It starts with a few Facebook likes (the new way to flirt these days). Then, it escalates to comments. Then, private messages. Then, an invitation to “hang out” sometime. Soon, we are dating someone — and all via Facebook. But, what happens when we break up? Is simply deleting someone the best, most effective way to move on and remove them from our lives? Or do we stay Facebook friends with an ex?
With exes, I usually warn them before pressing “delete.” Yes, he broke my heart. Yes, we had a history together. But, now, I need to move on. Plus, I don’t want to be tempted to Facebook-stalk him. (You know what I’m talking about!) Sometimes, a year or two later, I’ll run into said ex, we’ll be cordial, we’ll both have new boyfriends and girlfriends, and I’ll re-friend him—time has passed and the timing’s better to be friends, with no emotional strings attached on either end. (I think it takes about a year of no communication before you can return to any communication.)
I only keep Facebook friends whom I can genuinely call on as a friend—to meet up, call to help ease my pain (or theirs) after a breakup, have fun with. Otherwise, what’s the point of remaining Facebook friends with an ex? To get back together? I mean, were you ever truly friends with them? (I doubt it, not in the true sense of friends.) All in all, I think it depends on your definition of “friend” and that remaining friends with exes on Facebook is a case-by-case basis.
If I think the person still has feelings for me, DELETE.
If I still have feelings for them, DELETE.
If the breakup was recent (hence, recently physically and/or emotionally intimate), DELETE.
If they Facebook stalk me (lots of comments and likes and/or not-nice comments), DELETE.
If they are not respectful of my new relationship (bitter and/or defensive comments or messages), DELETE.
If we are not truly friends (do we ever hang out offline, on the phone, or in person?), DELETE.
If I want space, DELETE.
If I want to move on, DELETE.
If I want to heal, DELETE.
If I don’t want them to know my every move, DELETE.
If I don’t want to know theirs, either, DELETE.
Hence, in all of the above, I think it’s time to electronically say goodbye (since we’d already said goodbye in person).
Do exes have a place among our Facebook friends? And, if so, what does that mean? What is appropriate (no engagement or commenting—or some)? Recently, we asked Bustle readers to chime in on this controversial paradox and here’s what they had to say when asked: “Do you stay Facebook friends with exes? Why or why not?”
1. Jenna, 29
2. AlliCat, 31
3. Dan, 27
4. Lyza, 24
5. Dr. Suzana E. Flores, clinical psychologist and author of the best-selling Facehooked
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