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Mom Finds Absent Ex on Facebook. Now What?

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Single Mom Seeking: Dr. Leah chides me about this all the time: why the public nature of Facebook is NOT a good thing.

woman using computer

Whether it's about posting your kids' photos on Facebook or bad-mouthing your ex with your social network, Dr. Leah often reminds me that this information isn't necessarily going to your "real" friends.

Recently, however, Dr. Leah's eyes opened. Here's what happened:

A mom who goes by "Single Mom Paying Off Debt" wrote to us about finding pictures of her long-absent ex on his sister's Facebook account. She knew her son was the spitting image of his father. But she'd never seen pictures of her ex when he was a youngster.

So, she set out to copy these pictures to her hard drive. Can you guess why?

Yes, this mom saved these photos to show her son when he's older and the time is right. This mother plans to hold onto these photos -- in safekeeping -- with the idea that perhaps, someday, her child might ask about his father and simply be curious.

Of course, he may never ask to see photos, and they'll remain out of sight. But many kids, as they get older, DO ask, and it's often hard when they have no image of that absent parent.

We'd love to hear from other moms on this one: Do you think this mother is doing the right thing by holding onto these photos? Or, should she just let this go and move on?

One single mom disagrees with us. She says: "I don't understand the 'benefit' of showing your kids baby pics of their absent parent. It seems to me like those pics are more fodder for infatuation and confusion for your child."

She adds: "I don't think it is the job of the present parent to go hunting down the past of your ex so that you and your child can walk down a memory lane that neither of you belong to. I truly do not see the benefit."

What do YOU think?

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210 comments so far | Post a comment now
april November 4, 2009, 11:29 AM

I think that it’s hard to say that she’s right or wrong. I think that it truly depends on circumstances. If the child wants to know about his father, then tell him the truth. No more, no less. If he asks to see pictures then she has them and doesn’t have to go looking for them later. If he doesn’t care to see them, then she has caused no harm.

Peggy Gorman November 10, 2009, 7:52 AM

I don’t see any harm and someday he may see his father. Its so much more than pictures,the child will be grown up and having a family of his own. It would be nice for them to see the pictures

mandy November 20, 2009, 12:01 PM

I actually did a very similar thing…I honestly hope my daughter is never too curious about her biological father, as she’s lucky to have a beyond wonderful daddy now, but just in case she curious, I have a few photos and identifying details should she ever wish to track him down as an adult.

Anonymous January 3, 2010, 12:42 PM

I think it’s ok. My son is 10 and my ex has been absent since before my son’s first birthday. I keep photos of my ex tucked away. My son knows that I have them and IF he wants to see them, he just needs to ask.

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