagree with those who choose not friend old flames. It is all a choice and we have to go with what is right for each of us. One size does not fit all.

  12. Julie Sibert

    As usual, Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous, you’re showing what a tremendous writer you are! I love this post. Such a good mix of honesty, humor and wisdom. You can write my friend! Keep shedding light.

  13. ednivet

    My wife and I share a FB acc. so that there will be no questions as to who, what & where. My friends are her friends and the same goes for her, even if I never meet them be4.
    We are both on 2nd marriage and it’s been God’s grace for 16 years but I won’t give the enemy of our souls room for temptation. Even our email acc. our together.
    In Christ we are ONE and in the social network as well.

  14. Merritt | LiveSimplyLove

    I agree. There’s no reason to go there. I’ve had a few ex-boyfriends try to friend me. Ignoring it is the best option, especially if there’s some sense of curiosity peaked when the request comes in. I’m human and know that I don’t want to give the enemy any room to mess with my mind now or in the future. I have several friends who combined FB pages when they got married. We haven’t done that, but we do have very open and honest conversations when there’s a fly-by appearance from an ex. Great post!

  15. Anonymous

    Great post! I think befriending exes could be dangerous an “innocent” looking thing which could be an open door to an emotional and/or physical affair. athough some exes with whom I had close friendships with cross my mind and honestly, I wonder how’s life for them. I still undertstand the threat. I love my husband and am happily married and would never cheat on him, but I don understand that the enemy has plans for my marriage just like God does and My husband and I set clear boundaries in all areas to keep our marriage in line with God’s plan. great post and I love how you hesitated and made what I consider the right choic,e before you accepted that request.

  16. Christy

    Yup’ nothing good can come from being “friends” with old boyfriends/girlfriends. Everyone no matter how “godly” or on track they are is capable of missing the mark. And when your married missing the “mark” has the potential to hurt lots of people. I LOVE your blog and am adding you to my blog stalking list! 🙂

  17. J

    This time around, I simply watched the comments roll in on this post. I was moved by certain stories related to this topic. I don’t think there is a right/wrong on whether to befriend old flames, but I do encourage you to ask questions and consider your decision. It’s important to think about and discuss boundaries with your spouse. You need to find mutually agreeable ways to protect your relationship. Thanks so much for your input!

  18. J

    P.S. to Christy – I enjoy being stalked virtually! Thanks for the compliment!

    @ Misty – Glad you are enjoying my blog!

  19. Anonymous

    Thankfully I married my first & only boyfriend. So I don’t have to worry about this. However, my husband isn’t friends with his ex on fb, they never speak. Out of respect to me, and he just generally has nothing to say to her 🙂

  20. Suse

    I had an ex try to friend me, but it had ended really badly and I couldn’t figure out why the heck he wanted to friend me…see, after we broke up he became my stalker and it was terrfying. Even though I am now married and have been with my husband for 11 years, and I believe my ex is also married, who would want and ex that became a stalker to be a friend on FB…sooooo not happening!!!

  21. Mrs. Right

    I don’t have any old boyfriends, but I do have an ex-husband. The divorce wasn’t pleasant, but for the sake of our children I never tried to turn them away from him. I would now consider him a friend, and my husband is okay with that, but we haven’t spoken in over two years, and I’m okay with that, too. There was a time in the past where we had to speak to each other and work together for the sake of our children and what was going on in our lives at the time, but not any longer.

    I have seen what seemed to be loving, perfect, Christian marriages fall apart when the wife caught up with old “friends”, for instance getting ready for class reunions, and this was before facebook, but not email. I agree that social networks are not to blame, just as guns are not to blame for shooting deaths, BUT they are tools that can be wielded for all the wrong reasons and can therefore contribute to the death of a marriage.

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