The Facebook Fight
It has been my experience that in most relationships there is an exchange of information about things/people/experiences that took place prior to your time with your significant other. I suspect that out of respect for your significant other many of these stories are censored. You don’t really want to tell them that you and Jimmy once held the record for most sex in the dorm or other intimate things.
Sure, you want them to know about your past. You love them and want them to feel like there are no secrets between you, but do they really need to know all of the sordid details. Probably not and chances are they don’t really want to know those about you either.
Thanks to the joys of modern technology this is something that could potentially become more of a challenge for couples. My friend Ken called me an hour ago to catch up on life and shoot the breeze. During the course of the conversation he told me that Facebook was going to cost him about $50 bucks in flowers.
I of course asked him to tell me why and he related the following tale. He and his wife both have Facebook accounts. Over the course of the last month or so he had reconnected with a bunch of friends from high school and college. Several of his new Facebook friends were women, a few of whom he had once dated.
She knew a few stories about them and as far as he knew had never cared. But their reappearance on Facebook was a different story. She was very uncomfortable with it and wanted to know why he felt the need to be in touch with them. He explained that it had been more than 20 years since he dated any of them and said that he had no interest.
It didn’t satisfy her and she demanded that he unfriend them. He refused.
Bam, Facebook had suddenly gone from something fun to the impetus for a power struggle in the relationship.
I told him that I understood his position and that I understood hers. The funny thing about feelings is that they aren’t based upon logic. Sometimes rational thought is not something that you associate with anger/love/joy/sadness etc.
I received a somewhat sarcastic thank you for not taking a position and was asked to provide advice. I laughed and reminded him that I wasn’t married to her, but if it was me I’d find a way to resolve it. He lives with her. He wants a future with her. Figure out a way to make her relax and she probably will end up not caring about them.
It seemed to me that his insistence on keeping them made her angrier and fueled her concern. So defuse the situation. Give everyone a moment to calm down and then reapproach it. It is like two kids fighting over the same toy. Take it away for a moment and when they are calm they both can play with it.
Of course I also told him that if this didn’t work or led to a bigger fight I took no responsibility. Sometimes it is good to be the one advising an attorney. 😉