Facebook and Old Boyfriends: To Friend or Not to Friend?

In 2004 Facebook was launched, revolutionizing how we communicate and keep in touch with one another. While it’s fun to reconnect with our friends from the past, getting back in touch with old flames sometimes carries an additional layer of complexity. In fact, Facebook has been cited as an emerging catalyst for infidelity and divorce. While most intentions are innocent, it’s a slippery slope when you’re sharing personal stories with someone you cared about, and they happen to be emotionally available too.

A question that I often hear is whether or not to friend request old boyfriends. The answer depends on several factors that should be considered prior to sending that friend request:

  • What are your motives for reaching out? Are they strictly platonic or do you have an underlying goal?
  • How did the relationship end?
  • Do you need closure?
  • Was this the “love of your life” or a more casual relationship?
  • Are you able to be respectful of your old flame in their current relationship (including their partner and children) if you do reconnect?
  • If you reconnect, will you be able to respect the boundaries of your own relationship?
  • Do you feel the need to hide or minimize your intentions from your current partner?

And the last and more important questions:

  • Are you satisfied with your current relationship?
  • Are your emotional needs being met within your current relationship?

If you answer no or sometimes to either of these questions, you should redirect your energy into improving your current relationship rather than reaching out to that old boyfriend. Although your intentions are innocent, getting your emotional needs met from conversing with your old flame on Facebook, rather than your current partner, indicates there might be some deficiencies in your relationship.

So, your old flame has popped up in your potential friend list for a while, but they haven’t initiated contact with you.

What should you do? I would love to hear your opinion, so please leave a comment below!

Millie Cordaro, PhD, LPC

www.goodlifepsychotherapy.com

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Engage: Get Ready for Marriage! Part 2

This is a two-part series, and you can read Part 1 here.

I know that a majority of you reading this are seeking pre-marital counseling. Kudos!! However, some of you are avoiding or deciding against pre-marital counseling. If you are not seeking pre-marital counseling or actively working to improve your relationship than you’re not meeting the overall objective of being engaged.

Dr. John Gottman, a leading expert on marriage and divorce, has identified four problematic areas in relationships that are risk factors for divorce. These areas are referred to as the Four Horseman. Using the Four Horseman, Gottman can predict the likelihood of divorce with 96% accuracy. Yes, you read that correctly. Here are the Four Horseman:

  • Criticism– Attacking “faulty”  personality characteristics rather than making general complaints
  • Contempt– The best predictor of the demise of a relationship, contempt includes making partner feel inferior through  insults and other tactics
  • Defensiveness– Deflecting one’s role in a problem
  • Stonewalling– Tuning out or shutting down

Here is a video clip of Dr. Gottman discussing the Four Horseman:

So, what if you see yourself or your partner in one or more of the Four Horseman? I encourage you to consider exploring pre-marital counseling. Again, identifying and working to improve these relational problems can reduce your relationship’s vulnerability for divorce.

I congratulate you on your recent or upcoming engagement. Remember, planning the wedding is necessary, but one aspect of a greater objective. Engage in your relationship as you get ready for marriage!

Engage: Get Ready for Marriage! Part 1

December is a popular time for marriage proposals. When most American couples think about getting engaged, thoughts automatically turn to the logistics of planning a wedding. The priorities include setting a date, finding a dress, and crafting a guest list.

In addition to planning the dream wedding, couples should also consider identifying and working on areas of the relationship that need improvement. Chances are these “sticking-points” will continue to reemerge throughout the duration of your marriage. After all, the term engagement isn’t just a promise to get married. The verb engage also means to employ or enter into conflict with. In other words, when you’re engaged you should be working on your relationship (especially the sticking-points) as well as working on your wedding.

Now, I know some of you do not want to think about dredging up the past or confronting your fiance about a hot-button issue; I understand. We are a culture driven by romantic love, and who wants to take the magic out of the engagement period? More importantly, who wants a lasting relationship? A relationship where you and your partner can co-exist together over time?

You can find Part 2 here.