Being friends with your ex boyfriend on Facebook can be complicated, especially if you still have feelings for him. Use these tips to decide if being Facebook friends with your ex is a good idea – or if you should just leave the past in the past.
“My first love found me on Facebook after several years of no contact,” says Jenny in response to How to Let Go of a Past Relationship. “I broke up this relationship a long, long time ago. I loved him very much at the time, and I still had feelings for him after all these years – I never forgot about him but I went on with my life. Do you think I should accept his friend request on Facebook?”
Before we get into the “should you be friends with your ex on Facebook?” question, I have to stress the importance of resolving your emotions and feelings. That is, if you haven’t healed from the past, then you can’t move forward into a healthy, happy, whole future.
Healing from the past is about processing those old memories and emotions, so they have less (or no) power over you. I would encourage Jenny to reframe her love for her old boyfriend as a sweet memory. It’s not the same as mature love or marital love – it’s a years-old memory.
We never forget our first love – but that doesn’t mean we’re meant to be with him.
If old emotions and memories haunt you, read Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff. It will help you acknowledge your emotions and become free from anxiety, fear, negativity, and past memories.
Okay, back to the question about Facebook, ex-boyfriends, and friends…
Should You Be Friends With Your Ex on Facebook?
“It turns out my ex-boyfriend still has feelings for me,” says Jenny. She adds that she and her ex-boyfriend are both married, and she has kids.
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“I love my spouse,” she says. “However, I feel that if I accept his friendship on Facebook, it may bring up the strong feelings that I used to have for him so many years ago. But, I’m not willing to sabotage the life that I have now, which is why I’m keeping my distance from him and not sure if I should be Facebook friends with him. Any immediate advice for my situation? Thank you so much in advance.”
Remember that your memories are colored by time and distance
You remember your perfect love, the best parts of your relationship, the magic of your ex-boyfriend’s amazing personality and brilliance.
You don’t remember the reasons you broke up, the annoying habits, or the signs that you’re not meant to be together. You think you love your ex-boyfriend, but really you’re falling into the “grass is always greener” trap.
We tend to think more highly of people and things we don’t have than those we do have. Your husband is the one you love, not an ex-boyfriend from 20 years ago. Your current marriage or relationship is the most important thing in your life – not a high school sweetheart.
Don’t let your romantic memories of the past trick you into believing that he is the one for you – that you let Mr Right get away! You and he broke up because you were not meant to be together. If you could be friends with your ex-boyfriend on Facebook without thinking you still love him and without feeling that old love and attraction, then there’s no problem – and you wouldn’t be here now.
But if you have unresolved feelings that could cause problems in your marriage, then you need to take care of that. Your marriage is the most important thing in your life, other than your children!
Ask yourself why you should reconnect with your old sweetheart
My husband disagrees, but I think it can be healthy and good to stay connected to the past. He argues that being friends with an ex on Facebook can set you up for marriage problems, confusion, and even the temptation to cheat. I don’t think we should just cut people out of our lives, especially people we’ve known since high school!
Of course, it all depends on how you feel about your ex-boyfriend – and how being Facebook friends affects you. If you have unresolved emotions, then you need to deal with them….and you may need to put some distance between you and your ex.
I can’t tell you if you should reconnect with your ex-boyfriend on Facebook, but I do think that if it arouses complicated, unresolved feelings, then maybe you shouldn’t. Also…if you’re happily married, why do you need to befriend your ex on Facebook? Sure, it’s nice to stay in touch for old time’s sake…but does it add value to your life?
Talk to your partner about being friends with your ex on Facebook
How does your husband feel about you being friends with your ex-boyfriend on Facebook? It doesn’t matter if his feelings are rational or not – what matters is that you put your current relationship first.
If you’re keeping the fact that you’re Facebook friends with your ex-boyfriend a secret from your husband, then there’s definitely something wrong. You should never keep relationships or activities secret from your husband!
Learn about the “Facebook effect” on marriages
Facebook is cited in more and more divorce cases (as many as 20% of cases in one study!), because it has such a powerful and even detrimental effect on romantic relationships. Your online activities aren’t separate from your “real” relationships. Being friends with your ex on Facebook can be an innocent connection with the past – but it can lead to serious problems in your marriage. I don’t know which will be the case for you, but I do think it’s important to protect your marriage.
It can be healthy and good to be friends with high school sweethearts – but only if your feelings are resolved. If you’re struggling with whether or not to befriend an ex on Facebook, then I think the answer is clear.
If your ex has unfollowed you on a social media site, read 4 Ways to Cope When Your Ex Unfriends You on Facebook.
What do you think — is it better to stop being friends with your ex on Facebook, or just let his updates pepper your feed? I welcome your thoughts below! I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share. I know I’d find it helpful to learn what you think :-)