“Friending” an Old Flame on Social Media

Is it okay to connect with former lovers on Facebook? While browsing around online I ran across an old boyfriend from my high school and college days. It's been years since we've been in touch and I'm curious to know what he's been up to. I'm very much in love with my husband and our relationship is strong, so I don't see this as a threat to my marriage. Any advice?

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Ironically, this problem is easier to resolve in the case of a troubled marriage. The more difficulty a couple is experiencing, the more obvious it should be that they cannot and must not tolerate outside temptations or intrusions. In situations of this nature, the answer is a definite no. Do you remember that brief but highly significant verse from Song of Solomon? “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes” (Song of Solomon 2:15). Like “little foxes” to tender vines, “friend” requests from old boyfriends or girlfriends can do great damage to a fragile or hurting marriage.

Things get more complicated when the marriage is strong, as in your case. Since you seem to have a good relationship with your spouse, we’d advise you to talk this over with him at length before you decide to do anything. If your marriage is as vibrant as you say it is, then it’s worth protecting. A recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that Facebook has been a major factor in one out of five U.S. divorces. Without knowing your situation in detail, keep in mind that the risks associated with what you’re proposing often far outweigh any potential benefits. You need to be careful about exposing your relationship to threats of any kind, no matter how remote they may seem.

Since you’re the one proposing to initiate contact with your old boyfriend, we’d urge you to stop and reflect before moving ahead. Would it be helpful or harmful to your marriage to re-establish a connection with this person? Ask yourself exactly why you might want to take this step. Evaluate your motives. Are you absolutely certain that you don’t feel compelled to revisit the past because of present discontentment? Have you been thinking about the way things “might have been” if this particular relationship had turned out differently? We’re not necessarily suggesting that this is the case. We’re just saying that it deserves some thought. In the final analysis, it’s a decision that you must make together with your spouse.

If you choose to go ahead and “friend” your “old flame,” we’d urge you to do so via a Facebook account that intentionally reflects the healthy nature of your marriage. Among other things, this page should be filled with images designed to remind visitors of your relationship with your spouse. As far as possible, photos should frequently show the two of you together. The whole point is to represent yourselves as a unit. This will prevent your old boyfriend from interpreting your “friend” request in the wrong way. It’s also important to consider what impact your actions may have on your old boyfriend’s relationship with his wife. While your marriage may be strong enough to accommodate a reestablishment of this friendship, your innocent overture could very well introduce conflict and be a source of marital difficulty for them.

On the positive side, it’s worth noting that husbands and wives who connect with old friends via Facebook may be rewarded with unprecedented opportunities to enter into the details of one another’s personal dating histories. This can be an enriching experience. But it can also get tricky if it turns into a source of tension, suspicion, or jealousy. Such developments may have a healthy and beneficial effect if they help you get rid of secrets and shed some light on the past. Everything depends on the couple in question and how they choose to handle such revelations. Our recommendation is that you maintain an “open door” policy. Then be prepared to do the necessary hard work if issues from the past arise that seem to require attention.

If you’re like many couples, you could probably use some help sorting this out. Call us. Our Counseling department would be happy to discuss your questions with you in a free over-the-phone consultation. They can also provide you with referrals to qualified counselors in your area who specialize in marriage and family therapy.

 

Resources
If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Making Marriage Work in a Social Media World

Friendship or Flirtation? Danger Signs for Couples

Boundaries in Marriage

Unfriend Yourself

Referrals
Covenant Eyes

Net Nanny

Articles
Marriage and Social Media: Risks, Benefits, and Best Practices

Facebook and Your Marriage

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

Does Facebook Cause Divorce?

Stalking Your “Ex” on Facebook

Copyright © 2012, Focus on the Family.

Talk to a Counselor

Focus on the Family offers a one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective.
Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.