ex etiquette part the third

Reader F. J. asks:

My ex-husband’s friends still contact me. For instance, one of them just friended me on Facebook. How should I handle this?

Dear F.J.:

As always, how you respond depends on a number of factors, which I will enumerate below:

  1. How long ago did y’all split up?
  2. How close were you to his friends?
  3. Are you still talking to him?
  4. How badly do you feel about the break-up?

Basically, if you split up a long time ago, and/or you liked his friends, there’s no reason not to be pals again. Especially if you’re not still aching from the break-up. Or if you were close friends with some of his friends before you split up, it’s not a big deal, either.

social network

It's a great big stupid world. Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

However, if it hasn’t really been that long, and/or you’re still talking to your ex, it may not be a bad idea to hold off on the friend drama altogether. I hate to say this, but maybe you need to consider your ex’s feelings. (Oh, I know, boys don’t have feelings, but let’s pretend!) If he’s going to be hurt that his friends are talking with you, or if there is any way it could be construed as “choosing sides”, maybe you should back off and tell the friend you can’t handle the Facebook stuff right now. Sometimes people feel like they have to choose sides, especially in a divorce, even if things were amicable. If this person is requesting your friendship on Facebook, they probably don’t feel this way, but there are all sorts of dominoes you could be setting off with your ex and his other friends, too. Tread carefully.

Also, if you’re going to be posting mean things about your ex on Facebook that could make these mutual friends uncomfortable, I’d say avoid having them as friends, or keep the privacy settings such that you won’t regret your angst later. Try to be the bigger person. Don’t you already have friends of your own?

If you’re already friends with your ex’s friends on Facebook, staying that way is completely up to your discretion. Something that’s great about Facebook is that you can keep in light contact with people you enjoy without having to put much effort or thought into it. And as long as your ex isn’t going through his friends list every day to see who hasn’t defriended you yet, you’re in the clear.

Again, do not use Facebook as a way to get back at your ex, hoping he sees every post you make on his friends’ pages. If that’s how you’re going to react, defriend them right now so you’re not tempted to do so.

It’s much easier if, say, your ex isn’t on Facebook at all. In that case, friend away!

Responding to real-life friend requests (do they still make IRL friendships?) is a case-by-case basis issue. If they want to hang out with you, and it’s not going to cause you to throw up your lunch because it reminds you of him, go ahead. Enjoyable company is always nice. I’d avoid romantic entanglements with the ex’s friends at all costs unless the divorce was a very long time ago. That’s just tacky.

And of course, how you feel is paramount here, because it’s the only thing you know for sure. If aforementioned throwing-up-of-lunch is ever an issue, the friend thing has already been decided for you: NO.


1 Response to “ex etiquette part the third”

  1. 1 Tim
    August 30, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    It’s true, boys have no feelings. (single tear runs down stoic face, looking off into the distance)

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