Have you ever been tempted to “friend” an ex on Facebook? Here are a few things to consider before you push that button…
1. What’s your real motivation? And are you on the same page? Be honest with yourself. If you really want to friend your ex, then it can’t just be to gaze at his smile or to jealously assess whether his wife is hotter than you. Similarly, if it’s you that really wants a nice, vanilla friendship but you know deep down he’s still pining for you, that’s not a good move either.
2. Is there actual friendship potential? If all you had in common was a fondness for the Spice Channel, that’s probably not the greatest of foundations for a real platonic relationship. Is there actually common ground with interests, senses of humor, goals, or world views? The absence of that can spell, at best, awkwardness, and at worst, a constant regret that you ever associated with him in the first place.
3. What kind of ‘friend’ will he be? If he’s the type to stay in the wordwork, you might even forget you friended him: no harm, no foul. But will he be a constant thorn in your side, opining on your every status update or clogging up your news feed with trivia about Angry Birds? If it’s the latter, you may quickly live to regret your choice. (Of course, you can block him from some of that, but then, what’s really the point of “friending”?)
4. Is there someone else you should consider? It’s not your partner’s right to be overly controlling about who you’re friends with, but it is your responsibility to be respectful. Just as you probably wouldn’t love it if your husband was in constant contact with that supermodel brain surgeon he dated right before you, his discomfort about you discussing lunch options with your ex every day may be real- and significant.
5. How healthy was your relationship- and breakup? If your time together left a lot of scars, or was the least bit emotionally dysfunctional, letting echoes of that back into your life could really be dangerous. Think of how far you’ve come, and the reasons you broke up. Don’t let yourself get sucked into bad patterns just because you clicked a “Send Request” button. About Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor at Georgetown University, and writer. For more than five years, Dr. Bonior has written the twice-weekly mental health column “Baggage Check” for the Washington Post’s Express newspaper, known for its wit and frequent pop culture references. She’s appeared regularly on TV, writes a friendship blog here on ModernMom, has written on friendships for Yahoo! Shine, Woman’s Day and more. The Friendship Fix is her first book. www.friendshipfix.com.
Follow Andrea on Twitter @DrAndreaBonior