What do you remember about the 90’s? The band Hanson, the Backstreet Boys, and Céline Dion? Wayne’s World, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Titanic movie, and hyper-colored T-shirts? One thing you won’t recall – social media. For better or for worse, there was no social media in the 90’s, at least not what it is known as today. In the 90’s (and before) when you got a divorce you didn’t have to navigate whether or not to make your relationship status “Facebook official.” You didn’t have to decide when or how to tell your 345 Twitter Followers that your last name changed or better yet, see who notices and awkwardly asks you about it. Deciding when and how seems to be all personal choice based on what you feel comfortable putting out there online. So let’s discuss whether or not it’s a good idea to stay “friends” online with an ex.
One could argue that if you have kids together, you want to see what photos of your children are being posted online. This becomes difficult in that it could be emotionally damaging for you to see every ice cream social, park play-date, snuggles by the fire, etc. that your children are having with your spouse while they are away from you. For some it is comforting to see these photos, for others it may be downright painful, and even create jealously. Photos of the children may just be the tip of the iceberg – what about when your ex-spouse starts dating? You see a man or women tagged in a photo, human nature leads you to want to know more, so you click on their name and find yourself looking through all the photos and status updates that you can get your eyes on. What you may have thought was harmless in staying “friends” with your ex has now become emotional self-destruction. Maybe you made it this far unscathed and now your ex is dating someone and you’re ok with that, but what about when the ex’s new partner is now in photos with the kids? Your kids. At that new amusement park YOU had planned to take them to. Do you see the emotional roller coaster that social media has created?
It’s a double edge sword. As a co-parent you don’t want to miss out. You want to see every photo and moment of your children that you can, but you need to establish boundaries that create the least amount of hurt in the long run. Have this discussion with your ex. Maybe you decide that you both take a social media break until things are more stable. Perhaps being online friends with your ex is just not for you, that is realistic too, and perhaps the healthiest way to navigate social media with your ex.
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