Thursday, October 8, 2009

“Facebook Ruined My Relationship”

My boyfriend recently sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal about the perils of friending your former flames on Facebook (but not about using too many “F”s in one sentence). In the article, author Elizabeth Bernstein---also a Jewish Girl?---describes some of the many perils of friending former romantic interests, including:
  1. Your flame has gotten fat and you subsequently feel grossed out.

  2. Your flame is a different sexual orientation, and you subsequently feel grossed out.

  3. Your flame is still hot and sexy, you leave your current relationship/marriage/family member for your facebooked flame, and those around you subsequently feel grossed out.

Aside from the fact that 1 and 2 would not gross me out, nor would number 3 ever occur, I have another big problem with Bernstein’s article.

To deal with what Bernstein makes out to be a horrific epidemic of people suffering from grossedoutedness at the hands of former facebook flames, she proposes a number of “New Rules.”

Strike an agreement with your current partner that you will each disclose any Facebook friends you have slept with. Or, like Katie Robinson, limit your online "friends" to people of the same sex. "It is hard enough to have a relationship without the intrusion of people from your past," says Ms. Robinson, a 33-year-old artist in Memphis, Tenn.

. . . I beg your pardon? What? How do you even go about having that conversation? I have like 700 friends on Facebook. Are we supposed to go through all of them to find the negligible (I REPEAT: NEGLIGIBLE) number of them that are relevant to this inquiry? Or maybe it would be easier to just send my boyfriend direct links to the relevant profiles. This strikes me as completely absurd.

Even more absurd is limiting your friends to the gender to which you are sexually attracted. Who is this Katie Robinson woman, and why is she so tempted by the hot steamy intrusions of her past facebook flames? Here’s a thought: if you can be convinced to leave your current relationship by an intrusion from another male, maybe you jumped into your current relationship a bit too soon, eh? Just a thought.

Her other suggestion---sharing passwords---is slightly less offensive, but still bad.

I sometimes keep in touch with ex-boyfriends, sometimes through Facebook. None of my relationships really ended badly (nor were any of them longer than a few months), and I still like many of these guys as friends. I am not fielding pokes from them on a daily basis, but we do keep in touch; we consider ourselves friends. Other people---my BF among them---cut off former flames immediately upon breaking up and never look back. I don’t think I’m like that, and I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with that. Am I wrong?

My bottom line here is that trust is a vital component of a relationship. These measures all imply that you don’t trust your partner. You can’t control or know about every aspect of your partner’s life, and why would you want to? Where’s the excitement?

Perhaps my view of this is tainted by the fact that I have yet to be horribly betrayed by a man I was dating (other men in my life are a somewhat different story). Still, I approach relationships with an underlying level of “trust until proven untrustworthy.” If ever proven untrustworthy, I couldn’t stay, but until then...keep your Facebook friends, and I’ll keep mine.

And I definitely don’t want to know which of my BF’s friends he has boinked.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this, readers. Do you keep in touch with former flames? Are you facebook friends with them? Do you think such a thing is an unforgivable offense? What do you think of Bernstein’s solution to this whole situation?


Eric said...

Finally got around to going through your blog. You think a lot. And that's good. Nice piece here. Can't remember the article all that well, but thinking about our conversation last night and my friend's conversation with me makes me think this author might meet the "crazy" criterion. Sharing passwords for the sole sake of prying is "crazy."

Jewish Girl said...

I agree. I think this probably falls into the category of "making a mountain out of a molehill." Or creating drama where none need exist.

That said, I do think that there are some women who would use facebook for nefarious purposes with the intention of trying to flirt their way into someone's pants. But those women exist everywhere, and I think the trust you have for the other person has got to come in at some point, too.

I dunno if this makes sense. I'm still on a high from winning my poker game.

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