When you get the friend request from an old flame, should you accept it? Not so fast, warns Shannon Fox.
Genevieve, 37, was online the other day when she got a friend request from her college boyfriend on Facebook. Through her profile, he found out where she worked and soon called her at the office to catch up.
This married father of three proceeded to tell Genevieve how much he had thought of her over the years and how she was the love of his life. The whole time he was making his creepy confession, Genevieve could hear his 10-month-old baby cooing on his lap.
"I was very uncomfortable with him calling and saying this stuff, considering I am married and so is he," she says. "I brushed him off the phone, but am worried what to say next time he calls."
In the age of Facebook, more and more of these types of situations are coming up, and there's no etiquette guide or rulebook for stuff like this. We asked marriage and family therapist Shannon Fox for some advice.
Momlogic: If an ex gets in touch with you online, should you tell your spouse?
Shannon Fox: Definitely. There's no question about it. Even if it would make him suspicious or jealous or upset, you need to have an open door policy. Because emotional affairs and physical affairs are all secret, being up front about this proves you've got nothing to hide.
ML: Is it okay/appropriate for exes to be back in touch once they have kids?
SF: This is definitely something that must be considered a case-by-case basis. If you're both okay with it, it's probably fine. But I have clients who swear it's perfectly harmless, but they keep if from their husbands. Chatting on Facebook is kind of like meeting someone for coffee. Is it okay with your spouse for you to meet an ex for coffee? Probably not.
ML: What if you are okay with being in touch with an ex, but your husband is really jealous about it? What should you do?
SF: I am a big proponent of letting your spouse know that they come first. If he is creeped out by you corresponding with someone who's seen you naked, I'd say it's your responsibility as a loving wife not to do it. But if he is just a super jealous person who's really controlling, that's another issue altogether.
ML: If you are uncomfortable with someone contacting you (like Genevieve was), what should you do/say to make the person stop calling or emailing?
SF: You need to draw the boundary fast. Deny the friend request. Don't accept his calls. Send him an email that says, "My husband and I have a policy that we don't keep in touch with our exes. I am happy you are doing well, and wish you the best in the rest of your life."
Do you keep in touch with your exes via Facebook?