He’s my Ex, not my Facebook Friend.

by Vicki Larson


Here’s how I’ve heard a good divorce should work: you and your former spouse approach co-parenting as a business arrangement. You both obviously have a vested interest in the product — that would be your kids — and so you each put equal time and energy into it while exchanging polite e-mails and phone calls to keep each other abreast of what’s happening with “the product.”


You do not badmouth the other business partner — bad for business! — nor do you pump the product for information about the other business partner, such as any recent younger, blonder “hires” or any previously undisclosed assets.


In the six-plus years we’ve been divorced, my former husband and I have managed to do that pretty well — as long as we’re able to keep the emotional stuff out of it. That isn’t always easy, although, honestly, I’ve worked for a few businesses that were way more dysfunctional than some families I know.


Still, he has his life, and I have mine. So I didn’t know what to think when I sat down at my laptop the other morning to check my e-mail and discovered that my ex had sent a request to friend me on Facebook.


Just the fact that you’re an ex means that the relationship didn’t exactly end on a really positive note; now we should be “friends”?


Welcome to the brave new world of social networking; while some people are using it for hooking up, others are using it for breaking up, and while some exes are giving blow-by-blow status updates of their custody battles, others are trying to “friend” their exes. As Amanda Portini wrote in Salon last year, “Facebook is the theater where some of life’s most chaotic, catastrophic and bewildering moments are now being played out.”


Fine, but do I really want to throw myself into that? After all, I’m not even Facebook friends with my own kids and some of my real-life friends. And my boss? No way!


But, I’m unsure whom I should “friend”; where’s Emily Post when you really need her?


I’ve worked hard to keep my various lives – mother, ex-wife, girlfriend, friend, employee, boss — somewhat separate. I don’t talk about my personal life too much at work, although if you work at any place long enough, it’s almost impossible to keep that totally private. And, I’ve been known to get into a good B&M session about work with my friends. But I do at least try to keep it all separate online. I don’t talk about getting together for a gal’s night and kicking back a few mojitos on LinkedIn, and I don’t send business associates to my Facebook profile, where I typically wax nostalgic about how friends’ kids have grown or “like” upcoming gigs for the handful of bands I follow.


Does my ex need to know that about me? Does my boss? It just seems weird. But, maybe I’m wrong.