I have jumped in feet first, head first, and tapping fingers first into the social media phenomenon. I have worked with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, HootSuite, and TweetDeck. (No, I haven’t tried Google+, but who has time to learn an entire new system?!)
The beauty of social media is being able to connect across miles, states, countries, continents, and oceans. It affords the immediate gratification of reconnecting with our second grade best friend, keeping up with our church and work friends, sharing photos and news with relatives across the country, and chatting it up with people we’ve never met but who share similar interests. I actually feel a surge of giddiness when I receive a notification that a long lost friend or someone in South Africa wants to follow or chat with me!
Then came the day when I received a Facebook friend request from an old boyfriend. Well, not merely an old boyfriend, but one who had intimate knowledge of me in my premarital, not-on-God’s-plan days.
It’s been years and years. Our physical relationship feels like a lifetime ago. We are each married with children. We have several mutual friends on Facebook. So what’s the big deal? Shouldn’t I just click “Accept” and see what’s up with him?
But I hesitated.
I was interested in how things had gone for him; I certainly wished him the best. I had no romantic interest whatsoever in this guy from my past; I’m happily married. And like Brandon Heath’s wonderful song, I’m Not Who I Was; so I didn’t think of myself as that wayward gal anymore.
I paused again. Then I declined the invitation.
One of the reasons I ended up squarely on God’s plan for marital sexuality is that I established some hard-and-fast boundaries. Some time ago, I explained about The Rule I have for myself – that I don’t spend time alone with a man who is not my husband or related to me. It isn’t that I consider myself capable of cheating on my hubby. He truly is THE guy in every room and every crowd whom I want to be with.
But men and women can have unexpected chemistry with one another. They can find themselves in unintended flirtations. They can reveal too much or get too cozy. They can bask in the attention of another when their spouse is being a little irritating or neglectful at the moment. I know what people are capable of and I’m people, so I keep the hedges.
Another reason for passing on even a Facebook friendship with an ex-lover is that I wondered how that would make my husband feel. If he were chatting late into the night with an old flame who had traded inappropriate gropes years ago, I’d be . . . well, hurt. Logically, I’d know that he’s my guy, not hers; they are just friends now; they’re merely touching base; blah, blah, blah. But I’d be lying to say I was okay with the thought of any woman but me having intimate knowledge of my husband. God has united us in one flesh, and everyone else needs to get their own flesh, thank you very much. Thus, out of respect to him, I didn’t think that catching up with some guy from many years ago was worth making my husband uncomfortable in any way.
So I wonder what readers think. Have you connected with former lovers via Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media platform? How does your spouse feel about it? Have you declined invitations? What were your reasons? What boundaries have you established to keep yourself only unto your husband or wife?
It’s worth considering in our easy-to-connect internet world. What steps can we take to protect physical intimacy with our spouse?
"Therefore a man will leave his father and mother, and will cling to his wife:
and they will be one flesh."