Nearly everybody maintains online profiles at the social media channels: Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter are just a few of them. When we started seeing our now ex-partner, we probably made an online connection with them through at least one of these sites. Once the relationship ends, we’re faced with a dilemma: Do we allow them to stay active on our social media?
Should Your Keep Your Ex as a Social Media Friend?
By Kathy Batesel
There are two schools of thought on the subject. Some people feel it’s immature to block them, while others think it’s entirely appropriate. Neither decision is wrong, but here are some points to consider before making your decision.
1. What kind of person is your ex? If you have reason to believe they could physically harm you, or if you think they are obsessed with you or the relationship, then the choice should be clear. Don’t give a potentially dangerous person any information that lets them deduce where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing, or with whom you’re spending time.
2. Similarly, if they’re overly dependent on you for the way they feel about themselves, it might be kinder to banish them from your online world. You don’t want to learn that they attempted suicide just because you went out on a date with someone new.
3. Which sites have you shared? LinkedIn profiles geared toward professional activities aren’t likely to make you or your ex emotionally vulnerable, while Facebook and Twitter can provide opportunities for hostile comments and gossip. You may decide to keep your ex on some sites but not others, with a brief explanation to him or her about the reason for your decision.
4. What kind of information do you normally post on your accounts? Some people share jokes and inspirational quotes without revealing much personal information, while others want their pals to know when they shampooed their hair. Look back through your posts (including those you made before your now-defunct relationship) to see what kind of information your ex might see about you. If you’re comfortable with them having those details, then no harm will come from keeping them on your friends list. On the other hand, if you cringe at the idea of them reading your “I’m sad and lonely” posts, you might just want to take action so they won’t be able to see them.
5. If you’ve declared that there will be “No Contact,” it’s a no-brainer. Remove them. If you don’t, you’re allowing contact. Going against your own word is almost never a good plan.
6. If you’re very concerned about what others will think about your decision to remove someone, you can first send your ex a brief, polite note. “Dear Ex, I think it’s best to do my healing privately and not expose myself to the source of my pain. Thank you in advance for your understanding.”
7. After removing your ex, you may still want to be cautious about revealing too much. Mutual friends may share information from your posts with them.
8. If you recognize that the likelihood of jealousy or drama is low, and you’re on good terms with your ex, go ahead and keep them.