Dear Carolyn: An ex-boyfriend recently sent me a Facebook friend request, which I accepted. I am married with children and so is he. We live several states apart.
After reminiscing about our past in private e-mails, I let him know that I had mentioned to my husband that I was in contact with him, and that he should feel free to comment on my wall. He had not done the same with his wife, and he let me know it would be best if I did not comment openly for all friends to see. I felt very uncomfortable with this but decided it was his business.
Months later, I wished him a happy birthday on his wall, only to notice that he had deleted my post. Should I un-friend him? I am enjoying the friendship, but I am not sure I can tolerate the secrecy on his part. – Dazed and Confused Facebooker
Two easy assumptions: (1) This restless man is trolling for who-knows-what from ex-girlfriends, and (2) You’re not interested.
These would make un-friending him the biggest duh since “Are you ready for some football?” (No, I’m here for the beer commercials.)
And that’s why I doubt it’s really the answer – you’d have done it right away without bothering to ask me.
So the question becomes, which assumption is off?
I can replace the first assumption with another, common explanation:
His wife is irrationally jealous, and he has responded by taking even his innocent friendships underground. They’d hardly be the first couple to fit this mold.
Does that make his sneaking OK? No – the better solution is for him to live out in the open and deal openly with the consequences. But not everyone has the courage to do that, and I don’t think it’s necessary to expunge from your life every casual acquaintance who happens to be vertebrally challenged.
Replacing the second assumption is more problematic, and interesting.
Is it possible that you, on some level, appreciate your cameo as illicit company? Even (or especially) when the life of marriage and kids brings abundant emotional rewards, intrigue will be notably scarce. Against that backdrop, receiving a forbidden e-mail can bring a little electric charge – a “safe” one, even, since your husband knows it’s there.
Whatever the case, the most dangerous thing either of you can do is lie to yourselves. If he’s reading this, he needs to admit he’s trolling and/or hiding and find a better way to deal with it than finessing his Facebook page. And if this Facebook connection for you is anything more than a conduit for happy-birthdays and did-you-hear-about- whatevers, then you need to square up that reality, too.
Dear Carolyn: I found out my ex-fiance (we broke up over a year ago) is considering avoiding his close friend’s wedding because I will be there with my new boyfriend. He took the breakup hard, but I’m surprised and saddened he’s considering something so drastic. Is there any value in my confronting him and trying to convince him to come? – Quick Question
Quick answer: No, not unless you’re genuinely still friends (and it doesn’t sound like you are). Otherwise, if he’s healthy, then he’ll cringe at being “rescued,” and if he’s not healthy, he’ll feed off the attention.