John Shore Christian Blog and Commentary

On Facebook, Where Do You Draw the Line With An Ex?

So recently (with Is It EVER Okay To Be Facebook Friends With an Ex? and The Radical Immaturity of True Romantic Love), we've had some fun (and even a little drama!) talking about whether or not a married person should ever be Facebook friends with an ex. I asserted that Facebook-friending an ex is never okay (assuming there are no children between you), on the grounds that doing so means either lying to your spouse about it, or asking your spouse if they're okay with it, which (I think) puts them in unfair position.

Seemed simple enough to me. But then I learned that a great many people do, in fact, maintain, via Facebook, open lines of communications with one or more of their exes.

It's for you people, then, that I have a sincere question. When it comes to communicating with your ex on Facebook, what's too far? Where (and how) do you draw the line between what's permissible, and what's not? Presumably your husband or wife has told you that it's okay with them if you keep an ex of yours as a Facebook friend---they trust you enough to, essentially, give you that permission. That means that in the fluid, real-time dynamic of either email or instant message communications, you have to decide what is and isn't proper.

How do you do that? Do you have rules of engagement going in, or do you just track the rules internally as you go, or ... what? When does whatever you've said or typed to your ex become flirtatious? Is the rule that you set for yourself (or maybe agree upon with your spouse?) that you can email your ex, but not instant message them? Is it that you can email and IM your ex all you want, but can't physically meet with them? Can you e-communicate with them a certain number of times per day, week, or month---but no more? Can you communicate with them for only a certain amount of time at a time? Can you phone them? Can you meet with them? Can you follow them on Twitter? Can you list them on Twitter as one of your favorites? If they have a Facebook fan page, can you join it? (To my exes: the answer to this one is yes.)

How do you establish those sort of boundaries for yourself, in your life, with your ex? How do you distinguish between what's pleasing to God, and what's merely pleasing to your ego?


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