It’s a whole new world out there. And the technological and social implications can be overwhelming in the wake of a divorce.
Sure, you change your relationship status and unfriend your ex on Facebook. But what about all the friends who are his IRL friends and relatives? Is it OK for your ex to friend your IRL friends and family? And we’re not just talking Facebook, but all other social media? What IS and IS NOT ok? I’ll stick to the language of Facebook, but these issues are common across many forms of social media.
The question comes down to the status of the relationship between ex’s and the intent of their desire to remain connected to each other’s worlds. And I welcome dissent in the comments, because the social norms here are not solid yet — let’s work them out together.
1. If you can, talk to you ex and agree on your own norms. Yeah, yeah, I know, you hate each other and can’t talk about anything. But you need to get the heck over that, and fast. This is the least of your issues.
2. Relationship not good enough to talk it out? Well, then that’s the answer. Your relationship is bad, so stay out of each other’s worlds. You can gently disengage on Facebook with your former friends none the wiser. If you feel the need to explain to your ex-mother-in-law, then do so. It’s not about her. And it is about keeping peace in her world. She may even appreciate that.
3. If in doubt, don’t. Ask yourself how much of your ex you want to see in your “Live Stream,” and you’ll probably have the answer to how much of you they want to see in theirs. So, don’t friend their IRL circle of loved one, unless you are sure it is OK, because you worked it out in #1, above.
4. No matter what the answers are to #1-3, ask yourself, WHY. Why am I friending this person? Is it in any part to drive my ex insane, to spy on them, to one up them in the game of “look who’s in my corner?” If so, be a grown up. Don’t do it.
5. If you share kids, multiply all of the above times a factor of 10 in favor of best interests of the children.
Personally, it infuriated me that my ex friended my family and friends on Facebook. It made me even angrier that they accepted. However, I can’t expect my Southern mother to have the discourtesy to turn down a friend request, ha ha. I can and did ask my ex to unfriend. We talked about it. I told him I felt spied on, and that I felt he was trying to come between my family and friends and their relationship with my new spouse. WE REACHED AN AGREEMENT. He didn’t want me in his world. So he would gently begin the process of disengagement from mine, and move on to one of his own. It hasn’t happened over night. He still pops up in my Live Feed occasionally, commenting on someone or other’s status. But much less than before, which makes us both happier.
We wanted away from each other. That’s why we divorced. Social media made it harder.
How about you?