Facebook and Ex’s

Facebook, and indeed all social networking sites, are fascinating from a sociological standpoint. I bet psychology and sociology researchers are drooling in anticipation to study and data-mine everything that’s going on with those sites. One thing that I quickly realized when Facebook started to explode was the issue of the Ex’s. As in, ex-girlfriends. Life is all about cycles, and for a while you might date a woman (in my case), be involved with her circle of friends and family, and then that cycle either becomes permanent (marriage) or it ends and you begin a new cycle with someone new. I’m generalizing of course, but that’s usually how it works.

Sites like Facebook take those cycles, throw them in a super-blender, and make it messy! Ashley (my wife) and I had this discussion early on when the first ex-girlfriend invited me to be her friend on Facebook. First, it shocked the hell out of me to see her name and photo in my Facebook Inbox – I hadn’t seen her in about eight years, so it was bizarre to have her appear in my life again (even in only a virtual way). Ashley and I talked about what would happen, and what could happen, if we accepted our ex’s back into our lives. We talked about what good could come of it (not a whole lot) and the dangers of it to our marriage (a whole lot). Ultimately this isn’t about thinking our marriage isn’t strong enough to handle either of us chatting with ex’s (it is), it’s more about avoiding risks that we don’t have a good reason to take – we live in a divorce-prone society, so why tempt fate by introducing such factors? It’s all too easy to bring back memories and feelings from the past, and that’s not a healthy thing for a marriage.

In case this wasn’t already obvious, the reason I’m writing this today is that I finally got around to sending messages to the two ex-girlfriends that had sent me requests on Facebook. The first one I declined several months ago without a reason (I felt kind of bad about that), and the second one was more recent, which prompted me to craft a response that I’ll now send to any ex-girlfriend that contacts me. And, no, I haven’t had that many girlfriends in my life, so I don’t expect to be sending it out all that often. 😉

What about you? How does this issue impact you?